Author: Conor Heffernan

Conor is currently researching Ireland's physical culture movement as a PhD student at University College Dublin. When not in the library or the gym, he likes to try his hand at writing....with mixed results.

Guest Post: The Importance of Vitamins for Muscle Growth and Recovery

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We all know that building those lean, nice looking muscles is tough. You cannot create them merely by pushing yourself to the limit and gorging yourself on protein. Building muscles takes workouts, allowing your body to recover, and a solid, balanced diet. While workout sessions are indubitably important, maintaining a balanced diet should be every bodybuilder’s top priority. The thing is, even the best diet should be supplemented if you want to get your muscles to grow quickly and to recover rapidly and adequately.

When people hear the word “supplements” the first things that come to mind are usually creatine, fat burners, whey, etc. That happens because ads for those supplements are everywhere. It seems like every billboard in every city simply screams “Take more whey!” or “Stuff yourself with creatine!”

The truth is that the supplements you need are not those mentioned above. You need to take vitamins in order to stimulate muscle growth and recovery. So, guess what? Your mom was right. Eating broccoli and taking vitamins will do wonders for your physique.

How do vitamins work to provide muscle growth?

If you’re not new to fitness, then you already know the basics. Carbs provide the body with the fuel it needs, but the tissues in our bodies are made up from fat and protein. Vitamins and minerals boost your body’s ability to use protein and fat, and in turn, they can create noticeable and quick muscle growth.

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The Controversial History of ZMA

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One of the unquestioned staples of bodybuilding supplementation, ZMA is often up there with creatine and protein in terms of popularity. Rumoured to increase testosterone, muscle mass and your chance of bizarre dreams, ZMA is promoted as a cheap and effective supplement for the average gym goer.

In my own brief training experience, it’s something I’ve used on a regular basis not because of its observable benefits, but because people talk about it so damn much. So my own conformity aside, it’s important to note that ZMA’s history and effectiveness is far more suspect than we might consider. That’s putting it mildly.

Forgotten Exercises: Gironda Hack Squats

For many lifters, myself included, the quads can be a notoriously difficult muscle to shape. It’s easy to add bulk and size, countless numbers of squats will suffice but where does the lifter turn when it comes time to refine, to sculpt and to define the thigh muscles?

Now past readers will no doubt be aware of my fondness for Vince Gironda, the influential bodybuilding coach of the mind century. Known as the ‘Iron Guru’ for good reason, Gironda was a maverick in terms of devising specialised exercises. His variations on dips, chin ups and bicep curls helped countless champions gain that competitive edge. Needless to say, I’m a fan boy.

Mike Mentzer – Nutritional Reality (1993)

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The following excerpt comes from Mike Mentzer’s 1993 nutritional work, Heavy Duty Nutrition. A keen follower of Arthur Jones’s Heavy Duty training system, Mike was the poster child of an alternative and oftentimes radical form of bodybuilding. It should come as no surprise then that his nutritional advice also tended against the norm. 

In the following weeks, more chapters from Mike’s book will be shared on bulking, cutting and general good health. Enjoy!

Can A Non-Steroid User Compete Today? (Ironman Magazine, 1973)

steroids3Here’s a fascinating article from the annals, written by Joe Gallucci for Ironman Magazine in 1973 (33/1) about the growing drugs scene in Bodybuilding. Some of the arguments and accusations put across by Gallucci will be familiar to modern day Bodybuilding fans concerned with drugs in the sport.

Why Dropping An (Vitamin) E Is Great Nutritional Advice

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When it comes to pills, the best ones to drop are A, C, and D. These are the three top vitamins which keep the body healthy and in shape. But, there is another vitamin which gets ignored. It’s vitamin E, and it has as many health benefits as all three of the above put together. “But, how can that be? I’ve never heard of it before!” E is one of the lesser known nutritional titans, yet the effects are irrefutable.

Below are the reasons why dropping an E is an excellent way to stay healthy.