Tag: Health

Guest Post A Brief History of Dietary Supplements

 

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Almost everyone at one time or another has taken dietary supplements. Some people take them to obtain food nutrients lacking in their diet, others take them to compliment or derive more benefits from their food intake, and many people take them because their doctor recommends it.

What then are dietary supplements? Are they safe and do they really work as advertised? Are there any government regulations over what constitutes dietary supplements?

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The First Pre-Workout Supplements

 

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A worrying trend for many within the Iron Game is the sheer dependency exhibited by trainees and their pre-workout supplements. Gone are the days of Vince Gironda and Don Howorth who trained in almost complete silence. Nowadays the gym is a veritable dance floor filled with techno music and brightly coloured drinks. To save lifter’s ego, the latter are given names like ‘Crazed’, ‘Jacked’ or ‘Mr.Hyde’.

Today’s post is not an attempt to insult those of us who rely on preworkouts to train, but rather to discuss some of the milder and arguably more sustainable preworkouts used by the trainees of old. What did they use and why? Furthermore, can we begin to wean ourselves off the current sugar and caffeine filled drinks and move towards the old-school methods?

Guest Post: The History of Whey Protein for Bodybuilding

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If there is perhaps one supplement that is synonymous with bodybuilding, it’s whey protein.

Whey protein is an important element in any bodybuilder’s regimen. To achieve serious muscle gains, many bodybuilders turn to whey protein as a crucial post-workout supplement. Whey provides the necessary building blocks in the building and retention of muscle.

After all, the role of any bodybuilder is to generate more muscle mass.

This article looks at whey protein and its supplementary purpose for a bodybuilding program. It will examine the history of whey as well as beneficial ways of integrating whey into your workout program if you haven’t already done so.

Product Review: Heroic Sport’s Pahlavandle Clubs

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Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my fondness for Indian clubs. I’ve posted on them at several points, published a few academic articles on them and even spent a year in Cambridge doing a thesis on them. Alongside and indeed fuelling this interest, has been my daily use of the Indian clubs.

Every morning without fail, I swing the clubs for 10 to 15 minutes. This has been my morning routine for the past three years and in that time my mornings have become more pleasant, I’ve perked up and perhaps most importantly of all, my previous shoulder problems have become a thing of the past. Like many other lifters, my first forays into the gym resulted in far too much time bench pressing like my life depended on it. The result were very…very beat up shoulders.

Swinging lightweight Indian clubs in a variety of ways has slowly, over time, helped stabilise, solidify and save my creaking joints. I am therefore…. a fan.

You can imagine the childlike giddiness created when Heroic Sport contacted me about reviewing their Pahlavandle Indian clubs. Based in Denmark, this rather clever device allows you to bring your Indian clubs with you wherever you travel. Having trialed the Pahlavandle out for a week, I thought it’d be beneficial to discuss my initial reaction.

George F. Jowett, The Truth About Exercise (c. 1925)

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It takes all kinds of people to make a world, but some we often feel should be given an island, to make a world of their own. There are people who apparently are born with the pessimistic germ in their systems. They just cannot help taking a contrary view of the situation. You find them everywhere, and antagonistic to the popular beliefs of life, law and religion. I agree that the major part of their criticism is destructive rather than constructive, but why worry about them if you know you are right. You may say, “Look at the harm they do.” But I do not believe that. Like attracts like is my belief. Some people prefer to believe that black is white, so let them believe it. We have the same spirit to contend with in teaching the valuable precepts of physical training.

I happened to know a man who had an argumentative belief that exercise was harmful; he accosted a heart specialist on the question, with whom I am familiar. The specialist informed him that the causes of cardiac conditions were reduced to four, none of which were caused by exercise. The only time sports or exercise are liable to injure the heart are when the heart is out of condition. Then anything would injure it. More often bad eating, but rarely right exercise, which is constructive. The other man replied that just the same he believed exercise hurts the heart. Now a wall would have to fall on such a man before he would believe it had fallen. And, as an angel could not convert such a person, why worry about it?

The History of the Plank Exercise

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Chances are every single one of use has spent a seemingly endless amount of time stuck in the ‘plank’ position shown above. When I first began weight training for rugby as a starry eyed teen we did every kind of vacation imagine. We did it for time, we moved in circles, we placed weights, and even at times each other, on our backs to increase the resistance and improve our core.

Was it all a waste? Probably if truth be told. Though one can feel the effects of the plank on their abdominals almost instantly, any pain I suffered from having a week ‘core’, that oh so mercurial term, was eventually solved through copious amounts of squats, deadlifts, reverse hyper extenions and back extensions combined with strict cable crunches and hanging leg raises If these exercises don’t challenge your core, I’d suggest re-evaluating your form.

Now in any case it’s undeniable that the plank exercise has become a mainstay in the fitness community over the past two decades. Though fading out in my own gym, at least somewhat, it’s still used by numerous personal trainers and classes the world over. This leads us to the point of today’s post. Who invented the plank exercise and how did it become so damn popular? Furthermore, is it actually beneficial? I’ll put my own prejudices aside as best I can for the last point.

Harry Paschall, ‘The Ideal Man’, Muscle Molding (1950)

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For mid-century American Iron Heads Harry Paschall represented one of the most informative and humorous writers on all things related to fitness. Through the use of cartoons and an alter ego named Bosco, Paschall provided just the right mixture of old school methodology combined with the latest ideas, exercises and techniques. If you want to know more about Paschall and the infinitely more famous Bosco, check out Clarence Bass’s detailed write up here. Alternatively if you want evidence of the great man’s writing, The Tight Slacks of Dezso Ban provides some nice samples. I digress…

Now recently I was lucky enough to pick up a second hand copy of Paschall’s 1950 work Muscle Moulding. Briefly known as the Bodybuilder’s Bible, Muscle Moulding detailed everything from nutrition to workout programmes in a simple and concise manner. It’s well worth the read and unsurprisingly given Paschall’s focus on simple exercises, much of the advice has latest the test of time. Something that caught my eye while reading it was Paschall’s standards for “the ideal man” given by Alan Calvert in 1914. Though lifting weights had progressed quite a bit since Calvert’s time, I found it interesting that Paschall was so in favour of his ideal man. While measurements are inherently subjective they do give pause for thought.

So without further adieu…