Tagged: Growth

HardPuppy Fitness Gym 0

Carmelo Guastella’s Shaving Tips

Prep like a pro
“Preparation is key when shaving, so maybe have a shower first to soften your hairs,” says Guastella. “The softer the hairs, the easier the shave ,plus you’re going to add extra hydration to your skin. You don’t want to shave skin that’…

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The Best Smoothie Recipes

Smoothies are big business. First they were an indulgent way to get a couple of your five-a-day, then a high-end gym staple and now ubiquitous. 

But while enterprising supermarkets and juice bars are engaged in an arms-race of flavour combinations – mango and mint is surprisingly good – are they actually doing anyone any good? It’s tough to say. A typical bottle of Innocent, the UK’s biggest brand, packs in 33g of sugar, essentially the same as a can of Coke (possibly not surprising, since it’s been majority-owned by Coca-Cola since 2013). The obvious problem: you’ll only come back if they taste good, and our stupid caveman brains love sugar.

So what’s the fix? Simple: make your own. By sticking to a few simple rules, you can customise your smoothie to your own fitness goals, and only put in what you need to support your training. Or, to make it even easier, just use our recipes below.

The Pre-Workout Energiser

Step away from the double espresso and Metallica megamix: if you’re aiming to get the most from your workout, you want a more targeted approach. “The best pre-workout snacks make you feel satisfied and excited to exercise without leaving you feeling bloated or tired,” says nutritionist Lee Holmes.

“That’s exactly what this smoothie’s designed for. The frozen banana gives you digestible carbs for energy, but it also has a drizzle of healthy fats in the tahini, as well as a great source of vegetable protein from cacao and spinach, to fuel you up for a squat session.

“Cacao is also a performance-enhancer and can help with muscle recovery and growth. Besides, who doesn’t get excited when they’re drinking a chocolate smoothie?”

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth, then drink immediately. If you’re looking to economise, frozen spinach works almost as well as fresh.

Ingredients

  • ½ a peeled frozen banana
  • 45g baby English spinach leaves
  • 1tsp tahini
  • 1tbsp raw cacao nibs
HardPuppy Fitness Gym 0

KKR muscles in on £600m auction of Pure Gym fitness chain – Sky News

The buyout giant which took Boots private more than a decade ago has muscled in on the £600m-plus auction of Pure Gym, Britain’s biggest chain of health and fitness clubs.

Sky News understands that KKR is among a pack of financial investors that will table indicative offers for Pure Gym ahead of a deadline on Thursday.

The sale of Pure Gym comes a year after the company abandoned a public listing, citing difficult market conditions in the wake of the EU referendum.

Pure Gym’s main shareholder, CCMP Capital Advisors, is working with Harris Williams and Jefferies on the auction, which City sources say is likely to be wrapped up by the end of the year.

CCMP, which has controlled Pure Gym since 2013, has overseen a period of strong growth at Pure Gym, which now trades from more than 170 clubs.

Its relentless expansion comes after a period of turbulence in the UK gyms sector, with operators such as Fitness First being forced into financial restructurings and takeovers.

A successful sale of Pure Gym would crystallise a windfall for Sir Chris Hoy, the six-time Olympics gold medallist, who has a small shareholding in the business.

Announcing its 2016 results in March, Humphrey Cobbold, Pure Gym’s chief executive, said: “Almost a million people currently enjoy our affordable and flexible offer and we’ve introduced a variety of different membership options to suit a wide range of personal circumstances.

“No operator in the history of the gym and fitness sector in the UK has ever achieved this scale of membership.

“For 2017, expansion remains our priority with plans for 20 to 25 openings this year in total.

“Despite our size, we retain a ‘challenger brand’ entrepreneurial spirit with a relentless focus on ensuring our offer appeals to 21st century consumers who want quality and value for money, the flexibility of a no contract offer and facilities they actually use.”

KKR and Pure Gym declined to comment.

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Why L-Arginine Isn’t Such a Great Pre-Workout

We know – the world of fitness supplements can be confusing.

You probably know that protein powder is an easy way to reach your calorie and macronutrient goals and that creatine[1] is a safe and effective way to increase power and anaerobic capacity.

That’s roughly where the consensus ends when it comes to fitness supplements, and for those of us looking to improve workout performance, it can be hard to know what else meets the approval of the scientific community at large.

Enter L-arginine[2], (also just called “arginine”) an amino acid that’s been linked to everything from better workouts to stronger erections. Can it improve your PRs, or is it just another well-packaged bottle of powdered snake oil?

The Claims

As a conditionally essential amino acid, the body does a decent job of producing arginine on its own, but there could be some situations where it’s useful to supplement it.

The most common claim surrounding arginine is its purported abilities of vasolidation, meaning that it “opens up” veins and arteries and makes it easier for blood to flow freely throughout your body. This would be because it is a precursor to nitric oxide[3], a known vasolidator.

Following on from that claim, arginine should be able to improve workout performance and decrease the odds of experiencing hypertension, deep vein thrombosis, erectile dysfunction, and other problems that are related to blood flow.

That is, if it’s true.

The Evidence

“L-arginine tends to be marketed towards any physical activity, since the theoretical increase in nitric oxide should benefit anything related to blood flow,” says Kurtis Frank, the research director of the independent nutrition research organization, Examine.com. “For the most part, it seems to favor CrossFit®-style activities; things that involve muscular contraction in a moderate rep range. It doesn’t seem to provide any major benefit to long distance stuff nor maximal power activities like sprinting and heavy lifting.”

When it comes to nitric oxide supplements, there’s something of a “Big Four”: L-arginine, L-citrulline, agmatine, and nitrates. Antioxidants also indirectly aid nitric oxide and are often used alongside the Big Four.

The problem, in Frank’s own words, is that arginine is the “shittiest” nitric oxide supplement of the bunch. It’s not even worth taking it with the other NO supplements, since they’d be competing for the same mechanism. If taken side by side, he explains, it’d end up being a one-plus-one-plus-one equals one-type scenario.

The question, then, is what’s the smartest way to boost nitric oxide?

 “I’d recommend L-citrulline or agmatine over L-arginine any day, for workouts and for the general health benefits,” says Frank. “Agmatine could be seen as the healthiest, since it has other mechanisms in addition to the NO production, like neuronal health.”

Focusing on L-citrulline or agmatine is also likely to benefit your wallet, since dedicated nitric oxide supplements are notorious for trying to increase profits by adding twenty somewhat relevant ingredients, while they usually only have a couple of ingredients that are truly effective. (Frank likens NO supplements to “fat burners” in that regard.)

Arginine, it turns out, is a weak pick for the benefits a buyer is probably after. The link it has to actually boosting nitric oxide is weak, and the initial belief that it’s a solid NO supplement is sometimes known as “The Arginine paradox.”

“L-arginine was initially thought to increase NO because it’s a precursor – you need some arginine for the enzymes that make NO,” says Frank. “But when you put more arginine into a system, NO doesn’t necessarily increase. It turned out that’s because it’s not just a substrate, it works mostly through the A2-andrenergic receptor. Agmatine is a lot more potent in the way it acts on this receptor, and L-citrulline, while it works in a more similar manner to L-arginine, does a much better job of absorbing through the intestines. By the way, that’s why a lot of people get ‘pre-workout’ shits; they combine caffeine with L-arginine, both of which can go right through you.”

But Doesn’t L-Arginine Increase My Muscle Size?

Finally, L-arginine is also thought by many to increase the body’s production of the anabolic human growth hormone[4] (HGH) and creatine.

But arginine doesn’t do anything for your creatine production unless you’re already deficient in arginine, and it’s extremely unlikely that you are. (Remember that the body can make its own arginine, plus it’s present in most sources of protein.)

And as far as growth hormone goes, arginine and creatine do technically increase its production after a workout, but for such a small time frame that it’s doubtful it’ll have any practical effect on your body. So don’t turn to L-arginine to give you Stallone-like[5] HGH levels.

The Takeaway

This science is a little dense, but here’s the take-home lesson.

First, if lowering your risk of hypertension by improving your blood flow, you’re better off talking to your doctor and considering pharmaceuticals and ACE inhibitors. Supplements, after all, aren’t medications.

But, if you’re interested in a nitric oxide-boosting, blood vessel-opening pre-workout supplement, you’re better off turning to L-citrulline or agmatine, the latter of which might be the better choice. About three grams per day of either is a safe and effective dose.

Featured image via @_king_tunde_[6]

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References

  1. ^ creatine (barbend.com)
  2. ^ L-arginine (examine.com)
  3. ^ nitric oxide (examine.com)
  4. ^ human growth hormone (barbend.com)
  5. ^ Stallone-like (www.vanityfair.com)
  6. ^ @_king_tunde_ (instagram.com)