MIND/BODY CONNECTION

Laugh It Off, Pack It On

Becky Holman

You’ve read over and over that cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause your body to gobble up your muscle—that even workouts are perceived by your body as stress, which increases catabolism. Reduce cortisol and you keep more muscle and make it easier to gain more and lose bodyfat. One way is to laugh more. Scientists at Loma Linda University in California found that even anticipating laughter can reduce cortisol by nearly half. No wonder your funny friends are your favorites.


Share/Bookmark
Tags:

Chin Up or Pull Down?

Charles Poliquin

Chin Up or Pull Down?

Q: What one upper-body exercise not commonly performed would you like to see added to a bodybuilder’s program?

A: I’m a firm believer in chinups and pullups for upper-body mass. If you believe that the squat is the king of leg exercises, then you probably wouldn’t waste your time doing endless sets of abductor-machine work, leg extensions or (gasp!) the near-useless Smith machine, right? Well, the chinup and its variations are the squat’s equivalent in mass-building qualities and the ability to quickly improve functional strength. In fact, most bodybuilders would be jealous of the back development of top-level gymnasts and kayakers. Their conditioning programs center on—you guessed it—chinups.

Snooze to Lose Fat

Becky Holman

Snooze to Lose Fat

One of the biggest culprits slowing your muscle gains and fat losses may be lack of sleep. You’ve probably heard of cortisol, the stress hormone that causes your body to burn muscle tissue for energy, wreaks havoc with your health and leads to weight gain through various mechanisms, including carb binges. Researchers compared subjects getting six hours of sleep to those getting eight, and the six-hour group had 50 percent more cortisol in the bloodstream. If you want to get the best results from your workouts, be sure and get enough sleep to keep cortisol low.

Power SURGE

Joe Mazza and Sean Katterle

Power SURGE

In 1979, when Joe Mazza was just 13 years old, a new gym opened up in his hometown of Verona, New Jersey. Like most kids his age, Joe was interested in the possibility of building some muscle, so he joined up—and the powerlifting world is now better for it. Joe put in many hours of sweat and blood at that gym and finally entered his first bench press competition in 1992. By that time he’d joined the police force, so his first competition was a police and fire bench press bash. Armed with his bench shirt, he ended up taking second in the 181-pound class with a 370-pound press.

About Weight Training

Dave Draper

About Weight Training

I might miss the training topics vital to you, but at least—here comes a laughable presumption—I stir up your thoughts. In hopes of being more specific, let’s begin our brief time together from another angle. What is it about your training that bothers you the most? What perplexes you, distresses and disturbs you, disappoints you? What gets in your way, slows you down, prevents you from making progress—losing weight, building muscle, increasing strength and gaining shape? How about energy, endurance and general conditioning?

In Charge of Champions

Randall Strossen

In Charge of Champions

Imagine this: Your mission is to produce a stunning array of world champions in the highly competitive arena of Olympic-style weightlifting, and you have at your disposal just about whatever you might want to help reach your goal. For starters, there’s no need to limit your athlete pool to a scanty group of scrawny walk-ins better suited to watching slow-pitch softball than trying to lift several times their bodyweight from the ground to arm’s length overhead. You have highly refined scouting tools, and you’re not kidding about this evaluation business. You might test 100,000 prospects and identify perhaps 70 as having enough potential to give your program a try. What you end up with is a group of athletes who have the ability to lift weights most of us can barely roll across the floor—think of relatively slender 150-pound guys who can lift more than 350 pounds from the floor to overhead, and you’ll get the picture.