Supplements That Help Build Muscle Mass

Author: Abigail Everson

For the last few decades, protein has become one of the most talked about supplements for athletes. Protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis, the building and repair of muscles and tissues. Protein is also needed for a variety of hormonal and metabolic activities (Campbell 2008). For this reason, protein bars, shakes, and other supplements have become an important part of exercising and strength training. In recent years creatine has been rising in popularity and it has been shown to improve performance and lean body mass. Although creatine is newer, both protein and creatine seem to have the similar impacts on lean muscle mass in athletes.

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The Five W’s + the How of Cupping Therapy

Author: Emma Stock

The What

Cupping is one of the many methods of traditional Chinese medicine. It has been used as a modality in hospital and other settings since 1950 [2]. It is an application of glass or plastic cups that vacuum seal onto the body in a desired area. The cupping cups are used to stimulate the muscles as a treatment for aches and pains associated with various diseases, as well as other reasons listed in the “Why” section. There are two types of cupping therapies. [1] Wet cupping is a three step process. The first step is placing the cups in the desired area for a few minutes. The second step is removing the cups and making a small incision or puncture wound on the skin. The final step is placing the cup over the wound and letting the blood drain out for another few minutes (typically around 3-5min). Dry cupping does not include the puncturing of the skin, and is solely the cups placed on the relaxed person for a few minutes.

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Effects of Different Forms of Resistance Training on Athletic Performance in Soccer

Author: Erik Sigman

In the past two decades there has been an increased discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of resistance training in regards to athletic performance in soccer. When it comes to emphasis on athletic enhancement, soccer has just recently become a sport where collegiate and professional teams have made athletic development a larger priority for players. There seems to be two camps when it comes to the debate on whether soccer players should incorporate resistance training in their training routine. Those in the first camp tend to think in a sense that resistance training won’t help a soccer player become better at “soccer skills” like dribbling, passing, shooting etc. The second camp tend to have the view point that soccer is evolving to become much more reliant on a player’s physical capabilities and resistance training may help athletic development in areas like speed, agility, and explosive power (Silva et al. 2015). Regardless of what camp one may fall into, there are some common beliefs in regards to the benefits and drawbacks of resistance training that the soccer world has adopted. Benefits include increased athletic ability in soccer specific actions like sprinting, cutting, jumping, and explosiveness (Turner and Stewart 2014). Drawbacks include player’s putting on unnecessary muscle mass, becoming “blocky” or “bulky”, and the injury risk of doing resistance training. With all that being said, let’s look at what the research says regarding resistance training and athletic performance in soccer.

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Weight Loss and Maintenance for Obese Individuals

Author: Nicole Jones

It comes as no shock that the health effects of being overweight or obese are widespread on an individual and global level. Evidence shows a heavy correlation between a high BMI and a plethora of diseases and illnesses. This can include, but isn’t limited to, ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, hypertensive heart disease, and diabetes mellitus (NEJM, 2017). A lot of these diseases and illness are due to the strain extra weight puts on the heart. While the risk of heart disease and heart related illnesses is pretty common knowledge, there are many other disease and illness risks to being overweight. The physical extra weight can have a toll on the joints, leading to mobility issues. An increase risk in breast cancer, particularly among women, has also been a sited as a potential risk factor associated with obesity (NEJM, 2017). Not only is obesity potentially harmful for the individual, it can also be harmful for the wider population. With the associated health risks of obesity, comes an associated cost for those risks. Since obesity is a global issue, it is a burden to health care systems around the world. In 73 countries across the globe, the obesity rate has around doubled since the 1980s (NEJM, 2017). This has caused the overall cost of health care expenditures for many preventable diseases to also increase. With the many risks associated with obesity, as well as the burden it puts on the healthcare system, there are many reasons and benefits to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

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Relationship Between Body Mass and Muscle Strength: Correlation or Causation?

Author: Joey Harkins

Think of the strongest person you have ever met. Not in the pound-for-pound sense, but the individual that you can think of that can physically move objects that you might have thought could not possibly budge. This could be someone you played sports against in high school, someone you work with, or even someone you’ve seen on T.V. Chances are the person you’re thinking of isn’t too small. On the contrary, they’re probably one of the biggest people you’ve seen. There most definitely appears to be a relationship between body size and strength, but the question remains: is strength simply a product of increased body mass or are there more factors at play?

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How Does Alcohol Consumption Cause Damage to the Body and Impair Athletic Performance?

Author: Sydney Yotter

It is common knowledge that heavy alcohol consumption has negative effects on the
human body and athletic performance, but how exactly does alcohol affect the body? Excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to decreased efficiency of the immune system, inhibition of reproductive properties, heart problems, damage to the digestive system, decreased brain functionality, problems with waste removal from the body, and decreased bone mineral density (Atkins 2019). While all of these complications can affect an individual’s daily life, one of the most studied consequences of alcohol consumption is lowered bone mineral density, which can lead to a degenerative disease known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can cause more frequent fractures, especially hip fractures, because of how thin and weak the bones can become. The bone mineral density in individuals with osteoporosis is much lower compared to the healthy bone mineral density of young adults (Chen et al. 2007). Risk for osteoporosis increases for postmenopausal women, due to the lack of the hormone estrogen in their bodies after menopause,
and with age. It makes sense that heavy alcohol consumption would have these damaging effects on our bones, but numerous studies also point towards moderate drinking as a risk factor for low bone mineral density. According to a systemic review and meta-analysis study, those who consume just 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day (14 g or 0.6 oz of pure alcohol) are 1.34 times more likely to be at risk for osteoporosis than those who consume zero alcoholic drinks per day (Cheraghi et al. 2019). Let’s take a closer look at how exactly alcohol works on the skeletal system.

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Altitude Training and How it Affects Athletic Performance

Author: Carmen Houck

As someone who grew up in Colorado, altitude has always been a hot topic of conversation. From people coming to visit and mentioning how they tire quickly to experiencing the difficulty to breathe while climbing 14ers (14,000+ foot peaks), it is a topic that came up
frequently among friends and family. As I got older and started learning more about how the body works, I started seeing the science and rationale behind all those conversations I had growing up. For most people, high altitude just means it’s harder to breathe, but why?

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Concurrent Training in Primarily Power Athletes: Proceed with Caution

Author: Jared Defriend

During my younger high school, there was nothing I loved to do more than run for exercise. I think I ran almost every day during the week with my dog, and on the weekends, I would try to go on longer runs. However, there is an important piece I am missing to this story. I
played football, and not only did I play football, but I was also a lineman. I thought I could be the best endurance athlete ever, while still be a big, strong, defensive lineman. Little did I know I was destroying my potential, as the copious amounts of running I performed inhibited my ability to make gains on the field and in the weight room. Therefore, now I know that intense endurance training and power athletes, such as football players, just do not mix. For maximum results, power
athletes should stick with strong and powerful training, leaving the endurance stuff for who it was meant for: runners.

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Fad Diets for Athletes

Author: Annika Weisjahn

There are new diets and trends that seem to come up every year. While fad diets may be very popular and relatively harmless to the regular population, there may be more things to consider when looking at these diets through the eyes of an athlete. These diet plans often need modification to make sure that they are meeting their energy needs, macronutrient, and micronutrient intakes are met to fuel their training and performance goals. (1) A popular trend in these diets is to restrict carbohydrate intake; however, it is also shown that impaired physical performance can also be attributed to a low carbohydrate diet (2). Most people working in the exercise science field will say carbohydrates must make up the better part of an athletes diet if they want to perform at their peak level (2). This is important because in order to fuel muscles in a high intensity workout, they need glycogen in which they get from carbohydrates. However, it is not just carbohydrates that are important to fueling a workout; if you are working out for longer than a few minutes, a workout is fueled by a combination of intra-muscular and extra-muscular carbohydrates, lipids, and a small amount of amino acids (3).

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Is My Coconut Water Blood-Sugar Friendly?

Author: Rachel Selva

Coconut water is a hydration drink of choice for many people, including me. I like it because it hydrates me after a tough workout, and it tastes really good too! I was recently exploring the nutrition facts on the back of the bottle (as a curious exercise physiology student is bound to do), and I noticed one of the ingredients: organic erythritol. The claim on the back of the bottle states that “Erythritol carbs have no calories or effect on blood sugar.” I find this interesting, because as a type 1 diabetic, I always look to see if I need to give insulin for a meal or beverage. And looking at the carbohydrate content on the back of my coconut water bottle showed me that with 9 grams of carbohydrates per serving and 18 grams per bottle, I would indeed need insulin. So this question came to mind: If erythritol carbohydrates have no effect on blood sugar, then why do I give insulin to drink my coconut water?

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