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General Health

  • Bulking and Cutting or Recomping: What's More Effective?

    Bulking and Cutting or Recomping: What's More Effective?

    Most people who train in the gym (myself included) do so because they want to look jacked, plain and simple.

    The goal is to grow muscle, lose fat, and build a lean muscular physique.

    But what is the best way to approach this?

    Bulking and Cutting, or Recomping

    If you want to change the way you look, you can take one of three approaches:

    1. You can commence a bulking phase, in an attempt to build some muscle. 
    2. You can commence a cutting phase, in an attempt to lose some fat.
    3. You can try and recomp, which describes the process of losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time.

     

    Keep in mind that, realistically, if you are going to choose a bulking phase, it will need to be followed by a cutting phase (or vice versa), as that will only get you halfway to building a solid physique.

    With this in mind, we normally consider bulking and cutting a single approach, where you can change the order of them as needed.

    Body Recomposition?

    The first approach I want to discuss is body recomping, because this is the one that seems to garner the most attention -- probably because it is the one that sounds the best.

    I mean gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time… What more could you want?

    Before anything else, I do want to highlight that for a long time people thought that recomposition was impossible. Because these two processes were “physiological” opposites, they simply could not be accomplished.

    But that is not the case at all.

    Over the last few years we have seen an abundance of research clearly demonstrating that individuals can gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously [1]. In this manner, you do have the capacity to make large changes in your physique in a short amount of time.

    However, because building muscle is easier when you are in a calorie surplus, and losing fat requires a calorie deficit, body recomping does become more challenging as your training age increases.

    Which means that body recomposition appears to be most effective under a couple of different conditions:

    1. You are relatively new to training (and are yet to experience your “newbie gains”)
    2. You are regaining muscle after a period of not training
    3. You have a lot of body fat to lose

     

    If this sounds like you, and you are keen to try a recomp, you want to make sure that you are eating around maintenance calories, consuming 1.4 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, and training hard 3-5 times per week.

    This is going to provide enough protein to facilitate muscle growth, while making sure you are not eating enough to gain fat.

    With all this in mind, recomping may not be the best option for people who are quite advanced (and close to their genetic limit in terms of muscle mass), already quite lean, and have been consistently training for years without a break. 

    Which is where bulking and cutting enter the discussion…

    Bulking and Cutting

    Broadly speaking, if you are already somewhat lean and have been training pretty consistently for more than two years, then bulking and cutting cycles are probably your best bet.

    • Bulking

    As I have already alluded to, bulking refers to a phase dedicated to building muscle. 

    Within this, a bulking approach involves eating in a calorie surplus, which will also result in the accumulation of some fat mass -- however, because being in a calorie surplus facilitates muscle growth [2], this is a cost that most are happy to pay (especially if they want to make some progress).

    If you are unsure when to bulk, I recommend pursuing a dedicated bulking phase if you are keen to get bigger and currently have visible abs when tensing.

    One thing to note is that most people ruin a bulk by eating too many calories and gaining too much fat. The goal should be to maximize muscle gain while minimizing the amount of fat you gain.

    If you are starting to bulk, aim to eat ~300 calories more than maintenance each day here, while also aiming for 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.

    • Cutting

    Cutting phases are periods where we spend time in a calorie deficit to lose fat. 

    However, it is important to note that during periods of energy restriction (i.e., a diet) that muscle loss can also occur, the goal of a cutting phase should really be to lose as much fat as possible while minimizing muscle loss [3].

    I would suggest pursuing a cutting phase if you would consider yourself a relatively advanced trainee who is overweight (i.e., has poor muscle definition, despite holding a relatively high amount of muscle mass).

    Much like our bulking phases, we want to make sure that we don't cut too aggressively, as this is what can lead to higher degrees of muscle loss. As a result, when cutting, aim to eat ~300 calories less than maintenance each day, while also aiming for 1.8 to 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight [4].

    When to stop a cut and start a bulk, or vice versa?

    Based upon this information, under most circumstances rotating through bulking and cutting cycles will be your best option for long term progress. But how do you know when it is time to change from one to the other?

    Well, for this I like to refer to the 10-20 rule.

    As a rule of thumb, you want to keep your body fat somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. If you are bulking, and you get up to around 20% body fat, it is time to start a cut. Conversely, if you are cutting and you get below 10% body fat, it is time to start a bulk.

    This is a simple way to ensure you keep making progress long term, without ever being too far away from leaning out if needed.

    Closing Remarks

    Recomping certainly is possible, although it does get harder the more advanced you become. 

    As a result, it should be reserved for people who are new to training, coming back from an extended period away from the gym, or for people who are quite overweight and have a large amount of fat mass to lose.

    For anyone else, bulking and cutting cycles is the best approach moving forward.

    References:

    1. Barakat, Christopher, et al. "Body recomposition: can trained individuals build muscle and lose fat at the same time?." Strength & Conditioning Journal 42.5 (2020): 7-21.
    2. Slater, Gary John, et al. "Is an energy surplus required to maximize skeletal muscle hypertrophy associated with resistance training." Frontiers in nutrition (2019): 131.
    3. Cava, Edda, Nai Chien Yeat, and Bettina Mittendorfer. "Preserving healthy muscle during weight loss." Advances in nutrition 8.3 (2017): 511-519.
    4. Helms, Eric R., Alan A. Aragon, and Peter J. Fitschen. "Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11.1 (2014): 20.
  • Ingredient Explained: Horny Goat Weed

    Ingredient Explained: Horny Goat Weed

    Horny goat weed is one of the few supplements that has stood the test of time. It has been used for thousands of years across a number of continents, before finally becoming a popular option for bodybuilders across the globe.

    But what is it, and what does it do?

    Step 1: What is it?

    Horny Goat Weed (also known as “Epimedium” in a more technical sense) is a flowering plant native to China that was traditionally used to increase libido.  

    Legend has it that, thousands of years ago, Chinese herders would notice their goats becoming more sexually active after eating the epimedium growing in the field. As you can imagine, it didn't take long to be a product of human consumption, and the name “horny goat weed” was born.

    Step 2: What does it do?

    The most discussed bioactive compound in Horny Goat Weed is called “icariin” which acts to increase blood flow throughout the body (as well as various other functions).

    Consequently, horny goat weed can accelerate blood flow to the penis, increasing erectile strength. It has even been shown to offer significant benefits to males suffering erectile dysfunction [1].

    On top of its ability to improve erectile function, horny goat weed can also impact upon libido There is a large body of evidence demonstrating that taking horny goat weed regularlycan increase libido and sex drive [2]. While most of the research exploring this topic has been conducted in males, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that it can do the same for females.

    Moving away from the “sexual health” side of things, icariin has also been shown to increase the layering of new bony tissue, while also preventing the breakdown of old bony tissue. As a result, it can contribute to increases in bone density, and may even prevent the onset of osteoporosis in older individuals [3]

    Furthermore, there is some evidence indicating that the icariin in horny goat weed can mimic testosterone once it enters the body. As such, there is reason to believe it can help facilitate the  development of new muscle tissue and metabolism of fat [4] -- particularly in individuals with low testosterone.

    While this effect has not been explored over any long term training studies, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence supporting its use in this manner.

    Lastly, horny goat weed has also been shown to interact with the cells of the brain in a way that can improve mood and emotional wellbeing, while also reducing the signs and symptoms of anxiety [5]. This improvement and emotional wellbeing may help improve training session-quality in the gym, and life-quality out of the gym.

    Step 3: How do I take it?

    To date there are no clear dosage guidelines for horny goat weed. However, based upon previous research, we can identify some recommendations.

    Some research has indicated that a higher dosage of ~13 milligrams of icariin per kilogram of body weight per day will promote the testosterone-like effects of horny goat weed. As most supplements contain about 20% icariin, this means a horny goat weed dosage of:

    • 4500mg per day for a 70kg human
    • 6000mg per day for a 90kg human
    • 7500mg per day for 110kg human

    Conversely, some research [3] has shown a positive effect using doses as low as 300mg per day (60mg of icariin) -- suggesting that a lower dose might be a suitable starting point for most individuals.

    With that in mind, we would suggest starting around 300-500mg per day, and increasing gradually over time.

    Step 4: What are the top products?

    As with any supplement, there are a few things you want to look out for when it comes to buying horny goat weed.

    Before anything else, you want it to be affordable. This means looking for the best value for money horny goat weed on the market (we suggest looking for those that have minimal branding, as this is normally a great way to save money).

    Secondly, you want to be sure it provides a clear overview of its active ingredients. The product should contain a significant amount of horny goat weed per capsule. Additionally, it should not contain any proprietary blends (this is a huge red flag).

    Lastly, check the reviews. If other people have had a good experience, then you are more likely to as well.

    References

    1. Punyawudhoa, B., et al. "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of Cappra® for the treatment of mild or mild to moderate erectile dysfunction in Thai male." African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 10.2 (2013): 310-315.
    2. Liao, H. J., X. M. Chen, and W. G. Li. "Effect of Epimedium sagittatum on quality of life and cellular immunity in patients of hemodialysis maintenance." Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi jiehe zazhi= Chinese journal of integrated traditional and Western medicine 15.4 (1995): 202-204.
    3. Zhang, Ge, Ling Qin, and Yinyu Shi. "Epimedium‐derived phytoestrogen flavonoids exert beneficial effect on preventing bone loss in late postmenopausal women: a 24‐month randomized, double‐blind and placebo‐controlled trial." Journal of bone and mineral research 22.7 (2007): 1072-1079.
    4. Shindel, Alan W., et al. "Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo." The journal of sexual medicine 7.4pt1 (2010): 1518-1528.
    5. Xiao, Heather, Nicholas Wignall, and E. Sherwood Brown. "An open-label pilot study of icariin for co-morbid bipolar and alcohol use disorder." The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 42.2 (2016): 162-167.
  • Ingredient Explained: Tongkat Ali

    Ingredient Explained: Tongkat Ali

    The supplement roundabout is a very real phenomenon, where compounds that were popular years ago slowly make their way back into the mainstream after a bit of a hiatus -- with Tonkat Ali being a prime example.

    But given what it does in the human body, you have to wonder why it ever went away in the first place.

    Step 1: What is it?

    Togkat Ali (also known as “Eurycoma longifolia” in scientific circles) is a plant found growing in the Malaysian rainforest. 

    It has been used for centuries across indonesia in traditional medicine practices to increase erectile strength, treat erectile dysfunction, improve libido, and enhance sexual performance -- which is why it is colloquially known as “Malaysian Viagra.”

    However, this is not where its benefits stop.

    Step 2: What does it do?

    Tongkat Ali is a unique plant that contains several bioactive compounds known as “Quassinoids.” These compounds interact with the body in a number of ways, which can provide several unique benefits.

    As I have already alluded to, Tongkat Ali has been shown have a profound effect on libido and sexual function, with studies even suggesting it is a potent treatment for erectile dysfunction [1]. Interestingly, it also appears to increase sperm production and motility, suggesting it may offer a way to improve male fertility [2].

    Taking more of a “fitness perspective” on the matter, Tongkat Ali has also been shown to cause an increase in testosterone levels (albeit in older men) [3]. This suggests that it may offer a viable method to prevent age-related declines in testosterone, and may even provide a potent natural testosterone booster in male adults.

    Burling on this in more detail, a recent study demonstrated that individuals who supplement with Togkat Ali while undergoing a resistance training program see more muscle growth than those who complete the same program without supplementing with the compound [4]. This suggests that it may also promote increases in muscle growth, making it a potential addition to any mass gaining supplement routine.

    Finally, Tongak Ali also appears to have a positive effect on mood and emotional wellbeing. Its supplementation has been shown to reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, reduce anger, and increase happiness [5].

    While this may not sound like a big deal, there is some evidence to suggest that life stress can negatively impact training adaptations related to strength and size [6]. With this in mind, reducing stress may be a viable way to enhance recovery, and by extension, improve gains.

    Step 3: How do I take it?

    As with most herbal supplements, there are no clear guidelines regarding the optimal dosage of Tongkat Ali. However, much of the research  discussed in this article used dosages between 200 and 500 mg.

    Additionally, there is some evidence suggesting that up to 1200 milligrams per day can be tolerated by humans -- although there is no need to take this much based on the current literature.

    As such, we would recommend taking between 300 and 500 mg per day to maximize training outcomes.

    Also please note that there is yet to be any research looking at Tongkat Ali supplementation in pregnant or breastfeeding women. As such, it is unclear if it is safe for consumption during pregnancy or while breastfeeding  (and we would suggest avoiding it).

    Step 4: What are the top products?

    There are a few things we think are important when looking to buy Tongkat Ali.

    Firstly, don't get caught out paying too much. We would suggest looking for brands that have minimal advertising (which tends to cost a lot) and only provide scientific evidence to support their use. That is how you get the best value Tongkat Ali on the market.  

    Next, make sure the amount of Tongkat Ali is clearly defined on the label. Many supplements use proprietary blends that are ultimately a way for them to provide less of the active ingredient. In line with the recommendations above, you want a supplement that has at least 200mg of Tongkat Ali per serve.

    Lastly, have a look at the online reviews for the supplement. If other people have had a good experience, then you probably will as well.

    References

    1. Kotirum, Surachai, Shaiful Bahari Ismail, and Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk. "Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Complementary therapies in medicine 23.5 (2015): 693-698.
    2. Tambi, Mohd Ismail Bin Mohd, and M. Kamarul Imran. "Eurycoma longifolia Jack in managing idiopathic male infertility." Asian journal of andrology 12.3 (2010): 376.
    3. Henkel, Ralf R., et al. "Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors—a pilot study." Phytotherapy Research 28.4 (2014): 544-550.
    4. Hamzah, S., and A. Yusof. "The ergogenic effects of eurycoma longifolia jack: a pilot study.” Br J Sports Med 37 (2003): 464-470.
    5. Talbott, Shawn M., et al. "Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10.1 (2013): 1-7.
    6. Bartholomew, John B., et al. "Strength gains after resistance training: the effect of stressful, negative life events." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22.4 (2008): 1215-1221.
  • Steady State Cardio vs. HIIT For Fat Loss

    Steady State Cardio vs. HIIT For Fat Loss

    Fat loss is one of the most common fitness goals on the planet. When we consider it has relevance from both a health and an aesthetic perspective, it is very easy to understand why.

    And when it comes to fat loss, cardio is a must -- but is one form better than the other?

    What causes fat loss?

    Although there are a number of unique social, environmental, and physical factors that can influence someone's ability to lose weight, it ultimately comes down to one thing -- expending more energy than you consume for an extended period of time [1].

    Every single day you burn energy. This energy is used to perform tasks of daily living, fuel your exercise habits, and ensure that every single one of your cells is performing its specific role within your body.

    This amount of energy is known as your “total daily energy expenditure,” and it describes the amount of energy you expend every single day (keep in mind that this “energy” is often measured in “calories”).

    If you are looking to lose weight, you ultimately need to ensure that the calories you burn each day are greater than the calories you consume. This puts you in a “calorie deficit,” and forces your body to rely on its own energy sources to get through the day -- with the largest energy store in your body being fat. 

     As such, being in a calorie deficit results in fat loss, because your body is forced to burn fat for energy to support your daily functions.

    Now, you can achieve a calorie deficit in one of two ways:

    1. You can reduce the amount of energy you consume by changing your dietary habits, or:
    2. You can increase the amount of energy you expend through exercise.

    With this in mind, we are going to dive a little deeper into exercise and fat loss.

    Why Cardio for Fat Loss?

    While weight training is an amazing tool when it comes to changing how you look, it is not the most effective way to promote fat loss because it does not burn a huge amount of energy.

    This makes sense when you consider that, during most weight training sessions, you perform more time resting between sets than you do exercising.

    However, cardio offers a much more effective fat loss tool.

    Because it involves a high degree of consistent effort, it also causes a consistent and sustained increase in energy expenditure. This makes it a more effective method to increase the “energy out” side of the equation we spoke about earlier [2].

    Steady State Cardio and HIIT

    When talking about cardio, it can really be broken down into two main types: Steady state cardio, or high intensity interval training (HIIT for short).

    Steady state cardio typically involves cardio performed at a low-to-moderate intensity of effort (less than about 80% of your maximal heart rate), over a longer period of time (more than 30 minutes), and within a single bout.

     Conversely, HIIT is a type of cardio performed in multiple shorter bouts of high intensity activity (more than 80% of your maximal heart rate), interspersed with recovery periods that are either done at a much lower intensity, or in a state of complete rest.

    As an example, going for a light 60 minute jog would be considered steady state cardio. On the other hand, a HIIT session might involve doing 30 seconds at near maximal effort, followed by 30s of complete rest, for a total of 30 minutes.

    Steady State Cardio vs. HIIT For Fat Loss

    Now for the crux of the article -- when it comes to fat loss, is one better than the other?

    Fortunately for us, a recent meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of multiple studies) looked to answer this question. 

    The authors of this meta-analysis combined the results of 54 individual studies comparing the effects of steady state cardio and HIIT on fat loss, and found that they both caused the exact same amount of fat loss [3] -- however, there are some considerations that should be mentioned.

    The average weekly dosage of all steady state cardio in all the studies per week was ~120 minutes, whereas it was only ~30 minutes for the HIIT sessions.

    So, what does this imply?

    Well, HIIT training is performed at a much higher intensity than steady state exercise. As a result, it burns more energy per minute, which is why it might be considered a more “efficient” tool for fat loss.

    What should you choose?

    The good news is that both modes of cardio are effective, so you can make your decision entirely on personal preference.

    If you can only sneak in two 20 minute cardio sessions per week, then HIIT is going to be your best bet. On the other hand, if you enjoy going for a big run on your non-gym days, then doing two 60 minute steady state sessions probably makes the most sense for you.

    With this in mind, your best bet is to choose the type of exercise you enjoy the most, or most easily fits within your schedule -- because that is what you are more likely to commit to over the long term.

    Final Point

    Despite what you may have heard, both steady state and HIIT training are equally effective for fat loss -- which simply means that you should choose the one that suits your personal situation best!

    References:

    1. Strasser, B., A. Spreitzer, and P. Haber. "Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss." Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 51.5 (2007): 428-432.
    2. Grieve, George Lewis. "The effects of exercise mode and intensity on energy expenditure during and after exercise in resistance trained males." (2018).
    3. Steele, James, et al. "Slow and steady, or hard and fast? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing body composition changes between interval training and moderate intensity continuous training." Sports 9.11 (2021): 155.
  • Why Turkesterone is not worth the hype

    Why Turkesterone is not worth the hype

     

    Over the last 12 months, Turkesterone (and other ecdysteroid supplements) has taken the fitness world by storm. 

     

    And with claims that it can boost strength and accelerate muscle growth in a manner that is comparable to steroids, you can see why.

     

    But is this accurate?

     

    What is Turkesterone?

     

    Turkesterone is a specific type of ecdysteroid.

     

    An ecdysteroid is a type of hormone with a similar chemical makeup to many of the androgenic hormones found in humans (androgens are a type of hormone that promotes the development of muscle tissue, among many other things) -- with the most famous being testosterone.

     

    However, unlike the androgens found in the human body, turkesterone is made by plants, insects, and crustaceans. In plants, turkesterone acts to deter insects, whereas, in animals, it facilitates the 'shedding' of their exoskeleton. 

     

    Why the hype around Turkesterone?

     

    You might be wondering why turkesterone has taken off as the "next big thing" in the supplement industry. And it largely comes down to its molecular structure.

     

    As already outlined, when put under a microscope, turkesterone looks eerily similar to one of the most potent androgenic compounds in the human body, testosterone.

     

    And considering that testosterone has potent muscle building capabilities, it seems logical to suggest that turkesterone may have similar benefits in humans.

     

    With that in mind, Turkesterone has been suggested to not only create muscle growth but also enhance fat loss, increase strength, accelerate recovery, and even promote the development of bone and tendons.

     

    However, this may not be the case.

     

    Turkesterone: What does the research say?

    If you want to get an understanding of how effective turkesterone really is, it is worth taking a dive through the archives and exploring some of the research on the topic.

     

    The first study on Turkesterone was conducted in Russia way back in 1984. In this study, they gave some mice a bunch of Turkesterone. They found that it increases muscle protein synthesis immediately after consumption [1], suggesting that it might promote muscle growth in other animals.

     

    Then, in 1996, a follow-up study was conducted on quails (birds) [2]. 

     

    In this study, they gave a bunch of quails a relatively high dose of Turkesterone for 50 days. After the 50 days were up, they found that the quals taking Turkesterone gained much more muscle mass than those who were not.

     

    Promising results for turkesterone, right?

     

    Well, not so fast.

     

    As far as Direct turkesterone research goes, this is where it stops. To date, no formal research has been conducted looking at the effect of turkesterone on humans.

     

    However, there has been some published research looking at the effect of other ecdysteroids (similar to turkesterone) in humans, with some interesting results.

     

    Ecdysteroid Research in Humans 

     

    The first (of two) human trials looking at ecdysteroids in humans was published in 2006 [3]. 

     

    In this study, they randomly allocated males to either a placebo group or a group that took 200mg of an ecdysteroid per day. Then both groups completed the same weight training program for 8 weeks.

     

    Interestingly, they found no difference between groups in muscle size and strength gains.

     

    From there, the research around ecdysteroids went quiet -- until a paper was published in 2019 that kickstarted the turkesterone supplement rage we know today [4].

     

    In this study, the researchers split trained males into one of three groups:

     

    1. Placebo group (no ecdysteroid)
    2. Low group (taking 200mg of ecdysteroids per day)
    3. High group (taking 800mg of ecdysteroids per day)

     

    Then they put all three groups through the same 10-week weight training program. Interestingly, while all groups saw the same improvements in strength, both of the ecdysteroid groups saw greater increases in muscle mass than the placebo group, and the greatest gains were observed in the high dose group.

     

    Many people saw this as a huge win for ecdysteroids, including turkesterone -- but there is a part of the study that is often overlooked.

     

    The researchers also took the ecdysteroid supplement they used through full laboratory analysis, and what they found was very interesting. Instead of the supplement containing 100mg of ecdysteroid per capsule, they only contained 6mg.

     

    No, that is not a typo -- the supplement contained a mere 6% of what was advertised.

     

    This means that it is highly unlikely that ecdysteroids could explain these findings. 

     

    While we have yet to have a clear answer as to why the ecdysteroid groups saw larger increases in size, I have a couple of thoughts.

     

    Firstly, there were only about 14 participants per group in this study. As such, there is a possibility that some of the individuals allocated to the placebo group were "hard gainers", which could have influenced this result.

     

    Secondly, muscle mass was measured using a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) scale, which can be notoriously inaccurate (especially compared to a DEXA scan). As a result, this finding may have also been partially explained by measurement error.

     

    All of which is to say turkesterone and other Ecdysteroids are not all they're cracked up to be.

     

    If that's what you are even getting in the bottle in the first place…

     

    Am I Even Getting Turkesterone?

    I want to highlight that many supplement companies selling Turkesterone are a little dodgy. Which makes you wonder if they are even providing the compound in what we would consider "possibly effective doses."

     

    The above study is an example of that, where they found that the turkesterone supplement they used contained 6% of what was advertised on the label. But this is not an isolated finding.

     

    A recent study looked to see how many ecdysteroid supplements contain what is on the label, and the results were what you might expect. Of the eleven supplements analyzed, none of them had what was advertised, and six had less than 20% of what was advertised [5].

     

    All of this is to say that even if you think turkesterone could work, you're probably not buying it in the first place.

     

    Why Do People Swear By Turkesterone?

     

    Considering all the information presented leans towards turkesterone being ineffective, you might wonder why so many people swear by it as a supplement. I have a reasonable explanation that goes beyond the placebo effect.

     

    When people invest in something new, they get excited about it. 

     

    As a result, they may subconsciously apply more effort towards achieving their goals.

     

    For example, if someone hears great things about Turkesterone, they might buy some. This financial investment creates a sense of importance, where they want to make the most out of the supplement they have purchased.

     

    In turn, they might find themselves a little more motivated to train. They might subconsciously push themselves a little harder in the gym, and pay a little more attention to their diet than normal.

     

    Obviously, their results improve. But this is not due to the turkesterone -- it is due to them unknowingly putting in more effort.

     

    A simple explanation. But a plausible one.

     

    The Lowdown on Turkesterone

     

    In short, turkesterone is not worth the hype.

     

    While there may be some promising animal research on the topic, all ecdysteroids have been proven ineffective in increasing strength and muscle growth in long term human trials.

     

    Moreover, with published research showing that practically all Turkesterone (and other ecdysteroids) supplements are underdosed, we suggest staying away from these supplements altogether.

     

    Stick to the basic, folks. 

     

    References:

    1. Syrov, V. N. "Mechanism of the anabolic action of phytoecdisteroids in mammals." Nauchnye Doklady Vysshei shkoly. Biologicheskie Nauki. No. 11. 1984.
    2. Slama, K., et al. "Insect hormones in vertebrates: anabolic effects of 20-hydroxyecdysone in Japanese quail." Experientia 52.7 (1996): 702-706.
    3. Wilborn, Colin D., et al. "Effects of methoxyisoflavone, ecdysterone, and sulfo-polysaccharide supplementation on training adaptations in resistance-trained males." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 3.2 (2006): 19.
    4. Isenmann, Eduard, et al. "Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans." Archives of toxicology 93.7 (2019): 1807-1816.

    Ambrosio, Gabriella, et al. "How reliable is dietary supplement labelling?—Experiences from the analysis of ecdysterone supplements." Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 177 (2020): 112877.

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