Blueberries Speed Muscle Recovery
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:19 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-19
Blueberries have long been touted as a super-food mainly due to their benefits as an antioxidant. There are very few health food shopping lists that don't include blueberries on it, and here's another reason to eat them regularly - they'll get you back in the gym quicker.
Researchers at the School of Sport and Exercise in New Zealand were aware that exercise creates muscle damage, and muscle damage is reduced by antioxidants, but they wanted to test how effective these antioxidants really are at reducing exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD). Researchers took 10 females and gave them a blueberry smoothie containing 200g of frozen blueberries, or a placebo with similar antioxidant levels 5 and 10 hours before, and then immediately, 12 and 36 hours after a strenuous leg training session.
Although both groups were less powerful 12 hours after the workout, in the rest of the 72 hour recovery time, the blueberry group recovered faster and took less time to recover from oxidative stress.
This study confirms that antioxidants do help with recovery and reducing muscle damage, but that blueberries specifically are most effective. If you're experience muscle soreness, it might be time to up your blueberry intake!
How Much Caffeine is Enough?
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:21 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-21
If you love your caffeine then you probably love the studies that show it has a positive effect on your training performance. Studies have shown that caffeine intake reduces fatigue, increases metabolic rate, improves your fat burning ability and increases your endurance. Every caffeinated supplement and energy drink contains a different amount of caffeine, so how do you know what the right amount is?
Researchers in Spain wondered the same thing, and designed a study using 12 test subjects and an energy drink called Fure. Subjects either consumed caffeine at levels of 1mg/kg bodyweight, 3mg/kg bodyweight or a placebo without caffeine. The subjects drank the energy drink (also containing taurine, carnitine, sodium bicarbonate and maltodextrin) or placebo 60 minutes before performing half squats and bench presses.
The caffeine drinkers experienced higher blood pressure and heart rate than the placebo group, although their resting metabolic rate didn't change. Interestingly, the 1mg/kg caffeine group did not experience any significant increase in strength compared to the placebo group, although the 3mg/kg group did.
According to this study, and to a number of others, you'll need at least 3mg/kg of bodyweight of caffeine preworkout to get any ergogenic benefit. This equates to 210mg for a 70kg person or 300mg for a 100kg person. Just be careful not to overdo it - there are some pretty significant side effects to overdosing on caffeine.
Looking for a Cheap Fat Burner? Try Fish Oil
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:31 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-31
As if fish oil supplementation didn't have enough health benefits (think heart, brain, joints), a recent study has uncovered another one: fish oil reduces your body fat levels.
The Department of Health Sciences in Gettysburg USA took 44 men and women (average age 34) and tested their body composition and resting metabolic rate. For 6 weeks subjects were either given 4g/day of safflower oil or fish oil.
After 6 weeks, the fish oil group's body weight did not change, but they gained an average of 0.5kg of fat free mass, lost an average of 0.5kg of fat, and reduced their overall body fat percentage by 0.4%. The safflower oil group did not have any significant reduction in fat mass or body fat percentage.
Researchers believe the results have something to do with fish oil reducing cortisol (a muscle damaging hormone) levels in the body. What's clear is that fish oil, from eating fish or from supplementation, has a huge range of benefits.
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