Saturday, November 18, 2006

Osmotic Anabolic Signaling PART III

November 18, 2006

By Vince Andrich

For the Previous Section Please refer to

Osmotic Anabolic Signaling

Nutrition and Supplement Strategies that Go BEYOND the ‘Perpetual PUMP’ for True Muscle Growth and Cellular Recovery

muscle pmp.jpg

Substrates that Trigger OAS
By now it should be obvious that what we’re calling the “super pump” can be achieved by manipulating muscle cell swelling. In particular, key nutrients have been identified that have the ability to maintain cellular fullness by forcing muscle cells to become maximally engorged with protective fluids — fluids that possess discrete anabolic properties as well as increase performance and produce full, tight physiques. It is important to note that cell volume is primarily a protective measure to combat muscle protein breakdown. Therefore, the first type of nutrients we will cover have the ability to pull fluids into the cell, making it more resistant to breakdown, all while providing the necessary osmotic pressure to produce massive pumps.

Amino Acids and Osmotic Signaling
Amino acids are not only important precursors for the synthesis of proteins and other nitrogen-containing compounds, but as you will see, they also participate in the dynamics of increasing cell volume. As we discussed, cell swelling has anabolic effects, which due to enhanced protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, compensates for increases in intracellular osmolarity. In chemistry, the osmole (Osm) is a unit of measurement that defines the number of moles of a chemical compound that contribute to a solution’s osmotic pressure. Mechanisms responsible for cell swelling-induced changes in pathway fluxes include the changes in intracellular ion concentrations and in signal transduction.


Specific amino acids (e.g., leucine) stimulate protein synthesis and inhibit protein degradation independent of changes in cell volume because they stimulate mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), a protein kinase , which is one of the components of a signal transduction pathway used by insulin. When the cellular energy state is low — for example when following a chronically reduced carbohydrate diet — stimulation of mTOR by amino acids is prevented in part by a reduction in insulin production.


Surprisingly, it has been show that when subjects ingested a specific combination of amino acids, namely leucine, taurine, isoleucine and tyrosine they experienced a dramatic influx of hypo-osmotically induced cell swelling.


In laymen terms, the right combination of amino acids will send out a strong signal to increase cell swelling when muscle cell volume reaches low concentrations. This is likely due to, 1) a protective mechanism that can be triggered under severe conditions (like those generated by many diets and training methods), and 2) the ability for leucine to increase insulin production . These both are great benefits for those who want to train hard and maintain a full and pumped appearance while on reduced carbohydrates. Moreover, under normal feeding conditions, these amino acids will help maximize the fluids inside your cytoplasm for muscles that are super pumped, fuller, rounder and gorging with vascularity.

Maximizing the Reception of Osmotic Signals
There is no doubt that a powerful link between cell volume and muscle protein synthesis exists. It’s also a fact that muscle cell volume acts as an anabolic signal in response to specific nutritional compounds. In the previous section, we learned that when the available cellular energy inside your muscles is low, the amino acids leucine, taurine, isoleucine and tyrosine appear to signal actions quite similar to that of insulin. This should come as no surprise, since insulin is one of the most potent regulators responsible for controlling muscle growth and muscle breakdown.
What’s truly remarkable is that when you stop and think about it, the link between fuller muscles and anabolism is easy to see. That’s why I’m absolutely convinced the next great frontier in drug-free bodybuilding lies in unlocking the secrets to upgrading your body’s natural muscle cell volume machinery. I personally believe that the dynamics of muscle cell hydration and fluid volume are likely the master regulators at the core of the anabolic response. This theory has been proven in a number of studies by a variety of independent researchers. For example, one of the leading experts on cell volume, Dieter Häussinger, displayed evidence that cellular hydration is an important factor in controlling cellular protein turnover, while protein synthesis and degradation are affected inversely by cell shrinking. Moreover, an increase in cellular hydration (swelling) acts as an anabolic agent, whereas, cell reduction is catabolic . In another experiment Professor Siegfried Waldegger found that “cell swelling inhibits proteolysis (protein breakdown), and stimulates protein synthesis, whereas cell shrinkage stimulates proteolysis and inhibits protein synthesis” .
Natural Nutrient Sensors and Hyper Cellular Remodeling
After coming to the realization that cell volume regulates anabolic drive, it stands to reason that by increasing the availability of “nutrient sensors” it may be possible to maximize the effects, and markedly increase the storage of cellular contents or trigger what we’re calling “Hyper Cell Remodeling”.

In the medical community, prescription oral hypoglycemic agents (OHAs) are commonly used to up-regulate our cells’ ability to utilize nutrients. These compounds work through a variety of mechanisms, most notably by increasing insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal. Fortunately, there are several natural dietary supplements that have been shown to be extremely active at the receptor level and work to enhance the effects of insulin and nutrient disposal. The most effective natural nutrient disposal agents include, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, (R-ALA), 4-hydroxyisoleucine, chromium polynicotinate and Rhodiola rosea.

Highlighting the Target Cells with R-Alpha Lipoic Acid
R-ALA is the biologically active form of alpha-lipoic acid that has recently demonstrated to possess all beneficial properties for acting as a natural substrate in damaged cell metabolism along with optimizing the actions of insulin. Being a natural isomer, R-ALA is most recognized by the mitochondrial enzymes inside the cytoplasm and in both human and animal models, R-ALA appears to directly activate target cells, which could lead to the stimulation of glucose uptake .


Chromium Polynicotinate the Magnetic Mineral
Chromium Polynicotinate has greater biological activity than other forms of chromium, including sources from picolinate. CP helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and can be critical to the synthesis of cholesterol, fats and proteins. Chromium polynicotinate consists of pure niacin-bound chromium, identified by United States Government researchers as the active component of true GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor). GTF is responsible for binding insulin to cell membrane receptor sites .

Amplifying the Insulin Signal with 4-hydroxyisoleucine

Another potent compound is 4-hydroxyisoleucine; an amino acid extracted from fenugreek seeds that interestingly works through activation of the early steps of insulin signaling. This ingredient may stimulate insulin secretion (direct beta-cell stimulation) and help control blood sugar levels. This dual action makes 4-hydroxyisoleucine a potentially very valuable nutrient sensing agent for maximizing the storage of critical muscle cell components.

Rhodiola rosea- – Dual Action Cellular Energy-Boosting Herb

Rhodiola rosea L., also known as “golden root” or “roseroot” has been used in the traditional medicine of Russia, Scandinavia, and other countries for centuries. Since 1960, more than 180 pharmacological, phytochemical, and clinical studies have been published. At the Tomsk State University and Medical Institute in Tomsk, Russia, scientists examined rhodiola’s effects on fighting fatigue and boosting energy. Mice with weights attached to them were forced to swim to exhaustion twice a day for six days. Half of the mice received an oral rhodiola extract, while the control group was given only water. By day six, the rhodiola-supplemented group had ATP levels that were 17% higher, and creatine phosphate levels that were 45% higher, than those of the control group. Rhodiola’s benefits did not end there, however. The level of muscle glycogen was 53% greater in the supplemented group than in the control group, while concentrations of muscle lactic acid and ammonia (two toxic byproducts of muscular effort) were 18% and 60% lower, respectively . Clearly, the rhodiola extract helped maintain levels of key energy compounds needed for physical activity, which are indispensable to protecting muscle cell volume.

Hyper Hydration–Maximizing Total Body Water Volume

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So far, I’ve given you a lot of good news about a totally new and reliable strategy for acute and permanent muscle expansion; now, here’s the bad news. You see, without maximizing your total body water availability, none of the strategies above will make much difference. That’s why I am about to tell you about a substance that occurs naturally in the body, and can dramatically increase the concentration of the fluid in the blood and tissues. The magical substance is glycerol, also known as glycerin, glycerine, 1,2,3-propanetriol and trihydroxypropane. Oral glycerol ingested with added fluid, increases total body water volume. This is known as glycerol hyperhydration. Some athletes use glycerol to improve thermoregulation and endurance during exercise or exposure to hot environments .

The concentration of these fluids is held constant by the body, so water consumed with glycerol is not excreted until the extra glycerol is either removed by the kidneys or broken down by the body. In laymen’s terms, taking glycerol in supplemental form quickly improves hydration and the absorption of other supplements that are taken with it. The end result is faster delivery of nutrients when and where you need them the most and the prolonged “pump effect” during your workouts.
STAY TUNED for the Summary in PART IV

Friday, November 03, 2006

Osmotic Anabolic Signaling PART II

October 25, 2006

Nutrition and Supplement Strategies that Go BEYOND the ‘Perpetual PUMP’ for

True Muscle Growth and Cellular Recovery

By Vince Andrich

The Mirror-Key to Monitoring Low-Carb Diet Success

Using changes in the appearance of your muscles to gauge your nutritional status and/or needs is extremely useful on a carbohydrate-controlled diet, because they are very time sensitive. What I mean is, once you understand what nutrients alter the volume of your muscles, you can make adjustments literally day-by-day. These visible signs are more significant than ever when you understand that as a rule High Protein-Low Carb (HP-LC) Diets cause an overall loss of cell volume making the scale an unreliable measuring tool. Your visual goal will be to keep your muscles looking FIT not flat, which we will cover in detail later. If you desire muscles that are super pumped, fuller, rounder and gorging with vascularity then forget using a HP-LC Diet exclusively. To attain fat loss, and still be able to muster up a pump in the gym, takes some insight. In short, the goal is to “threaten” your glycogen stores to a point where your muscles begin to lose fullness, making it difficult to get a great pump, however we must avoid allowing our muscle to go entirely “flat.” The ‘trick of the trade’ is to utilize a cyclical carbohydrate cycling approach, where you eat about 100 grams of carbohydrates per day for up to three days, and then jump to about 5 times that number for day four. This would mean you would consume 100 grams of carbs for three days, and then on day four, consume 500 grams to replenish depleted energy stores. Beyond this “carbohydrate-balancing act,” there are several recent discoveries that have revealed numerous non-carbohydrate substrates that induce cell swelling so that you can attain maximum muscularity and avoid looking flat and stringy. Since most athletes don’t have much experience assessing their nutritional status as it relates to muscle cell energy, here is a quick guide.

Assessment Tools

Monitoring the “appearance” of your muscles is an art form that has been practiced for years by trial and error. Hey, it’s no accident that when you look around any commercial gym all you see is a wall of mirrors. However, beauty is more than skin deep. Today science has uncovered tons of the reasons why gauging muscularity by the mirror is essential to success.

So What Do I Look For?
The main storage compound in skeletal muscle is glycogen, which is measured in millimoles per kilogram of muscle (mmol/kg). Luckily, several researchers have found some relevant data regarding glycogen stores to help athletes gauge their cell volume. Here is what we know:

An individual following a normal mixed diet will maintain glycogen levels around 80-100 mmol/kg. Athletes following a mixed diet have higher levels, around 110-130 mmol/kg, which would represent a fuller looking muscle. As a rule weight trainers and active individuals classify a normal mixed diet as 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. So then an active individual on a HP-LC Diet should aim for “fit” looking muscles which is represented by glycogen levels around 70 mmol/kg. If you are using other cell swelling techniques in this article, your muscles should look a much fuller than non-exercising individuals on a normal mixed diet or about 85 mmol/kg. At these levels of glycogen, fat oxidation increases both at rest and during exercise . Monitoring the “appearance” of your muscles is a very non-scientific measuring tool so it is necessary to use visualization. Picture “fit” muscles on a HP-LC Diet to look about 35 % smaller in overall cell volume than when you are not dieting (see fig.1).

glycogen grph.jpg

If you’re still unclear remember how you looked when you were eating more carbs and compare that to these warning signs that tell you’re spiraling out of control:

  • A flat or stringy looking muscle would represent about a 70% decrease in your overall cell volume (glycogen at 40 mmol/kg). At this level, workout performance is largely impaired and protein can become an important fuel source during exercise.
  • Total exhaustion during exercise occurs when your muscles are about 85% under volumized (glycogen at 15-25 mmol/kg), which is not an environment conducive to favorable changes in body composition.

The Chemical Soup that Determines Muscle Cell Volume
It should come as no surprise that getting nutrients in and out of your muscles is under close scrutiny. The ‘gatekeeper’ that guards working muscles is called a cell membrane, or more specifically the sarcolemma. Covering the entire muscle fiber, the sarcolemma (muscle membrane) is an extremely thin, flexible and elastic substance. The first and most important job of the membrane is to maintain the integrity of the cell and keep the vital contents inside. If this protective cover gets damaged severely then the contents will escape and the cell will die. Further, the sarcolemma acts as a gateway through which substances (i.e. amino acids) can enter and leave, making it selectively permeable. Briefly, here are the main functions of the cell membrane:

  • To hold vital energy components inside the muscle cell, such as glycogen and Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the key energy ‘currency’ of your cells
  • To transport the waste build up from muscle fiber contraction out of the cell
  • To accept nutrients that are critical to the health, maintenance, repair and building of muscle cells. These nutrients are amino acids, carbohydrate molecules (glycogen stores), hormones, oxygen etc

One surefire way to manipulate the permeability of a cell membrane is to workout. Training damages the sarcolemma in a positive way and appears to “unlock the door” making it more permeable. This effect has likely been programmed into our genes for survival. The likely scenario is this: after a brutal workout, your body senses that the nutrients and fibers inside the muscle cell have been “torched” and damaged, then it allows what is effectively your muscle cell recovery team inside to “reconstruct” the crime scene. It appears that feedback provided by a number of mechanisms including amino acid monitoring and Osmotic Anabolic Signaling work in concert to maintain proper cell volume as a consequence of exercise.

The Cytosol — Key to Muscle Cell Volume
Once past the muscle cell gateway, what exactly do you find inside? You find the cell’s cytoplasm, which in regards to a muscle cell is called the sarcoplasm. This is literally everything inside of the plasma membrane. The muscle fibers are surrounded by a thick fluid or gel, which is called the Cytosol. This is center of the universe when it comes to bodybuilding. I say this because the nutrients that go in and out of the cytosol determine how the muscle cell is remodeled, or basically, rebuilt.
The cytosol is the intracellular fluid inside of the muscle fiber. The outer structure is a virtual superhighway, which takes raw materials from the outside of the cell (passed through the cell membrane), then stores or converts those materials into useable energy. In other words this transparent gel contains such foods as amino acids for maintenance and repair and glycogen (carbohydrates stored in muscle) for energy. You see a muscle fiber must have a fuel source in order to contract. This is why the cytosol also has tiny specialized structures called organelles, or microscopic organs. Perhaps the most significant of these — at least in terms of energy production — are mitochondria, because they convert carbohydrates (see chart above) and fats into ATP, which is our muscle cell’s main energy currency or fuel.
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Blood Volume — The Red River That Feeds Cell Volume
The topic of blood volume is somewhat related to the subject we just discussed. That‘s because extracellular fluid levels that make up your blood volume also make a huge impact on the water content inside your muscle cells. Most bodybuilders don’t realize that even their performance is directly related to the level of hydration (or dehydration) when they step into the gym. Dehydration is defined as a >1% loss of body weight as a result of fluid loss. This is not usually a problem for a weight trainee during exercise, but if you start your training low on fluids it will become a factor. Consider this, if you are normally a 200-lb athlete and your lack of hydration brings your weight down to 196-lbs (2% of your body weight) there is a measurable decrease in muscle cell contraction times, and when fluid losses reach 4% of body weight, there is a 5 to 10% drop in overall performance which can persist for up to 4 hours even after rehydration takes place. When hydration levels plummet it slows recovery. Reparatory processes are so reliant on fluid for transporting anabolic substrates like amino acids and glucose to muscle cells as well as removing waste products from those cells.

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So unless you are depleting water for a photo shoot or contest (which require arguably less performance), it is essential to anticipate and regularly replace fluid losses. For the record, thirst is not a reliable indicator of dehydration as it takes a fluid loss of 0.8 - 2% of body weight to trigger thirst. Now you know why many serious athletes carry water around with them in the gym!

There is no doubt that maintaining blood plasma volume is an important strategy to optimize your physical performance, and reaching a mind blowing pump IS a performance feat in it of itself.

Osmotic Anabolic Signaling In Action
I didn’t want to turn this into a piece on water and hydration, but now that we’ve covered the basic determinants of cell volume, though hydration and carbohydrate intake, here is a quick summary of OAS in action.

  • For the athlete, nutritional status and training frequency cause extracellular (blood plasma) and intracellular (cytosol) conditions to vary considerably with respect to each other.
  • Proteins and other substrates lie at the interface between these two compartments and relay signals relating extracellular conditions to the cell interior
  • Nutrient sensors act to regulate cellular contents, and therefore nutrient sensing may culminate in the altered activity of a multitude of cellular intermediates such as hormones, glucose, amino acids and other nutrients.
  • Osmotic Anabolic Signaling is triggered by specific nutrients (or their metabolites), or the detection of physiological signals generated as a result of changes in cell volume or cell membrane potential


Osmotic Anabolic Signaling Part One

Nutrition and Supplement Strategies that Go BEYOND the ‘Perpetual PUMP’ for True Muscle Growth and Cellular Recovery


By Vince Andrich

You want the ability to get a “perpetual pump” in any body part you train, every single time you walk into the gym, right? You are in pursuit of the almighty PUMP because you truly believe it holds the key to building more muscle size and strength, correct? You also believe that the magnitude of the pump you get in the gym is an indication that you’re on your way to less bodyfat and more defined muscles, true? Now, what if I said you were right and that the PUMP really was a reliable gauge of your bodybuilding progress? Well it is, but there seems to be a misunderstanding of sorts. You see, if you’ve been following this line of thinking — that pump equals growth — you must realize that the traditional mechanisms for accessing a perpetual pump, pale in comparison to a startling new breakthrough in bodybuilding chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, you will still learn about an integrated system that will allow you to attain a maximum pump, but you’ll discover that there is definitely more. This approach represents an entirely new way to look at the mechanisms for bodybuilding success — one where the benefits are noticeable and, most importantly, permanent.

The Breakthrough is Not For Everyone
The techniques outlined in this article are not intended for everyone, although anyone can benefit. What I mean is simply this: you need to ‘come clean’ and be honest about your bodybuilding goals and how YOU plan to achieve them. Let me explain more. If you are on a sophisticated regimen of bodybuilding pharmaceuticals like growth hormone, testosterone, insulin and the like, your ability to get a pump in the gym should be simple. If this is your approach to bodybuilding, then the rest of this article is of no relevance to you. I am not an expert on bodybuilding drugs, but I do know enough to say that whenever I am working with an athlete who is ON, my traditional nutritional recommendations are not necessarily applicable. This is why my focus is to work with athletes who’s hormone levels are not off — or all over — the charts, and therefore do not undergo severe fluctuations. However, even if you choose to go to the “dark side” and use bodybuilding drugs, which I do not suggest, you can’t stay on them long term. Eventually, if you want to have your health and a great body too, you’ll be seeking out “legal bodybuilding chemistry”, like the information in this article.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s review the popular method for
maximizing the pump — nitric oxide supplementation.

Nitric Oxide Boosters and the Rise of the Almighty PUMP

The popular trend in bodybuilding supplementation these days is the use of Nitric Oxide (NO) boosters as a method for increasing your “pump” while weight training. The use of nitric oxide supplements (NO is the acronym, for nitric oxide), has gained quite a following since they initially hit the bodybuilding scene around four years ago. I won’t go into the exact mechanisms associated with boosting nitric oxide, but the principle benefit appears to be vasodilatation. By improving vasodilatation, an athlete would experience increased blood flow from dilated blood vessels. As time goes on, more performance supplement companies are marketing various formulas as nitric oxide boosters, thereby dramatically increasing the popularity of the category.

The highly anticipated benefits associated with increasing nitric oxide levels were initially driven by multiple marketing campaigns and by at least one popular book. Many of the marketing claims for nitric oxide products became very similar to those of creatine. For example, fuller muscles, tighter pumps, gains in power and strength, and increased cell volume. As a result, these products were ‘granted’ nearly the same credibility as creatine, when it first hit the market. The hype for the nitric oxide products gave birth to what is now almost indistinguishable from the creatine category, and in fact, many of the most popular formulas include creatine as a major active ingredient.

I have no doubt that the most significant reason these products are in demand is because they are endorsed as a means for promoting massive pumps in the gym, increasing lean mass, enhancing fast twitch muscle, quicker recovery and improving strength, but the purpose of this article is not to dispute or justify these claims. Whether or not nitric oxide supplement claims hold up to the acid test of real-world training is an entirely different subject, so I’ll save it for another time.

As I said, nitric oxide supplements are not the focus here; rather I mention these products because the benefits they claim to deliver provide a backdrop for my main subject — The Pump.

What is The Pump?

In bodybuilding circles, the sensation of tight congestion, or swelling, of your muscles with blood during your weight training session is ‘The Pump’. Now, a weight trainer with any experience knows that if you lift a heavy enough weight, and don’t rest too long between sets, your working muscles will become swollen with blood. In scientific jargon, this is referred to as reactive hyperemia because it involves an increase in blood flow (i.e., hyperemia) in response (i.e., reactive) to the exercise stimulus.

Triggering the Osmotic Anabolic Signaling System
So, what’s the big deal with striving to attain what popular bodybuilding jargon refers to as a Super Pump? To be blunt, The Pump is the manifestation of many physique-altering benefits that are not visible to the eye. Ironically, what seems like such a foolishly vain aspect of bodybuilding to the uninformed is, in fact, an excellent means for judging your nutritional status, current anabolic/catabolic condition and measure of training recovery.


In essence, it appears that the magnitude of the PUMP you get in the gym can be traced back to multiple factors associated with muscle growth and recovery, and are intimately related to an intricate cellular swelling mechanism that modern scientific literature calls Osmotic Anabolic Signaling (OAS). This phenomenon is at the heart of building new muscle year round, and retaining lean mass in the face of hypo-caloric dieting. To maximize this system requires attention to several “puzzle pieces,” of which nutrition tops the charts.

Diet and Muscle Cell Dynamics
When you are well fed, i.e., carbohydrates are not restricted, your ability to get a pump should be pretty easy, even if your diet is not optimal. However, it has become increasing popular for weight trainers to follow a diet that carefully considers carbohydrate intake. The modern bodybuilding diet usually allows for 40-50% of your daily calories to come from carbohydrates. This number may increase for athletes who weight train for sports, which make it necessary for additional daily energy calories to be burned beyond those needed for the gym. Typically, carb intake is under strict control when an athlete wants to avoid gaining fat (this could be all year round), or must lose excess bodyfat for a wide range of goals including contest prep. For example, consuming less than 100 grams of carbohydrates is the standard level for a “low-carb” day. If this level seems low, it is, but keep in mind these diets usually remove carbohydrate calories and make up the remainder of the daily calorie allotment from increases in protein and/or fat. The best low-carb diets put an emphasis on protein intake due to its ability to promote additional calorie wasting.

The underlying problem with excessive restriction of carbohydrate is that when training intensity is high (and of course intensity is key to keeping or increasing muscle size much less the PUMP), even 200 grams of carbohydrates per day for larger athletes is tremendously meager. Research has shown that a high-protein diet coupled with low-carbohydrate intake creates a metabolic environment called acidosis, which is not conducive to high intensity weight training , . In addition, weight training intensely while simultaneously reducing carbohydrates dramatically depletes stored energy in muscle (glycogen), and therefore we know that low-carb dieting cannot be followed for weeks on end.

Fortunately, most athletes realize that it is best to utilize carb depletion/cycling regimens rather than attempt to stay on reduced carbs for the entire length of their diet. That is, they follow a few days of low-carb eating (usually 2-3) and then allow themselves a day or so of “normalized” feeding to drive the replenishment of glycogen so that training intensity can be maintained. The other benefit associated with this diet format is that the athlete enjoys maximum fat burning on low-carb days, and then when carbs are reintroduced in greater amounts, insulin is allowed to help maintain the desired anabolic state. Further, boosting carb intake at this point offers a mechanism to reinvigorate natural thyroid production — often reduced when on low-carb diets — for improved metabolic function.

Moreover, a consideration of importance, beyond the aspect of performance, is the anabolic effect of insulin secretion on muscle protein synthesis. Moderate carbohydrate intake at each meal should stimulate the proper insulin levels needed for maximum muscle protein synthesis. Over time depressed insulin secretion may halt any additional muscular progress. Therefore, my approach to feeding for most of the year is to systematically eat a little less carbs than I need and more protein than I can use. This concept is fully explained in a booklet called ‘No Mistakes’ - The Nutrition Guide to Building Your Best Body Ever. I wrote this guide with my colleague Rob Thoburn, who is an absolute bodybuilding genius and now works for the forward-thinking sports nutrition company BSN.

Nutritional Clues Related to ‘OAS’
I’ve mentioned relative dietary concepts because at the end of the day, your nutritional status will ultimately become the ‘core’ to engaging OAS, and the PUMP you get in the gym. How much does nutrition have to do with OAS? Have you every wondered why your muscles are flat some days and on others full? As you recall the muscle contains stored carbohydrates. Guess what? For every carbohydrate gram you store an additional 2.7 grams of water! Whenever you consume plenty of carbs, your muscle cells become saturated with them, and each carb pulls nearly 3 grams of water into a virtual anabolic Jacuzzi! Therefore, your muscles fill up like a balloon! You can always tell how anabolic your nutrition is by how full your muscle cells are. As we touched on previously, when you are on a reduced-carb diet, your muscle cells become flat and your skin is loose, and doesn’t look very tight. The initial stages of this are common while dieting, because the athlete is simply low on carbohydrate stores in their muscle cells. However, in speaking with many advanced athletes if your muscle cells are left high and dry for too long, with nothing to hold water inside the cell, you will eventually chew up your hard-earned muscle.

So, this raises the question: Can you get a super pump in the gym while carb intake is low? In my opinion, the answer is no, probably not.
Keep in mind the pump is relative, and is can only be judged against your personal experience. But you will get a better pump when your carb intake allows for stored glycogen in your muscles to be roughly 50% of capacity, and your water intake is adequate. As a reference, adequate fluid intake for a 200-lb athlete is about 1-gallon of water, or 12, 8-ounce glasses. When it comes to gauging your stored muscle glycogen levels, then best assessment is the mirror, which we will discuss in detail in the next section.

Great GUNS with the 21 Day Arm Blitz

How to Put Slabs of Cold Rolled Steel

On Your Arms in 15 Workouts!

By Vince Andrich

Quick, what pose would you most likely see if you ask a bodybuilder to flex? Yes, you guessed it, an arm pose. It could be a front double bicep, side tricep or just throwing up one GUN. The fact is, arm development is critical to a great physique, and to your psyche. So how do you train for great arm development?


Gold Standard for Symmetry–Bob Paris

Balance through Specialization
In my opinion, highly developed arms are NOT impressive if the rest of your body is under-developed. Conversely, decent arm development on a balanced physique is very impressive. This is especially true when it comes to sporting a set of arms that get attention, or in a word: attractive.


The Total Package–Rachel McLish
This may seem confusing to comprehend at first, but if you’ve ever studied the various body types that may be on a competition stage, you’ll easily see that your eyes seem to zero in on the athletes ‘flaws’ first. Sure, you will spot impressive body parts, but in the final analysis, he or she who has the least flaws will look the best. This is even truer in real life, and it is simply because the mind likes symmetry. Your mind processes images, but will repeatedly look for the most complete package. A good example is a car with a killer set of dubs (rims). At first you notice the shiny bright chrome, but quickly begin to assess if the car holds up to your initial impression. If the car doesn’t meet your expectation, many times the great looking rims take away from the cars entire look, thus defeating the purpose.


The Mind Loves to Find Flaws–Train Accordingly!

This is why, I have always felt that the goal of any bodybuilder is to eliminate or diminish their flaws–and everyone has them. So if you believe your arms need more development to ‘match’ the rest of your body, here is a 21-day specialization program that will get your GUNS growing again.

The 21-Day Arm Blitz

  1. Focus nearly all of your recuperative power, and energy towards breaking down, and rebuilding your arms
  2. Work arms 3 times per week, and limit all other body-parts to 1 workout per week
  3. Do six ‘work’ sets of six reps for arm exercises (plus one warm-up set per exercise that is not counted as work set)
  4. Perform only one exercise for biceps, and one for triceps each arm workout
  5. You are doing low reps for maximum tension, but this does not mean use poor form!
  6. A good split is to do arms on M-W-F, but do no upper body work on weekends
  7. The best arm exercises are described below. Remember, do only one movement for triceps and one for triceps each arm session
  8. You must alternate the exercises below each arm workout for variety

Triceps (specialized exercises to beef up the high/meaty portion of the triceps)

Exercise 1. Triceps Barbell Pullover

This movement looks a bit weird, but it packs slabs of beef on the largest areas of the upper arm. To do the movement properly, lie on a flat bench with the top of your shoulders hanging slightly off the top end (you could look down and see the floor). Now, place a barbell held at arms length over your chest. This is not a pullover position, but a modified lying press position. The reason your shoulders are slightly off the top edge of the bench is to take the power away from them, and fully target the triceps. Your grip should be 12” wide. Keep your elbows in and lower the bar behind and just below your head. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise 2. Barbell Rollover and Press

Lie on the same bench with your body in the same position as described in the previous exercise. From this position pull the bar over, close to your face and rest it on your chest. Now rotate your elbows out to the sides and press the bar to arms length over your chest. Try to press downward toward your feet to get a better contraction. Now lower the bar to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Biceps (specialized exercises to beef up the bottom and the peak portion of the biceps)

Exercise 1. Barbell Preacher Curl
I suggest you perform your preacher curls with the left foot forward under the bench and the right foot back. You can look up the preacher bench on for a review of this apparatus. Keep your stomach pressed against the elbow rest and your head and shoulders inclined forward. Your grip should be shoulder width apart and “thumb under” fashion. Start the movement by bending your wrists up and curl to the shoulders. Use smooth pumping reps and do not lean back at the top of the movement.

Exercise 2. Alternate Incline Curls

Lie back on an incline bench; keep your chin on your chest and knees slightly bent. Curl your left dumbbell first, keeping your elbows back. As the dumbbell comes up, lean to that side, look at the weight and forcibly contract the bicep when the weight touches the front deltoid. When lowering the left dumbbell, curl the right one using the same techniques.


Stick with this program for three weeks, and then assess your body for other areas that need specialization.