Monday, November 19, 2012

Bigger, Stronger, Faster: CoQ10 for Brain & Muscle in Young & Old. The Optimal HIIT Regimen for Fun & Fat Loss - 8s at 100% 60s Idling! Protein Power From Oats? Plus: Rest Times, Clusters, Form & Hypertrophy Training

I decided against calling this the "Get Big, Green and Look Like the Hulk Quickie" (img. Paramount Pictures)
In view of the fact that most of you apparently enjoyed the "Get Lean and Stay Lean Quickies" I posted in the last weeks, I thought you may also be inclined to read a "Get Big, Green and Look Like the Hulk Quickie", but then decided that the name was too long for the headline and "big, green" and maybe even "hulk" in conjunction with "quickie" may have had the SuppVersity turn up on google and other search engines in too close vicinity to websites I do not exactly want this blog to be associated with (just kiddin' ;-)

Be that as it may, enjoy the ride and let me know whether you do prefer this thematically structured approach over the classic news-potpouris ala On Short Notice.

I mean you can obviously argue in favor of both and since this is a place I want you to look forward to visit everyday, I would be inclined to hear whether "innovations" like this make it better or worse.
  • CoQ10 supplementations could offer beneficial effects on brain and muscle in elderly individuals and could - at higher doses - work for youngsters, as well (Shetty. 2012) -- In a rodent trial the provision of a relatively high dose of CoQ10 as part of the diet effectively blunted age-induced 'cognitive decline' (whatever that may be in a mouse ;-) and protein breakdown in heart, liver and muscle tissue of the 17.5 months-old mice.

    Figure 1: Carbonyl levels in liver and muscle of young and old mice.
    This result is also interesting, because the mitochondrial protein breakdown in the brain was the one which was least beneficially affected. What's of greater importance, for this news quickie at least, is that the 2.81mg CoQ10 per gram of chow the high dose group received (the human equivalent would be roughly 33mg/kg or 2-3g per day!) elicited beneficial effects on the skeletal muscle carbonyl content, a marker of protein oxidation, in the young animals, as well (see figure 1).

    The notion that coQ10 in appropriate doses could be beneficial not just for statin users, but also for perfectly healthy people, even athletes, is also supported by the beneficial effects the administration of coQ10 had in a recent trial where it blunted the oxidative damage due to a high frequency endurance training program in rodents (Okudan. 2012). It does however stand in contrasts with a recent study by Bloomer et al., n which the supplementation of only 300mg (ca. 15% of the HED used in the study at hand) did not yield the desired effects on the exercise performance of 15 perviously individuals (10 men and 5 women; 30-65 years; Bloomer. 2012). Whether this really is just a matter of the correct dosing, or maybe a fundamental difference between mice and men will still have to be elucidated and I would not spent the bucks for anything that's only "maybe" going to work.
  • Rats don't do well with hypertrophy training (Scheffer. 2012) -- According to a recently published paper by Scheffer et al., rodents who are afraid of increases in markers of oxidation should refrain from hypertrophy oriented muscle training and stick to lower volume resistance training.

    For their study, the Brazilian researchers had analyzed the effects of three different resistance training protocols, namely  muscular resistance training (RT), hypertrophy training (HT), and strength training (ST), which had to be performed twice a week for 12 weeks on muscle lactate and glycogen content, superoxide production, antioxidant enzyme content, and activities, as well as markers of lipid and protein oxidation.
    While you certainly don't want a fire inferno, doing too little is not going to yield the results you are looking for either (suggested read "The emerging role of an auto-/endocrine-immune axes")
    "Results showed increased superoxide production (UT = 5.348; RT = 5.117; HT = 8.412 ; ST = 6.354), SOD (UT = 0.078 ; RT = 0.101 ± 0.013; HT = 0.533 ± 0.109; ST = 0.388), GPx (UT = 0.290; RT = 0.348; HT = 0.529; ST = 0.384) activities, and content of GPx (HT = 3.8 times; ST = 3.0 times) compared with the UT group. CAT activity was lower (UT = 3.966; RT = 3.47; HT = 2.276 ; ST = 2.028) in HT and ST groups. Oxidative damage was observed in the HT group (TBARS = 0.082; carbonyl = 0.73; thiol = 12.78) compared with the UT group.
    The way in which the authors' conclusion that these "findings indicate that HT causes an imbalance in oxidative parameters in favor of pro-oxidants, causing oxidative stress in skeletal muscle" does implicitly suggest that this is a bad thing that has to be avoided at all cost, which is obviously totally beside the point - if you don't challenge your body he has nothing to adapt to and neither your conditioning, nor your strength or muscle mass are going to improve. The absence of statistically significant increases in oxidative damage in the low volume strength training routines, on the other hand supports the notion that you can use phases of very low volume training with heavy weights in between intense phases of overreaching to monetize on the muscular gains (which will probably keep coming in these 2-4 weeks) by taking all your lifts to another level and thus lying the foundation for future growth.
  • Optimized HIIT regimen for overweight kids: 4s max sprinting + 60s active recovery do the trick - could work four you, as well! (Crisp. 2012) -- Either from the SuppVersity news or from listening to Super Human Radio you may remember that a recent study by Deighton et al. has found that sprinting will increase your appetite more and burn less calories than workload matched steady state cardio training. A novel study from Australia does now suggest that this may well be the case, but probably only as a result of doing it wrong - the sprinting, I mean.

    In their study Nicole A. Crisp and her colleagues from the School of Sport Science at the The University of Western Australia, describe how the combination of 8s all-out sprints on a cycle-ergometer with 60s of active rest easily outperforms its 30min steady state counterpart (30min moderate pace) and its "little brother" and "big" bother the 8s sprint, 120s active rest and the 8s sprint, 30s active rest protocol, respectively.

    This is not the first study to show the superiority of HIIT training in obese boys. In February 2012, I have already covered a very similar study where a brief HIIT session that burns "only" 360kcal was a major motor to teenage weight loos.
    In that, it's important to note that despite a linear increase in energy expenditure from the 60s to the 30s rest group, the latter failed to reach statistical significance (p = 0.076), ...
    "[...] likely as a result of decreased sprint quality as indicated by a significant decline in peak power output from SI60 to SI30 (p = 0.034)" (Crisp. 2012)
    In conjunction with the absence of the overcompensation effect at the following breakfast buffet (which was present in the 8/30s and to a lesser degree even the 30min steady state trial), this makes the 8/60s protocol the superior choice for everyone doing HIIT mainly to get or stay lean.

    And aside from its practical value, the 8/60s regimen was also the one the boys enjoyed the most.

    "And what about me?" I don't see why doing this very short sprints with large bouts of active recovery in between would not be right for you, as well. At least if the activation of your metabolism and / or fat loss during a diet is your primary goal and not an improvement in VO2 max., you would thus probably get many of the benefits at a smaller risk of overtraining. Just make sure you are actually sprinting all-out for the whole 8s and don't stop, when you are just about to get up to speed ;-)
  • Long rest times necessary for high jumpers - with 8-12 min pause your performance on the next jump will increase not decrease (Gouvêa . 2012) -- In a recent meta-analysis that's soon going to be published in the Journal of Sports Sciences André Luiz Gouvêa and his co-workers report that the manipulation of rest intervals seems to affect post-activation potentiation magnitude and jump height.

    After analyzing fourteen studies, which met the criteria of having a crossover design, being randomised, or non-randomised and counterbalanced and observed the voluntary muscle action-induced post-activation potentiation on jumping performance, the scientists state that the...
    "[...]results demonstrated medium effect sizes for rest intervals 0–3 and 8–12 min (-0.25 for 0–3 min; 0.24 for 8–12 min) and a small effect for other ranges (0.15, CI: -0.08 to 0.38 for 4–7 min; for ≥16 min)." (Gouvêa . 2012)
    Since there was little to no evidence for heterogeneity among the sub-groups and no indication of publication bias, these results clearly suggest that rest intervals of 0–3 min have detrimental, rest intervals between 4-8 min neutral and rest intervals of 8-12 min beneficial impact on jump height. In that, the improvements are likely to be mediated by post-activation potentiation.
  • The science of cluster training - Conventional wisdom prevails, 10 deep breaths would yield optimal rest time between reps (Hardee. 2012) -- At lest with respect to proper form, which may also have consequences for optimal muscle recruitment and hypertrophy, the optimal rest time between two reps in a cluster appears to be 20s, which is actually what the good old "10 deep breaths rule" would state, as well.

    What is a cluster? When you are "clustering" your sets you are doing one (sometimes also 2-3) rep(s), rack the weight, rest, do another rep etc. This is a very good technique to increase your strength and break through plateaus that's useful for powerlifters and bodybuilders alike.
    In order to examine the effects of three different cluster set configurations on power clean technique, the scientists recruited 10 male, recreational weightlifters who had to perform clustered or non-clustered power-cleasn: 3 sets of 6 repetitions at 80% of their individual repetition max with 0 (P0), 20 (P20) or 40 seconds (P40) inter-repetition rest.

    In the P0 (no cluster) condition, the scientists observed how the form suffered and got worse and worse from the first to the last rep (the catch and first pull were in a more forward position during repetition 6 as compared to repetition 1). With the long rest times in the P40 condition, on the other hand,  "differences in horizontal displacement were found between repetitions 1 and 6 for the second pull and the loop" (Hardee. 2012).

    In the P20 condition the researchers did not observe any differences in horizontal displacement between repetitions 1 and 6 during P20. Reason enough for the scientists to conclude that their results would demonstrate that cluster sets with greater tha 20s of inter-repetition rest would be useful to maintain appropriate form without significantly dropping the density of your workout - whether this did actually facilitate strength or size gains was yet not evaluated in the study.

    The evidence for the efficacy of this training regimen (aside from simply providing a novel stimulus, which is obviously always a good thing) does come from a 2011 study by  Hansen et al who compared the response of highly trained rugby players to on traditional vs. clustered leg training program and found the latter to be slightly superior with respect to the increase in peak velocity and strength , while the classic continouus set training had an edge as far as total power increases in the lower limbs were concerned (Hansen. 2011).
  • Oats healthy car source with performance protein? (Xu. 2012) Who would have thought that, oats are not just an excellent source of slow digesting carbs and potentially fat-burning beta glucan (listen to the SuppVersity Science Round-Up from two weeks ago), they also contain a non-negligible amount of protein of which researchers from the College of Food Science and Engineering at the Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China, have now shown that it ameliorates the increase in lipid oxidation (MDA) and decrease in antioxidant activity (SOD) during an exaustive bout of swimming in 30 male mice.

    After the oat protein had been purified from oat meal thirty male Kun-ming mice were divided kept on either a normal control diet, a diet that was enriched with oatmeal and a diet that contained only the protein fraction of the oats. After 20 days, the rodents were subjected to swim to exhaustion. Their swimming endurance and the major metabolic substrates were measured from serum, liver and muscle.
    Figure 2: Antioxidant enzymes up, lipid oxidation down. That's the result of a comparison of the detrimental effects of an exhaustive swimming test in mice fed regular, oat enriched or oat protein pimped diets for 30 days (Xu. 2012). What the study cannot answer is however whether identical effects would have been seen w/ any other high quality protein as.
    "The results showed that no significant differences were observed in swimming endurance test between the normal control group and the oat protein group (P > 0.05). Mice in the oat meal group had significantly longer swimming endurance compared to the normal control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, dietary oat protein increased the levels of liver glycogen, enhanced the activities of lactic dehydrogenase and superoxide dismutase, and decreased the levels of blood urea nitrogen and malondialdehyde in serum." (Xu. 2012)
    Now the good news certainly is that id did work. The "bad" or at least not so good news, on the other hand is that there is no adequate control group, since the addition of both the oats and the oat protein will have increased the amount of essential amino acids in the rodent chow significantly.
That's it! At least as far as news on getting bigger, stronger and faster is concerned. In case yo are also interested in something else, for example...
and whatever else I will still be posting before tomorrow's SuppVersity news, you are alway welcome to visit the SuppVersity Facebook Wall.

  • Bloomer RJ, Canale RE, McCarthy CG, Farney TM. Impact of oral ubiquinol on blood oxidative stress and exercise performance. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:465020. doi: 10.1155/2012/465020. Epub 2012 Aug 23. 
  • Crisp NA, Fournier PA, Licari MK, Braham R, Guelfi KJ. Optimising sprint interval exercise to maximise energy expenditure and enjoyment in overweight boys. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 10.1139/h2012-111. 
  • Gouvêa AL, Fernandes IA, César EP, Silva WA, Gomes PS. The effects of rest intervals on jumping performance: A meta-analysis on post-activation potentiation studies. J Sports Sci. 2012 Nov 9.
  • Hansen KT, Cronin JB, Pickering SL, Newton MJ. Does cluster loading enhance lower body power development in preseason preparation of elite rugby union players? J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):2118-26.
  • Hardee JP, Lawrence MM, Zwetsloot KA, Triplett NT, Utter AC, McBride JM. Effect of cluster set configurations on power clean technique. J Sports Sci. 2012 Nov 5.
  • Okudan N, Revan S, Balci SS, Belviranli M, Pepe H, Gökbel H. Effects of CoQ10 supplementation and swimming training on exhaustive exercise-induced oxidative stress in rat heart. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2012;113(7):393-9. 
  • Scheffer DL, Silva LA, Tromm CB, da Rosa GL, Silveira PCL, de Souza CT, Latini A, Pinho RA. Impact of different resistance training protocols on muscular oxidative stress parameters. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 10.1139/h2012-115
  • Shetty RA, Forster MJ, Sumien N. Coenzyme Q(10) supplementation reverses age-related impairments in spatial learning and lowers protein oxidation. Age (Dordr). 2012 Nov 10. 
  • Xu C, Lv J, You S, Zhao Q, Chen X, Hu X. Supplementation with oat protein ameliorates exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Food Funct. 2012 Nov 12.