Category Archives: Steroids

Change Exercise & Nutrient Strategies – Grow More Muscle, Part 2

Task Specific Training for Muscle Growth Success

Task Specific Training for Muscle Growth Success

Click on Read Part 1, or cited article link, How to Grow Muscle Naturally, Part 1, below to get the full muscle growth and strength story.

Muscle growth is dependent upon protein synthesis [process in which cells build and repair themselves].  An adequate supply of essential amino acids is necessary to grow muscle and keep it in a good state of repair.  It is wise to ensure you consume a diet high in essential and nonessential amino acids for muscle during high intensity weight training cycles.  The mix of amino acid through proteins comes from a variety of whole foods: poultry/eggs, fish, beef, seafood, beans, nuts/seeds and dairy (Healthaliciousness 2013).

“The United States RDA is 0.8g/kg or 0.4g/lbs. This is 80g protein per day if you weigh 200lbs. But this recommendation is based on studies done on average, sedentary people.  The minimum if you train hard is 1g protein per pound of body-weight per day. That’s 200g daily protein if you weigh 200lbs. You’ll reach this amount easily by eating a whole protein source with each meal.”  (Mehdi 2009)

Professional body builders and athletes frequently consume three times that in food calories and supplements to grow muscle and increase strength.

Most Americans, unless you’re adverse to eating animal products get enough protein in the average diet. But this does not guarantee your getting all essential amino acids from the proteins you consume in a day.

Your body needs 20 total amino acids to build and repair muscles and tissues.  The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.”  If you are stressed or severely sick, you need to get dietary non-essential amino acids as well.  Non-essential amino acids, made by the body include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, ornithine, proline, serine, tyrosine and glutamic acid.” Meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and seafood provide all nine essential amino acids and are known as complete proteins. (Coffman 2013)

If you do not eat seafood or animal-based foods, your diet is likely lacking in essential amino acids.  This is one reason power lifters supplement their diet with an amino acid or protein supplement drink or power bar.  By doing so ensures muscle tissue has adequate nutrients to optimize muscle growth and strength potential.

Their supplemental nutrients taken daily also often include a daily vitamin and mineral complex.  These are the staple nutrients necessary to ensure the bodies muscles can optimally repair and grow.

 Changing exercise strategy to grow more muscle,

Frequently switch up your exercises.  Don’t get stuck on the same routine week in and out.  Use a wide array of weight lifting equipment and target muscles you typically don’t train.  For instance, the bench press focuses on the mid-pectoral chest muscles, but it does not maximally stress the upper or lower pectoral muscles.  Be sure you’re adding an incline and decline chest exercise to round out the chest area (symmetrical).  After 72 hours when you work the chest again, use stationary bench press equipment, or dumbbells as opposed to the free weight bench press to perform similar chest exercises.

If you typically look the other way as you walk past a workout station… this should tell you, you have weak muscles that need work.  Many experienced bodybuilders never do the same workout twice.  How do you think natural body builders sustain their size for decades?  They work other supporting muscular structures that assist weakening muscle fiber.  In this way, if strength diminishes through the aging process; muscular bulk is maintained through other variations of less intense exercise activity.  It is possible to sustain muscle mass and not have great strength.  It’s really about how you train and set fitness goals.

Until the weakest muscles are worked, for example by varying the angles of the muscle group articulations it will be harder to optimize symmetrical muscle growth and overall strength-power.  Why’s that?  Because the muscular inter-tie and effort per muscle group is dependent on the weakest bundled muscle fibers that work in sync to achieve maximum muscle torque per grouping.

You’ve heard that team that work together win championships right.  The same is true of a body’s internal musculature groupings and forces.  The first place to visually observe an interlinking muscle grouping weakness can be seen in an outer appearing muscular symmetry beneath the skin.

So how do you view this to determine muscle group weaknesses?  Stand in front of a mirror and you’ll note the developing muscles vs. muscle depressions/or size differences from one arm or shoulder muscle, from the other side as an example.  The muscle groups required to compete cannot with an underdeveloped or depressed, undersized, or underdeveloped muscle grouping.

For example, if the bulk of your chest development resides within the mid chest and front shoulder areas, your upper and/or lower chest muscles will appear to be deflated or depressed.  If your goal is to win a national body building competition, or become a great fighter for example, how can you compete with the elite if muscle symmetry and/or full strength ROM (Range of Motion) per task specific body segments is underdeveloped?  Point and case, you’ll face competitive challenges.

When you pay attention to muscle development deficits, it makes it easier to take a corrective weight training (task specific) exercise action to keep the team of muscles within any muscle grouping symmetrically trained, especially if you plan to compete in competitive sports.

Can you train competitively without the steroids and growth hormones?

I don’t believe anabolic steroids should be allowed to create a performance advantage for competitive sports for ethical and health reasons.  But the fact is they are used by many professional athletes.  Note I said many, I didn’t say all.  I recommend you follow professional athletes that train muscle naturally if you want to steer clear of the unwanted health risks associated with anabolic supplements.

Does this mean that Growth Hormones and steroids have no medical use?  There is literature that makes good sense out of its use to benefit health and quality living experiences.  But it is only through a doctor’s care and treatment and when used correctly can provide a health benefit while minimizing health risk.

“Suzanne Somers states, Growth Hormone is one of the most studied compounds in medicine.  When growth hormone deficiency is present, growth hormone replacement therapy has widespread health benefits on quality of life, body composition, cognitive function, cardiovascular outcomes, bone density and exercise capacity.  Growth hormone replacement therapy has been studied with published results in major medical journals reporting on more than 100,000 patients.”   (Somers 2012)

It is the abusive and unnecessary overuse of steroids and growth hormones that skew the benefits vs. health risk.  In other words, science can find ways to keep us healthy longer, but ultimately it is man’s abuse, greed and vanity that seeks to deliver a performance shortcut and achieve a short-term competitive edge.  In using a pharmaceutical or supplemental product above and beyond its safe use throws blinds over impressionable eyes.  And in doing so delivers unwanted health consequences for too many of our young athletes.

If you want to gain strength and grow muscle safely, work for it by doing it naturally.  Working hard without the use of dangerous chemical short-cuts will reward your body by supporting a long-lived quality lifestyle.  If you suspect you need hormone therapy, ensure you consult with a doctor.  Or if your intent on using any type of steroid or growth hormone supplement, do yourself a favor, first read the article link below to learn more about them,  “GH-Hormone Stimulator the Fountain of Youth. ”

Works Cited,

Coffman, Melodie A. “Do You Need to Eat Essential Amino Acids Every Day?” Healthy Eating. Hearst Communications, Inc., n.d. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Healthaliciousness. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein.” Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein., 2013. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Mehdi. “Protein 101: How Much Do You Need & Best Sources of Protein | StrongLifts StrongLifts.” StrongLifts RSS., 25 May 2009. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Somers, Suzanne. “Human Growth Hormone Update.” Suzanne’s Blog., 5 June 2012. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Woodard, Marc T.  How to Grow Muscle Naturally, Part 1.  Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets., 18 June. 2012. Web. 20 July 2013. 

Woodard, Marc T.   GH-Hormone Stimulator the Fountain of Youth.  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. 3 Feb. 2012. Web. 17 June 2013. Elixir?

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2013 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

How to Grow Muscle Naturally, Part 1



MarcWkOutStation    To grow muscle bigger and without anabolic steroids and/or growth hormones, you must focus on lifting heavier.  The body will also require a balanced diet to provide muscles the nutrients required to repair and grow the muscle after intense exercise and during periods of rest.  If you plan to cheat your way toward fast muscle growth you’ll achieve short-term results and may harm your good health doing it.  But if you want long-term sustainable muscle growth without health risk, working for them honestly and smartly will help you achieve that goal.

Growing muscle and strength naturally will require working each muscle group by performing fewer repetitions per set with heavier resistive weights.  (Muscle & Strength 2013).  I know, many of you think you have to do as many reps as you can until failure to gain strength and muscle bulk.  The science backs the lower reps per set scenario to stimulate strength and anabolic muscle growth.  To do otherwise is to work for a different fitness goal.

The physiology behind growing larger muscle has to do with muscle fiber types within various muscle groups.  To stimulate the 3 muscle fiber types: slow, moderate fast and fast twitch fibers is dependent on much muscular effort and training technique required to contract each muscle type optimally.  Slow twitch fibers are considered aerobic [optimally stimulated during long endurance, low-intensity exercise activities], whereas fast twitch fibers are optimally stimulated through anaerobic “forceful short burst,” high-intensity exercise activity.  All 3 muscle fiber types are found throughout each muscle group and vary in degree of concentration throughout the body.  (A1Articles 2013)

These muscle types are set up to work like this.  The slow twitch fibers begin muscular contraction when needed for low intensity exercise.  As you need to move with more muscular effort, then the moderate fast twitch muscle fibers fire.  The last muscle fibers to follow are the fast twitch.  At this point the body’s muscles are working without oxygen and lactic acid is produced to slow down muscular intensity or stop the activity.

Slow twitch muscle fiber respond well to aerobic endurance training activities: for example, long distance running, swimming and jogging events.  Whereas the fast twitch muscle fibers are needed to excel in football, bodybuilding and weightlifting which are more anaerobic exercise activities.   Moderate fast or intermediate muscle fibers contract at a rate necessary to sustain mid-range endurance and strength efforts while supporting the other two fiber types to get work done.

It is also shown through controlled studies that with adequate rest and recovery fast twitch muscle fiber breaks down and regenerates itself towards greater growth potential when high intensity anaerobic weight training is practised with frequency.  Fast twitch muscle fiber can also grow larger when adequate rest follows a high intensity training day.  In other words, resist working the same muscle groups daily.  That’s why you see weight lifting routines that focus on core abdominal, low back, legs and calves one day and then chest, back, shoulders and arms the next.

Best repetition strategies per exercise activity.

I’ve extrapolated the following exercise programming from the following cited sources (Muscle & Strength 2013), (aworkoutroutine 2013) and my personal trainer programming preferences.

If you want to grow fast twitch muscle fiber size and performance for any muscle group…  perform between 3-4 sets at 6-8 reps as much weight as you can handle per exercise activity.  Then the following week add 5 lbs at each exercise weight station.  Do not go over 6-8 reps for any one resistive weight exercise.  The key is to find a starting weight you can push maximally 8 times for 3-4 sets the first week [This is your beginning 100% muscular effort].

If you fail to push 6 reps per any weight lifting activity, reduce weight.  If you hit 6-8 reps consistently throughout your 1st week… Then at the beginning of your second week, add 5 lbs to your set and maintain that new weight for the week.  Then the following week add 5 lbs for that exercise activity and repeat the process.

Assisted lifting is where a partner helps you to squeeze out your 6-8 reps using free weights.  Assisted lifting is a wise strategy to use as a safety measure to prevent injury, as well as a motivator when pushing the envelope.  However, be aware and understand when the assist is your partner’s effort vs. your own.  The point is, in knowing whose effort achieved the 6-8 reps/set is just as important as knowing proper nutrition, rest and recovery strategies.  If you can’t balance this wisdom, you’ll spend more time nursing your injuries then growing muscle.

Muscle Rest and Recovery Cycles,

How do you know when to stop adding the 5 lbs/week?  First of all, shoot for intensity training cycles that last 4-6 weeks.  Then provide the body a 1 week rest cycle within a training cycle.  For example, if you cannot maintain your 6-8 reps on the bench, leg or shoulder press while adding 5 lbs per week… Then recalculate your high bench press, leg, shoulder etc., weight at 90% effort and you’ll stay on target with 6-8 repetitions/set, regardless of what week or training cycle you hit the wall.

Let’s make the math simple,

If you can bench 100lbs for 8 reps/per set the first week, add 5 lbs the following week.  The second week you are now pushing 105 lbs for 6-8 reps/3-4 sets.  [You should be able to maintain this effort resting no more than 2 minutes in between each set until you finish the work for each muscle grouping [quads, abs, chest, shoulder, arms, back].

For week three, continue the 6-8 repetitions with an added 5 lbs to your bench press exercise.  Now you are at 110 lbs.  Let’s say you’re at week 5 and reach a sticking point.

In other words, when benching 120 lbs you reach an infrequent 5-6 reps per set… it is now time to take a break on the bench press for a week by working at 90% effort as opposed to 100%.  By using this technique it is possible to pass the sticking point (or wall) and not risk muscle fatigue and injury during a training cycle.  Complete your 4-6 week cycle and then start a second one with a new adjusted and ending bench press weight for example.

120lbs x .90 = 108 lbs [round up weight on the bench press]:  Instead of working the chest press at 120 lbs, you’ll work out at 110 lbs to finish your week. 

In this example, you begin your second training cycle on the bench press exercise at 110 lbs.  This is 10 lbs heavier per repetition then when you started your first training cycle.

This is the change up your muscles need to get you to the next level and prevent injury.  By using this change up technique your muscle will continue to grow and get stronger.  Make sure you listen to your body, watch your repetition counts and make adjustments when necessary.

Cycling your effort, rest and recovery,

Your body needs time to heal and repair after intense exercise activity.  After each muscle group has been pushed hard, do not work the same muscle group for 24-72 hours (Kawamoto 2013).   When torn muscle fibers heal during the recovery phase, they rebuild and get stronger.  Soar and achy muscles tells you, you’ve worked out harder than last conditioned and are ready to continue the course (Siegel 2012).  This does not mean you should strive to achieve a “no pain, no gain” mentality.  Keep this in mind, if you feel like you’re body is going to break, it will.    You can tell when the muscles are adequately rested… when most the aching, soreness and/or stiffness are gone from the last intense workout.  This rested time line toward recovery typically takes 1-2 days.

My personal preference to expedite and alleviate muscle pain after intense exercise is to walk it off through a 1-2 day period while I work other muscle groups.  For example, low-impact exercise: walking, swimming or cycling to circulate oxygen enriched blood to assist in the muscle healing and recovery process.

See Part 2, by Marc Woodard.  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets.  Changing Exercise and Nutrient Strategies to Grow More Muscle.   July 2013,

 Works Cited,

 A1Articles. “THE “SHIFT” ON MUSCLE FIBER TYPES: Maximum Strength, Muscle Growth and Performance.” A1 Supplements., n.d. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Kawamoto, Jon-Erik, M.Sc.Kin.(c), C.S.C.S., C.E.P. “6 Recovery Strategies for a Workout-aholic.” Men’s Fitness. Weider Publications, 2013. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Muscle & Strength LLC. “Rep Out: The Truth About Rep Ranges And Muscle Growth.” Muscle & Strength., 2013. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Siegel, Kathryn. “CAN YOU BE TOO SORE TO WORK OUT?” Greatist., 8 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Woodard, Marc T. “Changing Exercise and Nutrient Strategies to Grow More Muscle, Part II” Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets., Publish Date, 25 July 2013. Web.  <>

Woodard, Marc T. “Exercise is the Anti-Aging Hormonal Fix.” Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets., 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

A Workout Routine. “Weight Training Intensity – How Many Reps Per Set Of An Exercise?” A Workout Routine., n.d. Web. 17 June 2013. <>.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2013 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.


Steroids in Our Milk and Disease Connection


Concerned about steroids in our dairy products? What to do about it.

    Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBSH) are naturally occurring hormones found in dairy cows.  These hormones are also genetically engineered and were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FSA) in 1993.  It is a lab engineered technology that is produced by scientists and of great concern to consumer watchdogs.  These manmade steroids are used in the dairy milk industry by injecting them into dairy cows to increase milk production by 20%; decrease consumer dairy product costs while increasing profits throughout the sales distribution channels.  Scientific and industrial data shows increased residual contaminants are found within consumer products that have been produced using this genetically engineered steroid and may cause disease in humans.

     Monsanto is a chemical food engineer that produces many other products approved by the FDA that seem to litter our food supply.  They are also major chemical producer of artificial sweeteners that have been connected to obesity, illness and disease. Prior to FDA approval of this dairy cow hormone; in 1990 Monsanto revealed a study that showed significant evidence of the growth promoting effects of rBGH.  It revealed that systemic effects at low doses in mature rats increased body weight, liver weight and increased bone length.  Regardless, after the product was approved for dairy cow production the FDA was reluctant to mandate labeling practices that showed consumers whether or not dairy milk products were produced using cow injected rBGH.  There were also many lawsuit attempts by Monsanto to stop producers and/or retailers from listing this information on product labels.

     What is the controversy all about?  Here’s what’s going on.  American farmers inject rBGH steroid into dairy cows which appear to stimulate increased production of another type of hormone within the cow body, known as Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1).  The hormone over stimulates the cows liver to increase the pituitary gland production of IGF-1, ten-fold.  Data shows there is an 80% incidence of mastitis [inflammation of the cow breast (udder)] and infection caused by these injections from this genetically engineered material.  These contaminants are then said to reside within the finished consumer dairy product.  IGF is not destroyed or made neutral in the dairy milk pasteurization process.  Instead pasteurization of raw milk actually increases the IGF-1 values causing it to easily be absorbed by our digestive system and enter our blood stream.

     In order to ensure humans don’t get sick from cow mastitis during milk production, the use of antibiotics to counter the inflammation is also a consumer concern.  These contaminants not only include rBGH and increased IGF-1 steroid, but also the antibiotics used to neutralize the bacteria in the pus produced during cow udder infection.  These combined residue contaminants are shown to be passed through the milk production and end up in the final consumer product.    It is presumed the consumer then receives this pass-through of antibiotics that could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.  This impact on human health has not fully been examined within scientific studies.

     Inconclusive studies on rBGH and influence on human health will continue to be of great concern for some time.  This is because even untreated dairy cows have rBGH and rBSH in the milk.  That’s right; cows produce their own growth hormones that are similar to humans.

     From Monsanto and the FDA perspective rBGH/rBSH shouldn’t be of a health concern for the consumer.  This is because there is a lot of scientific data that minimizes the risks on human health opposed to studies that prove increased risk.  However, earlier animal studies showed influence of tumor growth and development of colorectal, breast, prostate and other cancers from increased elevation of IGF-1.  It’s the consumer safety expectation that expects proponents for steroid supplementation and elevated IGF-1 levels in dairy milk production to prove there is no risk to human health.  Data that shows steroid elevations over a normal acceptable range is hard to relate to when it’s not necessary and potentially harmful to human health.

     Another consumer concern is for those genetically susceptible to genetically-engineered bovine growth hormones in milk may have an increased risk to cancer.  The most susceptible risk is to healthy human breast cells turning into unhealthy mutated ones.  When this occurs these malignancies can spread throughout the body.  Animal studies showed increased levels of IGF-1 in the blood appear to have a distal correlation and association with colon and prostate cancer.

     Although the data shows a “questionable” connection of cancer with high IGF-1 blood levels, the exact mechanism of this IGF-1 link remains scientifically unclear.  For example, other studies show us those that drink non-treated milk or soy milk have been reported to have 10% higher levels of IGF-1 in their blood, just like those that drink treated milk production.  So it is possible that the mechanism causing the increase in IGF-1 within the blood is not specific to treated cow milk.  It is entirely possible this increase could be the cause of a protein, minerals or something other than steroids injected into our dairy cows causing the increased IGF-1 blood elevations.

     Prenatal and infant breast tissue is highly susceptible to these hormone influences.  The Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association stated,

 “Further studies will be required to determine whether the ingestion of higher than normal concentration of bovine insulin-like growth factor is safe for children, adolescents and adults.”

 These studies never gained traction.  This statement was made by the association in 1991.

     Until there are studies that make a direct comparison between people who drink treated vs. untreated milk it is hard to make a definitive statement that a 10% normally produced IGF-1 hormone in our body, or one that is elevated up and beyond that point through rBGH contaminants is going to lead to cancer or any other type of health risk.

     The FDA approved the use of this synthetic hormone in 1993 and stands by its decision based on animal research that shows little if any connection to increased IGF-1 elevation in humans that were caused by supplemental steroid treated cows.  The FDA will continue to stand by Monsanto’s synthetically engineered product as safe for human consumption in our dairy foods until a significant study proves otherwise.  But this does not mean other countries believe the data, nor do they have to purchase American dairy products for lack of health risk proof.

      Europeans, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada do not purchase American milk that has been produced using rBGH synthetic steroids because of the suspected breast, prostate and colon cancer risk associated with its use.  It is banned in these countries unless clearly marked, or labeled “NO rBGH and does not contain IGF-1.”  American cheeses are also considered contaminated with these hormones unless “indicated their not” and labeled like milk.  Imported European cheeses are safe since Europe bans the practice.

     Although rBGH is still approved for use within dairy cow production in the United States, many store chains no longer carry products from treated cows unless labeled appropriately.  The Dept. of Agriculture survey confirms as of 2007 that less than 1 in 5 cows (17%) at that time were being injected with a synthetic hormone.  Monsanto stands to lose billions of dollars if this chemical becomes banned from our dairy milk producers.  These producers and retailers are now allowed, “but not mandated” to label foods that have been produced using this dairy cow steroid.  In the recent past this was not the case.  Consumers now can identify milk and other dairy products produced with, or without rBGH steroid treated dairy milk.


 To ensure you purchase milk without rBGH or rBST (Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin “same thing”], take the following precautions:

 Do not purchase milk unless it is labeled No rBGH and/or rBST, otherwise assume the milk is contaminated with Growth Hormone.  Today many health and retail food stores sell labeled rBGH/rBST-free milk and other dairy foods.  Organic milk can cost 20% more then rBGH treated milk, but well worth it as a preventative measure against possible ill-health.

 Let your retail store know you’ll be back when they provide appropriate labeled dairy products if they don’t have them.  Until that time, shop at a store that has your health’s interest at heart.


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 Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2015 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.