Can Supplements Help You Build Muscle More Quickly?

The world of bodybuilding supplements is a multi-billion dollar industry.  There are literally thousands of companies out there all touting to make the best supplements to make you leaner, stronger, and bigger.  But when it comes down to it, do they actually deliver the results they promise?

Supplements are supposed to be used in addition to your usual diet.  This is key to understanding how they are supposed to work.  Many people think they can eat whatever they want including junk food, lots of alcohol such as beer, and still get the results they want in the gym just be cause they take a cocktail of workout supplements.  This couldn’t be farther than the truth.  If this is your train of thought, you should know that you are completely wasting your time.

The reason that they are called supplements is because they are designed to be used alongside a healthy diet.  If you are trying to put on muscle weight, the best supplements for lean muscle are what you need.  Forget about the hamburgers and other junk food.  They just aren’t going to help you achieve your goals.

Starting from a healthy diet is essential to getting significant results in the gym.  You need to be feeding your body everything it needs in order to heal and repair all of the stress that it takes in the gym.  And recovery is key.  Everything about building muscle has to do with recovery and repair.

When you lift weights muscle cells exert themselves.  When you push them beyond their previous capabilities it causes tears in the tissues of the muscle.  When the muscle heals itself, it is then stronger than it was before.  This is how we gain strength and size.  But if you aren’t giving your body all of the nutrients it needs, you are impairing this process.

This means that you need to eat lots of leafy green vegetables.  You should also eat a significant amount of protein each day.  Protein is the primary building block of muscle fibers.  Without it, you won’t be able to gain mass.

Supplements are designed to help you fill in gaps in your diet.  They are not designed to be a significant portion of your diet.  Keep this in mind and you will have better gains from your workouts.  For more information check out Efficient Gains.

QE Has Spawned a Surge in Plastic Surgery Procedures

Recently the president of the Federal Reserve made a statement that Quantitative Easing (QE) was a gift for the wealthy.  So why is the Fed suddenly admitting that this was their aim all along?

Here’s an excerpt from Zerohedge.com

With Bernanke gone, the remaining Fed members knowing full well they will be crucified, metaphorically of course (if not literally) when it all inevitably comes crashing down, are finally at liberty with their words… and the truth is bleeding out courtesy of the president of the Dallas Fed, via Bloomberg.

  • FISHER SAYS QE WAS A MASSIVE GIFT INTENDED TO BOOST WEALTH

Which incidentally coincides with Bernanke’s heartfelt “admission” that “my natural inclinations, even if it weren’t for the legal mandate, would be to try to help the average person.As long as helped to boost the wealth of the non-average billionaire., all is forgiven. “The result was there are still many people after the crisis who still feel that it was unfair that some companies got helped and small banks and small business and average families didn’t get direct help,” Bernanke said. “It’s a hard perception to break.” The truth, as again revealed by Fisher, will not help with breaking that perception. Zerohedge.com

So instead of a mandate of controlling unemployment and regulating inflation, the Fed has been attempting to boost levels of wealth.  Or put another way, they’ve been attempting to hid the fact that the economy has never recovered form the economic collapse of 2008.

More importantly, their policies have only helped the wealthiest become even wealthier.  Those that didn’t have substantial sums of money in the stock market over the past couple of years missed the boat entirely.  Not only that, but they’ve suffered through a horrible economy with skyrocketing unemployment, steadily decreasing real income, and inflation substantially higher than the Fed’s admitted <2%.

Meanwhile the wealthy have watched their assets soar.  The stock market is up well over 150% off of the bottoms of 2008 during the Lehman collapse.  Purchases of expensive cars are at the highest levels since the dot.com era.  High end services such as plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons are also experiencing boom times.  Were you to ask the wealthiest in our society, you would probably here that these times are the best of times.  It’s a very different story form those that have missed out on one of the most spectacular stock market rides in history.  Take Plastic Surgeons for instance, their business is booming in ways not seen since the dot.com era.  Also check out recent prices increases in a breast lift in Portland Oregon.

And all of this has been fueled by Fed policies.  They have deliberately run the market up to current levels by supplying an endless amount of liquidity.  But eventually this money has to find it’s way into the real economy, and then the true measure of inflation will rear it’s ugly head.

These are interesting times.

 

Capitalizing on a Pervasive Trend

The world of diet and nutrition is an enormous industry in the U.S.  Nutritional supplements alone accounted for $32 billion in 2012 and it is anticipated to hit $60 billion per year by 2021.  (Forbes.com)  Here are a few creative companies that are taking full advantage of the trends within this fast changing and lucrative industry.

MusclePharm

MusclePharm has been around since 2008.  It was started by an ex-NFL player name Brad Pyatt.  Rather than focusing all of their efforts on selling exclusively through supplement powerhouses like GNC (though they do sell at GNC), MusclePharm has focused on big retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Walgreens.  They offer a full line of supplement products from pre workout to post workout recovery as well as protein powders, creatine, and even a clothing line.

Their marketing efforts have focused on the UFC which supplies the perfect age demographic of 18-40 year old males.

Gourmet Paleo

Gourmet Paleo is a relatively new business.  Started in September of 2013, GP is looking to capitalize on the continued popularity of the Paleo diet.  Adherents to this diet are a loyal group that go out of their way to find food sources that are as whole as possible.  They’re products include a line of cookies and according to their website will soon include a selection of brownies.

All of their products are strictly Paleo.  This means that they use no dairy, no wheat or gluten, no legumes, and no processed sugars.  Hard to imagine a cookie made without any of those ingredients, but they manage to pull it off in spectacular fashion.  To try one you would never know you’re missing all the bad stuff in standard cookies.

Bulk Supplements

Supplements are expensive.  This has been the case since they first broke onto the market.  Bulk Supplements is looking to change all that.  They offer a wide variety of products at low prices.  Most of their products are available on Amazon.com.  They offer anything from creatine to protein powders.  Their packaging isn’t fancy, and their marketing is no frills, but they’re prices are some of the best in the industry.  Their website is like going to the bulk section at your favorite grocery store, but the deals are better.  They even offer free shipping on orders over $49.

The reviews of their products are phenomenal.  It just goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get quality supplements.

Steve’s Paleo Goods

Steve’s Paleo Goods makes jerky products.  Steve is passionate about creating good food and giving back to his community.  He donates a portion of his profits to local charities.

Like many in the world of Paleo, Steve is also big into CrossFit.  This is another topic for another post.  But this exercise regimen that is sweeping the nation is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise in the country and world.  We’re actually going to devote an entire post to it next time.  We’ll discuss the necessary finances to have in place to open your own CrossFit box and how to make it as profitable as possible.

There are thousands of these gyms across the country and we’ll talk about the trends and how you can capitalize.

 

Retailers Showing Signs of a Weak Holiday Spending Season

For retailers the Christmas shopping season is the best time of the year.  Some stores report as much as 50% of their overall sales come between the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But with consumer debt as high as it’s been since the financial collapse of 2008, retailers are not expecting to break any records this year.

While the federal government reported a revised GDP (growth domestic product) growth of 4.1% in the third quarter of 2013, this number has many experts scratching their heads.  And digging deeper into the numbers, you can see that the GDP numbers are beginning to be ‘massaged’ nearly to the point of the unemployment numbers.  Here is an article detailing where much of this upward revision came from.

But just how bad is it?  Brick and mortar stores are reporting a decline of 20% in foot traffic through the second weekend in December.  But some of this at least can be attributed to awful weather in many parts of the U.S. over the second weekend of that month.

However, retailers have been expecting this season to be weak for some time.  Christmas ads started earlier than ever this year.  Kmart even ran an ad during the summer, and caught some flack for it too. But September and October which are generally reserved for Halloween and Thanksgiving advertising, saw a significant increase in early Christmas sale ads.

And retailers are saying that this ‘promotional’ environment is what it takes to now get people to spend money on gifts.  Stores like Walmart and Best Buy run significant discounts on items such as old-model LCD’s and plasma TV’s to get people in the doors, and then hope to lure them to buy more high margin items.

The same goes for Amazon.com.  They attract buyers with extraordinary deals on low margin items, and then attempt to lure customers into buying more before checking out.  And with their sophisticated product algorithms they know exactly what people have searched for and bought in the past.  So if someone is wondering what are the best shoes for CrossFit they will provide links to complementary products.

This sort of cross product referencing works especially well among female buyers.  If they’ve done a good bit of shopping on Amazon for kitchenware, then they’ll be provided with all sorts of buying opportunities.  A woman who has purchased a set of kitchen knives might be presented with the knife sharpener reviews and advice for those particular knives.  The method is very powerful, and results in billions of additional dollars in sales each year for online retailers.

And retailers are going to need all the help they can get this year.  On average, those polled said they would spend somewhere between 10-15% less this year than they did last year.  And so far those numbers are playing out pretty accurately.

Given that high inventory numbers were part of the big GDP number for the 3rd quarter of 2013, this could mean there will be some serious fire sales going on after Christmas.  This is great news for consumers, but obviously not for retailers.

What effect will ObamaCare Have On Salaries for Medical Technologists?

Given the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act of 2010 is having on every facet of the U.S. economy, it’s difficult to imagine it not having a serious impact on those in the medical field.

While many experts feel that salary levels overall will increase because of the way ObamaCare is structured, it remains to be seen if this will actually come to fruition.  Much of the supposed benefit of the bill is the overall cost savings.  And while there are plenty of people touting the efficiencies of a national system, the government has done a poor job implementing every system of similar scope to date.  In fact, there are too many to list (social security, medicare, medicaid etc)

So for those that are interested in a career as a medical technologist, what is the best course of action?  Will salary levels remain the same or go higher as some think?  Let’s take a look at a couple of the arguments being made.

One group of doctors that are particularly concerned are radiologists.  Because ObamaCare emphasizes primary care physicians over specialists, radiologists are concerned that their businesses and salaries will suffer.  Radiology assistant salary levels are some of the highest not doctoral salaries in the industry.  If ObamaCare forces doctors to rely less upon radiologists and their practices, surely these salary levels will decline.

MRI and CT technologists and facilities could also suffer from the implementation of the new law.  As part of the cost cutting measures dictated by the law, doctors could be forced to ask for few scan sequences in diagnosing a possible disease or illness.  This has a direct impact on the care provided to the patient as well as to the salary of the MRI or CT tech performing the scans.

As things stand now, many technologists have to service hospitals and health care facilities in multiple locations just to get enough hours to fill their weeks.  If their workload is lightened this will certainly impact their overall pay.

While the rhetoric about the health care law proclaims it’s nobility, the implementation could have dire results for thousands of workers in the field of patient care.