Nature has an answer for everything – Fenugreek

If you have spent anytime pursuing any kind of sport you will have definitely been exposed to the myriad of pills and potions to help enhance physical performance, from sports drinks laced with sugar for running all the way through to steroids and growth hormone for bodybuilding, the supplement industry is a multi billion dollar industry and it is not difficult to see the motivation behind the glossy advertising campaigns and influencer posts.

Meanwhile for the vast majority of us the availability of the base ingredients of these hyped products never crosses our radar, sitting anonymously on a shelf in a health food store waiting for the inquisitive and informed person to notice just how much cheaper they are compared to the big company names pushed on us from any chosen publication as we pursue our sport.

One of the things I and men all over the world have to deal with is the decline of testosterone from the age of 30 and all the negative symptoms this brings, lack of energy, lack of sex drive, lack of intensity, and as a consequence lack of activity can increase bodyfat and without testosterone to keep the levels down estrogen will rise and cause more weight gain, this is a cycle that many men find themselves in and are looking for a way to increase testosterone without going down the slightly risky route of testosterone replacement therapy or even worse trusting the local dealer to sell good quality steriods.

So while researching testosterone boosting supplements I noticed Fenugreek came up over and over again and so I looked into it further, there is a plethora of information out there and lots of scientific studies proving the effectiveness of this herb (1) and the thing that caught my eye again was the dosage levels, this particular study cites 500mg of Fenugreek as an optimal dosage, most of the supplements I had seen were around 350mg, so far below, it is also widely accepted and shown in this study (2) that the combination of Fenugreek and protodioscin (Tribulus Terrestris) had a significant effect on testosterone, libido, strength and mental alertness.

So rather than purchase the sports manufacturer product that contained only one of the ingredients required and at a lower dosage level than is effective, I set out to buy them separately and see if I could get the results that the study showed.

I began with 600mg of Fenugreek and 300mg of Tribulus as these were the strengths that the tablets came in, and I have been doing this for nearly a week now, I can report with some confidence that my strength has increased and my focus at work has very much improved, one of the effects of higher testosterone is the reduction of bodyfat in general and I think I am seeing some changes but in fairness it is too early to really tell and as far as timelines is concerned I have only just started, I did go up to 600mg of Tribulus but I am not sure if i will continue this as I did start to feel a little odd but this could be just the body getting used to the new substance.

I will monitor my progress for 12 weeks and report my findings as I go, but it is looking really positive so far…

Nature truly does provide for nearly all our requirements, sure it takes more looking and the results are rarely instantaneous, this doesn’t sit well in our on demand society and so natural products often get overlooked in favour of synthetic drugs that hit the system like a steam hammer, but you should always balance the benefit you are looking to achieve, as there is nearly always a detriment to drugs and very rarely to normal dosages of natural products.

As always I will provide links to the products I am writing about, if you are interested and would like to buy through my link please do so, but if not simply google Fenugreek or Tribulus and you will find a whole load of places where these are available.

Water Increases Metabolism!

I have not heard this before so when I stumbled over an article online I thought I would share as we could all do with understanding metabolism and how to manipulate it.

Abstract

Drinking lots of water is commonly espoused in weight loss regimens and is regarded as healthy; however, few systematic studies address this notion. In 14 healthy, normal-weight subjects (seven men and seven women), we assessed the effect of drinking 500 ml of water on energy expenditure and substrate oxidation rates by using whole-room indirect calorimetry. The effect of water drinking on adipose tissue metabolism was assessed with the microdialysis technique. Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30–40 min. The total thermogenic response was about 100 kJ. About 40% of the thermogenic effect originated from warming the water from 22 to 37 C. In men, lipids mainly fueled the increase in metabolic rate. In contrast, in women carbohydrates were mainly used as the energy source. The increase in energy expenditure with water was diminished with systemic β-adrenoreceptor blockade. Thus, drinking 2 liters of water per day would augment energy expenditure by approximately 400 kJ. Therefore, the thermogenic effect of water should be considered when estimating energy expenditure, particularly during weight loss programs.

Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, Jens Jordan, Water-Induced Thermogenesis, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 12, 1 December 2003, Pages 6015–6019, 
https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2003-030780

The whole article can be found at Endocrine Society website it is an old study but pertains to something so fundamental to us as humans that it is worth reading, and another very good reason to drink more water, even if we have have to warm it first!

Could well add to any intermittent fasting routines.

Practice the Preaching ep14

So in the spirit of trying new things, I have introduced Coconut oil to my routine, initially as a way to “break my fast” but I then started researching and it turns out this stuff is awesome, it is good for the hair (mine and the dogs) and can keep me regular with bright teeth, but more important is how it programs the body to burn fat for fuel.

I am going to make my arguments in a dedicated post once I have got my science down but suffice to say that according to Strava my pace on the morning walk went from 10 mins/km to just under 9! And to be fair I felt pretty good.

It would appear as well that the Mrs was right and the response to the “Conversation with Mrs” post was good, but I discovered Coconut Oil on my own so I am counting that as one all.

Starting my fast

I have begun my first fast, I am going to fast, after some considerable research I have decided to go for 18/6 for my first time and will be doing this for two days initially.

This time round it is purely for physical reasons, while I have been looking into it there has been more and more anecdotal evidence of a more spiritual side to this as well and to be honest that does interest me, but as I say this time round it is about finishing of my fat loss journey I started all those months ago.

So wish me luck and I will update as I go through, please check out my intermittent fasting page for advice and my experience as well as my results from this popular strategy.

Scales Reading

To provide some context to the effectiveness of my efforts, this was my starting weight and I will post the end on Saturday after I have completed two fasts.

Update #1

I am going to try recording my progress as updates to this post instead of spamming with new posts and see how that goes, so I have 6hrs left at this point and I have completed all my usual morning exercises including the 5k walk, to be fair these were no different in performance as I usually complete my cardio before eating as I find it more efficient, but on returning I can confirm I am HUNGRY, however I am now just about to start work and do feel quite energetic, my mind is clear and I have not yet started to feel irritable, so, so far so good, I have ordered some keto testing strips and they should arrive today, I know that the process is fairly bullet proof but I like to see that something is working, and although not really necessary for intermittent fasting, I would say that they are probably invaluable when sticking to a keto diet as you are attempting to balance food as opposed to not eating.

Update #2

OK so I have just over 2hrs to go now and I have to be honest I am feeling pretty good, my focus at work has been if anything better, and I appear to have avoided the irritability that has been alluded to by some that have used this method, I am going for a ride out on the bike at lunch time so I will sum up at the end of the 18hrs how this has affected, my stamina and strength, fortunately I will have eaten twice before going to the gym tonight!

Update #3

So I broke my fast with some lean mince and boiled rice so I can get some carbs in before the gym this evening, I have to say it has not been bad today at all, occasionally I felt the pang of hunger but to be honest these are just little chemical nudges by the body and are very transient, they come and go pretty quick and as long as I found a distraction I didn’t suffer at all, so I have another 3.5 hrs to eat and then I will start the process again for tomorrow.