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Natural Bodybuilding w/Monica Ewing



We at Body Builders Network welcome your nutrition questions. Go ahead, ask us for advice by emailing us at You will find our advice replies to you requests here, in our Health Column.

Q: What can I do, if I'm watching my diet, training, getting good sleep and still not dropping excess fat?


If your exercise program and diet are on target, if you're sleeping well and not under stress, and you're still not experiencing any weight loss you may have a hormone imbalance. One place to begin is with your physician for a thyroid test. The other is the healthfood store for some diet aids.

While ephedra-based diet products work wonderful for some individuals, others feel uncomfortable and overly anxious when taking them. Ephedra does contribute to stress and may wreak havoc with your hormones. Some contests ban ephedra use and test for it. My suggestion instead is pyruvate.

Pyruvate is a naturally occurring substance in our body that is the end product of sugar and starch metabolism. Pyruvate is also found naturally in our diet. Many fruits and vegetables contain small amounts. Red apples contain the highest amount, about 450 mg per apple.

Scientists studying pyruvate believe it aids weight loss by altering the metabolism and increasing fat utilization. Preliminary research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that subjects given a pyruvate supplement increased their fat loss by up to 48% and minimized their loss of lean muscle mass. This is unusual because normally calorie-restricted diets that promote weight loss also correspond to a loss of muscle; pyruvate may prevent this from happening.

Pyruvate has also been shown to increase energy and endurance levels. A study involving college athletes revealed that pyruvate helped them perform as much as 20% better than those taking placebos. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Shannon Miller reportedly used pyruvate to help energize her before the 1996 games.

Early studies of pyruvate looked at taking 30 grams per day, which would be costly and impractical. More recently, studies show that the optimal dosage may be somewhere between 5 and 10 grams, depending on the individual.

If your bodybuilding efforts have taken an unexplainable turn for the worse, you need to examine all the possible causes and cures. Herbs and other naturally-occuring supplements can help restore the proper balance of essential hormones in your body and get your training back on track. Keep an open mind--there are many supplements that don't feature a bodybuilder on the bottle that will work effectively at putting your body in perfect balance for maximum gains.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to e-mail us and tell us what you would like to see, here on Body Builders Network.

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