You see it all the time at your local gym. Men taking protein shakes, amino acids, pills, and yes sometimes even something illegal. Why do we subject ourselves to all of this? Why do some sacrifice their health for quick gains?

They want what most men want; to put on some serious size. To increase their bench press, to deadlift over 500lbs.

There are many options out there to help you achieve these strength goals; some are the right (healthy) way to go about it, and some are dirty and dangerous shortcuts that can result in major damage.

Today I’m going to discuss the former way to go about putting on size and power.

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The key to your muscle growth: Arachidonic Acid

Basically, arachidonic acid is the primary fatty acid responsible for inflammation in muscle tissue. This fatty acid lives in the cell membranes of our muscles, known as the sarcolemma. When your muscles are damaged (in a good way) by lifting weights, certain enzymes flock toward the affected area and “free” the arachidonic acid from the membrane.

When this happens, the freed arachidonic acid gets broken down and used to create small localized hormones called prostaglandins, which more directly cause the inflammation and pain we feel post-training. #BlameTheProstaglandins

That may sound like a bad thing, however these inflammatory mediators also signal the body’s repairing response in muscle tissue. Additionally, they play a critical role in increasing the amount of nuclei in our muscle cells, ultimately boosting muscle protein synthesis.[1] The human body is incredible, isn’t it? 

This natural process can be interrupted by a common habit gym goers have; NSAID’s.

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Stay away from NSAID’s

Several studies determined that the body’s muscle-building response to training was more or less shut off in people who regularly used anti-inflammatory drugs.[2] [3]

The entire beneficial process of arachidonic acid gets affected when you take NSAIDs. But even if you don’t, the process quickly depletes the levels of arachidonic acid in your muscle tissue. Without arachidonic acid, you all but lose the short-term inflammation essential for building new muscle tissue. For this reason, some researchers theorize that low arachidonic levels are one of the primary factors contributing to the “hitting a wall” effect in resistance training.

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You can overcome the dreaded strength training plateau! This is how:

It is as simple as this; if your main goal is to maximize muscle growth you should add more eggs and organic raw dairy to your diet as sources of protein and fat. This old-fashioned approach has been proven time after time to work! Just ask Arnold.

The so called “bad fat” in animal food is partially responsible for its potent anabolic properties; they are rich in arachidonic acid which as I’ve shown is to be most beneficial for the purpose of muscle gain.

Best sources for arachidonic acid

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Stock your grocery cart with the following items:

  • Chicken

  • Eggs

  • Beef 

  • Sausage 

  • Raw Milk 

  • Wild Caught Salmon

References and Resources:

1)Markworth, J., & Cameron-Smith, D. (2011). Prostaglandin F2-alpha stimulates PI3K/ERK/mTOR signalling and skeletal myotube hypertrophy. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, 300(3), C671-82.

2) Trappe, T., White, F., Lambert, C., Cesar, D., Hellerstein, M., & Evans, W. (2002). Effect of ibuprofen and acetaminophen on postexercise muscle protein synthesis. American Journal of Physiology, 282(3), E551-6.

3)Trappe, T., Fluckey, J., White, F., Lambert, C., & Evans, W. (2001). Skeletal muscle PGF(2)(alpha) and PGE(2) in response to eccentric resistance exercise: Influence of ibuprofen acetaminophen. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 86(10), 5067-70.

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