Richard James Ahern's Blog

Fitness, Nutrition and Unchained Muscle!

Tag: Testosterone

5 Worrying Signs You Have LOW TESTOSTERONE!!

If you’re a man interested in bodybuilding or fitness, you’ll know the importance of the steroid hormone Testosterone (T). It is essential for male health, fertility, building muscle and losing fat. Think you may have low Testosterone (T)? The only way to know for sure is to go to your doctors and get tested but here are five signs you may have low T:

  1. Lack of Muscle Growth and increased Fat Gain – This is an obvious one! If you’re training hard in the gym and eating right with plenty of protein but not gaining muscle, this could likely be down to you having low T. If you’re also struggling to lose fat, this again can be down to low T. If you have low T, this likely means you have high levels of the female hormone Oestrogen and high levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, both these hormones can cause the body to store fat and make weight loss difficult!
  2. Lack of Energy – If you’re constantly tired and lack energy, this can likely be down to low T. Testosterone gives men a sense of wellbeing, motivation and aggression. Although aggression can of course be a negative emotion and destructive, it can be channelled in many positive ways to achieve your goals. When it comes to weight lifting, a little bit of aggression towards those weights goes a long way and if you don’t feel aggression in the gym, you likely have low Testosterone.
  3. Depression – Men with Low T are very susceptible to depression. Like mentioned earlier, Testosterone gives us a sense of wellbeing and motivation. If you’re feeling down and lethargic, antidepressants might not be the solution and perhaps you should look into getting your hormones tested instead.
  4. Difficulty Sleeping – Testosterone keeps us men healthy and has many functions in the body. If you know anyone who has been put on Testosterone injections, they will probably tell you how they now sleep like a baby. Many guys who take a zinc and magnesium supplement before bed time find it improves their sleep. This is very likely down to the fact that zinc and magnesium are key to helping your body make Testosterone!
  5. Lack of Sex Drive – Testosterone is the male sex hormone. It gives men a sex drive, that’s one of its main purposes! Remember going through puberty and having a raging sex drive as a teenager? Well that’s because your Testosterone was very high! If you have a low sex drive and have trouble getting erections, this is one of the clearest signs you have low T.

Are you showing any signs of Low Testosterone? Well don’t worry, there are many solutions. You can of course go to your doctor and discuss your possible options, this is your best option if you think you have seriously low Testosterone. However, you can increase your Testosterone by making some lifestyle and diet changes. You may simply need to cut down on alcohol, stop smoking or get more sleep at night. You may be deficient in a particular nutrient such as zinc, magnesium or vitamin D, which you can easily supplement with. It’s hard to know exactly what’s going wrong and that’s why it’s best to take a shotgun approach and completely optimise your body for maximum testosterone production! That’s why I designed my Hormonal Manipulation Plan, to optimise your testosterone and other vital hormones through diet, training, lifestyle and supplementation for improved health, muscle gain and fat loss! You can purchase it HERE, but it comes FREE with every full price clothing order from www.UnchainedMuscle.uk !

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3 Reasons Dieting and Cardio is Making You FAT!!

Let’s lay down some truth, dieting and cardio certainly CAN make you lose fat, no doubt. However, done wrong, which is easy to do, it can make you GAIN FAT and WRECK your metabolism. The body has an amazing ability to adapt, it has a need for equilibrium (balance) and will do anything to keep the status quo. To change your body, whether it’s losing fat or gaining muscle we have to almost trick our body into making this drastic change. Here’s 3 ways the body adapts to dieting and cardio and how to counteract it!

  • Eating less slows your metabolism. When you start cutting calories and eating less your body senses this and starts lowering its metabolic rate to conserve energy as it thinks it’s starving. This is a natural survival mechanism. The longer you diet, the slower your metabolism can become and eventually can cause you to put on weight. To stop this, you should never cut your calories below your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and incorporating weekly cheat meals or refeed days will trick your body into keeping its metabolism high and therefore burning plenty of calories.
  • Steady cardio such as jogging will burn calories, obviously. However, done in excess the body adapts and will start slowing its metabolism to conserve energy. You’ll have to do more and more to get the same fat burning effect. This is why you should incorporate weight lifting and high intensity cardio into your routine. High intensity exercise such as weight lifting and HIIT cardio will shock the body, build muscle and ultimately boost your metabolism so you burn fat when you’re resting!
  • Dieting and cardio stresses the body. When the body is under any type of stress it produces a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is your enemy as it makes your body burn muscle for energy and makes your body store fat, particularly around your waist. Supplements such as glutamine, test boosters and vitamin C will help counteract cortisol but the best thing you can do is stop over-stressing your body! Keep your workouts short and intense and don’t starve yourself, it’s that simple!

This blog is brought to you by Unchained Muscle, bringing you hardcore gym clothing so you can work out in style! Visit www.unchainedmuscle.uk to check out the range!

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The Absolute FASTEST Way to Gain MUSCLE!!

Let’s talk about building muscle, everyone wants to know the fastest way they can have big arms, wide shoulders and bulging pecs, so I’m going to tell you how! Remember though this is the fastest way to build muscle but not necessarily the best way, there are a few drawbacks.

Let’s start with diet, as this is the most important thing you need to focus on to grow. To gain muscle the fastest way possible, forget about having abs, to build muscle fast you’ll going to have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll gain some fat. You need to be in a surplus of calories for your body to put on new muscle tissue, aim for at least 1,000 calories over maintenance to gain the most. Protein needs to be high, around 1-2g per lb of lean body mass but carbs need to be higher! Carbs will give your body the energy to grow, for the quickest weight gain at least 60% of your calories should be coming from carbohydrate sources such as oats, rice, pasta and potato. Don’t neglect fats though as they are key for your boy to produce lots of testosterone, focus on getting a good range of all the different types of fat including saturated. Three meals a day won’t cut it, aims for 5-7 meals a day, including a post-workout protein and carbohydrate shake. Of course, following all this advice will also make you gain fat, but that’s the sacrifice you make if you want to pack on muscle size in the fastest way possible! Eat big to get big!

Training wise it’s simple, think COMPOUND! Compound exercises are where more than one muscle is being worked at a time and where more than one joint is moving such as squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pull ups, dips and lunges! Compound exercises make you grow, they stress the body far more than isolation exercises leading to a massive surge in anabolic hormones that will make you big! Curls are a great exercise, but believe me, deadlifts and squats will get you bigger arms! Focus on stretching and squeezing the muscle with each rep to cause the most hypertrophy and aim for 8-12 reps per set. Going heavy on compound exercises will help but going lower than 6 reps per set will only help you gain strength rather than size. Form is key, bring each muscle through a full range of motion, if you cheat on your reps, you are only cheating on your muscle gains!

Lastly, remember to rest, take a few rest days per week and get plenty of sleep. Muscles don’t grow in the gym, they grow when you’re resting!

This blog is brought to you by Unchained Muscle, bringing you hardcore gym clothing so you can work out in style! Visit www.unchainedmuscle.uk to check out the range!

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5 Fat Burning Supplements That WORK from Experience!

If you haven’t been following me on Instagram (you should be!), I have been dieting hard and losing fat to get shredded and ripped! I have been trying lots of different fat burning supplements so I can see if they work or not, so here’s my list from experience of the ones that WORK and are worth taking alongside a good diet and exercise regime! This is not medical advice, I do NOT recommend any of the following supplements, this is MY OPINION only and is for entertainment purposes only.

 

  • Caffeine! A classic stimulant and one of the best fat burners. Caffeine raises your heartrate, boosts metabolism and stimulates adrenaline production. All of which help with the breakdown of fat and help you burn more calories whilst resting. Don’t underestimate caffeine, it’s a powerful stimulant and you should always take care and never take too much. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, fat burners, pre workout formulas and can be also be bought on its own in powder or pill form. I’m a big fan of coffee and drink loads when I’m dieting and losing fat, check out my blog post on coffee HERE!

 

  • Green tea/green coffee! Both of these are a great source of natural caffeine and will boost your metabolism making you burn more calories! They are also powerful antioxidants. When dieting your body produces a lot of free radicals which can damage your cells, antioxidants help your body ‘mop up’ free radicals and prevent what is known as oxidative damage! I have used both to burn fat and keep my energy levels up!

 

  • Yohimbine HCL! This is a controversial stimulant, in some countries it is illegal but in others you can get it over the counter as a supplement. Like caffeine it boosts your metabolism and makes your body release more adrenaline whilst also suppressing appetite. What is particularly interesting about Yohimbine is that it is an alpha blocker. Our stubborn fat has a lot of alpha receptors which make it hard to lose, Yohimbine blocks these and helps your body release its stubborn fat to be burned. Taking it whilst doing fasted cardio is the most effective and is what I have done to burn my stubborn fat!

 

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine! This is a very bio available form of the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine carries fatty acids to the mitochondria of the cells to be burnt for energy. So quite literally carnitine is an essential component of the fat burning process. It’s naturally found in the body and food but supplementing with it has been shown to enhance fat loss and I have found it’s worked well for me!

 

  • N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine! A bio available form of the amino acid tyrosine. Although not a stimulant itself, it does have a stimulatory effect by helping the body make adrenaline. Adrenaline mobilises fat stores and burns them for energy so massively helps with fat loss! Tyrosine is a pre-cursor to adrenaline and your body needs it to make adrenaline. I use N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine in my pre-workout and I find it improves my energy, mood and fat loss!

 

From my experience, all of these fat burners work well alongside a good diet and exercise regime, most of them are stimulatory based as I find these work the best. A lot of non-stimulatory fat burners in my opinion are a waste of money. In particular, I have tried CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and Raspberry Ketones and have found little improved fat loss from them. Each to his own though, remember everyone reacts differently to different things!

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BlackMP Supplements and a Gift to my followers!!

If you haven’t already heard, I am proud to announce that I am now sponsored by BlackMP supplements! I have been using their flagship product the BlackMP Living Concentrate and Living Powder for a few weeks now so I want to write about what I’ve noticed since starting it and then offer you guys an incredible discount if you wish to try it too!

BlackMP concentrate and powder is the healthy alternative beverage, infused with soil based probiotics, Fulvic and Humic Acid, 77+ Trace Minerals, electrolytes and a PH of 10, so will alkalise the body! No calories, No Sugar, Nothing artificial, GMO, Gluten and Dairy Free and suitable for vegans! I have never come across a product quite like it myself with so many benefits packed into one supplement!

What I love about it most is it’s suitable for EVERYBODY, whether you’re into general fitness, hardcore bodybuilding, strength training, fat loss, nutrition or just general health it will benefit you greatly!

I take it every morning when I wake up and as soon as I drink it I feel energised and ready to go, I don’t even need my usual morning coffee! It’s improved my performance in the gym but also my metal clarity has improved and my concentration, which allows me to work harder for longer! The probiotics will greatly help you digest your food, particularly protein and better protein breakdown means more amino acids will be available for muscle growth, this will lead to improved strength and even improved fat loss!

My partner has been using the concentrate as well as myself. She’s suffered with stomach issues for a while now with many trips to doctors but nothing really working. Since using BlackMP she’s noticed a HUGE improvement and feels so much better. A lot of health issues arise from stomach problems but BlackMP gives your gut the fuel to function properly and at its best!

I could write so much more about the benefits of this unique product but I don’t want my blogs to be too long! So, I strongly encourage any of you to try this product and reap the many benefits, so all my followers get a very special and MASSIVE 50% discount off BlackMP supplements (excluding bottles) using my unique code RJ50 at checkout!

Visit www.blackmp.tech to check them out and get yours! Remember use coupon code RJ50 for 50% off!

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Cortisol: Why it’s Killing Your Gains!!

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I love talking about hormones when it comes to building muscle and losing fat because I think they play a very important role in how your body looks! In this post, I’m talking about the hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a stress hormone; our bodies produce it when we are under stress. This could be a stressful job, lack of sleep or working out for too long!

The problem is cortisol is your worst enemy when it comes to building muscle and losing fat because quite simply it turns your muscle into fat! More accurately it burns your muscle for energy turning it into glucose which can then stimulate an insulin response and potentially store that glucose as fat. Cortisol seems to have a strong effect on making us store fat specifically around our mid-sections, so it will hinder your goal of having a six pack too! Cortisol has also been linked to low testosterone levels and high oestrogen levels in men, leading to a whole host of problems.

So, by now I’m sure I’ve made you really hate this hormone and you’re now wondering how you can reduce it and keep it to minimum. Well first, think about it logically, it’s a stress hormone, so avoid stress! So, minimise stress, get plenty of sleep and don’t work out for longer than around 1 hour are the best ways to keep cortisol at bay.

Additionally, if you’re on a diet, don’t cut your calories and carbohydrates too much as this puts the body under a great deal of stress! Never lower calories lower than your BMR when trying to lose fat. Foods and supplements can also help you reduce cortisol levels, vitamin c and glutamine have been shown to reduce cortisol levels! Since cortisol is linked to testosterone levels in men, anything that can increase your testosterone will reduce your cortisol as well!

So guys, the take home message of this post is stay chilled out and don’t stress, it won’t get you anywhere and will just cost you muscle and gain you fat!

For the ULTIMATE guide on how to optimise your hormones so you can build muscle and lose fat effortlessly, check out my Hormonal Manipulation programme!

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Are STEROIDS Really That Bad?

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So, I’m touching on the topic of steroids again, I do this because they are an integral part of the fitness and bodybuilding world, despite what some guys like to make you believe it’s not just training, diet and genetics that makes these top bodybuilding physiques. Just listen to what some of the retired pros say about the subject if you don’t believe me!

So, I want to give you a truthful insight into the fitness world, so in this post I’m going to talk about whether steroids really are as bad as people think.

First, I am not advocating the use of steroids or any performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), nor do I recommend them to anyone at all. Now that’s out the way let’s talk about the side effects you hear about steroids. Anabolic steroids are based on the male sex hormone testosterone; they all have different functions in the body depending on which ones you use but generally they increase muscle mass and can aid in fat loss. Side effects can include aggression, liver damage, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gynecomastia, hair loss, acne, testicular atrophy, impotence and low sperm count.

So, there are a long list of side effects, however there is a massive difference from steroid USE and ABUSE. If you abuse any drug you are likely to damage yourself or even kill yourself, you also have to remember like most drugs steroids are used in medicine, testosterone injections are given to men with low natural testosterone levels so they can live happier healthier lives! However, a lot of guys know very little about steroids and often use ridiculous doses with no thought of cycle support or post cycle therapy, these are where you hear the horror stories of people dying!

A lot of the side effects are dosage dependent, so low doses are less likely to produce nasty side effects. Side effects are also genetic related, some people are just more prone to certain side effects than others, one guy might get terrible acne while another gets none and one might have life threatening blood pressure issues but another completely unaffected! So, it varies from person to person and you just don’t know how you might react, so it’s dangerous without proper research, knowledge and medical guidance.

So, the point I’m trying to get across to you is that it all depends on how you use steroids, they can be done relatively safely as long as you know what you are doing! It’s important to not use them long term and don’t use high doses, more is not always better, but there are many bodybuilders who have used steroids for a long time with no apparent health consequences what so ever! So, don’t believe everything you hear from the media, the horror stories are often the cases of stupidity, however like I said earlier I DO NOT recommend steroids to anyone what so ever!

I hope that clears up the subject a bit, there is always more to be said so maybe I will do another blog in the future so we can discuss this further!

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The ONLY 3 Training Methods for Muscle Growth!!

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When it comes to training for muscle growth, there are 3 methods you can use in the gym, they all involve using some kind of resistance, may this be weights or cable machines. In this post I will cover them and how you can use them to get more gains than ever before!

Micro Tearing the Muscle – This is the most effective way to grow your muscles, this is the principle of hypertrophy training. By lifting relatively heavy weight in a controlled manner using a full range of motion for around 8-12 reps is the best way to cause micro tears in your muscle fibres. So essentially you are purposely damaging the muscle, hence the soreness, so when you leave the gym your body will repair these micro tears and grow back your muscle fibres BIGGER and STRONGER for next time! Focus on stretching and squeezing the muscle with each rep to get the best results!

Lifting Heavy Weight – Strength gains can often be the result of improved nervous system control but very often a stronger muscle is also a bigger muscle. So lifting heavy weight will challenge your muscles and will likely cause them to grow, lifting heavy also elicits an anabolic response inside the body, so you produce more testosterone and growth hormone which will result in overall growth!

Pumping the Muscle – When you train a muscle for long enough your body pumps more blood into that muscle to feed it with oxygen and nutrients, this is known as the pump. Often training in a higher rep range with lighter weight will get the best pump (15-20 reps), you will know when you get a good pump as the muscle will feel tight, look bigger and burn! The reason this makes the muscle grow is quite simple, you are FEEDING it! The blood carrying all the protein you’ve eaten throughout the day is directly taken to that muscle for growth, on top of this, pumping a muscle will release more growth hormones inside the muscle and also stretch the facia of the muscle which will allow for easier future growth!

So there you have it, every time you step into the gym and pick up a weight, think of these 3 principles, if you’re not tearing the muscle fibres, challenging them with heavy weight or pumping the muscle then you’re NOT going to grow!

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Why You Should Take STEROIDS!!

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Ah WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!….. before you leave an angry comment on my blog calling me an idiot, hear me out, I am not advocating the use of steroids or any performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), nor do I recommend them to anyone at all. This post is aimed at individuals who have been misled by the fitness industry and I’m here to give you a reality check!

One of the most damaging things in the fitness industry are guys who use steroids and PEDs but claim they don’t and claim natural, more commonly known as the ‘fake nattys’!  They sport insane musculature with single digit body fat percentages but claim they are all natural. If you look at what real natural bodybuilders look like that are drug tested you can begin to see what the natural limit is, the human body has its limits, its biologically impossible to look like a top pro bodybuilder naturally, we simply don’t possess enough natural testosterone and growth hormone.

So next time you see a guy that looks pretty much like a pro bodybuilder but claims all natural, it’s fairly safe to say they are lying. The problem with this is it gives guys false hope and sets them up for failure. When guys think they can look like that naturally and bust their ass in the gym and the kitchen day in and day out but achieve nowhere near what they expect to achieve, that can be devastating! They will often end up quitting because these ‘fake nattys’ have mislead them to what is actually possible.

So the point of this blog post is this: if you want to look like a pro bodybuilder that steps on to the Olympia stage then I’m afraid to say you better get on the juice, that’s the unfortunate truth but I think it’s better for me to tell it to you straight rather than mislead you like many of the fitness guys on the internet.

However, you can achieve a great physique naturally and I do not in any way want anyone to go on steroids, you don’t know your natural limit until you push yourself, you never know you might be surprised at what you can achieve!

The human body has its limits, nature didn’t intend us to be 300 pound ripped mass monsters so don’t be misled, that’s the moral of this story!

To boost your testosterone naturally check out 9 Testosterone Boosting Foods You Are NOT Eating and check out our Chocolate Anabolic Cubes recipe with all research proven ingredients!

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9 Testosterone Boosting Foods You Are NOT Eating!!

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Testosterone is a steroid hormone that our bodies naturally produce, testosterone causes muscle growth, strength gain, fat loss and a general sense of well-being in men! So here are the 9 testosterone boosting foods you are NOT eating! You can watch this blog in video format HERE if you wish!

EGGS! I wrote an article on the power of eggs and you can view it HERE, but eggs are one of the most anabolic foods you can eat! They are high in a range of fats and cholesterol which is essential for testosterone production. On top of this they are high in vitamin D and magnesium which have both been shown to increase testosterone!

CHIA SEEDS! Chia seeds are the most anabolic seeds you have probably not heard about! They are rich in all the omegas and also very rich in zinc and magnesium. You have probably heard of ZMA, which is a zinc and magnesium supplement used to increase testosterone, but forget it because you can get all your zinc and magnesium from chia seeds!

BROCCOLI! Broccoli is a classic testosterone boosting food, it does this by suppressing the female hormone oestrogen therefor increasing our testosterone. Broccoli contains a compound called DIM which lowers oestrogen in men!

BRAZIL NUTS! All nuts are generally good for testosterone production as they are all rich in healthy fats but brazil nuts have high levels of selenium which is great for testosterone production!

PUMPKIN SEEDS! Like chia seeds pumpkin seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and magnesium, so are fantastic to boost your testosterone levels! A handful a day is all you need to benefit from these anabolic seeds!

ONIONS! Research done on rats showed that onion juice increased their serum testosterone levels by a whopping 300%! Although rats of course are not humans they do have a very similar reproductive system to us and many bodybuilders have been known to love onions to get them shredded, so add onions to as many of your meals as possible!

POMEGRANATE! Research done on humans shows that pomegranates increase testosterone levels, on top of that they are very nutritious and tasty!

COCONUT OIL! Saturated fat is the most important type of fat for testosterone production. Coconut oil is a saturated fat with many health benefits including its ability to raise metabolism so no wonder why its every bodybuilders favourite oil!

BLUEBERRIES! Blueberries are highly nutritious with high levels of vitamin C and B6. What makes blueberries so great for testosterone production is that they contain a chemical in their skins called Calcium-D-Glucarate which lowers oestrogen in the body therefor increases your testosterone!

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For a complete guide on optimising your anabolic hormones check out my Hormonal Manipulation programme, research proven to take your fitness to the next level by optimising your hormones!

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