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Overview of the 2013 ISSN Europa Workshop in Phoenix

By October 23, 2013September 23rd, 2014Seminars

Today’s article is from Andrew Vigotsky (see his bio below). He was kind enough to take notes and recordings of the ISSN conference that was held this weekend. You get 4 hours of lecture from audio recordings directly from the microphone! Many thanks to Dr. Jose Antonio for approving this! 

Earlier this year, I wrote a synopsis of the ISSN Symposium at the University of Tampa. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response it received, I thought I’d write a synopsis on the ISSN Europa Phoenix which I attended on Friday. I’d like to thank Dr. Antonio for allowing me to record the conference and share this synopsis. If you’re not familiar with the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), I’d highly recommend checking them out! No one publishes more information on the ergogenic benefits of nutrition and supplementation than they do.


Umpteen Reasons Why You Should Consume Sports Supplements

Jose Antonio, PhD, CSCS, FISSN

Click HERE to download MP3


If a supplement helps or has a neutral effect, you should try it.
All studies supplements/studies presented in this presentation based off at least 3 human-only studies with doses.
The rating system is 1-4 “paddles”; 4 being epic, 1 being if you get it for free, take it.
Alanyl-Glutamine (AG) – Rehydration with AG appears to help maintain skill performance, visual reaction time, increase time to exhaustion during mild hydration stress, and reduces infections complications in ICU patients.
Recommended: 2g in a solution to rehydrate
2 Paddles
Arginine – Reduces O2 cost of moderate intensity exercise; Arginine + anti-oxidants increase anaerobic threshold in old folks; Adding Arg to a glucose/electrolyte solution increases glucose oxidation and lowers the O2 cost of exercise.
Recommended: 6g 1hr pre exercises
1 Paddle
Astaxanthin – Increases power output and reduces time for endurance, prevents exercise-induced free radicals, topically improves skin health.
Recommended: 4mg/day
2 Paddles
Bicarbonate – Helps rowing, cycling, and swimming performance.
Recommended: 0.3g/kg of bodyweight
3 Paddles
BCAA – Lessens muscle damage, increases recovery, reduces fatigue, enhances lipid oxidation, and suppresses exercise induced proteolysis.
Recommended: 2g minimum
3 Paddles
Beetroot Juice: Enhances exercise tolerance (22% increase)
Recommended: 70mL 3hrs pre exercise
2 Paddles
Beta-Alanine – Improves exercise capacity in elderly, augments LBM gains, and improves sprint performance in endurance cycling.
Recommended: 2-6g daily
4 Paddles
Beta-alanine vs Bicarbonate? Beta-alanine because there’s less GI distress.
Betaine – Increases total reps and volume load for bench, reduces subjective measures of fatigue, and increases upper body power
Recommended: 2.5g daily
2 Paddles
Caffeine is actually not a diuretic, but coffee may be.
Caffeine – Enhances resistance exercise and reduces perception of pain; acute and chronic use increases physical activity.
Recommended: 3-9 mg/kg
4 Paddles
Caffeine is tied w/ creatine for the BEST ergogenic aids ever! They help both sides of spectrum (i.e., endurance AND strength).
Carbohydrate – Improves stroke performance in tennis, running performance, and force output during RT.
Recommended: Highly variable
4 Paddles
CHO+PRO – Improves subsequent exercise performance, enhances glycogen restoration vs CHO alone, and CHO + Whey improves recovery & adaptations to RT.
Recommended: Dose variable, at least 20g of each, both pre and post
3 Paddles
Carnitine – Increases androgen receptor levels, improves performance when taken before exercise, and may enhance body comp as well.
Recommended: 2-4g/day
2 Paddles
Casein – Enhances muscle protein net balance when taken post workout, good before sleep, and slow acting so there’s a prolonged anabolic effect.
Recommended: Dose is variable; take with Whey
4 Paddles
Creatine – Great treatment for TBIs, increases size of muscle fibers, increases exercise performance in kids, makes you bigger/stronger, increases endurance and power, and it protects your brain!
Recommended: 5g/daily
4 Paddles
What does creatine not do?
Creatine is safe and effective.
What is the compelling reason not to take creatine?
More myths and misconceptions on creatine despite it having the most data.
Energy drinks are not not a heart attack in a can.
Energy drinks – Lessen pain perception, enhance sprint ability, and improve cycling time
Recommendations: One or two cans at most
4 Paddles
Anything with caffeine is going to help!
EAA – Improve walking performance in elderly and enhance muscle anabolism.
Recommendations: 6g EAA + CHO = anabolic
4 Paddles
Gram for gram, EAA is more anabolic than Whey, but it tastes like socks.
Ginseng – Enhances oxygen utilization, improves pulmonary function in COPD, and can reduces exercise-induced muscle damage, inflammation, and help insulins sensitivity.
Recommended: 100mg 2x/daily
1 Paddle
Glucosamine – Improves symptoms of OA; lessens pain.
Recommended: 1200mg/day
3 Paddles
* Data is variable!
Anecdotally, glucosamine works for Dr. Antonio.
Glutamine – reduced rate of URI after intense exercise, improves muscle glycogen utilization.
Recommended: 5-15g daily
1 Paddle
Green Tea Extract – Increases fat oxidation; thermogenic; may help body composition when combined with resistance training.
Recommended: 90 mg EGCG + 50mg caffeine daily
2 Paddles
HMB – Ameliorates muscle mass loss during catabolic conditions, decreases muscle damage, increases muscle strength & mass.
Recommended: 3g daily
3 Paddles
Leucine – Enhances endurance performance and strength; attenuates muscle damage; induces MPS.
Recommended: 45 mg/kg daily, but whey is fine – may be beneficial to add to whey
2 Paddles
MCT Oil – Increases metabolic rate & fat oxidation.
Recommended: 10g/daily
1 Paddle
Melatonin – Reverses oxidative stress, improves immunological defenses and lipid metabolism, reduces muscle damage, and there’s a generally positive impact on health.
Recommended: 3mg/daily
3 Paddles
Phosphatidylserine – Reduces stress, improves golf performance, improves memory and cognitive function.
Recommended: 200mg/daily
2 Paddles
Quercetin – May enhance LBM, increase endurance in the untrained, and Quercitin + EGCG can be an anti-inflammatory in trained cyclists.
Recommended: 500mg/daily
2 Paddles
Soy Protein – Stimulates MPS post exercise, positive effects on lipid profile in post menopausal women.
Recommended: 30-40g post workout
3 Paddles
Soy is not as good as animal protein.
Spirulina – Increases isometric strength and endurance, lowers post-prandial lipemia, enhances fat oxidation and time to fatigue, may improve allergic symptoms.
Recommended: 1-3g/daily
2 Paddles
The two most common ergogenic aids are water and sugar.
Sports drinks = water + sugar. Gatorade is a better hydrator than water; it improves training time in endurance and enhances lactate removal.
Recommended: Variable – test it out during training. Events longer than 90 min it would be worthy.
4 Paddles
Sports drinks are great for any prolonged exercise, especially in the heat.
Whey – Better than soy for LBM gains after 9 months supplementation, augments tendon & muscle hypertrophy.
Recommended: Variable; Consume as a meal, e.g. 20-40g pre or post workout.
4 Paddles
Whey is one of the very best protein sources, bar none.
Answers to Questions
Creatine monohydrate works better than kre-alkaline.
About 20g of whey induces MPS. 30g is more than enough.
Dr. Antonio thinks you can never go wrong with eating more protein. Helps with body composition due to its thermogenic properties.
Dr. Jacob Wilson states that there are more benefits to protein than MPS. More variables need to be investigated.
Gatorade + BCAA intraworkout may improve recovery intra-workout. Coca-cola works too!
It’s energetically difficult for your body to take in excess protein, hence the high TEF.
Protein calories, for body composition purposes, are better than CHO calories.
Clinical vs optimal for health and performance are totally different! One cannot apply clinical data to performance.

Practical Sports Nutrition for Strength-Power Athletes

David Sandler, MS, CSCS, FISSN

Click HERE to download MP3


Disclaimer: David Sandler is associated with iSatori
Research restrictions include limited access to athletes, the need to control many variables, and it’s difficult to test every dosage/combo.
Many funded studies don’t always report everything and only report “good” findings.
We can’t forget the placebo effect!
In most cases, more isn’t worse.
The placebo effect may help fire athletes up which results in better performance.
Application issues: compliance, cost, athletes listening to too many diff people, dosage adherence and The Kitchen-Sink Theory
Training issues: volume, frequency, intensity; the placebo effect.
“Big guns don’t set you for life.”
What is an ergogenic training effect? The truth is that an athlete needs to focus on their sport, supplements are only marginal (a few %).
A well-balanced diet and consistent training are much more important than supplements.
No pain, no gain. If you want to see results, you need to push yourself.
The most successful athletes cycle their training (periodization, etc.) and work hard.
The body needs time to adapt to the demand placed on it.
If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Why are supplements used? Adds/improves performance., improves health, increases energy, reduces soreness/inflammation, and helps with weight loss & diet.
What are their ergogenic supplement applications? Increases in size, strength, speed/power, focus, and energy.
“If athletes feel like it’s working, I don’t want to tell them it’s not.”
Many physicians do not understand supplementation that well.
It’s hard to differ between ingredient and ingredients.
If you can afford it, more is better.
What is better? Function, result, pain, and excitement.
Individual characteristics must be considered, including athlete size and history of use.
Is it dangerous, and if so, what is the danger?
The research does not support that 1,3-DMAA alone was truly dangerous. It is when combined with stupidity.
Sugar helps improve utilization of things.
Creatine – long-term use appears to be safe and we know it’s effective. There’s no reason to take too much creatine as there’s an upper limit.
“High-absorbing” creatine is not supported by research.
Beta-alanine *may* interfere with Taurine levels. 6.4g/day have been used in studies. Paresthesia is the only issue, but some like it.
Creatine post workout may be more beneficial than taking it pre-workout.
Protein – about 10g/hr can be utilized. Even at 2.5-3g/kg/day, the body isn’t compromised. Athletes should inc. protein intake.
Amino Acids – EAAs: 20g appears to be max MPS; BCAAs: extra Leu does not appear to be a problem; Eggs have a lot of BCAAs!
Sustamine – L-Alanine + L-Glutamine stimulates glycogen synthesis, stimulates MPS, and inhibits muscle protein breakdown. BCAAs are glycogen sparing.
Leucine is the most anabolic of all amino acids.
Bio-Active Peptides (see Dr. Willoughby’s presentation for more on this) are active components of protein chains. All amino combos form BAPs.
Caffeine improves performance across many parameters (power, time, etc.).
If you’re taking Arginine without Citrulline, you’re wasting your time.
BAPs include IGF1, IgG, PRP, etc.
Citrulline/Arginine *may* not really help with performance, but it feels cool.
One must consider risks, i.e., do ingredients increase HR or BP? Do they depress mood? Promote diuresis? Who is at risk?
Most people undertrain and rarely achieve an overtrained state! No supplements will make you work harder.
Many have trouble managing DOMS and recovery.
Exercises that need higher volume: weight training, sprint work, flexibility, and endurance.
Increasing intensity: most athletes do not push themselves hard enough to see adaptation.
Strength must be pushed maximally or near maximally.
Sprint work must be pushed maximally. Just running doesn’t make you faster, sprinting makes you faster.
Overdoing “cardio” prevents proper fat burning if too anaerobic.
Overtraining can occur if constant training “damage” doesn’t have adequate time to recover.
BAPs from collagens and cartilages are making headway.
Rationale for high volume: increased demand for MPS to occur, increased intracellular activity, induces swelling, improves signaling.
High volume also increases free-floating natural hormone concentrations
Train both unilaterally and bilaterally, especially for sports.
Increases skeletal muscle protein synthesis above resting values for at least 48 hrs after resistance training.
Increased muscle protein breakdown can last 24-48 hrs after RT.
In the absence of nutrient intake, you may enter a negative muscle net protein balance for 48 hours.
Both MPS and protein degradation increase after RT.
Exercise = Stress -> Adaptation/Recovery
Greater recovery allows more frequent application of the training stimulus and greater improvements in fitness/performance.
If you don’t recover, you don’t benefit.
Increase training intensity/volume to match demand of sport/adaptation.
Add BAPs and Protein/AAs to diet
Monitor recovery – inc. or dec. components as needed.
Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. – “Are you ridin’ that chicken or fuckin’ it?”
Hormone spikes from AAs are VERY short-lived. ~10 minutes are so.

Oral ATP Effects on Skeletal Muscle Excitability and Blood Flow

Jacob Wilson, PhD, CSCS


Click HERE to download MP3


Tons of people are studying sedentary individuals. We need to study the other end of the spectrum.
High volume, high intensity training leads to greater neuromuscular adaptations.
Intraset rests helps maintain power, but may not be beneficial for neural adaptation.
A 10 second sprint can deplete glycogen by 14-15% in a Wingate.
Replenishing PCr is important for fatigue resistance.
Blood levels of ATP increase with increased bloodflow.
Extracellular ATP may activate anabolic pathways.
Is Oral ATP bioavailable? It depends where you measure it. Enzymes in plasma break it down, but ATP in liver increases.
RBCs release ATP into the blood, which triggers vasodilation, localized blood flow, and enhanced nutrient uptake.
Oral ATP appears to increase liver and RBC pools of ATP, with only small transient rises in plasma.
At ~1000mg ATP supplementation (human equivalent based on rat study), blood flow increases.
Transient increase in blood flow with ATP supplementation in human models.
ATP supplementation for 15 days helps maintain torque in a fatigued state.
Oral ATP reduces strength and power decreases in an overreaching cycle.
ATP + HMB – ATP Increases training volume, greater volume increases damage, HMB lowers damage.
Dosing Oral ATP: min 400mg, take for at least 14 days.
ATP+HMB are not synergistic, they are additive.

Nutrient Timing – What to Eat and When to Eat It

Rob Wildman, PhD, RD, FISSN

Click HERE to download MP3


Nutrition timing is before, during, and immediately after exercise, plus the rest of the day (nocturnal nutrition and morning nutrition).
Nutrition timing has evolved from just intraworkout (70s), to post workout (90s), to the entire day (2000s).
Before exercise, deliver energy, building blocks for MPS, metabolic & buffering support. CNS stim inc energy, focus, intensity
Time till exhaustion is correlated with how much glycogen someone has. Gylcogen is fuel in the tank.
Optimal pre is 1-5g/kg of CHO and 0.15-0.25g/kg of PRO 3-4 hrs before training.
Pre-exercise ingestion of EAAs or PRO alone increase post exercise MPS.
Light CHO+PRO (50g CHO, 5-10 PRO) snack 30-60 min before exercise increase CHO availability toward end of intense exercise bout.
Pre-workouts can increase strength, size, and improve body comp.
Intraworkout – energy provision, fluid/hydration, electrolytes, PreCovery nutrition (cell damage protection)
The only change in contribution across multiple bouts is in glycogen. Aerobic and CrP stay constant.
Sport drink can help maintain glycogen stores longer.
60-90 min of moderate to high intensity exercise will deplete muscle CHO stores.
Ingesting CHO or CHO+PRO during RT increases glycogen stores, offsets muscle damage, and facilitates greater adaptations.
Carnitine reduces DOMS.
Protein turnover is ongoing and algebraic. Muscle is a metabolic monster.
According to Dr. Philips’ research, 6g EAA + 35g CHO decreases MPB and increases MPS.
Leucine stimulates MPS.
Creatine has 2x the amount of nitrogen as other proteins (32 vs 16%).
Whey seems to stimulate MPS greater than casein and soy.
Protein is effectively digested, absorbed, and stimulates MPS during sleep. Sleep is associated with rest, repair, and recovery.
May be beneficial to split doses of supplements up throughout the day (beta-alanine, omega-3, creatine, etc).
Area under the MPS curves for Whey and Casein are similar.

Bio-Active Peptides – A New Category of Ergogenic Aids

Darryn Willoughby, PhD, CSCS, FISSN

Click HERE to download MP3


BAPs are specific protein fragments that are beneficial to various physiological systems within the body, such as the cardiovascular, digestive, and respiratory systems.
If we can bolster the immune system and reduce oxidative stress, then cells are happy and can optimally undergo metabolism/MPS.
If we can find a way to enhance synthesis and attenuate breakdown, we can optimize our cells’ and systems’ functions.
BAPs are anti-microbial, anti-oxidative, anti-thrombotic, anti-hypertensive, and immuno-modulatory.
Beta-casein displays immune-stimulatory, opioid, angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activities.
Obesity is associated with systemic inflammation.
BAPs may have an inhibitory effect on tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
Immuno-modulatory milk peptides may alleviate allergic reactions and enhance mucosal immunity in the GI tract.
Immuno-modulatory peptides have been found to stimulate the proliferation of lymphocytes and phagocytic activities of macrophages, and antibody synthesis.
BAPs are protected from degradation because of their high hydrophobicity and the presence of proline residues.
Proline-rich peptides (PRP) are small peptides and have a robust effect in balance immune response and vitally important for colostrum.
Peptide content in colostrum quickly decreases after the first milking (Day 1: 100%; Day 2: 26%, etc.).
Colostrum is rich in everything from PRPs to lactoferrin and IGF-1 and 2.
Immunoglobulins in colostrum are more than 100x greater than those found in milk.
BAPs will probably not have an overwhelming effect on muscle growth.
BAPs show an improvement in 40km cycling times and bone-free LBM
2-wk supplementation of colostrum supplementation increases serum IGF-1 and saliva IgA concentrations in athletes.
BAPs from milk proteins offer a promising approach for the promotion of health by means of daily supplementation.


Andrew is an undergraduate Kinesiology student and biomechanics researcher at Arizona State University.  In addition to his own research at ASU, Andrew works as a research assistant in Bret Contreras’ Glute Lab and is an online strength and nutrition coach for The Strength Guys.  He is certified as both a NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and Functional Movement Screen Specialist.


  • Scott says:

    Bret, thanks for scoring this amazing relay! Looking forward to getting through this over the weekend!

  • Volpi says:

    Bret, what is your opinion on the supplements and “paddle” ratings? Would you mostly agree and recommend to take all the 4-paddle supplements? Any specific brands that are better, or should be avoided?

  • Jake says:

    Brilliant. Awesome of you to post something so dense and wide-ranging. Much appreciated!

  • Jenni Everard says:

    Excellent information! Thank you so much for all of the work you put out! I can’t say enough how much I’ve learned over the past 6 months since I found your website. Love it!

  • David Yelland says:

    Thanks so much for this Bret. More information helps to make for better decisions.


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