Random Thoughts

By February 23, 2011 Random Thoughts

Greetings Blog Readers. It’s time for another random blogpost, and I’ve got some interesting things for you this week. Here you go!

1. Interview on Ultimate Strength and Conditioning

I asked my friend Jim Kielbaso to make this interview available to the public and he obliged. This is a pay site and only costs around $6 per month, but for a limited time you can listen to my interview for free. Just click here. We talked about strength, squats, mobility, the leg press, and more.

2. Does Creatine Prevent Wood?

My good friend recently emailed me a question. He’s 35 years old and has been taking creatine off and on again for 18 years. In the past three years he’s taken 6 grams of creatine almost every single day. Here’s what he wrote me:

Hey Bret! Have you come across anything saying that creatine negatively impacts erections? For the past few years I haven’t been very strong in that area, if you know what I mean. I’ve had issues getting and keeping erections, and they’re not as strong as they used to be. I just chalked it up to age, declining hormone levels, work, less sleep, stress, etc.

Around two years ago I went on a three-day trip with my girlfriend and didn’t take any creatine with me. That weekend I was a stallion. My girlfriend couldn’t believe how well I performed and we didn’t have any clue as to why things were working so well down there. When I returned, everything went back to normal in terms of poor erection quality. At the time I didn’t realize why this happened, but now I believe I’ve stumbled onto the reason.

Just recently I ran out of creatine and decided to stop taking it for the time being. Wouldn’t you know, my erections are back in full force. I’m talkin’ waking up with morning wood, spontaneous erections here and there, and stronger erection quality. I feel like a teenager again. It’s been several days and nothing has diminished; I’m strong like bull!

In both of these instances, the only thing that changed from my daily routine is that I didn’t take any creatine.

What do you think? Does my theory make sense, or is my girlfriend secretly slipping Cialis into my morning shake?

Here’s what I sent back to him:

Hey Mark Young Anonymous Friend,

Recent research has shown that creatine increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT)  levels and increases the DHT : Testosterone ratio. I’m not sure as to the exact mechanism regarding why this is occurs. Since testosterone levels didn’t diminish, it doesn’t appear that more testosterone is being converted to DHT via increased 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity (check out this cool chart on steroidogenesis if that makes no sense to you), yet that is the mechanism that the researchers proposed. And it wasn’t just an insignificant amount, after 7 days of creatine loading DHT increased by 56% and the DHT : T ration increased by 36%!

As shown in this recent review article, androgens are critical for penile health. However, I don’t believe that the effects of creatine and/or associated chronically elevated DHT levels have been researched in the literature. I was able to find several forum threads such as this one where individuals claimed that creatine wrecked their ability to achieve erections. I believe that this is the culprit, as the endocrine system is very sensitive and any imbalances can throw things out of whack.

At the very least it would make for a good scientific experiment. There could be thousands of males out there who are taking creatine and unknowingly sabotaging their sex-lives!

3. Creatine and Adolescent Development

This whole email exchange got me thinking. If creatine did in fact create more conversion from DHT to testosterone, then it could impact adolescent development if teenagers were using creatine. Testosterone doesn’t only convert to DHT via the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, it also converts to estrogen via the aromatase enzyme. If less testosterone was available due to DHT conversion, that means less estrogen conversion. And less estrogen means less fusion signaling to the growth plates of long bones. Estrogen is known to cause growth plate senescence and epiphyseal fusion. Actually a recent study shows that estrogens help with growth during early puberty but stunts growth in late puberty.

Furthermore, increased DHT conversion could lead to penile enlargement. In this case study, a 2-yr old boy was inadvertently exposed to testosterone cream by the father and had advanced sexual development. Researchers speculated that the increased penile length was due to increased levels of DHT.

Watch creatine sales sky-rocket in the future when supplement manufacturers start marketing creatine toward teenage boys as “height and penis size increasers.”

4. Am I a Contrarian?

Lately I’ve seen things being written on various TNation articles and Facebook walls hinting about the “contrarians” in our profession. I’m pretty sure they’re talking about me. I’m definitely not a contrarian. I’m just very interested in science and movement in particular. Sometimes my understanding of the human body doesn’t line up with what I see out there. This is why I wanted to get my PhD – so I could do research and test some of my hypotheses.

5. The Placebo Effect

Here’s an awesome video on the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is so damn powerful it works even when subjects know they’re being given a sham drug! Check it out right here.

6. Xbox Kinect

The night before I left to New Zealand, I went to my brother’s house and played Xbox Kinect games with him. I had never even heard of it before he bought it. Click on this link to see a video of how Xbox portrays the look and feel of the games. Makes you want to buy it immediately. However, unfortunately sometimes it looks more like this:

What really got me thinking was the irony. Technology has helped create mass sedentarism amongst the human race. We watch tv, play on our computers, drive cars, and play video games all day long. Now what got us into this big health-mess will probably get us out of the mess when this technology advances.

I have to admit the games were pretty darn fun, and I definitely worked up a sweat. If you have a child that is overweight or inactive, I highly recommend the X-Box Kinect.

7. Jacked Whippet

This dog is gonna whoop your sorry ass! Actually her name is Wendy the Whippet, and she’s quite friendly. She has a myostatin gene irregularity and has been spotted supersetting concentration curls with rope tricep extensions to pump up her guns.

8. More New Zealand Speak

Last week I wrote about some of the unique things that I found here in New Zealand. Here are a few more. They call a guy with no friends Tony Gentilcore “Nigel-No-Mates,” for some reason “Math” is always plural and is called, “Maths,” college courses out here are called “papers,” a spatula is referred to as a “fish slice,” napkins are “serviettes,” lies or fibs are “porkies,” they say “heaps” all the time, and if you had “Coyote Arm” it means that following a long night of drinking you woke up snuggling with a grenade (ugly or hefty girl) and had to chew your own arm off in order to escape the bedroom without her noticing.

9. Great Reads for the Week

Although my friend Ben Bruno is doing a great job taking over as the “spoke” for the online fitness community, I can’t help but post good reads when I see them.

The first article is a review of the Michigan State Strength and Conditioning Clinic by Adam Feit. You can read it here. I’ve never met this Ted Lambrinides guy but he’s awesome!

The second article is an older post by the S&C coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling Team. He’s also a sport scientist. He bares his training methods for others to copy. I love when coaches put stuff out like this, as it always gets me thinking. You can read it here.

10. KB Swing Form

Here’s a good video showing kettlebell swing form. Notice the head and neck stay in alignment, the shins stay vertical, and the hips move back significantly to put the hammies on stretch and stress the hips.

11. Turkish Get Up Form

Check out my friend Neghar Fonooni busting out a 32 kg TGU with perfect form! You gotta love Neghar!

12. Heavy Carries, Walks, and Drags

Here’s my friend Tony Gentilcore busting out a set of heavy farmer’s walks combined with sled drags. This looks like a brutal workout for you conditioning nuts out there!

13. Daryl Hobson Does Walking Lunges With 585 lbs!

Holy Beelzebub!

I don’t like his form too much but there are clips of him using 495 with great form. Freakin’ crazy!

14. Hip Thrusts and Barbell Glute Bridges

I’ve been doing tons of hip thrusts lately and recently I switched over to barbell glute bridges for a workout. I forgot how much I like them too. They just feel differently than hip thrusts. I like doing hip thrusts three consecutive workouts and then doing barbell glute bridges for a workout.

15. Kilograms to Pounds Converter

Here’s a useful chart that converts kg’s to lbs in increments used in weight training. I’m trying to get accustomed to the load conversions out here but it ain’t easy!

Okay that’s all folks! Come back tomorrow for the Topic of the Week.

-BC

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