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Who Wins Bodybuilding Contests?

If you think that you win bodybuilding contests by taking supplements and eating special diets, you've been reading too many magazines for bodybuilders. Champion body builders are born, not made; and exercising, not eating, enlarges muscles. Many bodybuilders also use steroids or other banned substances, even though they will deny that in public.

The best body builders have the largest muscles. How large your muscles can grow depends on the size of your bones and the ratio of the length of muscle to tendon. Large muscles attach on large bones. Muscles that are too strong for bones can break them when they contract forcibly. Most people have a calf muscle that ends half way down the back of the lower leg to become a tendon that extends to the bottom of the heel. That's why most people can never be champion bodybuilders. If your calf muscle extends from the back of your knee to your ankle, you may have the potential to be a champion body builder.

Muscles enlarge only when you exercise them against progressively greater resistance. Many bodybuilders think that the more time that they spend in the gym, the larger their muscles will be. You do not have to spend many hours lifting weights. The greater the resistance, the larger your muscles become.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I'm a serious weight lifter and I take several supplements that include iron. Is it possible to get too much?

Having high blood levels of iron is associated with an increased risk for suffering heart attacks and certain cancers, particularly cancers of the esophagus and bladder. Iron helps to convert the bad LDL cholesterol to oxidized LDL which can form arteriosclerotic plaques and cause heart attacks. You might want to reconsider all the supplements (see above.)

Manufacturers are encouraged to add iron to foods to help prevent iron-deficiency anemia which is common in very young children and menstruating women. The amount of iron that is absorbed from supplements is small compared to the amount of iron that is absorbed from meat, fish or chicken. Iron in living tissue is in a chemical form called heme iron which can be absorbed up to ten times more readily than the iron in supplements.

You can find out if your iron level is too high by asking you doctor to draw blood for tests called transferrin iron binding saturation and ferritin. People with a transferrin iron binding saturation of more than 60 percent, or ferritin levels above 700, are at increased risk for developing heart attacks and cancers. You can reduce your intake of iron by restricting meat, fish, chicken and iron-fortified foods, and you can get rid of extra iron by donating blood six or more times a year.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: How can I get rid of the cellulite on my thighs?

There is no such thing as cellulite. The fat on a woman's hips and thighs is the same as the fat anywhere else. She has skin on the outside, fat in the middle and muscles and fascia underneath the fat. Tiny bands of fiber called ligaments run from the fascia, through the fat and attach on the skin. When fat is stored on the hips and thighs, it pushes the skin upwards, while the ligaments hold the skin down, causing an orange peel appearance from the little dots where each ligament attaches to the skin. Getting rid of fat gets rid of the dimpling, but for women who store fat primarily in their hips and thighs (rather than their bellies), this can be very difficult. You can be skinny everywhere else and still have dimpled thighs. The Federal Trade Commission has filed lawsuits to prevent entrepreneurs from claiming that their products get rid of cellulite.

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Potato Salad Recipes for your holiday picnics . . .
Gabe?s Favorite Potato Salad
Potato-Green Bean Salad
New Potato Salad

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

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June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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