Beginners Bodybuilding Guide
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-29-2023, 12:34 PM - No Replies

The word invokes images of oiled man (or women) with shaved and tanned bodies, bowling around on stage, showing off their steroid-gorged physiques. It’s not a pretty picture.
Yet, building our bodies is the goal of nearly everyone who exercises. Here’s my definition of bodybuilding:

Quote:Bodybuilding: striving to improve your physique through the toning and/or building of muscle, while simultaneously attempting to lose bodyfat.
Simple definition? I hope it is a definition that hits home for you. It does for me.
It is my goal to gain muscle and lose fat. End of story. I want the best body I can get, as fast as possible, without spending endless amounts of money on supplements. I want a body that wows people wherever I go – a body that looks damn good in any clothing. I want a body that makes my partner hunger for me, and a body that turns heads when I walk down the street.
This is the goal of bodybuilding.
So put aside the images you have of the oily, the shaved, the steroid bloated stage wanderers. This book is not here to help you achieve glory in the niche sport of professional bodybuilding. What this book on bodybuilding will do is help you get as big and as lean as you desire, naturally.
And women, this includes you too! You cannot get tone without having muscle. And you will not get huge without taking steroids, so put aside those fears and read on.
Warning: The content on and the information included in this article is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to buying anything, check that it is compliant where you live with your current government laws. We frequently mention research chemicals that are not made for human consumption. Therefore, before purchasing any product for personal use, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first.
 [Image: Beginners-Bodybuilding-Guide-147-147.jpg]
Let’s Talk About Muscle ToneWhat is muscle tone?
Most people who begin a workout or exercise regimen have the goal of toning up. What does that mean? Generally, it means losing bodyfat with the goal of revealing the muscle below.
It can mean getting ripped. It can mean having six pack abs. It can mean having a rump and legs to die for. It can mean having a flat stomach. It can mean having a beach body that turns heads.
Quote:Muscle Tone: having a degree of fat loss that brings you to your desired body goal of having a lean, fit, firm, and for many, a muscular body.
A toned body is a body that is streamlined; a body that does not carry around unwanted bodyfat. But this is only half of the toning equation. Once you strip off your bodyfat, there must be muscle underneath for your body to be toned.
No ifsands or buts. This is the truth.
You can lose fat and achieve your goal bodyweight, and still look flabby. In fact, this is quite common. Why is this? Again, without muscle, a body cannot be toned.
Without muscle, your rump will not look full and perfect. Without muscle, your legs will look like twigs. Without muscle, your arms will look like sticks that are much more fat than muscle.
Without muscle, you cannot have a beach chest. And women, without muscle, your beach chest may just choose to sag towards your belly button.
Without muscle, your flat stomach may be nothing more than a smooth(er) and flatter bag of fat.
Without muscle, your body cannot be toned, no matter how much fat you lose. End of story.
So what does this mean? To be toned, you must gain muscle, to some degree. Without trying to generalize too much – because this trend is changing – men want as much muscle as possible, but women fear looking like the Incredible Hulk.
How Much Muscle Is Possible Without SteroidsLet me talk to women first.
Without steroids, you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get big and bulky. Never! That means forever and ever. Even if you lifted for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the age of seventy, your body (without steroids) would never look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Women who word out hard – very hard – could see a gain of 5 pounds of muscle per year, on the average. This gain would taper off after several years. A natural, drug free body has limits as to how much muscle it can pack on.
To look toned, you would need to add 6-10 pounds of muscle to your frame. This amount of additional muscle would not make you look huge. It would make you look firm, tight and sexy. Another 5-10 pounds would make you look a bit more muscular, but surely not like a huge bodybuilder. After twenty pounds of muscle, your physique would start to resemble that of a world-class female track and field star.
And after 20 pounds of muscle? Well, only about 20% of women can really pack on the muscle mass. Even so, it takes years and years and years of dedicated hard training to gain that much mass. In fact, most men who spend years at the gym never gain 20 pounds of muscle.
So have no fear. You will likely gain just the perfect amount of muscle to give you your dream body.
And now for the men…
Here are the cold, hard facts. Gaining muscle is a long, hard and slow process, even for the most testosterone-filled male. Even seasoned steroid free bodybuilders have a hard time pushing their bodies over the 200 pound mark, at 10% bodyfat. This means that achieving a lean mass of over 180 is very difficult.
But have no fear…a bodyweight of 200 pounds @ 10% bodyfat looks awesome! Bodybuilder John Grimek weighted in around 203 pounds, and his toned physique looks incredible muscular. Of course, he doesn’t look anything like a steroid monster, but if you want a body like that, than this is not the book for you…
So lift hard. A muscular, big, sexy and awesome physique is within reach, for man or woman.
Before We Dive InBefore we dive in, let’s look at some of the health benefits to bodybuilding.
Quote:1) Strong Bones. Weightlifting gives you stronger bones, or better bone density. The older we get, the more bone density becomes a health concern, especially among women.
2) Strong Back. Bodybuilding gives you a stronger back, helping you to stave off back injuries.
3) Better Metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body requires every day simply for maintenance. This means you can eat more without gaining fat.
4) More Energy. More muscle and less fat increases your body’s efficiency, leading to more energetic days (and nights).
5) Self-Esteem Boost. This is a no-brainer. When you look into the mirror and see the body of a Greek god, who can’t feel good about themselves?
6) Less Pain. With greater muscle and joint strength, your body will lose some of the nagging aches and pains that came from lack of exercise.
7) Healthy Heart. Weightlifting pushes your body to lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and a healthier heart. And remember, the heart is a muscle.
8) Increased Performance. Bodybuilding improves your other athletic endeavors. You will be a better football player, gymnast, runner or cheerleader.
9) Diabetes Fighter. Weightlifting helps prevent adult onset diabetes.
10) Reduce Effects of Aging. Weightlifting helps you look younger, feel younger, and stay younger at heart.
Routine EssentialsWhat are the core essentials needed for a good bodybuilding routine? Are longer workouts better? Should you train to failure? Are isolation exercises recommended? Is it good to take a week off every now and then?
The list of questions that could be asked when designing a routine is near endless. So, instead of sorting through questions, here are the core essentials needed for any routine.
Heavy Compound MovementsHeavy compound movements are weight lifting exercises that utilize multiple large muscle groups to perform repetitions. These exercises are generally performed with barbells and dumbbells, but in the case of pullups and dips, can be used with bodyweight alone.
The following is a list of 14 important heavy compound movements that should form the core of any bodybuilding routine. The first seven exercises are the powerhouses, and the second group of seven exercises are solid backups.
Quote:BENCH PRESS. The bench press is the favorite exercise of gym rats everywhere. Show me a bench at any local gym, and I will show you several lifters waiting in line to use it. The bench press is the king of upper body compound movements. Not only does it hammer your chest into massive growth, but the bench press also works your triceps and delts.
OVERHEAD PRESS. The overhead (or military) press rules the land of shoulder growth, blasting your side and front deltoids into submission. There are many effective variations of this movement…seated dumbbell presses, seated barbell presses, standing barbell presses, behind the neck barbell presses. The overhead press also works your triceps and traps.
DIPS. Dips are a potent, but little used tricep blasting exercise. Dips also work the chest and shoulders. Despite being a bodyweight exercise, additional weight can be added to this exercise by the use of a weight belt.
DEADLIFT. Another often avoided or ignored exercise is the deadlift. The deadlift is an amazingly anabolic compound lift that will bomb your back, traps, hamstrings, forearms, biceps, shoulders, and just about every other muscle in your body. No workout routine is complete without the deadlift.
ROWS. While most gym rats prefer to work their backs with lat pulldowns, the barbell or dumbbell row is a much more effective exercise. Rowing exercises allow you to lift heavy weights while still maintaining good form and encouraging thick, powerful back growth. Certain variations of t-bar rows are also effective as well.
PULLUPS. Pullups are one of the least favorite bodyweight exercises on the planet. The pullup is generally hated because it is difficult to perform. Like the dip, additional weight can be added while performing pullups via a weight belt. There are several variations of the pullups movement, all much more effective than machine lat pulldown movements.
SQUATS. Squats are hands down the king of all weightlifting exercises. If your routine does not include squats, you might as well be ice skating. Squats put your body into an anabolic state, and not only make your legs and lower body stronger, but also encourage upper body strength increases. You haven’t lifted until you’ve squatted.
CLOSEGRIP BENCH PRESS. A heavy compound exercise that stresses your triceps, chest and shoulders.
INCLINE BENCH PRESS. Another great variation of the bench press. Incline presses can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells.
UPRIGHT ROWS. Upright rows blast your shoulders and trap.
SHRUGS. Barbell or dumbbell shrugs are great for trap development, and work well hand in hand with deadlifts and shoulder work.
POWER CLEANS. The power clean is yet another under-used exercise. The power clean works your shoulders, traps, back, legs and more.
ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS. The Romanian deadlift is an effective way to blast your hamstrings, and an awesome alternative to lying machine hamstring curls.
LUNGES. Another quality leg-hammering exercise.
At minimum, a quality bodybuilding routine should feature the squat, deadlift, and bench press. If a routine has more isolation exercises than heavy compound exercises, it is a wise decision to re-think the routine and build it over from scratch.
ProgressionNow that we now which exercises are best for lifting routines, the question then becomes how do we best utilize these exercises to achieve maximum muscle growth and strength?
But before we answer this question, let’s consider a typical gym scenario. We all know a group of lifters who have been at the gym for a while. They seem to be working out hard, but never appear to get results. Why is this?
The answer is generally lack of progression.
Quote:Progression: improving your number of repetitions for a specific exercise, or amount of weight lifted from a previous workout.
If you never attempt to push your body for more reps or more weight, can you honestly expect to get bigger? Of course not. The body is very efficient at adapting to current workloads. What seems heavy to you today may easily become routine within several months.
Lack of progression is the main reason why most lifters stop growing. They continue to bench press the same weight for the same reps year after year.
Here’s how progression works…let’s say that last week you bench pressed 225 pounds for 6 reps. next time you hit the gym for a chest workout, it should be your goal to bench 225 pounds for 7 or 8 reps. And once you can hit 10 reps (or 12 reps, depending upon the rep scheme that is most effective for you), you increase the weight to 230 or 235 pounds and repeat the cycle.
The progression cycle is simple. Increase your reps with a given weight until you hit your rep ceiling, and then go up in weight. With the new weight, increase your reps from workout to workout until you hit your rep ceiling, and add more weight during your next workout.
Progression should be the cornerstone of any solid routine. But what happens when your progress stops?
De-LoadSooner or later your progress will stop. When you hit two workouts in a row where you have hit a dead end, it is time for a de-load period.
Quote:De-load: a working rest, in which you use the same weight but cut your reps by approximately 40%. A de-load workout can also use the same reps, but with 20-30% less weight.
De-load periods are essential to any good routine. No one can get stronger forever. When your strength falters, take a week or two to de-load.
It is also a good idea to de-load if you are feeling burned out, over-trained, or you have aches, pains and sore joints. De-loading allows you to retain your current strength and fitness level, while simultaneously reducing your fatigue level.
Now understand, de-loading periods to not automatically insure that you will come back stronger or fresh, though generally this is the case. If, after a week or two of backing off with a de-load, you resume your workouts and the progress still isn’t there, continue to push yourself for another 3-4 weeks, and then de-load again.
If, however, after a de-load period you still feel over-trained, consider another week of de-loading.
De-loading periods can we worked into any style of training routine. One thing to consider…if you are continuing to gain strength/reps regularly, and do not feel over-trained, a de-load period is not needed. To add in arbitrary de-load periods when your training is rocketing forward is a immense waste of time.
Training IntensityFor a beginning to intermediate lifter, it is generally enough to rely on progression as the sole training technique. Rest-pause sets, giant sets, negative reps, slow reps, and every other high intensity trick under the sun are not needed.
One thing I will mention is this…try not to waste too much time in between sets. The point in working out is to work your body, not socialize with others at the gym. Generally, anything more than 5 minutes between sets is excessive. It is preferable to rest 1-4 minutes between sets, depending on your energy level and drive.
Train To Near FailureOne of the aspects critical to any training routine is learning when to stop a set. It is not necessary to train to failure. Learn your body. When you feel like it may not be possible to get through another rep, stop the set. This is training to near failure. You can come back on your next workout and attempt to increase your reps.
Training to failure can be a big ego boost, but it also involves wasted energy and increased risk of joint/tendon strain or injury. Save the wear and tear on your joints but not going to failure. This way, you will be able to train into your 40’s and 50’s without brutal tendinitis and joint aches.

Workout DurationDespite what lifters like Arnold Schwarzenegger say, it is not preferable that natural lifters spend 2-3 hours in the gym at a time, hammering out 30 sets per bodypart. After warming up, your workout should not run over an hour. A 45 minute workout is preferable.
After 45-60 minutes in the gym, your body can enter into a catabolic state. This big word simply means that excessive time in the gym becomes counter-productive to growth and strength. Get in the gym, stretch, workout, and get out.
A 45-60 minutes workout is plenty of time to perform 12-20 total sets.
Total SetsYou should be performing 12-20 sets per workout, depending on your workout split, but no more. For younger lifters, a larger volume of sets is ok. But for older lifters, 12-16 sets is perfect. We will explore this later when we look at specific workout routines.
NotesIt is natural for beginning to intermediate lifters to want to do progress as fast as possible. But progression is not safe if you do not know your body. As a beginner, focus on learning proper form and exercises pacing first and foremost. Progressing in weight before you understand the mechanics of any given exercises can lead to bad habits and training injuries.
Another good habit is to avoid ego-related pressures. You may feel insecure and worthless benching 135 pounds while other studs in the gym are benching 200 plus, but resist the urge to push yourself beyond your limits. Any time you bring your ego into the gym, you also increase the risk of injury. With a practical and well planned out routine, you will progress relatively fast, and will be one of the strongest lifters in the gym with a year’s time. Be patient.
And finally, resist the urge to throw aside your current training program, and adapt a program you found on the Internet or in a magazine. The routine’s found in bodybuilding magazines are generally followed by steroid-gorged lifters. And the sheer amount of lifting routines found on the Internet is staggering.
Follow the above rules, and keep your weightlifting routine simple. Fancy is not better…a fancy routine only makes you feel like you are doing more.

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  Pre Eployment Drug Screen
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Posted by: D/FW - 08-26-2023, 10:08 PM - Replies (6)

I have been taking Epistane,will this show up on a regular employment drug screen,I have taken urine test before while on a regular cycle but with a pro hormone I wasnt sure if it would cause me to test positive.Im thinking no but but would like to know for sure.

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  The "75 Hard Challenge" Rules: A New Approach to Mental Toughness
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-25-2023, 02:42 PM - No Replies

Fitness challenges are a popular new trend in our current culture. Whether it’s the latest dieting regimen for weight loss or a strength training program for muscle building, there always seems to be something circulating on our social media newsfeed. 
Recently, the 75 Hard Program has surfaced in mainstream media as a way to encourage discipline, adopt healthy habits, and promote permanent change in the area of self-improvement. 
Read on as we explore the six 75 Hard Challenge rules, some of the benefits and risks of this challenge, and whether you should consider trying it. 
What is the 75 Hard Challenge?The 75 Hard Challenge is a "hardcore," structured diet and fitness program designed to help individuals develop self-discipline, positive habits, and a whole lot of mental toughness. 
Created by entrepreneur, author, and podcaster Andy Frisella, 75 Hard is not just a “fitness challenge” but rather a “transformative mental toughness program.” The idea came to mind after Frisella interviewed James Lawrence (“The Iron Cowboy”), a high-performing athlete known for completing 50 Ironman races on 50 consecutive days across 50 states. 
After discussing the nature of self-growth and how you must intentionally put your mind and body into a place of discomfort to develop mental fortitude, Frisella was inspired to create the 75 Hard Challenge. 
The goal of this challenge is to make intentional changes on a daily basis and stick to them even in the face of obstacles or temptations. Essentially, you strive to break old habits and create positive/healthy change in not only your fitness but your life. 
75 Hard Challenge Official RulesThe 75 Hard Challenge consists of six rules to follow over the course of 75 consecutive days. 
Here are the 75 Hard rules: 
1. IF YOU SKIP A DAY, YOU MUST START OVER No matter what your day looks like, the first rule of the 75 Hard Challenge is that if you miss a single task on the list, you must start the entire challenge over from day one. 
As Frisella mentions, “It’s supposed to be inconvenient, and it’s supposed to be hard.” So, if you feel a bit inconvenienced in the beginning, recognize that these feelings are normal. 
2. PICK A DIET AND FOLLOW IT (WITHOUT CHEAT MEALS OR ALCOHOL) The next rule is that you must select a structured diet of your liking that is based on your current fitness goals and stick to it! 
For example, if you’re looking to build more muscle, then it’s recommended to create a healthy diet regimen that helps you achieve these goals. 
Additionally, there is no allowance for any alcohol or cheat meals throughout the duration of the 75 Hard Challenge. 
3. DRINK A GALLON OF WATER EVERY DAYAccording to research, being properly hydrated has a significant impact on our cognition, physical performance, digestion, circulation, skin health, and so much more [1].
For these reasons, among many others, Frisella has made it one of his six rules to consume a full gallon (or 3.7 liters) of water daily. 
4. COMPLETE TWO 45-MINUTE WORKOUTS[Image: HIITStudio-Edits-113_1024x1024.jpg?v=1680691414]Throughout the duration of the 75 Hard Challenge, individuals are expected to complete two 45-minute workouts every day, one inside and one outside (regardless of the weather). Not only will this type of fitness plan help you get into peak physical shape, but it will require mental toughness and grit in order to reach the finish line. 
5. READ 10 PAGES OF ANY NON-FICTIONAL BOOKThe next rule in this challenge is to work on your mental endurance by reading 10 pages of a nonfiction novel. Any book that is focused on personal growth in some capacity is ideal.
Reading these types of books can help you develop other positive habits that you’ll be more willing to integrate into your life once you’ve discovered the art of self-discipline.
6. TAKE DAILY PROGRESS PHOTOS Taking progress pictures is an essential component of this challenge. Not only will it show your physical transformation, but each progress picture will provide tangible evidence of your journey, which can help you stay motivated and unwavering throughout. 
Benefits of 75 HardDepending on an individual’s fitness levels, there is a range of potential benefits they may experience during and after the 75 Hard Challenge, including:

  • Improved physical fitness: the combination of two full workouts and strict diet requirements can lead to increased muscle mass gains, weight loss, and improved overall health – all of which can lead to more confidence and self-esteem
  • Mental toughness: committing to this challenge requires prolonged effort, resilience, and discipline 
  • Improved cognitive ability: reading 10 pages and drinking a gallon of water per day are two important tasks that can help improve knowledge and mental functioning [23]
  • Better habits: studies suggest that it takes 66 days to form a new habit, which can be made possible by completing each task for 75 consecutive days [4]
Are There Any Downsides of the 75 Hard Challenge?Despite there being a number of benefits to the 75 Hard Challenge, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks involved as well. Some drawbacks may include: 
  • Risk of injury: being the only program (or one of few) that requires multiple workout sessions in a day, there is a high risk of physical injury caused by excess strain on the muscles, joints, and aerobic system
  • Nutritional deficiency: strict dieting may limit an individual from food variety, possibly leading to nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration: drinking significantly more water than the body requires can cause “overhydration,” which can paradoxically result in dehydration [5]
  • Mental strain: due to the high demand to avoid failure and risk restarting from day one, you may experience increased strain on your mental health and well-being 
  • Sleep deprivation:  having a long list of tasks to complete within a day can be difficult to juggle, alongside having to socialize with friends, perform well in a full-time job, and get a full 7-8 hours of restful sleep
It’s important to consult with a health-care professional before taking on any new physical or dietary regimen to help you avoid injury or other negative repercussions.
The Bottom Line on the 75 Hard ChallengeConsidering the intensity of this "transformational mental toughness program," it may be less suitable for beginners. Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Stephanie Thomas mentioned that this list of strict rules may feel daunting for someone who is just starting on their fitness journey. 
It’s important to approach the 75 Hard Challenge with the right mindset. If you struggle to stay on track, don’t beat yourself up. You can even adapt the 75 Hard Challenge rules to fit your needs in a way that will still develop your mental toughness and help you grow healthy habits that you can maintain throughout your entire life.

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  Is There a Body Dysmorphia Test for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-25-2023, 02:38 PM - No Replies

Is There a Body Dysmorphia Test?For several decades, unrealistic and subjective beauty standards have consistently been perpetuated by society and social media. Sadly, such standards of beauty have given rise to more severe mental health conditions, especially body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Treating body dysmorphic disorder is a nuanced process, so experts in the healthcare field have created a diagnostic tool known as the body dysmorphia test to help combat symptoms and improve the quality of life of individuals that deal with the condition.
We'll bring you up to speed on body dysmorphic disorder, how body dysmorphic testing works, and if it’s accurate. 
What is Body Dysmorphic DisorderBody dysmorphic disorder (BDD) falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders, specifically obsessive-compulsive disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder is defined as an excessive and persistent preoccupation with a perceived defect or flaw in one’s physical appearance [1].
Though more common in women, body dysmorphic disorder affects roughly 1.7-2.9% of the general population, with more instances in children and teenagers [2]. 
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDERAlthough the exact causes of body dysmorphic disorder are not fully understood, experts believe that it may be a cumulative result of various biological, psychological, and environmental factors [34]. 
Some of these include:

  • Genetic factors – BDD may be passed down from one generation to the next
  • Neurobiological factors – abnormal neurotransmitter levels in the brain (i.e. low or irregular levels of serotonin)
  • Cognitive factors – negative thought patterns, including perfectionism or distorted views on one’s self 
  • Social factors – influence of social media and other societal pressures
  • Life experiences – instances of childhood trauma or bullying that may cause low self-esteem
  • History of mental health conditions – related mental health issues may exacerbate BDD symptoms (i.e. anxiety disorder, severe depression, etc.) 
Oftentimes, individuals who struggle with body dysmorphic disorder have recurring or intrusive thoughts about their own perceived body image flaws or physical imperfections.
Other common symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include:
  • Excessive grooming, comparing appearance to others, and seeking reassurance
  • Spending a lot of time looking at the perceived flaws in the mirror
  • Avoiding social situations due to embarrassment over appearance
  • Consistently talking or expressing concern about body image 
  • Severe emotional distress 
  • Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem
  • Substance abuse 
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideations
Like most other mental health disorders, symptom management is imperative to recovery. An effective way to do this is by taking a body dysmorphic test. 
What is the Body Dysmorphic Test?A common tool for having body dysmorphic disorder diagnosed is the body dysmorphic test. This test is conducted by a trained and licensed mental health professional to assess the presence and severity of symptoms associated with body dysmorphia. 
According to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, the test is used as a preliminary diagnostic tool for BDD, which can then be further assessed and confirmed via comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. 
HOW IT WORKSThe body dysmorphia standardized test may involve either a self-reported questionnaire or a structured interview. In either situation, the individual will be asked the following questions: 
  • “How often do you think about the flaws in your appearance?”
  • “How much time do you spend grooming, comparing yourself to others, or seeking reassurance about your appearance?”
  • “How much does your concern about your appearance interfere with your daily activities, such as work or relationships?”
  • “Have you ever avoided social situations due to embarrassment about your appearance?”
If this test is performed in a clinical setting, it may also be accompanied by an exhaustive clinical evaluation, including a thorough review of a patient’s medical and/or psychiatric history, along with a routine physical exam. 
Once the test is complete, the clinician will assess the patient’s symptoms and behaviors along with any potential risk factors that may be triggering body dysmorphic disorder to determine whether or not they meet the criteria for a BDD diagnosis. 
If a diagnosis is made, the clinician will then proceed to develop a tailored treatment plan for the patient. This may include a combination of therapies and medication. 
According to recent studies exploring body dysmorphic disorder treatment, experts have found that a combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and cognitive behavior therapy seems to be the most efficacious for the majority of patients [5].
IS THE TEST ACCURATE?The accuracy of the body dysmorphic test relies solely on who is administering it. While there are online screening tests available, it’s important to note that these tools are not intended for medical diagnostic purposes. 
Only a licensed professional, such as a psychiatrist, therapist, or medical doctor, can provide a formal diagnosis and treatment plan for body dysmorphic disorder. 
Body Dysmorphic Disorder PreventionThough challenging, it is certainly possible to prevent body dysmorphic disorder. Since the exact causes of this disorder are not fully understood, experts suggest generalized strategies that help reduce the risk of developing BDD or, at the very least, reduce symptom severity. 
Some beneficial strategies include: 
  • Exercises that focus on body positivity and self-acceptance (i.e. positive self-talk, meditation, mindfulness practices, etc.) 
  • Cognitive-behavioral techniques that help challenge and overcome negative thought patterns
  • Limiting exposure to social media content that perpetuates harmful or unrealistic beauty standards 
  • Seeking formal treatment to target underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Building a supportive social network to provide a strong source of comfort through adversity and reduce feelings or behaviors that may result in social isolation
Why Body Dysmorphic Disorder Should Be Taken SeriouslyBody dysmorphic disorder is a growing problem across many age groups. Though typically seen more in women, this mental health condition affects people of all genders by challenging the way we perceive ourselves and our bodies. 
Thanks to social media, the use of filters and "Photoshopping" is modifying how we view “physical perfection.” In many cases, these standards are unattainable and create a distorted representation of "beauty" and "attractiveness."  
Body dysmorphic testing is a beneficial diagnostic tool used to target individuals who may be struggling with BDD symptoms and require treatment. While there are plenty of online tests available, the most effective and medically recommended option for diagnosis and treatment is through a qualified mental health professional.

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  Water Fasting: Do the Health Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-25-2023, 10:52 AM - No Replies

Are There Any Health Benefits to Water Fasting?"Water fasting" is a specific variant of intermittent fasting short-term practice that is exactly what it sounds like—fasting for anywhere from 12 hours to several days with water being the only source of "nutrition" during that timespan. Since water is calorie-free, water fasting is essentially just fasting without consuming any other calorie-free liquids, such as coffee, tea, or diet soda.
Read on to learn more about the purported health benefits of water-only fasting and why it's been a topic of scientific/clinical interest in recent years.
Medical Disclaimer: While intermittent fasting may promote weight loss, you should seek professional medical advice before making drastic changes to your dietary habits.
What Is Water Fasting?Water fasting is when a person deliberately abstains from all food and consumes only water for a certain period of time, usually 24 to 72 hours. It is an ancient and widely practiced form of fasting that has been used for religious, spiritual, and health purposes for centuries.
It's important to distinguish "water-only fasting" from other fasting approaches since the former requires you to drink water only during the fasting period; no coffee, pre-workout supplements, or non-caloric beverages (e.g. diet soda).
During a water fast, it's best to avoid intense physical exertion. Going for a walk or other light physical activity should be fine, though.
That being said, time-restrictive eating is not for everyone; some people will experience adverse effects that make water-only fasting impractical. Highly restrictive eating regimens also carry health risks and may contribute to eating disorders [1]. The safest way to perform strict water fasting is in a supervised setting with the guidance of a qualified medical professional or healthcare provider [2].
What Are the Health Benefits of Water Fasting?

Quote:The heterogeneity of studies on fasting and time-restricted feeding makes it difficult to attribute health benefits to any specific scheme and compare them directly. Thus, the purported therapeutic effects of "water fasting" may very well apply to a more traditional intermittent fasting regimen that allows for the intake of other non-caloric liquids during the fasting window.
A growing body of literature suggests there are prophylactic benefits of (water) fasting for conditions like cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and potentially even cancer [3]. Many of these studies note that short-term fasting significantly reduces blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity, enhances immune function, and attenuates digestive system issues.
However, there's still controversy over whether or not the acute benefits of periodic water fasts translate to the long-term. For example, some short-duration studies show that water fasting lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease [45]. (High LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure are primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease.) Further evidence supports that intensive short-term fasting (i.e. a 72-hour water fast) induces pronounced innate immune system remodeling [6].
Yet, lengthier studies of water fasting show no significant difference in cardiovascular disease risk factors when compared to a calorie-matched placebo diet (e.g. eating throughout the day) [78]. Moreover, prolonged water fasts (multiple days) can lead to acute adverse effects, which is why it is advisable to complete them under medical supervision.
To reiterate, water fasting is just one of the several intermittent fasting protocols out there; it's unclear if water-only fasting produces greater benefits than other fasting regimens. Nevertheless, periodic water fasting may prove beneficial as an alternative or conjunctive therapy for numerous chronic diseases.
Can Water Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?During a water fast, you restrict all calorie and nutrient intake for 12+ hours. Naturally, this can provoke weight loss by making it easier to undershoot your energy/calorie needs. While weight loss may occur after extensive water fasting, quickly losing body weight by essentially starving yourself for many hours, maybe even days, is not sustainable for most people [9]. Additionally, following a diet where you are only drinking water for the majority of the day may lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition [10].
Quote:Rather than using water fasting in hopes of shedding pounds rapidly, it's more important to focus on overall portion control, food selection, and total energy intake. Continuous energy restriction, regardless of meal timing, is the key to sustainable weight loss. Start by reducing your consumption of processed foods and replace them with things like fruits and vegetables, complete protein sources (e.g. whey protein isolate), complex carbs, and quality fats.
 Can Intermittent Fasting Be Part of a Healthy Diet?Following a fasting protocol can be beneficial for certain health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and potentially obesity [11]. However, there is a need for more compelling research to support the potential health benefits of extended water-only fasting.
Proceed with a sense of caution as water fasting to lose weight is not always wise; in some cases, it may work against you by making it harder to stick to the plan after you've reached your goal body weight, ultimately leading to "rebound" weight gain.

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  What Is "Biohacking": Defining an Ill-Defined Movement
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-25-2023, 10:49 AM - No Replies

"Biohacking" remains a broad and colloquial term as its definition varies from one self-professed "biohacker" to the next. For some, biohacking is used to describe things as simple as following a low-carb diet to maximize weight loss; to others, biohacking refers to cyborg-esque augmentation, such as having a neural implant that tracks brain activity in real-time.

Quote:Biohacking, at its core, is about "hacking" (read: altering) the human body with various biotechnologies, drugs, nutrients/supplements, and lifestyle choices to optimize our well-being, longevity, aesthetics, and/or performance. Naturally, there is a ton of buzz around biohacking these days, despite most of it being based on anecdotes, hypotheticals, and extrapolations of inconclusive research. 
So, if you have a thing for self-experimentation and making your sci-fi dreams come true, read on. We'll tell you what biohacking is (and what it isn't), the types of biohacking, and why you should approach the biohacking enterprise with a sense of skepticism.
What Is Biohacking, Exactly?In scientific literature, "biohacking" has been described as a "do-it-yourself citizen science merging body modification with technology" [1]. In other words, the premise of biohacking is that the average Joe/Jane can "hack" their own bodies with an amalgamation of scientific concepts, tools, and technology. 
Quote:Many so-called biohackers advocate for open-source medicine, exploration of augmented reality, exploiting genetic modification, and personal data acquisition, to name a few. These individuals often go to the extreme by conducting irreversible self-experiments, like modifying their genome or injecting stem cells into specific areas of the body. Such ventures are probably the most accurate, or rational, way of describing "true" biohacking. This altruistic transhumanist vision is admirable in some ways, and concerning in others (more on this later). 
There are also self-professed biohackers, perhaps of a milder subtype, that just want to improve their overall well-being and longevity through lifestyle adjustments. For example, these individuals might consider the use of binaural beats for better sleep quality as a form of biohacking (since binaural beats of a specific frequency can regulate brainwave activity to induce somnolence) [2]. Intermittent fasting is another example of what some might call biohacking.
As you can see, "biohacking" lacks a cohesive, universal definition; it is, nonetheless, a catchy term appropriated by anti-aging proponents, social media influencers, and pseudoscientists to sway people in a direction they probably shouldn't be looking. 
WHAT BIOHACKING IS NOTSince the line between "biohacking" and "lifestyle adjustments" is now seemingly indiscernible, we should clarify what biohacking isn't (and why it matters).
Let's think about this logically for a moment: "hacking" implies that you're infiltrating something that you normally wouldn't be able to access or modify. For instance, cyber hackers exploit loopholes in computer code to access things like restricted databases or someone's personal information. 
Thus, hacking the human body—a la biohacking—is akin to "unlocking" biological capabilities via biotechnology augmentation.
It's unclear why rudimentary lifestyle adjustments, like eating a certain diet, fasting, and the use of nutritional supplements have now been lumped into the biohacking space; these should be separate from actual biohacking methods, like gene editing and cybernetic implants. 
Biohacking is regrettably now a term used quite loosely to describe virtually anything that someone might do to improve their longevity and wellness. Again, if we're being logical, this means basically everyone who has made a conscious (or unwitting) effort to take care of themselves is now a biohacker; some are just more proud of it and had to give it a trendy name. 
[Image: Lounge-Edits-101_1024x1024.jpg?v=1691661121]For instance, some biohackers claim that eating more medium-chain triglycerides (e.g. the fatty acids in coconut oil) is a way of "hacking our biology" to produce more ketones, which are potentially therapeutic for the brain [3]. But that's not a "hack" of our biology; that's how our bodies are programmed to utilize MCTs. 
Gene editing, on the other hand, is somewhat ironically a fitting way of describing a veritable "hack of our biology." Our genome contains the "molecular codes" that tell cells what proteins to produce/express. Modifying the genome is in many ways akin to modifying computer code; small input changes (e.g. "turning off" a gene that is associated with chronic disease) can produce significant output changes. 
To avoid semantic confusion, the term "biohacking" needs to be properly defined and saved for appropriate contexts, such as attempts to leverage advanced biotechnology (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 gene therapy and neural implantation) that may take our biology to uncharted territories. Naturally, gene editing and neural implants carry significantly more risks than simple lifestyle adjustments. 
Getting more sun exposure, eating a wholesome diet, taking nutritional supplements, exercising, being in nature, meditating, and sleeping adequately should not be considered biohacking methods. Rather, these are practical ways of treating your body (and mind) the way you should if you want to live a long and healthy life. 
Common Types of BiohackingHere are four common types of biohacking:
1. NutrigenomicsNutrigenomics refers to "the study of the effects of nutrients on the expression of an individual’s genetic makeup" and analyzing "nutritional factors that protect the genome from damage" [4].
In simpler terms, nutrigenomics entails the use of your genetic makeup as a dietary guide for optimal health and performance. Note that nutrigenomics is not just about eating healthy, whole foods; it's also about taking dietary supplements to optimize your health.
The goals of nutrigenomics are to:
  • Improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being (ex., regulate blood sugar levels and reduce anxiety)
  • Prevent health problems that you're genetically predisposed to (ex., a low-carb diet may reduce your risk of obesity and heart diseases)
Taking individual genetic variations into consideration, nutrigenomics helps dietitians and nutritionists create custom-tailored health programs for their clients. In doing so, they will likely have greater success in tackling preventable health problems.
To illustrate, a 2016 meta-analysis in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene that are linked to different degrees of weight loss success [5]. The authors highlight that individuals with the "homozygous FTO obesity-predisposing allele (AA genotype) had greater weight loss than did noncarriers (TT genotype) after diet/lifestyle interventions."
As such, genomic information can translate to more precise nutritional choices tailored to your specific biological programming.
2. DIY BiologyDo-it-yourself (DIY) biology is a type of biohacking that focuses on experimenting and knowledge-sharing. A synthetic biology journal defines DIY biology as "the pursuit of biology outside of scientific institutions by amateurs, students, and 'hobbyists'" [6].
This means anyone with an interest in biohacking can try their hands at DIY biology. You don't necessarily need a Ph.D. in biology to experiment for the next miracle drug.
While this may open up a new field of possibilities, conducting experiments in your garage or a community biohacking lab may be hard to regulate, hence the safety, ethical, and legal concerns. Ellen Jorgensen, who's the co-founder of Genspace (a biohacker space), says those dabbling in DIY biology "need to follow safety guidelines."
Another thing to note is that these biohackers aren't necessarily amateurs. For instance, a scientist who's also a self-professed biohacker may share their knowledge with those keen on learning more in biohacking conferences, contests, and community labs.
3. Grinder"Grinders" are considered the most extreme type of biohackers. They generally conduct self-experiments by injecting drugs, implanting gadgets, and getting stem-cell therapy routinely. It's also why grinders often identify with transhumanism (i.e. using science and technology to transform the human body beyond its current limits) and body modifications (altering the human body for physical enhancement and/or aesthetic purposes).
Many of these individuals aspire to live well beyond a century. Time will tell, no pun intended...
4. DIY Gene TherapyA newer trend in biohacking, DIY gene therapy involves altering your own genetic material using a technique called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats). Originally, researchers used CRISPR to replace defective genes and treat/prevent health problems like sickle cell anemia.
In terms of biohacking though, professionals and amateurs use CRISPR to edit their own biology so they can optimize certain body features, like getting bigger muscles without having to go to the gym. (Whether this works or not remains to be seen.)
Risks and Ethical Considerations of Biohacking Biohacking has found footing among those who seek to push their biological limits. While some biohacking approaches may be relatively benign, like altering dietary habits or switching up your exercise routine, others may cause serious, long-lasting consequences.
Here are five reasons biohacking isn't something to be taken lightly:
  1. Risk of Unintended Side Effects: Venturing into the arena of synthetic biology, genetic modification, or nootropic usage without a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms can lead to unforeseen side effects. It’s not hyperbolic to emphasize that even minor changes at a molecular level can have far-reaching implications in the human body.
  2. Ethical and Legal Concerns: Biohacking often straddles a gray area in terms of legality and ethical consideration. The lack of regulation in certain areas of biohacking leaves individuals to experiment with biotechnologies or substances that are restricted/controlled, if not outright illegal, in many jurisdictions. Engaging in these practices can put one at odds with the law and pose moral questions that have yet to be fully addressed by society.
  3. Potential for Addiction and Dependency: Some biohackers might experiment with illicit nootropics or other “smart drugs” that promise cognitive enhancement. The risk here is not only the unknown long-term effects of these substances but also the potential for addiction or psychological dependency. There's a temptation to perceive "smart drugs" as "Limitless pills" (a reference to the drug-fueled film, Limitless), but the slope can be quite slippery as the body develops a tolerance to the drug(s) being used.
  4. Risk to the Broader Community: DIY biology labs and home-based genetic engineering aren’t just risks to the individual; they can have broader impacts on the community and environment. The accidental release of modified organisms or the misuse of biological materials can pose risks to public health and safety.
  5. Information Security Risks: Digital biohacking involves modifying technological aspects of the body, like implanted devices. The risk here extends to data security and personal privacy. A poorly secured, biohacked device could be a vector for cyber-attacks or data breaches.
Biohacking is a field rife with potentialities that are alluring, if not fantastical. For those drawn to the allure of biohacking, it's probably best to wait on the sidelines a little longer.
While the ambitious transhumanist movement could pave the way for unprecedented changes in how we live (and how long we live), proper biohacking requires a cautious, evidence-based approach, and more well-defined research.

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User Avatar Forum: General
Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 08-24-2023, 04:25 PM - Replies (9)

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  Alright...back again...
User Avatar Forum: New Member Introductions
Posted by: averagejoe37 - 08-21-2023, 09:21 PM - Replies (5)

Only for the third time in about 5 years, but that's ok.

Like last time, dad duties pulled me away to focus on the critical stuff (working, being a dad, staying in shape).

Throw in a cross-country move, a couple career pivots, a couple personal projects...

But now I'm hoping to get back in here and engage regularly like when I first joined up in 2015-ish.

At least until I can find a tribe in my new home here in Texas.

Appreciate you fellas, glad to be back.

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  Happy to be back
User Avatar Forum: New Member Introductions
Posted by: Lozo614 - 08-19-2023, 07:00 PM - Replies (5)

Hey SF,

I was a longtime member at the old site but I’ve been out of loop for awhile now and just getting back in the groove. I was wondering if this version of the SF forum is available on Tapatalk. I tried search for it but it doesn’t pop up. Does it exist on Tapatalk?

Thanks for the help! Glad to be back! I missed the SF community during my hiatus and I look forward to catching up with everyone’s progress.

Thanks SF fam!

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  Good time to buy BTC
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Posted by: TheHeMan - 08-18-2023, 09:19 PM - Replies (6)

There's a price dip on Bitcoin. Maybe a good time to buy some. I already bought $500 worth. If it goes lower I will dollar cost average even lower. Like always it will go up eventually. It's a good capital to have on hand in case there's a flash sale on HGH.

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