Wednesday, 03 June 2015 11:11
A Brazilian bodybuilder said chemical injections helped him bulk up to an incredible size -- but also ultimately brought him close to danger.
In an online video for Barcroft Media, and on a Portuguese-language talk show, bodybuilder Romario dos Santos Alves of Goiania, Brazil, said he started using a chemical called synthol to help him get larger and larger muscles.
Santos Alves said on the Brazilian talk show "Hoje Em Dia" that by injecting the synthetic substance, he was able to bulk up his biceps size to more than 62 centimeters in circumference. He said his own skin wouldn't stretch anymore over his enormous muscles, but he became addicted to getting larger.
"Sometimes kids come up to me saying, 'Mom it’s the Hulk, the Hulk.' And they hug me, take a photo of me and that’s good," he said in the Barcroft video.
On the Brazilian TV clip, Santos Alves pointed out a part of his bicep that had been injured, causing muscle tissue to migrate.
The Brazilian bodybuilder could not be reached for comment and his medical claims could not be independently verified.
Synthol, mainly made up of oil, has been used by bodybuilders to pump up muscles in the past, sometimes with dangerous results.
In a 2012-published medical case study, a 29-year-old man had to undergo surgery after synthol injections left him with deforming lesions in his muscle. The study authors described the effects caused by the drug as a distinct "Swiss cheese effect."
Over years, the drug weakened the muscles and created tremendous pain for the patient, who had felt pressured to take the drug to appear larger, according to the study authors.
The drug doesn't work like steroids, but is more like a temporary implant that physically makes muscles larger.
In 2007, Ron Harris, a bodybuilder and fitness author, told ABC News those taking synthol had ended up with "weird lumps and bumps, as well as an almost bizarre shape to the muscle."
"There are some instances of absolutely freakish appearance because of it," he said in 2007. "The fact that a lot of individuals have this bizarre appearance shows that there is an attraction there, even if it is the same type of attraction you'd see at a bad car wreck."
In Santos Alves' case, he said on the Barcroft video that the injections over years had led to massive muscles but also to potentially dangerous complications. The injections had left him with "rock"-like deposits in his muscles, he said.
Dr. Alan Matarasso, a plastic surgeon in New York, did not work on Santos Alves, but said injectables can cause dangerous or even deadly consequences.
"Injections are a huge problems," said Matarasso. "Most of the injections that are put in if they're not medical grade you can’t get them out."
Matarasso said that by injecting the very vascular muscle area, bodybuilders or others using synthol as an injectable are at risk for serious complications including stroke and gangrene.
"If it goes into blood vessel, it can circulate in the body and give you a stroke and can cut off blood supply so that an area doesn’t get blood," said Matarasso. "It turns black and those are the risks of any injectable product."
Matarasso said the danger is even greater in muscles because they have many vessels than can move the material. He warned anyone considering off-market or non-approved injectables to talk to their doctor first.
"There’s a reason if it’s not approved, and if it’s life threatening and irreversible they need to think long and hard about this," he said. "You only get one body."
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 09:52
Sensilk, a Silicon Valley-based company is testing its latest in wearable technology for woman, the Flight Tech Sports Bra. There is a lot of wearable technology available to consumers, but not many that are integrated into the wearer’s clothing, making tracking fitness workouts even easier.
This sports bra looks and feels like a regular bra, providing adequate coverage and support with moisture wicking fabric for added performance.
“The technology is already out there, but it’s not embedded into the garments,” said fashion consultant Ashley Tyler, a designer for Sensilk, which soft launched its smart bra a few weeks ago. “And it’s not soft, it’s not supple, it’s not easy.”
The Sensilk X1 Transmitter and SOAR sensor are integrated into the fabric, and track the user’s heart rate, calories burned, duration, distance, and even days used since last workout. The data is analyzed in real-time for each workout and provides the user a fitness score. The fitness score allows users to track their progress in reaching personal fitness goals, and data and workouts can be shared with others for extra motivation.
“We analyze all this information and give the woman a fitness goal and she or her trainer get to see the progress over time,” Sensilk CEO, Donald Yang told TODAY.com.
The Flight Tech Sports bra is iOS compatible and syncs with your smartphone. The one caveat is that the user must have their smartphone within Bluetooth range for the sensor to track and capture the data, something Sensilk would like to change in the future, but according to Tyler, “there’s just no way around that right now.”
Users may not see that as a problem since most listen to music on their smartphones while working out anyway. The final product will be launched this month, and has a price tag of about $140 which is not so bad when you factor in the price of a Fitbit or Jawbone that provides similar fitness tracking.
However, most women tend to buy more than one to avoid daily laundering, which could get pricey. And while this product is aimed at women, Sensilk is also developing an integrated wearable shirt for men.
Sensilk is not the first to develop integrated wearable technology, but there are still some who are not convinced that this type of wearable technology will explode. Retail analyst, Liz Dunn, asserts that wearables companies are faced with the challenge of monitoring consumer activity unobtrusively, and that this type of wearable technology will fare better if it is integrated with popular apps rather than the monitoring device.
Sensilk is a seamless smart clothing company that develops products in the areas of consumer electronics, sporting goods, health and wellness and wearable.
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 09:46
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WORK AS A FITNESS MODEL?
The impact that the fitness industry has had on fashion over the past few seasons is undeniable. With a growing number of designers tapping into the activewear market, to the "sporty chic" trend that’s taken over the runways during Fashion Month, to the growing popularity of high-end "athleisure" brands and boutiques, it’s become commonplace for even the most style-savvy women to default to workout gear and sneakers on both their off and on-duty days.
The modeling industry, which has a reputation for glorifying a waif-like body type, is beginning to shift with the trend. Just take a look at the newly revamped Self magazine, which has placed super-fit high fashion models like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Candice Swanepoel, Hilary Rhoda and Joan Smalls on recent covers. Or Victoria's Secret, which encourages its Angels and catalog girls to share photos of their frequent workouts with the hashtag #TrainLikeAnAngel. Much like in the realm of luxury fashion, these women represent an aspirational lifestyle — although they might sooner encourage consumers to sign up for a gym membership than to invest in the latest "It" bag — and while many fashion brands (and big-name models) have hopped on the fitness bandwagon lately, there's long been a sector of the modeling world that's focused solely on selling an active, healthy way of life.
Activewear brands typically look to fitness models for their e-commerce shoots and ad campaigns, and while the job description may be similar to that of a fashion model, the physical requirements are vastly different. Charlee Atkins, who's posed for clients like Nike, Target and Sports Authority, and is a full-time senior instructor at SoulCycle, initially thought she wasn't tall enough to model, but was approached by a magazine editor in one of her classes who wanted to book her for a shoot. "Fitness models can be a bit shorter — in the 5'5" to 5'7" range — but last year there was a push to find models that were taller," she says. "We typically don't have as big of boobs [as commercial models] and have more of a boxy shape, but it depends on what your fitness specialty is, like dancing, boxing or yoga."
Much like fashion models, fitness models spend much of their time at go-sees with clients, but since shoots are extremely physical, they're asked to do more than just show off their walks or try on clothing. "Each casting is different, but they all want to see you in activewear and to see how your muscles work — we basically wear no clothes," Atkins says. "Most clients want to see a squat, a lunge, pushups or burpees. The reason why fitness modeling popped off is because they needed women who could hold poses for longer."
Julie "Jaws" Nelson, a professional dancer and SoulCycle instructor whose clients include Reebok, Athleta and Under Armour, agrees that this stamina is a key difference between her job and that of a fashion model. "They might ask you to hold a plank for 40 shots while your hair is in your face — after a shoot I’m really sore," Nelson says. "You have to be able to follow through and do the workout. Some fashion models might not have the strength to do what photographers and brands need to get the shot. It's all about endurance." Fellow Wilhelmina model Jess Cadden Osbourne, a Radio City Rockette and instructor at Flex Studios in New York, tells us that she's had to do yoga for eight hours straight on a job — holding each pose for up to three minutes — and once ran on a track from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a Runner's World editorial.
Many fitness models are employed as trainers, dancers or teachers at a studio; in fact, according to Topher DesPres, the director of the fitness division at Wilhelmina, upwards of 60 percent of the men and women on the board also work as an instructor. However, they're also encouraged to explore new types of exercise and are given free passes to classes through their agencies. It's often at these studios where they're scouted — especially now that so many publications and brands are interested in the fitness phenomenon and buzz spreads to the right ears when it comes to top instructors. Atkins notes that while every model has his or her own area of expertise, practicing yoga or Pilates is key when it comes to prepping for physically strenuous shoots. "The photographers love angle shots, so models should do workouts regularly that lengthen the body and open up the hips so you can hold those poses," she says
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 09:37
Many new moms have tried to shed their postpartum baby weight by sticking to a diet and starting an exercise regimen.
Emily Moyer had already done that – twice – and was looking for something more challenging after having her third child last August. A health scare for her husband, Jeff, pushed Emily to go “way beyond” her comfort zone and enter a bikini bodybuilding competition.
“I like to try to prove a point – I’m a mom, but maybe I kind of over compensated,” Moyer said with a laugh. “After each kid, I’ve gotten in even better shape.”
This winter she started training for the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation competition.
Moyer went on to win not only the novice division, but took top honors in the women’s bikini division. She credits her husband’s support and a consistent training plan with her success, and hopes to enter another competition this fall, with a goal of making it to the international stage later this year.
Moyer said consistency was important to her training program, but it was something completely unexpected that was the catalyst for seriously training for the competition. Her husband, Jeff, had been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, underwent surgery and was recovering in the months leading up to the May 2 competition.
“This year was kind of our year where it’s like … anything we’ve been putting off – just do it.”
Emily said Jeff had been supportive of her goal throughout his own ordeal and proudly tells people he’s married to a professional athlete now.
“He was six-week post surgery when we had the competition,” Moyer said. “There were times where I was like, ‘There’s no way.’”
But Moyer credited her training plan with Mike Wendorf from Level Up Fitness as part of her success even though she took time off from training to help her husband after his surgery.
“The biggest piece of advice is consistency,” Moyer said.
Moyer has a degree in health promotions from UW-Platteville and runs a Beachbody online health and wellness business from her home, so she’s familiar with diet and exercise programs.
Moyer spent an hour a day, five days per week training for the competition. From January through April, she did most of her training at home. After Level Up opened in April, Moyer was able to do more of her training sessions at the gym because they offer childcare, she said. The program was primarily weightlifting.
“I hate cardio, so I don’t do much of it,” Moyer said.
The biggest part of her training, however, was diet.
“Diet is always number one in order to change your body composition,” Moyer said.
Keeping a regular healthy diet wasn’t time-consuming, but it did require planning. And for the most part, her family was eating those healthy meals with her.
“Most of the time I wasn’t making separate meals for myself,” Moyer said. “My family eats what I eat.”
Moyer said her diet is strict and focus on eating whole, mostly unprocessed foods.
“I would have a treat here or there,” she said. “It was strict, but it’s all in balance.”
Winning it all
The hard work paid off, however, as Moyer was able to win two divisions and earn a chance to compete as professional bodybuilder this year.
Moyer entered and won two categories – one as a novice and one “open” category for any competitor. Female bodybuilders can try to compete in different divisions of bodybuilding, including bikini body, figure, fit body and bodybuilding.
In the bikini division, judges look for things like muscle symmetry, tone, fitness and balance, as well as beauty components like hair, makeup and nails. The competition was “terrifying” Moyer said, adding that she had never been on stage in her life.
“I rarely wear heels,” she said. “I wanted to go out there and not trip.”
Moyer said she was drawn to the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation competition because it tests participants for unnatural substances, unlike some other competitions. The WNBF bans anabolic steroids, growth hormones, prescription diuretics and amphetamines and other stimulants.
“Being a mom, I thought it was really important that they know that I’m doing something all natural and that it can be done without any additive help from drugs,” she said.
Now that she has her pro card, Moyer said she plans to compete this fall in competition in Georgia.
Depending on how that show goes, she could compete in the WNBF world championships slated for Nov. 13-14, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The Moyers have plans to have another child after the competition. But that doesn’t mean Emily is done bodybuilding.
“(We’ll have) one more kid and take a year off,” Moyer said. “It’ll be a sport I can continue doing forever.”