O2TL News

Deca Pro – A sneak peek

Monday, June 4th, 2018


Late last month, Stack3d broke the news about our newest project: Deca Pro 10-Source Protein Matrix .


We expect the Deca Pro to be available for purchase here in just a few days. In the meantime, here’s a little more detail about this exciting new product:


  • MADE WITH THE BEST PROTEINS. Deca Pro combines the most premium and nutritionally powerful proteins to maximize anabolic and anti-catabolic synergies. Uniting 10 exceptional forms of whey, casein, and egg not only maximizes the collective amino acid profile, promotes positive nitrogen balance, and prolongs muscle protein synthesis (MPS).


  • TOTAL TRANSPARENCY.  The package includes a detailed breakout of percentage of each protein within the 10-source matrix and the ingredient listing does not group individual variants into blends. Deca Pro costs a little more than your average whey or casein blend, but we show you exactly why that is.





  • ADVANCED RECOVERY.  Deca Pro contains a clinically-researched enzyme blend (DigeZyme) and a boatload of occurring essential amino acids (EAAs) to help reduce markers ofmuscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so you can train harder, more often.


  • GREAT TASTE. It doesn’t taste like a milkshake. It is a milkshake – at least as far as your tastebuds are concerned. As for your muscles and midsection, they’ll benefit from the 25 grams of protein, 150 calories, and just 1 gram of sugar.


Even though Deca Pro is not available on the outofthelab.net yet, over 90% of the initial production run is already sold out. The feedback has been THAT good. We’ll obviously make more, but if you want to be among the first to try it, get yours as soon as it’s available.



Dastardly Gym Deeds to Avoid

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017



Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 10.21.23 PMLet’s face it; the gym is more than a place that you frequent from time to time; it’s a second home. And those people you spend so much time with at the gym, they’re kind of family like. (Granted, they may be from the weird side that you don’t really care for, but you don’t get to pick your family.) The point of this prolonged analogy is you should treat your gym and gym mates with some respect. Don’t be the guy or girl guilty of committing these dastardly deeds!


DEED #1: NOT WASHING YScreen Shot 2017-02-19 at 10.44.59 PMOUR HANDS – There isn’t much that’s clean in a gym, but your hands should be the exception. Clean hands help keep you and your fellow lifters healthy by preventing the spread of disease. Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, after touching the garbage bin, and especially after going to the bathroom. Oh, and while you’re in there, flush the toilet when you’re done!



DEED #2: NOT RE-RAScreen Shot 2017-02-19 at 10.21.06 PMCKING THE WEIGHTS – We know that you train like an animal, but weight room needn’t look like a pigsty when you’re done. Gyms are not self-cleaning entities. And, unless she happens to train at the same gym you do, your mom isn’t picking up after you either. So, please put the weights back on the rack when you’re done. What’s that? The weights were already like that when you got there? Be the better (wo)man and leave the gym better than you found it.



DEED #3: NOT WIPING DOWN THE EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED – According to one report, weight equipment contains over 350 times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat. Pretty gross. What’s worse, 70% of them are potentially harmful to humans. Pretty scary. Do your part and wipe down benches, boards, bars, and cable attachments that come in contact with yScreen Shot 2017-02-19 at 10.46.28 PMour skin with the antibacterial solutions provided by the gym. Even if you aren’t particularly sweaty, you’re still passing along germs. Can’t help but notice others don’t wipe things down when they’re finished? Use an antibacterial wipe on the equipment and/or cover contact surfaces with a towel before you lift. With antibiotic resistant bacterial infections on the rise, you can’t be too careful.



DEED#4: HOGGING THE GYM – Giant sets are a great way to shock the muscles into new growth. During peak hours, they’re also a great way to piss off your gym mates. Even though the New Year’s resolution herds are thinning, gyms have peak hours all year long. Avoid workouts that require monopolizing multiple many pieces of equipment, or using the same machine for too long. Demonstrate your G.I.Q. (Gym Intelligence Quotient) by saving your mega exercise stacks and ultra-endurance cardio workouts for weekends and off-peak hours when you pretty much have the gym all to yourself.Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 10.34.02 PM




Physique Tip #14 – Focus on the Negative

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

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When it comes to resistance training, negativity is actually a good thing.


Now this isn’t a license to have a bad attitude; we’re talking about the “negative” portion of each lift.


Concentric movements involve shortening the length of the muscle. Think of what happens when you perform a biceps curl. As the weight moves from your side towards your shoulder, the muscles on the front of your arm contract to form a compact ball. This is the phase of an exercise that most people focus on.


However, there’s another phase of each lift that’s also very important called the eccentric (or negative). Using our biceps curl example, the eccentric phase occurs when the muscles lengthen as the arm is lowered back down into the starting position at the side of the body.


The eccentric portion at the end of one repetition plays a key role in the concentric phase of the beginning of the repetition that immediately follows. Since the early portion of the concentric phase is a common sticking point (think about where you commonly get stuck as you attempt to increase the weight on the curl bar), building eccentric strength can be instrumental in breaking through plateaus.



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Research also suggests that combining concentric and eccentric resistance training is synergistic. When combined, the rate of muscle hypertrophy is far more effective than when one phase is omitted or the two types of training are performed separately.


THE TAKE AWAY: Rather than just letting gravity take over after completing the concentric phase, slow the weight down and focus on the eccentric portion of each repetition. Lifting is one instance where there’s a real positive in being negative.










Physique Tip #13 – The Harder You Work, The More Protein You Need

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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It’s a commonly held belief that the human body can only absorb and utilize about 20-25 grams of protein at one sitting. The absorption part of this idea is clearly false, as our G.I. tract is more than capable of digesting and processing any amount of food that we throw at it. The second part – namely, how much can be effectively utilized for muscle recovery and rebuilding – is less clear. Thankfully, new research is beginning to shed more light on this topic.


In a recent investigation, scientists subjected 30 young resistance-trained men to two full body workouts followed by protein shakes to determine the effect that different dosages had on muscle protein synthesis (MPS). After one of the workouts the men received 20 g of whey protein; upon completion of the second workout, they got a 40 g whey protein shake. Muscle biopsies were taken from all of the men 0, 180, and 300 minutes after each workout.


The findings are not only interesting, but have important implications for lifters. First, 40 grams of protein was shown to have a significantly greater effect on muscle protein synthesis than 20 g the whey shake. Second, the amount of lean body mass (LBM) the men possessed did not appear to influence the dose of whey protein required. Lastly, at least based upon this study, the overall amount of muscle tissue activated during exercise seems to be the most important determinant of the protein required to stimulate max protein synthesis. Whereas lower protein doses may be suitable for localized training, greater amounts of protein were needed to maximize the MPS response to the total body workouts used in this particular study.


The Take Away: The total amount of muscle tissue activated during a workout influences how much protein your body requires for maximum muscle protein synthesis. 20-25 g after training arms, or shoulders, or abs is probably sufficient. But bigger muscle groups and workouts that involve multiple body parts could benefit from heftier protein dosages. If your gains seem to have slowed — or worse, plateaued — try increasing the amount of protein consumed in your post-workout shake.

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Physique Tip #11 – Spice things up a bit

Thursday, January 26th, 2017


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It’s no secret that spices give foods their distinctive flavors. But, what you may not know is that like their brethren, fruits and vegetables, spices are packed with a plethora of different phytonutrients. When we consume these concentrated plant constituents powerful antioxidants and other disease-protective compounds are passed along.



While nutrition scientists haven’t identified every compound yet, let alone figured out what they do or how they all work, here are four spices that have been researched and shown to have promising benefits for lifters.




Loaded with antioxidants, cinnamon has the potential to improve body composition, athletic performance, and good health. Consumption helps offset some of the negative effects of unhealthy eating. Taken with a high fat meal, cinnamon reduced serum triglycerides by nearly 1/3 versus a cinnamon-free meal with similar nutritionals. USDScreen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.58.29 AMA led research also demonstrated that cinnamon extract helped reduce fasting blood glucose levels in obese pre-diabetic individuals after 12 weeks. Just the smell of cinnamon boosts cognitive function by improving visual-motor response and attention scores. In addition, the antioxidants in cinnamon, and its metabolites after digestion, have been shown to have protective benefits for the central nervous system.


WAYS TO GET MORE: Sprinkle liberally into coffee or tea, oatmeal, yogurt, peanut or almond butter, and protein shakes.




Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.58.41 AMMost commonly used for nausea and upset stomach, ginger significantly reduces exercise-induced pain and inflammation. And at least one study demonstrated that ginger increased testosterone concentrations.



WAYS TO GET MORE: Make ginger tea, toss fresh peeled ginger into stir fries, smoothies or salads, drink ginger ale (make sure it’s made with real ginger), eat crystallized ginger, take dietary supplements containing ginger extract.




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Regular consumption of hot peppers has been linked to healthier hearts and curtailed cancer cell activity. The capsaicinoid compounds that give peppers their heat have also been shown to significantly boost your metabolism, increase fat oxidation, and even counteract the decline in testosterone synthesis that characteristically accompanies weight loss. Most recently, researchers at the University of Vermont observed a 13% lower mortality rate in people that regularly ate chili peppers over a 20-year period.


WAYS TO GET MORE: If spicy foods aren’t your thing or you’re prone to heartburn and G.I. distress, capsaicinoid containing supplements are also available. Choose pepper extracts that are microencapsulated for easier digestion and targeted delivery.




Curcumin, the component responsible for turmeric’s bright orange-yellow color, is credited with everything from curbing heartburn to cancer. From an athletic standpoint, turmeric’s apparent ability to curtail joint pain is particularly interesting. Although the exact mechanisms of action aren’t well understood, one study actually found that the anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric extract supplements were as effective as ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

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WAYS TO GET MORE: Eat some Indian or Thai (curries are packed with turmeric), make a tea (¼-1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric in 1 cup boiling water), or add it to rice, scrambled eggs, cooked greens, soups, and smoothies.






Physique Tip #10 – Optimize Training Rest

Monday, January 23rd, 2017


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How long you should rest between sets depends upon factors like what you’re training for and how much weight you’re using. While a minute is pretty common and is probably acceptable, research suggests that longer or shorter rest periods between sets may be more optimal for your particular goals.


YOUR GOAL Adding muscle size


YOUR TRAINING Rx: Moderate resistance, moderate repetitions, and moderate rest. Building muscle requires a balance of strength and stimulus time (a.k.a. time under tension). Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 9.02.16 PMChoose weights that allow you to perform between 8-12 repetitions with good form. Rest for 60-120 seconds between sets and different exercises. Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise, and no more than 4 exercises per body part per workout to avoid overtraining.



YOUR GOAL: Enhancing muscle strength


YOUR TRAINING Rx: Heavy resistance, lower repetitions, and longer rest. It takes explosive movements with progressively larger loads to develop strength. Warm-up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio or bodyweight exercises. Choose weights that allow you to perform between 4-8 repetitions. Once you can regularly achieve 8 reps with good form, it’s time to increase the load. Rest for 180-240 seconds between sets and different exercises. Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise (not including warm-up). If you’re training hard enough with compound movements (squats, deadlifts, bench & military presses, etc.), three exercises per bodyweight should be more than enough for a single workout. Don’t exceed 2 workouts for a single body part each week.

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YOUR GOAL: Increasing muscle stamina


YOUR TRAINING Rx: Lighter resistance, higher repetitions, and shorter rest. Becoming more efficient at burning macronutrients for fuel is the key to extending muscle endurance. As energy-rich carbohydrates are broken down, organic acid byproducts like lactate are formed. Over the course of a workout, these acids accumulate in the muscles, leading to fatigue. However, with the right combination of training and rest, you can become better at clearing these acidic metabolic byproducts. Here’s how: Perform sets of 15-25 repetitions per exercise. Again, pay attention to your form. If you are unable to complete at least 15 proper repetitions, lower the weight for subsequent sets. Rest only for 30-45 seconds between sets and different exercises. Perform 5 sets of each exercise, and up to 5 exercises targeting a particular muscle group.

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Physique Tip #08 – Work Inside Out

Friday, January 20th, 2017


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As a rule, you should train your body from the inside out.


Start with larger muscle groups like quads, glutes, lats, and pecs before moving on to the smaller muscles in the shoulders, arms, calves, or abs. The rational for this is pretty simple: smaller muscles fatigue more quickly than larger muscle groups. So, if you train a body part with smaller muscles, say forearms, and then proceed to work back or chest, your grip is going to fail long before the these body parts get a true workout.


Unless you’re completely new to the iron game, you probably use (or at least have heard about) training splits. Training splits divide the various muscle groups into different workouts throughout the week. The more frequently you train, the fewer body parts are covered in each workout.


Here’s an example of a 4-day training split:


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Notice how each day starts with a more heavily muscled body part and moves away from the center of the body towards the smaller muscle groups on the periphery. Again, the goal is to work the biggest body part earliest in each training session when you’re freshest and strongest. The smaller muscles in the arms, delts, and lower legs will get pre-exhausted playing a supporting role in the heavier compound movements for the larger body parts. As a result, you won’t need to perform as many sets or different isolation exercises for smaller muscle groups.


Like all rules, there are exceptions to this one. For example, even though the abdominals are centrally located, exercises for this muscle group are generally performed at the end of each workout to preserve core stability for other lifts. Likewise, if you have a lagging body part, for instance, small shoulders sandwiched between a broad chest and big arms, it may make sense to prioritize delts in your workouts to balance out your proportions. The same logic applies to functional strength needed for sport. Hit the most important groups earlier in your workout while fatigue is lowest and muscle performance is at its peak.


Physique Tip #06 – Form First

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

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In the beginning, progress in the gym comes quickly. Enthusiasm is high, commitment levels strong, and your body is receptive to the challenge. However, lifting isn’t always a linear process. There are days when you’ll be strong and others where you struggle to manage the same weights used for the previous workout. It’s easy to get impatient, but scientists call it ‘progressive resistance’ for a reason; physique development is the culmination of thousands of slightly more challenging repetitions conducted over long periods of time.


While most people will make gains with just about any old workout (regardless of the manner in which they perform the exercises) when first starting out, progress plateaus pretty quickly without learning correct form.


Form is akin to the base of a building. It’s the foundation that one builds upon. When you have a weak foundation, the rest of the structure is shaky and doomed to collapse. Likewise, if you fail to learn and use proper execution for different exercises, your size and strength will be limited as you attempt to increase the resistance. Even worse, bad training form may underemphasize the intended muscle group (e.g., bench press that burns your front delts and tris more than pecs) and can even lead to injury.


The Good Training FORMula

Before you Lift:

  • Learn how to perform each exercise correctly. Check out reputable fitness magazines and websites for “how to” photos or videos illustrating the proper execution. Alternatively, consider hiring a qualified personal trainer for a few workouts to teach you.


  • Prepare yourself for the lift that you are about to perform by visualizing the motion in your head, orientating your body appropriately, and running through the motion without any added resistance.



During the Lift:

  • Start with light to moderate weight and perform the exercise with controlled movement.


  • Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 10.08.08 AMFocus on your breathing. Inhale on the concentric, or positive, part of the movement and exhale immediately after the negative portion of the lift.



  • Make sure that you feel “the burn” in the intended muscle groups. Pain – especially acute pain – in your joints is a strong sign that you are doing an exercise incorrectly.



Take the time to learn good form. A little patience in the beginning will pay serious dividends down the road.




Physique Tip #05 – Load up on Leucine

Monday, January 16th, 2017

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While each of the 22 or so amino acids commonly found in our diet is valuable in its own way, leucine is arguably the most important. Leucine is one the branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, and is essential because we cannot synthesize this molecule in our bodies; it must be obtained through foods or supplementation.


Leucine is found in all protein containing foods, but at very varying concentrations and differing levels of availability. Proteins that are considered to have high biological values (BV) are very rich in leucine AND highly digestible. Lesser quality proteins with lower concentrations of leucine and/or containing other components that interfere with leucine absorption must be consumed in larger quantities to provide sufficient amounts for optimized muscle development and performance.


What makes leucine so Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 12.39.56 PMimportant? Leucine appears to have a greater stimulatory effect on muscle protein synthesis than any other amino acid. At the same time, this particular BCAA seems to decrease existing muscle protein breakdown. Moreover, the activating and protective benefits have been observed to occur independently of other essential amino acids (EAAs), leading scientists to believe that leucine is largely responsible for the anabolic and anticatibolic benefits of consuming a high protein diet.


As an avid lifter, the benefits of anything that helps facilitate new muscle building while protecting the muscle that you’ve worked so hard to amass is pretty obvious – particularly when you consider the safety, legality, and availability of the compound in question. But leucine may play equally important health roles by preserving lean muscle mass in the elderly and facilitating better blood sugar control and weight-loss in obese populations.


Good sources of leucine include (approximates per 100 g portion): native whey protein isolate (13 g), whey protein concentrate (9 g), dried egg whites (6.8 g), soy protein isolate (6.8 g), nonfat dry milk (3.5 g), soybeans (3.3 g), lean beef (3.2 g), chicken breast (2.6 g), turkey breast (2.6 g), lean pork (2.5 g), reduced fat cheese (2.4 g), anchovy (2.3 g), canned tuna (2.3 g), cottage cheese (1.2 g), whole egg (1.1 g), Greek yogurt (0.5 g), Nonfat milk (0.3 g)

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How much leucine you need depends on factors like your age, how active you are, your personal goals (strength, endurance, overall muscle accumulation, general health, etc.), but a 2-5 gram (2,000-5,000 mg) dose, taken several times throughout the day, seems to be effective for most. If you’re dieting, consider taking greater amounts more frequently to minimize loss of lean mass.


A typical protein shake containing 24 grams of protein, ¾ cup of canned tuna, 6 oz chicken breast, 5 oz of lean beef, and a serving of 2:1:1 BCAA powder each deliver about 2.5 grams of leucine. Spreading your leucine intake out (e.g., 5 g leucine taken 4-5 times daily) is more effective than taking 20 g twice a day. Also, make sure that you Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 12.40.23 PMare getting enough total protein to ensure that your body has access to the building blocks needed for muscle accretion signaled by increased leucine ingestion.







Physique Tip #04 – Grow Green

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

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If they’re not already, non-starchy vegetables should become a mainstay in your plan. They’re low in calories, loaded with water and fiber (the volume of which, assists with hunger control), and high in vitamins and minerals.


Veggies are also packed with with powerful disease-fighting compounds call phytonutrients. In nature, these colorful compounds protect plants from UV radiation, insect infestation, and microbial damage. Many of the protective benefits carry over to us when we eat and digest these foods.


Scientists have discovered thousands of different phytonutrients in a just about every plant food that you can think of. And they’re just scratching the surface in terms of how many there are and all the different ways that they may be important to optimal health and performance.


Here’s a very cursory overview of some of the links that have been made thus far:


  • Isothiocynates found in green vegetables induce liver enzymes that assist in the detoxifying of carcinogens
  • Lycopene, found in red vegetables, has antioxidant properties that protect the heart and prostate
  • Lutein in orange, yellow and green foods keeps vision sharp
  • Catechins found in tea, coffee, grapes, and dark chocolate assist with blood sugar regulation, fend off disease, and provide a metabolic boost
  • Onions and garlic contain bioflavonoids and alkyl sulfide linked to protection against heart disease and certain cancers


Since different color vegetables provide an array of phytonutrients, you should incorporate as many types of produce into your routine as your budget and palate will permit. The greater the variety of colors you eat, the better your overall health is likely to be.



If you’re new to eating veggies that don’t rhyme with “trench size” or “catch yup,” start off slowly. Too much fiber too quickly can lead to some gas and G.I. discomfort. Gradually increase to target 2-3 portions (roughly equal to the size of the palm of your hand) of non-starchy vegetables at every meal.