The GQ Guide to test boosters: which ones work, which ones don’t?

 Are they hormonal alchemy, or simply quackery?

If the bulk of bro science and gym talk is to be believed, Testosterone is, basically, the key to all human male happiness. It makes you more aggressive, it makes you more imposing and confident, and helps you work out better, grow faster, recover quicker and, in the immortal words of Anthony Bourdain, get your dick harder.

And before we get anywhere, yes, there is research to support heightened testosterone levels can be responsible for all these things, hence why pure testosterone (or one of its derivatives) is one of the most commonly used performance-enhancing drugs in the worlds of both amateur and professional sport, from sprinting to bodybuilding.

Of course, in the world of health and fitness, where there’s a real pharmaceutical solution to something, there are also a ton of legal, often herbal, natural solutions out there – some based in actual clinical research, and often far more based in “traditional medicine”, pseudoscience and straight-up bullshit.

The world of Testosterone supplements, commonly referred to as test boosters is one of the places where these two worlds intersect more than any other, with a whole host of products awash in the market aimed at helping enhance test levels so you can lift and make love at more intense levels than ever. Then get up the next day and do it all over again.

But which ones work, and which ones don’t? Here’s some research on the most commonly found test boosters out there, and what they can (or can’t) do for you.

Testosterone Injections

Straight out of the bat, it’s worth mentioning that the easiest and most effective way to raise your testosterone levels is to fill yourself with more of the hormone than you can naturally make.

Of course, we can’t advocate that you do this, but if you feel like testosterone supplementation could help you in a number of areas, consult your doctor. A little blood work may find that your test levels are down anyway, which should get you a green light to start taking the hormone anyway. However, not all of us are that lucky or need it, which is why supplement shop-grade test boosters exist, including…

Tribulus Terrestris

Most commonly referred to as Tribulus (or Trib), Tribulus Terrestris is the scientific name of a plant also known puncture vine, also called Gokshura, caltrop and goat’s head. It’s been used for thousands of years in traditional remedies for libido and sexual potency, leading supplement companies to purport it as one of the strongest natural test boosters out there.

But does it work? Probably not, according to this clinical review from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, which looked at a 45-year span of studies on the effects of the plant on hormone levels.

“Analysis of phytochemical and pharmacological studies in humans and animals revealed an important role for TT in treating erectile dysfunction and sexual desire problems,” it reads, “however, empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that these desirable effects are due to androgen enhancing properties of TT is, at best, inconclusive, and analysis of empirical evidence from a comprehensive review of available literature proved this hypothesis wrong.”

ZMA

ZMA is basically a mixture of zinc monomethionine/asparate and magnesium aspartate, aimed at increasing Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 levels in the body. It’s become a pretty popular supplement recently, with some claiming it has benefits as a sleep aid (and you do get some pretty crazy dreams when you take it, we’ve found), while some marketing has also advocated that it can help support testosterone levels and speed up recovery. However, the effects of ZMA on test levels seem to be inconclusive at best.

According to a study performed by the German Sport University of Cologne, ZMA supplementation had no effect on levels of serum testosterone in the body on people who already ate enough Zinc anyway.

Another study, conducted at Baylor University on 42 experienced lifters, threw up results that “do not support contentions that ZMA supplementation increases zinc or magnesium status and/or affects training adaptations in experienced resistance trained males with normal zinc status.” The effects on people with lower Zinc levels may be different, but eat enough Zinc, and for the most part it seems that you can do without ZMA.

Fenugreek

Aside from largely being delicious in a herb mix sprinkled on chips, the jury is still very much out on whether Fenugreek, which has long been sold as a natural test booster, is any more useful for boosting testosterone than a bottle of Masterfoods Italian Seasoning.

A number of studies [1] [2] [3] [4] have found that proprietary extracts of fenugreek seeds improved free testosterone levels in middle-aged men, largely between the ages of 35 and 70, while another study from Baylor University found that over an 8 week training period, a “proprietary Fenugreek extraction had a significant impact on both upper- and lower-body strength and body composition in comparison to placebo in a double-blind controlled trial.”

D-Aspartic Acid

D-AA is an amino acid that’s commonly found in test booster concoctions and estrogen blockers, with pretty abundant research finding that the acid can have a pretty marked effect on hormone levels in lab rats, largely due to the fact that its role as an amino acid works in the endocrine (hormone production) system as opposed to that of building muscle. In humans, however, scientists are not so sure.

A team of Italian scientists found that “in humans and rats, sodium D-aspartate induces an enhancement of LH and testosterone release”, while researchers from UWS found that daily dose of six grams of d-aspartic acid actually decreased levels of total testosterone and free testosterone (D6), without any concurrent change in other hormones measured, while three grams of d-aspartic acid had no significant effect on either testosterone markers.

However, D-AA may be good for Sperm potency, with another team of Italians finding that supplementation increased the sperm count of tested individuals by over 50%.

[Via GQ]

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WATCH: DJ K-$ talks gender, music and fashion

Taking over music festivals and dancefloors around the country, K.dollahz is a force to be reckoned with.

Kalo a.ka K Dollahz is becoming a household name in the South African music industry. If you haven’t heard of him by now, you better ask somebody

Kalo Canterbury, 25, from Cape Town, oozes an effortlessly-cool sense of style.  With one of the most popping Instagram pages to follow right now, Kalo also uses this platform to educate his followers about his journey as a trans man, living his truth and sharing glimpses of his relationship with model and makeup artist Syndey Davy. Kalo is unapologetic and real and we are obsessed.

Watch as we sat down at H&M Studio with K Dollahz to talk gender activism, music and fashion.

Kalo was kind enough to cook up a killer mix for you to bump your head to while you’re stuck in traffic, prepping dinner, or while you’re ready to hit the town.

Listen here: 

Videographer / Editing: Robin Jones @Robinpartyjones
Producer: Junaid Samaai @Jsamurai
Photographer: Kyle Strydom @koncept.kyle 
Clothes by H&M South Africa

To find out if K Dollahz will be playing a set in your area code, follow him on IG – @K.Dollahz and Twitter – @kdollahz

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Drake’s In My Feelings video features Dua Lipa and Will Smith

Drake recruited Will Smith, Dua Lipa and more for his promo for his latest single ‘In My Feelings’.

The Canadian rapper released the visuals for his latest track from his chart-topping album Scorpion, which sees the ‘God’s Plan’ hitmaker get famous faces to take part in the viral dance challenge for the track, which has seen fans take to social media sharing clips of them doing dance moves to mirror the lyrics.Part of the video sees Drake wake up in a trailer, saying: ‘I had this dream that I made this song, and then this kid from New York did some dance to it … and then the world did the dance. And Will Smith was there. No-one would stop. It was terrible.’

The ‘Men in Black’ star, ‘New Rules’ hitmaker and R&B star make cameo appearances alongside the likes of rapper DJ Khaled, American television personality Ryan Seacrest and the cast of the reality series ‘Queer Eye’.

The dance craze’s creator, Shiggy, also features.

Besides referencing the viral challenge, Drake pays homage to New Orleans and addresses his relationship with his first love, ex-girlfriend Keshia Chante.

The ‘In My Feelings’ promo follows the video for ‘I’m Upset‘, which features several of his former castmates from his days in the Canadian drama TV series ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’.

Scorpion follows Drake’s EP Scary Hours, single ‘Nice for What’ and the mixtape More Life from March 2017.

Watch the video below:

The post Drake’s In My Feelings video features Dua Lipa and Will Smith appeared first on GQ South Africa.

Daniel Ricciardo to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Australian advises the team he will leave at the end of the 2018 season.

Having joined the Red Bull family in 2008 as a member of the Red Bull Junior Team, with whom he won numerous junior titles, Ricciardo made his F1 debut in 2011 at the British Grand Prix. After two seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso, Ricciardo joined Red Bull Racing in 2014 and to date has brought the team seven victories, 29 podium finishes, two pole positions and 904 championship points.

Commenting on Ricciardo’s decision, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said: ‘We fully respect Daniel’s decision to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and we wish him all the best in his future. We would like to thank him for his dedication and the role he has played since joining the Team in 2014, the highlights, of course, being the seven wins and the 29 podiums he has achieved so far with us.

‘We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season. In the meantime, there are still nine races left in 2018 and we are fully focused on maximizing every opportunity for Max and Daniel for the remainder of the season.’

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Shawn Mendes and Drake dominate iHeartRadio Awards nominations

Shawn Mendes and Drake dominate the nominations for the 2018 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards.

The 19-year-old Canadian pop hunk has a total of eight nods, including Video of the Year for ‘In My Blood’, which is also up for Best Director, Best Pop Artist, Artist of the Year and Best Collaboration for ‘Youth’ featuring Khalid.Rapper Drake, 31, follows behind with seven nods, and will battle it out with Shawn’s ‘In My Blood’, Halsey’s ‘Bad at Love’, Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left to Cry’, Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’, and ‘1.800.273.8255’, Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid for Video of the Year.

For Artist of the Year, both stars will go head-to-head with Cardi B, Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello and Post Malone.

The ‘Hotline Bling’ rapper is also nominated for Best Hip-Hop Artist alongside Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce and Jay-Z (The Carters).

Drake’s ‘Nice for What’ is also shortlisted for Song of the Summer, which also features Zedd and Maren Morris ‘The Middle’, Marshmello and Anne-Marie ‘Friends’, Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin ‘I Like It’, Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line ‘Meant to Be’ and Loud Luxury ‘Bold’.

The winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony in Toronto, Canada, on August 24.

The glitzy bash will be hosted by Ocean’s 8 star Awkwafina and will see performances from Shawn, Alessia Cara, Halsey and Marshmello.

The 2018 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards nominees are as follows:

Video of the Year

Shawn Mendes, ‘In My Blood’

Halsey – ‘Bad at Love’

Childish Gambino – This is America’

Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left to Cry’

Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – ‘1.800.273.8255’

Drake – ‘God’s Plan’

Best EDM/Dance Artist or Group

Sofi Tukker

Loud Luxury

Calvin Harris

Marshmello

Zedd

Kygo

Best Pop Artist or Group

Meghan Trainor

Shawn Mendes

Ed Sheeran

Halsey

Alessia Cara

Camila Cabello

Best Rock/Alternative Artist or Group

Imagine Dragons

Chvrches

Arcade Fire

Portugal. The Man

Foo Fighters

Arkells

Best Hip-Hop Artist or Group

The Carters

Drake

Post Malone

Cardi B

Kendrick Lamar

Childish Gambino

Artist of the Year

Cardi B

Drake

Camila Cabello

Ed Sheeran

Shawn Mendes

Post Malone

The post Shawn Mendes and Drake dominate iHeartRadio Awards nominations appeared first on GQ South Africa.

6 pull-up alternatives to help you bust through plateaus

You know you swing your legs too much. Let our friendly fitness pros help.

Are you one of these people who never swings their legs during pull-ups, strenuously avoiding reliance on that tiny bit of momentum that allows you to cheat your way to the top of the motion? Are you? Cool! You are probably lying to yourself and should talk to someone about that. When done correctly pull-ups are great. But even if you do somehow manage to keep your torso perfectly still, though, the pull-up bar is always way too crowded—and never wiped down—meaning you have to make every. Rep. Count. Here, we asked some of our favorite trainers for their favorite pull-up alternatives.

Idalis Velazquez: Mixed-grip negative pull-ups. Use an overhand grip with one hand and an underhand grip with the other to develop strength in the upper back, the posterior shoulder region, and the arms. This arrangement also adds a torso rotational component to the movement, challenging your muscles in a new way. By placing the focus on the negative phase—that’s the lowering part, not the pull-up part—using a slow and controlled motion, you cause greater muscle tissue breakdown than you would using regular concentric training, which helps you build size and bust through plateaus.

Ben Booker: Incorporate a helping hand. It’s hard to beat the pull-up for upper body development, but if you’re struggling towards the end of sets, using assistance bands on the pull-up bar is a great way to reach the rep range your program calls for. And if the bands don’t do the trick, go to a lat pulldown machine, which allows you to complete the same motion with less than your full body weight. Try different hand positions on the bar every time, and pull the bar down below the chin every time.

Jay Cardiello: Pull-up to chin-up switches. Perform a regular pull-up, but as you get higher, pull your elbows as fast as you can in towards your sides, while driving your hips towards the ceiling. At the highest point, rotate (quickly!) your hands from a pull-up grip to a chin-up grip. Switch back and forth for as many repetitions as possible within a 30-second time frame.

Gideon Akande: TRX-assisted muscle ups. Muscle-ups—that pull-up-to-triceps-dip maneuver that works your entire upper body—are hard as hell, but the TRX suspension trainer makes them more manageable, allowing you to control the difficulty level by adjusting your body angle. No matter how fatigued you might feel, this element of flexibility allows you to work in one more rep.

Alexia ClarkAlternating engaged lat pulldown. Hold the handles of a resistance band or cable machine and start in an engaged position—arms already down by your sides in mid-pull. Alternate by letting one cable or resistance band end go up and then pull it down like a lat pulldown, and repeat on the other side once your first motion is complete. Alternating arms while keeping the other side constantly engaged will help improve your muscular endurance when performing sets of conventional pull-ups.

Jennifer ForresterTRX tabletop row. Suspension training is great because you can use your body weight to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability. To get started, set the TRX at mid-length. Lay under the TRX with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms extended straight above shoulders, palms facing inwards. Exhaling, engage the core and glutes as you pull yourself upwards, drawing your elbows in towards your ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and use your back muscles and arms to bring your body off the floor, maintaining a straight line from shoulder to knee. Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.

[Via GQ]


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The new Venom trailer is a lot more serious than the last one

Tom Hardy goes dark(er).

We’re just over two months away from the long-awaited release of Venom, and the anticipation can’t be much… well, much more muted. Tom Hardy’s doing a funny voice, Riz Ahmed trying to operate in a generic villain role looks about as effective as a car trying to three-point-turn in one of those steel shipping containers, and now Venom has knives for hands? Sure. Let’s go with it.

Gone is the relative fun-loving jauntiness of the first trailer, in which Eddie Brock murdered a bunch of henchmen against his will and then rode a motorcycle. Now it’s all bleakness, all the time, with a hint of that smug, self-satisfied tone Deadpool helped popularize. “There are enough superheroes,” the trailer tells us at one point. Yeah, and there are enough movies about haunted “badasses” that feature terrible CGI, too.

Watch the trailer below:

[Via GQ]

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