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Jon Franklin is a freelance author and a great source for information on supplements that will help you pre and post work-out. He provides information how to use supplements, what supplements are best to use for your desired result, and general information on work-out supplements.

The Power of Beta Alanine Supplements

If you’ve worked out for any amount time, especially if you are someone who is first starting off, it’s fair to assume you’ve hit a wall at some point in your routine where you couldn’t continue.

 

We’ve all been there.

 

And if any of those workouts have been particularly intense, that wall is usually dropped on you and lit on fire…so to speak.

 

beta alanine preworkout supplementYour muscles are screaming in agony, you can’t quite catch your breath, and your legs are nailing their impression of a newborn deer.

 

This is all actually fantastic most of the time, because if you begin hurting in places you didn’t know existed (barring an injury, of course), it means you are strengthening your body and pushing it to new limits, little by little. This is how fitness works for the most part.

 

For obvious reasons, most people don’t want to actually feel their muscles burning while they’re lifting. The buildup of lactic acid does nothing for them aside from act as a reminder of how much easier it is to be at home on the couch.

 

Those people wouldn’t be better off on the couch, but they would do great with adding a supplement to their routine that can fight muscle fatigue and offers a laundry list of benefits. A supplement that can offer you all of the gain of an intense workout without having to suffer through the pain, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Beta Alanine Benefits before a Workout

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is the modified version of alanine. While dosage timing isn’t too important with beta-alanine, it’s often an ingredient in preworkout supplements.

 

In a study of 360 participants, beta-alanine improved muscular endurance [1]. Even if you do happen to enjoy the burn of a high-rep set or HIIT, beta-alanine has something to offer you as well, like allowing you to exercise even harder than you already do. One study looked at two groups of athletes, all previously trained. After 8 weeks of HIIT, sprints, and resistance training, both groups supplementing with beta-alanine had added muscle mass and lost fat while improving their performance outputs [2].

 

If endurance exercise is your thing, one study showed this amino acid improved anaerobic capacity in elite swimmers when taken at doses of 4.8 g/day [3]. Other studies on athletes resulted in increased exercise capacity and decreased time to fatigue [4,5].

 

So it increases strength, work output, anaerobic capacity, muscular endurance, and lean mass, but that’s not quite all.

Beta Alanine and Creatine

Another benefit is beta-alanine’s ability to improve the effectiveness of creatine. You may even be taking this preworkout supplement already.

 

During a 10-week lifting program, strength, power, body composition, and endocrine changes were examined in collegiate football athletes. Some subjects received a placebo, some creatine, and others a combination of creatine and beta-alanine. The group supplementing with both beta-alanine and creatine had great changes in lean body mass, body fat percent, and strength, without causing any hormonal changes [6].

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270875
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21659893
  3. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/4/10/1441
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407127
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19083385
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17136944/

Curcumin and Muscle Recovery

curcumin-supplementCurcumin, the yellow pigment associated with curry spice (Turmeric), is gaining increasing popularity among athletes and those who engage in intense workouts because of its incredible ability to enhance muscle recovery.

 

While curcumin provides a number of health benefits resulting from its anti-microbial and antioxidant properties, the anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects of this polyphenol make it an ideal addition to any athlete’s supplement diet.

Curcumin as an Anti-Inflammatory
Supplement

One review notes that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular component of traditional Chinese medicine as well as Ayurvedic medicine, one of the oldest holistic healing systems developed thousands of years ago in India. [1] Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties come from its ability to “down-regulate the activity of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) enzymes; inhibits the production of the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin (IL) -1, -2, -6, -8, and -12, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP), and migration inhibitory protein; and down-regulates mitogen-activated and Janus kinases.” [1] In simpler terms, it blocks the production of enzymes that cause inflammation and stimulates those that block it.

Curcumin and Joint Health

Animal studies show that curcumin is capable of reducing inflammation in mice with edema, rheumatoid arthritis, and those that experienced muscosal injury from experimentally-induced colitis. [1] The success of these studies prompted scientists to explore the anti-inflammatory impacts of curcumin on humans with similar conditions. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis took 1200 mg of curcumin daily and experienced reductions in joint swelling and morning stiffness as well as improvements in walking time. [1]

Curcumin and Muscle Recovery

Curcumin reduces problems associated with chronic conditions characterized by inflammation. This has made curcumin an obvious choice for those who require recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. An investigation in the American Journal of Physiology in 2007 notes that muscle-damaging exercise can cause an increase in inflammatory cytokines in the working muscle, something that curcumin inhibits. [2]

 

The investigation studied the effect that curcumin had on mice subjected to both treadmill and wheel running.  It found that curcumin speeds recovery of exercise-induced muscle damage resulting from those exercises. [2] The study concluded that all-natural curcumin would be a better alternative to anti-inflammatory NSAIDs such as ibuprofen which can degrade the lining of the stomach. [2]

Curcumin and Piperine

It’s worth noting that if you enjoy Indian food and eat it often, you are already treating your body to curcumin’s many digestive health benefits. Unfortunately, curcumin’s poor oral bioavailability allows for limited absorption. This means much of what you consume does not get absorbed into the blood. This inhibits curcumin’s many systematic benefits including the anti-inflammatory ones.

 

Thankfully, you can attenuate this issue with the aid of black pepper extract, piperine, or complex versions of Curcumin. These supplements enhance curcumin’s bioavailability so that individuals taking one of these combinations see a positive impact from curcumin on their systematic health. This is particularly true for athletes who suffer from muscle fatigue.

Sources

  1. http://www.ibcleende.com/Curcumin.PDF
  2. http://www.mccordresearch.com/sites/default/files/research/Curcumin-Inflammation.pdf
bicyclist

Ashwagandha for Cardiorespiratory Endurance

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries for its mood-boosting capabilities. Ashwagandha gained its popularity as a stress reducing adaptogen, but researchers are discovering many other benefits of ashwagandha supplementation. This is now a popular extract in the fitness community because of its ability to boost cardio endurance, reduce soreness, and increase strength.

How Ashwagandha Improves Cardiorespiratory Health

Ashwagandha supplementation increases VO2 max which is the amount of oxygen an athlete can consume. With VO2 max increased, athletes are able to participate longer in cardiovascular exercise. This is a huge benefit for runners, swimmers, cyclists, and other endurance athletes. Weightlifters also benefit from VO2 max because it increases the number and size of the cell’s mitochondria. This cell center is responsible for nutrient absorption, nutrient delivery, and cellular energy. This increase in mitochondrial performance allows for increased strength and muscle size.

Have you noticed a new ingredient called KSM-66 being added to exercise enhancing products? KSM-66 is a highly concentrated form of ashwagandha added for its performance enhancing properties. This extract can be stacked with several other supplements to further increase its benefits which is why it is becoming a go-to addition to popular workout supplements from companies like GNC and Cellucor.

Additional Athletic Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha increases motivation, reduces stress, and promotes a positive sense of well-being. Everyone can use a boost in motivation when it comes to getting up and going to the gym after a long day at work. This extract also acts as an anti-inflammatory so soreness felt after intense exercise will be reduced and it will take longer to become fatigued.

How to Take Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha can be taken pre workout to gain an edge over the competition or taken daily for a mood boost. The recommended dosage is 500mg and can be taken up to three times daily. If taken correctly, ashwagandha causes little to no negative side effects.

Try It

If you are looking for an extra push to get through high-intensity exercise, consider adding some ashwagandha into your pre workout mix for a performance and motivation boost. Ashwagandha is pretty easy to find and is fairly cheap. You can find it in bulk powder, capsules, and in premixed workout supplements.

Top Supplements for Gaining Muscle

supplements for gainsAdding supplements to your diet and exercise routine may give you the extra edge you need. Certain supplements improve your workout intensity, boost your strength, and even help to pack on muscle. Your body requires proper hormonal balance and certain nutrients to build a strong foundation. Many new bodybuilders make the mistake of jumping on the steroid wagon without researching all the negative side effects.

 

Natural supplements are the way to go if you are looking to gain muscle, feel better, and not suffer the negative consequences of steroid use. So Drop the Dbol and take a look at these top supplements to start growing.

Agmatine

Getting the most out of your workout is crucial when It comes to muscle gain. Adding a vasodilator like agmatine increases nitric oxide levels to allow more nutrient delivery to the muscles. If you are striving for that extra pump, agmatine should be your pre workout addition of choice. Agmatine is more potent and faster acting than other vasodilators like arginine and citrulline. You can use agmatine with other pre workout enhancers like caffeine.

Phosphatidic Acid

Phosphatidic acid is a great supplement that does not get enough attention. If you’re after muscle gains, focus on products that are proven to activate mTOR signaling. So what exactly is mTOR? The mTOR pathway is crucial for the delivery of amino acids and growth factors. When mTOR activation is taking place, the body will remain in an anabolic state allowing for muscles to grow even after exercise.

 

Phosphatidic acid also protects muscle cells from the damage that occurs from overtraining. When muscle cells are damaged workouts become less efficient, your muscles lose the inability to grow, and you will feel too sore to get to the gym the next day. At that point, you are killing yourself for nothing.

Mucuna Pruriens

Is it possible to increase growth hormone (GH) naturally without pumping your body full of foreign chemicals? Yes, mucuna pruriens has the ability to do so due to its high availability of L-Dopa. Think back to when you were growing up. As a child you probably had plenty of energy to kill, you could eat whatever you wanted and burn it off, you slept like a rock, and you woke up in the morning energized without the help of coffee. All of this is experienced due to the presence of growth hormone. As we age GH levels begin to decline so supplementation is key to keeping these levels in check.

 

Growth hormone is in charge of…growth. No, it isn’t going to make you any taller; unfortunately, that ship has sailed. It is going to improve your strength, improve recovery time, increase the size and density of your muscles, and improve your overall energy levels. This happens to be one of my favorite supplements of all time. Sometimes I take it before going to sleep (since GH levels are highest when sleeping) and I wake up in the morning ready to take on the world.

Tongkat Ali

Tongkat ali, also known as longjack, is a natural testosterone booster. Testosterone boosters are popular in the bodybuilding community because they increase growth potential and performance. Testosterone boosters also play a role in breaking down fat mass. Tongkat ali decreases the amount of cortisol production during exercise as well. Excess cortisol leads to early fatigue which will put a damper on your gym plans. As an added bonus, tongkat ali also improves performance in the bedroom.

Creatine

Creatine still remains at the top of the list for muscle building supplements. It has been used by top bodybuilders since the beginning of bodybuilding. This is because it works! Using creatine can increase strength, muscle size, and endurance. Creatine supplements also decrease the time it takes for muscles to recover from intense training.

 

There are a lot of arguments about the safety of creatine because it causes the body to retain water. Most people are not aware that cells dehydrate during exercise. Having this excess water allows muscle cells to remain hydrated so they can work longer and more efficiently.

 

There are several types of creatine available and whichever you choose depends on your goals. The most popular type of creatine is creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate retains its popularity because it is effective and easy on the wallet. Creatine monohydrate supplements increase muscle size and density quickly. For best results creatine monohydrate generally requires a loading phase of 20g for seven days followed by 5g daily.

 

Creatine HCL is another popular form of creatine. It offers the same benefits of creatine monohydrate but does not require a loading phase. Some people who use creatine monohydrate experience muscle cramps and diarrhea so they choose to use this form instead. I lean towards this form of creatine because I tend to not drink as much water as I should, and creatine monohydrate requires much more water intake. Powder City is a great place to purchase both types creatine. Their quality is top notch and their prices are super affordable.

D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic acid (DAA) is another supplement that increases testosterone levels. I can’t stress enough about the importance of proper testosterone levels when it comes to muscle growth, body composition, and energy levels. This supplement is unique because the spike in testosterone synthesis remains for a long period of time even after discontinuing the use of the supplement.

Beta Ecdysterone

Beta Ecdysterone is a one of a kind ergogenic supplement (ergogenic is just a fancy word for performance enhancing). This supplement increases muscle mass, decreases fat mass, and improves strength without touching sex hormones; however, it functions similarly to testosterone in the body. This is why Beta Ecdysterone is different from other muscle builders. This supplement boosts the effects of DAA and tongkat ali making them even more productive.

Review

Sometimes when it is time for a bulking phase we go a little overboard on the diet causing unwanted body fat. Utilizing natural supplements will allow you to experience gains without packing on fat pounds. If you want to experience improved workouts, lean muscle gains, and increased energy with minimal side effects, consider adding some of the above supplements to your routine.

 

Long Jack Extract Review: Can You Really Increases Testosterone Naturally?

Usually when the public thinks about Testosterone, we automatically think about male sex appetite. It’s much more than just that.

What is Testosterone?

Before I tell you about the benefits of testosterone, it will be good to give you an overview as to what it actually is and does. Testosterone is a hormone created by both men and women. The male testes naturally make the hormone, whereas it is converted to estrogen by the ovaries in women[3]. This important hormone is mainly responsible for sexual appetite in both genders. In men, it is also accountable for muscle, bone and hair growth. This hormone is what allows your muscles to grow and maintain strength coupled with the right workout routines.

Testosterone Gone Haywire

Normal Testosterone production for males is between 300 to 1,200 mg/dL[1]. When natural Testosterone production dips below the normal level, these are the effects on the body:

Depression
Fatigue
Dementia
Osteoporosis
Low Libido
Heart disease
Stroke
Prostate Cancer
Abdominal Obesity
Type 2 Diabetes

These conditions can make you lose focus in the gym, which slows down progress and gains. The media portrays low testosterone (Low T) to only affect older men, but men as young as 23 years old can have this hormone deficiency. Women with Low T can also have similar symptoms[2].

Higher than normal level of testosterone is also a negative. People with high testosterone can have psychological issues. Some possible physical effects are baldness and acne[5]. Proper supplementation of supplements will help reach the right testosterone level.

Longjack Extract (Tongkat Ali) Benefits

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is a natural supplement called tongkat ali extract I would like to introduce you to (it also goes by the name Longjack). Tongkat ali derives from the Eurycoma Longifolia Jack herb of South-Asia origin and has been tested to be a pro-fertility agent and aphrodisiac enhancer. It may also be an anti-estrogen and pro-erectile agent. A study where rats were injected with this supplement, showed an increase in sexuality of these mammals. Rats that were sluggish became energetic. Anxiety filled subjects were more relaxed. In a different study using a set of men taking a Longjack supplement dosage showed the group experiencing an increase in lean body mass and decrease in fat mass in a 5 week period[4].

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Longjack supplement can help increase your testosterone and have you back to gaining muscle mass and improving your workouts. It will also recover your sexual life as a bonus. You can read long jack reviews and learn more about the benefits of tongkat ali from Powder City.

Sources:

  • http://bodybuilding.about.com/od/supplementationbasics/a/Testosterone_Levels.htm
  • http://www.bumc.bu.edu/sexualmedicine/publications/testosterone-insufficiency-in-women-fact-or-fiction/http://www.livestrong.com/article/243029-what-gland-produces-testosterone-in-women/
  • http://examine.com/supplements/Eurycoma+Longifolia+Jack/#summary1
  • http://www.mens-hormonal-health.com/high-testosterone-levels.htmlLongjack Supplement Review | Pre-Workout BuzzLong Jack Review: Explore the numerous benefits of long jack including increased sex drive, testosterone, and muscle mass.
front squat

Correct Squat Stance: How Wide, and How Low?

squat form

Here is an example of a shoulder-width stance.

Squats are a great exercise to strengthen the lower body and are fairly easy to incorporate into a workout.  However, as with most athletic and weight-lifting activities, form is incredibly important in completing the exercise correctly.  Improper form can result in injury or a lack of effectiveness, and no one wants to get hurt or waste his or her time working out incorrectly.

Squats can be particularly difficult to figure out the correct form because there is some debate over how to position the body.  Some people believe that a wider stance is more effective, while others think that the feet should be shoulder-width apart.

Aside from that, many disagree on how deep squats should go—is parallel good enough, or should a squatter try to get the deepest squat possible?  All of these conflicting opinions can be confusing, but squats are actually fairly easy to sort out.

Figuring out Squat Stance

wide stance squat

Here is an example of a wide-stance squat.

Positioning the legs in the first step in a successful squat.  First of all, stance depends on the physical composition of the person exercising.  Some people may be more comfortable with a wider stance, and women in particular may choose a wide stance or point their feet out more because their hips are turned out further.  Having a wide stance does not necessarily mean that the squat is being done incorrectly.

The most important part is choosing a stance that allows for proper form.  Keeping the feet closer to shoulder distance apart will work the legs and quads more, while a wider stance is better for working out the glutes.  Either of these choices is fine, depending on which area of the body you want to work harder.  The most important aspects are keeping the torso in the correct position, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor, tracking your knees and feet in the same direction, and making sure your knees do not extend past your toes.

How Low Should You Go?

While it is a popular opinion that “real” squats require lowering the body to the ground, this is not necessary for an effective squat.  The key with squats is to go below parallel—to have the line of the hips go beneath the line of the knees (unless you have a medical condition that prevents this).  Deeper squats are not necessarily more successful, and in some cases may be a detriment [1]. Once again, the key is keeping correct form.

Sacrificing form for a deeper squat means that the exercise is not as effective as it would be with a shallower squat and perfect form.  Letting the knees splay out or cave in, putting too much pressure on the toes, or bending the lower back can all result in injury.  It’s best to stay comfortable with your stance and depth, rather than trying for a wider or deeper squat and risking injury.

Getting the Most Out of Your Squats

When you have the correct form down, squats should be an effective way to build lower body strength and muscle.  Once comfortable with squats, you may want to look into supplementing with branched-chain amino acids to improve performance and muscle gains [2].  These supplements can give your workout an extra kick, and help you see better results faster.

You may also find yourself struggling with muscle soreness after an intense lower-body workout. Try taking a citrulline malate supplement to reduce muscle soreness or protein powder to support your muscles with proper nutrition.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194981
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20601741
DIY energy drink

DIY Energy Drink

When you think of energy drinks you probably think of Red Bull. However, those are packed with calories, sugar, and will cost you a ton of money over time. But what can you do when you need an inexpensive energy boost? Make your own DIY energy drink.

DIY Energy Drink Supplements

DIY Energy Drink Supplies

To make this drink, you will need caffeine powder, theanine supplement, and some kind of sweetener such as sugar or stevia as well as a flavoring of some kind (lime powder mix, citric powder, etc).

The batch we are going to make includes 16 cups of energy drink and costs less than $0.25 per gallon. That’s significantly cheaper than your average energy drink.

Caffeine is an obvious choice, but why is theanine included? More often than not, individuals choose to take energy drinks because they need to clear their head and focus on the task at hand.

Unfortunately, caffeine often comes with the jitters. This is why theanine is an excellent addition. The two supplements work together synergistically to boost your energy and focus without the jitters to provide clean and smooth concentration.

How to Make the Drink

To make the drink, you will need to heat up your water. This is to more easily dissolve the supplements. While the water is heating go ahead and measure out your supplements using a milligram scale.

You will need 450mg of caffeine (this will give you around 30mg of caffeine per cup). Most individuals choose to supplement theanine and caffeine in a 2:1 ratio, calling for 900mg of theanine. However, if you find that makes you too relaxed, you can do a 1:1 ratio of 450mg caffeine and 450mg theanine.

For a sweeter energy drink, use 800mg of stevia. However, if you aren’t a big sugar fan start with 600mg and increase from there. As for the flavoring you chose, just follow the instructions on the package to make 1 gallon.

Once your water is done heating up, add all of the powders and stir until the supplements are completely dissolved. Then, simply pour it into a pitcher, and you’re done. You now have an energy drink for less than $0.25 per gallon!

Watch a Video Demonstration

The video transcript is available below.

How to Carbonate Your Own Water

Some people really like that carbonated feel a lot of energy drinks have. If this is the case, you can also carbonate your own water!

To do this you will need a bottle, a tire valve, cold tap or filtered water, and a way to pressurize the bottle with CO2 (most often a CO2 tank).

You can easily drill a hole in your bottle cap and insert the tire valve. Next you will want to fill the bottle with water but leave some room for air. Squeeze the bottle until the water reaches the rim and screw on the cap with the tire valve in it.

Attach the CO2 tank to the valve and fill the empty space you squeezed to fully inflate the bottle. Do not over do it, or it might explode. Now shake the bottle (still attached to the tank) to mix and dissolve the CO2. Now you can remove the cap, and you have carbonated water. You can watch this youtube video for further instruction

How to make Concentrated Caffeine Water

coffee-beansWhat if you want concentrated caffeine water on hand to be able to easily measure a dose of caffeine? Or what if you wanted to caffeinate some of your favorite foods and products? Caffeinated alternatives are always much more expensive than their original counterparts. However, caffeine powder is incredibly inexpensive, so you can make your own caffeinated brownies if you so desired.

You will need a scale accurage to 1g, preferably to 1mg; bulk caffeine powder; a 500ml-1L bottle; a funnel; and warm or hot water (filtered or distilled is preferred).

Caffeine is incredibly potent in bulk form, so be careful when dosing. A standard serving size is 50mg; however, some individuals take up to 200mg at a time. The easiest way to accurately measure out caffeine is to dilute it in water. The following method will result in a concentration of 10mg per mL. This translates to 50mg per teaspoon.

Secure your scale to your bottle and begin filling it with water (1mL is equal to 1g) until you hit your desired 100g increment (500g, 600g, etc). Make sure to leave some space to add the caffeine. When adding the caffeine, divide your water weight by 100 to determine the proper caffeine dosage. So 500g of water will need 5g of caffeine.

Now you will need to screw on the lid to your bottle and shake it. This may take some time as caffeine does not dissolve easily. To speed up this process, you could leave your bottle out in the sun, near a hot water heater, or run it under hot water to heat up the water inside. Continue shaking every few minutes until dissolved.

Unfortunately, caffeine has a very distinct and bitter taste. If you are mixing it with a flavored powder and sugar of some kind as we suggest above you will not notice the bitterness.

Now you have an easy to measure caffeine mixture. If you want to use 50mg of caffeine, measure out a teaspoon; 150mg of caffeine is equivalent to a tablespoon. Your standard cup of coffee has around 85-125mg of caffeine, so start low until you find the dosage that works best for you. Be careful though as it is possible to overdose on caffeine.

Video Transcript

Let’s make our own energy drink. It’s not carbonated, you can make about 16 cups in less than 5 minutes, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying pre-made energy drinks like Red Bull. To do this, you’ll need caffeine powder, L-Theanine, and some kind of sweetener like Stevia or sugar. I use Stevia. And also you’re going to need some kind of flavoring.I’m just using Great Value brand lime powder mix from Walmart and also food coloring. Now if you buy bulk powders, this equates to less than $0.25 for a whole gallon. I’ll put the links to where you can buy these bulk powders in the video description. First, we’ll heat up some water in the microwave for about a minute and a half.

We want to really get the water hot so that the powder’s dissolve. Then while that’s heating up, let’s go ahead and measure up the caffeine and theanine. I like to use about 450 milligrams of caffeine, that equates to about 30 milligrams per cup. I forget to turn it on here. You can adjust it accordingly.

Let’s see. And as for the ratio between caffeine and theanine, I like to use a one to one ratio. Some people like to use a two to one between theanine and caffeine, but I find that that makes me a little tired, whereas theanine is just supposed to, I’ll make this about 900 total, whereas theanine is just supposed to take the nervous edge off caffeine.

All right, close enough. Okay. We’re going to measure out for a sweetener using Stevia. I like to use about an 800 grams per gallon. You can adjust that as well. You can always add more later, maybe start with 600 and then increase it from there, it really depends upon your preference. I like mine a little sweeter.

All right. Okay. Water’s done heating up. We’re going to add our flavoring and our food coloring. Just stir until everything is completely dissolved. Then add it to the pitcher. And now you have a gallon energy drink for less than 25 cents.

whey milk protein

How Much Protein Does a Person Need?

The body needs plenty of protein because protein builds muscle and aids in a variety of internal processes. While most Americans eat plenty of protein in their diets, getting the right kind of protein is just as important as how much is consumed. Different proteins play different roles in muscle growth, immunity, hormone regulation, and energy production. Whey proteins have become popular as a supplement because they can be used for muscle building as well as a variety of other health benefits.

What are Whey Protein Supplements?

whey protein builds muscle

The first step to building a great physique is to make sure you’re ingesting enough protein.

As the name suggests, whey protein comes from whey, a by-product of cheese production. It contains all of the soluble proteins and nutrients from milk, but is dehydrated into a more convenient supplement form. Whey is generally available in three different forms: concentrates, isolates, and hydrosolates.

Concentrates still contain fats and lactose, but are less processed than other whey protein forms. Isolates have the fat and lactose removed and are made up of a higher percentage of pure protein. Hydrosolates are processed even further and metabolize more easily. All of the forms of whey protein can be used as a pre-workout supplement to increase gains in muscle mass (1).

The Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein is an incredibly popular supplement for bodybuilders due to its ability to help increase muscle mass and endurance and reduce body fat. It stimulates protein synthesis in the muscles, which means more muscle mass and more energy.

These proteins are also absorbed quickly, meaning that they start working faster than other supplements. Whey protein will increase blood flow to muscles, providing energy and allowing for a faster post-workout recovery. On top of the workout benefits, whey proteins contain leucine, a compound that helps the body to adapt to high levels of stress from exercise. Whey contains antioxidants that destroy free radicals, and also blocks harmful carcinogens from affecting the body. Using whey protein not only helps during and after workouts, but also protects your body from outside threats.

How Much Whey Protein to Take

whey protein shake

Whey protein makes for a delicious pre or post-workout snack.

Ultimately, the body needs at minimum between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day, and whey protein is a great way to reach, or even exceed, that number. Proteins from food are necessary to keep the body running, but adding whey protein has the added benefit of being a workout booster.

A whey protein supplement can be taken before workouts, usually in an amount of 10 to 20 grams, but can also be taken post-workout at 20 to 40 grams. It can also be taken in between meals for an extra boost. The amount of protein needed by the body is actually fairly small; supplementing with whey protein means that you get extra nutrients, more power, and more strength.

1. Burke, Darren G. “The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation With and Without Creatine Monohydrate Combined With Resistance Training on Lean Tissue Mass and Muscle Strength”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.

weightlifting d-ribose

D-Ribose for Muscle Energy and Strength

Sometimes, no matter how motivated or how well-rested you are, you simply don’t feel like you have enough energy during workouts. Supplementing with d-ribose powder is one way to boost muscle energy and get past muscle fatigue. D-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar, which means that it’s safe to take and your body will gladly accept the energy that d-ribose provides.

What is D-Ribose?

d-ribose weightlifting gains

D-ribose can help with that burst of energy needed in the deadlift.

Your muscle cells already contain ribose, a sugar that is used in the manufacturing of amino acids and that promotes metabolic processes. D-ribose, the naturally occurring version of ribose that is in almost all living things, is crucial in starting the process in your body that makes ATP.

Your body uses ATP as energy for almost everything, which means that slowed metabolism of ATP will make you feel sluggish. Clinical studies have shown that supplementing with D-ribose can improve metabolic function and restore energy [1]. It can also reduce after-workout muscle cramps and stiffness, allowing for faster recovery [2].

Benefits of D-Ribose in Muscle Cells

When D-ribose enters the body, it provides greater energy production and helps the user feel more energized. It can be used pre-workout to stop fatigue, and will lower muscle strain. It can also be taken independently of workouts to reduce other types of muscle pain, or to provide energy throughout the day.

D-ribose is becoming increasingly popular because it is natural, effective, and safe. Supplementing with D-ribose supplies your body with more of a sugar that it already has, and boosts your natural production of energy rather than altering it or interfering with existing cellular mechanisms. Taking this supplement is like giving your body a shortcut to making more D-ribose, which is usually a long process. Providing more of it to your muscles quickly lets them recover faster and work better without waiting to synthesize more D-ribose to get the energy they need. Some people even use D-ribose in their energy stack to maximize their potential energy.

How to Take D-Ribose for Energy

d-ribose weightlifting

Supplement right and lift heavy!

D-Ribose is widely available as a dietary supplement powder, and should be taken several times a day before and after working out to maintain energy levels. The suggested dosage is 3 to 5 grams a day, though the amount taken should be modified according to body weight.

1. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2006.12.857?prevSearch=allfield&
2. http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/177660

Nitric oxide works to increase muscle size

Nitric Oxide Supplements

Nitric oxide is a chemical compound made of nitrogen and oxygen. As a supplement, it is widely used to increase muscle size and endurance. Nitric oxide increases blood flow, which can lead to increased muscle gains.

How does Nitric Oxide Work? What is it and Why is it Important?

Nitric oxide benefits

Nitric oxide can help with muscle strength and growth.

Nitric oxide is a very important biological messenger, and a versatile molecule. It is synthesized from arginine, oxygen, and NADPH. Blood vessels use this compound to relax the surrounding muscles, which makes it a vasodilator.

Its main role in the body is regulating blood flow and communication between different organ systems such as the brain, lungs, and kidneys. Nitric oxide can diffuse freely across membranes, which makes it effective and fast-acting. It can also affect the body’s release of adrenaline and other hormones. Therefore, it can help muscles get more nutrients while under physical stress.

Nitric Oxide Benefits

nitric oxide muscle growth

Nitric oxide can help you set new personal records.

The vasodilation and hormone increasing effects of nitric oxide are believed to make it effective as a supplement for greater endurance and muscle gains. Those supplementing with nitric oxide often report more muscle growth after workouts, and less fatigue. The ability to workout harder and faster means that muscle growth can happen more quickly, and it is easier to increase workout length and intensity when more blood is flowing freely to the muscles. Taking nitric oxide can help increase the anaerobic threshold, the point at which lactic acid builds up in muscles and causes fatigue.

Nitric oxide supplements, and those that increase the influx of nitric oxide to the body, have been shown effective in increasing blood flow in active men [1]. Some supplements contain a precursor to nitric oxide, which is then synthesized in the body after ingestion. Either supplement will rapidly diffuse into the body and increase blood flow quickly.

Taking Nitric Oxide Supplements

The best way to take nitric oxide supplements is by mixing the supplement powder with a beverage and consuming it pre-workout. It is best to follow the dosage instructions that come with the specific supplement, since most nitric oxide powders will contain other compounds that help the nitric oxide to absorb. Supplements commonly contain arginine, citrulline, and other strength boosters that help the efficacy of nitric oxide.

Nitric Oxide Supplement Side Effects

There are many N.O. boosting supplements available on the market, so side effects may vary depending on the supplement. The most common side effects include, nausea, changes in blood pressure, and decreased dopamine levels. There are several supplements to take that may counteract the side effects of nitric oxide supplements. Fish Oil maintains healthy blood pressure levels and mucuna pruriens increases dopamine levels.

Sources

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20885188