Caffeine Anhydrous: What is it?

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The use of caffeine supplements is nothing new today. There are coffee shops on almost every corner and energy drinks behind every convenience store counter. Aside from the warm social interaction it brings people within the coffee shops, caffeine is most commonly used for its stimulating effects to increase energy and alertness. For athletes and other gym-goers, however, there are even more benefits to caffeine. Using caffeine anhydrous as a supplement before workouts can improve performance, results and recovery – making it the perfect addition to any pre-workout regimen.

What is Caffeine Anhydrous?

Caffeine anyhdrous is a pure, powdered version of caffeine, which is normally a crystalline-like substance. Anhydrous means “free from water.” Caffeine is found naturally in many plants, beans, seeds, and leaves. It’s normally ingested in the form of coffee or tea, but has made its way into supplement form for people wishing to control the effects more tightly.

caffeine anhydrous for buzz pre workout review

Anhydrous Caffeine Benefits

Caffeine crosses the blood-brain barrier easily, making it a very psychoactive substance. Inside the brain, caffeine counteracts the substance andenosine. Andenosine is responsible for inhibiting nervous system activity. Caffeine binds to the andenosine receptors and essentially stops andenosine from putting the brakes on neural activity.

Caffeine also boosts epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. In general, users of caffeine have more energy, more alertness and less fatigue.

Using pre-workout supplements is an efficient way to ensure you get the right supplements into your body at the right time. Athletes around the world use caffeine supplements to improve performance and accelerate results. The most common positive effects are increased fat loss, and enhanced power output.

Increased fat loss

Since caffeine increases overall energy output, it has a positive effect on the metabolic system. But how fast you metabolize caffeine depends on your genes. It increases the release of fat into the bloodstream and helps your body burn it faster. The effects can be magnified when combined with exercise since your body will be primed for fat loss. [1]

Doses of around 200mg or more are typically used for fat loss. You can combine caffeine with ephedrine or synephrine for increased fat burning potential. Ephedrine is more effective, but can be dangerous and is often harder to find than synephrine. Bronkaid, which contains ephedrine, works as a substitute if you can’t find ephedrine in its pure form.

Fat loss benefits of caffeine are more pronounced in non caffeine tolerant individuals. If you regularly take caffeine, you likely will not see as much of a fat burning benefit as someone who rarely takes the stimulant.

Muscular endurance

For aerobic activities like cycling or running, caffeine improves endurance. This seems to be a result of both the inhibition of andenosine and also the glucose sparing effect caffeine has on muscles. By increasing fat oxidation, caffeine prevents the body from using intramuscular glucose as the initial energy source so the stored energy can be reserved for later.  It is believed that caffeine helps with perceived effort and exertion, so it essentially makes exercise feel easier.[2]

One study involving cycling endurance found that 3mg per kg of body weight is optimal for increasing endurance benefits. Increasing the dosage to 6mg per kg of body weight yielded no additional improvement in performance. 3mg per kg equates to 272mg for a 200lb person, about 200mg for a 150lb person, and 340mg for a 250lb person.

An endurance-boosting caffeine dose can be taken at once and lasts for around 6 hours. One byproduct of caffeine is a reduction in perceived effort, which becomes synergistic with its endurance boosting benefit.

Muscular Strength and Power

Caffeine isn’t just effective for distance-oriented athletes, it’s a great tool for weightlifting and other anaerobic activities as well. A study was performed on 18 male athletes who were given either caffeine or a placebo before performing chest press, leg press, or Wingate test. The group given caffeine lifted significantly more weight in the chest press and achieved more power in the Wingate test. [3]

Strength benefits of caffeine are seen at higher doses of around 500mg. The cause of increased power output may be due to caffeine increasing calcium mobilization in muscles.

However, studies which looked at 1RM (one rep max), did not see a strength increase with caffeine. It can be assumed that caffeine works better for higher rep ranges of at least 6 reps, which could be due to synergism with caffeine’s endurance boosting effects.

Faster recovery (nominal)

As anyone that’s ever exercised knows, doing a new type of exercise or coming back after a break can be painful the next day, so faster recovery is crucial. For experienced athletes, recovery is even more important since an event or entire career can depend on muscles being fully healed and at optimal performance at the right time. A study performed at the University of Georgia tested the post-workout pain felt by a sample of volunteers. The group given the caffeine had 48% less pain than the placebo group. [4]

Despite this pain reduction finding, it’s unknown if caffeine helps repair muscles faster.

Benefits of Pre Workout + Caffeine Anhydrous

There are strong benefits to adding caffeine anhydrous to your pre-workout routine no matter the level of skill or sport. Caffeine supplements will likely help you reach your goals faster. How much should you add? The studies referenced above ranged in an amount from 160mg up to 5mg/kg of bodyweight. Since you can build a tolerance to caffeine, it is probably best to start with a low dose and move up gradually as you see fit.

Anhydrous Caffeine Sources

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621121/

[2]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18562777

[3]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18708685

[4]http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070109172152.htm

Synephrine HCL Supplements for Weight Loss

What Happened to Synephrine?

Synephrine started dissappearing from supplement formulas in 2016, and now in 2017 and 2018 it’s tough to find synephrine anywhere. For example, Cellucor’s C4 ingredients were updated to remove synephrine in 2016.  So what happened to this ingredient?

In early 2016, the FDA issued warning letters to companies with methylsynephrine in their supplements. Since this is very similar to synephrine, aside from the methyl group, companies were prudent to remove this ingredient from their formulas.

But despite many companies removing synephrine from their formulas, some brands decided to keep the ingredient. You can still find synephrine from Primaforce’s Syneburn and in Legion Athletics’ Phoenix fat burning supplement. If you prefer bulk powder, you can still get synephrine from Liftmode.

What is Synephrine HCL?

Synephrine HCL is a naturally occurring alkaloid chemical compound found plants and extracted for use as a supplement. Bitter orange is the most popular synephrine plant and has a history of its own.

The use of bitter orange in the Americas dates back to the 1500’s, but has roots in China and groups indigenous to the Amazon jungle. These Chinese used bitter orange, usually in a tonic, to help with gastrointestinal issues like nausea, indigestion and constipation, while it was traditionally used in Brazil as anticonvulsant and to help with anxiety and sleeplessness. The vast differences in how these two cultures on different sides of the planet make it easy to understand why some see bitter orange as a magical supplement.

Bitter orange is currently used for a number similar issues as well as some more modern-day troubles like weight loss and as an aid in the battle against athlete’s foot. Synephrine is one of the main compounds in bitter orange and thought to be the foundation of the plant’s healing qualities.[1]

Synephrine’s molecular structure is similar to ephedrine, arguably the most effective fat burning ingredients. Ephedrine can no longer be sold as a dietary supplement (and neither can methylsynephrine), which is why synephrine is the next best substitute. Synephrine’s metabolite is octopamine, which is another supplement promoted for its fat burning potential.

Synephrine HCL Uses

While bitter orange has a vast scope of potential uses, synephrine has been primarily used and studied for its effects on weight and fat loss. It does have some other interesting uses as well and, if differences in bitter orange use are any indicator, the uses will continue to span multiple areas over time.

  • Weight Loss. Synephrine is often compared to ephedrine, the banned stimulant that was once the basis of many weight loss supplements. In fact, when ephedrine was banned, many supplement manufacturers replaced ephidrine with synephrine. Clinical studies have backed up synephrine’s positive impact on fat burning and weight loss. Synephrine helps increase the body’s metabolic rate and increases lypolysis (fat breakdown). It also functions as an alpha-androgenic antagonist. Synephrine works with receptors located in fat tissue that help enhance the lypolysis within that tissue and with receptors that increase thermogenesis of muscle, which also results in  weight loss. [2, 3]
  • Appetite Supressant. Synephrine’s stimulant properties make it an effective appetite suppressant. Reducing caloric intake is the key to rapid fat loss. Using an appetite supressant can help you curb cravings and make it easier to eat healthy. [1]
  • Muscle uptake of glucose. Synephrine can stimulate glucose uptake by skeletal muscle. This function has potential in a couple areas. First, it helps you lose fat by removing excess glucose from the bloodstream and second, it provides muscles with glucose that can be used efficiently for energy. More intramuscular glucose could lead to greater muscle volume and strength.[4]

Synephrine HCL Supplement Side Effects

When supplementing with synephrine HCL you may experience headaches. Synephrine is a stimulant, so it is important to start at a low dosage to assess tolerance.

Synephrine Dosage

Most synephrine-containing products on the market recommend up to 100mg/day for weight loss benefits, even though researchers believe doses as small as 35mg could be effective. Synephrine HCL does have synergism with caffeine, so if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to start very small with synephrine if mixing with caffeine. To avoid toxicity, dosages should not approach or go over the 200mg/daily mark.  [5]

Start with 10 to 20mg to assess your tolerance. Then, if you do not experience negative side effects, take another 20mg after at least 2 hours. Do not exceed a dosage frequency of once every 2 to 4 hours and do not take within 4 hours of bedtime. Synephrine’s half-life is around 2 hours.

Sources

[1] www.drugs.com/npp/bitter-orange.html

[2] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16436104

[3] http://examine.com/

[4] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22306011

[5] http://hprc-online.org

Cellucor C4 Ingredients: New Formula vs Old Formula

a great preworkout supplement

2017 Update:Cellucor updated their ingredient list after methylsynephrine came under scrutiny by the FDA in early 2016. If synephrine with an added methyl group was being banned, then it was prudent for supplement companies to stop selling products containing synephrine.

Cellucor C4 is one of the most-popular pre-workout supplements on the market. It features a concentrated formula and small scoop sizes, both of which attract consumers by the droves. Not only that, but C4 packs a wallop in the gym and will give you some of the best workouts of your life. But why is C4 so effective?

Let’s take a look at the ingredients label and briefly highlight what each major ingredient does:

C4 Ingredients for 2017 and 2018

After the methylsynephrine ban in early 2016, Cellucor reformulated C4. They removed the synephrine and added theacrine.

Theacrine is a stimulant which is structurally similar to caffeine and also has parallel mechanisms of action. One advantage of theacrine over caffeine is it’s inability to build tolerance in animal studies. This is a clear advantage since caffeine quickly establishes tolerance.

Updated C4 Ingredient List (2017 and 2018)

  • Theacrine: This replaced synephrine and is the major difference from the old formula. It’s structurally similar to caffeine, but doesn’t build tolerance. This more than makes up for the lack of synephrine.
  • Vitamin C as ascorbic acid: kept from the original formula
  • Niacin as niacinamide: kept from the original formula
  • Vitamin B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate: kept from the original formula. One difference is that this ingredient now appears on its own instead of in the proprietary “explosive energy blend.” It’s unknown if the dosage for this changed from the original.
  • Folic acid: kept from the original formula, but now no longer called folate.
  • Vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin: kept from the original formula
  • Beta alanine: Kept, but increased from 1500mg to 1600mg. Although small, this is a welcome increase. Still, at least 2g of beta alanine is needed for an effective dose. This limitation is understandable though as Cellucor could only use so many ingredients while having one dose fit into a single scoop.
  • Creatine nitrate: kept from the original formula
  • Arginine alpha ketoglutarate: kept from the original formula
  • N-acetyl-L-tyrosine: kept from the original formula
  • Caffeine anhydrous: Increased from 135mg to 150mg. This increase may be due to losing the synergy with synephrine
  • Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean extract standardized for L-dopa): kept from the original formula

C4 Pre Workout Ingredients (2015 and prior original formula)

  • Beta Alanine powder: Improves carnosine levels and reduces fatigue
  • Creatine Nitrate: Improves water retention and boosts muscle growth
  • Arginine AKG: Improves protein synthesis and libido levels
  • Vitamin C supplement: Improves overall wellbeing but also shows promise in boosting energy levels
  • N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) supplement: Increase the production and efficiency of neurotransmitters
  • Caffeine Anhydrous powder: Boosts energy levels and increases focus
  • Mucuna Pruriens: Increases the brain’s capacity to produce neurotransmitters and protein
  • Bitter Orange: Boosts energy and attacks the body’s fat stores
  • Niacinamide: Increases energy levels and focus
  • Folic Acid: Helps the body make new cells
  • Vitamin B12: Helps with normal functioning of the brain and nervous system
C4 Ingredients
The ingredients list: Man’s best friend!

Whew. Quite a list. Individually, these supplements promise and deliver on any number of benefits to the body. But taken on their own, you may not notice much of an effect, or if you do, it will be minute.

However, taken altogether prior to a workout, the synergistic effect is tremendous. Your energy levels skyrocket, your focus hones, and your body sets itself on a one-way train to muscle growth and fat loss.

C4 New Formula vs the Old Formula

Is the 2017 (and 2018) C4 formula better than the old formula? The slight increase to beta alanine, caffeine, and the addition of theacrine more than make up for the lack of synephrine. The 15mg of extra caffeine anhydrous and the new theacrine stimulant offsetting caffeine’s tolerance only serves to enhance the stimulatory properties of C4.

Since C4 kept the same amount of mucuna pruriens and NALT, you’re still going to feel the elevated mood (and slight euphria) that you felt from the old formula.

How to make your own C4

You really cannot ask for a better combination of ingredients in a pre-workout supplement, but what if you don’t have the cash on hand to buy a major name brand blend?

This is where bulk supplements come into play. Nearly all of these ingredients are available for purchase in bulk online sites like beamzen.com or purebulk.com. At first, bulk prices may seem steep, but when you break down cost by serving, that is where you will see the real savings. If you are looking to invest in long term pre workout supplementation, check out this break down of Cellucor C4.

Supplement Serving size Amount for at least 100 Servings Cost
Beta Alanine 2g 100g $4.79
Creatine 3-5g 500g* $8.89
Arginine 3-5g 500g* $15.95
Vitamin C 250mg 25g $3.25
NALT 350g 50g* $3.25
Caffeine Anhydrous 50mg 5g $0.99
Mucuna Pruriens 250mg 25g $6.40
Bitter Orange 10-20mg 5g* $3.42
Niacinamide 1 capsule 100 capsules ~$4.00
Folic Acid 1 capsule 250 capsules* ~$3.00
Vitamin B12 1 capsule 100 capsules ~$5.00
Total Cost $55.69
Total Per Serving $0.56

*500g Creatine provides 100-166 servings
*500g Arginine provides 100-166 servings
*50g NALT provides 142 servings
*5g Bitter Orange provides 250-500 servings
*250 capsules of folic acid is 250 servings

The largest variant Cellucor offers contains 60 servings and costs $49.99, which breaks down to $0.83 per serving. However, as you can see by buying bulk, you save $0.27 per serving with some extra left over supplement to do with as you please.

This may not seem like very much, but if you are committed to this particular blend, then you can increase your bulk purchases to save even more. For example, if you bought enough to create 250 servings that would cost you around $106 dollars, breaking down to $0.42 per serving and still leaving you plenty of left overs of multiple supplements. That is a savings of $0.41 per serving. Looking at it long term, buying 250 servings at a time will last you about 8 months and save you over $100.

It comes down to cost versus convenience. It is clearly more convenient to buy a premixed blend and call it a day. However, if you are on a budget, it is well worth your time to invest in a digital scale and some gelatin capsules as the DIY method clearly lands you some big savings.

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

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.

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.

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

  • Caffeine powder
  • Theanine supplement
  • Sugar or stevia
  • Flavoring powder
  • Milligram scale
  • Water

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, especially caffeine, 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.