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

knee joint pain

Cissus Quadrangularis vs Glucosamine for Joint Pain?

Glucosamine and cissus quadrangularis are both commonly used to reduce joint pain and improve mobility. People with ongoing joint pain often want to be able to remain active, and natural supplements are a great way to reduce pain and accomplish daily tasks. Glucosamine was long lauded as the best supplement for joint pain, but recently the extract of cissus quadrangularis, an herb from India, has gained popularity as an effective joint pain reliever.

What are Glucosamine and Cissus?

cissus quadrangularis

The cissus quadrangularis plant resembles a skinny cactus.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is found in shellfish, bone marrow, and fungi. It is made by hydrolyzing chitin, a structural component of cells. It is a precursor to glycosaminoglycans, which are key components of joint cartilage. Taking glucosamine may then help to repair damaged joints.

Cissus comes from the cissus quadrangularis plant, a member of the grape family that is found across Southeast Asia and Africa. It was often used in classical medicine to help heal injuries, and is taken as a supplement to aid in anything from healing broken bones to stopping gastric distress [1].

It helps to quicken the healing process because it has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and also works as an antioxidant. Cissus supplements taken for joint pain will help to improve joint function by lessening pain and revitalizing injured joints.

Cissus Quadrangularis vs Glucosamine?

jogging joint pain

Jogging can cause joint pain. Use supplements to counteract the effect.

Because glucosamine is found naturally in healthy cartilage, it makes sense to take for joint pain. Glucosamine supplements are a natural way to improve the quality of life for someone having joint problems. It is thought to be particularly effective for knee pain, and it is often taken with chondroitin, a compound derived from cartilage that allows for faster pain relief [2].

Cissus has many benefits, since it has so many uses. Besides relieving joint pain, it helps general healing processes and can relieve a variety of minor ailments. It has even been used for a weight loss supplement. Either supplement is great for joint pain relief, but cissus can also be used for other health benefits.

Taking Supplements for Joint Pain

Glucosamine is most effective in amounts of 500 mg 3 times daily, thought the full 1.5 gram amount can be taken at once. Cissus is recommended in amounts between 500 and 1000 mg, though it depends on the concentration of the plant extract. It is always best to start with a lower dosage, because cissus can take some time to have its full pain-relieving effect.

1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874105006653
2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/glucosamine/NS_patient-glucosamine

Pictured above is creatine being measure in a spoon. This is not a recommended way to measure your creatine dosage.

Creatine as a Nootropic Supplement

The odds are that you have heard of creatine and its association with athletic performance. Creatine is a popular choice for athletes thanks to its effect on lean muscle mass and its energy-boosting properties.

But did you know that creatine also has nootropic properties? The benefits of creatine are myriad: increased memory, reduced fatigue, improved mood, and even reduced brain fog. Let’s take a closer look at the mental benefits you’ll receive from taking creatine supplement.

Memory Benefits of Creatine

Creatine can be used a nootropic to boost brain power.

Creatine is a proven brain-booster!

Creatine is  known to increase your short-term memory and this increase is one of the most well-documented benefits of the compound. Supporting studies abound: improvements in memory span[1], improvements in working memory[2], and prevention of memory decline [3]. Scientifically, the results are in: creatine is great for improving memory.

So how exactly does a supplement known for its physical benefits do so much for the brain? Creatine primarily works by increasing your synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP [4]. ATP is a nucleotide that functions as the primary source of energy for cells.

In other words, the more ATP that you’re synthesizing, the more fully and efficiently your cells can transmit information. Think of ATP as the “fuel” for the neurological vehicles taxiing information around your brain. Higher levels of ATP make calling to mind that elusive word or thought that much easier.

Creatine for Fatigue

Creatine’s ability to enhance your production of ATP also ties directly into another one of its main benefits: fatigue reduction. Studies have found that creatine’s abilities to reduce fatigue and boost energy are apparent even at low doses [5]. Since increased ATP boosts cellular performance, creatine is at least partially responsible for this energy boost, but there is more to the picture than that.

After a successful study on creatine’s mental-fatigue-reducing effects, a team of researchers measured an increase of cerebral-oxygenated hemoglobin in the brains of the test subjects. This increase was evidence of increased oxygen use by the brain. In other words, creatine primes your brain for improved performance.

Creatine for Mood

Creatine's nootropic side effects include increased mood.

Creatine can boost your mood.

Studies have found that taking a creatine supplement has mood boosting properties both on its own and synergistically with prescription anti-depressants [6]. This synergy too ties into creatine’s boosted production of ATP. Beyond that, creatine has also been shown to reduce some of the side effects of sleep deprivation, such as irritability [7].

Additionally, boosted energy levels means reduced stress making it much easier for your better moods to shine through. While the exact benefits of creatine for mood are not fully understood, what we know so far seems promising.

Creatine for Brain Fog

One of the bottom lines of nootropics is that, one way or another, you are probably going to deal with brain fog. Some people might be looking to alleviate existing brain fog, while for others brain fog may be caused by a nootropic.

Either way, the verdict is clear: having a gummed-up haze hampering your mental performance is no fun. The great news is that here too a creatine supplement will benefit you. Here is the impressive part: even this benefit is tied to creatine’s ATP production, albeit from a slightly different way. Increased ATP improves your brain’s ability to block negative effects by allowing the brain to more quickly deal with any deficiencies.  A study found that creatine supplementation improved the subject’s fluid intelligence, or their ability to solve problems and derive meaning from abstract knowledge [8]. Or in other words, directly counteract the effects of brain fog.

Bottom Line: Creatine as a Nootropic

Creatine is a harmless amino acid with many benefits for the keen-eyed nootropic user looking for something to top off their stack. As long as you keep your dosing at safe levels, creatine has tremendous potential for improving your mental performance. Not only that, but thanks to the ways a creatine supplement will benefit your mood and fatigue, creatine is an almost sure-fire way to improve your all-around quality of life.

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561278
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118604
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17828627
  4. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/44694983_Dietary_supplementation_of_creatine_monohydrate_reduces_the_human_fMRI_BOLD_signal
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11985880
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864465
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16416332
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/
caffeine is found in coffee

Pre-Workout Supplements: Do I need anything more than caffeine or am I wasting money?

With the flashy marketing and high-pressure sales tactics favored by supplement companies, pre-workout supplements may come off as snake oil. And to be honest, some pre-workout supplements are ineffective, overpriced, and full of nasty filler that will do more harm than good (see: belly fat).

That being said, there are a few supplements that I highly suggest including in your pre-workout blend in addition to caffeine. We all know that caffeine supplements can boost your energy levels, but what other supplements can have an impact on your workout? Let’s take a look at my three favorite pre-workout supplements other than caffeine: L-arginine, creatine, and beta-alanine.

L-arginine

 

Muscle growth

L-arginine can help with muscle growth

L-arginine is an amino acid that shows significant promise in increasing natural production of growth hormone, boosting testosterone levels, and reducing fatigue. L-arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide, and increased nitric oxide production is a great thing for exercise.Why? Nitric oxide is responsible for vasodilation.

When vasodilation occurs, blood vessels widen. Wider blood vessels equal better blood flow. Better blood flow equals more effective oxygen transportation. More oxygen equals more intense workouts. It is as simple as that! Also, for you men out there, I can report that l-arginine is a big boost in the bedroom!

Creatine

Creatine can be added to protein shakes

Creatine can be added to protein shakes

If you’ve spent any time in the workout community, you’ve heard about creatine. Creatine is an organic acid found in many foods, especially fish. Creatine powder’s main function is to supply energy to the cells, in particularly to muscle.

If you eat meat on a regular basis, your body probably has a standard supply of creatine. If you don’t… well, I hate to tell you, but you’re probably deficient. That being said, even meat eaters can benefit from a creatine supplement regimen because the more creatine your body has, the more energy is supplied to your cells. More energy translates into more intense and productive workouts. Great deal, right?

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is another amino acid, and if you’ve ever taken a pre-workout blend before, then you know EXACTLY what beta-alanine does. You know that tingly, powerful, stimulant feeling you get after taking your pre-workout? That’s beta-alanine doing its job.

 

Beta-alanine can help increase muscular endurance

Beta-alanine can help increase muscular endurance

Beta-alanine is all-around my favorite supplement other than caffeine because it helps with weight-loss, stamina, and muscle recovery. It is an all-in-one miracle supplement, and I say that with 100 percent sincerity.

Conclusion

So, knowing that these three supplements (plus caffeine) are decent is one thing, but how do you go about introducing them to your workouts? You can do what I do, which is buy the bulk supplement powders and cap my own pre-workout pills, but I recognize that the capping process is labor intensive and some of you may have busy schedules. So what do you do? Simple, check out the nutrition labels on pre-workout blends and keep an eye out for these supplements. Speaking from experience, both MusclePharm Assault and Cellucor C4 are good choices.

Musclepharm Assault

Assault Pre Workout & ON Whey Protein

The abundance of workout supplements on the market makes it difficult to decide which supplements are the best to take. There are supplements for energy, recovery, stress, relaxation, and so on, and in some instances these supplements are marketed as having benefits in multiple categories.

In order to avoid taking too much or too little of any particular supplement, it is important to know what you are ingesting! This point may seem simple, but you would be amazed at the number of people who blindly take supplements without first doing a little research.

So, in the pursuit of research and bettering your knowledge of workout supplements, I’ve constructed a barebones guide to two of the most popular workout supplements on the market: MusclePharm Assault and Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein, a pre-workout supplement and a post-workout supplement respectively. By using this stack of supplements, you’ll see a marked improvement in many facets of your fitness.

MusclePharm Assault Pre Workout

MusclePharm Assault

MP Assault Pre Workout Ingredient Label

You may have heard of MusclePharm Assault at some point because the brand sponsors many UFC fighters. Assault is a heavily-marketed supplement, but that does not mean that it is lacking in solid ingredients. However, taking a glance at the ingredients label, you may have noticed that there are MANY ingredients—so many ingredients that you may feel overwhelmed.

So here’s a breakdown of what I believe are the most-important ingredients included and what they can do for you as a pre-workout booster:

Muscle Pharm Assault’s Most Effective Ingredients

While Assault also features other ingredients, I chose to highlight the supplements that I believe are the most useful and important when it comes to a pre-workout supplement. In combination, these supplements will give you an explosive and impressive workout.

And once you’ve completed a grueling workout session courtesy of Assault, you’ll want a high-quality recovery supplement to allow for muscle growth and repair. That’s where Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein comes into play.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein

ON Gold-Standard Whey Protein

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

 

Post-workout recovery supplements are integral to your success as an athlete. Your muscles need protein in order to repair themselves after the beating that you give them during a workout. In my opinion, the best post-workout supplement by far is Whey Protein. And I’ll give my word that Optimum Nutrition makes some of the best Whey Protein that I have ever consumed.

Taking a look at the nutrition label, you can see that this protein is very barebones. And that is a great thing! In a post-workout shake, the less ingredients the better. You don’t want a lot of filler or other crap that is bad for you: you want to actually benefit from the exercise you just completed.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Ingredients

ON Whey ingredients list

ON Whey ingredients list

Optimum Nutrition Whey Ingredients include: Whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey peptides (plus other ingredients depending on which flavor you choose to purchase).

The blend of different types of whey is a great feature because each type digests slightly differently and at a slightly different pace, thus feeding your muscles over a longer period of time. In addition, some people digest different types of whey better than other types, so having a variety ensures that you are actually receiving the protein that you need.

Using Musclepharm Assault and Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein to get the Most Out of Your Workout

This stack is not only useful, but it is easy to use as the blends are pre-mixed for you. While the price may be higher to buy these pre-made supplements than to buy bulk powders and create your own, the convenience and ease of use makes this pre-workout/post-workout combination a surefire hit in my book.

peanut butter is an excellent choline source

Best Choline Supplements and Sources

peanut butter is an excellent choline sourceAmong all the nootropics out there, choline supplementation might be the most crucial. Choline is an essential nutrient — a nutrient needed by the body but not produced by it. While it can be found in everyday food items (eggs, peanut butter), most people don’t get nearly enough.

In fact, 90% of the adult population is deficient in choline intake. The obvious route here is to supplement, but it’s not that cut and dry. There are several choline sources, all with their particular ups and downs. With such variable options, can you decide what the best choline supplement is? How is a spoonful of alpha gpc powder better than a plateful of eggs? Why stock up on CDP choline powder when you could just buy a few jars at peanut butter? Here’s an exploration your options to help you figure out what the best choline sources are for you.

Choline Bitartrate

eggs are a choline source

Eggs are a useful source of choline

Choline bitartrate powder is one of simplest and least expensive sources of choline. It’s made by combining choline with the salt bitartrate. On the plus side, it’s very cheap; the downside being that it doesn’t have as much choline in at (some forms being as low as 20%).

It’s not a bad choice if you’re looking to supplement which choline to make up for deficiencies or just as an all-around dietary supplement. However, it might not be ideal if you’re looking for something to pair up with a racetam (most of which burn through choline).

Choline Bitartrate Dosage

In higher doses, it can both cause stomachaches and give your sweat an odd odor. Recommended daily dose is 500 – 1000 mg.

Phosphatidylcholine

Phosphatidylcholine powder is the second weakest form of choline – not to mention the type that turns up in foods. As such, it’s a “base” form of choline. Most other sources will convert to phosphatidylcholine in the body where it can be converted to acetylcholine or used to repair selves. In its supplement form it tends to caps out at around 13% choline. It’s a subtle, mild way to integrate additional choline into your diet. It’s effective at 800 – 2400 mg per day.

Soy Lecithin

Soy is another source of choline

As the name suggests, soy lecithin is derived from soybeans, and is a nice all-around health supplement. It gives the body choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine, but also seems to benefit the body in few other was: for example, mice dosed with soy lecithin had a slightly better 12 month survival rate than the control group. On the downside, it similar side effects to bitartrate. If you decide to supplement with it, shoot for 400 – 800 mg per day.

CDP Choline

One of the two forms usually touted as the best choline supplement, CDP choline powder (or citicholine) is a viable nootropic in its own right. This is thanks to a few neurological benefits you’ll get from the supplement even outside of boosted choline levels.

CDP choline powder is a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, but that’s not all. It also delivers a dose of cytidine, which converts to uridine, a substance with cognitive enhancing properties.

CDP choline is also unique in choline supplements in that it appears to boost dopamine receptor density – a neurotransmitter crucial to pleasure and reward systems. A nice side effect of this? A reduction of addictive behaviors.

In addition to this, CDP choline provides the usual slew of choline-related benefits: boosted memory, increased focus, even improved mood. It’s also performed particularly wells in studies attempting to slow cognitive decline, an area where other choline sources have failed to perform. If you’re looking for all the benefits of a regular choline source plus a few enhanced cognitive benefits, it’s a great choice. Go with 500 mg per day if you supplement with CDP choline powder.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is frequently hailed as the best choline supplement. It makes sense, since it’s on par with CDP choline in terms of clinically-established effectiveness, even outperforming it in some areas. Like, say, increased physical power output after acute dosing, making it alpha GPC powder a go-to supplement for athletes. It also functions slightly differently. While CDP choline is a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, alpha GPC is a byproduct — it’s further along in the metabolic chain. This makes it particularly effective at helping cellular membranes stay healthy and strong.

Alpha GPC can help keep cell membranes strong

It’s also a viable nootropic even on its own. Studies have shown it to both increase rate of learning and prevent memory loss. And in trials directly comparing it to CDP Choline, it outperformed it cognitive-improvement areas. If you’re measuring the effectiveness of your choline supplement by raw cognitive enhancement levels, alpha GPC is probably your best choice. Alpha GPC powder works best at daily doses in the 300 – 1200 mg range.

What is the Best Choline Supplement?

So which is the best choline supplement out there? The answer ends up being that there is no answer, at least not a hard and fast one. If you’re looking for light boost to choline-levels only, the occasional dose of choline bitartrate wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you’re in the market for cognitive enhancement, it makes more sense to grab a bottle of CDP choline or alpha GPC powder. Just make sure to try out both – since they work differently, there isn’t a clear “winner” so much as there are two alternatives. Happy supplementing!

a great preworkout supplement

Cellucor C4 Inredients: What are they and how do they work?

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 Pre Workout Ingredients

  • 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.

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. 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.