Rhodiola Increases Physical and Mental Endurance

rhodiola can increase endurance

Endurance athletes are always looking for an edge. Whether it’s a new training protocol or a new mindset, being able to push yourself to work just a little bit harder and longer can make the difference between first and second place. Proper implementation of the right pre-workout supplements is key in training endurance athletes and thanks to a study performed in Belgium, there’s another supplement to add to the mix. When taken before training, rhodiola rosea supplements were found to improve performance in endurance athletes, even with no previous use.

Belgian researchers studied 24 healthy endurance athlete students. First, a baseline for an endurance activity was established with each athlete. Then, a few days later, the students were either given rhodiola or a placebo an hour before performing the same endurance activity. After another week, they came back and performed the same training session, but the rhodiola group was given placebo and vice versa. The results proved to be significant. Rhodiola improved the work capacity of the athletes by an average of 3% and in one case, the student was able to extend the time by 9.7%. Another conclusion from the study, aside from the improvement in performance for doses one hour before training, is the finding that when the athletes consumed rhodiola consistently over a four week basis, there was no additional benefit like those found in other supplements that may require a “loading period.” This means there appears to be an acute effect when used for endurance training. It’s important to note that this fact doesn’t imply there are no outside benefits to taking rhodiola on a consistent basis, but that it’s just not effective at building up in your system.

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Let’s look at the supplement as a whole. Rhodiola rosea is a plant found in the cooler climates of the world, particularly in the Arctic or other mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere. The plant and its roots have been used for hundreds of years by ancient civilizations such as the Vikings as a supplement to increase stamina and strength. Rhodiola use today is more widespread and is consumed via tea or, for those not living in areas where it grows naturally, in a convenient supplement form. Rhodiola contains many different polyphenols and antioxidants including rosavins, rosarin, rosin, and salidroside. These compounds, at the most simple level, help provide balance to stressors in the body and the environment. From a physiological perspective, rhodiola is said to reduce free radicals that can damage cells and cause inflammation. Psychologically, rhodiola helps reduce mental stress by optimizing the levels of “feel good” chemicals in the brain.

In general, rhodiola rosea benefits include:

  • Reduced physical fatigue
  • Improved mood
  • Lowered Stress

How Rhodiola Rosea Can Help Endurance Athletes

When the mechanisms of action in rhodiola are considered, it’s easy to see how it is an ideal supplement for endurance athletes. Preventing physical fatigue allows for more energy output in a race or during training. However, there may be a mental aspect to the supplementation as well. Improved mood and lower mental stress could help athletes overcome potential mental fatigue they may face, enabling them to crush previous records and crash through mental barriers that can hold perceived limitations of what the athlete’s abilities truly are.

Dosage

For improvements in endurance sports, a dosage the same as the dose mentioned above, a 200mg capsule one hour before training, is recommended. In fact, since the experiment was relatively basic, you can try to replicate it on your own to see the exact effects rhodiola has on you!

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women

pre-workout supplements for women

Step into any gym, especially the weight room, and you’re likely to see a scene dominated by men. Online resources are heavily geared toward men as well, with dozens of large sites, forums, and stores focused on providing men with what they need to succeed in the gym. What about the other half though? Should women be relegated to slow-paced elliptical workouts and measly salads to achieve fitness goals?

No, absolutely not! Women can benefit from weight training just as much as men. Sure, you may not want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger when you walk out of the gym (and your natural biology would make sure this change doesn’t happen), but who doesn’t want to be stronger, leaner, and more toned?

So suppose you’re already lifting weights or ready to make the jump, you will want to make sure you are getting the most out of your time in the gym. Pre-workout supplements can do just that. While they’re often associated with muscle-bound guys screaming during squats, pre-workout supplements can offer many benefits to women.

Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplementation

For a long time, supplementation was viewed from a post-workout perspective. Empty the fuel tank, refill the fuel tank. Over recent years, however, it’s become increasingly obvious that by filling your tank with the right kind of fuel before you workout, you can make sure the right nutrients are ready to go right when you need them.

Pre-workout supplements can help you maximize:

*Strength – Any time you workout, you have to overload your muscles to get results. Pre-workout supplements can help you lift more weight and for a longer duration while training and ensure your muscles have the energy to perform.

*Recovery – DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can be a thorn in the side of any athlete. The right supplements can reduce muscle soreness so you’ll be ready for the next session faster.

*Fat Loss – By taking supplements that help your body use its own fat as fuel, you can improve body composition by burning fat while you build muscle. Lean muscle is also referred to as “metabolic currency” meaning the more lean muscle you have, the better you are at burning fat!

Which Supplements Should I Take?

Now that you’re well aware of the benefits of pre-workout supplementation, you’re probably wondering which supplements you should be taking and you may be a little confused. This confusion is understandable as there are many effective pre-workout supplements on the market. Fear not! Below are the essentials of pre-workout supplements for women. These will help you achieve the benefits listed above and get the most out of your gym time.

Magnesium Creatine Chelate

Creatine is one of the most widely-used supplements and a staple in many athlete’s stacks. Creatine helps support performance while training and improved recovery post-workout. There is a downside to some forms of creatine, however. Some users report bloating when taking basic forms of creatine, mainly creatine monohydrate. So, what’s the best creatine for women that don’t want to walk around feeling bloated?

Magnesium creatine chelate is a relatively new form of creatine that helps you get performance and recovery benefits of creatine without feeling like you swallowed a balloon. One study even showed that magnesium creatine chelate was 6-8% more effective than creatine monohydrate alone. Higher performance with no bloating worries make this the best pre-workout creatine for women.

Whey Protein

As you exercise, muscle tissue is broken down and then repaired afterward by building blocks of protein called amino acids. Whey protein, another staple in the supplement world, helps repair muscles faster by delivering amino acids to muscles quickly. When you repair muscles quicker two main things happen. First, you experience less soreness so you’re ready to get back in the gym faster. Second, and perhaps the more important of the two, you build muscle and see results faster. Whey protein is normally sold in powdered form and in a variety of flavors so you can mix it with other supplements in a pre-workout shake.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate is a complementary supplement to magnesium creatine chelate. By reducing muscle fatigue and improving strength, citrulline malate makes you more efficient in the gym and helps you work harder. Citrulline malate works in two main ways. First, it increases blood flow to the muscles, removing toxins, and delivering nutrients. Second, it increases ATP energy in muscles, giving you that extra boost to work harder. The icing on the cake with citrulline malate is the recovery benefit. Research shows that citrulline malate not only improves performance during a workout, but can reduce soreness by up to 50%!

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (sometimes shown as the acronym NO) is a fantastic supplement with multiple benefits. First, it increases blood flow to the muscles during workout. It delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, enabling you to workout harder and longer in both strength and endurance exercises. The increased flow of nutrients to muscles also boosts recovery. Additionally, it helps the body use existing energy more efficiently and improve lypolysis. Meaning, glucose in your bloodstream and stored fat can be broken down and used even faster as fuel during a workout!

There you have it, four high-quality pre-workout supplements that come highly recommended for women! As you can tell, these all have incredibly synergistic effects. Whether it is whey protein providing amino acids or nitric oxide moving them to muscles while burning off fat for energy, these supplements are sure to help you get the results you want in the gym.

Yohimbine vs Maca for Testosterone

maca or yohimbine for testosterone boost

Low testosterone is a problem experienced by men of all ages. Men may have trouble performing sexually, or feel tired and sluggish during the day. More often than not, it can be traced to genetics or to a person’s nutritional regimen. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find effective and legal ways to boost testosterone due to the overwhelming number of supplements that claim to help.

There has been a lot of talk recently regarding testosterone-enhancing supplements. You may have noticed some of this discussion and even started looking into a few of the commonly touted remedies or supplements. Two of the most interesting and popular are Maca and Yohimbine HCL Powder. When looking at Yohimbine supplements vs Maca supplements – both of them actually offer a number of benefits related to increased testosterone and enhanced sexual function and performance.

What is Maca?

The first question you might be asking is: what is Maca? Sounds like a rather strange name, right? Well, it is a root found most commonly in Peru. It is also commonly referred to as Peruvian ginseng, despite the fact that it is not a member of the ginseng family. It has been used throughout the centuries as a folk remedy for increasing stamina, energy, and sexual function. It has even been reported that ancient Incan warriors took Maca before going into battle since it was thought to make them physically strong. However, they were later prohibited from taking this substance in an effort to protect the conquered women from their excessive libidos.

Today, this supplement can be used in either pill or powdered form. You can sprinkle it on just about any type of food you like. Some users even report that it has a pick-up equal to or better than coffee. On occasion, it has also been reported to be more effective when used inconsistently, like two or three times a week as opposed to every day.

What is Yohimbine HCL?

Yohimbine is the principle alkaloid of the bark of the Yohimbe tree. This tree is found in western Africa, throughout Nigeria, Cameroon, the Congo, and Gabon. Yohibine extract is also widely reported and promoted as a natural aphrodisiac used to increase libido and improve erections.

This supplement is also thought to work by increasing the amount of testosterone produced by your body. As such, you may also see a number of other benefits related to increased testosterone production, especially related to fat loss and improved body composition.

Maca and Testosterone:

Maca is thought to play a serious role in improving sexual function. This improvement has been one of its long-reported traditional uses and benefits. The modern studies into these benefits, however, appear to be mixed, with some showing strong benefits and others not showing much at all

Maca has also been shown to increase fertility in men and improve mood in menopause. Studies have shown that supplementation improves semen volume, sperm count, and even sperm motility. Interestingly, serum levels of testosterone did not seem to be affected. It has also been noted that Maca may help to ease worry and sadness in post-menopausal women, as well as improve female sexual function.

Yohimbine HCL Benefits:

The major benefit of those who use Yohimbine HCL is that they normally see an increase in their natural testosterone production. Certainly, this improvement leads to improved overall male sexual function including improved erections. Many people suffering from erectile dysfunction have also found this supplement to be very helpful.

Another interesting benefit of Yohimbine HCL is that it aids in fat loss. It has been thought that this supplement works in your body by somehow blocking specific receptors that inhibit fat loss. This effect may also play a role in not only fat loss but the redistribution of fat and muscle throughout the body, giving you an overall leaner and more muscular appearance. When combined with actual weight resistance training, it can result in faster gains in muscle as well. Other studies have found that Yohimbine HCL increases lipolysis through the increased release of the powerful hormone norepinephrine.

Perhaps because of the excess norepinephrine in your system, Yohimbine HCL may also act as a natural mood booster. In higher doses (over 50mg per day) it may help to block an enzyme called monoamine oxidase that is thought to play a role in sadness.

Yohimbine vs Maca for Testosterone

Which supplement should you take probably depends on your specific goals. If you are simply looking to increase testosterone levels naturally, then probably Yohimbine HCL would work best. On the other hand, increased energy might be best accomplished by using Maca. So, it really depends on exactly what you are after. Both seem to be effective in their own ways.

Boosting Testosterone on a Budget

natural ways to boost testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that you could consider to be the essence of men. While the hormone is found in females as well, men’s elevated testosterone levels are a large portion of what makes them different from women.

From increased muscle and bone size to libido and energy levels, testosterone is one of the most important hormones for men to optimize, especially active or aging men.

There are a few ways to regulate and boost testosterone. Activity levels, diet, and sleep are all essential to proper testosterone levels, but supplementation can play a large role as well. Knowing this fact, many supplement companies have created testosterone-boosting supplements that sometimes cost a fortune.

Luckily, these expensive supplements aren’t the only option and there are some individual supplements that can help you boost your testosterone without breaking the bank.

Benefits and Importance of Optimal Testosterone Levels

Before we discuss the individual supplements that can boost testosterone, let’s lay some more detailed groundwork for why proper levels are so important. As mentioned above, testosterone is found in both men and women, but for men the impact is far greater. When men with low testosterone achieve optimal levels of testosterone, they describe it as if they were truly awake for the first time ever and are ready to conquer the world. Are you ready?

Testosterone is responsible for:

  • General Mood and Energy Levels. Low testosterone levels have been linked to sadness and feelings of sluggishness.
  • Libido. As a sex hormone, testosterone is in charge of driving libido. Low sex drive and sexual difficulty are often symptoms of low testosterone.
  • Muscle Growth. Testosterone increases protein synthesis, resulting in faster recovery and muscular gains.
  • Bone Strength. Testosterone increases bone density. Elderly men with low bone density have also been shown to have low testosterone levels.
  • Hearth Health. Doctors are finding evidence that cardiovascular disease can be prevented when testosterone levels are healthy.
  • Body Fat Regulation. Testosterone regulates many other hormones that impact body composition and there’s a correlation between bodyfat and testosterone.

Best Testosterone Boosters

Now that we’ve established that every man should optimize his testosterone levels, let’s look at some inexpensive supplements that can boost testosterone and libido.

DHEA

DHEA is a hormone naturally produced in a few places in the human body and is the most prominent steroid hormone in humans. It serves a number of functions, but the most important is its impact as a precursor to sex hormones including testosterone.

Natural production peaks around 25 years old and can decrease with age. There have been a few studies that show the impact and benefits of DHEA for men.

One study showed that DHEA raised free-testosterone levels following high-intensity exercise. Another study showed that daily treatment with 100mg resulted in positive body composition and strength gains in males only. With the former study in mind, recommended dosages can range from 25-100mg/day.

Arginine

While arginine isn’t linked specifically to testosterone, it has been shown to help boost libido and is a popular pre-workout supplement. Arginine creates NO (nitric oxide) within the body, which dilates blood vessels.

During a workout, this dilation helps to drive more nutrients to the muscle. It also helps to improve overall circulation, which is essential for proper sexual function. In one placebo-controlled study, men were given arginine for six weeks.

At the conclusion, the arginine group reported improved sexual performance. The measured results showed nitric oxide levels that began low and doubled within the six week period. For libido and exercise performance, recommended dosages start around 5-6g daily.

Tribulis Terrestris

While it has many regional nicknames, the herb known as tribulis terrestris is regarded by some as the holy grail of natural testosterone boosters.

Tribulis is used for erectile dysfunction, libido boosts, strength improvement, exercise performance, and overall testosterone boosts. For men, the potential upside of this supplement makes tribulis a must-try.

Like other super-herbs, it has other potential benefits as well, like improved mood and chronic fatigue relief. Dosage and cycling can vary since it may be considered adaptogenic, but starting dosages are around 85-250mg/day. Since it’s an herb that goes through a process, it’s also important to get a high quality source for maximum effectiveness.

The best thing about these supplements is that they shouldn’t counteract each other and would make a great stack. The mechanisms of action for each are so different that combining the three as a daily testosterone-boosting stack would make a fantastic way to improve your health, libido. and testosterone levels without spending a fortune.

Ways to Counteract Cortisol Build-Up during Exercise

cortisol during exercise

Have you ever wondered why it seems so difficult to build muscle? Are all those hours in the gym just not having as strong an effect as you had hoped or even any effect at all? More than likely, this issue will have something to do with Cortisol buildup. Indeed, scientists have known for years that elevated levels of this hormone interfere with all kinds of functions including learning and memory, immune function, weight control, blood pressure, and may even increase sadness.  Some supplements show promise in reducing Cortisol during exercise.

An article on Bodybuilding.com entitled “The Implications of Cortisol Release” discusses how Cortisol works. However, to make things easier for you, we have created a short “beginner’s guide” to Cortisol, if you will. Read on to find out more!

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone within the body. It is released as part of the body adapting to conditions whenever a threat is sensed. This reaction is also often called the “fight or flight” response. Unfortunately, as far as weight training is concerned, the hormone has a negative effect. It is catabolic, meaning that it actually works to break down muscles. This breakdown happens due to the fact that it reduces protein synthesis and prevents tissue growth. This breakdown generally begins occurring after about one hour of continuous exercise.

Total Workouts under an Hour:

So, the first thing that we can do to limit the buildup of Cortisol during exercise is to limit the time that we exercise. Try to keep the total workout to under an hour. Obviously, this limit might not be possible every time or for everyone, but the longer you go, the more of a problem Cortisol will become. An alternative to this shortening would be to take supplements during the workout that help to naturally raise or at least maintain testosterone levels such as D-Aspartic Acid, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus Terrestris, or even Boron.

Limit the Cardio:

Although cardio time should be counted in the hour for the limit on workouts, it deserves special mention. The problem is that cardiovascular training causes the body to release Cortisol much faster than weight training. So, limit the time on the bike or treadmill. One option is to do your cardiovascular work on days that you do not lift weights.

Good Nutritional Habits:

The best way to eat in terms of Cortisol release is to consume more small meals throughout the day. In other words, take the same amount of food, but instead of having three relatively large meals, eat 5 or 6 smaller meals. Breakfast and the meal immediately following the workout are the most important. Also, make sure everything is balanced, since a good combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat has been shown to help control Cortisol levels the best.

 

For the entire Bodybuilding.com article, click here.

Overtraining: Myth or Reality?

overtraining is a myth

Is Overtraining a Myth?

One of the discussions that comes up often in online forums and blogs regarding weight lifting, exercise, and physical training is the idea of overtraining. There are people adamant on both sides of the issue, with some saying that overtraining is a myth and others saying that it is indeed reality. What is the truth about the overtraining myth? It might help to take a look at what this state actually is, how it is reached, and how to avoid it.

What is Overtraining?

Using Supplements to Support Your Muscles

Your body needs fuel to keep up with the demands of a rigorous training regimen. It also needs sleep to properly repair muscles. Without these two factors, you can easily suffer from overtraining.

  • Whey Protein: This will help your muscles repair after an intense workout.
  • Citrulline Malate: This helps buffer acid, but it’s main benefit is reducing muscle soreness.
  • Melatonin: This is an excellent sleep aid. If you have trouble falling and staying asleep, your muscles will not have an adequate opportunity to properly repair.

To answer that question, let’s look at the basic components of overtraining. Overtraining is the result of chronic fatigue, whether this is physical or mental (as in central nervous system fatigue), there is no distinction. Often times people will just try to shrug of the condition or work through it, but that is in fact the second component of overtraining, the desire to keep going, despite the growing list of problems.

Unpleasant stuff will happen once you are in this situation. It could mean the loss of strength, muscle mass, and endurance. Your appetite could be affected, motivation may plummet, and even irritability (you may find yourself get angry over nothing very easily) could arise.

On top of these possible symptoms, continuing to push yourself could cause much worse problems. Your immune system can become weakened, you could develop sleep or eating disorders, your resting heart rate could change, stomach and gastrointestinal issues could arise, even your blood pressure or respiratory patterns can become negatively impacted.

While overtraining is indeed a reality for most people, there are certain notable exceptions. There are several training systems that involve using incredibly high intensity training methods. There is even a Bulgarian method that involves training with maxes almost every day. It should go without saying that methods such as these may not be for everyone and almost certainly come with an increased risk. So, while overtraining is a reality, how you reach this state can also be an important factor.

How an Overtrained State is Reached:

There are really several factors involved in how one reaches such a state. The first factor is food. You need to be eating the proper types of food and amounts of them to support your level of training. If you do not eat enough, overtraining will almost definitely occur at some point. Of course, this lack of nourishment will be determined by a number of different factors such as vitamins, levels and rate of depletion of your glycogen stores, etc.

Another very important factor is rest. Sleep not only helps us to feel more refreshed but it helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy, releases growth hormone, strengthens the immune system, regulates appetite, weight, and controls blood glucose levels. Not to mention that during sleep the muscles recover and grow.

Your routine itself is also critical. In other words, it should be reasonable. Doing 20 sets of curls, 20 sets of bench presses, and 25 sets of rows is not reasonable unless you have a death wish. More is not always better, sometimes it’s best to take a slow and steady approach. Your routine must allow for a reasonable amount of time to recuperate, as recovery is very important in strength training.

How to Avoid Overtraining:

Is overtraining a myth?If you feel like you are in an overtrained state, the first step is to simply recognize it. Of course, this is easier said than done in many cases. The key to knowing that you’re overtraining is the constant feeling of exhaustion and progress coming to an almost non-existent stand still. The possibility that you may be overtraining should seriously be considered if this is the case.

The easiest way to get yourself out of such a situation is by taking time off from training. This break may be difficult to do for many people, but it really allows your body to sort of reset itself. Depending on how overtrained you are, this break could be as simple as adding a recovery day or two to your schedule or as severe as a 2 to 4 week layoff. Of course this all depends on the person, so take the action that you think would be the most beneficial and make sure that you feel one hundred percent before resuming your routine.

Sources

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/
  • http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/overtrainwithresistance.pdf
  • http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/overtraining.html

Free Weight vs. Machine Exercises (Which Produce the Best Results)

free weights vs machines

Many weight-training athletes prefer free weights over machine type exercises. But, then again, there are also certainly those athletes who would prefer the extra comfort and convenience of the machine exercises. This preference has led to an age-old controversy about whether free weights or machines are better in terms of the results they produce. While this question is not likely to be settled definitively any time soon, it is possible to examine the evidence more closely and then we can draw our own opinion.

Why Some People Prefer One Exercise over Another:

As a weight lifter myself, the phenomenon of watching some people walk halfway around the gym to find their favorite machine instead of doing the same exercise with a free weight…and vice versa…has baffled me at times. Yet, this situation is nothing new. Many weight lifters have their favorites.

A number of informal studies conducted years ago suggested that the choice of such a preference is much more individualistic in nature than whether one actually works better than the other. It turns out that the more aggressive types of people tend to gravitate more towards free weights. Conversely, people who are slightly more passive seem to focus more on the machine exercises. Ultimately, though, the most intelligent athletes focus on both free weights and machines to provide themselves with the best workout results possible.

Machines—Pros and Cons:

Since machines are usually the first thing one sees when walking into a gym, they seem to be the best place to start. They do have several benefits including faster workouts, reduced risk of injury (much harder to drop a machine than it is to drop a dumbbell or have a plate fly off a barbell…seriously, I have seen it happen too many times!), ease of use, and the ability to help rehabilitate an injury.

There are also downsides to machines. These downsides include the fact that you are basically locking yourself into a small or single range of motion. This small range of motion could lead to a higher risk for pattern overload injuries. As an example, try using a simple curl machine for weeks, then switch to a free weight curl. You will likely not be nearly as strong because now your stabilizer muscles have to work as well. Plus, if you actually tried using the same amount of weight, you might pull a bicep. This possible injury also illustrates the false sense of strength produced by machines.

Free Weights—Pros and Cons:

As was already hinted in the last section, free weights allow for the use of more stabilizer muscles. This type of lifting is also more of a “real” world type of lifting, where you find a more natural and authentic range of motion and you can even change up your pattern; there is no being locked into a set range or type of exercise. You also will develop an improved sense of balance (also related to the stabilizer muscles). You are required to actually use brain power with free weights. Yes, there is a chemical secreted that helps the body tell the brain (or vice versa) where it is in space. This secretion is also quite good for concentration and focus overall. Additionally, free weights are convenient and inexpensive.

There are also some disadvantages to free weights. These include an increased risk of injury if not using the proper form and decreased efficiency since you might need to wait for others to finish with those 50 pound dumbbells, since there might only be one or two pairs in the whole gym.

Conclusion:

If you can only use one or the other, it would seem that free weights are a slightly better choice. Then again, it also might really depend on the reason why you are training. The most intelligent course of action is to constructively think about what you are trying to accomplish and then pick and choose the best option for each exercise. Switch back and forth until you discover which combination works best for your situation.

L-Citrulline vs L-Arginine For Pre-Workout Supplementation

L-Citrulline and L-Arginine are good pre-workout and provide for muscular gains.

Introduction to Pre-Workout Supplementation:

Athletes everywhere have used supplements to enhance and improve their workouts ever since the nutritional industry was in its infancy. There are a number of things that should be considered when choosing such a product. The first of these considerations is energy. Obviously, in order to power through an intense workout you need a lot of energy. Of course, you also want this energy to come from a natural source since having to deal with side effects like an energy crash an hour or so later is just not worth it.

Another benefit sought from pre-workout supplementation is an ability to support muscular gains. This way, you will also put yourself in the best position to recover faster from your workouts and to translate the hard effort into real benefits. Some of the best supplements to be used before a workout are L-Arginine and L-Citrulline.

L-Arginine Benefits:

L-Arginine is an amino acid that has a number of positive benefits associated with its supplementation. These benefits include the ability to help the body produce and synthesize proteins. Proteins are essential in the process of muscular repair and growth. It is also thought to stimulate the production of growth hormone like natural sterols. These are also quite effective in helping the muscles rebuild and grow larger after an intense workout.

This supplement is also thought to help remove cortisol and other waste products in the body. Cortisol is chiefly responsible for stress levels throughout the body. Therefore, its removal can lead to a more focused and intense workout, potentially even helping one to remain more energetic throughout.

L-Citrulline Benefits:

One of the most popular benefits associated with L-Citrulline is its ability to help reduce body fat levels. It is also incredibly helpful in maintaining your natural energy production, which can often drop off considerably during a hard workout. Another excellent benefit is that it acts as a vasodilator. This has the effect of helping to open and expand blood vessels. This may be also why it can lead to a reduction in blood pressure levels.

For weight and strength training athletes, this supplement also helps in the release of nitric acid. This chemical helps to build proteins and re-form muscles that have been torn down from intense training. Citrulline acts in the urea cycle to remove lactic acid from the body which is produced as working muscles become fatigued. Couple this together with the ability of the supplement to enhance ATP (energy) production and it easy to see how this can lead to a much improved workout.

Citrulline vs Arginine Pre Workout

Overall in the question of L-Citrulline vs L-Arginine, both of these supplements can certainly be helpful as a before workout addition. Instead of being forced to choose one or the other, why not stack them together and take both?

Is Vitamin C an Effective Addition to a Pre-Workout Supplement Routine?

vitamin-c is an effective preworkout supplement

Introduction to Vitamin C:

Many weight training athletes seem to think that Vitamin C is simply something that comes in their daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. However, this lowly vitamin is probably the most important and popular nutritional ingredient of all time. After all, it has so many benefits and helps to work on a number of different levels that even if it did nothing to help a workout directly it would still be worth taking.

Nevertheless, there are a number of benefits that actually relate to how Vitamin C will help your workout. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, which means that it can help to improve the use of oxygen. Certainly this will benefit aerobic training like running, jogging, and bicycling. However, it may even help weight trainers to recover more quickly between intense sets under heavy loads. Also, this vitamin has recently accumulated a lot of evidence that it can help to reduce cortisol levels. This can be huge in helping to improve a workout as well.

The Cortisol Problem:

One of the major problems with cortisol is that it is the ultimate stress hormone. This actually signals the body to store fat and fight your best efforts to build muscle. Not to mention the fact that it also helps to keep you feeling tired, run down, and of course, stressed out.

Of course, we also need to remember that the whole point of a workout is to place more stress on your body. The idea is that by shocking the body with an intense load, the body needs to take drastic efforts in order to adapt (i.e. produce bigger muscles and lower fat levels, etc…). More intensity can mean more stress and more cortisol.

Vitamin C and Cortisol:

When taken before a workout, Vitamin C is able to help block the effects of cortisol. This blockage leads to the body being able to more readily adapt to the stress which your workout places upon it. Many researchers even think that Vitamin C may have properties that resemble hormones and is a powerful enemy of cortisol.

Taking around 500mg of this vital nutrient as a pre-workout supplement is certainly an excellent insurance policy. At the very least, you will see your energy levels increase and should also have an improved workout. You may even want to try taking some more immediately upon finishing a workout to help aid in the recovery process.

Extra Benefits:

Another excellent benefit of using Vitamin C on a regular basis is that it helps to clear any excess caffeine and other stimulants from your system. Not to mention that regular usage over a period of time can even help to increase testosterone levels. And this is certainly good for helping muscular recovery and rebuilding!

Protein Timing and Its Effect on Weight Training

protein for weightlifting

Introduction:

One of the topics that is discussed on a regular basis by weight lifters, body builders, and other athletes is protein. This discussion usually involves the typical “how much to take” and “which form is the best.” However, an interesting idea is protein timing. There has been some new research that delves into the idea of how important it is to take your protein at specific times. Combined with the answers to those typical questions along with the actual effects can lead to a much improved understanding of how to improve muscular gains and development.

How Much Protein to Consume:

A 2012 study released in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) comes to some interesting conclusions about how much protein we should ideally be consuming. The bottom line is that we should take between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of high quality protein per kilogram of body weight.

This should be consumed on a daily basis, whether or not we workout that day. This is critical since most muscle growth actually occurs during our “off” days. In the past, many athletes simply did not take any extra (or at the very least, significantly less) protein during their non-workout days.

Effects of Protein Consumption:

The study has also shown that protein will have tremendously beneficial effects. This is certainly not a surprise, but it is nice to see in print again. Better still, these finding also indicate that there are significant benefits whether the protein is consumed before or after your workout. It will increase performance, recovery, lean body mass, hypertrophy (i.e. muscle growth), and strength.

Pre and Post Workout Supplementation:

The best types of supplements to use with a pre-workout meal or energy hit are branched chain amino acids. It is also interesting to note that most of the serious and professional level bodybuilders and strength athletes tend to also use handfulls of these BCAA’s during their routines as well.

The post-workout meal should be squarely focused on recovery. The study shows that 3 to 4 grams of leucine will help to promote the maximum amount of protein synthesis. You would also want to use a fast-acting carbohydrate source like glucose or maltodextrin in order to help provide the needed insulin to allow for protein production.

Which Supplements to Use:

According to this study, the best type of protein supplement to use during the pre-workout is the aforementioned BCAAs. They can also be used during the workout itself to help supply vital ATP energy to the working muscles. After the workout is finished, a high quality whey protein powder is recommended. Of course, you could also take other forms of protein powder (although whey is still best) and add in some leucine supplements along with a carbohydrate drink that includes either glucose or maltodextrin.