Tag Archives: health

front squat

Correct Squat Stance: How Wide, and How Low?

squat form

Here is an example of a shoulder-width stance.

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

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

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

Figuring out Squat Stance

wide stance squat

Here is an example of a wide-stance squat.

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

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

How Low Should You Go?

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

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

Getting the Most Out of Your Squats

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

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

Sources

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

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/
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.

Racetams with antioxidant properties help protect the brain

Protect and Enhance your Memory via Racetams with Antioxidant Properties

pwb-rust

Rust is a commonly-seen form of oxidation

Racetams are one of the most popular nootropic supplements available on the market today. Since the discovery of the prototypical racetam, piracetam powder, in the 1960’s, racetams have become well-known for their cognitive-enhancement abilities. However, many of them provide additional antioxidant benefits, making them even more useful.

So why would you want a supplement that boosts your brain power as well as provides antioxidant advantages? While it may seem like a strange combination, antioxidants protect cells, including those within the brain. If your brain cells suffer damage from oxidation, reason stands that your memory could be similarly affected.

Adding a memory enhancer on top of an antioxidant might just be the smartest move you could make. So what are the racetams, how do they work, and which ones will provide you with a double dose of neuroprotection?

How Racetams Work

While the mechanism of action behind racetams isn’t completely understood, it is believed that they work by encouraging the formation of new synapses and enhancing synaptic plasticity, two factors that are critical in memory formation and learning.

Acetylcholine is a common neurotransmitter

Acetylcholine is a common neurotransmitter

These actions are accomplished by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine within the brain; acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for learning. Thus, by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine, cognitive enhancement is greatly increased.

Benefits of Racetams

Racetams are able to improve long and short-term memory and have been found to have logic, speech, and sensory-enhancement properties. Additional benefits include improved athletic performance and focus which makes them a favorite among fitness enthusiasts.

Racetams with Antioxidant Properties

Some racetams such as Piracetam have some antioxidant properties. Let’s first discuss a little bit about the process of oxidation and the role of antioxidants in our bodies.

Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the other substances they may meet. The result of such a process in the body is chain reactions that can damage cells.

Examples of oxidation include the browning of an apple when cut open, and the rusting of metals. Simply put, antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements. Free-radical theory states that the effects of aging are a result of the body’s inability to counteract oxidative damage.

Racetams have been tested on rats as well as humans

Racetams have been tested on rats as well as humans

These facts bring us to racetams and their anti-oxidation properties. Piracetam is one of the racetams that seems to posses such properties. In a study performed to assess Piracetam’s antioxidant effects on a rat brain, it was determined that Piracetam had the potential to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals cause the body to age more quickly and contribute to cellular damage, including within the brain, so preventing this damage improves longevity as well as memory.

In human experiments conducted to measure the effects of one dose of Piracetam on 12 healthy volunteers, it was determined that this single dosage affected the natural electrical activity that occurs on the scalp.

How about the other racetams like Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam? Although there hasn’t been ample research done on the antioxidant properties of these other racetams, considering the fact that they have very similar mechanisms of action with Piracetam, it is possible that they too posses antioxidant properties.

resveratrol can help fight the effects of aging

How does Resveratrol affect Testosterone and what other Benefits does Resveratrol Produce?

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a compound found in the skins of red grapes, berries, and other fruits. It is thought to act as a powerful antioxidant with a strong potential for fighting the effects of aging. These effects are largely due to the fact that this supplement helps to promote the increased production of something known as sirtuins. Sirtuins are enzymes involved in the aging process that are thought to increase the activity of the cells’ mitochondria. There are also additional research studies which indicate that resveratrol supplements may act as a neuroprotective substance by helping to protect against memory loss. There is even new research suggesting that resveratrol may help to increase testosterone levels.

How does Resveratrol affect Health?

Many people are interested in using a resveratrol supplement because it seems to be able to increase overall health. Because it functions as an antioxidant, resveratrol serves to make almost every major organ in the body run better. The elimination of free radicals is also quite important as the removal helps to reduce inflammation.

Another important benefit associated with resveratrol is its fighting of the effects of aging. Resveratrol covers just about everything from helping to protect the heart to making it easier to lose weight. One of the ways in which these benefits occur is by the activation of so-called anti-aging genes like the master gene, P53. There have been a number of experiments conducted on bacteria, fish, worms, and mice that have shown positive increases on lifespan based on activation of P53 by resveratrol. In some cases, this supplement has been able to extend lifespan up to twice the normal length. Of course, while there are huge differences between humans and mice or worms, in many cases we do have very similar genes. This similarity is giving research scientists hope that many of these health benefits can transfer over, especially in the area of longevity.

How does Resveratrol affect Testosterone?

There is some exciting new research into the effects of resveratrol on testosterone. Recent studies do seem to support that resveratrol affects testosterone, although more studies are needed. The researchers seem to think the reasons for this effect are two-fold. First, resveratrol inhibits aromatase, which is the main enzyme responsible for the production of estrogen. Second, resveratrol also seems to inhibit the body’s estrogen receptor.

As the body’s level of estrogen production is limited, resveratrol will help to balance out hormone levels and in the process increase testosterone. This increase is beneficial on a number of different levels. Not only will this hormone help sexual function, but it also helps to regulate red blood cell production, bone density, and even muscle mass. There may even be a role for this supplement to play in producing better emotional states, especially in those who are already experiencing lowered levels of testosterone.

What do Studies say about Resveratrol and Testosterone?

A 2008 Korean study examined the effects of Resveratrol supplementation on the New Zealand white rabbit, corpus cavernosum. The researchers were looking to measure ex-vivo penile erection and in-vivo sperm counts and quality. The in-vivo study measured the reproductive organ weights, blood testosterone levels, testicular histopathology, and sperm counts. It also examined and measured the epididymal sperm motility and deformity.

For the in-vivo study, mice were given a dose of resveratrol at 50 mg/kg for 28 days. The ultimate results were interesting, showing no increases in body weight, reproductive organ weight, or testicular microscopic findings. But, they did show increases in blood testosterone concentration of 51.6 percent, testicular sperm counts of 15.8 percent, and epididymal sperm motility by 23.3 percent. Incidentally, all of these effects were achieved without any significant influence on sperm deformity.

How does Resveratrol Work?

A 2012 National Institutes of Health study into the effects of resveratrol seems to have helped cast a bit of light into how this supplement might work. The supplement works not only as an anti-inflammatory compound (which testing had pretty much proven at this point anyway), but also as a genetic manipulator through both direct and indirect chemical pathways. It also helps to block the action of a muscle enzyme known as PDE4 that causes cell degradation. This supplement also appears to bind to many different types of proteins, which shows that there may be the potential for new help for heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, and more.

What is a Helpful Dose of Resveratrol?

In order to really have most of the desired effects, not only an increase in testosterone, you should be taking resveratrol every day. The recommended dosage level for resveratrol is 1000 mg per day or more depending on if there is a specific condition you are trying to find support for or protect against. Typical sources for your resveratrol supplements include Japanese knotwood or red grapes, with the Japanese blend being superiors (if you can find it).

Resveratrol supplement is also available in a powdered form, which can be taken with meals. The idea with your supplement schedule here is to use resveratrol every day with meals. It might take a little time before noticing results such as regulating and increasing testosterone levels and improving mood.

What else does Resveratrol do?

Resveratrol is also considered to help protect the heart against all types of damage. Part of this protection is immediately tied to resveratrol’s ability to work as an antioxidant supplement, helping to remove free radicals from the body and lowering the levels of inflammation. Inflammation can be stressful and detrimental to the overall cardiovascular system.

You will also note that a lot of the existing research into this supplement is still centered on the fight against cancer. There may actually be a role for some of these anti-cancer effects through the estrogen response systems, as discussed above.

rhodiola can increase endurance

Rhodiola Increases Physical and Mental 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!

pre-workout supplements for women

The Best 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.

maca or yohimbine for testosterone boost

Yohimbine vs Maca for Testosterone

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.