Searching for the right intra-workout supplement can be a daunting task at first – mainly because there is a ton of conflicting information about the topic, both online and offline. Whether you’re just starting out – or you’re a proven trainer with a sufficient workout mileage – finding the right intra-workout will require some work on your part. Thankfully, Second To None has you covered here as well: our in-house experts have put dozens of intra-workout supplements to the test, with only these few managing to find a spot in our top intra-workout lineup. You can either read through our thorough intra-workout research first, or you can click that big green button and jump straight into the featured list in a matter of seconds.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
WHAT IS AN INTRA-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT?
If pre-workouts are made to be taken before a workout, and post-workouts after a workout – then Intra-Workout supplements are type of supplements designed to be taken during a workout. Here’s how they work.
HOW DO INTRA-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS HELP YOUR TRAINING?
During resistance training, especially a strenuous and exhausting one, the body releases a significant amount of catabolic stressors that impair the overall quality of the workout. In fact, these catabolic stressors can interfere with a variety of processes in the body, including those which are responsible for strength, focus, bone health, and the development of the muscles as well.
A study monitoring the changes in human muscle protein synthesis after resistance training came to an interesting conclusion. Namely, Chesley A. et al investigated changes in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) after a single session of high-intensity resistance training. Before the exercise, researchers divided the participants into two groups: two times six male subjects (12 in total) were to perform heavy resistance exercises on one arm, with the opposite arm serving as a control. Both groups of participants followed the same exercise, while measurements were taken four hours (group A) and 24 hours (group B) after the exercise was complete. Both groups showed a significant increase in MPS levels in the active arm as opposed to the control arm. In fact, the study showed that a single session of high-intensity resistance training can have a significant impact on muscle protein synthesis (MPS) for up to 24 hours after physical exertion. What’s more, the researchers concluded that these increases were greatly impacted by sudden changes in post transcriptional events.
How do these findings relate to using intra-workout supplements during a workout?
To answer that question, we have to check yet another clinical study by Bird SP et al. The goal of this study was to investigate both essential amino acid (EAA) and liquid carbohydrate (CHO) influence during high-intensity resistance exercise and changes of the immediate hormonal response on myofibrillar protein degradation as assessed by 3-methylhistidine (3-MH) excretion. In simpler terms, the study examined the combination of essential amino acid + carbohydrate supplementation during short bursts of high-intensity resistance training among users.
The participants were divided into three groups: the first group received separate amino acids + carbs supplementation, the second group was subjected to a combined EAA+CHO supplementation, while the third group received a placebo beverage during bouts of resistance training. All three groups performed three sets times 10 reps full body exercise at 75% of one-repetition maximum. The subjects rested one minute in-between sets.
The researchers then measured glucose, insulin, and cortisol concentrations among the participants and came to very interesting findings. The placebo group experienced 105% increase in peak cortisol levels – with no significant changes in both insulin and glucose concentrations. The other two groups (CHO and EAA+CHO) experienced a decrease in peak cortisol levels by 11% and 7% respectively. Plus, the EAA+CHO group had a 27% reduction in 3-MH excretion, followed by the placebo group which in contrast saw a 56% increase in 3-MH excretion. In simple terms, the conclusion is as follows: the combined efforts of carbohydrate + amino acid supplementation during a workout can greatly decrease cortisol levels among users, as well as induce an anti-catabolic effect to prevent the degradation of proteins in the muscles (also referred to as myofibrillar protein). Since most quality intra-workout supplements contain some combination of carbs and essential amino acids, the scientific findings are crystal clear: intra-workouts will make you train harder, longer, and will significantly decrease the chances of getting injured or fatigued during and after training.
DO INTRA-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS HELP IN BUILDING MUSCLE?
Besides increasing insulin and glucose secretion (and lowering peak cortisol levels), intra-workouts can significantly help in building quality muscle as well. Another study by Bird SP examined the progress of untrained subjects following liquid carbs (CHO) and essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation during and after high-intensity resistance training.
Participants were subjected to performing resistance training for 12 weeks straight, twice a week. Meanwhile, they consumed either CHO only, EAA only, combined EAA + CHO, or placebo only. The results were as follows: the EAA + CHO group showed the greatest increase in muscle fibre cross-sectional area (fCSA) for type I, II a, and II b muscle fibres as opposed to the placebo group. In simple terms, the combination of carbs + essential amino acids is shown to significantly increase muscle anabolism (muscle building) than either carbohydrate or amino acid supplementation separately. Again, most quality intra-workouts contain a synergistic bond between these two types of macronutrients which as we’ve seen, elevate your training to the next level. In addition, it’s thought that EAA + CHO supplementation builds muscles by reducing the rise in protein degradation after a given workout, which is exactly where intra-workout supplements excel.
COMMON INTRA-WORKOUT MISCONCEPTIONS
Even after all the scientific evidence, research, and published clinical studies – there are still many misconceptions that exist today in regards to intra-workouts and their impact on the body.
One such misconception comes in the form of two streams of thought:
While training, the most efficient energy sources for the body are muscle glycogen (or stored carbs in the muscle tissue), liver glycogen (liver carbohydrates), and glucose – or the sugar in the blood. Meanwhile, all of these types of carbs are superior energy sources over both protein and fat-based energy sources.
Given this supposed fact, an individual doesn’t need anything else besides carbohydrates during a workout.
Both of these statements, while carrying some technical weight – cannot be further from the truth. The human body is a complex biological mechanism that goes through billions of combinations in light of different types of food (both macro and micronutrients), physical activities, and timing of said foods. In fact, saying that carbohydrates are the only (and best) macronutrient needed during a workout is narrow-minded and, as the studies above have shown – dead wrong.
Additionally, if we want to debunk this misconception, we have to look at some of the questions that recent science has brought to the table, such as:
What happens to the protein structure in your muscles when you physically exert them to the point of overtraining?
Why aren’t we addressing how the muscles are broken down, and subsequently – the most optimal way of building them back up?
There are different types of fatigue that aren’t necessarily caused by the lack of carbs during training. How can we address this issue?
Different trainers have different intra-workout needs at a given time. A professional weightlifter for instance, has diametrically opposite intra-workout requirements over someone who specifically trains for endurance over the long haul. Therefore, shouldn’t athletes with different training programs have different nutritional plans tailored in accordance with their specific needs?
Bottom line, proper nutrition during a workout is a complex topic that, first and foremost, begins with proper hydration. Beyond that, carbohydrates are only one part of the equation and cannot be isolated as the sole factor in promoting optimal training grounds during a given workout. Let’s see what the other ingredients are.
Another common argument against intra-workout supplementation goes by the following: if you eat lots of protein-rich foods during the day (or take protein powders) – then EAA supplementation would be redundant during a workout. This is simply false because, knowing that amino acids are the building blocks of protein, they still absorb at a different pace and have a different impact on athletic performance than just protein supplementation alone. In fact, those who train in a fasted state can experience the greatest boost from amino acid supplementation during their workouts.
COMMON INTRA-WORKOUT INGREDIENTS
Most high-quality intra-workout products will have any or all of the following ingredients:
Essential Amino Acids (EAA)
If you’re coming from a bodybuilding background, chances are you know a thing or two about essential amino acids and why they’re important to take. However, it’s also important to understand that EAAs can come from many sources, and not just one. Each source has its pros and cons, which we’ll get into later. But first, let’s see how exercise changes the chemical balance in the body and what we can do to make sure we’re at our peak levels during this significant physical exertion.
While exercising, your body increases blood flow by a staggering 500 percent and boosts the amino acid delivery to skeletal muscle by an equally large percentage. In fact, it increases this delivery for up to 650 percent.
In addition to these processes, the cellular sensitivity in the body is also increased – which primes your muscles for optimal nutrient absorption at that exact time.
Plus, not everything revolves around nutrient absorption; it’s also about powering through your workout with a significant progress in regards to your physical build. The high concentrations of amino acids in your bloodstream during exercise trigger muscle protein synthesis and greatly increase the effect it has on your workout. By including quick-acting amino acids during training, you can also fight against the catabolic effects of physical exertion (also known as muscle breakdown), improve your recovery time, and decrease muscle soreness as well.
Further, taking amino acids during HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can prove as a tough challenge because of the intense nature of the workout (sometimes, even proper hydration can be seen as a logistical issue as well). To offset these challenges, you can opt to take EAAs before a workout and allow them to “bleed” into your training time. Yes, you read that right: intra-workout supplements can be taken as pre-workouts as well – which is not optimal, but does the job nonetheless.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, also belong to the group of essential amino acids, and are comprised of three amino acids, namely:
To avoid confusion, when talking about essential amino acids (EAAs), we usually mean all essential amino acids – with the exemption of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. That doesn’t mean that these three aren’t essential amino acids, it just means that intra-workout manufacturers use the abbreviations EAA and BCAA to differentiate between them on the labels of their products.
Further, BCAAs can be:
Either taken on their own
Combined with the rest of the EAAs
Or combined with NEAAs (non-essential amino acids)
Emerging research has shown that any of the three options above are valid – with the most optimal being the third option (EAAs + NEAAs supplementation during a workout). In fact, a study on the effects of whey protein (containing EAA) has shown an increase in the levels of muscle protein synthesis for up to 5 hours after exercise among chosen participants.
The goal of this study was to check if the improvements in muscle protein synthesis among participants were because of the essential amino acids in whey protein supplementation. Fifteen participants were divided into three groups: the first group was to receive 15 grams of whey protein (containing both EAAs and NEAAs), 6.72 grams or EAAs, or 7.57 grams of non-essential amino acids (NEAAs). The scientists then measured leg phenylalanine balance, which is a strong indicator of muscle protein accrual. The results clearly showed that the combined efforts of the chemical structure in whey protein (EAA + NEAA) were more effective than either EAA or NEAA supplementation alone.
As me mentioned, carbohydrates are equally important during a workout, because they are easily transformed into energy when the body needs it the most. In fact, carbs are the body’s primary source of energy, and the longer you exercise, the more carbs you’ll need in order to power through your training.
Additionally, for athletes competing in demanding sports disciplines such as bodybuilding or powerlifting, the high-intensity nature of these sports will leave your muscles drained and your body grasping for energy. Plus, if your glycogen stores get depleted, your body will start to look for potential energy elsewhere (most likely the protein in the muscle tissue), or will just shut down in wake of keeping you healthy. In other words, you can get fatigued pretty quickly if you start training with your carbohydrate reserves at near-depletion level. Here’s where quality intra-workout formulas come to the rescue.
Adding a carbohydrate-rich intra-workout during training will enable you to train harder for longer. Here are several benefits of including these types of intra-workouts into your diet while you train:
Enhance athletic performance
If your energy drops down, then you will be forced to lower your total weight volume and your ability to make gains will be hampered. This is not what you’d really want. Intra-workout carb supplementation can reverse this process and can give you valuable energy –enabling you to exercise for longer before your body finally runs out of fuel. In fact, by employing intra-workout carbs into your daily training regimen, you will be able to do more work, at a higher intensity, and for longer stretches of time as well.
Carbon-enriched intra-workouts can offset the increase in cortisol levels in the body as well. Cortisol is dubbed the “stress hormone” because it prevents your athletic ability during times of great physical exertion, such as during HIIT. Reducing the cortisol levels will prevent muscle catabolism (breakdown of muscles) and will protect your body from further stress and possible damage. Plus, you will be able to recover faster – all because your body won’t have to repair the damage that cortisol would have possibly done.
Offset mental fatigue
Carbs are a source of energy not only for the body – but for the mind as well. And as most of us are well aware: proper focus during training can tell apart regular trainers from real champions. To this extent, an athlete needs their full focus during a session of heavy lifting, squatting, or any other activity that involves more than just crude muscle, sort of speaking. Intra-workout carbs will fuel the mind to perform at its peak levels, therefore reducing the chance of experiencing muscle strains, injuries, or other serious complications during your workout.
Make your body leaner
You can take carbs any time of a given day, but when you take them during a workout session, they can have a greater impact than usual. Plus, intra-workout carbohydrates have a lower chance of converting to adipose tissue (body fat) if taken right when you’re most active.
Citrulline Malate supplementation during a workout has been proven to reduce muscle fatigue – which, along with overtraining, are the number one causes of injuries at the gym. In fact, Citrulline Malate is so effective in reducing muscle soreness and fatigue that manufacturers often end up including this compound into pre-workouts, BCAA supplements, and of course – intra-workout supplements as well. Here’s how Citrulline Malate works.
When you train, your body accumulates excess ammonia in the body. Ammonia is all sorts of bad news, mostly because it’s one of the main factors behind causing muscle fatigue as mentioned above. On the other hand, Citrulline Malate is produced during the urea cycle in the body thanks to the combination of two compounds: carbamoyl phosphate and ornithine. The urea cycle is also known to cleanse the body of nitrogen waste as well. And given that ammonia is comprised of three nitrogen molecules – supplementing with Citrulline Malate puts the urea cycle into overdrive – which ultimately removes a large amount of ammonia from your body.
In fact, this hypothesis was later confirmed in a 2010 double-blind study, where two groups of participants were asked to either take a single dose of Citrulline Malate (CM, 8 grams), or a placebo pill. After performing two consecutive pectoral training segments, the CM group was able to achieve 52.92 percent more reps as opposed to the placebo group. Plus, the CM group saw a significant decrease (40 percent) in muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours after training as well.
Beta alanine has slowly become a cornerstone addition of every professional bodybuilder out there. This compound’s uses stretch well-beyond your ordinary weekend supplementation and its positive impact during a workout is not something to be easily discarded. But, what exactly is beta alanine and how does it help to maintain a steady pace during physically demanding training?
Beta alanine is an amino acid comprised of two main components: carnosine and Vitamin B5. To this extent, beta alanine supplementation helps to elevate carnosine levels in the body. Carnosine is responsible for maintaining an optimal lactate synthesis (the amount of which the body produces and eliminates lactic acid in a given intervals) during a workout, and is lauded as one of the better supplements that improve endurance, strength, and increase strength as well. Ingesting carnosine alone however won’t do the trick, because carnosine breaks down into beta alanine and histidine immediately upon ingestion. Therefore, only beta alanine supplementation can raise muscle carnosine levels and prevent the buildup of lactic acid during HIIT.
THE BEST INTRA-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS OF 2017
The following lineup includes our carefully chosen top intra-workout supplements. As most of you know, our Second To None Nutrition team thoroughly tests, carefully researches, and succinctly compares dozens of products to bring you the ultimate 2017 intra-workout supplements list.
Scivation XTEND is the most effective intra-workout supplement by a large stretch of a margin. This product features an excellent combination of potent ingredients that work together to bring your workout to the next level. In fact, Scivation XTEND is additionally fortified with hydration-inducing electrolytes to keep you well-oiled for the whole duration of your exercise. This is why Scivation XTEND deservingly so takes the number one spot in this lineup.
Additionally, the main benefits of Scivation Xtend include:
Formulated with 7 grams of BCAAs in an optimal 2:1 amino acid ratio
Contains no carbs, no calories, and no sugar – perfect for shaping up a strong and lean body
Scivation Xtend burns fat like no other intra-workout on the market
And enables additional hydration to ‘xtend’ your workout time and make every minute count
Scivation XTEND contains a clinically dosed amount of L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine is considered a conditionally-essential amino acid, which means your body cannot produce adequate amounts of this compound when put under demanding physical conditions, such as weightlifting, sprinting, or squats. When the body experiences a drop in L-Glutamine levels, your muscles start to slow down and you quickly lose your training momentum in a matter of seconds. L-Glutamine supplementation during workout is proven to battle against this energy knockout because of several reasons:
Firstly, L-Glutamine rallies against muscle catabolism in an efficient manner, making you train harder for longer
Secondly, L-Glutamine mimics the functions of the preferred respiratory fuel for hepatocytes, lymphocytes and intestinal mucosal cells to enable better acclimation to prolonged physical exertion
Thirdly and finally, greater L-Glutamine levels in plasma lead to a decreased chance of sports injuries, which is a welcome addition to any professional athlete’s war-chest
Amino XTR by Axis Labs takes the second spot in our lineup. This product is an effective 4:1:1 BCAA formula that elevates your workout to a whole other level. Here are some of the benefits of including Amino XTR into your workout plan:
Amino XTR enhances post-workout recovery rates
Plus, this product offers a significant anabolic boost
Axis Labs Amino XTR promotes major muscle gains
And prevents fatigue during a workout
These are just glimpses of what Axis Labs Amino XTR can improve upon. In fact, Amino XTR has been also shown to promote increased muscle protein synthesis and help in the body’s sugar utilisation in the bloodstream as well.
Axis Labs Amino XTR is enriched with Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is a very important factor that holds a critical role in proper protein and fat metabolisation. In addition to that, Vitamin B6 is absolutely vital for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system in the body as well.
Here are some additional benefits of taking Vitamin-B6-enhanced supplements during your training:
Vitamin B6 protects against inflammation, heart disease, and other cardiovascular ailments
This compound supports healthy brain function as well
Vitamin B6 is shown to improve your mood, prevent anxiety, and ease any ongoing depressive episodes
Vitamin B6 protects the eyes
And keeps your joints healthy and ready to tackle a number of strenuous physical challenges (weightlifting, sprinting, crossfit)
If you’re into bodybuilding or prefer a general healthy way of living, chances are you’ve heard that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are further categorized into Essential and Non-essential amino acids. The body can make non-essential amino acids by itself, but essential amino acids can only be acquired through a rich and diverse diet. These essential amino acids are responsible for kick-starting the muscle rebuilding process and maintaining the muscle tissue in the body as well.
AMINO ACIDS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Top-tier amino acid supplements will contain any or all of the following types of amino acids:
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS:Histidine
Histidine is essential (both figuratively and literally) for making red and white blood cells, which help in delivering oxygen all throughout the body through the bloodstream and fight off diseases, respectively. As a matter of fact, this amino acid is crucial in the repair and growth of the muscle tissue as well.
Lysine is a major player in regulating the levels of nitrogen and calcium in the body. In fact, Lysine is absolutely essential for the production of three main compounds: hormones, antibodies, and collagen.
Methionine helps with digestion and also breaks down fat as well. Methionine is a key compound in producing high-quality creatine and is abundant in foods such as onions, fish, lentils, and other.
This amino acid is shown to treat depression, reduce pain, and keep a general feeling of well-being and happiness in life.
Without Threonine, there would be no collagen or elastin production in the body. Main natural sources include dairy, meat, and eggs.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps to regulate sleep, mood, energy, and more.
BCAAs are comprised of three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. They are the most revered amino acids in lieu of a better and more efficient workout. For instance, Leucine greatly improves muscle protein synthesis and promotes healthy and natural muscle growth. On the other hand, Isoleucine and Valine are responsible for greatly improving how muscles work in regards to efficacy and the proper distribution of energy during a workout. In fact, these two amino acids play a major role in reducing the percentage of fat in the body – therefore keeping it lean and efficient.
Furthermore, making poor diet choices (especially while working out) can lead to an unwanted muscle breakdown. This happens because of the well-known fact that the leaner your body becomes – the greater the chance of it breaking down muscles instead of fat to satisfy your energy needs on a daily basis. Supplementing with BCAAs can reverse this process and lead to a better, leaner, and ultimately a healthier you.
NON-ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS:Acetyl L-Carnitine
This amino acid is called ALCAR as well. ALCAR is a key compound for utilising a healthy lifestyle, including natural weight loss, better performance, and more energy on a daily basis. In fact, Acetyl L-Carnitine has been shown to help with regulating the metabolism and detoxifying the body (thanks to its anti-oxidant properties) as well.
L-Glutamine is an excellent solution for treating sore muscles, exercise-induced exhaustion, and over-training as well. Other L-Glutamine benefits include keeping your blood sugar levels in check, increasing muscle protein synthesis, improving the immune functions in the body, aiding in muscle recovery, and more. In fact, without adequate L-Glutamine levels, the body can lose the ability to perform at peak levels.
Bottom line, L-Glutamine is a very efficient amino acid that helps to power the body’s basic and advanced performance needs -- without the hassle of losing precious muscle mass in the process of doing so.
Beta Alanine is categorized as a non-essential amino acid which can both occur naturally and be produced by the human body. Foods that are rich in Beta Alanine include fish, pork, soybeans, and more. Here is what Beta Alanine does in short:
Improves athletic performance
Increases the workout intensity threshold
Boosts muscular anaerobic endurance
Improves muscular aerobic endurance
Increases the capacity of exercise
Increases muscle mass
Supplementing with high-quality Beta Alanine is also shown to increase muscle carnosine levels, which in turn significantly boosts your energy, strength, and the amount of lean muscle mass in your body as well.
According to a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, subjects who received 3.12 grams of D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) showed increased testosterone levels in as little as 12 days into the study. When the participants stopped taking D-Aspartic Acid, their T-levels dropped back to 10% as opposed to the previous whopping 40% increase.
But that’s just part of the story. In fact, trainers who are of older age tend to experience a sudden drop in their DAA levels due to their bodies becoming more inefficient and sluggish. This is especially true for individuals who make poor diet choices and do not include enough Amino Acids into their diets. A proper D-Aspartic Acid supplementation can change this in a heartbeat.
Arginine helps with many processes in the body, including healing the wounds, helping the kidneys to remove waste products quickly and efficiently, keeping the body’s immune function in check, dilating and relaxing the arteries, and more.
Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that represents a very important part of proper protein and enzyme functioning in the body. In fact, this very powerful essential amino acid is an important antioxidant as well.
Besides being a neurotransmitter, Glutamic acid plays an important role in amino acid degradation through a process called transamination. In addition to this valuable property, Glutamic acid plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to dispose of waste.
Glycine is a very important amino acid that has many benefits for the human body, including:
Helps to build lean muscle mass
Prevents sarcopenia (mild form of muscle atrophy, loss, or muscle deterioration)
Boosts mental performance and focus
Plays a major role in preventing seizures and strokes
Protects the joints
Improves the motion range of extremities
Battles against allergic reactions or autoimmune diseases
Helps in the production of red blood cells
Fights off anxiety and stress effects
Helps with controlling the symptoms of schizophrenia, seizures, and other mental disorders
And if that wasn’t enough, Glycine lowers the chances of getting affected by type 2 diabetes as well.
Proline has numerous benefits for the human body, some of which are closely linked to collagen formation, the prevention of arteriosclerosis, and skin maintenance – among many others.
Arteriosclerosis is defined as the hardening of the arteries. People affected by this condition have higher chances of getting heart disease than the general populace. Arteriosclerosis happens when the arteries that transport oxygen and other nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body get clogged by fat. This puts a toll on the arteries because they can’t expand and contract as they normally would, which restricts the blood flow and makes the heart pump even faster and harder. This is where Proline comes into play. This non-essential amino acid plays an important role in getting rid of the buildup of fat – which decreases the blockages around the heart and the other vessels. Therefore, by decreasing the pressure by removing the accumulated fat on the artery walls, Proline decreases the risk of becoming affected by heart disease as well.
Another area where Proline excels is making sure that collagen formation goes as smoothly as possible. Collagen is a flexible tissue that stands between your bones and holds them together – just like superglue. What’s more is that this gel-like substance reduces friction and acts as a shock absorber while healing the cartilage as well. As a matter of fact, Proline helps the body by breaking down protein for later use in the cells. And when paired with Lysine, these two amino acids act as precursors to hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. Hydroxyproline serves a major role in building collagen, ligaments, tendons, and heart muscle. In addition to this, collagen contains approximately 15% of Proline, making Proline supplementation absolutely crucial for treating chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, and soft tissue sprains.
Finally, Proline maintains and nurtures your skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body and represents the first line of defense against viruses and bacteria. When your skin is young, it’s also thicker and more elastic, thus enabling you to do body movements as you see fit. However, as we get older, the skin tends to become crude and thinner, and it also gradually drops down the amount of collagen as well. Add to this sun exposure, free radical damage, and other external factors, and we can see how the skin slowly degrades over time. Proline supplementation increases the production of collagen in the body and may revert, and in some cases prevent the symptoms of old skin.
Since all of the amino acids are tightly linked between each other, Serine is not an exemption of this rule. The body makes this amino acid by utilising the two amino acids Glycine and Threonine. Serine is important because of several reasons: it’s involved in the processes that burn both glucose and fat in the body. This compound also helps to make the four DNA bases A-G-C-T, and is a significant factor in a process called the methylation of DNA. This process involves methyl groups and whether or not they’ll stick to genes and turn them on or off. For instance, Methylation of the genes for type 1 diabetes can determine if an individual will be affected by this condition during the course of their lifetime.
Additionally, Serine is utilised to make creatine, a compound that interacts with water to pump up the muscles in the body. In fact, Serine is a major component of the immunoglobulins and antibodies that are responsible for fighting off infections and other ailments. Finally, Serine is an ethanolamine, choline, phospholipids, and sarcosine component that’s involved in the signal transmission in the nervous system as well.
This is one of the most important amino acid, part because it participates in the synthesis of structural proteins – or the production of neurotransmitters to be exact. In fact, Tyrosine is absolutely vital in the proper functioning of the hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, as stated by the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition to these benefits, Tyrosine may also help those who experience sleep deprivation to achieve better, deeper, and longer-lasting quality REM sleep as well.
This amino acid is one of the most abundant amino acids involved in the nitrogen transportation in the body. As a matter of fact, Asparagine is a crucial component of certain proteins in regards to neural development, signaling, and transmission of nerve endings.
Additionally, this amino acid is known to be involved in the metabolic processes that control the nerves, cells, and the brain tissue as well. To add, Asparagine has an ability to convert one amino acid into another in the liver – processes known as amination and transamination. Even more, Asparagine maintains a healthy balance in the central nervous system, making you feel neither overly calm, nor anxious – but just about right.
Finally, Asparagine is a major factor in regulating the amounts of ammonia in the body. The neutral amide group in the structure of Asparagine, and bear with us as we get scientific, doesn’t transfer any special properties as soon as this amino acid comes into contact with a protein held together by two peptide bonds. Both the amino acids Asparagine and Glutamine are built upon high energy ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and can return this energy in a heartbeat once they revert back to Aspartic Acid and Glutamic Acid respectively. Both of these amino acids need Vitamin B6 and other enzymes in order to form. And the Asparagine in plants is built out of a combination between Aspartic Acid and ammonia, which means that Asparagine is a major force in balancing the excess ammonia in the body.
Selenocysteine is produced by Cysteine in a process that replaces the sulfur in Cysteine with Selenium. The body utilises Selenocysteine to produce Selenium, in a way that may prevent mercury toxicity. This is why people who tend to have low levels of Selenium are more prone to losing lean muscle mass, aging prematurely, getting affected by poor function of the liver, and even suffering from heart disease. Some of the Selenocysteine benefits include:
Serves as a potent antioxidant due to its higher reduction potential and lower pKa levels
It’s highly reactive because it does not interact directly with the other proteins in the body
Fortifies and protects the immune system
Acts as a stop signal to prevent unwanted changes in the RNA loop
This is currently the last amino acid to be discovered by scientists, but its importance is not to be discarded so easily. Pyrrolysine is shown to be a key player in the generation of energy in the chemical process of archaebacteria. In fact, without this amino acid, this process could hardly work.
AMINO ACIDS STRUCTURE
Scientifically speaking, the hundreds amino acids that make up proteins are attached to themselves thanks to peptide bonds. These peptide bonds form long chains wherein each bond is an individual amino acid.
Secondly, a single amino acid contains both an amino group and a carboxylic group. In fact, amino acids that have an amino group which bonds directly to the alpha-carbon are called alpha amino acids.
As we go even deeper, and bear with us for a minute here, each alpha amino acid is made of:
A carbon atom called alpha carbon or Ca
A carboxylic acid or COOH that is bonded to the Ca
An amino group or NH2
A hydrogen atom
A unique R group
Additionally, there are L and D amino acids. These two are mirror images of each other, but are also non-superimposable as well. This means that when they’re put one over the other – they don’t achieve a perfect overlap. Pairs of L and D amino acids are called enantiomers.
Finally, only L types of amino acids end up building proteins. As most of us know, proteins are the catalysts for near every biochemical process that goes on inside the body. In fact, DNA, RNA, and proteins is what constitutes the genetic imprint of all living organisms on Earth. This is where high-quality branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements come into play.
WHAT DO AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTS DO FOR YOU? (AMINO ACIDS BENEFITS)
First off, most amino acid formulas predominantly use BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids. This is important because of three main reasons, which we’ll jump into right now.
BCAAs help users to:
Improve Athletic Performance
Sounds simple, right? Well, there’s more to it than that.
BCAAs Build Muscle
According to a study by Rene Koopman and colleagues, Leucine supplementation after a workout changes body protein balance from negative to positive – consequently leading to an anabolic (muscle-building) environment in the body. Furthermore, supplementing with BCAAs has been shown to have better effects in regards to increasing lean muscle mass and strength as opposed to sipping on sports drinks overloaded in carbs. And not only that, but BCAAs can help to reduce the percentage of fat in your body as well. The research that confirmed this thesis can be found in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Additionally, there’s even more evidence to support the positive claims on BCAAs in relation to building muscle. As we said above, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine lead to triggering an anabolic response in the body when these amino acids are taken in supplement form. They also reduce muscle breakdown as well. In fact, a study from Sweden subjected the participants to 6.8 grams of BCAAs, after which they performed leg presses and were then tested against a group that didn’t take BCAAs at all. The results showed that those participants who took Branched-chain amino acids exhibited greater indications of better anabolism – while also showcasing reduced catabolism markers as well.
Finally, another study has shown that Leucine supplementation can have even greater benefits beyond the standard process in regards to the muscle protein synthesis pathways. The study examines if L-Leucine, creatine monohydrate, or HMB (β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate) are able to prevent the atrophic effects of Myostatin on differentiated C2C12 myotubes, and can be found here.
BCAAs Burn Fat
During the past several years, there have been piles of scientific research that end up support the hypotheses that BCAAs burn fat in a healthy way. One study, for example, used professional wrestlers on calorie-restricted diets to test how BCAAs affect these highly trained individuals. The conclusion showed that those who took BCAAs lost more visceral adipose tissue as opposed to the subjects that did not. During the study, the wrestlers who took branched-chain amino acids stayed at their peak performance levels despite a deficit in calorie intake.
Secondly, another study found that when you add L-Leucine to diets that are high in fat, the percentage of gained fat mass becomes greatly reduced. The scientists attribute this to L-Leucine’s ability to interact with a certain protein responsible for increasing the mitochondrial ability. As a matter of fact, that study also showed that L-Leucine improves glucose regulation and cholesterol metabolism as well.
BCAAs Improve Athletic Performance
Finally, research has shown that besides helping with muscle growth and fat loss – BCAAs can also improve athletic performance as well. A study done by Thomas B. Walker, Erica Anderson and colleagues at the Air Force Research Laboratory showed that Leucine-fortified protein was more effective in increasing lean muscle and strength as opposed to protein that wasn’t enriched with this amino acid. In fact, yet another study done by a scientific team in Japan (Keitaro Matsumoto and colleagues) confirmed that supplementing with BCAAs before a workout greatly increased an athlete's’ endurance. This occurred after prolonged usage of BCAAs, leading to a conclusion in favor of the body needing time to adapt to BCAAs in order to reap the full benefits of these three amino acids.
Additionally, a study on the effects of supplementation with BCAAs and L-Glutamine on blood fatigue factors in athletes showed promising results as well. In fact, the study was done to understand these athlete’s performance abilities at maximum intensity. Five younger athletes were divided into three groups: the first group received a placebo supplementation (PS), the second group was subjected to L-glutamine (GS), while the third group got BCAA supplementation. The athletes were then told to row at maximum intensity using an indoor rowing machine, after which their blood samples were collected on three occasions, as follows:
After finishing the exercise
30 minutes after recovery
The scientists then analyzed several blood fatigue factors, including lactate, ammonia, creatine kinase, blood cytokines, and phosphorus. The results showed that the BCAA and L-glutamine group had higher phosphorus levels at the end of the exercise relative to the control group. What’s more, these groups had lower blood cytokines as well.
TOP 10 BEST AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTS IN 2017
The following lineup includes our carefully chosen top 10 amino acid supplements. As most of you are well-aware, our Second To None Nutrition team performs all the necessary research and leaves no room for error – meaning these amino acid formulas are thoroughly tested, carefully researched, and compared to each other for the ultimate 2017 amino acid supplements list.
Landing at number one is Anabol Nutrition Anabolic Armour – a very potent post-workout supplement powder that contains a clinically approved dosage of BCAAs as well. This product is excellent for promoting muscle growth, replenishing your muscle glycogen, and cut the workout recovery time by a significant margin. In fact, Anabolic Armour is built upon a scientifically researched formula that combines two critical macronutrients:
Fast absorbing protein
Fast absorbing carbohydrates
These compounds are scientifically proven to be one of the major factors in regards to recovery rates after long and hard training sessions at the gym. What’s more, Anabolic Armour by Anabol Nutrition fights off body inflammation and makes sure you’re up and ready for another quality workout in no time.
Anabolic Armour Ingredients
As we stated, this product contains both fast absorbing protein isolate and Hydrolyzed Whey Isolate that makes it the go-to formula for hundreds of thousands of professional athletes all around the world. What makes this blend special however is the inclusion of branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine), which are known to have countless of benefits for both professional trainers and weekend gym-goers as well.
Additionally, when you combine BCAAs with fast-acting carbs, this formula will reinvigorate your body through replenishing your depleted glycogen levels – making you train longer and harder. This is absolutely crucial because the main driving force behind muscle movement is none other than glycogen itself. Indirectly, fast-acting carbs will also prevent unwanted body mass loss as well.
To conclude, Anabolic Armour takes the first spot because of its quality, and the fact that it can be used almost any time during a given day.
Protein is one of the most important sources of molecules that we all need to consume in order to live strong and healthy lives. However, to understand why protein supplements are important and what protein supplements do for the body, we have to take a step back and explain what protein really is. Once we have a better understanding of that, it will be a lot easier to talk about protein supplements, powders, and other protein-related products in order to help you find the supplements that are best for you to reach your fitness goals and needs.
THE DEFINITION OF ‘PROTEIN’
Simply speaking, proteins are molecules that are necessary for our survival. Proteins can be found in foods such as poultry, fish, dairy, and grains – just to name a few. When ingested, proteins are broken down to smaller components called ‘amino acids’.
The body needs 20 amino acids in order to function properly. Of these 20, the systems in the body can only create 11 by itself. These are called ‘non-essential’ or ‘conditionally-essential’ amino acids. The remaining nine are called ‘essential amino acids’. As a biological machine, the body cannot make these compounds – therefore we must consume essential amino acids through healthy and diverse diets.
The essential amino acids are:
When we eat protein-rich foods, the body breaks down the protein molecules into amino acids so that it can fuel the body to perform everyday tasks. A poor and monotonous diet may ultimately lead to protein deficiency, which is exactly where protein supplementation comes into place.
WHAT ARE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS?
Protein supplements, or protein powders, are products that help with promoting healthy bones, skin, hair, and muscles. The major ingredient in these products is, unsurprisingly, protein, but there are several protein classifications that everyone should know about as well.
Protein concentrate is made when the liquid portion of milk is pushed through several filters. This process leaves behind a mixture which then dries out and forms protein concentrate. PC contains anywhere from 70-85% of protein in its composition and is not altogether free of carbohydrates and fat.
When PC undergoes additional filtering phases – the remainder of this product becomes protein isolate. PI (85%+ of protein) features an almost intact chain of the amino acid sequences that were present in PC as well. This means that PI does not necessarily lose any of its muscle-building qualities when the large proteins become denatured (broken down into smaller amino acid chains). Despite having the similar chemical structure, the body processes PC and PI very differently and this is why it’s so important to do your research in order to find which type of protein is best suited for your fitness goals.
The additional process of purifying protein isolate produces protein hydrolysate – a rapid-absorbing protein ideal for just about any time before entering the gym to finishing with your workout. Note, however, that hydrolyzed protein has fewer health promoting substances (other than the fast-absorbing protein itself) than both PI and PC combined. Hydrolyzed protein contains up to 95% of protein in its highly potent chemical structure.
TYPES OF PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS
Perhaps the most popular protein type among professional athletes is Whey Protein – whether it be concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate. However, there are additional types of protein that most users gloss over. These include Casein, Soy Protein, Pea Protein, and Weight Gainers among many more.
As we mentioned, whey protein is currently the most popular protein powder in the supplement market. This type of protein is a by-product of turning milk into cheese, and its benefits are felt far and wide throughout different sports disciplines such as weightlifting, bodybuilding competitions, Crossfit, and more.
Research suggests that whey protein plays an important role in promoting lean muscle growth, quicker fat loss, and a multitude of cardiovascular benefits for the user. Due to its fast-absorbing nature, whey protein can also be used as a post-workout supplementation as well. What’s more, whey protein is inexpensive and comes in various flavours – meaning you’ll never get tired of munching on the same whey protein for prolonged periods of time.
Since whey protein comes from milk, and milk contains lactose, people who are affected by lactose intolerance would not be able to enjoy the full benefits that this type of protein offers.
Casein is manufactured, or rather – produced – by separating the liquid milk from its crude form. Depending on the process and the number of filtering processes, Casein can either be concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate.
This type of protein offers similar benefits as whey protein, but the release processes between the two slightly differ. Due to its slow-releasing property, Casein protein works best when it is taken prior to bedtime. This will ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients while the body is in a prolonged fasting state.
Casein is not ideal to use right after a workout because the body needs immediate support. The slow-release nature of this type of protein is not able to meet the body’s demands so quickly. Casein can also be more expensive than whey protein as well.
Soy beans are one of the rarest sources of plant protein that offer the whole spectrum of essential amino acids. Just as whey and casein, soy protein can be both concentrated and isolated as well.
Soy can have various effects on the hormone levels in the body, so make sure you consult with your healthcare professional if you’re thinking of adding soy protein into your nutritional plan.
Pea protein is produced from the yellow split pea, and is a popular alternative to the other protein types – especially among vegans and vegetarians.
This type of protein is hypoallergenic – meaning it has a very low chance of causing an allergic reaction in users. What’s more, pea protein contains little to none additives or artificial ingredients – and this makes it the go-to type of protein for users who enjoy the whole-food version of this vegan-friendly supplement.
Oftentimes, Isolated Pea protein doesn’t contain the whole spectrum of certain amino acids, and should be used in conjunction with other types of protein for achieving optimal results.
In addition to protein (often whey), Weight Gainers contain a sufficient amount of carbohydrates as well. These types of supplements are great for both bulking up and for professional athletes who need an extra nutritional surge prior to a competitive event.
Weight gainers are more economical than your ordinary food. In fact, these types of products are chock full with calories to allow for an extreme bulking up that cannot be achieved by food alone.
If you opt for weight gainers and don’t work out, chances are the extra calories from these supplements will be stored as fat for later use by your body.
PROTEIN POWDER BENEFITS
As we mentioned above, protein is necessary to maintain a healthy body and a focused mind. Without it, our bodies just can’t work properly and will eventually suffer under both physiological and psychological stressors. In fact, lots of people don’t include sufficient amounts of protein in their diets – and this is where protein powder supplements come into play. Here are the five main benefits of protein powders:
Protein Powders support muscle health
Healthy muscles are the single most important prerequisite to leading a healthy and fulfilled life. Without them, we’re just as good as a bird with its wings cut off. In fact, the more muscles you have – the better you’ll be able to face various challenges in your life.
Living takes work. Whether you’re a student who casually works out or a professional athlete who trains 2-3 times a day – our muscles are what makes everything happen. Problem is, and we can’t stress this enough – people should include more protein in their diets, and should go about it in a smart and precise manner.
Junk food, fast food, and everything that includes empty calories won’t cut it. However, since quality protein powders are jam-packed with premium protein, as little as a scoop of your favourite protein supplement per day will provide a healthy stream of nutrients to your muscle tissue, so you won’t have to worry about undereating and under-performing anymore.
Protein Powders promote a healthy metabolism
Besides helping you do, lift, and (occasionally) break stuff, your muscles serve a crucial role in helping you maintain a healthy metabolism as well. The more muscles you have – the more calories you burn throughout the day. Even the slightest increase in muscle mass can improve your metabolism and cardiovascular health. In fact, burning more calories leads to better control over your health at any given time.
Additionally, for those who don’t have the time to exercise, or just can’t do it because of other reasons, simple activities such as walking, gardening, or leisure swimming can have a profound impact on increasing your muscle mass in a healthy and natural manner.
They also help with controlling the appetite
Meals high in carbohydrates may leave you feeling full, then drowsy, then hungry again. This cycle is suboptimal both in the short and over the long haul for your health. Unlike carbs, protein (especially casein) takes more time to digest. This property (prolonged digestion time) is one of the many reasons why quality protein stays in the body longer and doesn’t cause any of the unwanted effects that carbohydrates do. What’s more, feeling full will make it less tempting to reach for unhealthy foods – meaning less weight, less fat, and an overall healthier you.
Protein Powders increase strength
More strength is always good. Fact is, you don’t have to pull monster trucks with your earlobes to feel healthy, but be the type of strong person to be able to do any activity that you want. As we mentioned above, taking quality protein powders will increase your strength levels to unimaginable heights – making your life easier and more fulfilling as well. The key to this is making your bones strong and your muscles healthy, and protein powders do just that.
Protein Powders make you look sturdy and healthy
In order to avoid atrophy (breaking down) of the muscles, you have to be sure that you’re putting significant amounts of protein into your system. Furthermore, to look and feel healthy, including having a firm handshake, proper protein intake is a must. In fact, staying healthy and fit has everything to do with exercise, proper nutrition, and getting quality z’s overnight.
Checking off all of these boxes will make your constitution firm, sturdy, and well-shaped enough to have everyone turning their heads at you while you’re at the beach. All jokes aside, an adequate protein intake will provide a healthy muscle-to-fat percentage to sculpt your body into a solid, well-oiled biological machine to conquer all the challenges that life throws at you.
WHICH PROTEIN POWDER IS THE BEST?
While doing this research, one particular question has popped up regularly: what kind of protein powder is the best one for me? The truth is: it all depends.
If you’re looking for fast-absorbing protein to replenish your energy levels immediately after exercise – then whey isolate should be your go-to supplement. If you’re trying to introduce a steady flow of nutrients in your body – go for casein. If you’re a serious athlete who needs mass fast, then a quality weight gainer could most possibly satisfy your fitness needs.
Additionally, we’ve included a detailed Top 10 Protein Supplements lineup below, so feel free to check it out at your own pace.
BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Many protein supplements claim to be the best when it comes to weight loss. But nothing even remotely compares to the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein powder formula. This product features top-notch ingredients paired with a premium whey protein isolate (WPI) to ensure you get an optimal muscle growth and cut on unnecessary weight long after the dust has settled.
In fact, Gold Standard Whey has been proven time and again to be reliable, consistent, and awesomely delicious. These are some of the reasons why we’ve included ON Gold Standard Whey twice in our featured lineups.
…will provide you with enough lean mass to tuck away like a bear and forget about food for the next six months (kidding). All jokes aside though, IP Synergy 5 is definitely your go-to protein powder supplement if you find it hard to get calories in. This solid formula contains a whopping 32.8 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of carbs, and 220 mg of calcium to support strong bones – all featured in one scoop of just 40 grams!
Additionally, IP Synergy 5 prevents sudden muscle breakdown as well, meaning even more lean mass for you to become a real pro.
PROTEIN POWDER SIDE EFFECTS
If you’re using quality protein supplements from trusted companies such as EHP Labs, International Protein, or Scitec Nutrition – you shouldn’t worry about any side effects negatively impacting your overall health. With that being said, users with pre-existing conditions should most definitely consult with their healthcare representative in order to determine how to take these products and how to properly dose their favourite protein powder supplements – granted they’re allowed to take them in the first place. For healthy individuals above 18 years of age – no side effects have been reported to this day.
TOP 10 BEST PROTEIN POWDERS TO BUILD MUSCLE IN 2017
The following lineup includes our carefully chosen top 10 protein powder supplements. As most of you are well-aware, our Second To None Nutrition team performs all the necessary research and leaves no room for error – meaning these protein powders are thoroughly tested, carefully researched, and compared to each other for the ultimate 2017 protein powder supplements list.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is one of the go-to proteins for both hardcore athletes and the occasional exercise hobbyist as well. This product packs a real punch: with an astonishing 24 grams of pure protein per scoop – it’s no wonder that ON Gold Standard Whey has taken the supplement market by storm.
In fact, Gold Standard Whey is excellent for gym-goers who want to cut on calories while providing their bodies with premium-quality protein to feel energized and full all at the same time.
This product contains the following core ingredients:
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
The combination of these three different protein types enables a synergistic bond to ensure a steady nutritional source for users who are seriously considering upping the ante in their exercise regimens. What’s more, supplementing with Gold Standard Whey by ON is the perfect starting protein powder if you’re unsure about what protein powder supplement is best suited for your fitness needs.
Why Users Love Gold Standard Whey
This product contains a cutting-edge scientific formula that combines WPI, L-Glutamine, and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to provide optimal results quickly and efficiently. As we said above, Whey Protein Isolate is one of the best protein types quality-wise, since the body ingests this protein faster than other types of protein – ideal for timing a scoop right after exercise to ensure a steady stream of energy for the muscles.
Additionally, each Gold Standard Whey serving contains 5.5 grams of quality amino acids, which is optimal for muscle recovery and muscle repair after a strenuous workout. In fact, BCAAs are one of the most potent building blocks of the body, since they can repair muscle damage quicker than other amino acids – hence their effectiveness after rigorous training.
Scitec Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Professional stands strong as the No.2 pick on our list. When it comes to popularity, this product is topped only by Gold Standard Whey, and that is saying a lot. 100% Whey Protein by Scitec is a true engineering wonder: each serving contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, whilst sporting only 1.5 grams of fat and 3.8 grams of carbs. This is why WPP is so effective and loved by users all around the world.
Additionally, trainers will get the benefit of a specially tailored Amino Acid Matrix that includes the following amino acids:
L-Leucine – 100 mg
L-Glutamine – 210 mg
Taurine – 990 mg
These compounds are what makes Scitec Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Professional so good, and here’s why.
L-Leucine is an essential amino acid which our bodies don’t have the capacity to produce. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to take your daily intake of L-Leucine from different sources – whether it be from food or high quality supplements.
In fact, L-Leucine is actually a BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) that builds and protects the muscles while the body is put under immense physical pressure. Plus, L-Leucine is the most abundant amino acid out of the other BCAAs (L-Isoleucine and L-Valine) – which makes it that more valuable for a regular gym-goer or a professional athlete.
On the other hand, while we exercise, we experience a sudden drop in BCAA levels, which can lead to all sorts of trouble. Supplementing with L-Leucine leads to an offset of muscle breakdown and enables users to exercise more in their next training sessions with the same or elevated intensity compared to their previous workouts.
L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid as well, which your body needs large amounts of in order to function properly. L-Glutamine is known to promote digestive health, brain health, athletic performance, lean muscle growth, and more. In addition to these benefits, L-Glutamine has shown to keep your blood sugar levels in check as well.
Taurine is a highly beneficial amino acid compound that promotes healthy neurological development, regulates the amount of water and minerals in the blood, and has antioxidant properties as well.
International Protein Amino Charged WPI is a powerful, supercharged, masterfully combined protein matrix that takes the third spot on our lineup. This premium tube contains the highest ratio of protein dietary intake, standing tall at 94%. In addition, Amino Charged WPI includes a high amount of bioactive peptides as well, which are compounds known to play a major role in keeping the body’s immune system intact. In fact, International Protein has most definitely made one of the best protein powder supplements on the market, topped only by ON Gold Standard Whey and SCITEC 100% WPP.
Amino Charged WPI features a specially engineered Amino Acid Enhanced Formula
The secret of WPI lies within the two amino acids L-Glutamine and L-Arginine, which work together in a synergistic bond to help preserve the lean muscle tissue during periods of long and hard training sessions. In fact, this formula is a major factor in improving the overall health among professional athletes who have trouble with maintaining an optimal muscle-to-fat ratio and need a boost in their monotonous exercise routine.
Additionally, WPI is free of fillers and unnecessary additions containing a pure protein form that leads to fast results. As a matter of fact, the type of protein (Whey Protein Isolate + Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate) within International Protein WPI is digested faster than other types of protein and is especially useful for high intensity exercise athletes such as sprinters, basketball and soccer players, cricket players, and more.
International Protein Amino Charged WPI is available in the following flavours:
Scitec Nutrition 100% WPI is a quality protein formula that contains both WPI and Hydrolysed Whey Protein for natural and healthy muscle growth. This product is shown to be a major factor in stimulating muscle protein synthesis – a process which is crucial for gaining lean muscle mass after an intense workout. In addition to these benefits, Scitec 100% WPI contains zero lactose, zero sugar, and no fat. This makes it the perfect choice for those who are lactose intolerant or..
Ever had a day where no matter which way you move, you hurt? No matter what your goals are, recovery is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
1. Epsom Salts Bath
For instant relief simply add 2 cups of Epsom Salts to a warm bath and soak for at least 12 mins. Your body will adsorb the magnesium and sulfates, also the warn water will help your muscles relax and loosen stiff joints.
2. Get more Z's
Its amazing the difference a good nights sleep can make. Prioritise sleep over social media/Netflix for one week and enjoy the benefits of stronger muscles and increased endurance.
3. Branch Chain Amino Acids (aka BCAA's)
Studies have shown that sipping on BCAA's while training will prevent muscle proteins from breaking down during exercise, less damage = less soreness. BCAA supplements are also a must for anyone training fasted (empty stomach), this will encourage your body to burn stored fat for energy, rather than muscle tissue.
Lactic acid builds up inside you muscles while you are exercising and this contributes to fatigue and soreness. Stretching after exercising, while your muscles are warm, will help increase blood circulation and help release the lactic acid build up. Pay particular attention to the area's you utilised during training (legs, back, etc). Getting into a good stretching routine will also increase flexibility and reduce your chances of being injured.
5. Post workout Protein
Consuming a protein shake after training will quickly nourish your muscles and assist with recovery. Yes, you can also get protein from food, but will it not digest fast enough to replenish your body after a workout.
If your goal is to gain muscle, opt for a good quality Recovery protein that contains Carbohydrates, Glutamine & Creatine like Anabolic Armour.
You’re entering the gym, all pumped up for what’s about to be a MONSTER weight session at the gym. You grab the closest barbell, throw away ten bicep curls, and you leave it at that. Then, you bring the barbell to the other hand, but now you notice that something’s missing from the equation. You’re just not as hyped as you were before stepping through the gym doors. Then you go home all frustrated since you can’t really pinpoint what’s holding you back in your workout.
The answer? – Testosterone. Or the lack thereof to fully utilise your potential. One solution to this is to supplement your diet with high-quality T-boosters that would give that extra kick to crush your workout with ease.
When it comes to testosterone supplements, however, things can get tricky. That’s why we’ve compiled this 2017 Testosterone Boosters Guide, where we’ll take a look at everything T-related, including T-boosters ingredients, doses, effectiveness, and more.
Do Testosterone Boosters Really Work?
In short, yes they do. Testosterone boosters are supplements that athletes (especially bodybuilders) use to boost their performance at the gym. Usually, these products are made out of plants and other natural ingredients and are generally labeled safe to use – especially true for events like bodybuilding competitions and the like. After all, having more testosterone is every guy's dream, right?
Nowadays, more and more individuals understand the benefits of proper T supplementing, so it’s no wonder why testosterone boosters have been rising in popularity recently. Testosterone boosters saw their rise to stardom because anabolic steroids (testosterone boosting compounds) were proclaimed too dangerous to use by numerous studies in the field.
Bottom line – testosterone boosters are the ultimate supplements for anyone looking to get lean whilst naturally building muscle in the process of doing so.
What Are Testosterone Boosters?
Generally, there are two main types of T-boosters:
Synthetic boosters, such as anabolic steroids, are tricky and can lead to dangerous consequences if taken recklessly. On the other hand, natural test boosting supplements are safer, which is why a large chunk of athletes nowadays opt for the latter.
Why Should I Take T-Boosters?
First off, these products are excellent for anyone looking to naturally raise their testosterone levels. When compared to steroids, T-boosters do not strip you off of your testosterone levels after you cut them out from your nutritional plan. A sudden, unnatural drop in T-levels can have all kinds of nasty consequences, such as decreased libido, shrunken scrotum, limp pectoral muscles, and more. We don’t want that, so anabolic steroids are out of the question for good.
To experience a safe and steady increase in testosterone levels – pick a natural T-booster which will provide you with all the benefits of building a chiseled body whilst keeping you healthy and full of energy.
Natural Testosterone BoosterBenefits
Natural test boosting supplements have many benefits, including:
Natural increase of your testosterone levels – only by using natural ingredients and clinically tested compounds
More muscles, bigger size, and better gains – you will experience unparalleled progress at a rapid rate
Greater focus, elevated mood, and enhanced motivation – meaning more confidence and more energy whilst at the gym
Major protein synthesis improvements – out of all the protein you eat, a larger chunk goes straight toward building muscles
…and much more. Additionally, regardless of how well a woman’s nutritional plan is made – they can only develop muscles up to a certain point before the growth altogether stops. Naturally, women have lower T-levels, and without the use of supplements such as testosterone boosters – their athletic performance will always hit a brick wall.
Furthermore, men are also prone to boundaries in training – with a slight difference being that they take longer to reach that physical peak as we mentioned it above. This happens because males have higher T-levels on average thanks to genetics and millions of years of human evolution. Even so, testosterone levels among men vary from one individual to another. Some men have more, others less, and this is where supplements such as testosterone boosters come rushing in into play. These products are specifically engineered to break past the limit and gallop further into lean perfection. Think Bradley Cooper in Limitless, but instead of the mind – we’re now unleashing the true potential of the body.
What Ingredients Should I Look For In Testosterone Boosters?
Before taking any test boosting supplements, make sure that the formula contains clinically tested ingredients that are labeled safe for use. The last thing you’d want is taking shady, low-quality formulations that may do you more harm than good.
Generally speaking, all high-quality testosterone boosters will contain some or all of these ingredients in one form or another:
D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)
This compound is an amino acid that regulates testosterone synthesis and may act as a stimulant when taken in supplement form. DAA is used by athletes worldwide to boost their T-levels, aid in sports performance, and increase gains. In addition, D-Aspartic Acid has also shown promising results for treating infertility in men.
Upon entering the body, this compound interacts with the chemicals in the brain to stimulate the release of the luteinizing hormone. The luteinizing hormone plays a major role in both testosterone and growth hormone production – two chemical processes that ultimately lead to significant increase in testosterone synthesis.
Interestingly enough, Vitamin D3 is both a vitamin and a hormone at the same time – leaning more on the hormone side. D3 is mostly produced when the body gets exposed to the sun – leading to a major increase in test production. What links these two compounds is the luteinizing hormone doing its job.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a huge pile of evidence elaborating on how Vitamin D3 increases testosterone levels in men.
Among men, around 60% of testosterone bounds with SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) – a hormone that removes test’s anabolic properties and leaves the body with lesser amounts of testosterone. Supplementation with magnesium significantly decreases SHBG levels – which leads to greater free testosterone amounts that get released into the body.
For athletes, this means more power, energy, and stamina to simply knock your workout right out of the park.
This compound does a few things: it raises free testosterone levels, it enhances focus and mental clarity, and it improves the functioning of other hormones in the body as well. Boron also plays a significant role in lowering the amounts of estrogen through decreasing SHGB (Sex hormone-binding globulin) levels. SHGB directly impacts how much estrogen is secreted in active individuals.
Zinc is a must-have for any testosterone booster that’s taking itself seriously on the market. A study regarding zinc effects on wrestlers during workout found a positive correlation between zinc supplementation and a raise in T-levels. One group of wrestlers were given an identical zinc dose, whilst the participants of a second group took placebo pills. The conclusion showed that the placebo group had a significant drop in test levels as opposed to the group of wrestlers that took zinc.
In addition to this, supplementing with zinc may also increase free testosterone count and decrease every bodybuilder’s arch-nemesis – SHGB levels.
Ingredients to Avoid in Testosterone Boosters
Back when testosterone boosters were still considered a novelty, the ingredients these formulations used were not clinically tested and weren’t deemed as safe to use. Most T-boosters back then were made out of ingredients that were personally picked by unproven scientists and groups who were just looking to make a quick buck. Therefore, evidence was scarce when it came to the potency of these ingredients and their effectiveness in safely raising testosterone levels in both women and men.
Nowadays, science has finally caught up and has managed to topple these so-called ‘bro scientists’ right off of their falsely claimed throne. The troubles don’t end here, however, since some companies still use these unproven ingredients in their mixes, which leads to false claims and double-crossing of honest consumers.
These are the outdated ingredients you should definitely be checking twice before taking them:
Deer Antler Velvet
TT is a Mediterranean-native plant that is shown to have multiple benefits for the body when taken in supplement form. TT might help with alleviating angina symptoms, treat infertility, and protect the liver among individuals affected by diabetes mellitus as well.
However, Tribulus Terrestris isn’t proven to enhance athletic performance, nor increase T-levels. If you’re opting for T-boosters with TT, make sure to consult with your physician beforehand and follow their advice on the matter.
Deer Antler Velvet
Deer Antler Velvet is a type of bone that later develops into deer antlers. Scientifically speaking, deer velvet is a growth hormone dubbed ‘insulin-like growth factor 1’, or IGF-1 in short. This unusual supplement is believed to heal torn ligaments or other sports injuries quicker than usual, but this is inadvertently false. In fact, multiple studies have confirmed that deer antler velvet does not increase athletic performance, aerobic power, or testosterone levels among individuals who take it.
As most of you know, bulking is one of the more ‘fun’ parts of everyone’s training regimen — simply because you get to eat more food. The goal when you embark on a bulk is to gain as much muscle mass as possible through an increased protein intake in our diets.
This leads to the conclusion that protein is an essential part of the bulking process. Taking too much of it, however, can have devastating consequences on your T-levels and can break the lower testosterone threshold for a significant amount. The reason behind this process lies in, you guessed it, Cortisol. An increased protein intake raises Cortisol (colloquially known as stress hormone) levels, which in turn suppresses testosterone via the testicular Leydig cells and the hypothalamus. This leads to lower test levels and negatively impacts the production of testosterone in the body.
In fact, a study has shown that the protein to carbs ratio in diets is very important for keeping testosterone levels in a healthy range. And here’s where testosterone boosting products come into play.
If you opt for a T-boosting supplement that checks all the marks, you’ll have no troubles with raising your testosterone levels. This rule applies regardless of the protein to carb ratio in your preferred diet.
Testosterone Boosters Pros
T-boosters provide countless benefits for athletes of both sexes. These products can break the upper T-level threshold among women, and positively impact men’s physicality and appearance. By supplementing with testosterone boosters, your body gets the ‘green light’ for activating the adrenal gland – which secretes more testosterone as well. Testosterone brings forward the secondary sexual traits among men and serves a crucial role in the increase of T-levels among women.
Additionally, besides boosting power, stamina, and strength, T-boosters also aid in nurturing healthy reproductive organs among the male population.
Testosterone boosters can be made out of different sources. In comparison, creatine products fall under synthetic supplements – and so do anabolic steroids. These two supplements belong to the same category, but creatine products were proven time and time again to be safer down the stretch. On the other hand, T-boosters are manufactured by naturally deriving plant and herb extracts that have major test boosting properties.
Popular testosterone boosters may contain DHEA, ZMA, and Tribulus Terrestris doses in accordance with their formulations. In fact, these compounds may find their way into commercially available supplements that are not T-boosters, so be on the lookout for those as well. Furthermore, it’s very important to combine your test boosting program with proper exercise, diet, and sufficient amounts of deep sleep. This is by far the better approach as opposed to taking supplementation such as anabolic steroids, prohormones, or other unsafe and unproven products with potential ‘nasty’ side effects.
On a side note, prohormones may possibly help you with building muscles – but be sure to consult with a physician before taking these kinds of supplements.
Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Give Testosterone Boosters a Chance
Major Muscle Gains
Individuals who opt for T-boosters paired with a proper exercise program – gain muscle faster. Once you enhance this process, the recovery rate improves as well. All of these effects ultimately lead to intensive workout sessions for longer periods of time.
Increased Aggressiveness at the Gym
High T-levels in the bloodstream directly correlates with increased aggressiveness and energy. The former is a strong motivator to mercilessly train in order to reach optimum results in the shortest amounts of time. Higher aggressiveness during workouts, thanks to supplementing with testosterone boosters, leads to faster progress among beginners and pro athletes alike.
Improved Health of the Reproductive System
As we mentioned above, testosterone has a primary function which leads to developing secondary sexual traits among men. In fact, healthy T-levels are shown to battle conditions such as impotence as well. Men who are affected by fertility problems can greatly benefit by raising their testosterone levels in the body. What’s more, the aging process further slows down the secretion of testosterone from the adrenals and testes among the male population. Fortunately, this process can be reversed thanks to having an active lifestyle, proper dieting, and supplementation with high-quality testosterone boosters.
In continuation, T-boosters have other benefits as well. They:
Serve a major role in decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels
Improve the libido
Alleviate possible erectile dysfunction
Improve density of the bones
Reduce cortisol levels
Elevate the mood
Boost motivation and increase self-confidence
…and much more.
Are Testosterone Boosters Safe?
When compared to anabolic steroid ingestion or injection – testosterone boosters are generally safe. In order to prevent any potential negative side effects that may arise, be sure to put your test-boosting program on hold after finishing off your preferred T-boosting product. This practice both relaxes and cleans the body to garner additional strength for future supplementation of your choice.
Note: make sure you read your preferred testosterone booster label and follow the written instructions in a clear manner. Always ask your doctor whether you’re in the clear of taking any supplementation, including testosterone boosters as well.
How to Optimise Your Lifestyle for The Best Results
Testosterone boosters may provide you with immense benefits, but if your lifestyle involves tobacco, excessive use of alcohol, and poor dieting choices – the results of T-booster supplementation will also be poor. T-boosters only work if you’re leading a healthy lifestyle that’ll allow reaping the full benefits of these products.
Additionally, test boosters should only be taken if you’re being active in all fields – mostly including exercise and properly taking care of your body. Bottom line is – you will most definitely reap the benefits if you do all of these things properly, but there are a couple of other things that will also help you to build that perfect beach body.
The Power of Three
Basically, what this means is to incorporate the ‘holy’ trifecta of all exercises: squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. The rule states that training large muscle groups leads to your body producing more testosterone. When you employ all of these exercises with proper form, you’ll experience the benefits of increased T-levels, additional muscle gains, and a major increase in growth hormone levels.
Control the Protein Intake
As we previously mentioned, leaning too much on the protein side can actually decrease testosterone levels and leave you behind in the gain game. If the protein you take is at or exceeds 0.85g/lb of body weight per day, then your macronutrient ratio may overshadow the benefits of testosterone boosters. In addition to that, a high protein intake may cause a significant rise in your Cortisol and SHGB levels, which in turn will lower testosterone secretion. This process is not beneficial for anyone since it increases fat gains and lowers T-levels.
Soak Up The Sun
We’re sure that most of you have experienced that feeling of excitement after feeling the first sun rays of summer, right? That’s your body telling you that the sun is healthy for you – although in reasonable amounts (prolonged exposure to sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to all sorts of trouble). In short: the sun equals more Vitamin D3, and D3 means more testosterone in an all-natural way.
It’s clear: alcohol intake lowers testosterone levels. In fact, drinking beer regularly can have devastating effects on your T-levels in the long haul. This happens because beer contains so-called ‘phytoestrogens’ – compounds that increase estrogen levels which, as we’ve shown above, have the effect of lowering the amount of testosterone in the body. As a matter of fact, numerous studies have pointed out that chronic alcoholics have lower T-levels relative to non-alcoholic individuals.
Junk Food Cravings Should be Left at That
Opting for foods rich in simple sugars is a big no-go if you want to improve testosterone chart readings. Upon consumption, these sugary foods cause spikes in blood glucose levels, which trigger the release of the hormone insulin as a response. Acting recklessly with sugary foods increases the chances of becoming resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to all sorts of trouble, including diabetes and other complications and health risks further down the stretch. In the short run, however, being insulin resistant means having increased levels of Cortisol in the body, which is shown to lower testosterone levels by significant amounts.
Bottom line, avoid sugary foods wherever and whenever you can.
The Best Testosterone Boosters of 2017
The following lineup lists our top ten hand-picked products in the testosterone boosting category. As most of you know, we take these things very seriously and don’t leave room for error – therefore these testosterone boosters are thoroughly researched, tested, and compared between one another for the ultimate 2017 list.
1. Body War Alpha War
Body War Alpha War is one of the best testosterone boosting formulas on the market – which you can immediately tell thanks to its fully transparent label. This powerhouse of a container features some very potent ingredients, such as:
D-Aspartic Acid – considered by many to be the best compound when it comes to testosterone boosting properties. Those with low test levels should definitely be on the lookout for this one.
Velvet Bean Extract – carrying an awesome name, this ingredient enhances sexual performance among men and makes it easier for the ladies.
Fenugreek Extract – plays an important role in converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. The latter is a powerful hormone that regulates sexual characteristics among males and is an excellent ingredient for beginners and pros alike.
Tongkat Ali – also known as Longifolia, Tongkat Ali serves two major functions: increases sexual desire and raises T-levels. Quote the impressive portfolio for a plant.
Resveratrol – boosts testosterone while suppressing estrogen levels in the body. Great for achieving awesome pumps without any unwanted side effects whatsoever.
Test-Drive by EST Sports is a major player in the test-boosting league. This product restores your natural testosterone levels without the hassle of having to cycle synthetic hormones, which is incredible. Test-Drive features an all-natural formulation that stimulates the body to produce more of the so-called ‘Leutinizing Hormone’. This hormone breaks the normal testosterone threshold – therefore enabling more T-production beyond normal levels of what physiology allows.
Furthermore, EST Sports Test-Drive is more than just your regular test drive, since it increases baseline T-levels, improves libido, and maximises the production of red blood cells in the body.
The recent surge in technology has glued people to their chairs, sofas, and computers. Because of this, it's obvious that humanity just isn’t as active as it should be. The results are devastating to look at, as more and more individuals struggle with obesity now more than ever. Sadly, even the ones who aren’t obese may still have some excess fat that’s doing them more harm than good in the long run. Unfortunately, this could mean that they’ll have a greater chance of getting diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other life-threatening illnesses. And while all of the above may seem bleak at first glance – there is hope.
‘Exercise’ is that one simple hope and it comes in all shapes and forms. Whether you’re a beginner who’s looking for a place to start, or a world-class athlete looking to shred some excess fat – training is a non-negotiable clause. Exercise by itself, however, won’t do much without proper nutrition, adequate amounts of sleep, and the right supplements – which is exactly what we'll be getting into today.
But even if you nail down getting enough sleep and working out on the first try, getting your hands on a fat-burner that works can leave you totally drained. The fat-burners market is alive and kicking, but it saw some stagnation due to many trainers opting for pre-workouts instead of fat-burners. Pre-workouts, however, are not designed to work as just fat-burners, whilst fat-burners are specifically engineered to burn fat.
With that being said: finding a fat-burner that works, has no side-effects, and is everything as advertised – is hard. In fact, the current market is oversaturated with products of many shapes and sizes, and it’s easy to get lost in this jungle without a proper guide. Thankfully, we’re here to help, because we’ve created 2017’s ultimate fat-burning supplements guide. In it, we’ll discuss training methods, tips, tricks, and the best fat-burners that will help you get rid of fat whilst staying perfectly healthy.
HOW TO FIND GREAT FAT BURNERS THAT WORK
First off, prepare to be overwhelmed. The ingredients found on lesser quality fat-burner labels can be confusing, misleading, incomplete, and everything but clear. We don’t want that, so we’ll focus our efforts towards recognising which ingredients serve which purpose.
Therefore, high-quality fat-burners usually contain:
Green Tea Catechins
Catechins are water-soluble polyphenols that have thermogenic effects. Catechins found in green tea (Camellia Sinensis) are actually four molecules, one of which is the highly potent EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG dominates among the four catechins molecules in green tea and most clinical studies are centered on it.
In one study, all participants were asked to take an exact dose of green tea extract and the results were later compared to a placebo control group. The green tea extract group showed a significant increase in 24-hour expenditure of energy when compared to the group that took placebo pills. Furthermore, the subjects that received green tea extract showed a major increase in fat oxidation levels relative to the placebo group. Finally, that same study concluded that green tea catechins play a crucial role in thermogenesis and the breakdown of fat through substrate utilisation and energy expenditure.
Additionally, another study by leading author Tsi D showcased how the catechins in green tea can play an important role in keeping body fat percentage in check. In a clinical study, participants were asked to take an identical dose of green tea extract and were later compared to a given baseline. All participants who took green tea extract had a significant decrease in their body fat percentages.
Scientifically speaking, green tea catechins are shown to inhibit a substance called ‘catechol-O-methyl-transferase’, or COMT in short. COMT is an enzyme that is responsible for noradrenaline degradation – therefore catechins delay the effects that noradrenaline has on adrenoreceptors. In simpler language, this tells us that taking green tea catechins in supplement form speeds up the process that is responsible for burning fat in the body.
When paired with green tea catechins, caffeine anhydrous becomes a powerhouse of a weight-loss – and a highly potent – fat shredding agent.
In the scientific community, this compound is referred to as 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine, and is one of the main ingredients found in all high-quality fat-burners for both men and women. The main reasons for including caffeine anhydrous in all major fat-burning formulas (besides it being awesome) are its several properties listed below:
Increases lipid oxidation
Improves mental focus
Promotes the generation of energy for longer training sessions
What’s more, the benefits of measured caffeine doses were confirmed by several unrelated clinical trials, which all proved its properties, as seen above. In fact, research has suggested that bodybuilders may greatly benefit from taking caffeine anhydrous in supplement form since it increases their energy expenditure without ‘messing up’ their protein or carbohydrate metabolism. What this means is that caffeine can help ‘bypass’ glycogen, or the muscle protein, and go straight into stored fat for energy, therefore preventing the degradation of swell muscle shape that sometimes takes years to build.
Furthermore, caffeine anhydrous’ benefits don’t stop there. This compound also helps with priming you for higher intensity activities at the gym. Ingesting caffeine pre-workout increases the metabolic rate, sharpens focus, and prepares the body for a full-on ‘assault by exercise’, by tapping into the fat reserves for energy.
To fully utilise caffeine anhydrous’ metabolic, thermogenic, and energy-boosting effects, be on the lookout for a fat-burning formula that contains green tea catechins as well. The combined effort of caffeine and catechins will work in unison to give you the ultimate boost to your fat-shredding routine.
To final piece to close off the fat-burning ingredients trifecta is Cissus Quadrangularis, colloquially known as ‘devil’s backbone’. Supplementing with this herb leads to many benefits for the recipient, with the most important being the cutting down of excess fat.
In a double-blind study to check the effects of devil’s backbone, one group of participants were asked to take an exact dose of Cissus Quadrangularis and were later compared to a placebo group. The results showed that the group that took Cissus lost more weight over a period of six weeks relative to the group that underwent the placebo treatment.
To show off real muscle that’s hiding beneath the accumulated fat – look for fat-burners that, besides caffeine and catechins, also contain Cissus Quadrangularis in a full-studied amount.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR FAT-BURNERS MORE EFFECTIVE
To successfully shed flab, taking fat-burning supplements is just one part of a complex equation that also involves smart dieting, work-play balance, and intense exercise – among many other factors. Below we share some tips and tricks on how to make your fat-burner more effective and bring your fat-torching game to the next level.
All good things in life happen when you plan ahead. Whether you opt to make up your own plan or consult with a fitness pro instead – this will have a huge impact both on your performance and your motivation.
The same rule also applies before deciding on which fat-burner is best suitable for your body – which we’ll discuss below.
Pick the Right Fat-Burner Out of Hundreds of Others
As we mentioned above, the current market is oversaturated with fat-burners of all shapes and sizes. This means that choosing the right one for you won’t be easy, but there are certain guidelines which you can follow that can make this task all the easier.
First off, fat-burners generally fall into two broad categories:
Stimulant-free blends are perfect for individuals who are sensitive to stimulants such as tyramine, synephrine, yohimbe, and caffeine. If you’re looking for these kinds of fat-burners, try to find products that contain ECGC, green tea extract (catechins), and acetyl-L-carnitine. All of these compounds burn fat very effectively whilst being free of the effects the aforementioned stimulants may trigger.
Additionally, stimulant-free fat burners may contain ingredients that suppress the appetite to promote an all-natural loss in fat. These ingredients include white kidney bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris), artichoke extract (Cynara Scolymus), and Caralluma Fimbriata extract.
On the other hand, stimulant-based fat burners can contain the following stimulants: synephrine, tyramine, yohimbe, and caffeine. Stimulants are known to improve focus, increase energy expenditure, keep appetite in check, and play an important role in using stored fat as energy during a workout. Stimulant-based products may also contain stimulant-free compounds to improve potency.
Timing is Everything
Since counting calories is essential for fat loss – take a scoop 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch in order to fully utilise your fat-burner properties. If evening workout is not your thing, or if you want to include a stimulant-free fat burner into your diet – take a recommended dose 30 minutes right before dinner. This plan will ensure that you feel satiated after a meal, and will also provide a significant boost to your metabolism to feel energised and healthy.
Water is Your Friend
Including fat-burners in your diet will make you sweat more, since these products ‘fire-up’ the metabolism and stimulate the body to work harder and faster. In addition, some stimulants like caffeine have diuretic effects – meaning more visits to the restroom than usual. These changes in your ‘daily body habits’ may lead to dehydration and a ‘sluggish’ metabolism if not addressed properly.
To counter them, drink at least three to four liters of water per day, or one extra cup (250 ml) of water with each fat-burner scoop that you take. This way you’ll make sure that your body stays well hydrated – whilst the fat-burner formula properly absorbs. If you happen to train in hot and humid environments, double the amount of water to reap all benefits later.
Cycle Your Fat-Burning Formula
Prolonged use of stimulant-based supplements can desensitise the body to the ingredients found within them. In addition to that, an excessive use of stimulants can increase cortisol (a hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and increases the storage of fat) levels in the body – even truer when you’re opting for a fat loss diet. To altogether stop these effects from occurring, you should try to cycle your stimulant-based fat burner for three to four weeks, and then abstain for two weeks straight. During these two weeks between cycles, reach out for a stimulant-free fat burner to achieve optimum results.
If you’re unsure as to whether or not should you cycle your current product, the best way to solve this issue is to trust your gut. It may sound unscientific, but more often than not, your intuition (as well as your physical symptoms) will immediately tell you if you should continue taking a certain product or not. Furthermore, if you don’t get that boost out of your fat-burner as you used to several weeks back – that’s a telltale sign that you should enter the pause mode.
Don’t Skip Out on Sleep
Sleep is precious and is an overlooked ‘asset’ that is completely free. Yes, it costs time, but the benefits you get from a quality shuteye can far outweigh everything we’ve talked about so far. In fact, some individuals turn to fat-burners just because they fail to address the underlying problem: lack of quality sleep.
Regularly skipping on sleep can lead to all sorts of problems, including increased cortisol and decreased testosterone levels. This combination is fatal for achieving lean muscle physique since it prevents any new muscle gains and also greatly interferes with fat loss. To add insult to injury, chronic sleep deprivation makes individuals susceptible to all sorts of bad things, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, increased blood pressure, and more. You’ve probably heard this before, but getting eight hours of sleep each night will rejuvenate your body and clear your mind to better face life’s challenges with stamina and vigor.
If your fat-burner starts interfering with your circadian rhythm (and therefore your sleep schedule), cut off any intake after lunch. A good rule of thumb says that you shouldn’t take any stimulant-based fat burners after 6 PM, or you’ll have a hard time getting adequate amounts of sleep. For all those night owls out there, make sure that your fat-burners are both caffeine-free and entirely stimulant-free.
Employ the Cardio Rule
The ‘cardio rule’ dictates to take one stimulant-based fat burner dose right when you wake up, and then another dose 30 minutes before your cardio training. Make sure that your preferred fat burner contains both green tea extract and caffeine. These compounds have a synergistic relationship that will result in the release of norepinephrine – triggering the thermogenic effects faster and leading to fat loss sooner.
Norepinephrine is a hormone that plays a major role in lipolysis, cutting down on appetite, and the mobilisation of fat. On the other hand, the caffeine in fat burners improves mental focus and serves a crucial role in the use of stored fat as energy. In plain English, this means that caffeine will offer you more energy to crush those barbells at the gym and build the perfect body as you’ve always imagined it.
OK, now that we’ve seen what to look for in a fat-burner, let’s go sift through multiple products and list the top 10 quality fat-burners for 2017.
TOP 10 BEST FAT-BURNERS FOR 20171. EHP Labs Oxyshred
For those just entering the supplement game, Oxyshred is the best fat-burner among many others, period. It’s excellent for both beginners and seasonal pros, and the occasional sports daredevil who’s always looking for new thrills. This is a well-rounded product that offers thermogenic, metabolic, and energy benefits – without the side effects of overstimulation (as it’s happened before with lesser-quality fat-burners).
What’s more, EHPLabs devoted plenty of time to bring about the best formula possible for an all-natural and healthy fat loss. In fact, Oxyshred is a powerhouse of a product that ticks all the right boxes – in all the right training circumstances.
Currently, Oxyshred is available in six flavours for everyone to pick their favourite.
Viper has released yet another combination of supplements in one product; this time specifically to shred and burn fat to the fullest. The supplements including in this stack make for the perfect one-two punch to kill fat and get your body to the best possible shape it can be.
VIPER SHRED: ULTRA FAT BURNER
Viper Shred is currently one of the most stimulating fat-burning supplements on the market. Although they do have a similar product in capsule form, the Viper Shred in this supplement stack is a powder form and is surprisingly stronger than the capsule version. Featuring only THREE calories and an extremely high dose of each ingredient, Viper Shred is the ultimate fat burner to help you reach your fat/weight loss goals.
VIPER CARNITINE 3X: SHRED | FOCUS | ENERGY
Delivering exactly what it advertises, Viper Carnitine 3x offers three intense Carnitine ingredients that help users to burn fat, lose weight, and improve mental focus and physical performance. Featuring Acetyl L-Carnitine, L-Carnitine Fumarate, and L-Carnitine Tartrate, it's no wonder how Viper Carnitine 3x is able to help you melt off all that undesired fat.
VIPER CUSTOM-MADE BLENDER BOTTLE
That's right! Not only will you get two phenomenal pre-workout supplements with this package, but you'll also be getting an extra blender bottle at hand. Branded specifically to match its brother and sister pre-workout supplements, this custom-made Viper blender bottle is the perfect accessory to thoroughly enjoy your supplements anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to supplements of any kind, Body War Nutrition almost immediately comes to mind. Their products hold a successful streak of being one of the highest quality supplements money can buy.
Body Shred by Body War Nutrition deservedly takes the third spot on our shortlist. This fat-burner has it all: a scientifically proven metabolism-boosting formula, the highest quality stimulant-based complex, and a healthy formulation for natural appetite suppression. Body Shred is slightly stronger than EHPLabs Oxyshred and features a 100% transparent labeling for easier comparison with other products.
Bottom line is, you can’t do wrong with Body Shred in the long run.
4. Muscletech Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen
This fat-burner came out back in 2016 and has since cemented its way as one of the better supplements on the current fat-burning market. Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen is Muscletech’s flagship product, and its main properties include the usual:
On top of that, HH Next Gen features additional ingredients such as ginger and skullcap that are known to promote motivational boosts and faster recovery after a workout. Overall, Muscletech Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen is an excellent choice for anyone looking to jump-kick that excess fat to the curb.
5. BPM Labs Black Label Annihilate
BPM Labs Black Label Annihilate is a slight improvement over the original Annihilate, which launched back in 2016 and conquered the supplement scene by storm. The key difference that separates these two products is the addition of Pouchong Tea Extract in place of Eria Jarensis relative to Annihilate 1.0. Besides Pouchong Tea Extract, Annihilate Black Label also contains:
Green Tea Extract
Cacao Plant Extract
Bitter Orange Peel Extract
The listed compounds do the usual fat-burning stuff, such as increasing energy, stimulating both the body and the mind, providing additional ‘fuel’ for extended training sessions, and all sorts of things that will torch those love handles in no time. As an added bonus, the Cacao Plant Extract will promote healthy blood flow there where it’s most needed during exercise.
6. Universal Nutrition Animal Cuts
Animal Cuts entered hiatus on the Australian market due to formula reconsideration, but as soon as it resurfaced – it came back stronger than ever. This product features a wide range of stimulants, focus enhancers, appetite “killers” and other ingredients that boost the metabolism and promote healthy thermogenesis as soon as it dissolves into the bloodstream.
Universal Animal Cuts is a supplement for advanced users, due to it containing stronger ingredients than the average fat burner on shelves. It does the job right, however, and for that fact alone – it takes the #6 spot in our lineup.
7. Platinum Labs Optiburn Amped
Despite being our number seven pick – Optiburn Amped still packs enough positives to be taken without second thoughts. Amped will literally get you ‘amped’ and ready for all upcoming challenges in life – especially those curls at the gym. This product contains caffeine, acetyl l-carnitine, green tea extract, green coffee extract, synephrine, CLA, and more.
Platinum Labs Optiburn Amped is stronger than your average fat-burner and is not recommended for beginners.
8. PES Alphamine Advanced
This supplement is one of the strongest fat burners with the highest concentration of stimulants present in its powerful formula. Besides being labeled as a potent fat-burner, Alphamine Advanced is also an advanced pre-workout product that has the properties to improve focus, raise motivation levels, and give energy where and when is most needed.
As mentioned, this fat-burner is stronger than some of its competitors, so make sure to take lower doses in the beginning and build your way up from there.
9. Beast 2 Shredded
Beast 2 Shredded has the oldest formula on this list, but that doesn’t stop it from firmly holding its ground as the #9 overall pick. B2 Shredded features a combination of ingredients that work very well with each other and provide everything that one looks for in a quality fat-burner in 2017.
Additionally, Beast 2 Shredded contains some pre-workout ingredients such as Beta-alanine and cAMP that serve as agents to promote stamina and increase overall training capacity. The one thing that Beast 2 Shredded can improve upon is its taste, but otherwise is a great fat-burner supplement for those after a chiseled, lean beach body.
10. Hyperdrine 247
Hyperdrine 24/7 is a fat-burning dietary supplement that will help you get rid of excess fat quickly. This fat burner contains a product formula blending caffeine, DiCaffeine Malate, citrus aurantium, grains of paradise, choline bitartrate, 2-aminoisoheptane, Hops Extract 4:1 and theacrine. Other ingredients include citric acid, malic acid sucralose,..
Welcome to the ultimate 2017 guide to pre-workouts, where we’ll discuss anything and everything pre-workout-related, including:
How does a pre-workout supplement work
Why you should take pre-workout supplements
When to take pre-workout supplements
What the main pre-workout ingredients are
This guide’s purpose is to introduce you to the ingredients these products feature, what those ingredients do to the body, and how to combine different pre-workout products for optimal results. In addition to that, we’ll also discuss the chemical structure of different ingredients, side effects, recommended dosages, how and when to take pre-workouts, natural & artificial flavours (including the difference between them), and more.
Finally, we’ll compare different pre-workout products and grade them in accordance with the results we got back from our extensive testing. What we found out may surprise you.
How does a pre-workout supplement work?
Pre-workouts are a novel concept. They were developed to help athletes reach their maximum potential whilst training. In the meantime, however, much research has been done – showing us that certain pre-workout blends can also be consumed by individuals looking to improve their overall health – not just necessarily for professional athletes. So, whether you’re a professional lifter, sprinter, Olympian, or just an office patron looking to get fit and stay in shape – pre-workouts CAN help you achieve your goals.
What do pre-workouts do to your body?
Supplementing with a pre-workout leads to many benefits for the human body, including:
Decreased muscle breakdown during strenuous workout sessions
Increased protein synthesis
Improved delivery of nutrients
Improved focus and energy
Increased metabolic rate (burning fat)
Putting hormones in check
As you can tell, pre-workout supplementation can be beneficial for anyone: regardless of their goals and training programs. The right approach to pre-workout supplementation can make or break your body, sort of speaking. Miss a scoop, and your energy levels may suddenly become zapped in the middle of a rep. Take too much of a pre-workout, and your sleep patterns will probably jump all over the place, thus making you fatigued and grumpy the next morning. Needless to say, you have to strike an optimal balance between energy, strength, focus, and stamina, and we’re here to help you do just that.
What do pre-workout supplements feel like?
Do you know those feelings of excitement, feel-good greatness, and additional strength to crush those workout pumps like never before? That’s what training on a pre-workout supplement feels like. Of course, you may occasionally have days when a pre-workout isn’t even needed – when you’re packing so much energy in your body that a single gym session just simply isn’t going to cut it for you. Unfortunately, those days may be far and few between – being that you cannot plan ahead to have the greatest working session ever.
There is hope, however. By meticulous planning and the right amount of pre-workout supplementation – you can train your mind before training your body. This way, not only will you get the best of both worlds – but you’ll also take matters into your own hands. Continue below to find out how to chisel your body to perfection and prove the naysayers wrong.
What are the main ingredients in pre-workout supplements?
Usually, pre-workout supplements will have some sort of combination of the following ingredients, with slight variations from one product to another:
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
If you are training for strength, then you should be on the lookout for pre-workouts that contain these particular ingredients as follows. They will help you immensely in improving your overall strength – meaning you’ll have more power, a stronger body, and increased progress whenever you decide to hit the gym.
Creatine Monohydrate is a very popular supplement among athletes, mainly because it’s the most cost-effective supplement when it comes to strength and mass gains. creatine is known as a nutritional sports ergogenic, and also a physiological sports ergogenic – meaning it improves athletic performance, removes pre-existing psychological barriers, and increases recovery speed after intense workout sessions. For a supplement to be an ergogenic aid, it has to be legal. creatine monohydrate is a legal supplement that healthy adult individuals can take without any unwanted side effects – given they consult with their physicians first. In fact, creatine is the most potent supplement out of hundreds of other supplements that currently sell on the market.
Furthermore, creatine can also be found in small quantities of some animal foods, whilst it can be also produced in the body – in the kidneys and liver to be exact. The body produces creatine thanks to several amino acids: Arginine, Methionine, and Glycine.
In continuation, however, most of the creatine contained within foods is eliminated upon cooking. The human body keeps 90% of its creatine reserves in the muscle tissue. Bodybuilders deem creatine as their favourite supplement for achieving optimal results in the least amount of time.
Creatine Monohydrate is the best creatine incarnation yet since it’s the most cost-effective muscle and mass ‘gainer’ supplement out there. Creatine supports protein synthesis, which is a chemical process responsible for natural muscle growth.
Protein synthesis is a process which involves RNA (Ribonucleic Acid), nitrogen, enzymes, and other ingredients that structurally arrange certain proteins in the body. Basically, protein synthesis refers to muscle growth. An individual’s growth entirely depends on how well they’re going to optimise the process of protein synthesis.
Creatine Monohydrate Dosage
There have been numerous studies about the effects of creatine on muscle growth and mass gains. Over 70% of these studies reported positive effects and significant results out of creatine supplementation among both healthy and diseased individuals. The consensus of these combined studies shows that optimal creatine supplementation should not exceed 20-30 grams per any given day. These dosages have to be consumed four to five times in equal doses throughout a whole week.
Many professional athletes prefer creatine powder over other creatine forms. Creatine powder can easily be mixed into liquids and quickly ingested for it to find its way into the bloodstream. In addition, creatine works best when taken together with carbs. This substance can be taken either before or after a workout.
As a supplement, creatine is used to double or even triple an individual’s maximum power. In fact, Creatine also increases speed, helping with intense workouts such as sprints, triathlons, and other high-intensity interval training (HIIT) disciplines. On top of that, this substance can aid in burning fat, and also improve the strength in elderly individuals.
Additionally, supplementing with creatine can increase the overall creatine levels in the body, which significantly improves performance over prolonged periods of time. According to a study about creatine supplementation and exercise performance, creatine can improve athletic performance due to a process that helps sustain maximum energy production in individuals who take this supplement.
The benefits of Creatine Monohydrate supplementation are huge. As little as 20-30 grams per day for one straight week can considerably increase intramuscular concentrations of free creatine during recovery after strenuous workout sessions.
Moreover, this substance also lead to improved performance in so-called “repetitive, short-term (5-10 seconds), high-intensity cycle ergometer sprint tests”, without any significant side effects taking place. In addition, creatine supplementation significantly helped with isokinetic, isotonic, and isometric exercise such as leg curls, pull-ups, and planks accordingly.
In these individuals, creatine had a role in decreasing muscle lactate accumulation, which enhanced performance that is directly impacted by the lactic acid energy structure. Thus, we come to the conclusion that creatine is a highly effective supplement, and cannot be so easily dismissed.
Taurine has been a subject of many speculations – especially true in recent years when this substance experienced a surge in popularity among both athletes and the general population. A popular myth describes taurine as a substance distilled from bull urine or even bull semen – which is factually incorrect. So, what is Taurine, and what does Taurine do?
Taurine is a conditional amino acid (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) that can be naturally found in meat, fish, and dairy products. The body stores taurine in the eyes, brain, heart, and muscles – whilst it also is available in supplement form. According to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), supplementing with taurine does not have any adverse effects on the potential recipient – granted you don’t exceed 3,000 milligrams per day.
Taurine helps with:
Lowering blood pressure – thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This substance is also shown to improve the work of the left heart ventricle, which calms the central nervous system.
Improving physical function – when taken as short-term supplementation, taurine calms the body down and reduces physical stress after a workout. In fact, taurine is shown to improve the condition among individuals affected by cardiovascular disease.
Decreasing the side effects of Parkinson’s disease – according to a study by Forrest Ritiker, taurine helps with brain cell regeneration. As a matter of fact, patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease showed lower amounts of taurine than the control group. This opens new possibilities for treating Parkinson’s that weren’t available to scientists and physicians before.
Helping with metabolic syndrome – supplementing with taurine may reduce triglycerides to lower insulin resistance and regulate the metabolism of glucose, battle against obesity, and lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Alleviating the side effects of periodontal disease– this substance also helps with keeping the antioxidant levels in check to prevent or altogether stop gum disease.
Taurine is a known antioxidant. Antioxidants are in a constant clash against free radicals – which are dangerous particles that do damage to the body. A study showed that individuals who were affected by gum disease saw an improvement in their condition – right after taking taurine supplements. The ingredient enhanced the lipid peroxidation products’ (or TBARS) levels – thus directly hastening the healing factor among these patients.
Improving athletic performance – individuals who use taurine as a supplement may see an improvement in their athletic performance, especially when it comes to sprints, or short high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
This concludes the ingredients that help with building power & strength. But that’s not the whole story.
Getting in top shape has everything to do with training your muscles. Whether you’re crushing your 10th bicep curl, or deadlifting the heck out of every possible barbell in the gym – supplements can immensely speed up the process and make your goals come true quicker than ever. During our extensive research, we stumbled across some surprising results regarding how supplements affect the body and what they do to the muscle fibers after digestion. You can check them out below.
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
The first question that pops to mind is “What are BCAAs made out of?” – BCAAs comprise of three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. Rather than being metabolised in the liver, BCAAs are metabolised in the muscle tissue. This means that BCAAs are broken down quickly so that they can immediately be used for energy when needed. Taking BCAA supplements before working out will prevent amino acid depletion – and therefore stop muscle loss dead in its tracks.
What do BCAA supplements do?
Branched-chain amino acids (or Leucine in particular) stimulate protein synthesis – moreso than what normal proteins can do on their own merit. But not only that, BCAAs also increase the cell’s capacity to perform protein synthesis. So in a way, BCAAs work on a cellular level to build muscle like no other supplement that is currently available on the market.
Furthermore, BCAA supplements also reduce the rate at which protein breakdown happens. These amino acids do this by changing the chemical pathways that enable for protein breakdown to happen. These pathways include several components and complexes, one of which is a substance called mRNA – a family of molecules that carry information from DNA all the way to the ribosome in the body. Once they get there, mRNA convey the amino acid profile that later adds the information about gene expression. It’s a complicated biological/chemical process that involves many factors – but the main point is that BCAAs play a key role in it.
BCAAs Supplementation Benefits
When taken in supplement form, BCAAs require no digestion whatsoever and are quickly absorbed right into the bloodstream. They immediately increase the number of amino acid levels in the blood as opposed to peptide-bound amino acids. This means that even as small of an amount as three grams of BCAA supplementation can spike up BCAA levels without much hassle. Compared to other popular supplements, BCAAs are much more potent and highly absorbent – exactly what’s needed just before an intense workout. And not only that, but supplementing with BCAAs means faster protein synthesis and protein degradation alike.
In addition, these branched-chain amino acids circumvent the liver and “jump” straight into the bloodstream – meaning more energy, faster. On top of that, isoleucine and valine belong to the glucogenic amino acid family, since they have the property to convert into glucose and ward off potential fatigue while training.
In simpler terms – BCAA supplementation provides more energy, faster.
Usually, Whey Protein is considered as a post-training supplement ingredient and most individuals opt out from taking it as a pre-workout. In some cases, however, whey protein can be just as effective when taking it pre as opposed to post-workout. This is very much owed to the fact that whey protein is built out of BCAAs, which – as we’ve shown above – aids in protein synthesis and muscle growth.
Additionally, ingesting Whey Protein will stimulate insulin levels to rise higher than ever before. This serves several purposes:
Increased protein synthesis
Mitigated breakdown of muscle tissue
Whey Protein, combined with BCAAs, is the ultimate muscle growth formula for everyone looking to “chisel” their body to perfection.
These carbohydrates are also known as high glycemic carbs, and are essentially carbs that get digested quicker than low glycemic carbs. To be honest, these carbs are tricky to work with, but they can mean everything in the world if correctly utilised in a diet.
Glycemic Carbohydrates Definition
To unravel the mystery behind carbs, we have to tap into the way of how your body uses different forms of energy when training. For instance, whilst doing a workout, your body employs ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to make sure the muscles contract as needed. After ATP levels are exhausted, the body then turns to CP (Creatine Phosphate) as its main energy source. What’s interesting to note is that your body only keeps CP for about 8 to 12 seconds of working effort.
Afterwards, the body swiftly switches to glycolysis – a process which uses glycogen and blood sugar to replace the depleted ATP levels. The body undergoes this same process over and over again in-between doing sets. Then, carbohydrates enter the equation and help the muscle cells to restore the previously ‘drained’ ATP levels. By munching on high glycemic carbs pre-workout – you’re making sure that muscle glycogen is always at your disposal when needed.
Using High Glycemic Carbs Pre-Workout
The reason for using fast-acting carbs vs. other carbs is due to the effect they trigger on the levels of insulin in the body. Insulin is an anabolic (muscle-building) hormone that’s inversely proportional with another hormone – Cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that peaks and wastes muscle tissue during training. By ingesting high glycemic carbs pre-workout, the body will release the hormone insulin – thus making sure you get both the anabolic and anticatabolic effects insulin is known for.
Use 20-40 grams of high glycemic carbs for optimum results.
ENERGY & FOCUS
It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest lifter in the world – if your energy and focus levels plummet – your training suffers also. It’s time to change that, and we just happen to know the most important ingredients that will do just that.
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that does many things in the body. Once ingested, this amino acid interacts with several neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine) in order to hasten a chemical process called ‘catecholamine synthesis’. This process prepares the body for physical activities by raising blood pressure, increasing heart rate, and doing other physiological changes.
Moreover, tyrosine supplementation also helps with decreasing stress levels after a workout – especially if an individual enters an over-training frenzy. In fact, tyrosine gets rid of built-up stress like no other supplement that is currently selling on the market.
Caffeine is probably the most widely consumed stimulant in the world because even those who do not exercise usually take caffeine daily.
This substance is both a stimulant and a metabolic stimulant – since it kick-starts the metabolism like no other ingredient. It does this by playing a vital role in releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream, which later get used as energy. Thus, caffeine can be a great fat loss supplement when taken pre-workout.
Caffeine Benefits (short term effects)
From an athlete’s perspective, caffeine is an excellent performance enhancer that has the following benefits:
Improved & faster thought flow
Improved overall coordination of the body
In the gym, caffeine will lead to better, faster, and more quality gains, as well as a stronger body and improved athletic performance.
For optimum results, it’s best if you take moderate doses of caffeine and do not exceed the recommended dose as labeled. Too much caffeine can have adverse effects and can actually impair your workout long-term.
Also, caffeine dosage is highly dependent on an individual’s level of tolerance. Some pre-workout products recommend that you take a small serving just to test your tolerance level and proceed accordingly. A typical dosage equals 200 mg of Caffeine supplementation.
When it comes to long-term training – increasing your endurance is key. More endurance means more reps, more sets, and increased barbell weight – all leading to a shredded physique as the ultimate goal.
These ingredients are crucial if you want to ‘beat’ your opponents in the long run.
Citrulline Malate is a non-essential amino acid that is similar to taurine, due to their properties to avoid becoming proteins during protein synthesis. Citrulline Malate optimises blood flow and converts to another amino acid called Arginine. Citrulline often comes paired with Malate (also known as a “TCA cycle intermediate”). This chemical bond leads to more aerobic energy that is produced in the cell mitochondria – all thanks to CM.
Citrulline Malate Benefits
CM reduces the fatigue triggered by intense workout when taken before a workout. On top of that, CM also increases ATP production, which as we’ve shown above, is crucial for proper energy utilisation while working out. Citrulline Malate’s greatest benefit is its property to get rid of so-called “endotoxins” – one of which is the athlete’s greatest enemy – lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissue during training and causes fatigue among individuals – thus impairing progress in the gym. Once these endotoxins are eliminated – you’ll have more energy to crush your workout plan and add more sets as time goes by.
Citrulline Malate Dosage
To make the most out of it, it’s best to reach for 3 to 6 grams of CM immediately before your workout. Additionally, some pre-workout products contain just the right dosage of citrulline malate –..
Push-Ups – a simple bodyweight exercise that anyone, everywhere can do – without the need for additional machines, expensive gym memberships, or clueless personal trainers. This exercise may look simple from the outside, but it’s actually greatly underused and widely misunderstood. What most self-proclaimed ‘experts’ fail to acknowledge, is that push-ups fire up the entirety of the body, including chests, abs, lower back, triceps, shoulders, glutes, and legs. Me personally – I would take push-ups over any other exercise any day of the year.
Doing the same push-up variations over and over again, however, can prove to be boring as ever. And quite frankly, our body thinks so too. Given this fact, we’ve come up with 20 push-up variations to try and spice things up a notch.
Here are 20 push-up variations to break up the monotony and will certainly add some flavour to your workout.
1. Standard Push-Up
The standard push-up is great for nailing that perfect form in order to proceed with other variations the right way.
Form: Assume an ordinary plank position, toes firmly on the ground to stabilize the lower body. Hands should be shoulder-width apart. Engage your glutes, core, and hamstrings while keeping your back as straight as possible. This concludes the starting position.
Start lowering your body while keeping your form intact. Make sure your glutes don’t stick out or dip down during a rep. Your body should be straight, and elbows tucked.
Now that you’re down, push back by utilizing your whole body – especially core, chest, and hands. This concludes a full repetition. Aim for 8-10 reps without breaking form.
2. Hand Tap Push-Up
This form is excellent for individuals wanting to improve coordination, agility, and overall stability while doing push-ups. The hand tap push-up makes the whole workout more isometric, which in turn helps with building strength.
Form: Do everything as in a regular push-up – with one slight difference; when you conclude your first repetition, slowly move over the right palm and touch the top of your left hand with it.
Alternate hands and do everywhere from 5-7 reps for beginners – to 10-15 reps for advanced individuals.
3. Shoulder Tap Push-Up
This variation has all the benefits the hand tap push-up offers, but the longer hold is more useful for adding additional balance to the mix.
Form: Repeat all the steps as in regular push-ups, but after every repetition – opt instead to touch your left shoulder with your right palm, and vice versa. It may prove tough at the beginning, but once you nail the correct form – it would become very rewarding in the long run.
Do as many reps as possible (5 for each side).
4. Thigh Tap Push-Up
The thigh tap push-up method is great for individuals looking to build up their core muscles and improve balance.
Form: Assume a normal push-up position. Lower your body until it just touches the floor, and upon going back up – extend your left hand and touch the outer part of your left thigh. Repeat the same motion, but now use the right hand to touch the outer part of your right thigh. This concludes one repetition.
Try to do 5-7 reps or more in accordance with your fitness level.
5. Rotational Push-Up
This push-up variation fires up both the oblique muscles and the shoulders. It also improves balance due to some moves that are rotational in nature.
Form: Assume a standard push-up position and do a half repetition as explained in #1. When rising up, transfer your body weight onto your right hand, and proceed to rotate the left side of your body until your left-hand ends up pointing towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 1.5-2 seconds and roll back to an ordinary push-up position.
Do 5-7 reps while alternating sides.
6. Single-Arm Raised Push-Up
The single-arm raised push-up is an excellent isometric exercise that especially targets the core muscles, the stabilizer muscles, and other portions that don’t get much ‘love’ during standard push-ups.
Form: Go into a standard push-up position, lower yourself to the ground, and raise your right hand simultaneously while pushing up. The form stays exactly the same as in the previous push-up variations.
Since this is an advanced workout, aim for at least 4-6 reps while alternating sides.
7. Single-Leg Raised Push-Up
This is an excellent exercise to be added to your daily body weight routine – mostly targeting the core muscles of the body.
Form: Assume a lower push-up position as explained in detail in #1. Lower your body so that it just grazes the floor or padded surface, and extend your right leg behind you while simultaneously going up. Then, lower your body to the starting position, and raise your left leg behind you while going up. This concludes one repetition.
Do 3-5 sets of 8 repetitions each, or in accordance with your fitness level.
8. Wide Grip Push-Up
This variation is extremely effective to massively develop your chest.
Form: Assume a standard push-up position, but now place your hands wider than what your shoulders are. This posture will fire up the pectoral muscles and will improve your overall strength if done correctly.
The movement remains the same as in #1. Do slower movements for additional strength gains. Aim for 5-8 reps in 3-4 sets.
9. Close-Grip Push-Up
The close grip push-up comes off as a killer workout for your triceps, shoulders, and forearms.
Form: Lower your body down – face against the floor – and put your hands closer than what your shoulders are. You can either put your palms straight or opt instead for a diamond lock in accordance with your preference.
A proper form should add additional burn to your chest, shoulders, and especially triceps. Do 5-7 reps, but pay attention to your form as this exercise will put additional pressure on the small muscles located within the shoulders.
10. Clapping Push-Up
The clapping push-up is a powerful push-up variation that targets the whole upper body area.
Form: Begin at the top position of a standard push-up. Advanced individuals can opt to fall slowly in a push-up position from a standing position. Descend by flexing your elbows until you achieve a 90-degree position. Push up as powerful as you can until your upper body ends up hanging in the air. During this time, bring your palms abruptly together into a clap and descend downward while flexing your muscles to avoid strains.
Beginners should strive for 3-5 reps, while advanced individuals and professionals can opt for anywhere between 7 to 15+ repetitions.
11. Knuckle Push-Up
The knuckle push-up strengthens the wrist more than what an ordinary push-up will do.
Form: In this variation of a push-up, the pressure of your body weight should rest on the whole top of your hand – starting from the first knuckle – all the way to the last one. Hands should be shoulder-width apart, back and arms straight.
Start by lowering yourself until elbows are flexed at the 90-degree mark – then slowly push up until you reach the starting position as described above. This concludes one rep.
Aim to achieve 8-12 reps in 3 to 5 sets.
12. Staggered Push-Up
This push-up is a powerful variation that will fire up each chest muscle and add strength to those who are experiencing trouble with their non-dominant half.
Form: Place yourself in a standard push-up variation form. Now extend your right hand forward while keeping your left hand in the same position as in #1.
Repeat the basic push-up movements for 5-7 reps while alternating sides.
13. Slow Negative Push-Up
This one sounds dope, and that’s because it is. The slow negative push-up helps build strength, endurance, and muscle – all at the same time.
Form: Drop down and assume a regular push-up form. Now, start lowering your upper body as slow as possible – preferably by performing the half-rep in one motion. Just as you’re about to hit the ground – drop your knees on the floor and transfer your body weight onto the knees and toes.
Do 5-7 repetitions in 3 sets.
14. Pseudo Planche Push-Up
This variation has the fingers pointing backward and is an exercise for advanced individuals. The pseudo planche is great for developing your biceps, along with your shoulders.
Form: This exercise should only be done by advanced individuals; beginners should opt out from this push-up variation in order to avoid straining a muscle or a ligament in the body.
Assume a standard push-up position, but place your hands ‘in reverse’ so that now your fingers end up pointing toward your toes. Repeat the same movements as advised in #1, and be careful to maintain a proper push-up form.
Aim for 3-5 reps, 4 sets each.
15. Superman Push-Up
Why not end your workout with a bang? The Superman push-up targets the whole body while also adding some cardio and calisthenics to the mix.
Form: Lower your body into a standard push-up position, core tight and back straight. Do the half-rep and on your way up – explode upward and try to move your hands and legs as far from your body as possible while not touching the ground.
Start with 2 reps and work your way up from there.
Eating veggies is the new mantra of the modern world. These greenies are good for the brain, promote a healthy metabolism, and make everyone’s life a tad bit easier...especially when it comes to a regular bowel movement. So why do people avoid munching on veggies, even after everything we’ve come to know about them so far?
Well, to be quite honest, there are several reasons:
Firstly, vegetables contain chemical bonds and complexes that make them healthy. This would be great if not for the fact that these same chemicals – or at least some of them – make veggies taste a bit yucky. In fact, a study has shown that at least 30% of people are super-sensitive to those same chemicals that give bitterness to vegetables upon tasting. According to nutrition experts, these people are known as ‘supertasters.’
Secondly – some individuals may find veggies a bit lackluster in regards to taste. When you come to think of it, you cannot really blame anyone for this specific issue people have. After all, it’s easy to hold inanimate objects to scrutiny – especially if you plan to feast upon them later during the day. Point being, no one wants to dip their mouths in bland, tasteless leafage.
Finally, and most fortunately, it seems that there is some hope after all. Putting a little effort during your routinely grocery shopping – combined with alternative ways and types of preparation – can take you a long way into enjoying these fiber-filled goodies.
Without further ado, let’s cut to the chase.
1. Oil that greenery up
Years of blaming fat for just about everything that’s wrong in the human body – it seems as though people forget that oil can be beneficial too. One way to circumvent this obstacle is to reach for olive oils in place of regular sunflower ones.
Thing is, when fat gets all ‘mixed up’ with spices or seasonings, it can make vegetables as yummy as ever. Plus, a cross-examination of 200 scientific studies has shown that those who consumed lower amounts of veggies were deemed twice as acceptable to different forms of cancer – as opposed to those who munched on greenery more regularly.
2. Opt for the “baby” versions
Some vegetables develop stronger flavors as the herb ‘grows into maturity’. Their “baby” versions, however – contain all the beneficial ingredients – without them being too pronounced in their flavors. To start off, opt for some baby turnips, carrots (leaves still attached), artichokes, brussels sprouts, or squashes. You can usually locate these veggies at the local supermarket, a farmer’s market, and at certain specialty grocery stores.
As we said, baby vegetables are less bitter, have richer textures, and need less cooking than their “grown-up” counterparts. Plus, they’re tiny and fun.
3. Toss in some cheese
Throwing some cheese into the mix can improve the taste – as well as add calories so that you’ll reach the satiation point faster. We recommend feta and cream cheese alongside spinach, kale, and green beans for the perfect snack; or, if you’re looking to catch on calories, opt instead for cottage cheese tossed with some cauliflower and broccoli. You can thank us later.
4. Dunk into dips
Raw leafage is not something that immediately comes to mind when your body starts craving for snacks, and this is where dip sauces come into play. By dunking vegetables into hummus, low-fat dip, or another favorite dressing of yours – you’ll be way more motivated to gobble that steamed asparagus more often.
Pro tip: remove veggies from the dish and try eating them while working, watching TV, or doing other activities outside the dinner table. This way you’ll “train” yourself to stop thinking about vegetables as a chore and embrace their healthy nature once and for all.
5. Prepare Brussels sprouts faster
If you can't imagine yourself enjoying sprouts due to their unique and strong taste – try cooking them differently. One way to go about this is to slice these tiny greens diagonally, separate them into rings, and microwave them together with some added butter, water, and caraway seeds for 3-5 minutes. This should strip brussels sprouts off their strong taste so that you can enjoy them freely.
6. Take your time with Onions
Herbs that are part of the onion family – like shallots, leek, and garlic – are bound with ingredients that are known to battle different types of cancer. However, some people just simply cannot stand that strong, sharp flavour these plants are known for. One way to rise above this hatred towards onions is by slow-roasting them until they lose that sharp flavor we’ve talked about. How to do it? Add some cold-pressed olive oil, wrap the sliced onions in foil, and grill them to get rid of the sharpness – barbecue style
7. Keep Fruits and Veggies Separately
Fruits like apples make ethylene gas, and can possibly ‘contaminate’ vegetables like parsnips – if stored together that is. Other veggies such as squash, carrots, and some plants – can change their textures more rapidly if you put them anywhere near fruit. What’s more, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts may change their color – or even turn limp upon the sole presence of fruits in the near vicinity. How to store them you ask?
Opt to keep parsnips closed in a plastic bag – away from ethylene gas producers such as peaches, peppers, avocados, and yes – even tomatoes! Store your scrimmage the right way now, or face the consequences later.
8. How ya’ like them tomatoes?
The answer is: ripe. Many consumers argue that American tomatoes feel pulpy, taste funny, and come off as too bland to be honestly enjoyed. There is a catch that circumvents all of this – buy VINE RIPENED tomatoes. These kinds of tomatoes are juicy, taste naturally, and before you know it – you’ll be munching a mouthful of them ripe tomatoes.
9. Utilise their Health Benefits
According to a study by Monell Center, breaking down the perks and benefits behind why something’s good for your system – paired with regular consumption of that food – can lead to forming habits and subconsciously including that particular food in your diet. In fact, when you come to think of it – if you knew that something was good for you and it could possibly prevent some serious ailments, such as diabetes or cancer, you would probably want MORE of that. This is even truer if your family has a history of some of those diseases we mentioned.
Better safe than sorry, right?
If you are really, utterly repelled by the sole thought of eating veggies – then think of ways to change your approach towards the matter. For instance, making soup from your favorite plants could potentially solve that problem. Soups take longer to prepare – making most of the ingredients within this mixture lose their sharp flavors by the time it’s done.
If this is something you’re not totally comfortable with doing – opt instead for ‘sneaking in’ some carrots into bread, meat loafs, or even muffins. The next time you’re in the mood for gobbling up muffins – go ahead and stuff that pastry with some grated carrots according to with your preference or taste. The pros of this operation will far outweigh the cons – if there ever were any.
Bottom line: eating veggies – good. Eating more vegetables – even better.
As your parents may have told you over and over again growing up, vitamins are important. The human body does not produce vitamins, so it is crucial that we take these organic compounds from food and/or supplements.
Vitamins are dubbed “organic” because all 13 of them contain carbon. They’re also divided between two categories:
Vitamins are otherwise referred to as ‘micronutrients.’
Water-soluble vitamins, as their name suggests, dissolve in water. They don’t stay for too long in the body, but instead quickly pass through the urine from the time they’re consumed. This is why water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins stay in the body longer because they’re easier to store. They find a spot in the fatty tissues and the liver, and usually stay in the body for days – some of them even months.
These compounds use lipids (fats) in order to pass through the intestinal tract and be absorbed by the body.
Most Important Vitamins Ever
Let’s not kid ourselves. All vitamins are important for a normal functioning and everyday well-being. That’s why we’re going to put ALL of them on a list for everyone to find their favorite among the bunch.
THE 13 VITAMINS
We’re starting with a list of the four Fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinal)
What it does: Vitamin A is an essential player in the development of bones, teeth, and skin; it is also crucial in maintaining proper vision and keeping the body safe from a multitude of different infections and ailments. Vitamin A can assume two forms:
Where to find it: carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, eggs, milk, pumpkin, lentils, liver, papaya, and more.
Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol, Ergocalciferol)
What it does: Remember that oddly satisfying sensation you get when exposed to morning sunlight? That is your body ‘converting’ the energy from the Sun in order to manufacture Vitamin D. This compound helps in absorbing phosphorus and calcium for strong and healthy bones.
Where to find it: direct sunlight, salmon, shrimp, fortified milk, eggs.
Vitamin E (Tocotrienols, Tocopherols)
What it does: Vitamin E plays an important role in protecting the skin from ultraviolet light, mitigates the damage from free radicals, and battles Alzheimer’s disease – among numerous other important properties.
Where to find it: sunflower seeds, kiwi, almonds, olives, turnip greens, asparagus, almonds, and more.
Vitamin K (Menaquinones, Phylloquinone)
What it does: This compound is vital in quickly patching up the skin after an accidental cut somewhere on your body. Without sufficient amounts of Vitamin K, you’ll have an increased chance of getting susceptible to bleeding, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Where to find it: kale, kiwi, spinach, romaine lettuce, avocado, parsley, and other leafy green veggies, or fruits.
This concludes fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins add nine to the list of total vitamins.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
What it does: First off, as the majority of readers may be well aware – Vitamin C fends off colds. This unique property is made possible thanks to its antioxidant abilities that boost the immune system; on the other hand, Vitamin C also helps in repairing the connective tissues between the tendons and cartilage in the body.
Where to find it: kakadu plum, camu camu fruit, brussels sprouts, red peppers, papaya.
Vitamin B (Thiamine)
What it does: Vitamin B is the main proprietor behind the utilization of carbs in the body and converting them to energy. Another important property of this micronutrient is promoting a healthy nervous system for impeccable functioning of the communication branches in the brain.
Where to find it: sunflower seeds, pork, grain, brown rice, potatoes, cauliflower, tuna, lentils, and more.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
What it does: Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is crucial in breaking down the three macronutrients for energy: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This compound also promotes healthy skin, whereas a deficiency in Vitamin B2 may cause a condition called ‘ariboflavinosis’ (lips lesions, conjunctivitis, sore throat).
Where to find it: banana, asparagus, calf liver, milk, okra, yogurt, fish, persimmons, and more.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide)
What it does: As with B2, Vitamin B3 also plays an important role in preserving and maintaining a healthy nervous system. In addition to that, Niacin helps the digestive tract properly do its job.
Where to find it: chicken breast, halibut, turkey, milk, avocado, nuts, mushrooms, and more.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
What it does: This water-soluble compound does multiple things, including breaking down carbs and fat for energy, transforming food into glucose, managing a key role in the forming of stress and sex-related hormones, and more. Vitamin B5 deficiencies are rare since it can be found in most, if not all foods.
Where to find it: meat, broccoli, fish, and most foods.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxine)
What it does: Vitamin B6 takes a major part in the production of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, as well as in making myelin. This chemical compound is involved in many functions in the body, including a role with 100+ enzyme reactions, and promoting multiple benefits within the central nervous system.
Where to find it: milk, meat, banana, veggies, and nuts.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
What it does: Vitamin B7, or Biotin, is crucial in maintaining energy during regular workouts. This compound helps in keeping the red blood cell levels in check, which in turn are responsible for transporting oxygen in the body; this is crucial for active individuals and people who want to continue that path.
A deficiency in Biotin may cause dermatitis, enteritis, or other illnesses.
Where to find it: liver, egg yolks, legumes, almonds, romaine lettuce, and more. However, it’s important to note that Vitamin B7 is found in LOW amounts in any food – therefore a good bet would be to take it in supplement form.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
What it does: This vitamin is a top priority for women who are expecting or plan on doing so in the near future. Vitamin B9 – or Folic Acid – plays a major role during pregnancies, since it prevents unwanted birth defects or miscarriages. In addition to this, Folic Acid is also linked to anemia prevention and new cells reproduction in the body.
Where to find it: lentils, legumes, sunflower seeds, black beans, pinto beans, and beer.