At NUTRISHOP, much of our reputation for helping people achieve higher levels of fitness comes from our physique competitors — bodybuilders, bikini contestants and the like. It’s true that we do love helping these athletes hone their craft and shape their bodies. But we help with much more than simply how an athlete looks!
The body is all about movement and function — what can it do for us, and how can we help it perform better? Even those who don’t necessarily compete or exercise, who just want to feel better and be healthier in their day-to-day lives, make up a big part of our clientele.
To that end, we’ve come up with a list of the best products to use for athletes, specifically in endurance-dependent sports, those who might not be interested in getting on a stage to show off their muscular development but who would rather put their gains to functional use in competition, like races or athletics. We’ll be going through them with this running blog this week, two at a time.
The first two on our list are old standbys — frankly, they’d be great supplements for anybody.
1. PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS/FORZA PRO. Anyone who’s depending on muscle development and maintenance will find a need for protein in their diet; the problem is that it’s awfully tough to fill in with lean sources of protein throughout the day without loading up on calories. That’s where protein powders come in. PRO7 and FORZAPRO are some of the best-tasting, highest protein-to-calorie ratio supplements you can invest in.
How it helps the athlete: Aside from inherently adding more lean muscle mass, an increased protein intake has myriad benefits, including body fat loss. When you’re moving your body around in athletics, every pound has to pull its weight, especially if you’re competing in a weight class! Muscle recovery and optimization are key for any athlete.
2. BCAA SPORT. Further broken down, proteins, at their base level, are essentially made up of branched-chain amino acids. Your body can and will use these for energy, and finds them from food and even within the body — many distance runners, for example, appear to be very skinny and lean because while their metabolisms attack fat stores for energy, they also will turn to muscle and the amino acids in them for fuel. Supplementing with BCAAs provides a buffer of sorts, as well as helping maintain and even build the muscle in the body.
How it helps the athlete: On top of protecting the lean muscle mass the athlete has achieved or is working to improve upon, BCAA SPORT is unique in that it also includes an electrolyte blend that keeps cells hydrated, crucial for any endurance athlete. What makes it stand out from other supplements is that BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle, not the liver, for faster uptake — this makes it perfect before, during or after a grueling workout. Some studies have indicated that BCAAs help fight fatigue as well!
3. BETABOL. Featuring HMB, a naturally occurring compound produced when our bodies metabolize the amino acid leucine, BETABOL is an excellent choice for endurance athletes who need recovery. HMB’s main role has been found to be the repair, growth and preservation of muscle tissue, as well as the capacity to burn fat. The body spends precious resources with muscle repair — each rep you do results in microscopic muscle-fiber tears; the regrowth of these tears puts a huge energy strain on the body. Leucine is the only essential amino acid with the capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but it is essentially used primarily to repair muscle damage incurred while lifting. When it is metabolized, HMB is produced as a natural byproduct and aids in recovery.
How it helps the athlete: What if you could “free up” the leucine in your body to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to develop NEW muscle, instead of merely repairing the damaged tissue? That is precisely where an HMB supplement like BETABOL comes in. An increase in HMB is designed to allow essential leucine to build new muscle tissue, in turn burning more fat.
4. KARBOLYN. A full dose of double patent-pending X-R3 Enhancement is designed to take your lean muscle gains to new heights by creating the proper anabolic environment for explosive power, strength, performance and muscle endurance as well as accelerating post-workout muscle recovery when used in conjunction with proper nutrition and a regular exercise program.
How it helps the athlete: The delivery of complex carbohydrates and Kre-Alkalyn (creatine) means more energy (via glucose and increased ATP), strength and power, on top of accelerated post-workout recovery. For someone needing sustained energy AND to promote muscle gain, like an endurance athlete, KARBOLYN is another solid choice.
5. GLUTAMINE. Glutamine’s properties as a recovery supplement help it target broken-down areas of muscle. This applies to weight lifters and athletes as a tool to reduce soreness by speeding up the process of muscle recovery. It is the presence of glutamine ITSELF in muscle tissue that is responsible for how sore you are after an intense workout. Even bed-ridden patients in hospitals are given excess glutamine to make sure their muscles don’t waste away while they’re off their feet. So, the more glutamine that’s available, theoretically, the less sore you will be.
How it helps the athlete: Any athlete who has been through the rigors of training and competition will tell you the value of feeling fresh and strong; it’s another thing entirely to have your immune system and muscles recovering at full optimization. Glutamine’s reparative properties make it a must-have for anyone who consistently exercises at demanding levels.
6. NATURE’S FUEL. On top of the main purpose of actually getting what you pay for, NATURE’S FUEL stands apart from knock-off or cheap versions of a daily multivitamin with other blends that make it a powerful addition to anybody’s supplementation schedule. For one, it contains amino acids — we know amino acids are building blocks of protein, and we know that you can rarely have too many of them. Their role in NATURE’S FUEL is to provide your body with a little extra recovery ability, joining forces with the many vitamins and minerals that aid in the same process.
How it helps the athlete: With an amino acid blend, greens blend and antioxidant blend, NATURE’S FUEL is a complete multivitamin designed to cater to the competitive athlete. Immune function, energy and digestion all are important facets of physical health.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
Does this sound familiar? If you’ve been using the same, generic pre-workout formula over and over and are getting frustrated by the lack of results, perhaps it’s time to consider a deviation from the ordinary. The pre-workout supplement industry is loaded with imitations, also-rans and carbon copies — if you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all, right?
This is where it’s crucial to move away from the ordinary, or the standard. This is where it might be time to get ERRATIC. Vitasport’s newest pre-workout formula has been developed for athletes looking to increase their workout intensity and energy levels, muscle fullness, muscular endurance and overall power throughout their training session.
With a patented new group of powerhouse blends, ERRATIC is sure to change the way you think a pre-workout should make you feel. Forget the coffee-buzz jitters and the crash that comes with them — not only does ERRATIC provide the energy and focus you need to turn in top-notch workouts time after time, but it also is designed to help sustain longer muscle pumps that leave you with that great feeling of tight, full muscles from the time you squeeze that first rep until long after your workout is over.
Our first sneak peek of ERRATIC begins with its proprietary blend, the P4 Complex: Beta-Alanine (Carnosyn), Arginine Nitrate, Citrulline Nitrate, Agmatine Sulfate.
Beta-Alanine (Carnosyn): Beta-alanine is one of the most important pre-workout ingredients around; if it’s not in your pre-workout, well, you need a new one. A pre-cursor for carnosine, a protein building block that bonds with histidine (another amino acid), beta-alanine is shown in studies to reduce fatigue in athletes while increasing total muscle work and power.
Arginine Nitrate: Arginine Nitrate is backed by some pretty heady research. It was found by a 1999 study in Cardiovascular Researchto be a bona fide precursor to nitric oxide; German research from 2003 indicates that it plays a role in wound-healing and recovery; in 1998, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that arginine can even stimulate growth hormone secretion.
During intense exercise, in the middle or toward the end of your workout when your body is low on oxygen anyway, the L-Arginine NO Synthase pathway — the more common route for typical pre-workouts — is much less effective, and nitric oxide production won’t last as long. The effect of this process is usually seen early in the workout, when energy and stored oxygen levels are high.
Citrulline Nitrate: Citrulline is an amino acid that does a few things, including helping support L-Arginine in the body and also serving as a precursor to nitric oxide production. Imagine there is a line of dominos that has to fall before the effect of nitric oxide can take place — the presence of Citrulline is one of the first dominos. The end result of taking a Citrulline Nitrate product is gains in strength, endurance and faster recovery. Recent studies have proven that citrulline helps to relax the blood vessels, making it an essential ingredient in any vasodilatory (blood-flow increasing) supplement.
Agmatine Sulfate: Basically arginine with the carboxylic acid end removed, agmatine produces several byproducts directly involved with cell growth. Many see it as an exciting new ingredient, particularly for its potential as a “novel neurotransmitter,” according to one scientific review.
HOW IT HELPS YOU: The long story made short on the blend above is that each ingredient in the formula works in synergy to improve athletic endurance and performance, while providing a crazy, impressive pump you can see. Have you ever had a workout so intense — muscles swollen, veins popping — that you almost don’t recognize yourself in the mirror? That’s the pump — and the results you can expect with ERRATIC.
The second important blend in ERRATIC is the S5 complex, featuring instantized leucine, glycine, Betaine HCI, Kre-Alkalyn and Vanadyl Sulfate.
Instantized Leucine: Leucine, an essential amino acid, is crucial because of its ability to activate key pathways in the body that lead to protein synthesis, which is proven to increase the amount of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, or growth. Leucine plays an important role in activating your muscle building processes, which prevents using muscle tissue for fuel during exercise.
Glycine: Some neat trivia on glycine — it’s the smallest of the amino acids. But it still plays an important role in protein synthesis, serving as a pre-cursor for proteins, which of course are key to muscle-building.
Betaine HCI: Betaine is an important vitamin derived from choline, a protein-and-fat-based dietary component that adds structural integrity to cell membranes. Naturally occurring in sugar beets, Betaine regulates the body’s levels of homocysteine, a potentially toxic substance that is a byproduct of meat digestion.
Kre-Alkalyn: Unlike creatine monohydrate, Kre-Alkalyn is a pH-buffered creatine which ensures the highest level of creatine availability delivered to muscles. Studies show that nearly 100 percent of creatine from Kre-Alkalyn is absorbed and none is converted to toxic impurities and never biodegrades to creatinine. This allows the highest level of absorption and utilization with levels up to 10 times that of other creatine forms. Essentially, you need to take far less product, while saving your kidneys from excreting high levels of toxic creatinine.
Vanadyl Sulfate: Known primarily for its mimicking effect of insulin, it becomes clear why this ingredient is part of ERRATIC. Insulin’s role is to help quickly shuttle nutrients through the bloodstream to recovering tissues, and in the case of your workouts, this means your muscles. The result is faster recovery on the spot, and more energy.
HOW IT HELPS YOU: The S5 Complex, with its inclusion of energy-boosting creatine (which increases ATP, cellular energy) and vanadyl sulfate as an insulin-mimicker, obviously is a great way to improve energy and power for your workout, while amino acids in the blend help to preserve muscle tissue as you fatigue.
The final blend in ERRATIC we’ll go over is the E6 Complex, comprised of n-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, Advantra-Z, and Pikamilon.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: The body uses tyrosine to create the brain’s chemical messengers involving feelings of energy. It’s used to help treat people with depression, ADHD, sleep deprivation, narcolepsy, PMS and even Parkinson’s because of its ability to be converted into dopamine and norepinephrine. An article in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior revealed studies that have shown tyrosine to aid the body during times of stress or fatigue, both primary symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Caffeine Anhydrous: One of the most popular fast acting stimulants. Caffeine Anhydrous acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increases the release of adrenaline, acts as a thermogenic agent (raises metabolic rate and core body temperature), increases the use of body fat for fuel, and spares muscle glycogen increasing endurance. Studies suggest Caffeine Anhydrous has significant effects on physiological response and performance of trained athletes. Caffeine Anhydrous is primarily used as a power and energy accelerant. This fast-acting substance delivers the right molecular structure to your energy systems for maximum energy and power output. Caffeine Anhydrous is fast-acting because it stimulates the central nervous system so you’re neurologically charged to increased levels of alertness and focus.
Advantra-Z: An extract of a citrus fruit that helps stimulate metabolic processes, favor uptake of amino acids into muscle, increase lipolysis (breakdown of fat) and exert mild hunger-suppressant effects. Advantra Z is the only patented thermogenic ingredient for weight loss and physical performance on the market today.
Pikamilon: Once in the body, it causes the release of GABA and niacin, and this ingredient serves two ways — first as a vasodilator, expanding the blood vessels for that insane pump we talked about earlier, and also as an anti-anxiety focus-enhancer.
So, who will benefit most from ERRATIC? Basically, anyone wanting to gain muscle, get focused and energized for a workout, get a great pump, and lose body fat. With the three aforementioned blends working as 1) a mood enhancer, 2) a way to increase blood flow for athletic performance and 3) a surefire way to get that coveted pump you only achieve on your best workout days. As always, the work you put into your training will be the deciding factor in what you get out of it — don’t leave your energy and performance up to chance with the same-ol’, same-ol’ pre-workouts. Deviate from the ordinary.