As experts in the supplement industry, we are intimately familiar with concerns and questions customers and the paying public may have about products.
Do they work? (To wildly varying degrees, yes – buy the good ones.) Are they safe? (Buy from reputable vendors like Nutrishop, and they couldn’t be safer – we don’t hesitate to yank inferior products off our shelves.) What exactly do they do?
We like to turn to science and study when it comes to answering all of those questions. ln recent years, what’s come to light specifically about one certain supplement is extremely encouraging. Not only do BCAAs stand up as an excellent product for fat loss and muscle gain in non-biased, scientific review, but they routinely make regular customers’ shopping lists each time they visit us. A lot of products will come and go – only the best ones stick around when the hype wears off and results are all that’s left. And at the end of the day, BCAAs are always left standing.
What makes Branched Chain Amino Acids such an effective supplement? For starters, BCAAs are incredibly versatile. Typically, supplements can reasonably claim to address one or two goals – strength, muscle mass, fat loss, or athletic performance. BCAAs can help with all of them.
A randomized, double-blind study, published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, was performed to “evaluate the efficacy of consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during an eight-week resistance-training program.” The conclusion:
Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink.
What does that mean? In short: Regular use of BCAAs as a supplement to your diet and training program make you leaner and stronger. Less fat, more muscle, more strength.
Benefits don’t stop there. In 2006, The Journal of Nutrition published a study that found BCAAs to play a role in reducing exercise fatigue – meaning that if you took BCAAs before and/or during your workouts, you could go more intensely, or longer, to get more out of your exercise. The same study found that “Branched-chain amino acids also positively influence the metabolic response of muscle to exercise.”
Translation: BCAAs slow your metabolism’s feast on your muscle tissue when you’re working out.
Even when you’re not training, though, BCAAs have the same effect. So if you’re taking a break, trying out anabolic fasting diets, going on vacation or suffering an injury that keeps you out of the gym, knocking back BCAAs regularly will help slow the muscle catabolism (your body using muscle for energy) or atrophy that would otherwise occur. That phenomenon was proven out in a study published in Nutrition Research in 2012.
It’s not snake oil, folks.
For years, the most-researched and trusted supplements in this industry were whey protein and creatine. Doubters cropped up all over the place at first, but as the scientific method consistently proved them wrong, these products clearly developed staying power. Well, it’s time to add BCAAs to that list. Study after study is showing that amino acids are not only just an emerging powerhouse supplement, but a must-have for all ranges of athletic ability – from elite athletes to first-day beginners.
Congratulations to Jesse Ebert, our overall winner of our Fall Weight Loss & Muscle Gain Challenge! Jesse put on 12.05 pounds of muscle and lost 7.85 pounds of fat, for a total swing of 19.9 pounds – impressive! For his great results, he wins a year’s supply of protein!
“I got so tired of being skinny all the time,” Jesse said. “I was motivated from the beginning, but after my first weigh-in, I realized, ‘Holy crap, something’s happening.’ That really motivated me to push harder and I could see the numbers and evidence to prove it was working.”
A year ago, Jesse started his gym membership, but he didn’t really have much direction – he would go to the gym and work out, trying to figure things out on his own. A friend told him about the Challenge, and he decided to go for it. Then he started taking things seriously, doing research on power-lifting workouts that would get him stronger and bigger, and working with Josh at NUTRISHOP to get his diet and supplements on point.
“It was all pretty new. I’d never even done squats before – I thought about it, maybe walked over to the bar a couple times,” Jesse said. “Starting this challenge encouraged me to talk myself into it. Once I started challenging myself, that’s when I started seeing muscle mass.”
Paired with an introduction to protein and BCAAs and full-body, compound lifts, Jesse saw results right away. He started off eating salads and watching his calories, and he dropped 5 percent body fat over four weeks. He soon discovered he needed to eat as much quality food as he could get, and that’s where Josh fit in. They worked together on what Jesse should eat and when, and Jesse took it to heart.
“Everybody at NUTRISHOP has been great – any questions I’ve had, they’ve answered, and they always give tips that actually help,” Jesse said. “There’s always a fear when you’re trying something new that someone is just trying to sell you something, but I always felt like they were being genuine and really wanted to help me.”
Jesse’s goals for 2016 are to keep on the same track – if he can gain 12 pounds of muscle in two months, he said, imagine what he can do in a year.
“I feel great – I’ve got a positive attitude and a lot more self-confidence,” Jesse said. “There’s no way I’m going to stop now, right when I’ve got it figured out.”
School is almost back, and that means the return of high school sports! If your teenager is a competitive athlete looking to achieve the best physical shape possible for the upcoming sports year, NUTRISHOP has plenty of effective, safe supplements that will help them build the muscle and athletic edge to compete at their highest levels ever.
The teenage body is (clearly) much different than a full-grown one — while still growing, there are many processes that cannot be interfered with, hindered or accelerated, whether it’s through diet or supplements. A common question we get in the store is about products’ safety, and unless a product was safe, we wouldn’t say it is! That’s why we’re highlighting seven supplements this week, all of which are safe and effective for all, including that teen athlete you care about who wants to add some extra muscle to a growing frame or wants to achieve a better athletic physique.
To begin, we’ll start with protein, a mainstay in just about every athlete’s diet. It repairs broken-down muscle and helps build new tissue for increased strength and decreased body fat. A more efficient metabolism is also common with increased protein consumption (and this comes in handy for high-schoolers who happen to eat 1) frequently and 2) usually not as cleanly as is ideal for competitive athletes).
To that end, we’d recommend one of the following:
With four primary blends in FORZA PRO, you can count on there being no gaps in the protein delivery you’re seeking:
Plus, FORZA PRO contains Aminogen, a patented formula designed to keep the body’s nitrogen balance positive so it can continue to synthesize proteins, building muscle throughout the day.
Pro7ein Synthesis combines WPI Protein Complex (Cross-Flow Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate) and WPC5 Protein Complex™ (Whey Protein Concentrate, Hydrolyzed Casein, Potassium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Egg Albumin).
Here’s a list of all seven types, and what they do:
Why take them all at once? Simply put, to cover all your bases for the longest period of time — you are looking to stay anabolic, so a staggered release of protein into the system is important.Your muscles can spend up to three days recovering from a workout, so it makes sense to provide it with protein often. Taking seven types of it at once ensures that your muscles won’t be starved for proteins, because they’ll be in your system.
To add to that athletic edge, many athletes prefer to take a pre-workout product. This is a very popular new field of supplements because of the impressive attributes many of them have — greater strength, focus, energy and blood flow during a workout are all beneficial to an athlete’s gains. Some products are not entirely safe; in fact, just last year a very popular form of caffeine was banned outright by the FDA in all major sports and the products that contained it were forced to reformulate. It can still be tough to parse out which ones are best for a teenage athlete. That’s why we’ve done it here.
N’Rage is a next-generation nitric oxide compound designed to increase muscle size, strength, vascularity and endurance mainly by increasing the blood flow and oxygen and nutrient delivery to your muscle cells.
Think back to your good workouts — when you’re effectively targeting a muscle area, blood rushes to that area and you experience the “pump” effect. The main ingredients in N’Rage include L-Arginine AKG (2:1), also known as AAKG, which is an enhanced precursor of nitric oxide. N’Rage works with your body to create the production of nitric oxide in your system, thus enhancing blood flow.
“Exercise Prescription (ExRx)” online pointed out that AAKG has been under research since 1989, and the main takeaways from its studies were significant gains in strength over short periods of time, as well as an increase in lean muscle mass, when combined with intense exercise. Since nitric oxide production is keyed by N’Rage’s main ingredient, arginine, it’s important to note the bottom-line thought on it. From a 1997 study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition:
“It can safely be theorized that arginine may have an anabolic effect on the human body by increasing levels of nitric oxide and growth hormone.”
N’FUZE, meanwhile, is another great product that you can pair with N’RAGE. It contains a buffered version of creatine known as Kre-Alkalyn, which studies have shown reduces nearly all of the creatinin conversion. The bottom line: You get more pure creatine to your muscles, to maximize strength, mass and endurance gains in the muscle without having to take ungodly doses of it.
Another area where N’FUZE stands apart from regular creatine monohydrate is in its other blend elements, including:
Our teenage years have the potential to be quite awkward, as many young athletes tend to grow taller well before they start filling out their frames with muscle. This can be less than ideal for an athlete in a physical sport! That’s why adding muscle mass and supporting the growing body is paramount. Because of this, any high school athlete looking to add muscle should look into taking a high-protein, high-carb gainer. We’ve got a great one: GAINER7.
GAINER7, made by Vitasport, is a protein blend with the same outstanding protein properties of Pro7ein Synthesis, but with nearly double the protein per serving and a 2-1 carb-protein ratio that studies have shown to be critical when it comes to post-workout replenishment.
GAINER7 is one of the cleanest gainer products available, offering more than 700 calories per serving without weighing you down the bad way — with fat and sugar. The carb blend in GAINER7 is primarily derived from whole wheat, maltodextrin and dextrose, for a staggered release of blood sugar and anabolic insulin, without the vicious spike and crash you’d get from cheaper, faster-burning sugars.
And, like Pro7ein Synthesis, GAINER7 contains Aminogen, which naturally boosts the nitrogen in the system to help keep you anabolic. With the amino acids protein provide to help you build muscle and recover, the 54-gram serving of protein is an ideal ratio for anybody looking to put on size; the different absorption rates of the seven protein types ensures that the maximum amount of protein will reach your recovering muscles without being wasted.
GAINER7 is among NUTRISHOP’s newest supplements from Vitasport and is sure to be a hit once people see the success an effective gainer can bring — without those super-sweet fillers and additives you might get in “other” gainers. Be sure to ask any certified NUTRISHOP employee about GAINER7 if you’re interested in packing on muscle without the unnecessary fat that can come with it.
Recovery is also essential for athletes, especially young high school ones new to building muscle. Because the body is constantly growing during our teen years, it needs as much help with muscle recovery as possible. This is where a good glutamine supplement can really pay off. We recommend GLUTACOR.
It is indeed muscle recovery, and not the breakdown you’re doing in the weight room, that is the most important phase of the athlete’s muscular development. The “American Journal of Physiological Endocrinology and Metabolism” showed in a 2002 study that proper amino acid intake after working out is critical to stimulating muscle protein balance; the key makeup of Glutacor is designed to provide the quality amino acid glutamine.
Glutacor is a mega-dosed glutamine-based formula that delivers a wide range of benefits to a wide range of people. Specifically, young adults looking for healthier, more athletic figures will find glutamine to be essential, but so too will women who want to improve tone or men looking for an increase in general fitness.
Its most obvious advantage: The faster your body recovers, the faster you can get back to doing the hard work in the gym. Glutacor, available exclusively at Nutrishop, is designed to speed up that recovery process.
But there’s more to it than that…..
Research has shown that glutamine is an important supplement for those recovering from surgery, particularly gastric bypass patients. In 2003, John Brosnan from “Journal of Nutrition” explained in a study for The American Society of Nutritional Sciences that illness and injury go hand-in-hand with “the loss of massive amounts of glutamine” from the muscles. Glutacor is vital to people recovering from injury, or looking to avoid it.
In 2004, one Dutch study in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care backed up that idea with its judgment: “Glutamine has a major impact on the functionality of the immune system. … Glutamine not only has a protective effect on cells of the immune system, but also on other cells of the body.”
Not all glutamine products are created equal, however. Glutacor is superior to other glutamine products thanks to its high dose of five different forms for better absorption into the body. Glutacor also features the Electrolyte Hydration Blend, which helps replenish electrolytes and keep the body hydrated, and Glutacor is also the only glutamine product to feature GlycoCarn, which has powerful antioxidant properties designed to help rid the body of metabolic waste and decrease muscle fatigue.
Finally, to round out your high school athlete’s supplement cabinet, be sure to include a high-quality BCAA supplement. Branched Chain Amino Acids are crucial to building new muscle tissue and preventing breakdown of the muscle the body already has, imperative considering how fast teen metabolisms tend to run. In high metabolisms especially, muscle is considered calorically expensive to maintain, and often it is broken down and used for energy first. Our best-selling BCAA product, BCAA SPORT, is a great choice to prevent catabolism, the breakdown of muscle tissue.
BCAA SPORT is an instantized BCAA blend you can take before, during and after your workout for maximum benefits. It is bolstered by the addition of citrulline malate (an amino acid that increases lactic acid metabolism and therefore reduces workout fatigue), as well as acai berry, pomegranate, Resveratrol and grape seed extract for their antioxidant properties. Resveratrol, found in grape skin, is the antioxidant supply in red wine, and has been shown to have positive effects on blood sugar as well as being an anti-carcinogen in mice. Acai berry and pomegranate are well-know for their ability to eliminate free radicals in the system.
This blend doesn’t stop there. On top of all that, BCAA SPORT also includes Glutamine AKG (GAKG), L-Taurine and Eleuthero Root (a form of ginseng) for endurance and recovery, not to mention a full dose of electrolytes to help keep the cells hydrated and functioning at optimal levels. A University of Arizona study found taurine to be “essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle,” and Eleuthero Root was found by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology to increase endurance and reduce fatigue.