My Pre-workout Supplements

A good pre-workout supplement can take your training to a whole-notha-leehhvall! The right sup can boost your strength, endurance, focus, and give those muscles a nice pump; who doesn’t want that?

Before I get into sharing my pre-workout stack I feel it necessary to share a short story regarding my past experience with some name brand pre’s.

A few years ago I started using pre-workouts for the reasons I stated in the first paragraph. I Dumbbellfound a reputable name brand and began taking it as directed. I felt like superwomen in the gym! I was moving faster, pushing harder, and training longer than I ever have. This high lasted a while; until it all came down to bite me in the ass.

I eventually became dependent on these pre-workouts and couldn’t imagine training without them. Sadly it got to a point where my sleep suffered – probably from the high level of stimulants most name brands possess. It wouldn’t matter if I took it at 5am or 5pm; I could no longer get a solid full nights rest. This snow balled in the sense I was still taking it to combat my fatigue from not sleeping; resulting in over-training, under-recovering, and no gain in muscle mass what’s so ever.

So please be cautious when supplementing with pre-workouts. To be honest, anything with a picture of a skeleton, or the word “explode” makes me nervous, as do some of the price tags.

Personally, my favourite pre-workout stack is one I can put together on my own. I purchase the ingredients in bulk and then toss them together about 20 minutes before I lift. If I had tons of money, I’d likely add to my stack, but here are -in my opinion- the necessities:

  1. BCAAS

“Branched chain amino acids or BCAA are the smallest sub particle of protein and are a chemical chain of the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.. They are often referred to as the building blocks of protein. This particular blend of BCAA supplement is a 2:1:1 ratio of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine. Amino Acids are essential in the body and are produced naturally. When the body undergoes physical stress, BCAAs can be used as an alternate fuel beta-alanine-1lbsource to fuel protein synthesis and delay fatigue. They play a special role by being metabolized quickly and directly in the muscle where you need it most, not in the liver. By allowing the body to stay in a positive nitrogen balance and continue protein synthesis, BCAAs are best known for keeping the body in an anabolic state (muscle building). When taken around times of training, BCAA powder can be essential to keeping protein synthesis going and the body in a fuelled state.”

  1. Beta-Alanine

“Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid used to promote muscular endurance and improve exercise performance by being able to train longer and harder. By promoting high levels of intramuscular carnosine, it can delay the build-up of lactate burning in the muscles. It has also been known to increase maximal power output when training.”

  1. AAKG

“AAKG is a salt derivative of the amino acid arginine and alpha ketoglutaric acid. It is used as an exercise supplement to cause an increase in nitric oxide production in the body. This increased nitric oxide production causes the body to vasodilate blood vessels (increasing their internal diameter to increase blood flow) giving users the muscle pump effect and causing more oxygen and more nutrients to the target muscle. AAKG is an advanced form of arginine and is approximately 2 times the potency. Therefore if one was to take 6g of arginine, it would only require approximately 3g of AAKG to achieve the same effect. AAKG has been shown in new and ongoing research to increase anabolic activity and increase levels of growth hormone, IGF-1, and insulin, glutamine and other amino acid metabolites.”

  1. Creatine Monohydrate

“Creatine Monohydrate or Creapure Creatine Monohydrate is a natural substance found mainly in the skeletal muscle cells of the human body. Made up of three amino acids l-methionine, l-arginine, and l-glycine it is produced in the liver and to a small degree in the kidneys. It is used in the body to provide energy to all the cells in the body especially the muscle cells by increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) available. This ATP that is created is used to fuel flexingall muscle contractions in the body via the Phosphocreatine Synthesis cycle. Although creatine monohydrate is not an essential nutrient, it is very necessary to intense training and physical strength. Creatine is used widely by athletes and resistance trainers to increase strength, power, endurance and explosive strength. Creatine is naturally occurring in foods such as beef but supplementing with exogenous creatine monohydrate is a much easier and more efficient way to increase creatine stores to induce more muscle growth and much more intense training. Creatine is among the most popular and effective supplements available and is very important to anyone looking to improve physical performance.”

  1. Caffeine Caps*

“Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant in the body. Caffeine is found mostly in different types of seeds, leaves, and fruits. Caffeine in humans acts as a central nervous system stimulant which may prevent and/or ward off drowsiness and restore and keep you alert. Caffeine accomplishes this by causing the release of dopamine which is a chemical in the brain that keeps us alert, improves problem solving and pleasure.” (Canadianprotein.com)

I took each description off of the site I order these supplements from. It saves me a lot of money in the long run and I can’t help but feel like a scientist as I mix them together prior to my workouts. These supplements are pretty tasteless, but I often add a squirt of a flavoured water inhancer to get it down easier. If you decide to order from here, please use my link:

http://canadianprotein.refr.cc/KRT7T64

* The reason I put an asterisks beside caffeine is because I no longer include this in my stack. I’ve realized the high amounts of caffeine alone, or in other pre-workouts aren’t good for me. I am a very energetic person as it is and sometimes have issues with anxiety. This has decreased dramatically since I have stopped taking them. Also, I drink a lot of green and black tea so I’m sure I get enough caffeine as it is.

1. Canadianprotein.com,. ‘Canadian Protein: Canada’s Supplements Superstore’. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

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Obesity: ‘no silver bullet’ but many promising weapons

What draws people to eat unhealthy foods? Is it the fact that we’re naturally drawn to sugary, salty and fatty foods? Or perhaps it’s the convenience of it’s availability? A little of both? What can we do to make these options less attractive?

Good read from CBC News:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/obesity-no-silver-bullet-but-many-promising-weapons-1.2963967

exchange-school-lunches

Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity epidemic, scientists say

diet soda

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Health/ID/2521890549/ – news report

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/artificial-sweeteners-linked-to-obesity-epidemic-scientists-say-1.2769196 – article

Im excited to see some more research being done on artificial sweetners, as I have always said they are likely to be unhealthy in some sort of way.

Although this is not conclusive, the above links suggest these sugar replacements may make metabolic disorders such as type II diabetes worse rather than prevent further problems.

Shake Recipe

I drink protein shakes on a regular basis. When I find myself in need of a quick meal I’ll bulk them up by adding fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and whatever other healthy ingredients I can find.

The results of my concoctions vary; ranging from appealing and delicious, to ugly and hard to swallow – but nonetheless full of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

This is one of my appealing and delicious recipes (I think so anyways).

Ingredients:Shake ingredients

  • 140g Irresistibles Berry Cherry Fusion – Mixed Fruit
  • 122g Kirkland Frozen Mixed Vegetables – Normandy Style
  • 10g Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Handful of Spinach
  • ¼ Teaspoon (or a few shakes) of Cinnamon
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Blend Protein

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 308
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Protein: 31g

It’s Sticking to the Diet that Counts, Not the Weight Loss Plan Itself

diet http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2742077/Atkins-Weight-Watchers-Doesn-t-matter-It-s-sticking-diet-counts-not-weight-loss-plan-study-finds.html

I enjoyed reading this short article – mainly because it reiterates points I’ve made in previous posts. There are 2 ways one can define diet:

1. the kinds of foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.

2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

I believe in the first definition, not the second – unless it’s for medical reasons. Making little changes towards healthier eating for the rest of your life is the only way to loose fat and keep it off forever. Tempory diets = temporary weight loss.

Fit for the Right Reasons

Embarking on a journey to better you is hard. Changing habits that you’ve had all of your life takes mental toughness, willpower, and consistency. Setting short and long term goals then working towards them leads to success; so long as these goals are realistic and can fit within your everyday lifestyle.

I’ve sat down with over 100 people to discuss their current habits and how to work towards living a healthier lifestyle. I would say 60% of people want to start working out for vanity reasons while the other 40% have to start exercising because their doctor told them it is absolutely vital to their health. We need some middle ground here people!

If you want to look like that huge ripped dude with a rippling 6 pack, or that girl with strong quads and buns of steel -sure it’s possible – but I can tell you now that those people have made nutrition and exercise their life, everything they do from the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep involves healthy, structured eating along with planned, consistent exercise. They plan and pack their meals and do not skip out on their workouts even if they are tired or have a million other things to do. They don’t find time for fitness; they make time (clearly some indiviuals have the added bonus of good genetics, but we can’t all be that lucky). To some this may be unrealistic, and that is okay.

This isn’t to say you can’t look the way you desire, I’m just not one to give false promises. I need to emphasize how much work and dedication gaining muscle and/or loosing fat takes. Today’s supplements and rip-off “ab machines” loves to give the general population false hope while taking their money. The truth is you must eat well, be active, and take it upon yourself to learn about your body.

I want to encourage your average Joe who works every day and has a family to take on healthy habits so he/she can live disease free with the unrestricted ability to participate in everyday activities, along with the confidence to hold their own during recreational sports or anything else that requires a degree of physical fitness.

If looking better is the motivation to get you started, use that. However there are endless reasons to improve your nutrition and get moving that has nothing to do with the way you look on the outside. In fact, most of the positive changes start inside your body – where it really counts.