Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Best Performance Boosting Supplements

People are really jumping on the “brain enhancer” supplement band-wagon lately.

These brain enhancers are known as nootropics, a word coined by a Romanian dude supposedly for their ability to bend the mind.

Now to be completely honest I am incredibly intrigued by the possibility of improving my mental performance.

As someone who makes their living and builds a career based on their brain power not their muscle power, the idea of getting a little bit of a mental boost from a supplement would be legit.

Interestingly, what a lot of people who are interested in nootropics fail to realize is that, in addition to their cognitive boosting capacity, some of them may increase physical performance.

I mean being smart is great and all but just being smart probably won’t get you strong or jacked.

I know we joke around about being jacked but it’s actually super important. More muscle means less risk of disease and better quality of life as you age.

Ok, so some nootropics actually fulfill the old adage of “two birds, one stone”. Anything that can double dip is worth investigating in my mind. So let’s investigate these intriguing double hitters.

It appears that Alpha-GPC may do more than just get you one step close to Bradley Cooper from Limitless, because there is some evidence it can increase power. In a small, pilot study demonstrated that Alpha-GPC increased power output 14% over placebo2.

In addition to increasing power, there is one other really interesting aspect of Alpha-GPC as it relates to performance, its ability to enhance production of growth hormone. One study showed that consuming 1 gram of Alpha-GPC acutely increased growth hormone levels 60 and 120 minutes after consumed3.

This has been repeated in another study, where 600 mg of Alpha-GPC drastically increased growth hormone compared to placebo2.

Now we have to be responsible do the whole “science” thing, which means remaining objective and letting the data guide our decisions. We still have one important question to ask about this whole Alpha-GPC growth hormone connection. Does that acute response in growth hormone results in anything meaningful in terms of getting jacked?

A Potent Fat Loss Supplement

The phytochemical capsaicin is the substance found in chili peppers that contributes to the hot and spicy flavor of the chili pepper.

This miraculous compound has the unique capacity to promote a wide range of positive effects on human health, including reduced body fat, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and improved cardiovascular health.

In fact, a recent epidemiological study investigating almost half a million people showed that the habitual consumption of chili-rich foods, loaded with capsaicin, reduced the likelihood of death from certain chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, relative to those who did not consume chili-rich, spicy foods.1

In addition to capsaicin activating the TRPV1 receptor in certain neurons found within thegastrointestinal tract, triggering a process known as thermogenesis that burns body fat, capsaicin also produces many additional health benefits by activating the same TRPV1 receptor, yet in other tissues throughout the body.

Activation of TRPV1 within these tissues triggers the function of different protein molecules, resulting in unique effects that are tissue-specific.

In addition to the fact that most of the “mobilized” fat is simply recycled, caffeine loses its efficacy over time. Much like alcohol or drugs, your body habituates to caffeine and eventually it loses its ability to be stimulated by caffeine. At some point it becomes a “return to normal function” supplement.

If you take a second to think about this you realize how true it is. Think about the first time you had a cup of coffee in the morning and how alert and ready to go you felt. Now fast forward 15 years and think about how you feel like one of those zombies in The Walking Dead until that first cup of coffee kicks in and you feel a little more human.

Caffeine That You Actually Still Believe

Coffee is the nectar of the gods.

Partially because the aroma of it is the planets best aphrodisiac and it tastes like a million angles are dancing on sunshine, but most importantly it contains caffeine.

Ok, this is probably a bit of hyperbole but coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed in the world.

In fact, the average American drinks 3.1 cups of coffee per day and we spend approximately $40 billion on coffee each year1. That number is mind-boggling.

Caffeine has garnered a lot of attention in both the fitness world and in the research world due to a lot of the performance and health properties it can convey. Sadly, as with most health claims, many of the things you hear are like unicorns, they aren’t real.

Now since caffeine is one of the most consumed “drugs” on the planet I think we ought to set the record straight and clear up a few of the myths surrounding caffeine.

 

1. CAFFEINE DEHYDRATES YOU

People think that because coffee makes you pee it dehydrates you. I never really understood that logic, it is missing a lot of steps and doesn’t really make any sense when you think about it. For example, drinking water makes you pee but drinking water is how you hydrate.

The body’s fluid balance system is a lot more complicated than that. Honestly, sometimes journalists’ logic baffles me at times. This is where science is important. We can actually ask and answer the question of, “Does caffeine dehydrate you”?

Fortunately for us, several studies have looked at whether caffeine consumption actually dehydrates you. For example, one studied looked at a dose response of caffeine and diuresis (making more urine) and found that daily intakes of caffeine at 3 and 6 mg per kg per day over a span of 11 days does not have a real effect on fluid balance and hydrations status2.

Now that is great and all when considering the study was conducted with pure caffeine, but what about caffeinated beverages and all the other things that go with them? I am glad you asked. Here is a study that showed that black tea also doesn’t do squat as a diuretic and hydrates you just as well as water3.

 

2. CAFFEINE IS A GOOD FAT BURNER

Caffeine is marketed as a fat burner pretty heavily. The thing about it is that it can be a fat burner. . . but it likely doesn’t work the way you think it does.

The old version of caffeine being a fat burner goes something like this: caffeine causes fat cells to release fatty acids which is then burned for energy. This is kind of true but not really. The data is a little more complex than that.

When you really get down to the nitty gritty, it looks like caffeine increases lipid mobilization by a significant amount but most of that fat isn’t actually burned, about 75% of it is actually recycled, meaning it’s “released” from fat cells and then stored again without being used4.

Related: Coconut Coffee Cardio – Early Morning Strategy to Get Shredded

So caffeine probably won’t directly increase fat loss but it may increase your training capacity, making increased fat-loss a byproduct.

In addition to the fact that most of the “mobilized” fat is simply recycled, caffeine loses its efficacy over time. Much like alcohol or drugs, your body habituates to caffeine and eventually it loses its ability to be stimulated by caffeine. At some point it becomes a “return to normal function” supplement.

If you take a second to think about this you realize how true it is. Think about the first time you had a cup of coffee in the morning and how alert and ready to go you felt. Now fast forward 15 years and think about how you feel like one of those zombies in The Walking Dead until that first cup of coffee kicks in and you feel a little more human.

If you abuse coffee/caffeine as much as I do it might take the whole pot to get you back to normal. . . I should probably take a caffeine break sometime soon.

The Missing Link to Massive Gains

Building muscle is generally the main motivation for getting into the gym in the first place.

Whether it’s to look better, develop more confidence, or to gain strength for preseason football training, the desired outcome is the same, more muscle and less fat.

Train for long enough and it becomes apparent that the key stimulus for unlocking serious muscle gains is to progressively increase the level of the intensity of your workouts.

All too frequently, guys will grab a training program, get into a pattern, and then flat line because their intensity doesn’t change.

There’s simply no substitute for increasing training intensity to spark continuous growth. Progressive resistance is the name of the game and without it you can forget about expanding those shirtsleeves.

While devoted trainees pound protein and carbs pre and post workout, a crucial step has unwittingly been missed. The intake of nutrients during training, intra-workout nutrition.

Fresh muscle gains have been the biggest casualty.

Smart trainees have finally caught on, but are they doing it right?

For those who have been neglecting intra-workout nutrition entirely, pay very close attention, this article will unlock the gains you’ve been missing.

The idea of nutrient consumption during workouts has been tossed around gyms for the past decade or so. That being said, many bodybuilders have forgone this crucial strategy. Why?

Many intra-workout misconceptions exist. The mechanical digestion of nutrients diverts blood from muscles and is energy-robbing.

 

Certain compounds, notably caffeine, can dehydrate muscles and deplete training energy. The excessive intake of stimulants may over-stimulate the central nervous system and cause muscle fatigue.The intake of certain nutrients during training is time consuming and inconvenient.

While the above are true, they are also not the most effective intra-workout strategies. Unfortunately, the association they have with intra-workout nutrition prevents many from taking advantage of one of the most powerful growth determinants.