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Dieting, Exercise and Supplements

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Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life, and in this day and age, it’s certainly possible. People face many tough decisions when it comes to choosing the best supplements, diet, exercise, and exercise equipment – and who could blame them? Every day the list of best ways to lose weight, build muscle and get the shape you’ve always dreamed of grows. Even now, more than ever, there are emerging nutritional supplements being marketed to those who intend to shed the extra pounds and transform their bodies into lean, sculpted figures.

With all this industry growth and all the reputable brands releasing new products, how can you really be sure what is working and what isn’t? I personally spent quite a bit of time in the gym pumping irons and pressing weights. I’ve spent countless hours training, working out, trying new routines and learning many new workouts. During this time I have also tried a variety of different supplements for both nutrition and training purposes.

When it comes to picking a solid pre-workout, there are many that definitely stand the test. (Of course, all supplements mentioned are personal preferences and may affect individuals differently.) I’m someone who could be said to love caffeine. I drink about 3 cups of coffee a day, starting with “Double-Shot” on the strength level and gradually working my way down. When I’m looking for a good pre-workout, one of the things I look for is something that has above-average caffeine. While I’m not getting too deep into the essentials, I’ve found that the strongest PWOs (I mean actually feel the energy boost) are Bullnox and the brand new, reformulated Superpump 250 with DMAA. These 2 supplements definitely pack a bigger scoop and punch but also lean towards the more expensive side. Another way I personally gauge strength is by how much tingling I feel all over my body – and these 2 really give that feeling.

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The pump these PWOs bring is quite substantial. I can see the difference in the weeks I cycle the PWO that not only does my training intensity decrease but the amount of time before I tire is noticeably shorter. Not to discredit other PWO’s as they all do their job to varying degrees but I find these give me the most focus and keep my drive higher in the gym – meaning I have focused intensity. After completing a great workout, it’s important to eat some protein and possibly a meal to replenish and help rebuild muscle and provide your body with all the nutrients it needs post-workout.

One of the leading protein brands for many years is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard (100% Whey). This has been my favorite protein powder for many years. While it’s also a bit more expensive than other protein supplements, I find the quality to be excellent and worth it. The multiple flavors are delicious and the balls are a nice size. The powder dissolves very evenly and easily and is absorbed into your body fairly quickly. That means faster protein synthesis or your body builds muscle faster. There are many forms of protein with certain tradeoffs, some taking longer to digest than others and others breaking down much more slowly. To really understand what works best, it’s always a good idea to experiment and see what works best for your goals and body. If you’re still unsure, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard (100% Whey) Protein is a solid recommendation. Even after taking your pre-workout and post-workout supplements, sometimes you just don’t have the drive or energy to keep going…this is where intra-workout supplements shine.

I wasn’t too keen on intra workouts as I feel the PWO gets the job done at least to the level I need it to be. When I decided to grab one, I went with Sci-Vation’s Xtend. This stuff is pretty potent and comes in this greenish/blue powder we like to call the “Hulk Juice” named for its color. This gives you more of that power/energy boost during your exercises, which helps with explosive pumps and harder, more intense workouts. For me, I could certainly feel a positive change while on this stuff, but my wallet felt the opposite. This stuff doesn’t necessarily come cheap, especially when you combine it with all the other supplements.

Thanks to Jeremy S

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