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  • Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer vs. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer

    For anyone who has a hard time putting on weight, there's nothing like an elite quality mass gainer. Loaded with the protein for muscle building and excess calories for mass, these supplements can make a huge difference for hard gainers.

     

    Let’s take a look at two of the best mass gainers in the industry, Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer to see which one is worth the buy.

     

     

    Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

    Pro Gainer has been a fan favourite for years and it’s not hard to see why. At 650 calories per serving, this is one supplement that is serious about helping you gain the mass you want.

     

    Every serving of Pro Gainer delivers 60 grams of protein along with 85 grams of carbohydrates, making it ideal as a muscle building supplement post-workout. We were really impressed by the protein blend that Optimum Nutrition uses which includes Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Egg Albumin, Hydrolyzed Whey Peptides, and Glutamine Peptides. With the varying rates of digestion for each type of protein, you can rest assured you’ll have plenty of muscle building amino acids for hours.

     

    When used as directed, Pro Gainer may support muscle recovery, promote muscle growth, and trigger protein synthesis. (1-6)

     

    Cons of Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

    Two concerns we have with Pro Gainer:

     

    First is with the vitamin and mineral blend. If you are taking a multi-vitamin, then you may want to take half of the dose since Pro Gainer delivers up to 50% of what you’ll need on a daily basis.

     

    Second is with the maltodextrin as the front and centre ingredient. Maltodextrin is a simple carbohydrate source used in many mass gainers. Since it’s a simple carbohydrate, it may spike insulin levels like a quick carb food would. With that said, it’s best to use this product first thing in the morning or immediately following a workout.

     

     

    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer

    The Gold Standard series of supplements from Optimum Nutrition has been one of the best in the industry. From the pre-workout to the protein, Gold Standard has set itself high above other supplement brands. The Gold Standard Gainer is no different. Packed with 760 calories from quality ingredients per serving, Gold Standard Gainer is ready to help you accomplish your size goals.

     

    Gold Standard Gainer gives you 55 grams of protein and 110 grams of carbohydrates. The amazing thing about the carbohydrate blend is that it is primarily from oat, pea and potato. Yes, you’ll find maltodextrin in there as well but the bulk is coming from a complex carb source.

     

    The one area where Gold Standard surpasses its ON relative is with its unique fat blend including 11 grams of healthy fats from flaxseed, chia, and MCTs. Healthy fats are extremely important for overall health. When it comes to bulking up, healthy fats like MCT oil can actually keep the amount of fat you gain in check. This is critical when your goal is muscle, not fat mass. (7)

     

    Cons of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer

    Aside from the usual use of artificial sweeteners and flavouring, there isn’t much you can argue against when it comes to Gold Standard Gainer. The only “issue” is that the protein blend is primarily made of Whey Isolate, which means fast digesting amino acids. You can use it during any point in the day but especially following a workout.

     

    Which One Should You Buy?

    What you have here is two great mass gaining products. There is no denying that Gold Standard Gainer has the superior quality of the two products; however, it also has the bigger price tag. We would say that the extra money is well worth it but if you need to watch your spending this month, Pro Gainer is an excellent mass gaining choice.

     

    References

    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002

     

    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.

     

    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.

     

    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.

     

    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.

     

    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.

     

    1. St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6.
  • 4 Ways L-Carnitine Can Support Goals of Muscle, Strength, and Fat Loss

    Everyone is looking for that extra edge when it comes to their health and fitness goals. This doesn’t just apply to athletes. Think about it: How would you like to burn more body fat? How about recovering quicker after a tough workout? With goals like this, it’s no wonder the supplement industry has become the giant it is.

     

    While there are plenty of “all talk” supplements, L-Carnitine has the scientific backing to warrant a closer look. Let’s take a look at the 4 ways L-Carnitine may be able to boost muscle, strength, and fat loss.

     

    1. Amplifies Fat Burning

    Fat burning is L-Carnitine’s most popular benefit, which is the reason you find it in so many supplements. Taken at an appropriate dose, L-Carnitine may be able to seriously amplify fat burning in your body. How’s that possible?

     

    L-Carnitine, an amino acid, directly supports the transport of fat into the mitochondria of cells. Once inside the mitochondria, the fat is used for energy.

     

    1. Give Yourself a Brain Boost

    One of the less well known benefits of L-Carnitine is its ability to enhance cognitive function including perceived energy levels, mood, and cognitive performance. How’s that possible?

     

    First, studies suggest that L-Carnitine is able to promote the removal of toxins that have built up over time in the body. Second, L-Carnitine may support the release of the brain chemicals noradrenaline and serotonin.

     

    Noradrenaline, more commonly referred to as norepinephrine, stimulates the central nervous system and raises blood pressure. The result is a big boost in focus and alertness.

     

    Serotonin is that “feel good” chemical in the brain that alleviates symptoms of depress and anxiety.

     

    1. Enhance Recovery

    Who enjoys being so sore the day after a workout that they can’t walk? Not many people.

     

    When you want to boost your recovery post-workout, L-Carnitine may be able to help you do it. Studies suggest that supplementing with L-Carnitine may help promote the anabolic environment needed for heightened recovery. This is especially true for muscle building and strength gains.

     

    1. Target Belly Fat

    The “pooch” or “beer belly” may be a punchline but its health consequences are anything but funny.

     

    Visceral fat, or belly fat, is a sign of a larger health problem waiting to happen. Those with excess belly fat have been shown to have more cardiovascular health problems than those without.

     

    Lucky for you, L-Carnitine is here to help. Studies suggest that L-Carnitine supplementation may be able to support belly fat loss. Sure, this will improve your physique but, more importantly, it will improve your cardiovascular health.

     

    References

    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.

     

    1. Malek Mahdavi A, Mahdavi R, Kolahi S. Effects of l-Carnitine Supplementation on Serum Inflammatory Factors and Matrix Metalloproteinase Enzymes in Females with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Sep-Oct;35(7):597-603. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

     

    1. Smeland OB, Meisingset TW, Borges K, Sonnewald U. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice. Neurochem Int. 2012 Jul;61(1):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

     

    1. Kang JS, Lee WK, Lee CW, Yoon WK, Kim N, Park SK, Lee HS, Park HK, Han SB, Yun J, Lee K, Lee KH, Park SK, Kim HM. Improvement of high-fat diet-induced obesity by a mixture of red grape extract, soy isoflavone and L-carnitine: implications in cardiovascular and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Sep;49(9):2453-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.06.071. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
  • GAT PMP vs. GAT Nitraflex

    Pre-workout supplements can potentially be the difference between owning your workouts and never showing up. After a long and busy day, it can be tough to muster up the motivation to crank out an hour session at the gym. This is why pre-workouts have become so immensely popular. One of the biggest names in the industry, German American Technologies, has produced two incredible, tried and true pre-workout supplements: GAT PMP vs. GAT Nitraflex. Let’s review these two products to see which is really worth having at home.

     

    GAT PMP

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of GAT PMP

    GAT’s Peak Muscle Performance (PMP) is the pre-workout that put the company on the map. It isn’t just a shot of caffeine with some random vitamin complex; this is a multi-level pre-workout that will deliver the energy you’re looking for.

     

    The team over at GAT has broken down what the supplement offers into four easy-to-understand categories:

     

    • Nitric Oxide Enhancers
    • Pump Accelerators
    • Focus & Cognition Modulators
    • Energetics

     

    The ingredients found in the first two categories, which include L-Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, and Calcium Lactate may help to increase nitric oxide production in the body allowing for insane pumps, more strength, better recovery, and faster removal of lactic acid build-up.

     

    As for energy and intense focus, that’s exactly what you’ll be getting from the latter categories. Each serving hits you with 325 mg of caffeine. Mix that with N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and L-Theanine and what you have is laser sharp focus and an unstoppable amount of energy.

     

    Working together, all of these ingredients are going to help you crush your workout and have plenty of energy leftover. (1-3)

     

    Cons of GAT PMP

    Outside of artificial sweeteners and flavouring, the only issue we had with GAT’s PMP is the fact that you aren’t sure exactly how much of each ingredient you are getting. You get the grams for each blend but that could mean one ingredient far outweighs the others. This is important as each of these ingredients dose have a recommended dose for maximum benefits but you’ll never know if you’re getting it.

     

     

    GAT Nitraflex

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of GAT Nitraflex

    GAT seems to be a fan of breaking down each ingredient into a quick category and Nitraflex is no exception. Nitraflex has three ingredient categories:

     

    • Vascoactive Arginase-Regulating NO Precursor Complex
    • Acute Energy, Focus, Intensity, Neuromodulating, Endurance Complex
    • Clinically-Studied Testosterone-Enhancing Complex

     

    Just like with PMP, Nitraflex offers you an N.O. boosting blend. The difference is that Nitraflex has the upper hand here. It offers you AAKG and L-Arginine, both of which are the top N.O. boosters in the industry.

     

    Moving on to energy and focus, Nitraflex is ready to deliver. It offers you a really intense blend of energy boosters, thermogenics, and nootropics including DMAE Bitrartrate, Theanine, and Rauwolscine. DMAE has been shown to be a powerful focus enhancer. Combine that with Rauwolscine, an energy booster related to Yohimbine, and caffeine are you’re looking at an elite pre-workout supplement.

     

    Lastly, GAT threw in a Clinically-Studied Testosterone-Enhancing Complex featuring the ingredient Calcium fructopyranose borate, which may be able to support natural production of testosterone. (3-5)

     

    Cons of GAT Nitraflex

    Downsides to Nitraflex are twofold:

     

    First, with its testosterone support ingredient, the supplement is limiting its market to a male audience (Women use pre-workouts too, guys).

     

    Second, Nitraflex has a stimulant packed energy blend. For some, this will be exactly what the supplement guru ordered. For others who are not accustomed to using energy boosters, these stimulants can put a serious hurt on the body. You may want to assess your tolerance with half a serving then build up accordingly.

     

    Which One Should You Choose?

    Both of these pre-workouts are top notch. The difference really comes down to two things:

     

    Are you a woman? If so, you’ll want to go with PMP as it’s free of testosterone boosters.

     

    Do you have a high caffeine / stimulant tolerance? If so, Nitraflex is going to be able to deliver hardcore energy with intense focus. PMP has plenty of caffeine but Nitraflex has the better nootropic blend.

     

    References

    1. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. F. L. Dodd, D. O. Kennedy, L. M. Riby, and C. F. Haskell-Ramsay. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology. 2015; 232(14): 2563–2576. Published online 2015 Mar 13.
    1. Caille E.-J. Study concerning the bisorcate demanol effects upon quantified EEG, cortical vigilance and mood. Comparative double-blind, cross-over balanced design versus pirisudanol. Psychol Med. 1986;18:2069-2086.
    1. Ostojic SM. Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players. Res Sports Med. 2006 Oct-Dec;14(4):289-99.
  • Get a Brain Boost: 4 Ingredients You Need to Improve Cognitive Ability

    Have you ever wished there was a way to focus better when you’re learning a new skill or subject?

    What about boosting your memory so you retain more information?

    Need to ditch those pre-test jitters and ensure you’re able to set your sights on getting a great grade?

     

    The world of cognitive enhancing has come a long way since science turned its attention to naturally boosting our brain’s ability with simple ingredients. Nootropics are a category of supplements that are used to enhance cognitive capability. Not all nootropics can produce results though.

     

    Let’s take a look at the top 4 ingredients you need to use to improve your brain power.

     

    1. Ginseng

    Ginseng has been a part of traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Native to eastern Asia with an emphasis on China and Korea, this root is still immensely popular and is a big part of the culture and lifestyle. Ginseng is prescribed by natural and holistic doctors for ailments such as high stress, loss of libido, and overall wellbeing. Ginseng is also recommended as a cognitive booster. Studies suggest that ginseng is able to improve memory. (1)

     

    Check out our complete collection of Ginseng here.

     

    1. Taurine

    If you’re a fan of Red Bull or other popular energy drinks, then there’s a good chance you are familiar with Taurine.

     

    Taurine is an amino acid that is found primarily in energy focused drinks and supplements. For example, Taurine is most often found within pre-workout supplements as studies suggest it may support athletic performance.

     

    Taurine is also a popular nootropic as it was found to positively impact attention, focus, and cognitive ability. These effects were increased when Taurine was taken along with caffeine. (2)

     

    Here’s our complete collection of Taurine supplements.

     

    1. Phenibut

    Like Taurine, Phenibut can also be found in a number of workout supplements but its benefits lie in that it’s used as a way to alleviate anxiety and paranoia. This is a common night time supplement as it helps you relax. Phenibut is a useful nootropic as it may help you calm down before a big event or test. It’s also suggested to support memory and information retention. (3)

     

    Click here to check out our number one Phenibut supplement.

     

    1. Huperzine A

    The most trusted nootropic ingredient on the market is Huperzine A. This compound was the subject of a number of cognitive boosting studies, revealing it to be a powerful way to improve memory and brain power. Studies suggest that using Huperzine A may increase memory, focus, and information re-call. You’ll find Huperzine A as a standalone supplement or used in conjunction with other nootropic ingredients (such as the ones on this list).

     

    Want a high-quality supplement with Huperzine A? Click here to check out our best sellers featuring Huperzine A.

     

    References

    1. Hye-Bin Yeo, Ho-Kyoung Yoon, Heon-Jeong Lee, Seung-Gul Kang, Ki-Young Jung, and Leen Kim. Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial. J Ginseng Res. 2012 Apr; 36(2): 190–197. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2012.36.2.190.
    1. Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42.
    1. Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev. 2001 Winter;7(4):471-81.
    1. Sun QQ1, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3.
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout vs. Cellucor C4

    Pre-workouts are the staple of the fitness world, right alongside protein, and the best companies understand that means more than just throwing some caffeine in a brightly coloured powder. Let’s take a look at two of the biggest names in the pre-workout world, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout and Cellucor C4, to see which one should be sitting on your shelf.

     

    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

    Optimum Nutrition rarely disappoints and their Gold Standard Pre-Workout is no exception. Gold Standard is a perfect blend of energy boosters and nootropics to help get you in the zone before a workout.

     

    Sure, it contains caffeine but it doesn’t overdo it like some of those over-the-top pre-workouts. At 175 mg per serving, that’s a nice and steady kick that’s backed up by a number of other ingredients including Beta Alanine, Gingseng, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. Gold Standard is free of controversial stimulants like Yohimbe and instead focuses on a level-headed way to boost your energy levels. (1)

     

    Cons of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

    Gold Standard’s pros may be its cons, depending on who you are. For the supplement newbie or those sensitive to energy boosters, Gold Standard is going to be the perfect pre-workout. For those who have taxed and maxed out their adrenal systems, Gold Standard may not even get you to baseline.

     

     

    Cellucor C4

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor C4

    Cellucor C4: Is there anyone who doesn’t know the name of this pre-workout? C4 has been around the block time and again. In fact, Cellucor has released a series of C4 spin-off products including C4 Ripped and C4 Extreme. Today, let’s focus on the classic formula.

     

    As far as energy goes, C4 can’t be beat. We love the combination of Velvet Bean with Caffeine and Theacrine. Studies show that when you mix Caffeine with Theacrine, you can avoid the classic jitters and instead focus on the energy boosting. What’s a workout without a pump? C4 has long been one of the best nitric oxide blends featuring Creatine Nitrate and AAK (Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate), which are two of the most used N.O. boosters on the market. (1-3)

     

    Cons of Cellucor C4

    We love C4; however, what we don’t like is mystery. That’s what you get with C4’s proprietary blend, which makes it impossible to know exactly how much of each ingredient you are getting in the energy blend. With that said, seeing as how C4 is still a fan favourite, it’s a safe bet that you are getting a high enough dose of the energy boosting formula to crush your workout.

     

    Conclusion

    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout and Cellucor C4 are both amazing products and they are giants in the industry for a reason. Both offers formulas that kickstart energy levels, support performance, and enhance any workout. The deal breaker is going to be how much of a caffeine tolerance you have. If you need several cups of coffee just to get you started in the morning, we would recommend C4. If you’ve never experimented with pre-workouts before, go with Gold Standard.

     

    References

    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. Daniel J. Kuhman, Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women. Nutrients. 2015 Nov; 7(11): 9618–9632.
    1. Elfego Galvan, Dillon K. Walker, Sunday Y. Smbo, Ryan Dalton, Kyle Levers, Abigail O’Connor, Chelsea Goodenough, Nicholas D. Barringer, Mike Greenwood, Christopher Rasmussen, Stephen B. Smith, Steven E. Riechman, James D. Fluckey, Peter S. Murano, Conrad P. Earnest and Richard B. Kreider. Acute and chronic safety and efficacy of dose dependent creatine nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201613:12. DOI: 10.1186/s12970-016-0124-0.
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