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  • Top 3 Supplements to Help You Sleep, Boost Your Recovery

    Sleep: You know it’s really important so then why does it seem so difficult to get in your 7 to 9 hours each night? The average person only gets between 5 and 6 hours of sleep. While it may not seem like a big difference, those missing hours add up. This may result in fatigue, slower recovery or a weakened immune response. It may also make you more susceptible to over training.

     

    If you have a hard time getting to sleep AND staying asleep, there are a few all natural supplements that may be able to help. Let’s take a look at the top 3 supplements to help you sleep and boost your recovery.

     

    ZMA

    ZMA is marketed as a sports recovery supplement but it’s no coincidence that you are directed to take it just before bed. ZMA is made up of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. You’ll often see ZMA associated with bodybuilding and athletics but make no mistake about it: ZMA can be a valuable supplement for anyone looking to improve their sleep.

     

    Each individual ingredient in ZMA has been shown to promote sleep and when combined, the supplement has had incredible results. ZMA has been shown in numerous studies to improve deep sleep. This is when the body’s heavy duty recovery happens. (1-4)

     

    Take the ZMA as directed. Just be sure not to take ZMA with a protein shake as protein will interfere with the absorption of Zinc.

     

    Want to pick up a high quality ZMA supplement? Click here to check out our ZMA collection.

     

    GABA

    When you wake up in the morning and that sunlight hits your face, your body immediately begins producing hormones that make you alert and ready to start the day. As you prepare for sleep, your body does just the opposite. It prepares to shut down. This is where GABA comes into play. GABA is short for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA is an inhibitor neurotransmitter that naturally helps you prepare for sleep AND helps you stay asleep during the night. It’s no surprise that many nighttime recovery supplements have GABA as their number one ingredient.

     

    Looking for an excellent GABA supplement? Check out our collection of GABA here.

     

    VALERIAN ROOT

    Valerian root has been used a natural sleep aid for many years. The subject of a variety of sleep-focused studies, valerian root may be able to help promote restful sleep. What’s more, it may help you stay asleep longer. How does it do this? It’s all about GABA.

     

    Studies suggest that valerian root helps to promote the release of GABA, the compound we discussed above. Once released, valerian root helps to protect GABA from breakdown. This means it will stay in your system longer, allowing you to sleep better.

     

    Click here to check out our valerian root collection.

     

    Conclusion

    Getting more and better quality sleep is simple when you try one of these all natural herbal supplements. Taken as directed, these supplements may help to promote healthy sleep patterns.

     

    References

    1. Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Monteferrario F, Antoniello N, Manni R, Klersy C. The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):82-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03232.x.
    1. Kordas K, Siegel EH, Olney DK, Katz J, Tielsch JM, Kariger PK, Khalfan SS, LeClerq SC, Khatry SK, Stoltzfus RJ. The effects of iron and/or zinc supplementation on maternal reports of sleep in infants from Nepal and Zanzibar. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2009 Apr;30(2):131-9. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31819e6a48.
    1. Nielsen FH, Johnson LK, Zeng H. Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep. Magnes Res. 2010 Dec;23(4):158-68. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0220. Epub 2011 Jan 4.
    1. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.
    1. Gottesmann C. GABA mechanisms and sleep. Neuroscience. 2002;111(2):231-9.
    1. Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Apr;32(4):1065-6.
  • Cellucor CN3 vs. Cellucor C4

    With pre-workouts leading the way in the supplement industry, some of you may be surprised to learn that the term “pre-workout” encompasses more than just a simple caffeine product. Pre-workout is used to describe any supplement that is taken before your workout to improve your overall performance and results. Energy boosting pre-workouts are just one facet of a huge category.

     

    Cellucor is one of the top contenders in the pre-workout industry as it has several pre-workout products, all of which promise to boost your workout in different ways. Today, let’s take a look at two extremely popular pre-workouts from the brand, Cellucor CN3 and Cellucor C4, to see which one is worth buying.

     

    Cellucor CN3

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor CN3

    Cellucor CN3 is commonly referred to as a N.O. Booster. Nitric Oxide boosters are used to promote blood flow and oxygen uptake into muscle tissue. Benefits from this may include better performance and strength as tissue is able to capitalize on the increased nutrient delivery and blood flow. When you use an N.O. booster, you may experience “the pump.” This is when blood swells in the muscle being worked. It’s a feeling that most serious lifters strive to accomplish each workout.

     

    Cellucor CN3 contains Creatine Nitrate, the result of bonding nitrate with creatine monohydrate. Studies show that using 3 grams of Creatine Nitrate each day is safe, well tolerated by most, and may result in boosting your performance. Subjects saw a significant improvement in their bench press results, suggesting that Creatine Nitrate may also increase strength levels as well. This is very important if your goals include strength gains and lean muscle mass. (1, 2)

     

    Cons of Cellucor CN3

    There are no downsides to using Cellucor CN3. The only two ingredients are Creatine Nitrate and Vitamin C. Most importantly, the Creatine Nitrate has been dosed at 3 grams per serving, which was the ideal range as shown in the studies. This is a solid pre-workout product.

     

    Cellucor C4

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor C4

    Cellucor C4 has been around the pre-workout circuit for a long time. As one of the pioneers of next level pre-workouts, C4 has gained a massive following and it’s not hard to see why. It contains a variety of energy boosters such as Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean, and Theacrine but it also has a nitric oxide boosting blend featuring Creatine Nitrate and AAK (Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate).

     

    The energy boosting formula contains caffeine and theacrine, which is an amazing blend. Studies show that pairing these two together results in higher energy levels without the anxiousness associated with caffeine use. Also, the use of Beta Alanine may be a great way to boost strength and performance. (2-4)

     

    Cons of Cellucor C4

    While it does have Creatine Nitrate (the main ingredient in CN3), it is only dosed at one gram, making it essentially ineffective compared to the proper dose of 3 grams. This can be remedied by pairing up C4 with CN3, as I talk about below. (1)

     

    The only other issue we have with C4 is the use of the proprietary blend, which makes it impossible to know exactly how much of each ingredient you are getting in the energy blend. Still, this isn’t a huge issue because you can assess your tolerance with C4 using a single serving, making it obvious that the dose is high enough to work.

     

    Conclusion

    Cellucor CN3 and Cellucor C4 are both fantastic products in the same category but they couldn’t be further apart in terms of functionality. CN3 is a nitric oxide booster that may be able to increase strength levels, overall performance, and that pump you feel during the workout. Cellucor C4, on the other hand, is used to increase energy, boost focus, and promote performance. If you’re serious about your workouts, then ideally you should be getting both of these products as they may have a significant impact on your gains.

     

    References

    1. Elfego Galvan, Dillon K. Walker, Sunday Y. Simbo, 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.
    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. 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.
  • The Top 3 Pre-Workout Ingredients Experts Are Using in 2017

    Pre-workout supplements are one of the most popular categories in the industry. Right alongside protein and fat burners, pre-workouts are considered a critical part of any successful workout. We all lead crazy lives. Each day our energy is zapped from work, school, and our home lives. Still, we need to press on to get to the gym. This is where a pre-workout supplement comes into play. The most successful pre-workouts are equipped with energy boosters, thermogenics, and nootropics. 2017 marks a year when the pre-workout industry is going to see some big players stepping into the arena. Let’s take a look at the top 3 pre-workout ingredients that you’ll want to be using in 2017.

     

    1. Theacrine

    Let’s start our list with an ingredient that has been getting a lot of attention: Theacrine. Often referred to as the easy going relative of caffeine, Theacrine has been in the spotlight due to the benefits it provides in relation to exercise. Theacrine has an effect similar to caffeine in that it can boost your energy levels and amplify focus. The difference between the two is that Theacrine does not promote the anxiousness that is related to caffeine use.

     

    Best of all, if you don’t get the jitters from caffeine, you can pair the two together. Studies show that the nootropic and energy boosting effects of caffeine are amplified when paired with Theacrine. (1)

     

    Click here to try Muscle Pharm Assault Black, which contains the effective dose of Theacrine and caffeine!

     

    1. Guarana Extract

    Guarana has been actively used as an herbal health remedy for a very long time. Native to the Amazonian rainforest, many tribes in the Amazon used Guarana on a regular basis. It was considered essential to well-being. In this modern day, Guarana can be found in several types of supplements including thermogenics and pre-workouts. Studies suggest that Guarana can help to boost your energy and focus while promoting a healthy weight. (2)

     

    Want a pre-workout that contains Guarana? Check out Cobra Laps The Ripper.

     

    1. Yerba Mate Extract

    Finally, we have Yerba Mate Extract. You’ll start to see this one popping up in plenty of pre-workouts and fat burners in the coming year (assuming your favourite brands haven’t already thrown this one in). Yerba Mate is made from the Holly tree and it possesses a number of energy boosting and fat burning benefits. Just like Guarana, it was considered an overall health remedy for tribes in the Amazon. It was also shared as a communal drink, being passed around the tribe. Recent studies have highlighted Yerba Mate Extract as a natural way to promote energy levels, making it ideal for pre-workouts. (3)

     

    Looking for an excellent pre-workout that contains Yerba Mate Extract? Click here to check out Stacker 2 Rush Enraged.

     

    Conclusion

    If you’re trying to get ahead of the curve with pre-workouts, be on the lookout for these three ingredients that have been shown to boost energy and promote a healthy weight loss.

     

    References

    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. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.
    1. Young-Rye Kang, Hak-Yong Lee, Jung-Hoon Kim, Dea-In Moon, Min-Young Seo, Sang-Hoon Park, Kwang-Ho Choi, Chang-Ryong Kim, Sang-Hyun Kim, Ji-Hyun Oh, Seong-Wan Cho, Sun-Young Kim, Min-Gul Kim, Soo-Wan Chae, Okjin Kim, and Hong-Geun Oh. Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. Lab Anim Res. 2012 Mar; 28(1): 23–29.
  • BSN N.O. Xplode vs. BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    BSN has long reigned over the pre-workout market with N.O. Xplode. This hard-hitting energy booster has been helping millions get pumped up to conquer their workouts with ease. As a long-standing pre-workout staple, N.O. Xplode has gone unchallenged for years. Despite the fanfare, BSN felt that as good of a pre-workout as N.O. Xplode was, it needed an upgrade for the more advanced user. This is how BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge was born. Let’s take a look at these two giants to see which one is worth the buy.

     

    BSN N.O. Xplode

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN N.O. Xplode

    First, let’s take a look at the pre-workout supplement that launched the BSN brand into stardom. One look at the N.O. Xplode label and it isn’t hard to see why this supplement became so popular. It features an all-star line-up of ingredients featured in easy to understand categories. For example, the Myogenic Matrix blend of ingredients features creatine and protein peptides, two ingredients that can help support strength intra-workout.

     

    The Thermic Energy blend features caffeine, N-Acetyl-Tyrosine, and a trademarked brand of caffeine cocrystal known as Purenergy. Together, these ingredients can help boost your energy levels to prepare you for the workout ahead.

     

    The original N.O. Xplode formula is fantastic. It features several categories of ingredients that support muscle building and fat burning on all levels. You get energy boosting, strength support, and nootropic amplification. (1)

     

    Cons of BSN N.O. Xplode

    Like most BSN products, N.O. Xplode uses a proprietary blend. You know what ingredients are in the formula but you don’t know exactly how much. As we’ve discussed before with some BSN products, this is problematic because if you are trying to achieve a certain dosage level, you’ll never know if you achieve it. Still, considering the ingredients that are used, it’s easy to look past this issue.

     

    BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    The question is, “How can BSN do better than the original formula?” We were wondering the same thing and once we saw the label, it immediately became clear why XE Edge is the long-awaited upgrade.

     

    While many of the ingredients found in N.O. Explode can be found in XE Edge, the most dramatic difference is the energy-focused blend appropriately titled the “Super Leaf Energy Composite.” This blend starts out with caffeine then takes a sharp turn upward with the following:

    Longan Extract:

    • Powerful nootropic that may help boost focus, alertness, and cognitive processing.

    Theacrine:

    • Similar to caffeine, this is an intense energy booster that also helps to amplify focus.

    Guayusa:

    • High octane tea that contains the energy amplifier, Theobromine, as well as caffeine. (2-4)

    This energy blend is a marked improvement from the original formula. It contains several long-lasting energy support ingredients that also act as nootropics, meaning you’ll feel the rush in mind and body.

     

    Cons of BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    With the exception of artificial flavouring and sweeteners, we couldn’t find anything wrong with BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge. Unlike its predecessor, BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge tells you exactly what you’re getting and at what dose you’re getting those ingredients. This is a huge leap forward for the brand and one that will only secure it as the king of the pre-workout.

     

    Conclusion

    It’s not that N.O. Xplode is obsolete; it’s quite the opposite. N.O. Xplode is still a very relevant and competitive pre-workout supplement; however, if you’ve been using pre-workouts for a long time, your body may have become used to the same ingredients day-in and day-out. That’s where XE Edge comes in. This extreme pre-workout is for the fitness enthusiast who has been around the block a few times with supplements. If you’re a beginner, start with N.O. Xplode then graduate to the big leagues with N.O. Xplode XE Edge when you’re ready.

     

    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. Park SJ, Park DH, Kim DH, Lee S, Yoon BH, Jung WY, Lee KT, Cheong JH, Ryu JH. The memory-enhancing effects of Euphoria longan fruit extract in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 2;128(1):160-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 11.
    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. Kapp RW Jr, Mendes O, Roy S, McQuate RS, Kraska R. General and Genetic Toxicology of Guayusa Concentrate (Ilex guayusa). Int J Toxicol. 2016 Mar-Apr;35(2):222-42. doi: 10.1177/1091581815625594. Epub 2016 Jan 25.
  • Top 3 Reasons You Need to Be Taking Magnesium (Especially If You Exercise)

    Although it’s only the 8th most abundant mineral in the body, the important role of magnesium cannot be overstated. If you think you have a tough job to go to, imagine being responsible for well over 300 tasks each day.

    That’s just a normal day for magnesium. According to the government website, Medicine Plus, magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions to be completed. It plays a critical role in the function of nerves and muscles and, at the same time, it’s needed for your heart, bones, and blood. This is just for a normal person. If you’re an active person or an athlete, your magnesium requirements are even more important. Let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons why you may want to consider supplementing with magnesium to boost your overall health.

     

    1. Magnesium May Promote Better Sleep

    For those of you who are active, you know that recovery is the key to results and feeling well enough to fight another day in the gym, track, or pool. Recovery primarily happens while you are fast asleep. This is when your body enters stages of deep sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well and your body doesn’t have that chance to enter R.E.M. sleep, then you’ll be missing out on key growth hormones for recovery. An easy way to promote sleep? Try magnesium.

    Studies suggest that magnesium may be an ideal supplement for healthy, natural sleep. Best of all, you don’t need a prescription for it. It’s recommended to take one serving of magnesium about one hour before bed. Try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. (1)

     

    1. Magnesium May Increase Immunity

    It doesn’t matter that time of the year it is, colds and illness are always waiting around the corner. To keep yourself from getting sick, it’s important to take care of yourself. Boosting your immunity is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. A better immune response will also aid in your recovery post-workout. Aside from a healthy diet and regular exercise, another easy way to boost your immune system is with magnesium.

    Studies suggest that when you supplement with magnesium, you may be increasing your immune response. The result, of course, is a decrease in colds and illness. If you do get sick, the duration of your cold may be much shorter with magnesium supplementation. (2)

     

    1. Magnesium May Help Boost Performance

    Last but not least, magnesium may be a great way to improve your performance inside of the gym. This is applicable to all fitness goals, regardless of your background. One study published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine provided one group of cyclists with magnesium and the other group with a placebo. The group that supplemented with the magnesium saw an increase in overall performance when compared to the placebo group. (3)

    Try taking magnesium one hour before a workout. You can combine this with your normal pre-workout supplement, so long as it too doesn’t have magnesium in the formula. You don’t want to overdo it.

     

    Conclusion

    By supplementing with this amazing mineral, you may be able to get better sleep, boost your recovery, improve your immune response, and increase your overall athletic performance. Click here to take a look through the entire Amino Z magnesium supplement line-up.

     

    References

    1. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.
    1. M Tam, S Gómez, M González-Gross and A Marcos. Possible roles of magnesium on the immune system. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 1193–1197. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601689
    1. Lindsy S. Kass, Philip Skinner, and Filipe Poeira. J Sports Sci Med. A Pilot Study on the Effects of Magnesium Supplementation with High and Low Habitual Dietary Magnesium Intake on Resting and Recovery from Aerobic and Resistance Exercise and Systolic Blood Pressure. 2013 Mar; 12(1): 144–150.
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