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Food & Supplements

  • Quest Low Carb Protein Bar vs. Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bar

    What are Quest Low Carb Protein Bars?

    Quest Low Carb Protein Bars are the protein bars that really began to pave the way for “cleaner” on-the-go protein options in the industry. Before Quest, your protein bar options included a laundry list of chemical additives, sugar, and fillers. Quest Bars are high protein, high fibre supplement bars that are ideal for supporting muscle building, weight management, and recovery. (1-6)



    • 20 to 21 grams of protein per bar of whey isolate
    • Ideal for low carbohydrate diets
    • 14 grams of fibre
    • Barebones formula without a long list of chemical additives


    Why You Should Use Quest Low Carb Protein Bars

    Quest Low Carb Protein Bars are ideal for post-workout recovery and as a meal replacement option. The bars are made with whey protein isolate, which is a fast digesting protein source. With rapid digestion, you are able to deliver muscle building amino acids to the lean muscle tissue faster. Supplementing with protein such as a protein bar has been shown to support lean muscle building, promote a healthy weight management, and enhance recovery. (1-6)


    Quest Low Carb Protein Bars and Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars both deliver 20 grams of protein from a whey protein isolate source. In this regard, the bars are evenly matched.


    Both bars also contain 14 grams of fibre. Why is fibre important? Fibre is an essential nutrient that is often overlooked, especially when you’re trying to build muscle. Fibre helps with proper digestion and for those people trying to lose weight, fibre-rich meals are more satiating, ensuring you avoid hunger pangs.


    Things to Watch Out for With Quest Low Carb Protein Bars

    Quest Low Carb Protein Bars are one of the cleanest bars in the industry so it’s tough to pick out something you may not be happy with. Aside from some flavours that may not agree with you, the only other thing we can point out is the addition of sucralose in some of their bars. Sucralose can cause gastrointestinal issues so read the label carefully.




    What are Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars

    Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars are one of the top selling products from the UFC-inspired Muscle Pharm supplement line. These high protein, high fibre, high carbohydrate bars contain an ideal blend of macronutrients to help support gains in muscle and strength. Just like with Quest Bars, due to their whey isolate content, Combat Crunch Bars make ideal post-workout snacks.



    • 20 grams of protein
    • 14 grams of fibre
    • High carbohydrate content – 28 grams per bar – Making it ideal for muscle building diets
    • Great for post-workout recovery, breaking your morning fast, and a mid-afternoon weight loss snack


    Why You Should Use Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars

    The 20 grams of whey isolate protein per bar is enough to warrant the Combat Crunch Bar on your supplement list. The Crunch Bar actually contains a protein blend of isolate and concentrate; however, the concentrate is minimal. What’s more, concentrate has an elevated digestion speed compared to casein protein. Just like with Quest Bars, this high protein option is going to support any number of fitness goals, especially when your focus is on recovery. (1-6)


    In terms of flavor, these two heavy hitters are tied. User reviews show that most of the bars under both brands are delicious. The only slight advantage that Combat Crunch may have is their bars may be better for chewing as they are typically softer.


    Things to Watch Out for With Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars

    If you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, then you may have to skip over the Combat Crunch Bars as they contain 28 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Even if you factor in the fibre for net carbs, you’re still left with around 15 grams per bar. Compare that to the 7 net carbs with Quest.


    While some, not all, Quest Bars add sucralose to their formula, Combat Crunch Bars contain a sugar alcohol called Maltitol. This sugar alcohol may cause the same, if not worse, symptoms as sucralose if you are sensitive or allergic to it.


    Which Protein Bar Should You Buy?

    Both Quest Bars and Combat Crunch Bars are incredible products and they are neck and neck in every category. The difference in making a choice really comes down to whether or not you’re sensitive to certain sweeteners and whether you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet.


    We would recommend buying one of each brand and seeing how your body reacts to it. If you can eat both without a problem then let flavour be the tie breaker!



    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.
  • Boost Your Gains: 5 Health Benefits of Beta Alanine

    One of the most commonly added ingredients in workout supplements, beta alanine is an amino acid that is characterized by the tell-tale tingling and flushing feeling you get from taking it. Why is there such a fascination with beta alanine in the fitness supplement world? Is it just another cheap filler additive to throw on a label or is there real benefit to adding it to your pre, intra, and post-workout supplements?


    Let’s take a look at the top 5 health benefits of beta alanine and how it can help you with performance, gains, and overall wellness.


    1. Boost Performance with Beta Alanine

    Regardless of fitness goals, everyone wants to improve their performance. Better performance means better workouts. Better workouts translate into more lean muscle tissue or more calories burned. If you’re an athlete, performance means victory. Beta alanine has been shown across a variety of studies to promote overall performance.


    One study published in Amino Acids looked at a collection of studies on beta alanine, concluding that in every study, beta alanine was shown to improve the performance of the subjects taking it to varying degrees. (1)


    2. Beta Alanine Increases Endurance

    Continuing with the point above, no one wants to be performing a workout then run out of fuel halfway through. Missing out on your workouts may potentially mean missing out on muscle building and fat burning. This is where endurance comes in and beta alanine may be able to help boost your workout endurance.


    In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, beta alanine was shown to delay the onset of muscle fatigue while boosting the anaerobic threshold of the subjects. (2)


    Tired of wasting time looking for the perfect workout supplement? Why not create your own? Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder! Try it today!


    3. Beta Alanine Increases Carnosine Levels

    One of the unique benefits of beta alanine is its ability to increase levels of carnosine within the body. Carnosine is a popular anti-aging compound that is also very useful for the development of muscle mass and strength building.


    If carnosine is so important then why don’t people just supplement directly with carnosine? It’s not that simple. Carnosine is notorious for having poor digestibility in the body. Beta alanine is the way around this. Once ingested, beta alanine is converted into a usable and effective form of carnosine. (3)


    4. Boost Strength with Beta Alanine

    For those of you who are strength and power lifters, you know that every kilogram counts. Supplements can offer you that extra boost you need to crush your personal bests. Beta alanine is one of the most effective supplements you can take for strength.


    A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism demonstrated that when subjects supplemented with a blend of beta alanine and creatine, they saw dramatic improvements in body composition and overall strength gains. (4)


    5. Beta Alanine and Muscle Mass

    That same study mentioned above also demonstrated that when subjects supplemented with a blend of beta alanine and creatine, the amount of lean muscle mass they gained was much greater than those taking a placebo. What’s more, the beta alanine and creatine users also saw an elevated level of testosterone. (4)


    Make Your Own Beta Alanine Supplement

    You can achieve your fitness goals with beta alanine but you’ll want to make sure you are getting exactly what you need in your supplement. How can you guarantee you’re getting high quality beta alanine at a proven dosage level? By making your own! With the Amino Z Supplement Builder you can create your very own beta alanine supplement! Try it today!



    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. Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c74e38.


    1. Saunders B, DE Salles Painelli V, DE Oliveira LF, DA Eira Silva V, DA Silva RP, Riani L, Franchi M, Gonçalves LS, Harris RC, Roschel H, Artioli GG, Sale C, Gualano B. Twenty-four Weeks of ?-Alanine Supplementation on Carnosine Content, Related Genes, and Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 May;49(5):896-906. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001173.


    1. Hoffman J, Ratamess N, Kang J, Mangine G, Faigenbaum A, Stout J. Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46.
  • Cellucor C4 Ripped vs. Cellucor C4 Mass

    What is Cellucor C4 Ripped?

    Cellucor C4 Ripped provides all of the benefits of the original C4 formula with an extra thermogenic boost for those of you who are also trying to get lean and focus on muscle definition or overall fat burning. While not the best thermogenic supplement out there, it’s important to remember that C4 Ripped is a pre-workout first and a thermogenic booster second.


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 Ripped

    C4 Ripped is a solid pre-workout featuring a unique energy blend. It provides you with caffeine anhydrous, velvet bean, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It does not feature TeaCor, a special form of caffeine found in the original formula, and this is surprising considering the energy and thermogenic benefits of the ingredient. C4 Mass does feature this ingredient. With that said, C4 Ripped still captures the energy boosting benefits of the original formula.


    If your goal is energy first and fat burning second, then C4 Ripped is going to be an excellent choice. It contains a fat burning blend featuring scientifically proven ingredients that can promote a higher level of fat burning. Green tea extract, l-carnitine, and capsicum are the stars of this list, being found to promote a higher metabolic rate that supports fat burning.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 Ripped

    Despite having a thermogenic formula that contains some hard-hitting fat burners, it’s important to note the dosage of C4 Ripped. There just isn’t enough of the fat burning ingredients to be as effective as if you were taking those ingredients on their own at the proper dosage level. Sure, you’ll be supporting your metabolic rate but not nearly at the level you would if you were taking 1 gram of capsicum on its own, for example.


    As mentioned above, C4 Ripped is a pre-workout first and a fat burner second. It should be looked at as a way to increase performance and be a complement to a fat burning diet. If you’re expecting C4 Ripped to be some magic bullet, you are going to be disappointed.


    What is Cellucor C4 Mass?

    Cellucor C4 Mass is the brand’s attempt to cater a pre-workout to the mass building crowd. Cellucor has added a carbohydrate blend to the mix as those who are going through a bulking phase will have a much higher carbohydrate consumption each day. Used as directed, Cellucor C4 Mass can become a helpful tool to complement your bulking diet and training program.


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 Mass

    If you are serious about trying to add mass, then C4 Mass may be a great pre-workout to utilize. It’s important to remember that it is a pre-workout, not a mass gainer. Rather, it is a form of mass building support but it is NOT a mass gainer.


    With its carbohydrate blend and addition of two forms of creatine, this is a pre-workout that is geared towards complementing your current mass building diet and workout program.


    In terms of energy boosting, one of the ways in which C4 Mass may be superior to C4 Ripped is the inclusion of TeaCor. This is a form of caffeine that provides all of the energy boosting effective of caffeine without the caffeine-related jitters. When paired with caffeine anhydrous, TeaCor is even more effective, boosting your energy levels while taming any fight-or-flight anxiousness. However, this really comes down to preference as some people may respond really well to TeaCor while others get more energy from a combination of energy boosters and thermogenics like you find with C4 Ripped.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 Mass

    Cellucor C4 Mass contains polydextrose, which is considered fibre; however, there is a clear difference between a fibre-rich food and a chemical additive. Unfortunately, the FDA does not differentiate one fibre from another. While polydextrose may be useful for a bulking diet, it’s important that you understand this is not going to count towards your daily recommended fibre intake. You should focus on fibre-rich whole foods and not depend on a pre-workout supplement as your source of fibre for the day.


    Which Supplement Should You Choose?

    C4 Ripped and C4 Mass are both pre-workouts but they are geared towards two completely different crowds. Both are powerful energy boosters so in that regard they are equally useful. If you follow a bulking and cutting cycle during the appropriate seasons, then we would recommend getting both as you can use C4 Mass while bulking up and you can use C4 Ripped when you want to focus on leaning out.



    1. Spradley BD, Crowley KR, Tai C-Y, et al. Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2012;9:28. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-28.


    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. Kuhman, Daniel J., 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 7.11 (2015): 9618–9632. PMC. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.


    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. Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):651-59.
  • Top 3 Ingredients to Increase Joint Health

    Thanks to recent studies highlighting the importance of caring for your connective tissue, there has been a surge in interest in exercises, foods, and supplements that will support your joint health well into old age.


    While many supplements claim to contain the best joint health ingredients, few of these supplements are backed by science.


    If you want to dramatically improve the health of your joints and connective tissue, there are three scientifically proven ingredients that can help. Let’s take a look at the top 3 ingredients to increase joint health and connective tissue.


    1. Glucosamine Sulfate

    Shortened as glucosamine, this ingredient is primarily found in the fluid within your elbows, knees, and connective tissue. When you have enough glucosamine in your system, you’ll notice that your joints and limbs feel loose and limber. When glucosamine is lacking, joints may feel dry, sore, and painful.


    Supplementing with glucosamine has been shown in several studies to be effective at boosting the health of your joints while also providing relief from soreness and pain. For example, those with arthritis are often told by doctors to begin supplementing with glucosamine. (1-2)


    Most brands of glucosamine recommend taking it twice per day at 2,000 mg. per serving, usually several hours apart. Glucosamine has been found to be more effective when combined with our next ingredient: MSM.


    2. MSM Powder

    MSM is short for methylsulfonylmethane. Unlike glucosamine, MSM is not naturally found in the body. Rather, you ingest it by eating certain foods although the amount of MSM in these foods doesn’t compare to the extract form found in supplements.


    It’s important to get the proper dosage for MSM so that you can see the real benefits of the ingredient. Using 2,000 mg of MSM with glucosamine has been shown in several studies to be extremely effective at alleviating joint inflammation and pain within the connective tissue. Taking MSM and glucosamine together consistently will promote your joint health over the long term. (1-3)


    You should take MSM twice per day with glucosamine.


    Want to make sure that you are using a high-quality glucosamine and MSM supplement that has been dosed at scientifically proven levels? Why take the chance with a store-bought brand when you can make your own? Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. Try it today and create a supplement of your own!


    3. Magnesium

    Of all the minerals to highlight, you may be wondering why we chose magnesium. While calcium is essential for the health of your bones, joints, and connective tissue, magnesium also plays an essential role.


    Magnesium has been found to dramatically increase the absorption of calcium in the body, ensuring that you are able to properly assimilate the nutrient to support your joint and bone health. (4)


    Magnesium can also help you with recovery, immune boosting, and settling into a healthy sleep schedule. (4-5)


    100 mg is the ideal daily dosage for magnesium and you can take it all at once.


    Create Your Own Joint Health Supplement

    Want to create your very own joint health supplement that contains the most effective ingredients on the market? Use the Amino Z Supplement Builder today, pick your ingredients, select the dosage, and be proud of your supplement creation!



    1. “Glucosamine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. 22 June 2015.


    1. Huskisson EC. Glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis. J Int Med Res. 2008 Nov-Dec;36(6):1161-79. Review.


    1. Usha PR, Naidu MU. Randomised, Double-Blind, Parallel, Placebo-Controlled Study of Oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their Combination in Osteoarthritis. Clin Drug Investig. 2004;24(6):353-63.


    1. Abraham GE, Grewal H. A total dietary program emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium. Effect on the mineral density of calcaneous bone in postmenopausal women on hormonal therapy. J Reprod Med. 1990 May;35(5):503-7.


    1. Nichols, Helen. “15 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Magnesium” Well-Being Secrets. 24 Jan. 2017.
  • Top 3 Incredible Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

    When you hear the words green tea, you may think of a small bag with the leftovers of healthy green tea leaves. With matcha green tea, this is far from the case.


    Matcha is a ceremonial tea that is served throughout Asia but primarily in Japan. Matcha is so revered that an entire way of properly drinking the tea has been around for hundreds of years. Matcha green tea is NOT ordinary tea. It’s extremely potent and delivers far more benefits than your average store-bought bagged green tea.


    Whether you’re looking to boost your weight loss, fight off free radicals, or simple improve your overall health and wellness, matcha green tea can help.


    Let’s take a look at the top 3 incredible health benefits of matcha green tea.


    3. Antioxidant Super Power

    Free radicals in the body cause oxidative damage to our cells and while this isn’t the only variable in the aging process, it certainly is a driving factor. The way to combat free radicals in the body is by consuming whole foods and supplements that contain antioxidants. Think of antioxidants like the clean-up crew that takes out the trash made up of waste and toxins caused by free radicals. If you want to maximize your daily intake of antioxidants, matcha green tea is the answer.


    A study published in the Journal of Chromatography A reported that:


    “…the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.”


    EGCG is the antioxidant compound that kicks out free radicals and matcha green tea is loaded with them. (1-2)


    2. Weight Loss Booster

    Matcha green tea is considered one of the best and most natural ways to increase your metabolic response.  This means more calories being burned throughout the day and if your goal is weight loss, every calorie counts.


    A study published in the journal of Chinese Medicine demonstrated a number of health benefits of matcha green tea with weight loss support being at the top of the list. (1-2)


    To support a healthy weight loss, we would recommend drinking matcha green tea or adding it to your smoothies first thing in the morning and again at lunch.


    1. Disease Fighter

    Due to the nutritional value of matcha green tea, with an emphasis on the availability of antioxidants and epigallocatechin gallate, it has been demonstrated that the green brew may help to ward off diseases.


    Most notably, matcha green tea was said to dramatically lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, which is one of the biggest causes for illness and mortality in the world. Researchers suggested that daily consumption of matcha green tea would also help to stave off certain cancers and Alzheimer’s. (1-2)



    Interested in getting your hands on this powerful tea? Why not mix it with a few other key super foods to maximize the benefits? There’s no need to spends hours online looking for the perfect supplement when you can create your own!


    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can create your very own supplement with the ingredients you want, at the dosages proven to be effective.



    1. Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Chinese Medicine. 2010;5:13. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-13.


    1. Weiss DJ, Anderton CR. Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2003 Sep 5;1011(1-2):173-80.
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