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Supplement Reviews

  • Cellucor COR Performance Whey vs. Muscle Pharm Combat Powder

    Nothing says muscle building quite like a tough workout and the follow-up protein shake. Protein has become synonymous with the gym and muscle building and with good reason: the amino acids within protein are the very building blocks of muscle tissue. Let's review two of the biggest names in protein, Cellucor COR Performance Whey and Muscle Pharm Combat Powder, to see which one can help you achieve your fitness goals.

     

    Cellucor COR Performance Whey

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor COR Performance Whey

    The great thing about Cellucor COR Performance Whey is that it is a straight forward protein supplement. It contains 25 grams of a unique blend of isolate and concentrate, allowing for an immediate and extended release of amino acids. It doesn't have an unnecessary vitamin blend like you'll find in most other protein supplements but it does have helpful digestive enzymes. This will be a big help for those who have digestive issues with whey.

     

    When used as a part of a healthy diet and training program, Cellucor COR Performance Whey may be able to boost protein synthesis, support muscle building, and provide a convenient meal replacement solution.

     

    Cons of Cellucor COR Performance Whey

    The only thing that there is to complain about would be the use of artificial sweeteners in the whey protein blend. The thing is, these artificial sweeteners are commonly used and you'd be hard pressed to not find them in supplements. The only concern would be if you have a digestive issue with these particular sweeteners: Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K) and Sucralose. So long as you aren't chasing after a completely natural lifestyle or have a digestive problem, these sweeteners shouldn't be an issue.

     

    Muscle Pharm Combat Powder

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Muscle Pharm Combat Powder

    Just like with Cellucor COR Performance, Muscle Pharm Combat Powder gives you a high-quality protein that is free of unnecessary additives like synthetic vitamins and minerals. In fact, it's an eerily similar formula to the Cellucor brand with concentrate and isolate at 25 grams per serving. Again, just like its rival, Combat Powder is best used as a part of a well-planned training program as it may be able to support muscle building and fat loss. (1-6)

     

    Cons of Muscle Pharm Combat Powder

    Also, just like its rival, Combat Powder contains artificial sweeteners, which would be the only negative thing that we can spot in this bare essential formula.

     

    Which One Should You Buy?

    These two protein giants are the top brands for a reason: they are elite quality products with a huge fan following. Supplying you with equal amounts of isolate and concentrate whey protein, this supplement battle ends with a draw. We'd recommend buying both and seeing which one you favor. You could also just wait for each one to go on sale. Either way, they will both help you reach your fitness goals.

     

    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.
  • Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer vs. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    Every hard gainer knows the struggle of trying to put on weight. For others, it may seem like that's a ridiculous thing to complain about. However, when you are consistently underweight and unable to attain a 'healthy' looking frame, the mental struggle quickly adds up. For those who have a hard time putting on weight, a high-quality weight gainer or mass gainer may be your answer. Loaded with excess calories and protein for muscle building, mass gainers can be life savers 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 Serious Mass to see which one is worth the buy.

     

    Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer

    Where can I buy it?

    Pros of Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer

    Providing 650 calories per serving along with 60 grams of an impressive protein blend, Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer is a solid choice for weight gainers. In every serving, you'll get the following protein blend:

     

    • Whey Protein Isolate
    • Whey Protein Concentrate
    • Calcium Caseinate
    • Egg Albumin
    • Hydrolyzed Whey Peptides
    • Glutamine Peptides

     

    Combine that blend with 85 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of healthy fats and you have yourself a ticket to weight gain support. You really should be using this product in conjunction with a training program as this will facilitate more mass gain, primarily from muscle, not fat. Used as directed, Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer may be able to promote lean muscle gains, boost strength, enhance recovery and help you attain your goal weight. (1-6)

     

    Cons of Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Gainer

    As a weight gainer, Pro Complex Gainer is one of the best; however, one of the ingredients on the label was a bit disappointing. Pro Complex Gainer contains 'partially hydrogenated guar gum.' Guar gum isn't a problem. In fact, it's looked at as one of the safe food additives. However, the process of hydrogenation will add trans-fat, the worst fat to have in your diet, to a product. What's more, so long as the trans-fat content is no more than 0.5 grams per serving, it can be listed as 'trans-fat free.'

     

    Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    Where can I buy it?

    Pros of Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    Serious Mass lives up to its name, providing you with 1,250 calories per serving. What's more, you'll be getting 50 grams of protein to support those muscle building goals. It has half the fat content of Pro Complex Gainer, which can easily be made up for if you add a healthy oil to your diet such as coconut oil. The mass of the calories is coming from the carbohydrate content, which is 254 carbohydrates per serving! That is a serious amount of carbs, making this an ideal weight gainer or even training supplement for runners who want to carb load.

     

    Cons of Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    Depending on your goals, this may be a pro or a con but let's talk about the carbohydrate content we just mentioned. 254 grams is a huge amount of carbohydrates. It is triple the amount you should be getting post-workout. For those seriously training at least 3 days per week, this carbohydrate content will be great. If you aren't training, this carbohydrate load may support fat gain, not muscle gain. In short, this is only a con if you aren't in the gym.

     

    Which One Should You Buy?

    The short answer would be both and here's why: Both mass gainers have separate strengths. Pro Complex Gainer, despite the partially hydrogenated guar gum, is a high-protein, low-carb mass gainer that would be ideal throughout the day. Serious Mass is the perfect post-workout supplement because of its high carbohydrate content. Buying both would allow you to stretch out your supplements for a longer period of time as you'd only need one serving from each.

     

    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.
  • EHP Labs OxyShred vs. Victory Labs Xenevar

    Extreme energy levels and fat burning go hand in hand when it comes to thermogenic supplements. The best brands will allow you to trigger a higher level metabolic response while enjoying the benefits of focus, alertness, and energy. Today, we are looking at two of the heavy hitters in the thermogenic world: EHP Labs OxyShred and Victory Labs Xenevar. Let's review their respective formulas to see which one is worth using in your daily supplement program.

     

    EHP Labs OxyShred

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of EHP Labs OxyShred

    EHP Labs OxyShred is a thermogenic that has been uniquely designed for fat burning with extreme energy as a positive side effect. The EHP Labs OxyShred formula may even be considered too much for those who are inexperienced with thermogenic compounds. You can take that as a positive or a negative depending on your sensitivity to the ingredients.

     

    There's no doubt that the team over at EHP Labs did their homework with the formula. It features many scientifically backed ingredients including Conjugated Linoleic Acid, African Wild Mango, and 1, 3, 7 Trimethylxanthine that have been shown to boost fat burning and energy levels. (1-3)

     

    Cons of EHP Labs OxyShred

    The only issue that we have with EHP Labs Oxyshred is that it has a proprietary blend for its fat burning and energy boosting compounds. This means that you don't know exactly how much of each ingredient you're getting. Still, with that said, you can assume that each ingredient may be properly (if not almost properly) dosed at the ideal levels due to the size of the blend. For example, the thermogenic blend is almost 7 grams. That leaves a lot of elbow room for the dosing of these ingredients.

     

     

    Victory Labs Xenevar

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Victory Labs Xenevar

    The user reviews on Xenevar have helped to draw plenty of positive attention its way. This product is all about fat burning, featuring tried and true compounds like L-Carnitine Tartrate, Guarana, and Raspberry Ketones. (4-6) It also contains a trademarked version of Fulvic Acid known as OxyGold. Victory Labs claims that Fulvic Acid can improve the uptake and assimilation of all the other compounds buts studies are inconclusive. Still, if it does play a role in nutrient assimilation, that's excellent news for you.

     

    Cons of Victory Labs Xenevar

    Just like with EHP Labs OxyShred, we were disappointed to see that Victory Labs Xenevar had a proprietary blend for a formula. What you do know is that you're getting almost 5 grams of a great stack of thermogenics and energy boosters. 5 grams is a decent amount and with L-Carnitine as the first ingredient on the list, there's a good chance you are getting the right dosing, if not close to it.

     

    Which One Should You Choose?

    These two thermogenic products are tough to choose between. They both have their strengths yet share the same weakness. EHP Labs has the bigger following as evidenced by the amount of user reviews and positive feedback reports online. You're also getting more out of the formula itself. With that said, Victory Labs Xenevar is holding its own amidst a crowded market. We would recommend trying both and seeing which one your body agrees with more. Either way, you're sure to experience high energy and incredible fat burning.

     

    References

    1. Leah D Whigham, Abigail C Watras, and Dale A Schoeller. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Am J Clin Nutr May 2007. Vol. 85 no. 5 1203-1211.
    1. Judith L Ngondi, Julius E Oben, and Samuel R Minka. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids Health Dis. 2005; 4: 12. Published online 2005 May 25.
    1. Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports [1978, 10(3):155-158]
    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. 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. Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25.
  • Quest Protein Bars vs. Maxine's Burn Bars

    Protein bars have become such a household staple that they are immediately what you'll reach for as you're running to get to work or school. Protein bars are a quick and convenient way to satisfy hunger cravings, get extra protein, and replace a meal during weight loss. Two of the biggest names in the protein bar market are Quest Protein Bars and Maxine's Burn Bars. Let's take a look at both of these supplements to see which one is worth adding to your daily nutrition program.

     

    Quest Protein Bars

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Quest Protein Bars

    The first thing you'll notice about Quest Protein Bars is that the label doesn't contain a laundry list of ingredients. This is a welcome change from the supplements that you find containing unnecessary additives, fillers, colours, and questionable compounds. Quest Protein Bars are straight to the point and contain the bare essentials. You're getting protein, fibre, and a natural sweetener.

     

    The protein is an isolate, making it ideal to break the morning fast and to eat on the way home from the gym post-workout. The average protein amount is 21 grams, depending on the flavour of the bar. The amino acids that you'll get from this fasting acting type of protein may help to protect lean muscle mass, encourage new muscle growth, and support your fitness goals. (1-6)

     

    The fibre is also an excellent change of pace for a protein bar. Many people don't get the recommended amount of fibre, which is important for digestive and overall health.

     

    Cons of Quest Protein Bars

    It's almost impossible to say anything bad about Quest Protein Bars. These are, hands down, one of the cleanest and highest quality bars on the market. However, we were a bit disappointed when they started using sugar alcohols in some of their bars. They have split their product line into two different categories: natural and artificial sweeteners. Both are fantastic. The buying decision will come down to whether or not your stomach can handle artificial sweeteners.

     

    Maxine's Burn Bars

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Maxine's Burn Bars

    Maxine's is a pioneer of the thermogenic protein trend. The idea is simple: Why not promote muscle building and fat loss simultaneously? Maxine's has produced a line-up of thermogenic protein products including the Burn Bars. These bars are really impressive as they contain a great protein blend and several proven fat burners.

     

    To support your muscle building, you'll be getting almost 15 grams of protein in every bar. This protein blend includes Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), Whey Protein Concentrate, and Calcium Caseinate, which offers you hours of amino acid delivery.

     

    On top of that, you'll also be getting thermogenic compounds such as green tea extract and L-Carnitine, both of which may be able to help support fat oxidation (7-8).

     

    Cons of Maxine's Burn Bars

    Our only disappointment with Maxine's Burn Bars is with the dosing of the thermogenic ingredients. Sure, there's only so much you can pack into a protein bar due to its size but we would have liked to have seen at least half the recommended dose. For example, one Maxine's Burn Bar contains 30 mg of L-Carnitine. If you look at studies or popular brands of the compound, you'll see that a standard dose is around 2 to 3 grams. Not even close, Maxine's.

     

    Which One Should You Choose?

    This can only be answered by defining what your fitness goals are for the long run. Quest Protein Bars are ideal for muscle building as they deliver an immediate shot of muscle supporting amino acids. Maxine's Burn Bars, on the other hand, may be more ideal if your focus is weight loss. Quest has more protein while Maxine's has the thermogenic benefit. You may even want to buy both. Use Quest after a workout and use Maxine's towards the evening to keep your metabolic rate high.

     

    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. 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. 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.
  • Dymatize Super Mass Gainer vs. ON Serious Mass

     

    For the hard gainers, is there anything more frustrating than spending an entire day training and eating just to fall short of your required caloric intake to start seeing size gains? Being naturally skinny can feel like a curse at times. When you need to eat upwards of 3,000 or 4,000 calories each day, your fitness goals can feel like a chore. That's where mass gaining supplements can help. Mass gainers provide huge caloric boosts to help you achieve that daily calorie intake. Let's take a look at two of the best in the industry to see which one is worth buying to help you achieve your goals.

     

    Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    Looking at the calorie count for Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, you can tell this supplement isn't messing around. Each serving contains 1,280 calories! That is the equivalent of eating three meals in terms of caloric content. If you are eating 2,000 calories from a healthy and well-balanced diet, you'll easily reach your target with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer.

     

    It's important that you pair this supplement with a hardcore lifting program as this will skyrocket your results. Each serving provides you with 52 grams of protein from an advanced protein blend including Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, and Micellar Casein. This blend is important as it will allow for hours of amino acid delivery to muscle tissue. In turn, this may help support protein synthesis, muscle building, and muscle recovery. (1-5)

     

    Cons of Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    There are two potential issues with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer: First, the vitamin and mineral content. Many people are already taking a multi-vitamin and using both may push your limits in terms of what your body should be getting with vitamins and minerals. If you use a multi-vitamin, don't use it on the same day as Dymatize Super Mass Gainer.

     

    Second, it's important to use Dymatize Super Mass Gainer post-workout. This is due to the 244 grams of carbohydrates, 23 of which are sugar. Sure, you can start your day off with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer but your body will be primed to utilize those calories immediately following a workout so take advantage of it.

     

    ON Serious Mass

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of ON Serious Mass

    Just like Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, ON Serious Mass is completely serious about helping you crush your daily caloric goals. ON Serious Mass contains 1,250 calories per serving. Each serving contains 50 grams of protein from a special blend featuring Whey Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Egg Albumin, and Sweet Dairy Whey. Blow for blow, ON Serious Mass and Dymatize Super Mass Gainer are pretty equal until you see the extras that Optimum Nutrition has added:

     

    • Creatine Monohydrate
    • L-Glutamine
    • Glutamine Peptides
    • Choline (As Choline Bitartrate)
    • Inositol
    • PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid)

     

    Creatine and Glutamine may help support your muscle gains while Choline may boost energy levels and muscle recovery. (1-7)

     

    Cons of ON Serious Mass

    Just like with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, watch out if you're using a multi-vitamin and make sure to use this post-workout due to the carbohydrate content.

     

    The addition of amino acids and ingredients like PABA is great but lacking in terms of the dosage. Still, not too bad considering most weight gainers just give you carbohydrates.

     

    Conclusion

    Scanning the label, it's hard to determine which one of these is truly better than the other. They match one another in every regard. The only true difference is the better protein blend in Dymatize Super Mass Gainer and the added bonuses in ON Serious Mass. Does this push one ahead of the other? Not at all.

     

    With this review ending in a draw, the real deal-breaker will be cost. Watch out for discounts on the Amino Z website and buy each one as it goes on sale. That way, you can try both and see which one you prefer.

     

    References

    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. Piattoly, Tavis. L-GLUTAMINE SUPPLEMENTATION: EFFECTS ON RECOVERY FROM

    EXERCISE. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. (4 – 9) August 2005.

    1. Ralf Jäger, Martin Purpura, and Michael Kingsley. Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007; 4: 5. Published online 2007 Jul 25. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-5.
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