Ultimate effectiveness from the most versatile protein line available.
When it comes to protein, NytroWhey is well established as the leader for purity, anabolism and, of course, its customer-approved taste. The first in the industry to use a cross-flow micro-filtration system yielding high amounts of whey peptide fractions and critical growth factors, this progressive franchise has, since its introduction, continually advanced itself to deliver the most effective muscle synthesis for every conceivable user application. If you’re looking for a protein for pre- or post-workout, aerobic, median weight training, heavy weight training, nighttime or daytime—there’s a NytroWhey to fit your need.
After all these years and thousands of bodybuilding success stories we’ve come to believe that there’s not much more convincing needed as far as NytroWhey’s superiority, but for some there’s been confusion with regard to deciding which NytroWhey is best to use. Bear in mind though, one of the finer aspects of NytroWhey is that there are so many choices. The key to choosing is not so much that you need to decide on one (which is also feasible) but two or more in the proper combination. Most researchers in the science of muscle growth, including the formulators here at ProSource, are convinced that the most effective anabolic results are seen from using different high grade proteins with specific rates of absorption at different times of the day and night. As regards the NytroWhey formulas, one is not necessarily better than another because they all have their particular uses for certain times (pre and post-workout, day and night) and ultimately should be used in combination for best results. Using this multi-formula approach will not only help you with your gains, but it’s more cost effective as well. For instance, if you’re using NytroPlex GF (the sustained release formula) for nighttime and after workout, you might consider using NytroWhey Ultra post-workout instead for quicker absorption during that critical 1 hour after exercise, which is crucial to optimum growth, and then use the NytroPlex before sleep. This way you’re getting the most effective anabolic results round-the-clock while saving money by purchasing less NytroPlex: 2 Nytrowhey Ultra and 1 NytroPlex—versus—3 NytroPlex. Although you can get very good results from NytroPlex as your only protein product, it’s easy to see the cost advantage by adding NytroWhey Ultra, and you’ll see even better anabolic results as well when combining the two.
That may help to clear up some of the confusion, but with 6 highly effective NytroWhey formulas the decision making gets a bit tougher. So, to help you make the most effective anabolic choice while at the same time keeping costs in line with your budget, we offer the following short review of each NytroWhey and plan suggestions for using the formulas:
The original flagship formula that introduced cross flow micro-filtrated whey isolate to the industry and became the cornerstone of the continually evolving NytroWhey line. A basic protein that can serve as a highly anabolic foundation for bodybuilding and sports supplementation, NytroWhey is rich in critical growth factors and amino peptide fractions for superior muscle synthesis. One of the major advantages of NytroWhey is that it provides protein with a higher bioavailability than its competition, which means more of the protein is actually absorbed and delivered to muscle tissue compared to an ion-exchanged or standard filtration derived protein. To top this off, in keeping with the latest advances in micro-filtration technology, this original formula has received a recent upgrade, making it even more highly anabolic since its inception. NytroWhey can be used any time of day or night, pre or post workout, but since the advent of NytroWhey Ultraand NytroPlex, NytroWhey is now best used as a daytime or pre-workout protein in support of the Ultra for post workout and NytroPlex for nighttime.
NytroWhey Extreme is the next progression in the line, taking all of the muscle synthesis advantages of the exceptionally potent NytroWhey protein and adding Arginine AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) to facilitate nitric oxide production for improved blood circulation and delivery of nutrients to the muscle tissue. Arginine AKG is the primary ingredient in just about every pre-workout and creatine formula available today and has had remarkable muscle growth success. The amount of AAKG in NytroWhey Extreme is 600 mg per serving, which in powder form is more than sufficient to assist a “pump” effect and help deliver the micro-fractions and critical growth factors with amazing effectiveness, ensuring highly anabolic results. NytroWhey Extreme makes a very highly anabolic post-workout protein formula and, like NytroWhey, can be used anytime but is best as daytime and pre-workout anabolic support for NytroWhey Ultra.
NytroWhey Extreme for HardGainers
After NytroWhey Extreme came NytroWhey Extreme for Hard Gainers, which starts with the same exact ingredients as in NytroWhey Extreme and then adds 2 grams of BCAAs for extra anabolic and anti-catabolic support and 8 grams of healthy fats including MCTs. Medium chain triglycerides are efficiently metabolized for energy and have less of a propensity to be stored in the body as fat; these two factors make it highly effective for lean mass enhancement. NytroWhey Extreme for Hard Gainers is a versatile gainer formula that has become exceptionally popular with bodybuilders who desire a highly anabolic formula without the high amounts of simple sugars so common in the weight-gainer category. Thus, with 6 grams of carbohydrates, the Hard Gainers formula can easily be used along with another clean carbohydrate source of your choosing to assure a more even uptake of carbohydrates as well as sufficiently covering post workout recovery. The Hard Gainers formula can be used post-workout, pre-workout, day or nighttime and like the previous two NytroWheys works exceptionally well in combination with NytroWhey Ultra and NytroPlex.
NytroPlex is an extremely well-designed long-acting protein fuel source. Intended to cover more extended periods of time than the fast-acting whey proteins in order to feed muscle continuously thereby defeating any catabolic condition, NytroPlex is unique in that it uses the industry’s absolute HIGHEST GRADE sources of whey isolate, egg albumin and micellar casein. One of the key aspects that sets NytroPlex apart from virtually every other time release protein blend on the market is that it contains no whey protein concentrate or lower-grade proteins of any kind, unlike most that use inferior low-grade concentrates and calcium caseinates. The form of casein in NytroPlex in particular, micellar casein, contains exceptionally higher amounts of bioactive peptides, such as glycomacropeptides. Along with its CFM isolate, egg albumin and this highly anabolic casiene, NytroPlex can feed muscle tissue with a steady flow of amino acids for up to 7 hours, making it an ideal choice for daytime (especially if you’re not taking in sufficient protein meals) or bedtime to fight catabolism.
NytroWhey Ultra is currently the top of the NytroWhey line and represents the most advanced, cutting edge research in anabolic protein formulations. This elite whey protein stands alone as the most anabolic standard protein supplement available anywhere, which multitudes of bodybuilders will attest to. Ultra starts with the original highly anabolic NytroWhey protein and adds state-of-the-art rapid-action hydrolyzed whey isolate that ramps up NytroWhey’s mass-building potential beyond anything previously believed possible. The shorter chain aminos from this hydrolyzed protein are so swiftly bioavailable they can be absorbed into the blood stream without digestion resulting in improved nitrogen utilization as well as providing a larger amount of BCAAs, glutamine peptides and other growth factors for ultimate muscle synthesis. This quick uptake of protein growth factors is your best bet for the absolute ultimate muscle synthesis in that critical time period directly after workout. Without question this is your best choice for after workout, or during daytime to fill in your protein needs along with meals.
Some time ago it became apparent, in light of all the sugar-laden gainer formulas available, that a truly anabolic protein formula with high-grade carbohydrates was sorely needed. Seeing this, ProSource R&D team took the problem to heart and produced NytroGainer. With a 50-gram blend of growth-factor-rich proteins, 55 grams of fast and slow absorbing carbs along with a complex of healthy fats, this latest NytroWhey entry takes the weight-gainer to a considerably higher level of effectiveness. NytroGainer contains BCAAs and an added amount of L-leucine KIC to ramp up synthesis even more as well as creatine and 300 mg of clinically proven Aminogen to assist protein digestion and uptake of growth-promoting amino acids. Instead of the usual simple sugars used in the vast majority of gainers, NytroGainer adds a blend of oat bran, dextrose and Waxy Maize starch. A high-molecular weight carbohydrate, Waxy Maize has a remarkable ability to quickly replenish muscle glycogen stores post-workout while the dextrose and oat bran stimulate insulin release and sustain energy. To ensure optimum growth, taurine (for cell-volume) L-arginine (NO enhancement) beta-alanine (performance assistance) Tribulus terrestris (testosterone support) and L-carnitine, L-tartrate (cell energy and testosterone utilization) are added. As you can see, NytroGainers’ extremely comprehensive formula goes well beyond the ordinary and represents the premium choice for true mass gains. Generally after workout and during the day is the optimum time for NytroGainer but using a gainer formula of this caliber entails precise timing. Please refer to plan 4 below for more details.
The following are recommendations for protein supplementation, not replacements for meals, and typically you would want to consume approximately 1 ½ to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (while training) from food and supplements combined. And remember, if at all possible, you should take in six meals per day along with your NytroWhey. Six small meals are more effective than three large meals for effective utilization of protein and carbohydrate loading while also controlling insulin spikes that may increase fat storage.
Plan 1: Ultra Anabolic (NytroWhey Ultra, NytroPlex, NytroWhey Extreme for Hardgainers)
Breakfast: 1 scoop NytroWhey ultra in 8-12 oz. water with meal or add to oatmeal etc.
Between breakfast and lunch: 1 scoop NytroWhey Extreme for Hardgainers.
Lunch: optional—1 scoop NytroWhey Ultra.
Between lunch and dinner: 1 scoop NytroWhey Extreme for Hardgainers.
Dinner: one scoop NytroWhey Ultra.
Pre-workout: optional—1 scoop NytroWhey Extreme for Hard Gainers.
Post-workout: 1 scoop NytroWhey Ultra right after exercise. (NOTE: eat a meal containing complex carbs and clean protein, chicken breast, fish etc. ¾ to 1 hour after workout with another scoop of Ultra and 8 to 12 oz. water.)
Nighttime: 3 scoops NytroPlex with 12-oz. water.
Plan 2: Highly Anabolic (NytroWhey Ultra, NytroWhey Extreme or NytroWhey, NytroPlex)
Breakfast: 1 scoop NytroWhey or NytroWhey Extreme in 8-12 oz. water with meal or add to oatmeal etc.
Between breakfast and lunch: 1or 2 scoops Nytrowhey or Extreme.
Lunch: optional—1 scoop NytroWhey or Extreme with meal.
Between lunch and dinner: 1 or 2 scoops NytroWhey or Extreme.
Dinner: one scoop NytroWhey or Extreme.
Pre-workout: optional—1 scoop NytroWhey Extreme or NytroWhey.
Post-workout: 1 scoop NytroWhey Ultra right after exercise. (NOTE: eat a meal containing complex carbs and clean protein, chicken breast, fish etc. ¾ to 1 hour after workout with another scoop of Ultra and 8 to 12 oz. of water.)
Nighttime: 3 scoops NytroPlex with 12 oz. water.
Plan 3: Time Saver (NytroPlex, NytroWhey Ultra)
Breakfast: 1 scoop NytroWhey ultra in 8-12 oz. water with meal or add to oatmeal etc.
Between breakfast and lunch: 3 scoops NytroPlex.
Lunch: Clean protein with complex carbs.
Dinner: one scoop NytroWhey Ultra.
Pre-workout: optional—1 scoop NytroWhey Ultra.
Post-workout: 1 scoop NytroWhey Ultra right after exercise. (NOTE: eat a meal containing complex carbs and clean protein, chicken breast, fish etc. ¾ to 1 hour after workout with another scoop of Ultra and 8 to 12 oz. water.)
Nighttime: 3 scoops NytroPlex with 12-oz. water.
Plan 4: Anabolic Weight Gainer (NytroGainer, NytroWhey Extreme for Hard Gainers)
Training Days: 4 scoops NytroGainer after workout with 16-20 oz. of water. In addition, between meals take 1 scoop of NytroWhey Extreme for Hard Gainers with 8 to 12 oz. of water.
Non-Training Days: 4 scoops of NytroGainer with 16 to 20 oz. of water (one time). You may also take 2 scoops between meals on non-training days.
The Choice is Yours
Remember that these are only suggestions as a foundation to help simplify your choice. You can also use one of these plans as a template to personalize a plan, making changes depending on how much protein you need (1 ½ grams per pound of body weight total protein intake, including meals and supplemental) and as your schedule dictates. The important thing here is to use the NytroWhey products that most effectively provide coverage throughout the day and night so as to not become catabolic and lose any of your hard-earned muscle gains. It’s also crucial to take the fastest absorbing and most anabolic protein formula directly after workout for the best growth results. We do not recommend taking large amounts of the NytroWhey formulas (or any other protein) at one time in order to satisfy a bigger portion of your suggested protein intake. Chances are by doing this, the majority of the protein will be excreted and not have much effect. The only exception to this would be of course the NytroPlex or NytroGainer as the more sustained release allows a longer absorption time; thus you can take several scoops at one time. The fact is, within an hour your body will only absorb about 20 grams of protein, so its crucial to take in the correct amount, and type, of protein for any given time period. Although we highly recommend Ultra for the best results post workout and for shorter intervals during the day, you can use any of the other NytroWheys for the same, except for NytroPlex, which is primarily a sustained absorption daytime and nighttime protein formula. You might think of NytroWhey Ultra as a high-octane premium for ultra effective post-workout muscle growth.
Versatility, great taste and effective muscle growth, all you need now is to make the choice. No matter which NytroWhey you decide on, you’re guaranteed highest purity and bioavailability and most importantly, untouchable results compared to virtually all other protein formulas available. Refer to this list whenever you need to be sure you’re making the right choice. And remember, the most critical element of your supplement regimen is taking the right NytroWhey at the right time.
Quality is a trait that cannot always be immediately observed. For instance, a glass of crystal-clear water at a restaurant that looks pure can have a number of impurities that may compromise your health if taken over an extended period of time. The same applies to creatine. Any “100% creatine” on the market today may look as pure and clean as virgin snow, but unfortunately the harsh reality is that due to inferior raw materials and substandard processing methods some manufacturer’s creatines have more than 5% chemical impurities including, in some, a carcinogenic known as DHT. That makes this highly prized supplement also one of the most highly suspect as regards quality level.
So who can you trust for a legitimate, pure source of creatine? Look to the one that uses the highest-grade raw materials and most effective testing methods for their product—Creapure® by AlzChem.
Creapure® creatine is manufactured according to the same highly exacting requirements as used in pharmaceutical manufacturing under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines. Each step and facet of production is thoroughly documented to assure the highest level of product safety and quality. All raw materials used for Creapure® are subject to an exhaustive analysis for purity specifications by an internal quality control department (independent from the manufacturing department) which has been certified for GLP (Good Laboratory Practice). After raw materials are inspected and passed Creapure® is then produced via the “cyanamide route”, a patented process using the compounds cyanamide and sarcosinate. To cut costs many unscrupulous manufacturers use a cheaper manufacturing process that necessitates large quantities of thiourea, a carcinogenic compound banned from the list of acceptable ingredients for cosmetic products. Inferior raw materials coupled with shabby manufacturing processing produces a creatine with unacceptable levels of creatinine (a protein by-product), dicyandiamide (a skin irritant) and dihydrotriazine (DHT, a known carcinogenic). The presence of these detrimental and carcinogenic compounds is largely due to an accelerated reduction in the amount of water during a process called “recrystallization” which many manufacturers fail to monitor closely. Creapure® on the other hand is monitored diligently during each step of the process for the presence of these dangerous compounds to assure the highest level of purity.
The result of this quality control and superior manufacturing is a creatine that’s been the subject of no less than 50 clinical trials verifying its safety and efficacy and known the world over as the purest and best available. This extensive safety and purity verification through independent research makes Creapure® a standout product compared to most creatines on the market that use inferior manufacturing processes yielding products with questionable effectiveness and inconsistent purity profiles. The fundamental and most crucial test for a creatine though comes down to its analysis through high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), a highly accurate method for evaluating the precise molecular profile of chemical substances. Although a miniscule amount will be present as byproduct in any creatine, as you can see from the following, any harmful substances are practically non-existent in Creapure®.
Typical analytical values for Creapure®:
Creatine monohydrate: min. 99.95%
Creatinine: < 67 ppm (below the limit of detection)
Dicyandiamide (DCD): < 13 ppm (below the limit of detection)
Dihydrotriazine (DHT): not detectable
Most creatine manufacturers will not disclose this highly critical information which is truly the only way to be sure that you’re receiving a safe and effective product.
There are approximately 20 different creatine derivatives currently available with creatine ethyl ester (CEE) one of the more popular. After being absorbed into the bloodstream CEE is broken down very quickly into creatine and ethanol. The ethanol has to be detoxified by the liver and 12% of the creatine is converted into creatinine (the previously mentioned toxin) within 30 minutes. Also, there is currently no toxicological information for CEE or any other of the other creatine forms. On the other hand, creatine monohydrate has been the subject of over 300 studies, one of the most researched sports supplements ever, and can be clinically verified as non-toxic. The key to safe and effective creatine is purity and AlzChem’s Creapure® is the purest you’ll find.
Always Use the Best
One of the hallmarks of a superior manufacturer is the level of purity in their choice of ingredients. Without question, this should be the first step in the evaluation of any supplement and supplement manufacturer. Many companies avoid Creapure® and opt for a less expensive creatine for their products to cut costs and increase their profits. But if you want a truly effective formula, it is absolutely essential to use the best ingredients. That’s why, to guarantee the highest efficacy and purity we use only genuine AlzChem Creapure® in our Synthatrex, Synthatrex Extreme and Creatine Monohydrate for superior results. As our friends at AlzChem say, “Creapure®, das ultimative Kreatin.” Translated, Creapure®, the ultimate creatine—and we couldn’t agree more.
By John Davies, Founder Renegade Training
As I consult with strength training programs across the world there are a variety of common denominators. Most typically it’s the infatuation with the weight used and the near complete ignorance of on-field performance. It exists at the earliest development phases of youth/teen sports and in the upper echelons as well. The necessity of knowing the requirements of the sport does not go unnoticed by skill coaches and on more than one occasion I’ve seen and heard of “big-name” strength consultants shown the door as quickly as they arrive. Yet while that speaks of elite athleticism there is equally a common denominator in program development and application with regard to the sporting world and the everyday fitness enthusiast as well.
Incredibly, given the myriad of discussions and articles on training, little is mentioned of the need for unilateral lifts (lifting one side/limb at a time). Within each of my programs there must be a reasonable balance between bi-lateral and uni-lateral lifts and while these are noted for athletic purposes, for those training for aesthetic purposes solely, this is an absolute must.
Unilateral work will not only assist in developing finite stabilizing musculature and correct musculature imbalances that will in-turn reduce the incidence of injury, but it equally will target intended muscle groups in a more straight-forward pattern. This is easily seen within “leg training“, where squatting technique is generally abysmal.
While I strongly urge you to read my “Squat Power” series at ProSource to learn how to squat properly, the following six unilateral exercises for powerful and, yes, great looking legs are:
- High Box Step Up
- Bulgarian Squat
- Russian Split Jump
- Four Corner Lunge
- Rx Squat
- Single Leg Box Squat
Each of these the first four should be worked into training patterns as a substitute at or near equal to bilateral work (i.e. substitute High-Box Step Ups for Squats), using the same lifting patterns you generally use. The Rx Squat and Single Leg Box Squat can be used intermittently but will be featured in a next installment of our general health training. However these movements will be done with each training session and even daily at various levels of intensity.
Hi Box Step Up — this movement is one of the best exercises you’ll ever find for leg development.
The box height for greater glute development is set up so that with your lead leg planted on the top of the box, your base foot is off its heel and the lead thigh is parallel to the ground. For greater quadriceps emphasis box height should be lowered. To avoid jerking upwards by using the base foot, squeeze the toes of the plant leg and drive upwards with the plant foot on the box.. Focus on keeping the pelvis level and the knee excursion over the lateral half of the foot as the step is performed, to evenly load the hip abductors and adductors.
Bulgarian Squat — set up in a wide split lunge and place top of back foot on box (roughly 12 – 18 in height). Shin of lead leg should be perpendicular to ground when in deep Squat position thus emphasizing glute and hams. Squat down till rear knee is in near contact to ground and repeat.
Russian Split Jump — Jump as high as possible alternating feet forward to landing in deep lunge position. Repeat to desired reps. This can also be performed while holding a medicine ball at the chest or near the outside hip of lead leg however a weighted vest truly is superior as it will not compromise postural alignment.
Four Corner Lunge — within this exercise there are a number of variations as well as mediums. Beyond the “standard” forward lunge is one of my personal favorites that is the “four corner lunge” whereby you before a standard forward, then backward lunge followed by a deep side lunge to the dominant side, repeating each leg by three repetitions. The key to this lift is the feet are always pointed directly ahead putting particular stress on developing great hip strength and flexibility. Another variation to this is to add lunges to 45 degrees out to the side.
The standard forward lunge is performed from a standing upright with perfect posture; rest a bar along your trapezius muscles behind your head as in squatting or preferably wearing a fully loaded weighted vest. Lunge forward by lifting lead knee to parallel to the ground, reaching out to the ground down to the point that the knee of your rear leg makes slight contact with ground. Powerfully drive up and return to a standing position where you repeat with the opposite leg.
Rx™ Squat — is equally adapt at developing tremendous strength classically termed as “rooting” and extremely effective in developing neuro-muscular control and relative and endurance strength. This “simple” bodyweight is a grueling 6 part movement. Each of the positions are intended to be held upwards of 45 – 60 seconds in advanced athletes, although in the initial stage a modest few second holds are understandable. Sets are performed in low reps (i.e. 1 per side) given the long time under tension.
Single Leg Box Squat: this is absolutely not a basic bodyweight squat or also what is termed a “pistol squat”. To perform, place back of heel against box which is knee height. With one leg raised as in Rx position 2, push butt back to box, drive leg off ground back to starting position and repeat with opposite leg.
The biological keys to exercise performance and muscle synthesis
“I’m taking in enough whey protein that has the amino acids in it, and I’m eating right and taking a vitamin/mineral supplement, how important can it be to take in extra aminos?”
If you’ve avoided amino acid supplementation for the reason above, consider this: Virtually every single biological function in the human body requires amino acids and these requirements increase during higher activity levels such as exercise. In the scientific documentaries you’ll hear them sometimes referred to as the “building blocks of life,” and rightly so because these protein constituents are involved in the production of everything from brain neurotransmitters and cell walls, to cartilage, muscle tissue and energy. This biological reality is crucially important to bodybuilders because the higher physical and mental activity of workouts increases the need for these “building blocks.” If your exercise routine seems a bit sluggish and mass gains are progressing slowly it may well be that you’re not getting enough amino acids. Maintaining the right diet and taking whey protein, although necessarily important for basic muscle tissue synthesis and good health still will not supply enough aminos for optimum performance and growth.
So if you’re not taking them (or only taking a couple) you should consider stepping up your workout results with one of the most crucial supplement groups. The following will help you understand what they do and how to use them effectively.
Before we get into the specifics of what each one does, here’s a quick primer on what they are. There are 22 amino acids, 8 essential (cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from food) and the remainder non-essential (can be made by the body from other amino acids). You might think of them as construction blocks that come in different sizes and shapes but connect together to form different proteins in the body—50,000 different types of protein in all that comprise ¾ of the weight of the human body (minus the water). Clearly, amino acids are the essence of life.
The following can be used as a quick reference when you’re having difficulty with a certain aspect of your workout routine (energy levels, focus, growth, etc.) or if you’re just looking for ways to improve your overall health and vitality.
The Ultimate Amino Acid List
Amount: Up to 4800 mg (two 2400 mg servings in 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine and valine)
Used for: Muscle protection and growth.
Optimal Use: 30 minutes before and immediately after training.
Named for their branch-like structure, these 3 highly regarded aminos may be the most important of them all for preventing muscle tissue breakdown. Your body will also use BCAAs as fuel during intense training. All 3 are considered essential (your body cannot produce them so they need to be obtained from food). Together they represent your best bet for increasing size while holding on to your hard-earned gains. Individually they have specific roles:
- L-leucine — The fourth most abundant amino acid found in muscle tissue, leucine is needed in the right ratio to other aminos in the body or you will be unable to utilize the protein you take in. Simply put, if you don’t have enough leucine, you can’t grow. This is why you’ll always see BCAAs offered as a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, iso-leucine and valine. Some of the critical functions leucine has been noted for are maintaining nitrogen balance (essential for muscle synthesis), preserving glycogen stores and enhancing mental clarity during exercise. Leucine is the more popular of the three for its superior muscle synthesis support, making it a very effective supplement on its own.
- L-isoleucine — Endurance, as well as muscle healing and repair, are the benefits associated with isoleucine. And like leucine, isoleucine can also be utilized as an energy source during intense exercise. In fact, studies have indicated that BCAAs may provide 10% of the energy expended during a typical workout.
- L-valine — Muscle metabolism, nitrogen balance and muscle tissue repair are some of the more important functions of valine as well as its use as an energy source during intense training.
Amount daily: Up to 20 grams
Used for: Exercise recovery, growth hormone enhancement, cell hydration, immune system support, anti-catabolic action.
Optimal use: Immediately after workout (with protein), between meals and before bedtime (preferably on an empty stomach).
L-glutamine is available in two forms, L-glutamine and N-acetyl-L-glutamine. The acetyl version is highly stable during digestion, which increases absorption and makes it more readily available to assist muscle synthesis. Glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid (which means it can be manufactured by your body from other aminos) although during times of intense body stress such as weight training or recovery from illness, it becomes conditionally essential and must be obtained from food or supplements to avoid serious depletion. This depletion can occur because glutamine is in very high demand in the body and at the same time comprises over 50% of the amino acids found in skeletal muscle tissue. Therefore, if there’s not enough glutamine available for muscle repair after your workout because of other priorities then muscle tissue breakdown is inevitable. And considering glutamine levels are reduced by 50% in the body after a workout it becomes clear that this “non-essential” amino is absolutely necessary for bodybuilders. Glutamine has been shown to increase cell water volume, which in turn facilitates muscle energy and repair. Still another, and one of the more critical functions of L-glutamine is its immune system support, as it is one of the primary precursor compounds in the production of glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body.
Daily amount: Up to 12 grams for arginine; up to 9 grams for arginine-AKG.
Used for: Muscle growth enhancement, nitric oxide production for muscle “pump” effect, growth hormone enhancement.
Optimal use: Arginine-AKG: Sustained release caps—3000mg once in the morning on an empty stomach and 3000mg again 30 minutes prior to lunch. Powder: 3000mg before workout and another 3000mg on an empty stomach either in the morning prior to breakfast or afternoon. If you’re susceptible to cold sores, take 500mg of L-lysine with arginine.
Arginine is another non-essential amino acid that most bodybuilders would agree is absolutely essential for their workouts. One of the more celebrated supplements in recent years, arginine has shown a remarkable ability to assist in the production of nitric oxide, in turn enhancing blood flow which produces a noticeable “pump” while working out. Arginine also helps preserve lean muscle tissue, stimulates growth hormone release and has a positive effect on raising insulin-like growth factor. All these benefits working together from one amino have established arginine as one of the single most effective (and popular) sports compounds ever for enhancing exercise and producing lean mass. And if this weren’t enough, arginine may have a favorable effect on male sexual health and erectile dysfunction as well due to the increased blood flow. Arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate is the more bioavailable and preferred form for its superior muscle pump facilitation and faster anabolic results. Another advantage in the AKG is that because of its high bioavailability only 6 grams per day is needed.
Used for: Exercise performance, muscle growth, precursor to carnosine, nitrogen transport.
Amount daily: 2 grams
Optimal use: 20-30 minutes before workout. Take with creatine for best effect.
The amino acid Beta alanine (beta designates an amino acid classification of alanine which can be alpha or beta) has several very crucial roles in protein synthesis (muscle growth). It’s also the primary compound that provides the muscles with stored glycogen during workouts as well as transporting nitrogen, the key component for muscle synthesis.1 Perhaps its most important function is as a precursor to the di-peptide carnosine, showing in a four-week study to significantly elevate levels by as much as 66%. This is important because carnosine has demonstrated a lactic acid buffering effect, which may lower the fatigue threshold allowing for a more effective workout. Indeed, this study credited a combination of creatine and beta alanine for higher lactic acid threshold in one study group compared to a control group using creatine alone. If carnosine’s the goal, then why not take carnosine? Carnosine is broken down in the digestive tract so that only 40% is left as beta alanine to be re-synthesized as carnosine again, so you’ll actually end up with more carnosine in the long run if you take a beta alanine supplement.
Used for: Energy, exercise recovery, weight-loss and focus, anti-catabolic action.
Amount daily: Up to 2000 mg per day.
Optimal use: Up to 1000 mg immediately prior to training. Take any additional pre-workout supplement ½ hour before training so as not to interfere with the absorption of ALC. ALC can also be taken on an empty stomach between meals for energy enhancement and focus support. Do not take with food or other aminos.
Aceytl L-carnitine (often referred to as ALC) is a more bioavailable form of the amino acid carnitine, a non-essential amino acid that assists fat metabolism by helping transport free fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells where they can be used as a source of energy. The acetyl version is preferred because it more easily crosses through cell membranes, including the blood-brain barrier making it an excellent brain cell energizer as well. If you need a little focus and pick-me-up during the workday, or any time for that matter, ALC should do the trick, even enhancing mood for many people. ALC is a powerful free-radical scavenger and has also been shown to suppress cortisol, the muscle wasting protein. Studies have validated its energy and muscle recuperative assistance. This along with its fundamental role in helping convert fat to energy makes it one of the most versatile and effective sports supplements available. Of all the amino acids, ALC may be the most effective in supporting weight-loss and energy.
Used for: Increasing cell volume to enhance muscle synthesis, preserve muscle tissue, cell electrolyte balance, blood sugar facilitation.
Amount: 1000 to 2000 mg per day.
Optimal use: Right before workout. NOTE: If your taking ALC and other aminos or protein, take these 20 to 30 minutes before the workout and the ALC just prior to workout for effecitve uptake of both aminos.
A conditionally essential amino acid and the second most abundant in muscle tissue, taurine has shown an amazing ability to increase water in the cell which in turn can have a profound effect on muscle synthesis. This hydration effect is due to another very crucial benefit, its electrolyte policing activity, keeping potassium in the cell while removing sodium, which maintains a necessarily proper balance. If you seem to be worn down by dehydration and yet are drinking sufficient amounts of water, taurine may be the answer. Taurine also has an insulin-mimicking effect that can enhance glucose and amino acid utilization and as an anti-catabolic it’s been shown to decrease the compound 3-methylhistidine to help preserve muscle tissue.
Used for: Energy and focus.
Amount: Up to 2000 mg per day.
Optimal Use: Take up to 1000 mg before training. NOTE: start with 500 mg to access tolerance as this amino has a profound energizing effect on some users. Take between meals for additional energy and focus support. Do not take with food or other aminos.
L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is synthesized in the body from another amino acid, phenylalanine. Tyrosine is a precursor to several highly important neurotransmitters including L-dopa (an amino acid with growth hormone enhancing potential), dopamine (a “feel good” compound that’s usually released in response to exercise-induced stress), and norepinephrine (a powerful body energizer). Studies have suggested L-tyrosine has a positive effect on mood and may even have efficacy in treating depression. For the athlete, tyrosine can elicit an exhilarating effect with some users reporting considerably more intensity during their workouts, up to 40%. This higher intensity is due in part to increased norepinephrine which has been shown to directly affect the release of glucose from tissue, increase blood flow to muscle and have a positive effect on focus.
Daily amount: 100 to 200 mg 3 times daily.
Used for: Enhancing mood, relaxation.
The non-essential amino acid L-theanine is the compound in green tea that creates that relaxed feeling. Research has shown that it does this by stimulating alpha waves in the brain, which produces a state of deep relaxation while at the same time maintaining a high level of alertness, very similar to the effects produced by meditation. L-theanine may also increase levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, both integral to a calm and relaxed attitude. Along with this relaxing effect, L-theanine has shown an ability to lower blood pressure and lessen the jittery feeling experienced from caffeine. L-theanine can be used any time to elicit a feeling of calm and relaxation, but be mindful, you may want to avoid driving after taking it, especially with the first use.
Daily amount: Up to 2 grams
Used for: Muscle synthesis support, calcium absorption, energy enhancement, exercise recovery.
Lysine is an essential amino acid necessary for calcium absorption as well as proper nitrogen balance, which in turn has a positive effect on muscle growth. It is also crucial in the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies, and is involved in muscle tissue repair and the formation of collagen to maintain healthy skin. This multi-faceted amino also helps maintain energy levels and assists stress reduction. If these weren’t enough, it’s also been used as a remedy for cold sores (herpes simplex 1 and 2) and can help facilitate growth hormone, especially when stacked with the next two aminos.
Daily amount: Up to 2 grams.
Used for: Detoxification, enhancing immune system, liver support, energy enhancement.
Ornithine is a non-essential amino that helps to detoxify ammonia, heal and repair connective tissue, improve liver function and is a precursor to citrulline, which can help to promote energy and enhances the immune system. It’s also a growth hormone secretagogue and works most effectively as such with arginine. Ornithine is one of the amino acids (along with arginine and lysine) that have very effective growth hormone potential when taken on an empty stomach (to avoid interference from the absorption of other aminos in food) and this effect can be extended and increased by “stacking” the three. This GH secretion stack is very effective taken 30 minutes prior to a workout or at night before bedtime. The secret to making this method work effectively is to make sure there are as little amino acids in the blood as possible. Which means if you plan on taking this amino stack and another pre-workout product, you should take the amino stack an hour and half before the workout and then your pre-workout product 30 minutes before the workout to avoid any possible conflict as different aminos fight for priority. You can take these three on an empty stomach prior to sleep also for GH enhancement effect.
Daily amount: 1200-1800mg
Used for: Detoxification, connective tissue support, antioxidant protection.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is the more stable form of the sulfur-based amino acid and powerful antioxidant cysteine, one of the primary precursor compounds in the production of glutathione, the master antioxidant. Cysteine helps support connective tissue repair while controlling inflammation and also has a very unique ability to clean toxins and detoxify the liver. This last biological action has a very advantageous side benefit as well because its detoxification ability allows cysteine to easily bind to and neutralize acetyldehyde, the toxic chemical and by-product from the consumption of too much alcohol. Plenty of anecdotal evidence will attest to NAC’s hangover-relieving power. Here’s the trick: right before the drinking festivities start, take 600 milligrams and then take another 600 milligrams before you go to bed. In the morning take another 600mg cap with your hair-of-the-dog and you’re good to go. See, amino acids can even help you have fun, or at least help you recover from fun.
Taking Amino Acids
The beauty of aminos is you can take many different types without fear of getting too much of a good thing because they all have distinct pathways and are involved in separate biological processes. Amino acids are best taken with at least 200mg vitamin C and 50mg of B6 to facilitate their uptake and utilization. Most of them are okay to take together except for acetyl-L-carnitine and tyrosine, which should be taken separately on an empty stomach with no other aminos or protein. Don’t take glutamine with milk, milk products or protein foods (with the exception of whey protein after workout), as it will interfere with glutamine’s absorption.
Well there you have it, all the quick reference info you need for the most important amino acid supplements. Refer to this list when ever you want a bit of energy, focus, mood assistance, exercise performance enhancement or lean muscle—even hangover relief—you name it and you’re sure to find an amino acid to fit the need.
1) Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Boobis L, Coakley J, Kim HJ, Fallowfield JL, Hill CA, Sale C, Wise JA. The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids. 2006 Mar 24; [Epub ahead of print]
Pack on Pounds of Solid Muscle with These 6 Quick Mass Gain Tips You Can Use Today
Have you been trying to add serious mass to your frame … and failing miserably? You’re not alone. Gaining size has been a common problem for guys since the days Charles Atlas promised relief to any 97-pound weakling who got sand kicked in his face at the beach.
When struggling against a red-hot metabolism and a seeming inability to put on even an ounce of muscle, you need more than a mail-order program. You need to aim all of your efforts toward your goal, from morning until night (and even while you sleep, as you’ll see in Tip #1). Keep reading for six actions you can take, starting today, to help you finally break through this age-old predicament and start growing.
1) HALT THE OVERNIGHT “FAST”: Drinking a 40-60 gram casein protein shake before bed every night ensures you get important protein throughout your hours of sleep. If you’re an extreme hardgainer, you can even try this — four hours after going to bed, set the alarm to get up and down a whey/casein blend shake, which will help ensure your body doesn’t go catabolic during the night, a state where it scavenges your muscles for amino acids to use as sustenance. Then, in the a.m., have a 40-60-gram whey-based shake to start the day.
2) CUT BACK ON YOUR ACTIVITY LEVELS: Younger guys who have trouble putting on appreciable muscle mass almost always have a high-octane metabolism. Combine a smallish appetite with a body that burns through calories like flame through a drought-stricken forest, and you have a recipe for stalled growth. If gaining mass is a goal more important than any other, you need to make some decisions. Don’t run when you can walk. Take the elevator, not the stairs. Avoid intense sports. Skip the treadmill.
No, it’s not fun, nor particularly healthy in a cardiovascular sense in the long run, but in a short-term push for size, you need to be wary of every calorie spent outside the weight room.
3) TURN DOWN THE VOLUME: Following up on the last point, it may sound counterintuitive, but you should also consider decreasing your sets and reps in the gym, if in fact you are struggling with muscle gain. Of course, many personal trainers and fitness magazines often give advice to the contrary — if you’re not progressing, it’s time to “shock” your body and “break down every last muscle fiber” — but such a high-volume approach may in fact just leave you overtrained.
Indeed, the late great pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer was onto something when he suggested cutting your sets and reps way back (all the way to one set initially, according to his advice, although you don’t have to take it to that extreme). To find out what level is best for you, dial down your volume and increase your intensity (see Tip #4). After 3-4 weeks, you may find you respond to one working set per exercise or muscle group, and if not, bump it up to two. It makes much more sense to reduce your training and add volume slowly until you reach a point where you start making gains than going totally overboard from the beginning, making recovery (and growth) a virtual impossibility.
4) GET MORE INTENSE: What do we mean by intensity? In short, you want to bring working sets to a point where you can’t do another rep with good form. You see, during a set, most of the reps are relatively easy — for instance, think about doing barbell curl reps with a weight you can lift about 8-10 times. The first six reps go by pretty smoothly; your biceps can handle the load and perform brilliantly. By rep seven or eight, it’s getting a little harder, but you still finish both. The ninth rep comes and you really need to breathe deep and push yourself. Then what? Can you get the 10th rep? Perhaps you can, then you set the weight down. Wrong move — if you could finish the 10th without help, that means you should have gone slightly heavier in your weight selection, for one, but more importantly, you should keep going to reach failure.
Failure is uncomfortable, difficult and painful, and that’s why so many people in the gym don’t often go there. If you want muscle growth, however, you must go there. Think of it this way: If your muscles can handle the load you place on them, what reason would they have to add new fibers? Muscles grow so that they can handle heavier loads, and thus to prompt this process, you need to push them past their point of ability. Many techniques can help, including partial reps or negatives at the end of a set, rest/pause (where you pause a moment mid-set after reaching failure so that you can go for failure again), and strip sets.
5) EAT IT, THEN WRITE IT DOWN: Show us someone who claims he eats “so much food and still can’t gain a pound,” and we’ll show you someone who is miscalculating his intake. Skinny guys with fast metabolisms and smaller stomachs get full faster, and think that because they eat to the point of fullness a few times a day that they’re packing away a ton of calories. Once they start writing down what they’re eating, however, they find that they have been drastically overestimating how much they are in fact ingesting.
To break the cycle and take in 4,000 calories or more a day, you need to eat often — 6-8 times a day — and past the point of feeling full. And you need to do it consistently; one day of 4,000 calories followed by 2-3 days of 2,000-2,500 calories isn’t going to move the needle on your scale. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, but it’s key if you want to traverse the divide between hardgainer and bodybuilder.
6) SUPPLEMENT WISELY: In addition to all of the above tricks, you should definitely make sure your kitchen cabinet is well stocked with proven mass builders. The basics include a nitric oxide/arginine formula to improve your pump (and results) during workouts, branched-chain amino acids for muscle repair, creatine for enhanced power, a testosterone-boosting product to improve your levels of this critical hormone, protein powders and bars to fill diet gaps, and ,glutamine and ZMA for recovery, to name a few.