Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life and in today's day and age it is most certainly possible. People are faced with many difficult decisions when it comes to choosing the best supplements, diets, exercises and training gear – and who could blame them? Every day the list grows for the best way to lose weight, build muscle and get the physique you always dreamed of. Even now, more than ever there are emerging supplements marketed towards those intent on shedding the extra pounds and transforming their bodies into lean, sculpted figures.
With all this industry growth and all the reputable brands releasing new products, how can you really be sure what works and what does not? I have spent a fair amount of time personally at the gym, pumping iron and pressing weights. I have spent countless hours training, exercising, trying new routines and learning many new workouts. During this time, I have also tried a variety of different supplements both for diet and also for training purposes.
When it comes to picking a solid pre-workout there have been many that have definitely held their ground. (Of course, any supplements mentioned are personal preference and may affect individuals differently) I am one who you could say loves caffeine. I drink about 3 cups of coffee a day starting at “double-shot” on the strength level and progressively work downward. When I am looking for a good pre-workout, one of the things I look for is something that has a higher than average amount of caffeine. While not getting into the nitty-gritty too much, I have found the strongest PWOs (I mean actually feeling the boost of energy) to be Bullnox, and the all-new reformulated Superpump 250 w / DMAA. These 2 supplements definitely pack a larger scoop and punch, but are also leaning towards the more expensive side. Another way I can personally gauge the strength is by how much of a tingling sensation I feel all over my body – and these 2 really give that sensation.
The pump that these PWOs bring is pretty substantial. I can see the difference in weeks I cycle off the PWO that my workout intensity not only lessens but the amount of time before I fatigue is also noticeably shorter. Not to discredit any other PWO as they all do the job to different degrees but I find that these give me the most focus and keep my drive higher in the gym – meaning focused intensity. After finishing a great workout it's essential to get in some protein and possibly a meal to replenish and help rebuild muscle and refuel your body with all the nutrients it needs post-exercise.
One of the leading brands of protein for many years has been Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard (100% Whey) This has been my go-to protein powder for many years. Although also a bit more expensive than other protein supplements, I feel the quality is outstanding and worthwhile. The many flavors they have are delicious and the scoops are nicely sized. The powder dissolves very even and easy and it absorbs into your body fairly quickly. This means faster protein-synthesis or your body building muscle quicker. There are many forms of protein with certain trade-offs, some which take longer to digest than others and some that break down much slower. In order to really understand what works best it is always a great idea to experiment and see which fits your goals and body best. If you are still unsure, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard (100% Whey) Protein is a solid recommendation. Even after taking your pre-workout and your post-workout supplements, sometimes you may just not have the drive or energy to keep pushing through the workout … this is where intra-workout supplements shine.
I have not been too keen on intra-workouts as I feel the PWO does the job at least to the level that I need. When I did decide to take one because I went with Xtend by Sci-Vation. This stuff is pretty powerful and comes in this green / blue powder, we like to call it the “Hulk Juice” nicknamed after it's color. This gives you more of that power / energy boost during your exercises which helps with explosive pumps and harder, more intense workouts. For me, I could certainly feel a positive change while I was on this stuff, but my wallet felt the opposite. This stuff is not necessarily cheap, especially when you combine it with all the other supplements.