What's in That Bottle?
So what the heck is actually in all those colorful bottles and jugs in the nutritional supplement
section of your local gym or health club? More importantly, do they actually work? And if they
do, are they just for athletes or for people trying to lose mass amounts of weight? To address
these questions, I meandered into my local gym and asked to check out their nutritional
I literally took each bottle off the shelf and inspected the label. Without any further ado, here’s
Fat Burn: Pyruvate
Pyruvate is basically an intermediate compound in your body's carbohydrate burning cycle. This
carb burning cycle acts like a wheel that spins at certain rate. The faster the wheel spins, the
more carbs you burn. By increasing the amount of available pyruvate, this supplement would
speed up the wheel. When combined with a low calorie diet, this can be effective, especially if
you have a high carb intake. This supplement would be most useful for individuals trying to
speed up their metabolism without feeling the "overdrive" effect of energy supplements and
Fat Burn: Thermogenics
Just as the name implies, thermogenics increase the body's core temperature, while also
stimulating release of fat cells for energy and regulating appetite. People who are not overly
sensitive to caffeine or other central nervous system stimulants can actually benefit from this
boost to the metabolism. Athletes may also find something like this useful as an ergogenic aid to
increase awareness and conserve the body's carbohydrate stores by burning more fat.
Carb Resist Formula - HCA
The primary ingredient in this supplement is hydroxy citric acid. This compound can help reduce
carbohydrate conversion to fat and instead cause formation of glycogen, your body's storage
carbohydrate. This process actually tricks your brain into thinking that food is present in excess,
thereby controlling your appetite. This would be useful for compulsive eaters or individuals
attempting to control caloric intake.
Carb Resist Formula - CCK
CCK stands for "Cholesystokinin", which is a protein used by your body to control appetite.
Normally when you eat food, you digestive system release CCK, and this causes your nervous
system to send a signal to the brain that you're "full and satisfied". By presenting CCK in the
absence of food, this supplement achieves the same result without the calories. Again useful for
people who just need to control their appetite.
Glucosamine-Chondroitin Joint Support
Most of us have dealt with joint pain or arthritis-like symptoms at some point, especially with
high amounts of exercise. Glucosamine and chondroitin act by attracting water into a joint
(which enhances lubrication), forming healthy joint bone tissue and reducing the level of
cartilage-destroying compounds in the joint. Many individuals claim a significant amount of
reduced joint pain upon supplementing with a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin.
In the absence of a proper and complete diet (which defines most typical Western diets), kids
often need more than just food in order to develop properly. While you shouldn't use multi-
vitamins as a crutch to ignore poor dietary habits, supplying your kids with a complete array of
multivitamins and minerals in a tasty chewable form is a good idea.
Multivitamin for Protein Diet & Multivitamin for Carb Diet
Depending on the type of diet you consume, you will have a higher requirement for certain
arrays of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. For instance, an individual consuming a high protein
diet with lots of animal meats will have a lower need for supplements like vitamin B and iron. By
categorizing multi-vitamins according to macronutrient intake, these allow you to avoid ingesting
excess compounds that you may not need, while still obtaining adequate vitamin levels.
Exercise, pollution, and environmental toxins produce free radicals in our bodies, which can
contribute to cell membrane and muscle tissue damage, while at the same time inhibiting proper
recovery and immune system integrity. An antioxidant formula contains an array of natural
compounds designed to "scavenge and destroy" free radicals. Even though fruits and
vegetables also contain high amounts of antioxidants, if you exercise regularly or with a large
amount of intensity, your recovery would be highly enhanced by including antioxidants in your
High doses of vitamin C have been suggested to enhance immune system strength, maximize
the immune system response, and decrease levels of free radicals. Especially during cold and
flu season, this can be useful. A vitamin C supplement provides a packaged and convenient
way to get your vitamin C, which is nice when you just don't have time to reach for the OJ.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's)
Amino acids are the building blocks for protein formation, which your body especially needs
after heavy amounts of a muscle tearing exercise, such as resistance training. Leucine,
Isoleucine, and Valine are the three amino acids found in most BCAA supplements, and can not
only help minimize muscle degradation, but can also delay fatigue. This would be a great
compound for athletes and individuals for which a quick recovery from exercise is important. As
a bonus for endurance athletes, it can also be a significant source of energy during workouts
that exceed 2-3 hours.
Most supplements of this nature are designed with one goal in mind: build muscle mass. To
achieve this effect, this mixture includes creatine for enhancing intensity and duration of
muscular contractions, combined with taurine, glutamine, glycine, alanine, betaine, and inositol
for muscle building, recovery, energy conservation, and antioxidant activity. A "mass-builder"
like this would be most beneficial for a bodybuilder or athlete attempting to increase size as
quickly as possible without sacrificing explosiveness, intensity, and recovery capability.
Protein Tablets and Protein Powder
As a provider of all the necessary amino acids, complete proteins are necessary for recovery
and muscle building. And that's not just for individuals trying to "get heavier" or increase muscle
mass. Any individual engaging in strenuous cardiovascular exercise or any form of resistance
training must consume a complete protein within 30 minutes after exercise to be properly
recovered. The reason for this is that the levels of the hormones responsible for protein uptake
into muscle tissue are highest during this time, then begin to drop off as you relax. The
convenience of protein tablets and protein powder allows this recovery to take place as soon as
you're done exercising. Most gyms will sell some type of shaker or mixer to make your shake on
the spot, rather than waiting to eat until you drive home.
The primary difference between protein powders and meal replacement drinks is the presence
of carbohydrate in the meal replacement drink. While it's true that protein is essential for muscle
recovery, carbohydrate is also also essential for recovery, activity, and the assurance of a good
workout the next day. I actually recommend a meal replacement drink *over* the consumption of
a protein-only drink during the time immediately following exercise. This way, a protein-only
drink can be used at a different time of day, when carbohydrate consumption is not as
important, and the excess carbohydrates may actually cause weight gain.
Nitric oxide, or NO for short, causes vasodilation in your blood vessels. This means that the
vessel becomes larger, allowing for a greater amount of oxygen flow, energy delivery and
glucose uptake. Individuals who would benefit most from this effect would be heavy
weightlifters, who need that extra pump of blood for more oxygen during a large lift, and
bodybuilders, who need that "venous" look. Many NO supplements also include other muscle
mass volumizing compounds like creatine, branched chain amino acids and whey protein. So
although they can be more expensive, you may save money in the long term on such a mixture.
I mention this compound because it includes a "muscle cell uptake proprietary matrix". All this
means is that compounds are included in the supplement that enhance delivery from the gut
into the bloodstream or from the bloodstream into the muscle tissue. Since many supplements
are not as easily absorbed as their whole food counterparts, the presense of absorption
enhancement can be a valuable addition.
Some us associate creatine with explosive sports like football or weightlifting. This is because
creatine is a component of your body's "high-energy" system, fueling activities that last for a
very short 5-20 second period of time. After this very short effort is over, creatine levels are
restored in the muscle and another brief, all-out exercise movement can take place. For
individuals who need very quick bursts of speed or power, creatine can enhance the effort by
providing a few extra seconds of energy, and a slightly enhanced recovery period. This is
useful, of course, for all power athletes, as well as weightlifters who want to lift more reps with a
slightly heavier weight for more muscle mass gain. For endurance athletes, creatine can
increase force application, delay emptying of carbohydrate stores, and decrease recovery time
between bike sprints or quick hill efforts. Some water weight gain and muscle cramping has
been associated with creatine, but no serious side effects have been observed
Endurance Recovery Formula
An endurance recovery formula has a carbohydrate to protein ratio that differs from a
"weightlifting" recovery formula. While most weightlifting formulas range from equal amount of
carbs and protein, to a slightly higher amount of protein, endurance recovery formulas typically
fall into a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Research has shown that this ratio results in
optimal re-fueling and recovery. Since your body needs the amino acids from protein to repair
and rebuild broken muscle fibers and other tissues, protein is a necessity in any endurance
recovery formula. The carbohydrates help to restore the muscle glycogen, or stored energy
levels. The 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates allows for carbohydrate uptake into
muscle tissue to be accompanied by very efficient protein uptake. This combo allows for
enhanced response to the previous workout and a better workout the next day.
What does the "ISSN" after my name mean? It means I am certified by the International Society
of Sports Nutrition, which is the most difficult sports nutrition degree to attain, requiring years of
study and a degree in a exercise science related field. It also means that I am on a constant
research quest to discover the products that best serve your performance, immune system, or
weight loss needs.
Based on my knowledge and qualifications, I've handpicked what I consider to be the "best of
the best" nutritional supplements and now feature them in a brand new supplements section of
Pacific Elite Fitness. my website. Many of these are the exact products that I personally take
every morning OR use to fuel an active lifestyle.
As a bonus to newsletter recipients only, you can use this special discount code: IMPAX08 for
FREE shipping on any order of Impax brand supplements from the website. I personally take six
Enerprime, 1 Delta-E, 2 EnerEFA, and 1 ProstElan every day - and my body runs like a well-
Until next time, train and eat smart,
NSCA-CPT, CSCS, MS, C-ISSN
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