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Cocktail Anyone?

Enhance your workout performance by starting right with key pre-workout supplement combinations.

Pre-workout energy powders have lately been finding their way into the supplementation regimens of many bodybuilders. These products commonly contain a blend of stimulants and strength-promoting ingredients that are marketed as synergists (ie., when combined, the benefits of each ingredient are enhanced). Until recently, however, scientific research and studies to test the acute effectiveness of these increasingly popular supplements have been very limited.

In a study published in Nutritional Research, scientists from the University of Oklahoma tested a supposed synergistic cocktail of commonly prescribed pre-workout supplements to try and determine whether the effects on anaerobic performance and aerobic power were in fact augmented. The cocktail contained a mixture of C. sinensis, arginine AKG, Kre-Alkayn, citrulline AKG, Eleutherococcus senticosus, taurine, leucine, R. rosea, sodium chloride, valine, isoleucine, caffeine and whey protein concentrate. After familiarisation and baseline testing 10 subjects completed two test days that included running to exhaustion on a treadmill. On days one and two only, subjects drank either the pre-workout supplement mixture or an isocaloric placebo 30 minutes before the exercise session. The scientists reported participants who consumed the pre-workout energy supplement experienced substantially increased anaerobic running capacity and time to exhaustion, with no difference recorded in aerobic power s compared to the control group. The one shortcoming of this study is that the authors did not test each ingredient in the pre-workout cocktail separately, but they speculated caffeine was likely the main ingredient to play a key role in creasing anaerobic performance among the test group.

The ingredients in the test supplement from this particular study are very common to most pre-workout formulas you will see on the market today. Although this study was quite short and the design simple, the findings are important. Based on the outcome subjects experienced, pre-workout energy powders seem to boost workout intensity the day you start taking them. Thje fact that subjects underwent treadmill running during testing may put into question the applicability of the findings to bodybuilders focused primarily on weight training. However, because the supplement mixture caused better performance only under anaerobic conditions (and had no effect on aerobic power), the study lends much credence to the use of supplements before resistance training to enhance energy and strength.


Powerful Cancer Protection

Exercise and caffeine both have anti-cancer properties. Scientists at Rutgers University conducted research on animals exposed to UVB radiation and found caffeine and exercise combined increased the animals’ ability to destroy skin-cancer cells by up to four times. Researchers suspect caffeine inhibits the genetic pathway ATR-1, preventing damaged cells from self-destructing. Caffeine and exercise both decrease tissue fat, helping cells deconstruct. Monique Ryan, author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes, recommends drinking a cup of strong coffee an hour before training. The caffeine will also help delay fatigue and increase endurance for a better workout.

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Green Tea Component Does It Promote Energy Expenditure?

Green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which promotes fat loss and protects the cells from free radicals produced naturally during metabolism. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that caffeine (200mgs per day for 3 days) increased energy expenditure, while EGCG (300 or 600mgs per day for 3 days) had no effect. Several studies found that EGCG and green tea promoted weight loss and reduced the risk of some types of cancer. However, these studies are controversial, and more research is needed before this supplement is recommended for weight loss or cancer prevention.

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Caffeine Increases Growth Hormone Response To Weight Training

Many athletes take caffeine in the form of pills or energy drinks to enhance performance or energy levels during training. Caffeine stimulates adrenaline release and can improve the quality of workouts. A study from the Journal of Sports Science Medicine, found that caffeine (6 mgs per kilogram of bodyweight) increased growth hormone release for at least 30 minutes after weight training session. Caffeine increases blood fatty acid levels, which triggers increases in growth hormone. Caffeine might be a useful supplement because it increases strength and training intensity, and promotes a post-exercise anabolic response.

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6 Ways to Sleep Better

Here are 6 ways to ensure you can sleep better:
1) Limit caffeine to the morning with none after 2pm.
2) Do a brain dump two hours before bed.
3) Turn off TVs and computers one hour before bed.
4) Sip decaf tea, listen to soft music, read something light.
5) Leave phones and electrics outside of your bedroom.
6) Make sure your bedroom temperature is 67-60°F

Here are 3 bonus strategies:
1) Have an epsom salt baths 1 hour before bed.
2) Experiment with a small protein and fat pre-bed meal.
3) Take phosphatidylserine at dinner and bedtime.