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Performance Supplements

performance supplements

When we talk about performance supplements we cross into dangerous and unproven territory. Essentially we’re looking for shortcuts. The products included here are effective at providing those shortcuts, at least while you’re using them. But their long-term benefits and risks are highly questionable. This section is only for competitive athletes.

Virtually anyone can achieve the same exercise and fitness goals without any supplements in this category. Therefore, in general I do not specifically recommend using any of the supplements listed in this category.

But if you do intend to use athletic performance-enhancing supplements, these are the ONLY supplements I recommend. This is not to say these are the least dangerous, but rather these are the most effective legal nutritional supplements that I have experience with. As far as I know, at the time of this writing none of these are banned in any major sport/competition. Furthermore, I have evaluated each of these products personally and found them to work at least to some degree for me.

It should be noted that these products will affect each individual differently. Some contain caffeine and other stimulants that could cause unwanted or dangerous side effects. Likewise, some of them do not work on certain individuals (for example a segment of the population does not respond to creatine supplements). The drink powders also contain artificial sweeteners.

If you want to feel energized and powerful, then this is the pre-workout supplement for you. This stuff will make you feel like you can lift an Abrams tank (you can lift 70 tons now, right?). And it WILL improve your strength and endurance.

This is basically a short-term creatine delivery drink, plus nitric oxide booster, plus caffeine (I’m dramatically over-simplifying this complex product). The bottom line is it’s not like creatine loading where you strain your system and flush tons of unused creatine through your kidneys. This is only for right before your workout.

I’ve used this enough to know it positively does work. I no longer use these types of products due to safety concerns. The problem with this product (and all similar ones) is when you cycle off, you will instantly realize the gains you made leave just as quickly as they arrived.

It does contain artificial sweeteners (it is aspartame free at least) and there really is no evidence to definitively prove that this or any similar products are safe for short or long term use. I personally believe that these products can cause high blood pressure. Many people develop a tolerance to this product and feel the need to take larger doses to get the same level of results.

If you’re going to take a pre-workout enhancer and you can tolerate caffeine, then this may be the product for you. If you are not an athlete and have no reason to endanger your body with unproven supplements, then I suggest you skip this one, because the gains it will help you make are only temporary.

Compare Prices on BSN NO-Xplode

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BSN - N.O.-Xplode

This is another pre-workout performance drink, that also boosts nitric oxide levels and provides a creatine and glutamine matrix for better energy production. This product is similar to N.O.-Xplode but without the caffeine.

I have taken this product and while it does not feel quite as dramatic as N.O. Xplode, I do think that on paper the results I achieved with it were just as spectacular, but without the caffeine produced jitters.

Again it has an artificial sweetener (sucralose a.k.a. Splenda®) and there is no evidence that the ingredients are safe for short or long term use. Also, as with similar products the gains made, while seemingly dramatic, do tend to fade as soon as you discontinue use.

If you’re going for the performance enhancer route, this is the one I’d pick if you don’t want the caffeine. It is also more expensive than other similar products, including VPX N.O Shotgun (which tastes horrendous!) and MuscleTech NaNO Vapor (I haven't tried this one). But in almost every case, I would strongly recommend you do without these types of products in the first place.

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xyience NOX-CG3 Creatine

If you’re looking for a recovery supplement in the performance area, HBM is the molecule you need. The most cost-efficient, simple way to get it is with the EAS HMB capsules.

HMB (B-hydroxy B-methylbutyrate monohydrate) is a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) that is believed to help minimize protein breakdown that occurs during workouts. This helps speed up muscle recovery times.

HMB does occur naturally in foods and is produced by the body, so it is believed to be safe in the doses recommended. It is only beneficial for those exercising regularly, but I only recommend it for high-level athletes trying to get an edge in muscle recovery.

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EAS HMB, 250mg/200 Capsules

Optimum / Higher Power Nutrition "TRIBULUS 625"

If you want the natural way to boost testoreone production, studies show that tribulus root can have this effect without providing precursor hormones.

Both Optimum and Higher Power Nutrition offer Tribulus root supplements at 40% purity. When comparing you do need to look not only at the total dosage of tribulus, but also the purity. Both of these products are equivalent.

I recommend this simple, inexpensive herb over more complex products that have not, in my mind at least, shown improved results such as Xyience XTest.

Because it is not a hormone in itself, it is believed to be safe from side effects. Clinical research thus far has confirmed this.

For greater sex drive and testosterone production, this product can be combined with a LOW dose of DHEA (if and only if you are a healthy adult male – I suggest 30+ years old). If you do take DHEA, I suggest a dosage of 10mg to start. I do not suggest you exceed 25mg. I suggest Maximum Nutrients DHEA in 5mg pills.

There is another supplement that combines both of these things (and much more), called MHP T-Bomb 2. This stuff has a potent, nasty smell to it that I could never get over, but it is very highly touted by athletes and bodybuilders. I really can’t say if it’s safe (I’ve heard some stories of not-so-good side effects), nor can I tell you if it’s even legal in most competition organizations. All I can say is that a lot of people talk about it.

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Optimum "TRIBULUS 625"

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