for a chance to win
But the cruel fact is, with our schedules maxed out, the vast majority of us just don't have the time to prepare several high quality meals that hit all the nutritional requirements. The alternative for many is to grab a Ready-to-Drink product or protein bar at the local quickie-mart to just get through, hoping the protein source is at least good enough to stop some muscle loss before the next meal. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest mistakes a bodybuilder can make.
Although they may look impressive with their 30 grams or more of protein and a few added vitamins, most of these bars and RTDs are actually loaded with low quality proteins, simple sugars and ingredients of questionable purity that are not going to help much. The most likely result is that you'll add a few extra pounds of unwanted fat. Although there are a few exceptions that may have a higher nutritional profile, generally the processing required for RTDs and protein bars limits the type of ingredients to mostly inferior types.
All of which brings us to the traditional meal replacement. They may not be the most hyped or trendy options out there, but for between-meal nutritional support on the go, MRPs have always been the best choice. But not just any will do. I's important to carefully examine the ingredients list in order to get the best anabolic results because, unfortunately, MRPs can be subject to the same inferior quality ingredients as RTDs and protein bars. Protein, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients all need to be the highest grade possible to truly support your workout efforts.
Protein: The Most Essential Ingredient for any MRP
Most MRPs tend to compromise on the most critical ingredient: the protein. This is a problem because to stop catabolism, muscles not only need quality protein, but they require it for an extended period of time. The whey concentrate, milk protein and calcium caseinate found in many MRPs is simply not anabolic enough, nor is it the type needed for long term absorption. To really stop muscle wasting effectively, you need a high quality, short-to-longer uptake protein blend and this can only be accomplished by using quick, medium and longer absorbing protein sources.
As an example, ProSource NutriPure Supreme uses a protein matrix of whey hydrolysate subjected to a very high degree of hydrolysis (the quick uptake), cross-flow micro-filtrated whey isolate (medium uptake) and micellar casein (slow uptake). These three not only deliver extended absorption, they are also highly anabolic with muscle building amino acid peptides and important protein micro fractions, truly some of the best protein sources you can find. They are, in fact, usually reserved for elite mass building formulas, not typically seen in MRPs. And this is not a small shot of protein, NutriPure Supreme offers one of the highest amounts of any MRP on the market -- a full 42 grams of the best quality protein available in an MRP. The effect is as expected: superior anabolic support that lasts for hours during your hectic day.
Carbohydrates: Only the Complex Kind
Will Keep You Anti-Catabolic during the Day
Another ingredient you'll find conspicuously absent in MRP formulas is complex carbohydrates, with most manufacturers opting to load up with simple refined sugars instead. Generally, it's much easier to create good taste by increasing refined sugar amounts in a product instead of taking the longer and more costly route of product development. Bottom line: Refined sugar is cheap and sweet.
The down side of too much refined sugar in an MRP is rather disastrous for a couple of reasons. First, simple sugars give a quick boost in energy, then after they're used up, a wash out period leaves you with a lack of energy and motivation. That's not what you need in the middle of the day. The second problem has to do with your hard earned mass gains. During the day, your muscles need the slower uptake of sugar from complex carbohydrates because simple sugars don't last long enough in the digestive tract to keep blood sugars balanced. If blood sugar gets too low, your body will literally feed on itself (breakdown muscle) to keep blood sugar levels normal. Also, glycogen (stored muscle energy) needs to be replenished slowly during the day to make your next workout successful and energetic. The amount of complex carbohydrates required is not huge, but you need some in order to keep muscle tissue from being used up.
NutriPure Supreme offers a good example of an effective carbohydrate blend. Each packet provides 15 grams of complex carbohydrates, mostly from oat bran and sweet potato powder, that have a very low glycemic index (less impact on blood sugar levels) and provide long lasting energy. These unrefined carbohydrate sources have natural fiber as well (5 grams per serving) that has the added effect of keeping the carbohydrates and protein from absorbing too quickly, keeping you satisfied for a longer period of time. The end result: extended energy levels during the day, glycogen replenishment to keep muscles from breaking down and more balanced blood sugar levels to keep you happy.
Compare these sources to the average MRP and you'll see that NutriPure Supreme provides one of the best carbohydrate profiles of any in its class.
Fats: No MRP is Complete without Them
An essential for any top -notch MRP is high quality fats. You'll often see MRPs with little or none at all; or fats derived from milk protein, a type that can add unwanted body weight. Quality fats in an MRP are important for several reasons. Along with carbohydrates, fats can provide an extended source of energy during the day. Certain fats like omega-3s from flax can also help sore muscles recover and reduce tissue inflammation from intense workouts. Fats also help to keep hunger satisfied during the day so that you don't turn to sugary snacks and ruin your workout results.
The fats in NutriPure Supreme are in line with all of the above benefits. Its high quality fatty acid matrix contains 7 grams of healthy high-oleic sunflower oil, CLA, and flaxseed. High-oleic sunflower oil can help to satisfy hunger as well as help provide long lasting energy to support workouts and an active lifestyle. The flaxseed powder in NutriPure Supreme contains omega-3 oils that are very effective in helping muscles recover from intense exercise in addition to their well-known heart health benefits. Taking the fat equation one step further, this comprehensive formulation adds conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a natural oil shown to help increase lean muscle mass while simultaneously improving body composition.
for a chance to win
Touch that Makes all the Difference
Many formulators put together protein, carbs, and fats, then stop there, which is a mistake that separates the inferior from the top-shelf MRP products. After all, there's more to “meal replacement” for athletes than just the basics.
NutriPure Supreme shows its strength in this area as well with a complete spectrum of support nutrients including vitamins, minerals, anabolic amino acids and digestive enzymes. The formulators at ProSource left nothing to chance when adding the final touches: Energy support from B vitamins plus antioxidant and inflammation protection from vitamins A, C and E as well as a full spectrum of important minerals. The list goes on with anabolic support from key aminos glutamine, taurine, N-acetyl L-carnitine, BCAAs leucine, isoleucine and valine plus beta alanine, N-acetyl cysteine and L-carnitine L-tartrate. NutriPure Supreme is truly an example of the all the support nutrients an MRP needs to deliver the best day to day muscle protection and energy support.
Taste: The Final Element for Determining a Winner
Of course no discussion of MRPs is complete without covering one of their most important elements: Taste. Let's face it; all the best and purest muscle building nutrients in the world won't do you any good if you can't get them in to your stomach.
Many MRPs run the gamut from too chalky, too bitter, tasteless and disgustingly sweet. And then there is that rare breed that's been given extra care in flavor development. NutriPure Supreme's formulators spent countless hours perfecting every detail of NutriPure's flavor to create an MRP that tastes more like a gourmet dessert than a high level nutrition support formula. The result is a product that wins consistently high praise from bodybuilders in blind taste comparisons and equally high online ratings for its superior flavor.
Tough Decisions Made Easier
Making solid, anabolic food choices for your bodybuilding lifestyler can be overwhelming, but the decision to add an MRP to your routine can help to simplify a somewhat complex problem. Remember the four basics for deciding on a quality MRP: Protein, Carohydrates, Fats and Support Nutrients. Look for the highest quality and purity in these 4 categories because every food that goes into your body will reflect your final bodybuilding results.
Many people have their supplement and meal essentials packed away in their gym bag for easy access. Tell us, what's in your gym bag? Let us know in the comments field below!