Raise Your Workouts to the Next Level With These Dynamic Performance-Enhancing Factors
Growth. Strength increase. In the end, it all comes down to output over time.
To make gains in strength and size, you have to maximize work accomplished over a minimized interval (30 minutes to, at most, 60 minutes). What’s more, you can’t be hitting the same mark every day. You always have to be progressing. More work, shorter intervals. Stagnation is the enemy.
Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, sport nutrition is always progressing, too. So when you need the power of science to give you a little more push, an impetus to bang out a few more reps for overall greater training stimulus, you can be sure the top innovators in the supplement field have your back. That said, let’s take a look at 5 technologies indispensable to a super-productive workout.1. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is the most widely researched and investigated ingredient in the supplement universe. For over 20 years now, creatine has been intensely scrutinized in a wide array of studies for its ability to improve exercise performance
How intensely? A review article on these studies impressively concluded that of the (literally) hundreds of published studies available on creatine, approximately 70% of them reported that creatine statistically improved exercise performance. (Even the remaining 30% of the studies showed performance improvements, they just didn’t attain often unrealistically inflated benchmarks.)
How does it work? Creatine supplementation increases stores of phosphocreatine in muscle fibers, which helps your muscles rapidly rebuild the energy molecules that are being broken down during a hard workout. According to a position stand on creatine written by sport nutrition experts involved with the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), creatine can help improve strength and power, and it seems to work best by allowing you to add another rep or two to your existing weight or slide a few more pounds onto the bar while still hitting your rep numbers (Buford et al. 2007).
Several versions of creatine exist, but the monohydrate version dominates the scientific literature. Before you get caught up in all the hype surrounding various alternative forms of creatine, know that those buffered or conjugated forms of creatine have displayed no advantages whatsoever over tried-and-true creatine monohydrate, despite their hefty price tags. Also know that even among creatine monohydrates, one reigns supreme. That creatine monohydrate, Creapure® from the German manufacturer AlzChem, has established a decades-long reputation for excellent purity, potency, and effectiveness. That’s why ProSource brand Creatine
is 100% sourced by Creapure®. 2. Hydrolyzed Whey
There are two things to look for in a protein product, if you are seeking a quick, rapid delivery of essential amino acids
to stimulate maximal levels of muscle protein synthesis. First, read the label and find the words ‘whey protein isolate
’ as one of the first one or two ingredients. Isolate means additional processing was completed that resulted in a highly purified protein product, oftentimes over 90% protein. Many studies have used isolated versions of whey protein and consistently validate their ability to drive strength increases and hypertrophy (Cermak et al. 2012). Adding whey protein to creatine is an effective strategy for facilitating positive adaptations, and multiple published studies have reported an increase in strength and fat-free mass when combining protein and creatine (Kerksick et al. 2007, Tarnopolsky et al. 2001).
Of course, not all hydrolyzed whey products are created equal, either. Post-workout formulas like BioQuest’s MyoZene
take an extra step and use a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate as a basis. In this instance, you start with a very high-quality source of protein, but the proteins are broken apart by a process called hydrolysis, which effectively breaks the larger protein product up into smaller parts. The result is smaller protein factors that can readily enter the bloodstream and be transported to your muscles during the narrow interval of potential muscle recovery after a workout.
Ingestion of hydrolyzed proteins has been linked to reductions in markers of damage and an increase in muscle protein synthesis. Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have conducted what is considered by many to be the “slam dunk” investigation in favor of whey protein hydrolysate. They compared the capacity of similar doses of whey protein hydrolysate, casein and soy protein isolate to stimulate increases in muscle protein synthesis at rest and after a bout of lower-body resistance exercise. During periods of rest, whey protein hydrolysate facilitated a 93% greater protein-synthesis response compared to casein and 18% greater than soy. After exercise, the results were more impressive, with whey hydrolysate stimulating muscle protein synthesis values that were 122% higher than casein and 31% greater than soy (Tang et al. 2009).
Remember that any low-quality protein can be hydrolyzed. You want to look for a fully hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, as found in BioQuest’s MyoZene
. If you can find one that also contains a clinically indicated dosage of superior creatine monohydrate (again, look no further than MyoZene) you’ve found an agent of extreme muscle growth and strength increase.3. Betaine
Creatine and hydrolyzed whey protein isolate are considered by many researchers to be foundational ingredients. Other newer compounds, like betaine, are the subject of increasing interest as they display real performance-enhancing benefits. While more research is needed to drive a better understanding of how and when to use betaine, studies do exist to indicate it may play a role in driving greater strength and power outcomes.
A 2010 study involved 12 men supplementing for 14 days with either betaine or a placebo. After supplementation, lower body power during a vertical jump and force produced during a squat were increased in the betaine subjects, while no changes were seen in the placebo (Lee et al. 2010). Another year passed and this time a placebo-controlled study observed trained, college-aged men supplementing with betaine. The betaine-supplemented men achieved a significant increase in the total number of repetitions and total volume completed when 10 sets of bench press were completed in a single workout (Trepanowski et al. 2011). A final study used betaine supplementation to also report that it may also lead to favorable improvements in anabolic hormone levels as well as the activation and expression of key proteins related to muscle growth (Apicella et al. 2013). Betaine appears to be an ingredient that may help improve muscle endurance for both upper- and lower-body resistance training movements and (when added to other well-established ingredients) could further drive results.4. ATP Supplementation
As is the case with betaine, a limited number of studies involving ATP supplementation have been collected and published at this point. But the early evidence is encouraging.
ATP is the molecule that when broken down inside our body provides energy to our muscle cells. In 2004, one of the first studies appeared that determined if supplementation with ATP could improve aspects of power and strength. This initial study had 27 males dose with a low or high dose of supplemental ATP and complete two Wingate anaerobic capacity tests, as well as maximal strength and repetitions to fatigue at a standardized load. When dosed at the higher level (225 mg), researchers reported significant increases in maximal strength and a significant increase in repetitions completed before failure. Total volume was also increased (Jordan et al. 2004).
More recently, a 2012 study had 8 males and 8 females complete a double-blind, crossover study where 400 mg ATP supplementation was provided. In this study, 3 sets versus only 1 set of the exact same 50-rep test were completed. Significant improvements in fatigue resistance were seen throughout the 2nd set and a trend for these changes was also seen for the 3rd set. The authors concluded that ATP supplementation tended to reduce muscle fatigue and improve a person’s ability to maintain higher force outputs (Rathmacher et al. 2012).5. Beta Alanine
Another ingredient that has scientific support for enhancing training capacity is beta alanine. Indeed, an impressive position stand was published by the International Society of Sports Nutrition
on beta alanine. In critically reviewing all of the available literature, the authors reported that beta alanine can serve as an effective performance-enhancing aid.
Like many other supplements, beta alanine has the potential to work best under certain scenarios. Results from studies involving beta alanine indicate that intense prolonged bouts of exercise are where beta alanine provides the most continuous support. For example, studies involving training at high intensities to exhaustion yield favorable outcomes (Hill et al. 2007, Smith et al. 2009). Other studies have reported that supplementation with beta alanine can decrease the acidity of muscle (Baguet et al. 2010) and delay fatigue during high-intensity exercise (Derave et al. 2007). While further studies are still required, Hoffman reported that beta alanine can increase muscle strength in strength and power athletes (Hoffman et al. 2006).
Typical daily doses (3 to 4 smaller daily doses are advised) of 4 to 6 grams over a period of at least two weeks are advised, but ideally four weeks have resulted in the largest increases in carnosine levels inside the muscle (Trexler et al. 2015). ProSource offers a particularly high-quality source of beta alanine in its stand-alone Beta Alanine product
, perfect for attaining this indicated dosage. Another option is BioQuest's AndroFury
product which combines beta alanine with a matrix of other energy factors and a protodioscin-rich botanincval agent for supporting testosterone levels. The latter product is, in fact, tailor-made for generating the surge of intensity, focus, and energy necessary for productive workouts.
The bodybuilder’s goal is to constantly keep moving forward. More weight, more reps, more intensity. If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. That’s the hardest task there is, and it’s your job. Equip yourself with some (or all) of the supplementary agents discussed here, and achieve your physique and performance goals.Read more about MyoZene here.Read more about ProSource Creatine Monohydrate here.Read more about Andro Fury here.Scientific References:
Apicella, J. M., E. C. Lee, B. L. Bailey, C. Saenz, J. M. Anderson, S. A. Craig, W. J. Kraemer, J. S. Volek, and C. M. Maresh. 2013. "Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise." Eur J Appl Physiol 113 (3):793-802. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2492-8.
Baguet, A., K. Koppo, A. Pottier, and W. Derave. 2010. "Beta-alanine supplementation reduces acidosis but not oxygen uptake response during high-intensity cycling exercise." Eur J Appl Physiol 108 (3):495-503. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1225-0.
Buford, T. W., R. B. Kreider, J. R. Stout, M. Greenwood, B. Campbell, M. Spano, T. Ziegenfuss, H. Lopez, J. Landis, and J. Antonio. 2007. "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 4:6. doi: 1550-2783-4-6 [pii] 10.1186/1550-2783-4-6.
Cermak, N. M., P. T. Res, L. C. de Groot, W. H. Saris, and L. J. van Loon. 2012. "Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis." Am J Clin Nutr 96 (6):1454-64. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037556.
Derave, W., M. S. Ozdemir, R. C. Harris, A. Pottier, H. Reyngoudt, K. Koppo, J. A. Wise, and E. Achten. 2007. "beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters." J Appl Physiol 103 (5):1736-43. doi: 00397.2007 [pii] 10.1152/japplphysiol.00397.2007.
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Jordan, A. N., R. Jurca, E. H. Abraham, A. Salikhova, J. K. Mann, G. M. Morss, T. S. Church, A. Lucia, and C. P. Earnest. 2004. "Effects of oral ATP supplementation on anaerobic power and muscular strength." Med Sci Sports Exerc 36 (6):983-90.
Kerksick, C. M., C. Rasmussen, S. Lancaster, M. Starks, P. Smith, C. Melton, M. Greenwood, A. Almada, and R. Kreider. 2007. "Impact of differing protein sources and a creatine containing nutritional formula after 12 weeks of resistance training." Nutrition 23 (9):647-56. doi: S0899-9007(07)00184-0 [pii] 10.1016/j.nut.2007.06.015.
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McDermott, and S. A. Craig. 2010. "Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 7:27. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-27.
Rathmacher, J. A., J. C. Fuller, Jr., S. M. Baier, N. N. Abumrad, H. F. Angus, and R. L. Sharp. 2012. "Adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) supplementation improves low peak muscle torque and torque fatigue during repeated high intensity exercise sets." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9 (1):48. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-48.
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Spillane, M., R. Schoch, M. Cooke, T. Harvey, M. Greenwood, R. Kreider, and D. S. Willoughby. 2009. "The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6:6. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-6.
Tang, J. E., D. R. Moore, G. W. Kujbida, M. A. Tarnopolsky, and S. M. Phillips. 2009. "Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men." J Appl Physiol 107 (3):987-92. doi: 00076.2009 [pii]
Tarnopolsky, M. A., G. Parise, N. J. Yardley, C. S. Ballantyne, S. Olatinji, and S. M. Phillips. 2001. "Creatine-dextrose and protein-dextrose induce similar strength gains during training." Med Sci Sports Exerc 33 (12):2044-52.
Trepanowski, J. F., T. M. Farney, C. G. McCarthy, B. K. Schilling, S. A. Craig, and R. J. Bloomer. 2011. "The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance, skeletal muscle oxygen saturation and associated biochemical parameters in resistance trained men." J Strength Cond Res 25 (12):3461-71. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318217d48d.
Trexler, E. T., A. E. Smith-Ryan, J. R. Stout, J. R. Hoffman, C. D. Wilborn, C. Sale, R. B. Kreider, R. Jager, C. P. Earnest, L. Bannock, B. Campbell, D. Kalman, T. N. Ziegenfuss, and J. Antonio. 2015. "International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12:30. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y.
Chad Kerksick received his PhD in Exercise, Nutrition and Preventive Health in 2006. Since that time he has conducted several studies examining the impact of exercise and nutrition and continues to conduct research in these areas resulting in over 70 peer-reviewed publications, 100 research presentations, two books and several books chapters. The information provided throughout this article are not to be construed as endorsements of ProSource or the products discussed. Further, the views discussed are those of Dr. Kerksick and not the university or any organization in which he is affiliated.
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