Heads up: This ‘recipe’ has more than six ingredients! But it’s one of my favorites, because it’s my very own evidence-based workout mix! The amounts are proprietary, though future clients will be privy to this information as I’ll have individualized supplement plans available! You’ll likely be able to piece together this puzzle based on future blog posts highlighting the stars of the current sport nutrition arena. Keep in mind that no amount of supplementation will compensate for a poor diet, but with a well-crafted nutrition plan, supplementation can help set you apart from the rest!
You can purchase most of these ingredients in bulk at AMAZING prices from Bulk Supplements! I prefer to order ingredients individually so I can modify the mix, use doses that are effective in the literature, and take things at different times of the day if I so choose. I have linked every ingredient for you, so just click away and build your own mix! (The blend names here are just for silliness. 🙂 All of these ingredients are applicable to multiple modes of exercise, but this is what you usually see in multi-ingredient pre-workout packages).
RESISTANCE TRAINING BLEND
Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder (250 grams)
Beet Root Powder
Caffeine + Essential Amino Acids (Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy): Orange and Watermelon taste the best with this mix, or alone! This is necessary, in my opinion, because the rest of the ingredients don’t taste awesome on their own.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Optional (recommended for vegetarians or those on a calorie-restricted diet): BCAA Branched Chain Essential Amino Acids Powder by BulkSupplements (500 grams) | 100% Pure 2:1:1 Instantized Formula | Pre/Post Workout Bodybuilding Supplement | Boost Muscle Growth
I know what you’re thinking, now: Where’s the evidence!? Fear not! There will be much more in the future, but for now, here’s the brief rundown:
- Beta-alanine acts as a buffer against lactic acidosis (the burn!) during events lasting 1-4.5 minutes. Studies have shown that supplementation can increase peak power and training volume. More volume means more metabolic and mechanical stress on your muscles, and that means more results!
- Creatine monohydrate is one of the most extensively studied ergogenic aids on the market, and widely regarded as extremely effective at increasing power, strength, and training volume.
- HMB seems almost too good to be true, but numerous studies have shown that supplementation leads to reduced fat mass and increased lean mass as well as elevations in lactate threshold (this is the point at which you feel the burn, and the desire to stop pumping out the reps!). It appears to be anti-catabolic; in other words, it prevents the loss of muscle mass.
- Research on TMG is still somewhat limited, but studies have shown improved body composition and training volume when supplementation is combined with training, likely due to its effect on factors that regulate skeletal muscle hypertrophy.
- Beet root is high in nitrate, a compound that is converted into the vasodilator (aka: increased blood vessel diameter and more blood flow to muscles) nitric oxide. Numerous studies have shown that nitrate supplementation improves endurance and high-intensity exercise performance and enhances the efficiency of oxygen utilization.
- L-Citrulline is a precursor of L-arginine, another compound used for nitric oxide synthesis in the body. It may enhance vasodilation moreso than L-arginine supplementation, and also appears to improve endurance performance.
- The jury is still out on the effectiveness of essential amino acid supplementation for performance, so the real reasons for the Amino Energy are the caffeine and the TASTE! Caffeine is another highly effective ergogenic aid. Because it’s a stimulant, it increases both endurance and anaerobic performance and reduces the rate of perceived exertion; you can work harder because it feels easier! This may be one of the reasons that energy drinks are second only to multivitamins as the most popular dietary supplements in young adults.
- Several studies have shown that tart cherry extract, either in juice or powdered form, reduces inflammation and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Contrary to popular belief, lactic acid is not the cause of DOMS; rather, it’s caused by actual microtears in the muscle tissue which lead to inflammation.
- Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, have been shown to reduce inflammatory markers and perceived soreness following exercise.
- The BCAA’s include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine supplementation alone or in combination with the other two BCAA’s has been shown to increase lean body mass and prevent muscle breakdown during caloric restriction in combination with resistance training, but there isn’t strong evidence that it improves performance during the workout. While supplementation may improve performance during long bouts of endurance exercise, it’s more likely to improve recovery. However, BCAA’s are found naturally in food, and in very high levels in animal proteins. So, unless you’re eating a low-protein diet or one that doesn’t include animal proteins, you probably don’t need to supplement with BCAA’s. Even soy contains 1.8g of leucine per ounce (28g), so about two scoops of soy protein powder or one scoop of whey protein powder would supply you with the 2-5g effective dose of leucine.
OTHER INGREDIENTS OF INTEREST
There are a few ingredients that I haven’t tried yet, but I find the current research quite compelling! I’ll post more on this in the future, but here are a few studies to wet your whistle.
Phosphatidic Acid – It appears to enhance lean body mass gains and strength. If you don’t want to buy the powder, you can also get plenty of PA from soy lecithin, though it is fairly high in fat (because PA is a phospholipid).
Of course, the nature of nutritional science is that it is quite dynamic! There are so many supplements to study with such a variety of methodologies that it’s impossible to make a definitive statement that any supplement will benefit all types of exercise.
Well, except maybe for caffeine…but I’m admittedly biased, because I love coffee. ❤