Power Analysis: BSN N.O. Xplode 2.0

Yeah, baby. It’s N.O. Xplode 2.0! No one has gone through a serious workout program without hearing about this product. It’s a legend, even though sometimes I really don’t know why. Before I even started training seriously I had heard about N.O. Xplode. It has been copied by other Pre Workout Supplements as well, because that is always what is done with the best products. If you have ever wondered why some people are your gym are WIRED or in my case, seem super angry and determined, living in some crazy other world zone, N.O. Xplode is probably to blame, or thank, I have no idea. Just take one look at their advertisement and you will see what they are going for–ripped, strong, powerful. Of course, this can be kind of intimidating, and Pre Workouts should be taken with caution, but they can be very useful, and sometimes mean the difference between serious gains and lackluster results simply because of enhanced motivation. Here’s why:

noxplode2-img1

What is a Pre Workout Supplement?

A Pre Workout supplement is a powdery substance designed to help you push your body to the EXTREME. If taken before a lifting session, Pre Workout supplements are designed to improve focus and energy, allowing you to lift more and build muscles faster. Of course, caffeine has a lot to do with all of this added energy. Don’t fear, if you have a low tolerance of caffeine, there are decaffeinated versions of Pre Workout supplements that can be taken to achieve desired results.

Pre Workouts contain a similar formula of a few key ingredients (aside from Caffeine):

 L-Arginine to support oxygen flow and create a pump: this amino acid is a vasodilator, which means it may help your blood vessels expand within a normal range.

Beta-Alanine to promote muscular endurance, maximize protein synthesis, and decrease fatigue during your workout: this is responsible for your ability to push through a difficult workout. It is also the cause of the strange tingling sensation you will get when you take pre workout supplements!

Why Should I Take Pre Workout Supplements?

Pre Workout supplements are particularly effective at ensuring that you are able to push through a tough workout even if you are tired. They pump you full of energy, and make you feel like you can lift anything. Of course, lift with caution to prevent injuries (says me, clearly the expert…). Pre Workouts can also enhance focus and endurance during your workout, which helps you to push out more reps, support blood flow to the muscles, and create the pump that many bodybuilders crave. Pre Workouts can enhance results due to its ability to help you push through harder and further.

What Makes N.O. Xplode 2.0 Special?

I was initially terrified to try N.O. Xplode. I used to be very sensitive to caffeine, and I initially only purchased pre workout supplements that did not contain caffeine. I received a sample of N.O. Xplode, and decided to try it during Kris Gethin’s DTP leg workout, because I clearly knew I would need something to put me in another place. It was intense, but it worked. The first thing I noticed was the intense tingling feeling, which in itself made me want to work harder, just to get rid of it! I was able to push through a really intense workout, focused, and enjoying every step of the way. I have noticed that the formula has changed in the 2.0 version, and it is not as strong as it used to be, despite claims that it is stronger. Even the flavor is slightly reduced.

I did notice a pump, particularly in my forearms. They felt like they were going to pop even after only three sets of my first exercise. I do notice a difference in the quality of my workouts without it, but I find that I can’t take it any later than 5:30 p.m. if I want to have a chance to sleep before 3 a.m. It does achieve its desired result, it keeps me energized, and I find that it maybe goes a bit too far. It doesn’t give me the shaking feeling of an energy drink, but it has been known to make me quite angry at times, but that makes for a stronger workout.

By the way, N.O. stands for nitric oxide. BSN explains its purpose here: “N.O.-XPLODE™ 2.0’s key ingredients support nitric oxide production, oxygen delivery, working capacity and electrolyte balance, helping you create show-stopping muscle pumps and vascularity and experience more rewarding workouts and performance.” 

I have only tried the Fruit Punch flavor, and it is very good. Most other pre workout supplements I have had have been absolute torture to drink. I would dread drinking them, sitting on the bench at the gym sipping them for up to 10 minutes just trying to get them down. This one is much more tolerable, I have never had an issue with it. I do recommend stirring it rather than shaking it, because I have had it pop the top off of my bottles before and everyone thinks the noise is something a lot scarier than a pre workout!

Shake and take with caution!

photo 1 (3)

Where to Buy Xtend?

N.O. Xplode is extremely popular, and should be carried at most supplement stores, like Popeye’s in Canada. I ordered mine off bodybuilding.com, typical.

Advertisements

Results of RMT Visit

I am currently facing my first huge setback in training for this competition, and it remains to be seen how quickly I will recover and move beyond it. On Thursday last week I injured my mid-back on the lat pulldown machine. I only noticed the injury two hours after I had completed the exercise, so I had no indication that I needed to stop or drop my weights. In fact, I was doing the same weights as the week prior with less reps, so I really had no indication that this was going to become such a large issue. I had stupidly destroyed my lower left back months ago doing squats on the smith machine, the only option my last atrocious but cheap gym offered for weighted squats. I stopped doing squats until about two weeks ago, and it became painful and inflamed again. I have also had an awful knot in my mid back/shoulder that I have had for three years that I only notice when I run. I recently received benefits at work, and was able to make a RMT appointment just in time.

The RMT couldn’t find any large issues with my mid-back aside from the shoulder knot, so she focused on that. When I went back to the gym on Monday I decided to tack on a shoulder workout to my regular chest/tri workout. This seriously injured my shoulder, and so I had to get her to take a look at it as well. I just assumed it was because of my mid-back injury from last Thursday. I noticed I was much weaker in my right side even before I added shoulders, to substantially mess things up even more. Idiot me.

bigstockphoto_shoulder_pain_1676738

My RMT told me that I had a large amount of scar tissue in my shoulder, probably from a rotator cuff tear from months ago. I noticed that I severely injured my shoulder during my last transformation program, but it went away so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I kept training as usual, which was obviously a mistake. Now I have scar tissue in part of my shoulder, and the top of my shoulder is injured from trying to compensate. Needless to say, I have booked two massage appointments per week and am trying ART massage therapy to see if I can do anything to speed up the healing and breakdown of the scar tissue. Apparently shoulder injuries are the most common for bodybuilders, and the most difficult to work around.

My back is still an issue as well, so I will have to now avoid all exercises that will further damage my back and shoulder- meaning no more back, bicep, tricep, or shoulder exercises for awhile. I am now stuck doing legs (no squats), cardio, and abs for quite awhile. This will drastically change my training, since I have always been arm based, with a single leg day and very light cardio.

At first I just thought I would do light weights and high reps, but I really have to take this seriously if I want to fix the issue. I will be finding a new workout program to use for the next few months, and I will share it as soon as I have decided on one. Check out the following links if you are trying to decide how to train around an injury:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/10-tips-when-training-with-an-injury.html

http://www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/954/How_to_Train_Around_an_Injury_Shoulders.aspx

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/training-through-injuries-the-dos-and-donts

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/05/12/injuries/

Weigh in Wednesday + Picture Update – Week 3

Weigh In Wednesday

It’s that day again, the moment of truth day, Weigh In Wednesday! I was really rushed last Wednesday and I didn’t really do a great job with my measurements, so this time I was a bit more careful. I experienced a few setbacks this week with regards to training, so I will be taking a completely different approach for the next few months, since I am serious about healing my injuries. That being said, I took my Saturday workout off, and added shoulders to my Monday workout, which was a HUGE eyeopening mistake, but it happened. I also skipped any exercise on Friday and Saturday, and did only Cardio and Abs on Sunday. Changes will be different for the next few months, since I am done with all arm workouts and back workouts for awhile.

Here are my measurement highlights of the week:

My weight has been hovering between 127 and 128 for the past week, and dipped slightly to 126.8 lbs today. Hopefully this will continue, but that remains to be seen, especially since I have my first cheat day on Saturday at my work Christmas Party, followed by my birthday on December 5th. Weight loss may be a little slower until the new year, but I have accepted that fact.

My body fat percentage has stayed the same at 22.1%, and I am receiving an 11mm result. I tried a few different measurement methods this weekend, using this calculator. It was a little weird, and I have decided to stick to my usual method because at least that way I can track the changes I have made easily. I was receiving measurements between 18-19%, and then one that was WAY out at 26%. So hey, nothing is really perfect.

My hips went from 36.5 inches to 36 inches this week! That is a huge win, especially since that has typically been my most difficult area to lose fat. Between my hips and my legs, I don’t know which is more of a challenge.

My waist dropped 0.25 inches, which is always great to see. My thighs also measured at 0.5 inches smaller this week. I will be keeping a huge eye on that. My calves measured 0.5 inches larger, so perhaps I measured in different spots? I didn’t work legs this week so I would be surprised to have made any gains.

Nov 27

I also took pictures very quickly this morning. I find at this early stage of the game it is difficult to see large differences. I really only started to see changes between weeks 4-8 last time I did a transformation, and I did not allow cheat days or skipped workouts then, so I expect to see changes a bit later in the game this time around.

jnzRRSwwefdaAZGVhhucWSobfMJjoCMgieOS-610xh

RANT: Society’s Perspective on Nutrition

Society has a very skewed perspective on the importance of nutrition. People fear the most ridiculous things, and eat in ways that are completely unhealthy. It is actually shocking sometimes how food illiterate they are. As someone who tries to maintain a bodybuilding diet, high in protein, it is incredible to see the things that the majority of society values. It is also incredible to see what society fears the most, which is usually salt. If we were to look at the diet of the average person, it would probably be completely unbalanced due to a few very simple things that could be easily resolved. Things like, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave. This is why Oreo’s are addictive. So why do we freak out about a tablespoon of salt? Are you watching your water retention? Does the majority of society know what water retention is? They are the same people who question why I drink 5L of water a day, after all.

for realz

Today I was checking out the healthy menu at Red Lobster, which is a restaurant that actually offers items I am able to consume (shocking in itself). I was blown away by what they chose to list in their nutrition information, even though I really shouldn’t have been at all. Of course, they start with calories, because the average person actually knows what a calorie really is right? WRONG. They have no idea what a calorie is. They don’t know the basics: 1 gram of Carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of Protein = 4 calories, 1 gram of Fat = 9 calories. But they watch this overall number as if eating 1000 calories of McDonald’s is the same as 1000 calories of broccoli. It is not. Moreover, these same people have no idea that they are drinking 600 calories at Starbucks in their precious lattes. Go figure. Anyway, next Red Lobster points out fat WHICH IS RIDICULOUS BECAUSE FISH HAS GOOD FATS THAT ARE HEALTHY! But people fear fat. Saturated fat, fine. Followed by Sodium, another not so terrifying number, and finally carbs. My question is, WHERE IS THE PROTEIN????

I base my entire diet off of the amount of protein I consume in a day. It is safe to pick a certain amount of protein, and shape the rest of your diet around that. So, if you weigh 125 lbs, and need to consume 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight, you need to consume 187 g of protein per day, or 750 calories of protein. If you are consuming 1800 calories a day as an active person, that leaves 1050 calories to be split between the rest. I could care less about carbs and fat content if I don’t know about the protein first. Sadly, this is a common misconception. People load their diets with carbs, or run away from them, without knowing why. They cut carbs and fat out of their diets without finding an adequate protein source to replace them with.

It is actually scary. It is scary how many girls I have spoken to who think that 70 g of protein is enough to consume in one day. I consume that before 12 p.m. every day. Hearing things like that leaves me jaw dropped, wondering where on earth they are getting the rest of their daily calories. That’s only 280 calories per day from protein! Mind…blown. These are the same girls who fill their diets with alcohol, which by the way, contains 7 empty calories per gram. These are also the same girls who eat white carbs, that turn straight to sugar, and wonder why they are hungry an hour later. This may work in College, but it can’t be maintained long term.

In reality, we can’t blame the restaurants. We have to blame the population, because they are the ones who are projecting the information they care to know about their food. They hear that something is bad and they automatically believe it without question. Do we need to be reminded of the house hippo who taught us not to believe everything we see on TV? It amazes me that people do not understand the purpose of the nutrients they consume, which is to fuel your body, and for athletes, to repair your muscle fibers. Your body really is not a garbage bin. We all go through phases where we eat awful foods, or binge, but living completely in the dark is just naive in this day and age where information on nutrition is readily available. Why read labels if you can’t understand what they are telling you?

Long story short, I would really like to see society start to recognize the importance of protein in our diets, because ignoring this group is more unhealthy than eating salt here and there. Thanks for listening to my rant of the day!

If you are interested in learning more about proper dieting, visit:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mhptrans6.htm

Back Pain Getting You Down?

Injuries are a part of life, especially for those leading very active lifestyles. Injuries and bodybuilding seem to go hand in hand, a simple google search provides 1,970,000 search results for the keywords combined, which should be a clear sign that it can be a dangerous sport. I have certainly been injured, and am injured, and these injuries get me down. I tend to really freak out when I feel an abnormal amount of pain after a workout that is far from the usual pain of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). So what do we do when we get injured? One option is giving up bodybuilding temporarily, but this is an unhappy choice.

A few months ago I seriously injured the lower left side of my back doing squats on a smith machine. I had heard about how dangerous this was, but my gym did not have any other options for weighted squats, so I took my chances. It was an unusual day, because this usually empty workplace gym actually had someone who was doing their entire workout on the smith machine. I waited, and went through my entire hour long workout and she was still not done with the smith machine. So I alternated with her, and she was doing dead lifts. I am not sure if I injured my back on my squats, or lifting part of her dead lift weight back up to start my squats. Either way, my back is still painful five months later. I have temporarily fixed it with massage therapy, but it needs a lot more work. I was working around this injury, avoiding squats and dead lifts, and other exercises I wasn’t confident with. I recently started doing squats again and it has become slightly more painful as a result.

Last Thursday, I was doing my regular workout and I injured the middle of my back, in between my shoulder blades. I presume it was from the wide-grip lateral pulldowns, since when I complete this motion weightless, I feel a lot of pain. During the workout, I did not feel any pain, I felt nothing out of the ordinary. I did not even notice any back pain until two hours after I finished my workout, and the exercises that caused the pain were my second and third of the day! I skipped the gym and cardio on Friday and Saturday to give it a rest, and did only cardio on Sunday. I went back to my usual Chest/Tricep workout today and noticed something truly terrifying: I was a lot weaker than last week. Last week I was benching 65 pounds, 4 sets of 12. This week 6 reps was a serious struggle, and I was significantly weaker on the right side, almost dropping the bar. This, and a few similarly terrifying examples showed me that I clearly injured my back worse than I thought, and that it is more injured on the right side, which failed much faster in a few exercises.

back-pain1

Needless to say, I am seriously concerned about this injury. I have 6 massage therapy appointments booked over the next month, which I am hoping will help work out the injury. If not, I will  have to start to visit a physiotherapist. Since I am still determined to get back into shape and live a healthy lifestyle, I am going to try to train around my injuries. I will likely remove all back exercises from my workouts, as well as squats. I have been looking into training around injuries and I found this excellent article on bodybuilding.com. I will definitely be reducing my weights and upping my reps, as this seems like a logical thing to do. I may also add more cardio, and focus more on burning fat rather than building muscle. It is definitely better to take things slowly rather than continue to train hard and end up unable to train for months. I am going to watch my injuries closely and see if they start to subside. Tomorrow is my first massage therapy appointment, and I will be checking with her to see if she suggests going to physio. Fingers crossed that things will get back to normal again soon!