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NO3 Ultimate Supplement Review

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NO3 Ultimate Pre-Workout Supplement

Imagine this- you begin your workout. You feel the release it provides as you set up your weights, or get your gym clothes on. You enter your temple; your inner child realizes this is his/her play time. You get to your happy place just by lacing up your gym shoes. Now you get to begin one of the favorite parts of your day- training.

In the gym, you want to be effective and efficient with your time. There’s no point in going slow and bringing no intensity to your workout- you want that intensity. It’s a mix of excitement and poise that shivers down your spine as you grab the iron bars and put on the weights. This is you time. And that should be your focus.

Focusing on you, and making yourself a better human than when you stepped into the gym.

The only problem is sometimes that intensity is waning. Sometimes life brings itself into the gym with you, and you can’t seem to find yourself in “flow”. So is life, but there are ways to ignite that intensity regardless of outside circumstances.

I give you NO3 Ultimate by Cellucor.

This product is a subsection of pre-workouts designed to ignite a further intensity in your workouts, and trust me, it has the ability to do just that.

It wants to provide you a “pump” during your lifts rarely consistently felt. This is the boost you have been looking for- I know it’s the boost I have been looking for recently.

I have been using this product for each of my workouts within the last month in preparation for this review, and I have culminated a detailed opinion on it. But before I get to my thoughts, let’s dive into the product and do a full evaluation of ingredients, dosages, and product design.

Nitric Oxide and The Nitric Oxide Cycle

“Dan, wait a second. I thought this was a product review? Not a chemistry lesson?”

Unfortunately, or fortunately, for you- this product review requires both.

For supplementation in general, each product has a list of ingredients. These ingredients all have purpose in varying degrees, but to understand their purpose; a true explanation of their goals has to be deciphered.

For this product, its primary goal is to produce additional Nitric Oxide (NO) through our Nitric Oxide Cycle. NO is a byproduct of a specific reaction in our bodies- the conversion of Arginine, an amino acid, into Citrilline, another amino acid.

NO can take many different forms after this reaction occurs, but the form we are most interested in is the one that reacts with smooth muscle tissue. This tissue lines all our veins and arteries, and NO has the lovely ability to relax it. This ability is called “vasodilatation”.

When NO works in conjunction with smooth muscle tissue, it causes the blood vessels to dilate, and thus, reduces the constriction within our blood stream.

This lack of constriction allows for greater blood flow to occur, and can play a role in aiding our workouts in general by that indirect increase in blood flow.

When you take this product, you’ll notice an increase in Vascularity and general “pump” feeling. This is coming directly from the increase in blood flow provided from the increase in NO within your body.

Now let’s analyze how this product does their ingredient profile and dosages.

Ingredient Profile and Dosages

L-Citrilline 4 grams/serving

                Citrilline is one of the amino acids touched on earlier, and has benefits when supplemented at correct dosages. Citrilline supplementation is shown to improve cardiovascular effects along with reduction in fatigue. It also has the ability to improve aerobic and anaerobic properties associated with prolonged exercise.

                Citrilline supplementation is also a more effective type of supplementation when attempting to increase Arginine levels within the body (due to multiple factors). Citrilline, as opposed to Citrilline Malate, needs to supplement at a 4000mg to 8000mg dosage for desired effects when it comes to sports performance. Less than that can yield reduced effects.  

                In our case, NO3 Ultimate has a serving size on the lower end of the spectrum for perceived benefits, but for someone getting into NO boosters in general, it would still have a perceived effect.

Inositol-Stabilized Arginine Silicate (as Nitrosigine ©) 1.5 grams/serving

                Inositol-Stabilized Arginine Silicate (ASI) is a fairly new supplement ingredient with a lot of promise. Its purpose is fairly similar to Citrilline- increase NO production along, increase energy levels, and increase mental prowess. Though the research is sparse, due to the newness of the ingredient, it has a couple detailed research studies involving it. ASI has shown at supplementing 1.5g prior to a workout to increase NO levels and energy levels without the added blood pressure increase that most stimulants have. Thus, supplementing this product can provide added benefits to any NO booster without adding a true stimulant to the product. I’m pretty excited about how this ingredient gets incorporated into future products as well.

Arginine Nitrate (NO3-T©) 500mg/serving

                The addition of Arginine supplementation in this product is a bit of a head scratcher just because of the two staples of ingredients listed prior. Most research provided poses ample evidence that Citrilline supplementation does an improved job at providing increase NO production, and that Arginine supplementation does not reach the same threshold. I appreciate the product attempting to cover all bases with having Arginine as an ingredient within this supplement, but it could be seen as an unnecessary ingredient in the overall profile. It would seem adding additional Citrilline and cutting out the Arginine would be the best way to improve this product, but that is just a humble opinion.

Grape Seed Extract (95% OPC) 150mg/serving and trans-Resveratrol (as resVida©) 30mg/serving

                I want to discuss these ingredients in conjunction with one another. Both can be seen as the portion of this supplement focusing on either reduction of blood flow or cardiovascular protection. Grape seed extract functions to increase blood flow while reducing blood pressure which functions fairly well with increased NO production. Grape seed Extract has the same motive as the other ingredients here- to functionally increase NO production. The counterpart here, trans-Resveratrol, functions similarly within this environment: it also focuses on increase in NO production though it is more minor in effect.  It has a number of health effects associated with it, but functionally, we are focusing on the blood flow increases secondary to NO interactions.

                There are no specific dosages for either ingredient, and it is believed more longevity trials need to be done prior to having a more concrete number, but I do like that both of them are represented in this product.

                The one drawback is how trans-Resveratrol functions to reduce oxidative stress, and exercise creates oxidative stress in order to produce muscle growth, it thus could reduce the muscle growth effects associated with exercise. With this dosage, it would prove to be minor, but still an effect to keep in mind.

My Thoughts after Use

I used this product for each of my workouts for the last 30 days, and I truly did like the effects of use. I stacked this with another pre-workout (that was stimulant based) but tried it on its own as well. The effects are present, and I could absolutely feel an increase in vascularity and reduced fatigue during my workouts. It did take me longer to “warm up” which honestly encouraged higher rep ranges to begin most of my training, and I did not mind that at all. If anything, it encouraged me to make sure I was fully warmed up prior to my heavier sets. I had the watermelon flavor and it mixed/tasted nicely overall.

My final Evaluation

Each category is out of 5 with the final score out of 20.

Characteristic Ingredients Dosage Effect Taste/mixture
Grade 4 4 4.5 5

Total: 17.5/20

I would absolutely recommend trying this product out. Check it out here, and let me know what you think about the product or my evaluation in the comments below.

Until Next Time.

Cellucor is a cornerstone of the supplement industry. Through their early products, such as C4, they defined a market for years to come. All their products are well developed and research: providing the maximum intended affect for each supplement. I highly recommend checking out their products if you’re new to supplements, or need a bit of variation to your normal routine. Check them out at the link below.

Building an Exercise Program

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Before you conceptualize your program you must understand your own goal sets.

In the gym, goals sets can range from improving strength, increasing muscle mass, decreasing fat mass, improving certain physical abilities, among other things.

Know what exactly you want to work towards. This is key- providing the intentions before you step foot in the gym will better align yourself with your desired self.

This works from any experience level- beginner to expert. All the experts have over beginners is the experience and knowledge implemented over a longer period of time. But, everyone started as a beginner. Remember that.

I implore you to write down your goal. Make it something tangible. Make it something relatable. “Gaining 25lbs of muscle in 3 months” is lofty even for the most experienced lifters. Honestly, natural lifters at a high experience level know the minimal increases over a long period of time are how sustainable results occur. Take this to heart when creating your goal/intention.

I also would further whittle down that goal. Let’s get away from a quantity of weight loss or weight gain. Let’s go beyond that- you deserve more from yourself. Let’s take a “qualitative approach” and figure out the feeling you’re searching for underneath it all.

Is it strength? Is it confidence? Or is it something else?

That is for you to decide, and once you have, you have found your true goal for the program.

Now for specifics.

Increasing strength

There are many techniques for improving strength. And there are many individuals who believe what they are doing are the absolute correct way. I have found some specifics through my own experience and the knowledge I have culminated to hold merit for improving strength overall.

But first, a couple things to break down.

Firstly, training for strength is completely different from training for muscle mass (hypertrophy) and weight loss. These things get blended in many programs, but there are clear differences.

Secondly, there are two main aspects to strength training- training your muscles and training your CNS (Central Nervous System).

Imagine your muscles as a valve and on the valve there is a wheel. The wheel opens and closes the valve to varying degrees. This wheel is our CNS.

We have a built in system within our bodies to monitor and control how much muscle mass can be utilized towards a certain purpose. Without this system in place, we truly do have the ability to push past our capabilities that our body can support. And in strength training, you’re looking to do exactly that- regimentally improve your ability to move heavier and heavier loads.

To make this wheel spin, and thusly opening the valve wider, takes time. Your CNS will not give it up easily. After all, it wants to protect itself. Your body is not adapted to the concept of strenuous movements regularly, and it will try to preserve itself throughout the process.

To better work with our modulator friend, we need to provide it with reassurance and restraint. The reassurance that this amount of stress inductive work is temporary and the restraint that, with the valve open, we will not do irreversible damage to ourselves. To provide these things, we need to create a system that pushes the envelope, but only minimally. If we go too far, we’ll teach our bodies a negative feedback loop (ie- this amount of weight causes damage to ourselves), and that does not benefit us.

How we generally do this is a heavier load, weight, for a shorter period of time, but increased quantity. That translates to a high set count (8-10) with a low rep count (1-3) with a heavy weight (80-85% 1RM).

Many strength training modalities function within those realms, but also venture outside them. I prefer to utilize this system on my main complex lifts (Deadlift, back squat, bench, snatch, clean and jerk, push press) that require immense effort to stay at a high intensity. That leaves a long list of complimentary exercises that can be completed afterwards at a high rep/low set/lower weight range.

A program I would create for my own goal set would consist of these set/weight/rep ranges:

  • 10 sets x 3 reps x 85% RM main lift (complex lifts)
  • 4 sets x 5-8 reps x 65-75% RM complimentary lifts

And they would be arranged thusly:

  • 1A- 10×3 Main lift
  • 2A- 4×8 Complimentary lift
  • 2B- 4×8 Complimentary lift

I have the most energy at the beginning of my sessions, and because of that, I put my most intense work then. Afterwards, I work into complimentary work.

Also, the high set/low rep scheme may not work for you, but it is a resourceful way to build strength.

Decrease Fat Mass

Conditioning. Next section.

Kidding, but seriously, there are a couple different methods to develop a program with the goal of decreasing body fat.

But they all revolve around one concept- intensity.

Intensity is dictated by a couple factors- rest time, weight used, cardiovascular output, and heart rate achieved. To make something more “intense” in a lifting sense, decreasing rest time between sets, using higher rep ranges with moderate weights, and done consistently for a generally uncomfortable period of time.

An example of a programming format for increasing intensity is an AMRAP or As Many Rounds As Possible. AMRAPs also have a time associated with them (ie- 5mins) for which you complete as many rounds of exercises within that time limit.

With this, the rest time is decreased. Rest time decreasing inversely increases the amount of time exercising during the time limit. This format dictates speed. It is not just about completing the exercises, but also pushing our abilities to complete them quickly. Remember, the goal is “as many rounds as possible”.

AMRAP is just one example of a conditioning format that can be focused on reduction of fat mass.

When relating to weight lifting, the main focal points to develop a program for fat reduction are- increasing intensity, reduce rest time, increase rep ranges, increase “time spent working”, and increase cardiovascular output.

Yes, technically, anaerobic properties actually utilized more fat mass as fuel than their aerobic counterparts. But that does not take away from highlighting the importance of intensity and conditioning for fat loss.

Muscle Size (Hypertrophy)

Now we’ve landed on what most consider “bodybuilding” training.

This combines many premises I have set earlier in this article. We’ll begin to culminate work.

Because muscle size is different than muscle density; they can be confused, but function very differently.

When training purely for muscle size, it’s all about utilization of “work done”. Work, defined in physics terms, equals force (in newtons) multiplied by distance traveled.

W= F *d

For muscle size, we want to optimize our ability to produce “work” at the highest level that is sustainable. Our “force” is the amount of force we need to produce muscularly to move the weight. The “distance” is the physical distance traveled by a weight. For example, in a back squat, the weight travels both down till you reach a 900 angle of your knees and up to the starting position. To make that weight move, we need to produce a couple different types of muscular forces derived from contractions. Optimizing that system can provided the size benefits we are looking for within this style.

More work done, and sustained, the more muscle fibers recruited, and with these muscle fibers being recruited for work, we can potentially obtain larger muscle mass.

These programs generally function at a moderate set range (3-5) with a larger rep range (10-15). With these ranges, we can also infer a general increase in intensity throughout. Also, a lot of these sets are done in a “superset” fashion (multiple exercises back to back without rest in between). Additionally, a program can function for hypertrophy, but can also be combined with strength training.

An example of a hypertrophy style super set is:

  • 1A- 5 sets x 12 reps
  • 1B- 5 sets x 12 reps

With these, we’ve increased our work by increasing the distance traveled (by combining all movement across all reps within the set) while attempting to keep the force constant throughout (not increasing or changing the weight used).

A Final Note

All these things can be combined. They do not need to function alone, and a program customized to your goals should reflect individual components of each of these styles.

Also, try new things. Be open to trying new formats of exercising because you may love strength training, but not know it yet.

These are examples are designed to help you design your own program, or further develop your current one. There are many different things to add to each of these subjects, and individuals spend their entire lives improving techniques to optimize each of these styles.

I create programs for clients that reflect their needs and goal sets, and truly everyone is different. Programs fluctuate from person to person; keep that in mind as you look at your own.

Contact me here when you want to step up your program.

Otherwise, until next time.

Nutrition and You- How do I begin to gain control over nutrition?

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Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

5 Tips on how to get started or improve your nutrition

This is a barrier most individuals, either beginning their journey or looking to improve what they do, face. Therefore, remind yourself you are not alone in this, and there are plenty of people looking for answers to gain confidence and control over their food. I’m going to provide a 5 “How to” tips to get you started, or improve, your path.

1: Meal Composition

What is on your plate is a huge factor. Is your plate filled with fried, heavy starch, fatty foods? Or is it boiled, low carb, low fat foods? Let’s first begin by defining some terms.

When something is “low carb” it means the food contains less carbohydrates than either perceived or created to be lower in carbohydrates than its original form. For example, normal bread has a greater quantity of carbohydrates than”low carb” bread. This is also a piece by piece comparison. If you have 10 pieces of low carb bread, it will, more than likely, exceed the number of carbs in one piece of normal bread.

A “low fat” food runs the similar premise. American’s diets are in general excessively high in fat sources, and one great way is to turn to lower fat options when designing your meal. Because fat is 9 kcal/gram while carbohydrates are 4kcal/gram, cutting a gram of fat from a meal is nearly twice the amount of calories than cutting a single gram of carbohydrates from a meal. That’s just something to keep in mind.

A “protein source” means a food item that is majority protein. There are many types of protein: ranging from “fatty protein” to “lean protein” to “vegetarian protein” and so on. Picking the best one for you depends on a lot of things, but in general, sticking to lean sources of protein is preferred. Examples of lean proteins are chicken (hand trimmed), turkey, certain cuts of beef and pork (both hand trimmed), tuna, white fish (haddock, mahi mahi, etc.), egg whites, and legumes. What you pick will depend on the diet you are currently following and what you’re in the mood to eat!

A normal meal composition should be: a protein source (preferably lean), and a combination of a fat/carb source. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there can be a lot more to it. As a general guideline, focus on getting the protein sources first then the rest of the meal. Examples of meals are- haddock, broccoli, and brown rice; chicken, a low cal wrap, and veggies; lean steak and sweet potatoes. The combinations are endless so it’s going to depend on your preferences and what your goals are.

2: Meal Frequency and Timing

As we grew up, most were taught the “three meals a day” system. And that’s all well and good, but we can improve upon this. To really take advantage of our body, we need to better optimize our metabolism. To do this, we need to increase our body’s “metabolic rate” or the rate at which we burn our food sources. Our metabolic rate can be changed by increasing our meal frequency and using meal timing to our advantage.

But Dan, why would I increase the amount of meals I eat if I want to lose weight? And here is the heart of the issue: understand how our metabolism works.

Our metabolism is a counterintuitive system, and it is extremely intelligent. We have to give our bodies more credit- we are adaptable and malleable depending on what we feed ourselves.

For example, I have spoken with many who are on an extreme calorie restriction. They’ve put themselves in a position where they eat under 800 calories day in and day out. They’ve also found that they’re no longer losing weight, and instead, are finding more weight gain. What gives? This person is basing their diet on the “calorie in=calorie out” premise. And it ultimately fails unfortunately.

Your body is a machine. And to power that machine, we need fuel. If we restrict the body’s fuel, food, and do not have a high metabolic rate, your body clicks into survival mode. It has no idea when it will be fueled properly again- therefore, it holds everything that comes its way. In this state, calories are harder to burn off because your body intuitively wants to store everything you consume.

Therefore, in order to properly adjust your metabolism, you need to give yourself the calories back. This is done slowly and over a period of time. Once your metabolism has adjusted, aka realized it does have food coming at normal speeds throughout the day, it can begin to be attuned and worked with.

Think of it this way: do you think high functioning athletes restrict their calories? If Michael Phelps decided to restrict his diet, his body would break down. He needs such a high calorie total in order to perform properly. Obviously, we are not all Michael, but we can take that premise and use it to aid our nutritional development.

As far as it goes for an exact number to have positive metabolism effects, it depends on the person. Between 4-6 meals a day is a general spectrum, but it truly depends on meal composition, activity level, and a number of other factors. Begin with the mindset of: “my body is a car and I need to fuel it properly to get to where I need to go.”

3: Create Alternatives

I love my mother’s cooking. Some of her meals are just awesome, but I know how high the calories are in her meals because I know what she cooks with. You can always create alternatives to food items you currently use to better yourself off in the long run. Here is a list to begin with:

  • Butter -> low calorie spray butter
  • Vegetable or canola oil -> spray oil
  • Full fat cheese -> low fat/fat free cheese
  • Whole milk -> skim milk
  • Full calorie wrap -> low calorie wrap
  • Peanut butter -> powdered peanut butter
  • Eggs -> egg whites

And the list goes on and on. There are always alternatives: it’s just about looking for them and making the decision to try them.

4: Create A List and Stick To It

This world is full of temptation, and as humans, we love to be tempted into a variety of things. One of the biggest ways to gain control over your habits is by premeditating solutions to them. When you’re in the grocery store and you pass the cookie isle, what are your initial thoughts? Do you have the desire to go buy that pack of Oreos? What is going through your mind in those moments of temptation?

This is an exercise you can do. Imagine yourself in that isle and ask yourself “what if I left and did not purchase any of these items?” Make a list of what it would mean to you if you decided to leave the isle and resist temptation. Really dig deep here and draw some words that mean something to you.

Now that you have that list, put it somewhere you’ll see it routinely. Make sure you at least see it 2-3 times per day. Let yourself be reminded of what it means to you to resist temptation and make choices you are proud of. Do this enough, and that temptation will melt away and be a thing of the past.

You are capable of powerful things. Allow yourself to do exactly that.

5: Be Understanding with Yourself

No one is perfect. And if you find someone who claims they are, I do not believe them. We all have faults and we all have bad days. This is just a reality of life. And guess what: that’s okay. It’s okay to mess up or do something off track, but you need to recognize it as just that- something that does not align with your goals.

If your goal is weight loss, and you end up going out with friends for dinner and drinks, and you get a fattier cut of steak than you would have liked and a couple glasses of wine with dinner, its okay! It’s not the end of the world. Let yourself enjoy the moment and happiness you can have with your friends. In those moments, it’s much more important to be happy than bring yourself down for potential mistakes you’ve made. Be easy and gentle with yourself. At the end of the day, we are all just working to being happy with life and ourselves.

A good way to combat the negativity that may come up from a mistake is to understand it before hand. Think about the evening prior to going out. Focus on how happy you could be if you just embraced the moments with friends rather than focused on the potential nutritional mishap which may occur. Come in with a plan: “I am going to enjoy the night. These do not happen often. And by tomorrow, I will get right back on track. I am grateful for nights like these.”

LvL up your mindset along with your nutritional choices. They go hand in hand, and I promise it will work in your favor.

If you’re looking for support or additional insight, check out the link here and let’s talk about it. Consultations are always free.

– Dan “Tips and Tricks” Rich

You’re Exactly Where You’re Suppose To Be

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It’s a beginning to a new year and I’ve allowed for ample time to reflect upon things that truly matter, and to allow myself to better understand the life I lead. This is an honest entry into my life, and I promise to be honest and genuine through it all. This is a practice of honest reflection through a lens of love and kindness.

I began 2018 on a completely different note than I ended it. I was going into the 4th year of my relationship with my ex, I was living and working in Maine, and I was sorting out what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I had an apartment in Maine that felt like a true home with a significant other I believed was my last significant other.

But things change. People change. And I change right along with it all. I used to say ” I can’t ask for anything more” while sitting in my living room while hugging my ex. And I truly meant that. I appreciate how insightful I was to identify what matters most to me so early- a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of warmth and love, a feeling of being “at home” with it all, and someone to share it with. In those moments, I found what I had been seeking all my life. And it was all around me. Those times will always bring pure joy to my heart.

She usually gave me a confusing look when I uttered that nonsensical phrase: “I can’t ask for anything more”. She’s as ambitious as they come. She heard those words and believed- “is this truly all he wants in life? Where was the ambitious guy I fell in love with? Where is the one that would stop at nothing to pursue what he desires? Where did he go?” Unfortunately for us both, she didn’t recognize what I meant by it all.

This life has taught me a whole long list of things, but the most important is we’re all searching for happiness; we all desire contentment and satisfaction. We want to feel loved and appreciated. And in those moments, I felt all those emotions all at once and I couldn’t have been happier. Truly, couldn’t have “asked for anything more” for those moments to be perfect. I fell into that feeling, and that was a double edged sword.

On one hand, this was all I ever wanted and I finally had it, on the other hand that comfort breed complacency in me. Comfort soothed my ambitious mind. It lulled my drive, my spark, my growth, to sleep. It forced me to go against my number one “truth” in life- everything is temporary, everyone is fluid, and nothing stays the same. It raised an internal conflict between my desired reality being achieved and my future desires being quelled. I began to go against everything I’ve ever preached by being sucked into a state of comfort.

Problem was all these insights were developed in hindsight. I couldn’t see how much satisfying my desires and pushing new desires aside was affecting me.

I exchanged my temporary “what is” for my future “what can’s”.

And that terrified her. She went inward and pushed me away, whether it was for reminding me that I needed to continue to expand as a human, or it was because she wanted what I was before, regardless of the intentions the outcome was the same- she didn’t love the person I decided to be.

What a life right?

My own love of what I created is what destroyed it. If I just continued to be passionately pursuing my desires and ignoring what I already had, she would have stayed.

But, there’s a catch here.

She was never meant to stay.

In any one moment there are an infinite number of paths life can take. And I truly mean infinite; anything the rational mind, or for some irrational mind, can produce can occur.

Then what decides the path you take? Luck? Focus? Intent?

An honest man would say-

 “I have no idea. I truly don’t know. But what I do know is- if I keep focusing on things that give me happiness, it tends to lead me on a trail that brings more of those things into my life.”

She brought me happiness, and a lot of memories I will cherish for my entire life. And because of that, I know she was never meant to stay. Because something so positive in my life wouldn’t leave unless it (she) was meant to.

I was on the correct path. Whether I liked it in the moment or not, I knew this was the right path.

Happiness doesn’t lie. True joy and bliss cannot be faked. It’s a key sign of being where you’re supposed to be.

You’re always exactly where you’re supposed to be. Always. That is a fact, and it doesn’t matter if it isn’t a fact- you cannot change it. There’s only one moment you are living always, and that will never change. You cannot experience multiple moments at once- that is just a limitation to our current reality. And with that limitation brings a choice- you can decide to follow joy or you cannot.

Without her leaving me, I wouldn’t have seen all this. I wouldn’t have realized how far I had fallen from my ambition. And trust me, I love my ambitious side. I love figuring out what life has in store for me, and I love venturing after it all.

It all reminded me who I am, and how much I want to accomplish in this life. As I write this, there is truly a laundry list of items that I want to do; highlighting the “want” in that statement.

Here is the bottom line, and the main piece I want to impart to you-

Thank the people who push you to continue in life, regardless if they wronged or hurt you, thank them.

“Thank you for your part in helping me be the joyous person I am because without you, I wouldn’t be me.”

In my case, I thank my ex for leaving me, because without her doing that, I wouldn’t have gone back to uncomfortable and determined. So thank you for it all. May you find solace in your journey.

May you all find solace in thanking the ones in your past.

Dan

Top 5 Nutrition Tips To Make Change Happen NOW

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Begin working towards your goals. Small steps with these tips in mind can get you there.

CBD- Everything You Need To Know

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Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

Looking For More

I have gotten a lot of questions about specific micronutrients, macronutrients, and supplement ingredients over the years. One compound in particular has stood out to me in its plethora of health benefits. I luckily worked for a company that specialized in distributing it for awhile, and spent the bulk of my time researching it.

Today, I want to share with you what I learned: from both a summary and a more detailed standpoint.

The ingredient I am referring to is the phytocompound Cannabidiol, or as you have more than likely heard it called: CBD.

More and more research each day is discussing how beneficial this compound is to a variety of aspects within health- so what is CBD anyways?

 

The short- Summary of Cannabidiol? 1, 2

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is part of a family of naturally organic compounds that hold a number of health benefits
  • CBD is derived from the family of Cannabis plants, but is mainly concentrated in Industrial Hemp
  • CBD interacts with our entire body through the Endocannabinoid System
  • The Endocannabinoid System is responsible for receptors on cells in our brain, lungs, liver, Central Nervous System, and Peripheral Nervous System. These receptors reach Cannabinoids from within our body, Endocannabinoids, and from outside our body: phytocannabinoids
  • Ingesting CBD has a number of direct health benefits: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-nocicpetive.
  • CBD also has the indirect health benefit of interacting with other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, and controlling their secretion levels. This helps bring the neurotransmitters back to balance.
  • CBD can be taken orally, in oil, syrup, or gel pill form, or transdermally, in a cream or through a patch, for best ingestion.
  • CBD is 100% not psychoactive and does not leave the user feeling drowsy or tired

 

The long- What are Cannabinoids? 1, 2

  • Classification of compounds that activate Cannabinoid receptors found on cells throughout the body
  • Two distinct types- Endocannabinoids, cannabinoids excreted from internal Endocrine System, and Phytocannabinoids, compounds originally found in natural occurring fruits and plants
  • Two distinct types of Cannabinoid receptors- CB1 and CB2
  • CB1- Found in different parts of brain, Central Nervous System, Liver, Kidney, Lungs
  • CB2- Found in immune system, Peripheral Nervous System, and associated organs
  • Cannabinoids are Neuromodulators- they affect neurotransmitter groups such as dopamine, noepinephrine, serotonin

 

What are the Endocannabinoids and What do they do? 1, 2

  • Endocannabinoids- Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)
  • Anandamide- Primarily involved in feeding behavior and motivation/pleasure. Also responsible for “runner’s high” effect after exercise.
  • Found to have pain relief, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and improvement of sleep effects
  • 2-AG- Primarily involved in immune function, anti-inflammation, and inhibition of cancer cell reproduction

 

What are Phytocannabinoids and What do they do? 1, 2

  • Found in three primary plants- Cannabis Sativa., Cannabis Indica., and Cannabis Ruderalis.
  • Primary Phytocannabinoids- THC, Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannbigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocanabivarin (THCV)
  • Two most important compounds- THC and CBD
  • THC- Interacts with CB1 receptors and provides psychoactive effects with some therapeutic effects, suppresses glutamate and GABA release
  • CBD- Interacts with ionic channels surrounding CB1 and CB2 receptors providing modulation of other neurotransmitters. This leads to effects such as: analgesic, anti-epileptic, anti-nausea, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, and anti-ischemic

 

Where do I find CBD and THC? 1, 2

  • Both are active compounds in Marijuana and Industrial Hemp
  • Difference between Marijuana and Hemp- the ratio of THC to CBD
  • In Hemp, CBD concentrations are extremely high and THC concentrations are extremely low
  • Best sourcing of CBD is from 100% Organic Industrial Hemp

 

How is CBD anti-inflammatory? 2

  • CBD inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase
  • COX- These are a classification of enzymes responsible for formation of Prostanoids which are the main creators of inflammation.
  • Lipoxygenase- functions to mainly metabolize Eicosanoids which are the main signaling molecule in inflammation. With this inhibited, it results in less of a nerve response. Thusly, less swelling and inflammation occurs.
  • Proven to influence release of cytokines- a signaling compound that leads to inflammation
  • CBD is proven to be several hundred times more potent of an anti-inflammatory than aspirin in animal studies

 

How is CBD an Antioxidant? 2

  • CBD reduces certain cellular receptors ability to interact with large amounts of neurotransmitters causing Excitotoxicity
  • Excitotoxicity- pathology where certain ionic channels get overrun by neurotransmitters which then allow excessive Calcium into the cell. This calcium influx causes cell death and can destroy larger cell structures such as DNA and membranes.

 

How does CBD interact with pain? 1, 2

  • CBD, among other cannabinoids, have found anti-nociceptive effects
  • These effects mitigate the sensation of pain. Thusly, resulting in a duller sensation to pain.
  • Happens in brain and has ability to positively affect migraine pain

 

How Should I take CBD? 1, 2

  • Cannabinoids are mainly metabolized in liver
  • Orally- this is the least bio-available option but easiest for Phytocannabinoids such as CBD
  • Inhalation- quickest uptake but short duration of effect
  • Transdermal- long duration of effect with great bio-availability. Can be done to a centralized spot as well.

 

 

CBD Summary 1, 2

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive compound responsible for a plethora of beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-nociceptive among other effects
  • CBD can inhibit other neurotransmitters release allowing for a natural homeostasis, or balance, to arise
  • Oral or Transdermal supplementation are the best ways to take CBD
  • CBD has the ability to create positive changes through your entire body by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 Endocannabinoid System Receptors

 

I’ve provided my references below. If you have additional questions about CBD, feel free to leave a comment or enter your info within the “Contact” tab. There will be more micronutrient and phytocompound summaries to come as well.

Stay tuned.

Dan “The LvL Up Coach” Rich

 

 

 

References

  1. Baron, E. P. (2015). Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a Long Strange Trip Its Been …. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 55(6), 885-916. doi:10.1111/head.12570
  2. Amar, M. B. (2006). Cannabinoids in medicine: A review of their therapeutic potential. Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology, 105, 1-25.
  3. Klauke, A., Racz, I., Pradier, B., Markert, A., Zimmer, A., Gertsch, J., & Zimmer, A. (2014). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24(4), 608-620. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
  4. Bacanlı, M., Başaran, A. A., & Başaran, N. (2015). The antioxidant and antigenotoxic properties of citrus phenolics limonene and naringin. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 81, 160-170. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2015.04.015
  5. Guzmán-Gutiérrez, S. L., Bonilla-Jaime, H., Gómez-Cansino, R., & Reyes-Chilpa, R. (2015). Linalool and β-pinene exert their antidepressant-like activity through the monoaminergic pathway. Life Sciences, 128, 24-29. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2015.02.021
  6. Rufino, A. T., Ribeiro, M., Sousa, C., Judas, F., Salgueiro, L., Cavaleiro, C., & Mendes, A. F. (2015). Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic effects of E-caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene in a cell model of osteoarthritis. European Journal of Pharmacology, 750, 141-150. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.01.018
  7. AYDIN, E., TURKEZ, H., & TASDEMIR, S. (2013). ANTICANCER AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES OF TERPINOLENE IN RAT BRAIN CELLS. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol, Ataturk University, 64(4), 415-424. doi:10.2478/10004-1254-64-2013-2365
  8. Turkez, H., Aydın, E., Geyikoglu, F., & Cetin, D. (2014). Genotoxic and oxidative damage potentials in human lymphocytes after exposure to terpinolene in vitro. Cytotechnology,67(3), 409-418. doi:10.1007/s10616-014-9698-z

 

Getting Started With Pre-Workout Supplements

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Getting Started With Pre-Workout Supplements

The concept of pre-workouts started from individuals lacking an additional stimulation/drive component to jump start their workouts. Therefore, the majority of pre-workouts are stimulant based in order to induce a euphoric benefit of seemingly increased energy levels.

Whether or not this is actually the case needs to be determined by analyzing the individual ingredients used for common pre-workouts. These stimulants are paired with additional Amino Acids mostly for different muscular reactions/effects in the body.

Some pre-workouts also contain extracts, such as beet root or black pepper, and some of these extracts, including the ones I just mentioned, have real scientific beneficial effects, and some do not.

I will provide an overview of the ingredients common in pre-workouts, and some that are not so common but could be supplemented for added benefit.

Caffeine

                The short- It’s your main stimulant.

                The long-The most basic ingredient in pre-workout supplements and that is for good reason. Caffeine is a stimulant like none other, and is effective at creating an energetic response in the individual. Most pre-workouts over caffeinate the individual in order to compensate for their lack of ingredients.

Be wary of this and remember 180mg of caffeine is the average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. Use that as a marker when looking at dosages.

Beta-alanine (Carnosyn)

The short- Improves sustainability during workouts

                The long – This is the ingredient responsible for that tingle in your face and redness in your cheeks, but that is not its main purpose. Carnosyn is the patented 100% beta alanine version of the amino acid as well, and if you can, you should look for that ingredient name as a quality standard.

Beta-alanine is a precursor to carnosine, hence the company’s clever name, which is an amino acid responsible for buffer effects of pH in your muscles. Once you begin working out, you are creating lactic acid as a byproduct of your normal energy creation, and this lactic acid can create a pH change in your muscles which has negative effects.

Carnosine is responsible for protection against the lactic acid fermentation which then produces more sustainability in your workouts.

 

 

Citrilline Malate

The short- Improves cardiovascular functions

                The long- This is the bio-available version of the amino acid Citrilline, and has proven endurance benefits for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. It is involved in the nitric oxide cycle and urea cycle in your body along with the amino acids Arginine and Ornithine.

Citrilline is actually the byproduct of reactions in both cycles to create Arginine and Ornithine respectively, but supplementing Citrilline can increase blood concentrations of both these ingredients, which in turn, can bring additional positive benefits.

The biggest one is creation of nitric oxide in the body which improves cardiovascular function and is a vasodilator aka widens veins in order to move blood faster. If you supplement Citrilline, there is no need to supplement Arginine as well. It doesn’t provide additional benefits and creates an oversaturation for the receptors of Arginine.

Creatine

The short- Increases energy production

                The long- Creatine is truly a staple of most, if not all, good pre-workouts for a number of reasons. The primary functional of Creatine is to create additional ATP production for higher energy levels throughout a workout.

Creatine also draws in extra water into muscles for recovery purposes which induce a mass gaining effect or hypertrophy. Creatine has a long list of positive benefits and research associated with those benefits such as: anaerobic power output, weight, hydration levels, running capabilities, etc. This should be a definitive staple in your pre-workout, but make sure your hydration levels are high.

You should be drinking around a gallon a day if taking Creatine at any dosage due to its negative gastrointestinal effects if not properly hydrated.

Tyrosine

The short- Reduces blood pressure, anti-stress

                The long- This is an amino acid that is metabolized in order to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and adrenaline. It is utilized as an anti-stress compound, and generally found in pre-workouts for the rational of “I am about to stress my body physically; therefore, I should take the necessary nutritional precautions”.

With the additional benefits of being an active compound in most thyroid reactions, generally fat loss is associated with supplementation. It mentally reduces the acute stress that a workout can provide along with minor reductions in blood pressure. When heavy anaerobic exercise is performed, blood pressure rises in order to meet the muscular demand necessary to perform the lift.

If some of this blood pressure can be mitigated, the after effects of increased blood pressure can be less severe. This Mitigation of blood pressure can be useful for increasing workout duration.

Pre-workouts bring additional sustainable energy to your workouts in a variety of ways.
Check out the articles here and here for recommendations for quality pre-workouts.

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Why Hire A Coach?

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Why Hire A Coach?

A coach isn’t a trainer. A coach isn’t a therapist.

A coach is an up lifter. He/she is there to promote the things you see in yourself that you want brought out and self-actualized.

A coach’s job is a mix between motivation, education, accountability, and friendship.

Motivation to lift you towards the places you want to go, Education to boost your chances of being in those places, Accountability to hold you accountable to yourself and what you truly want,  and Friendship to enjoy the achievements with you.

We, as coaches, are here to support and promote individuals who find us. We are givers. We are helpers. We want the people we work with to grow and find the satisfaction they are looking for.

You should not get a coach if: you don’t have a clear goal in mind or you refuse to put effort in towards that goal. Coaches are here for guidance, insight, and support, but not to obtain the goal for you. We are the spine, but you are the heart.

When you decide to get a coach, you have found a goal. Your desire to obtain that goal enough to illicit help from another. This is when you venture to find a coach that works well with you.

If you have a clear goal defined, and you want to put the effort in towards obtaining the goal, then you should find a right fitting coach.

Each coach has a different style and concentration of knowledge. Everyone has their niche. Find the person that speaks to you.

Here are some questions to ask your prospective coach:

‘What do you expect from me?’
‘How are you going to coach me through the positives, but also the negatives when I really need your help?’
‘ What have you seen work? What doesn’t?’
‘How can I be a great client?’
‘What does my money honestly get me?’
‘Am I going to leave your coaching better than when I came?’

Find the person that speaks to you. This is a brand new relationship you are creating with someone else. Let it be one you cherish and enjoy.

It’s Time To Be Fearless

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Can we ever truly be “fearless”?

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Yes, you’re damn right we can. Accepting the potentialities of any situation, whether they result in negative or positive outcomes, is just another way of life. We can be fearless but understanding fear has two sides.

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One side is negative- fear that pushes you away from what you want because it denigrates what you have.

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One side is positive- fear that drives you to go for what you want because the alternatives are even worse.

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There’s always a slant. There is always a way to frame how you feel, and it can always be taken in a positive uplifting way.

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Use that fear; use that drive to push you. Find the things you want to achieve and go after them.

Number One Trick To Losing Weight

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Reflection and analysis

We, as humans, are built of patterns. We have patterns for our speech, patterns for our movements, patterns for our schedule, and patterns for our lifestyle. Some go out on weekends, and some stay in on weekends. Some individuals drink on weekends, and some drink on week days too. And some eat cheeseburgers 5 times a week, and some never eat meat. Not trying to firebrand cheeseburgers; there is a time and a place for all food, but in this case: it was to display the meaning of a pattern.

We structure our entire lives into these patterns. Some patterns benefit us, active lifestyle choices, and some denigrate us, smoking cigarettes, but regardless: we become built from these patterns. Even what you eat becomes habitual after a period of time, and I’m going to assume most of us are short sighted on what we eat as well.

By that I mean we have “short term memory” in regards to what we ate. For example, a treat for you could be a chocolate bar. You get one after a long days work because it feels satisfying and fulfilling where work was tiring and stressful. You eat that candy bar and recount when the last time you had one was- most will tell themselves “it’s been a long time”, but in all actuality, it may have been a week since you’ve had something similar to the chocolate bar in nutritional value.

There are a couple layers to this example. First off, humans have a tendency to not view their dietary habits beyond a small scope. Very few individuals can remember what they had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this time last week. And viewing your diet in terms of a “greater picture” is rather important for continued success, but more on that later.

Secondly, the true rational behind eating the candy bar is more important than the actual eating of the treat. We love to connect feelings/emotions to things under our control. “This candy bar brings me satisfaction” rather than “I am satisfied with life and the candy bar I am eating will reinforce that feeling”. Our eating habits truly are a reflection to our underlying emotions or connections with the food we consume. Understanding the “whys” of your nutritional habits is of the utmost importance. There are a plethora of diets ready to help you achieve all your goals, but if you don’t know why you currently are who you are, you cannot progress forward. Find out the “whys” in your life, especially within your relationship to food, and then begin to think about a plan to obtain your goals.

 

Okay, back to looking at your nutrition in a larger scope. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will you be. Everyone is looking for “lose weight fast” tricks, and I got to be honest with you: it’s all a bunch of BS. You may achieve short term weight loss, but when you get off the diet or stop eating the meals or stop taking the pills, what happens? The literal opposite of your goals: weight gain. And for most people, all the weight you just lost is back. And you may ask “Why? I did all the things, ate all the things. Why did I gain all this weight back right away after I stopped?” Well- you see, humans are built of patterns. To create these patterns, it takes time and effort. Once these patterns are reinforced, it will take even more time to replace them with different patterns. We are made by the habits we create.

The way to create a pattern is first- create the action or thought you want to do on a regular basis, second- analyze what you are currently doing on a regular basis, third- create a method to change the old action or thought to the newly intended action or thought, and fourth- do this new action or thought habitually going forward.

The fourth step is the kicker- you MUST do the new action for a long period of time. Most patterns take 7 weeks to be reinforced enough to become a habit. Nutrition is no different. The real key to weight loss is looking at what you do in totality, analyzing it, developing new patterns of behavior, replacing the old patterns with new ones, and attempting to do the new patterns as much as possible until they are solidified.

If you look for quick fixes and band aids to the current behavior you want changed, such as a “Lose 40lbs in a month” diet plan, you are asking to fail in the long term. Nutritional success is determined by minimal changes consistently over a long period of time, and it also helps to have a guide or someone to support you through it all. Weight loss can be difficult at times, and it’s helpful to have an accountability portion to help you along.

 

To recap, the biggest trick to losing weight is putting the effort in. Take the time to understand all your behavior patterns around food, and then replace those patterns with alternatives that are in line with your goal set. Look at all your choices regarding food in totality, keep record of them, and analyze them. You’ll find recording them will alter your choices right away. Be present mentally with your food, and you’ll be happy you did.

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