Supplement Review: Syntha-6

2 06 2012

GymGeeks…I’ve been holding out for long enough.

For the athlete, this right here is the holy grail of all post-workout nutrition.  I first discovered Syntha-6 as a last-second ready-to-drink shake at GNC before going out for the night (yes, I’m that guy who pre-games with protein…GymGeek problems).  What I got was 40 solid grams of protein with enough carbohydrates to keep me energized for the night without the crash of a 5-Hour Energy.

Syntha-6

Didn’t even need it carried to me by African swallows…

Granted, this was before I got super-serious about my fitness goals.  Now that I research the hell out of everything I put into my body (again…GymGeek problems),  I can tell you that it is perfect for any athlete or high-intensity fitness freak.  At 200 calories, 22 grams of protein (a mix of different whey types and caseins) and 15 grams of carbs per scoop, it’s a great blend to replenish your strength after a great lifting session.  On top of that, each scoop has 5 grams of BCAA’s and 10 grams of other amino acids,  your muscles will thank you!

This is one of the best-blended protein powders to ever have the privilege to be in my shaker bottle.  After 30 seconds and using both milk and water,  it blends completely with no clumps or sugar-esque crystals like you find in cheaper brands.

Taste-wise…holy crap.  It passes the Nerdy Gym Rat test (which, of course, is having a great cookies & cream option) with every option.  The best of the bunch is, without a doubt, chocolate milkshake is the best flavor.  I’d also recommend the mochaccino flavor, as it sure beats the hell out of a trip to Starbucks.

There is, of course, one catch: since it’s a premium powder, it comes with a premium price tag ($30 for 3 lbs. on Bodybuilding.com).  As such, I recommend it to any of my GymGeeks who are super serious about their workouts.  Otherwise, I’d stick to the whey proteins, since they are better for the beginner and the low-carb dieter.

Has anyone else tried it out?  Let me know what your thoughts are!





GNC BEYOND RAW “Re-Feed” Nighttime Blend

19 05 2012

For a guy who wakes up at 4:00 in the morning to be at the gym at 5:00, I sure as hell have a lot of trouble getting to sleep.

Now,  I’ve always used a casein protein of some sort as my last meal of the night.  The reason for it being to prevent overnight catabolism of lean muscle, which is bound to happen when you don’t eat for eight hours.  When I found out GNC had a casein with an “herbal relaxation complex,” I was curious.

To help with my sleep, I already use ZMA, but I was at least willing to give it a shot (since I’m a gold card member and get buy one, get one half off).

Part of the “BEYOND RAW” series of GNC supplements, I have to say “Re-Feed” does exactly what the name leads you to believe.  Packing 25 grams of protein per serving (2 scoops), it also has L-Leucine and Fenucreek, two muscle building blocks to fight your body’s want/need to find energy sources to build while you’re sleeping.  The five grams of L-Glutamine also help in recovery from a day of killing it in the gym.

Nerd Tested; Gym Rat Approved

With the “herbal relaxation complex,” it’s chock full of valerian root, as well as other plant extracts, so there is nothing habit-forming like you’d get from a sleeping pill.  That was my biggest concern before buying, but GNC is very good about being transparent on their nutrition labels and ingredients lists.

With 10 oz. of milk, it gives a thicker texture than most casein blends.  I tend to make it with an extra cup of ice and a banana, since potassium also has been linked to restful sleep.  The result is an amazing shake with great consistency.

The only complaint I have is the lack of flavor options.  Currently, it only comes in chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  Of those two, I highly recommend the vanilla ice cream, which tastes quite a bit like Breyer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream to me.  The chocolate is a little bitter for my taste.  Hopefully they come up with a few more options (including my favorite option when available; cookies & cream).

At $49.99 for a 2 1/2 lbs. tub,  I recommend it for those who are SERIOUS about building muscle.  Otherwise, there are other brands out there that’ll suit your needs (Dymatize has a great one, as we’ve said before).  If you’re a gold card member, it’s only $39.99.  Even then,  I’d wait until you need something else to take advantage of the buy one, get one half off of anything in the store (basically) before trying it out.





Five Fitness Apps For Your Smartphone

8 05 2012

I’m sure by now, you guys are wondering why I’m the NERDY gym rat.  I mean, all I’ve talked about to this point is protein powders, lifting weights and how to make good nutrition choices.  All that does is solve two-thirds of the name!

Well good news!  The nerdy side is coming out with this post!

I think we can all agree that setting goals with health and fitness are crucial if we’re going to see improvements.  We can also agree that 90% of the world has a smartphone permanently attached to their hand for 16 hours a day (because we’re all getting our eight hours of sleep, right?).  The great thing about this is that we can use that addiction to our advantage, with the development of apps for each format (Windows Phone, Android, iOSwhatever-version-they’re-on).

Now, like most apps, there are good-to-fantastic ones and there are those that are…well…not.  Here are a few of my favorite from each of the platforms.  (Note:  I’m reviewing the FREE versions of these, since I’m a bit on the cheap side with the apps on my phone.  Sadly, CheapskateNerdyGymRat.com was taken.)

RunKeeper (Available on Android & iOS)

I’ve had this app on my Motorola Atrix (and before that, my iPhone 3Gs) since the date of purchase.  As a person who hates long distance running, the integration with my playlists makes the run a whole lot easier on me (especially the one a few weeks ago that went for 8 miles).  Whenever I have that moment of wanting to just stop, I have the music to help me push through (as well as an optional coach, updating you on your current pace/distance at certain intervals).

Psh…someone’s doggin’ it!

My only complaint with the app is that, while it has an on-board GPS to track where you’re running, it can get a bit spotty, depending on your provider. Mine being AT&T, I haven’t had that big of a problem running around Orlando.  However, if I go on a jog in Gainesville or New Smyrna Beach, I’ll fall off the map.  For a free app, it’s pretty fantastic, though!

MyFitnessPal – Calorie Counter (Available on Android and iOS)

Weight Loss 101:  Calorie deficit = loss of pounds.  With this app, you can track your caloric expenditure throughout the day.  It actually has a pretty good database to pick and choose from (restaurants included) and also lets you punch in the serving size of whatever it is you ate.

Very Nice Design!

This may be me being a little nit-picky, but I have one big problem with calorie counting apps (including the Weight Watchers one).  Sure the less calories you take in/burn off in the gym, the lower your weight will be…but what about the other important nutritional information?  This is sort of like seeing a 100 calorie pack of Oreo’s.  Sure, it’s 100 calories, but they’re EMPTY calories.  If this app allowed you to also punch in information like, say, grams of protein or fiber, I’d find it to be much more effective in assessing your overall health.

Nike Training Club (Available on iOS)

Now THIS is an app I can get behind!  While aimed towards the female demographic (something the interface design does quite well in conveying in tone and color scheme), men can appreciate the exercises listed in here if you’re looking to tone up.  The Nike Trainer Club allows you to customize your workouts, as well as work out to your playlists.

Perfect Form!

The only fault I could find in this app is that it only allows tracking of one user at a time, so no sharing between mother & daughter.  However, this is something that I’m sure Nike will fix, as they have with their other apps (Nike+, for example).  Once they refine it a bit more (and maybe have it join forces with its male counterpart, the Nike BOOM), they’ll have domination of the fitness app world, especially since you don’t need to buy a special $100 pair of sneakers for it to work!

Bodybuilding.com (Available on Android and iOS)

I’m actually a big fan of Bodybuilding.com as a website.  The store usually runs good deals, the database of workouts is solid and there are countless articles that span over years of research from credible people in the fitness world.  The app is a great extension of that.  In its most recent update, it allows for you to shop from their store, something that wasn’t available in older versions.

Yeah, like I was going to miss a chance to screencap Jamie Eason!

The biggest problem with the app, however, is its tendency to freeze and shut down on Android phones.  With so much traffic going to the site, it may just be an issue of a lack of bandwidth to handle everything at once.  I’d suggest a purge on the website of articles from 2007.  Maybe that will help reducing the frequency of crashing.

Restaurant Nutrition (Available on Android and iOS)

I will admit: I’m the guy who researches nutritional information PRIOR to going out to dinner with friends.  I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for that.  This has been a staple on my phones since my first smartphone and has been a godsend.  Knowing every detail of information from most major chain restaurants lets me know that I’m better off with two “fresco style” tacos over a grilled stuffed burrito at Taco Bell (a bit obvious, I know, but still a good example!).

Big Macs are unhealthy, you say…

Unfortunately, it only does chain restaurants.  It may just be me wishing, but with the capabilities of GPS location in this day and age, there should be a way to access local restaurants nutritional info, if available.  For example, chains in the southwest (i.e. In-n-Out Burger) should pop up when I’m in Las Vegas.  Again, I’m sure this is something that can easily be fixed as we move ahead in the world of technology.

Well, hopefully that gives you a good starting point of apps to download (if you haven’t already).  With the help of some of these, you should have no problem keeping yourself accountable.  Your phone will happily be your buddy on the road to a healthier lifestyle.





Dymatize Elite Casein

7 05 2012

As I’ve always said, I only write about things I use or have tried, whether it’s nutritional, physical or supplemental.

I started using Dymatize Elite Casein back in 2010 and only stopped using it recently for the reason that it was lacking the relaxation blend of GNC’s RAW RE-FEED.

Casein protein is great for overnight prevention of muscle breakdown.  While you’re sleeping, your body goes into a catabolic state and goes after your muscles in starvation mode (assuming you’re eating small meals or shakes every 2-3 hours).  Dymatize, with its 24 grams of slow-digesting protein, helps counteract, while also being quite tasty!

As far as taste is concerned, it really depends on what you’re mixing it with.  With milk (a natural source of casein, might I add), it’s phenomenal.  With water?  I found the flavors I’ve tried (chocolate and vanilla) to be a bit chalky.

To put it simply; this is a great “last meal” of your day.  Pairing this shake with a banana and you’ll have a great night’s sleep without losing muscle.  It’s currently on sale over at Bodybuilding.com ($26.99 for a 2 lbs. tub), so the investment is well worth it!  Leave comments and let me know what you think!








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