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!

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Your “Tasty Tuesdays” Briefing (5/22/12)

22 05 2012

Your protein bar sucks.

I learned this a few years ago.  Being in a time crunch on the way to and from Fort Lauderdale,  I’ve pulled over to buy one while gassing up my car.  I also grabbed one on the go when I was working a long shift at the restaurant where I was Kitchen Manager during college.  My thought at the time was that protein bars with high amounts of protein were perfectly fine for consumption, right?

Yes, at one point, this was a good option.

I couldn’t have been any more wrong.  Sure, a bar can promote 32 grams of protein per serving,  but upon further inspection, it’s not the highest quality protein.  Using the MetRX “Big 100” as an example,  take a look at the nutrition label and remove protein content from the equation.

Couldn’t have been ANY more wrong..

That is a meal chock full of fat, sodium and sugar.  While it’s only 5 grams of saturated fat, those three pieces of nutrition each contain 25% of your daily needs!  When you’re eating small meals every 2-3 hours (as you should be),  that’s a recipe for disaster.

Anything with a novel on it’s packaging ain’t worth it!

Also, take a peek at the ingredients list.  I don’t claim to have a degree in biomedical sciences or chemistry, but I can only tell you what purpose a handful of the ingredients serve.  The rest (i.e. xantham gum, brown rice syrup) serve as filler.  Nothing more.  Even breaking down where the protein is coming from, it’s good to see that it’s isolate sources, but soy has been known to be a less stable building block for muscle-building than whey.  The soy crisps in this particular bar are also the source of most of the sodium content in the bar!

What does this all have to do with today’s “Tasty Tuesday,” you ask?  Well, today’s recipe is how to make a protein bar using fewer ingredients (more importantly, that you can actually pronounce).  I’ve always been a big advocate for making as many of your meals as possible, since that means you know what you’re putting in your body.

So I hope you enjoy your “Tasty Tuesday,” GymGeeks!  If you want to share your thoughts on the topic of protein bars (or want to share what’s on your plate today),  feel free to share it here and over at Twitter or Facebook.  I’m up for a lively debate today! 🙂

Jonathan





Welcome to “Tasty Tuesdays”

15 05 2012

Happy Tasty Tuesday, GymGeeks!

I thought this would be a good day of the week to formally start talking about nutrition.  On Tuesdays, we’ll be talking about a fat burning or muscle building food that you may (or may not) know about, as well as a recipe for the week.  I’m currently in talks with a few guest bloggers who know how to cook way better than I do (although I’m getting much better as I go) and also have a vast database to choose from.  Until then, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I’ll share.

Mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-day snack all ready to go!

I also wanted to take this “Letter from the Editor” moment to bring up a very important rule of fitness and health: WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT!  This is something that goes neglected more often than not.  Sure, you can read a nutrition label on a box of something, but it doesn’t really sink in when you don’t step back and see how much of your daily intake that serving actually makes up.  A food journal is a great thing that I discovered a few years ago and it’s helped me on the journey to weight loss, as well as my current journey to put on 10 lbs. of muscle.  In fact, I’ll share with you my current meals during the day (I never go longer than 3 hours between meals) and the TOTAL intake of the important building blocks (calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates) I take in during the day:

Breakfast (4:00 AM)

  1. 1 whole extra large egg
  2. 4 egg whites
  3. 2 tablespoons of salsa
  4. 1 medium navel orange
  5. 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  6. 2 cups of coffee (black)

Post-Workout (6:30 AM)

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex

Mid-Morning Snack (9:15 AM)

  1. 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  2. 1/2 cup diced pineapple

Lunch (12:00 PM)

  1. 2 slices 7-grain Ezekiel Bread (no flour, all sprouts & grains)
  2. 3 oz. Boars Head Low Sodium Chicken Breast
  3. 1/3 cup Alfalfa Sprouts
  4. 1/2 cup spinach
  5. Handful (about 14-16) of almonds
  6. 4 oz. baby carrots
  7. 1 medium golden delicious apple

Mid-Afternoon Snack (2:30 PM)

  1. 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 scoop Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein Blend
  3. 1 large red delicious apple

Dinner (5:00 PM)

  1. 1/2 cup of salad
  2. 1 tilapia filet (roughly 4-5 oz.)
  3. 1 medium pear

1 hour before Bedtime (8:00 PM)

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 2 scoops GNC Beyond Raw “Re-Feed” Protein (Casein)
  3. 1 medium banana

Total Intake:  2050 calories, 31g Fat, 182g Protein, 257g Carbohydrates

A couple things to note about those numbers:

  • I always try to shoot for around 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight (which should be 240g for me), so I see that I need to up the intake in that department.  It allows me to re-adjust for next week (maybe use 2% milk with my protein shakes) to ensure gains!
  • I keep my starchy carbohydrate intake down after lunch.  Since the ones I use are slow-acting (oatmeal, Ezekiel bread), the body absorbs them slow enough to use as a source of energy throughout my day.  The rest come from fruits (in the form of fructose, a sugar) and vegetables.  Avoid sugars like high fructose corn syrup (and even chemically enhanced calorie-free sweeteners)!  Both have been linked to crashes in insulin levels and cancer.  Scary enough, right?
  • The fats in my diet come from my protein sources and nuts.  This means they are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, which are necessary for healthy cardiovascular health.  These are the OK types of fat!

So on that note, what are you guys eating today?  Make sure to write it down!  You’ll learn a lot and have piece of mind knowing what’s going into your body.

Jonathan.





Cinco de Mayo Survival Guide

4 05 2012

First of all, may the fourth be with you (for all you Star Wars Day observers, like me).

This also means that tomorrow, everyone becomes of Latin origin (much like everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day), as it’s Cinco de Mayo!

Fiesta Time!

Of course, like most holidays, this can be chock full of pitfalls and it’s my job, as the Nerdy Gym Rat, to do the proper research and give you pointers on how to do as much damage control as humanly possible (humanly being the operative term: moderation is a beautiful thing).

#1 – The Pre-Party Workout

I know I know, the last thing you want to do on such a great holiday is work out, but think of it like creating a caloric deficit.  Mentally, you’ll feel better about that taco or extra Corona if you can say to yourself “Well, I did run a couple miles today…”

CrossFit: ALWAYS a good decision!

Personally, I plan on doing at least one body weight WOD (Workout of the Day, for those who aren’t up on the CrossFit lingo).  Reading through the .PDF I have, I’m thinking about the Angie and/or the Chelsea (both on Page 1 of the document).  The beauty of these WODs is that it builds up muscular strength and endurance, so your metabolism will be working overtime long after you’re done, as opposed to 30 minutes of static cardio on a treadmill.  The dirty secret behind static cardio is that the moment you hit “stop”, so does the calorie burn.  Think about that…

#2 – The Food

If you end up at ANY Tex-Mex place in your city, you will be getting loads of complimentary chips and salsa.  I remember a pseudo-pub crawl friends of mine put together back in college.  By the end of the day, we were so sick of everyone’s special homemade pico de gallo.

Yeah, THIS won’t get old quick…

Remember that it’s not the salsa that’s the trap (in fact, it’s one of the healthiest condiments you can find, as long as it’s not full of salt).  It’s the fried chips that will not be your friend!  If you can control yourself to 10-15 chips and load them with salsa (or guacamole, as long as it’s homemade and not pre-made), you’re in great shape!

Tacos, burritos and main dishes are also tough things to get around.  If at all possible, try to avoid sour creams, cheeses and pick lean meats (chicken or steak) as your fillings.  Also, while taco shells at most restaurants are flour-based and not corn, burritos usually have the option of a whole wheat tortilla (and option I know places like Tijuana Flats has).  Another thing to consider when you’re placing your order:  if it goes into a deep fryer (i.e. chimichangas), if does NOT go into your body.

#3 – The Libations (That’s right…the booze!)

What Cinco de Mayo would be complete without tons of drinking??? Yours!

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer something light if I’m going to indulge.  Most likely, Dos Equis and Corona will be the beers on special.  Lucky for you both have light options (and with a lime, you won’t notice a difference in taste).

Then there’s the always-delicious margarita.  Unless you plan on making your own mix, you should stick to a “one-and-done” mentality to save yourself the sugar spike (Example:  A Red Lobster “Lobsterita” will set you back 890 calories and 183 grams of carbohydrates – not to mention the loads of sugar from the mix).  If you’re going to have more than one, the phrase “on the rocks” will soften the blow, as they are usually less liquid and more ice (bartenders are not going to heavy pour you, as opposed to a machine).  If your restaurant or bar of choice has a “skinny” option (I know Chili’s does), go that route!

Another thing to note: a shot of Patron Silver tequila is 69 calories of hangover juice.  Keep those to a minimum not only because of the lack of nutritional value, but to keep yourself from making some bad decisions (you don’t want a “coyote ugly” situation on your hands).

These steps shouldn’t keep you from having a good time, though!  Remember, you’re out there to spend time with friends, make some new ones that you’ll be Facebook friends with by the end of the night (not to mention the awful mariachi music at every turn).  Keep these steps in mind and you’ll have a blast without the guilt the following morning!








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