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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Pineapple: The Tropical Muscle Builder

22 05 2012

I’ll let out a little bit of the nerd in me:  I’m a big fan of the (recently cancelled) TV show, “Chuck.”  In the first season, they did a Thanksgiving episode which revolved around the dreaded day-after holiday that we’ve all come to know as “Black Friday.” 

As employees of the Buy More (the fictionalized version of Best Buy), they devised an emergency protocol, where if things go sideways, someone says one…simple…word…(which can be seen at the link below, since YouTube won’t let me embed!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZA29AhiP6Y

Little did I know until doing some research into my own diet that this one word…this one fruit…would have so many benefits for building lean muscle mass! 

For starters, a single cup of pineapple contains 50% of your daily requirements of both thiamine and manganese.  These two minerals are responsible for the removal of free radicals that could be detrimental to mitochondria, which we all know from our high school biology class, is the body’s source of energy production.  As GymGeeks, we need every ounce of energy to get a serious workout in!

Another benefit of pineapple in your diet is its ability to aid in digestion of protein.  Thanks to a little-known mineral, bromelain, the body can better digest and break down proteins for consumption in the body.  It has also been studied as an anti-inflammatory, which helps in the recovery phase.

The way I personally get pineapple into my diet is by using a cup of diced bits (by hand, GymGeeks…no canned stuff!) with a cup of non-fat cottage cheese.  This not only gives you something sweet to cut the saltiness of cottage cheese, but it also helps in breaking down the natural casein in the stuff!

Since pineapples are currently in season, you should be able to find it at every supermarket in your area for a good price.  Get out there and cut some up!





Recipe of The Week: Carrot Cake Protein Bars

22 05 2012

As I promised in my rant this morning about why most protein bars suck,  I’m here with a recipe to make your own bars with ingredients you can pronounce!

Now, many people have tried to make their own bars in the past.  I’ve tried their recipes and they all have their merits, but this happens to be my favorite since the final product dense enough to go with a cup of coffee in the morning for a mid-morning snack.  I chose the carrot cake version because my on-the-run bar is usually the Carrot Cake-flavored Cliff Bars, which have natural ingredients, but lack the protein content I look for in a small meal.

So without further ado:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein (I used Dymatize Elite Gourmet, which has casein in it.  Helps keep me full longer)
  • 1/2 cup chopped & shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup stevia extract (Truvia is my sweetener of choice)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food (Don’t be afraid to pick this up if you have no kids…but if anyone at Whole Foods asks, I have a 2 year old)
  • 4 oz. unsweetened soy milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
  3. Mix the egg whites, stevia extract, baby food and soy milk in a separate bowl
  4. Combine the bowls until you have a consistent batter
  5. Spray a 10″ x 10″ pan with non-stick butter spray (Pam) and fill with batter.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes
  7. Let the bars cool for 5 minutes, then cut into six bars.

Goes great with your morning cup of joe!

Now, you can up the ante in the protein category by going with a higher-protein powder or 2% milk instead of soy.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can mix & match ingredients and have an entirely different bar each time.  I’ve actually made some banana bread protein bars with walnuts & berries in it using the bulk of this recipe (and it came out effing AMAZING).

So there you have it; a protein bar you can make at home with zero fillers and all good old-fashioned ingredients.  Happy baking!

Nutritional Info (per bar)
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 7.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates:  18 grams
  • Protein: 22 grams




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.





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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