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!





Your “Supplement Saturdays” Primer (6/2/12)

2 06 2012

Good Morning, GymGeeks (Old AND New)

I say that because Twitter has officially blow up.  Over sixty of you have become GymGeeks in the last 48 hours, which I find unbelievably impressive (and I screen for bots, spammers and everything)!  You guys have inspired me to do a few more things over the next few weeks (working on the merchandising as we type).  These would include contests and giveaways, GymGeeks!  So keep an eye out…

star wars, x-wing, death star, nerdy, geek

Battle of Yavin…X-Wings? Death Star? Blown Up? You guys get it…

Also keep an eye out (in a more immediate sense) for my talk about green tea, as well as the super-famous Syntha-6 protein powder.  I’ve been holding out as long as I can to write about it, since I consider it an ace in the hole that EVERYONE should read about, but since you guys are coming here in droves now, I feel the time is right!

Don’t forget to pay it forward and share the love via Twitter and Facebook!





Recipe of The Week: Breakfast On-The-Go

29 05 2012

Ok, here’s a scenario I’m sure we’ve all been through…

You haven’t gone shopping in over a week and you’re down to protein powders, water and maybe some oatmeal or a couple of eggs.  You need a quick breafast before working out.  What do you do?

You improvise!

This is the easiest thing to make.  I’ve done it many times, even if it’s just to eat something before going shopping (or out of town and don’t want to shop for the week):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Oatmeal (always choose the tub over the packets!)
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein (I find Dymatize cooks the best)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

  1. Place oatmeal and protein powder into a bowl and mix
  2. Add water to mixture and let sit for a minute to soak in
  3. Place two egg whites into bowl and mix again
  4. Put bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
  5. Let cool for a minute and enjoy!

If you like it a little bit sweeter, feel free to throw in some stevia extract or any berries you may have left over in the fridge.  The great part about the egg whites is that you don’t get the savory taste profile, which would conflict with the sweetness of the protein powder.

Remember: the idea is to make the best of what you have lying around.

Bon Apetit!





Your “Tasty Tuesday” Primer (5/29/12)

29 05 2012

Happy “Tasty Tuesday,” GymGeeks!

I don’t know about you guys,  but I’m always on-the-go.  Because of this,  I plan at LEAST three meals ahead of the one that’s coming up.  Perfect example:  knowing I’d be on the road for at least three hours on the way back from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, I had the perfect plan in place for my lunch, my mid-day snack and my dinner (knowing I had zero food in my fridge, so nothing could spoil while I was out of town).

For that reason,  I actually took a long-winded route using the Florida Turnpike, since the choices at the service stations sure beat the hell out of pulling over at a random exit on I-95 and having the choice of McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King or all three at a truck stop.  I was able to run in, grab a turkey wrap from the “healthy choices” kiosk, a bottle of water and get back on the road.  Also, knowing that I’d be going shopping almost the recond I got back into town,  I had one of my homemade protein bars ready so I wouldn’t shop hungry.  This stopped me from taking advantage of the special on a whole turkey sub at the Publix deli and allowed for a more sensible dinner instead of carb loading.

With that in mind,  the posts and tweets today will revolve around how to survive (nutritionally speaking) on-the-go or in a pinch for something to eat.  I have a great recipe (if you want to call it that, since it’s so freakin’ simple) for your mornings, as well as how to survive a vacation.  Having spent the last few days down in South Florida catching a Miami Marlins game, going out to dinner with my parents (not to mention dinner on Friday with my brother & sister), I know I was able to avoid some pitfalls, so I want to share that knowledge with my GymGeeks.

Hope everyone had a great weekend…now let’s get back to work!





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




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





Sunday Night Recap

20 05 2012

This week was definitely interesting.  The naming of each day gives TheNerdyGymRat a bit more organization in what stuff gets rolled out and when.  As with any site or blog, consistency is key.  I know I quit reading Gizmodo when they went to a random design and I threaten to quit Facebook every time they change the layout.  GymGeeks deserve better and I’ll make sure to do my part!

Now, here’s what all you newbies missed this week:

  • Mondays will now be known as “Motivational Mondays,” where we’ll come up with a way to get rid of all of your excuses.  This week, we talked about the major guts in a man’s life.
  • Tuesdays are “Tasty Tuesdays!”  This one definitely got the best reception.  We’ll be talking about a muscle building or fat burning food, as well as share a recipe for the week.  We took a break from fish dishes to go with a little chicken stir-fry.
  • Wednesdays are “Workout Wednesdays.”  On these days, you can expect to see ways to spice up your lifting & cardio routines.  Abs and Tabata training were on the agenda this week.  I sure as hell used Tabata before volunteering at Orlando Beer Fest last night.  In four minutes, I was sweating like a mad man!
  • Thursdays…well…let’s just call them “Friday Eve Fit Tips.”  On Thursday,  pay close attention to Twitter and Facebook for some great tips on nutrition, fitness, workouts and just an overall healthy lifestyle.  It also frees us up for the quite-popular “Gym Pet Peeves.”  Hopefully you’re not the meathead that I talked about this week.
  • Fridays will be “Fun Shit Fridays,” where I’ll have interviews with professionals in the fitness industry, as well as some reviews of items and news in the sports technology department.  The Under Armour E39 caught my eye, so I wanted to share it with my GymGeeks!
  • Saturdays are going to be all about supplements!  I reviewed GNC’s “Re-Feed” (which, if Twitter is any indication, GNC loved seeing).
  • Which brings us to today, “Serenity Sunday.”  For most people, this is the “rest day” in their workout/diet regiments.  It’ll definitely have a laid-back vibe, where I’ll share a playlist or even fun things you can do on your day off from the gym.

I also want to take a second to thank everyone that’s been reading here, following over at Twitter and liking the Facebook page.  For something I started up on a whim three weeks about, you guys have been a phenomenal group.  I think a healthy lifestyle is something that needs addressing and I hope I’m helping.  I know I hated being talked at in a way where I felt I was being preached to.  I wish something like this existed when I was 240 lbs., so this is my way of paying it forward.  I can only hope you all do the same 🙂

Now get some rest…we start all over again tomorrow!

Jonathan





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.





“Supplement Saturdays”

19 05 2012

Happy Saturday morning to my GymGeeks!

Hopefully you guys crushed your workouts this week.  If you didn’t…well…you have two more days to pick up the slack!  Never leave anything in the tank.  Otherwise, you’ll feel like crap.  I know I do.

Anyways,  today we’re starting “Supplement Saturdays.”  With this day,  you’ll get at least one supplement review and, down the road, some research and studies on different natural supplements from an expert on the subject.  Since most of us do our shopping on the weekends, it seems fitting to post these during the weekend so you don’t forget to pick stuff up if you need it!

Today we’ll be rolling out a review on a protein powder I’ve talked about in passing, but never really got a chance to give my take on, the “Re-Feed” blend from GNC’s “BEYOND RAW” series of sports nutrition.

Do you have a supplement you’d like to see reviewed by The Nerdy Gym rat?  Feel free to leave suggestions here, Twitter and on Facebook.

Now, off to my “active rest” day (translation: time to crush some cardio) before I go volunteer at Orlando Beer Fest this afternoon.  It’s going to be tempting to take a pour for myself for every person who needs one, but it’ll be a fun test in self control!

Everyone have an awesome day!

Jonathan








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