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








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