What Are Prohormones and Are They Still Around?

If you hadn’t heard of them yet, Prohormones were once seen as the future of supplements. However, if you were to ask around about them now, you would hear more about the drawbacks of using a prohormone than the benefits. Why did everyone’s attitude towards these once highly sought after items change? It seems like such a great idea, to use parts of steroids that were scrapped to create new Frankenstein-like supplements, right? Wait, yes you read that right, I did just write out scrapped parts because, essentially, that’s what prohormones are. Without knowing this, most everyone was under the impression that these were a safer choice, when compared to using steroids.

What is the Future of Prohormones?

In 2014, the majority did not feel that way, as these products were considered far too dangerous for human use, scary, right? There was a large report that documented just how risky these little capsules were to use. If you missed out on the window in which prohormones were available, consider yourself lucky. I remember trying one of these, at the request of my older brother and I so regret it. Within a couple of days, I had pain that would shoot up my sides and I stopped taking it immediately. I came up with a lie, telling him my wife freaked out when she saw them but the truth was that I didn’t want to put myself through the physical pain anymore. I thought that I pulled a side muscle, that’s how bad the pain was. It wasn’t until I looked around online that I found that this condition was normal, at least as normal as that kind of pain can be, I suppose.

If you were to look around now, you won’t find any actual prohormones (or at least, you shouldn’t) but companies have found ways to make alternatives. With these alternate products, most are hit and miss. It’s an odd thing to use a supplement that aims to do what they big name prohormones did, without them ever being allowed to have the same ingredients. As for what the future holds, the outlook for prohormones doesn’t appear to be a good one. I don’t honestly believe that were going to see some rebirth of these supplements, like some do. After dealing with five days of pain, where I could barely sleep, I would have to say good riddance to the old days where prohormones were thought to be the new king of the supplement world.

Dealing with the Unknown: Tracking Hidden Calories

One part of effective dieting is counting calories. It is simple to count these calories when you are at home, thanks to food and beverage labels. However, a situation can occur when you find yourself away from home. It is during these times that you must find a way to count calories in your head, so to speak.

There are many situations where you could find yourself unable to track your food. One common location is the all you can eat buffet. Let’s say that you’ve just completed a workout and are ready for a buffet. You might feel nice and full after a huge meal but there is one problem: you have no idea how much fats/protein/calories you’ve eaten. For those on a strict diet, missing many calories can cause huge setbacks.

tracking what you eatAnother common situation where its hard to track food is at a restaurant. Without clear label information, you might yourself doing extra guess work. However, many large restaurants will have features on their website where you can find relevant nutritional information. Don’t be that person scrolling through nutritional information when ordering. It is wise to prepare a few meal options before you leave for the restaurant. Otherwise, you are likely to be bugged by staff asking you what you want to order every five minutes.

Use Your Hands

You’ve probably been told in the past to never use your hands while eating. However, when managing weight it can be useful to use your hands! A rule of thumb to follow is that one cup of food equals the size of your fist. Taking food measurements with your hands isn’t an exact science but is better than doing nothing.

Write it Down for Later

If you don’t want to look weird staring at your fists in public, write down what you’ve eaten. There are plenty of apps that are great at tracking food. You will often find that you need the barcode information to scan some foods. If you can’t find a food using the search function, pick the next best food.

Bust Out Some Math

I am not a big fan of having to do math. However, some quick calculations will help you out in tracking your calories against unknown foods. If you know that an average piece of bread has, let’s say, 150 calories, we have a good beginning calculation. If you get a sandwich at a restaurant, you can add 300 calories because of the two pieces of bread. If watching protein and ham has 7 grams per piece, you can say a sandwich might have about 28 grams of protein.

There you have it, a few easy ways to track food when you are in a situation that calls for mental math. Follow these tips and you will no longer be scared of eating something that you can’t track. If you are noticing big fluctuations from eating off of a normal diet plan, stop eating those foods. We will all find ourselves in situations where tracking food is hard to do. Family events during holiday months are another source of hidden calories. You don’t want to be that person ruining the family vibe by asking how many calories are in grandma’s meatloaf. A special note that I want to make is, when eating with family, save the food tracking for when you are back home. Over time, learning to track your food in mysterious situations will become second nature to you.

Company of the Week: Pro Supps

I have to admit something, I used to be big into the bodybuilding forums. I would love to go on there and have discussions, read threads, and learn about supplement companies. I should mention that all of this was quite a few years back. I was newer to bodybuilding and had plenty of question. However, one company that always had helpful representatives was Professional Supplements. During those times, they were still a relatively new company. I’m not for sure but I think they may have had three or four supplements released.

Looking forward to now, Pro Supps has taken their spot among some of the best supplement companies out there. With so many supplements, it is hard to figure out where to start. However, I wanted to mention a select few supplements that I really liked by this company. Of course, I have not had the chance to try every single supplement by Pro Supps so there may be a few that I haven’t heard of quite yet.

Karbolic is a different kind of carbohydrate drink. You get 50 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The good thing about Karbolic is that these carbs aren’t going to be the kind that are bad for you. In addition, the carbs within this supplement are time released. Having time released carbs means that you won’t have to worry about all of them going to your stomach. Carbohydrates can give you energy over periods of time instead of all at once which can cause a sugar crash. If there is one thing you don’t want to have to deal with it is a crash from your carb levels spiking.

Halotropin is another supplement that I would have a hard time living without. This product is made to increase the natural production of testosterone. I’ve tried this supplement quite a few times and have always been excited when I’m about to start using it. One of the best things about Halotropin is that it will work better with more intense workouts. There are many testosterone supplements that don’t really work well but Halotropin is not one of those. I would dare to say that it could be one of the stronger testosterone boosters on the market.

MyBar is the Pro Supps version of a protein bar. I have always loved the ease of getting to use protein bars. I find that the Mybar is a really good choice for those looking to watch their carb intake. Also, these bars have been released in a wide variety of flavors. There are really good flavors of the MyBar available including confetti cake, ice cream, cinnamon, peanut butter, and caramel. Seriously, it is tough not to get hooked on the great taste of MyBar. You will probably never feel so good as you do when you eat the nutritious goodness that makes up these bars.

Overall, Pro Supps is a supplement company that has really grown. I remember the early days when they had a carbohydrate drink that they were excited about. I was lucky enough to win a t-shirt form them once and I still proudly wear it. However, this was about six years ago so I need to track down where it is in my closet. Perhaps, I will wear it to the gym when I go and lift tonight.

BoomBox Fitness Created by Students is Taking Off

When I was a student, I think I was spending all of my time thinking about my next date. Looking back, I wish I had been more like the students you are going to read about. These three students behind BoomBox Fitness have really done something amazing. The three entrepreneurs all have a background in working out. Taking what they knew how to do, these young men decided to create a business from it. After securing a really cool location, these men went to work to grow their business. Originally, they have said that BoomBox Fitness was something to do that would fund their college. However, it is starting to look like BoomBox Fitness may just be what they want to work on after they graduate college.

One unique of BoomBox Fitness is how quick the workouts are. Don’t think that you are going to get some five minute lightweight workout that won’t do any for you. No, BoomBox Fitness has a style that is composed of HIIT workout. HIIT or high intensity interval training is the next big thing in fitness. What you can expect from a typical HIIT workout is about thirty minute of intense exercise. The young men have stated that they prefer teaching the HIIT style of training because of how well ti fits into the schedule of professionals. BoomBox Fitness is aimed at young professional, like themselves.

The people that come to train at BoomBox Fitness love the networking capabilities offered by this unique fitness location. You won’t find just a place to exercise at BoomBox Fitness but rather a place that you can talk to other like-minded individuals as well. Their awesome rooftop location gives anyone wanting a workout a stunning view of an entire city. The location and people will ensure that you working out in a trendy and fun environment. In addition, the genius workouts of the trainers, while young in age, are wise well beyond their years for teaching HIIT classes. Seriously, you will not leave BoomBox Fitness without breaking a sweat!

What I really like about BoomBox Fitness is how first-time guests get their first workout free. I wish that more workout locations would offer a first workout for free. There have been times where I have bought a monthly membership somewhere only to realize the place wasn’t for me. After taking the first class of BoomBox Fitness, you can realize if this class is for you or not. After the first workout, this company offers both single session and monthly memberships. There are even beverages available during each workout class. In addition, there are rooms where companies or groups of friends can hold events. If there are any companies in the area of BoomBox Fitness that are looking for a fun way to get their employees in shape, checking out their classes would be a great idea.

Overall, BoomBox Fitness has turned out to be quite the company. Started by three friends to help them during school, the company has really grown quickly. The location of this fitness studio offers exclusive rooftop HIIT workouts that you won’t find hardly anywhere else. You get your first workout for free which really makes it worth checking out, if you live nearby this fitness studio. Join a place where professionals are connecting professionally and through the love of fitness, what a great concept!

Melatonin Supplements Found to be Under Fire

One supplement that I know quite a bit about would be melatonin. For the past five years I have, off and on, been taking melatonin. This supplement is made to help promote deeper and more peaceful sleep. One reason that I’ve always liked this supplement is because it wouldn’t make me oversleep. There are far more dangerous supplements to take for sleep but I’ve always avoided them. The uncertainty of how long I could oversleep always kept my guard up. The last thing that I wanted to do was oversleep and risk getting fired! However, there is news being recently reported that melatonin might be misleading us!

sleeping outside

There have been reports stating that there are huge variances in between what some supplement companies are listing and what is actually there. No companies have been named but barely less than three-fourths of companies tested were found to have results that didn’t match what was in the supplement. The one saving grace of hearing this news is that melatonin is a relatively safe supplement.  While nothing is impossible, it is very hard to get a crazy high amount of melatonin, even if the supplement is incorrectly dosed. Interestingly enough, the melatonin levels were found to be higher than what was on the label. I had feared that companies were not putting enough of the sleep inducing ingredient in their products. I am sort of shocked that these select few companies were going overboard on the melatonin. Variances in how much melatonin you are actually getting per serving could have widespread implications on the world of supplements. You would have to be living under a rock to not know that there is a major wave of distrust for most supplements. Hearing news of these study results are sure to only fuel the fire for increased supplement regulations.

I do have to admit that I’ve noticed there have been times where melatonin has my sleep all mixed up. I have always had various problems sleeping. There was a brief period of my life where I could only sleep a few hours a night. I was in college at the time and under an incredible amount of stress. Melatonin was the only thing I could use to safely get a good night’s rest without oversleeping. Since I was working while I was in college, missing a day of work meant I was losing out on money and I didn’t want that. Looking back, I’m not sure if I will continue to use melatonin as much as I used to. I know that it isn’t great to use melatonin every single day. I currently try to only use melatonin when I know that there will be a change in my sleep levels. For example, if I know that my shifts at work will change, I will use melatonin so that I can wake up earlier. As any night owl knows, there are times when melatonin can be your best friend. After hearing about the mistakes of labeling, I may have to downgrade melatonin from best friend to occasional acquaintance! I eagerly await to see if there will be any companies named in this study. However, I think hearing the news of the results of this study say all that needs to be said, in regards to the current state of supplemental products.

Don’t Call Beta BCAA Weak!

Cellucor is back at it again with another new supplement release that everyone is talking about. This branched chain amino acid supplement is known as Beta BCAA. I’m not too crazy about the name of this product but let’s take a closer look at those ingredients to find out more. The first thing that I’ve noticed about Beta BCAA is that it offers its amino as a 2:1:1 ratio, commonly seen as the most effective way to ration out a series of amino acids. There are other ratios that you can implement a BCAA with but most statistics show the 2:1:1 ratio to work exceptionally well. To be more specific, there are 2.5 grams of leucine, 1.25 grams of isoleucine, and 1.25 grams of valine per serving of Beta BCAA.

For those of us who have problems digesting caffeine but still need an energy boost to get moving, a BCAA supplement could be just what you are looking for. Also, if you are sick of the same old flavors of your current branched chain amino acid supplement, Cellucor has you covered! The flavor selection for Beta BCAA could still use a few improvements, as there are only three flavors currently available. The Beta BCAA flavors are limeade, topical splash, and watermelon.

After getting the chance to try all three flavors, there really isn’t a bad one in the bunch. I personally enjoyed the topical splash flavor the most, followed by the watermelon, and the limeade. I feel that the only thing setting the limeade flavor back was that it was a bit too bitter for my tastes. However, taste is something that is clearly subjective and I encourage you to try the limeade flavor for yourself. What separates Beta from other BCAA supplements out there is that, in addition to the 2:1:1 ratio of aminos, you receive an additional 3 grams of citrulline malate and 1.6 grams of beta alanine.

A headache that anyone who has tried a BCAA product knows about is trying to mix up your supplement. Usually, you will end up with a chunky beverage that is flaky and hard to drink. Don’t even get me started on having a clump of supplement powder dissolve in your mouth because it wasn’t mixed properly! The Beta BCAA mixes up very smoothly, especially when using an actual shaker cup with the mixing ball within it. I felt more energized within about twenty minutes after finishing my drink. I had a long drive to where I would go to lift so I had this drink emptied as I was pulling into the parking lot.

One cool aspect of using BCAA’s is that they can be taken before training, during, or after you’re done in the weight room. The added versatility of branched chain amino acids sometimes makes them more convenient than a preworkout powder. Take it from someone who needs a lot of energy just to wake up in the morning, Beta BCAA packs quite the punch. You won’t be feeling shaky and out of control with this supplement but rather more focused and headstrong. It’s tough to explain but once you’ve tried Cellucor’s new branched chain amino acid product, you’ll have a better idea of the feeling I am talking about. Overall, this inexpensive BCAA supplement is one that anyone serious about their nutrition should take a second look at.

What Can Ease Chronic Headaches?

If there is one thing I hate the most, it would have to be a headache. I’m prone to getting these painful ailments about two to three times a week. The worst headaches are migraines, those ones that are so bad you just want to hide from the world. If you can name it, it’s likely that I’ve tried it for headache relief. What one new study found was that the lack of a certain vitamin can greatly attribute to suffering from headaches. The vitamin that you get from the sunlight, vitamin D has been shown to help reduce headaches.

What a study found was that out of two groups of people, the ones who had less vitamin D were more prone to headaches. I do have to say that one product I definitely recommend is BC Powder. If you haven’t tried the powder before, it tastes like death, but it works extremely well. However, I was hoping to look for a remedy that was a little more natural, which is why I went with vitamin D If you choose, you get your vitamin D through a supplement, although some enjoy to get this through exposure to sunlight. You don’t need me to tell you to not overdo it in the sun, just be cautious. Many don’t think that sunburn is that big of a deal, barring the painful skin. However, getting a sunburn will make you prone to getting them easier throughout your life.

There are consequences that are associated with consuming too much vitamin D, you don’t want to overdo it. What occurs when you have an overabundance of this vitamin is that calcium will start to form in your blood. Having a normal amount of calcium is perfectly normal, however, when you go overboard, this is where problems can occur. Lack of appetite and vomiting are two of the worst drawbacks to having a buildup of calcium in the blood. It’s important to know when remedies aren’t fixing the problem. If you have been taking vitamin D and noticed that it isn’t helping your headaches, this is when it is time to see a medical professional.

Hydro Pump by Nutrakey is Intense!

Versatility is a crucial part of any good supplement. I often find that products I continue to order will be ones that have multiple uses. Hydro Pump is known as a supplement that can intensify your preworkout, yet it can be used by itself. Figuring out your tolerance to caffeine is something that must be done on your own. I could estimate, as best as could be expected, how much caffeine is too much but it would be based on weight. Also, everyone will react differently to large amounts of caffeine. Why I love Hydro Pump is because, although I can handle my caffeine, there are some days where I don’t feel like being a shaky mess for hours on end. There are really nice flavors that come with Hydro Pump: cotton candy, strawberry lemonade, and unflavored. I’ve never seen the joy in an unflavored supplement but I do see why some prefer them, over any flavoring, it could even be due to allergic reaction possibilities.

Is This Supplement Effective On Its Own?

Yes, I found that Hydro Pump still provided me with an awesome edge, when it came time to hit my arms. I have to admit, it was honestly nice to not have that queasy feeling in my stomach, you know the one, of my body telling me that it has way too much caffeine in it. Hydro Pump is free of stimulant ingredients but don’t let that write this one off, it still gets you moving. The bread and butter of this supplement is how it affects your pump, or how much strength you are providing while you lift weights. A supplement that is known for a good pump will have you experiencing the following: harder muscles, increased veins appearing, and the ability to lift heavier weight. I was eager to step up to some heavy sets of curls and wasn’t sure if Hydro Pump would pull me through, without feeling tired. Thank goodness, the delicious cotton candy flavored beverage that I had in my shaker cup kept me going strong until well after my workout was over. Best of all, I noticed that my arms looked like they belonged to someone else.

Where I normally have minimal definition and arms that look good in shirts but not in tank tops, I actually felt much better about my lifting progress. Looking in the mirror isn’t an activity I often do, regardless of what anyone who knows me tells you, but I couldn’t stop checking out how much more defined I look. As sad as it is to admit, I do have to say that, after my first time using Hydro Pump, I may have strutted around the gym to show off. After being impressed with Hydro Pump being so effective for a stimulant free supplement, I had to try it with another pre workout. Again, this supplement is very versatile and since it’s ingredients are made for a better pump and not more energy, you generally will not run too much risk in mixing Hydro Pump with something else. I had a favorite pre workout on hand that I felt had been waning in strength, making it the perfect candidate to be mixed with Hydro Pump, now I see why the unflavored one is so popular. Within about twenty minutes, I felt like I had a stronghold over my old limits. I don’t often get to breakthrough my limits but when it happens, there isn’t a better feeling that I could think of!

Flavored Water or Sports Drinks: Selecting the Best

For many gym goers, there face endless variety when they get to that vending machine. I’m speaking for those of us that can’t stand the taste of normal water. I will try and find any way around having to drink plain old water, I just can’t do it. Needless to say, when I get thirsty and I can’t be seen guzzling down a soda, I face two choices: flavored water or a sports drink. Flavored water certainly isn’t a new and groundbreaking product but he can get me to put down the soda pop. As it stands, there are many different options to have your water flavored, including: powders, drops, etc. When it comes down to my favorite flavored water, I have to pick Propel.

Where I live, the Summer season is one that is unbearably hot, if you aren’t drinking plenty of water, you could end up passing out in the heat. When I know that my brain is telling me to clean up what I am drinking, I always reach for the Propel, if possible. As for the flavor picks, I love the orange mandarine and the grape. The trickiest part about having the Propel water around is not drinking down the whole bottle in a single gulp. I am someone who always feels like I am in a state of constant thirst and without the acidity of soda, I can definitely put down a lot of water. On the other hand, I have always grown up around sports drinks and am a big fan of the products. The two main sports drink companies are Gatorade and Powerade and both have delicious options to drink up, when you are breaking a sweat. If you hear the commercials made the makers of these sports drinks, it is said that they have great ways of keeping you hydrated.

After all, one of the companies came up with their beverage because they needed to keep a college football team hydrated, definitely one that is backed by science. The world of the flavored water was not content to just give you a way to drink more water, soon they would begin to start adding vitamins and minerals of their own. Today, attitudes are changing and people are worrying more about their healthiness and less about the next sugary soda. With the age of the soda having such a huge share in the drink market seeming to lose it’s hold, there are numerous waters and juices that are more than eager to being to take their spot. As far as sports drinks are concerned, I have got to go with Gatorade as my all time favorite, their Glacier Ice flavor has gotten me through many colds and grueling workouts. Having to put down the water, in favor of another drink is choice that has never bothered me, not with so many delicious juices and sports drinks there are out there.

The best way to find which alternative to water that you like is to try some of them yourself. The worst thing that can happen, when finding your favorite gym drink, is that you’re going to drink a few that you don’t like. What is important is that you find something that can help you cut back on the soda, even if you can’t stand drinking pure water!

dont skip your water

Can Vitamins Help Your Hearing?

As someone who listens to their music sound, while I am clanging some weights around, a problem that I know some of you have. Since I can remember, I have always heard two things regarding my hearing that have scared me for about thirty years. I was told that hearing had everything to do with the ear itself and once that hearing is gone, it doesn’t come back. I’m now able to actually rest a little easier knowing that studies are showing that hearing damage is, indeed, reversible. As to how much hearing you can recover, that will depend on many other factors but knowing that we can turn back the clock, through a healthier diet, is motivation enough for me to change up the way that I eat. I hope you’re sitting down for this next fact because it took me a few minutes to process it, that is how odd it sounds.

The fact is this: your hearing loss is not the fault of your ear, it doesn’t get damaged in that way, without something causing trauma to it. Yes, the hearing loss that we can experience is from our brains aging, not our ears. The sensation of hearing becoming diminished is because the brain is starting to have some difficulties in the job that it needs to do. One of the vitamins that can be the most helpful for bringing back some of your hearing would be vitamin A. One delicious way to get some more vitamin A into your daily meals would be through sweet potatoes. If you haven’t tried them before, get ready for a treat, sweet potatoes could actually pass a dessert because they are that good.

Of course, I enjoy my sweet potatoes with a very large amount of butter, so if you are watching calories, you may just want to make them plain. Even if you don’t choose to load your sweet potatoes up with butter, they still taste great plain. Up next, as another great source of the hearing healing vitamin A would come from mangoes. While it is a fruit, this one isn’t that sour and actually has a sweeter taste to it, if you mind the prepping process. Be warned, if you are preparing a mango for the first time, they can be quite difficult to cut up but are worth the time that you will spend on them. You don’t need to only eat the past two foods that I spoke of, if you get one hundred percent of the daily amount of vitamin A, your hearing is well on it’s way to slowly being repaired. The rate at which you noticed improved hearing will vary from person to person but lifting those weights with loud music will leave you with ears that could probably use some vitamin A.

It seems too good to be true but, as fate would have it, you could actually repair the hearing loss that you have undergone, with a handful of different foods. The last kind of damage that you want to cause would be any to your ears so, no matter how pumped up you are feeling, try to keep your headphone volume down reasonably low. If there is one thing that I have learned, when you start lifting to loud music, your ears adjust and because you want more intensity, it stands to reason that you will eventually turn it up even louder.

Two Flavors of Sports Beans Tasted and Reviewed!

Sports Beans are made by the Jelly Belly company and, to be honest, I didn’t have super high expectations about the effectiveness of this product. I have tried some weird things, all in the name of getting a bit more energy but jellybeans have never been on my radar, for those purposes. When I received some Sports Beans as a gift, from my loving wife, I figured I might as well review them. I had to look like I was bit more interested in the item than I really was because I was so skeptical. Thinking that my wife had just thrown away a buck or two, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had to eat a big slice of humble pie, along with a side of crow, as I popped the first jellybean into my mouth. Initially, I could tell that these sports beans were larger than the Jelly Belly’s that I am used to. I had two packets of the sports beans to try, one was all fruit punch, while the other package was an assortment of various flavors. I decided to walk on the wide side and grab the assorted flavor pouch first.

Upon first taste, I do need to mention that these beans had a very strong flavor, which I loved. After finishing the bag, at a quicker pace than I thought I would, it was time to wait around and see what would happen. Sure enough, after about ten minutes, I found myself wandering the house, looking for something to do. I should also mention that I was safe and sound in my comfy recliner when I tried these sports beans, if it can get me off that piece of furniture, it does give you energy! I was pretty impressed with the sports beans, you won’t get 300 mg of caffeine like you do with a pre-workout but the energy is there, it just comes on less strong. I see sports beans finding the most success with endurance athletes who needs longer lasting and more steady streams of energy, versus weightlifters that need those strong bursts in a shorter amount of time. The energy that you will receive form these sports beans is going to feel cleaner because you are getting it from safer and natural sources, such as: vitamin B, C, electrolytes, and more!

shiny

Plus, you get an excuse to eat jelly beans, as part of your exercise routine, how cool is that? In the pouches that I received was about 10-15 jellybeans. Again, the size of these candies will be larger than the usual jelly beans that you eat, making them able to semi fill you up, at least when you are on the go. Although I was initially skeptical of how jelly beans could possibly get me up and moving, I was pleasantly surprised with just how much energy I felt after downing a pouch of Sports Beans. There are different flavors of this product that are available for you to try, I only was able to test out two different variations. Jelly Belly has brought us tastes that we never thought we would try and now they are further expanding to not just give you awesome taste but actual energy and recovery. If you will excuse, I now have to apologize to my wife, as she knew these beans would be great from the very beginning, she was right!