31 May 2016

Your combined protein intake for the day, including both dietary consumption and supplementary intake (shakes, bars, etc) should total around 1 gram per pound of body weight. For supplementary protein, the ideal time to take a shake is within 30-45 minutes of exercise due to the body being in high metabolic uptake (best absorption with the least amount of loss during processing). Similarly, shakes can be taken immediately upon waking, preferably after a glass of water, as it helps to stimulate the metabolism into a higher drive for the day. The water, especially if lemon is added (no sugar), acts as a blood cleanser and increases enzymatic output from the pancreas to aid in digestion and protein uptake.


There are a variety of protein powder types:

– Plant proteins are ideal if you tend to have bloating issues with dairy, or have an intestinal issues, as they are much easier for the body to break down. Additionally, many popular blends these days such as SunWarrior and Plnt are organic, allergen-friendly, and contain a full spectrum of amino acids. The downside to these are the cost that comes with them (averaging a dollar a serving or above).

– Egg protein, while easier for the body to work with for protein absorption than whey, are incredibly expensive per serving due to the difficulty of sourcing. It tends to taste amazing, however not generally worth the investment (better to find in a protein blend)

– Beef protein is comparatively new to the market, and does not have a complete amino acid profile, but does contain a naturally occurring amount of creatine; however, this is not a significant source in terms of creatine usage, and occurs simply due to the breakdown of beef tissue (similar to eating a steak). This will also be allergen-friendly, however the taste is not always the most pleasant depending on your flavor profile.

– Whey protein is the most known as well as the most popular, for a variety of reasons. Initially, the cost is attractive due to the relative abundance, making it easier to manufacture at a good price, lowering the cost per serving (this is especially true if you don’t care about grass-fed protein, nutritionally it makes no difference in regards to new muscle formation).

Whey comes in three main forms, isolate, concentrate, and casein. The difference lies in the ease of absorption versus the time it takes the body to break down and isolate the amino acids. Nitrogen levels need to stay positive to prevent the body from cannibalizing its own muscle mass for resource.

Each type of whey has its own perk:

-Isolate is ideal immediately after your workout due to its incredibly high absorption rates (roughly 95% uptake), though it only releases nitrogen into your system for 1-2 hours. If you are good about grazing on protein during the day, a pure isolate gives the best “bang for the buck” on nutrition.

-Concentrate yields roughly 80-85% uptake, with a slightly longer release of nitrogen, closer to 3-4 hours. While it’s not quite as efficient for the muscle growth, if you’re not a frequent grazer, this helps prevent cannibalization.

-Casein is the hardest to digest of all three forms, yielding only 35-40% uptake, however it does release nitrogen for 8-12 hours.

Starting out, the most cost effective and overall useful route is to get a protein blend, which combines a variety of the types to cover both workout recovery and providing and extended release of nitrogen. BEAST Protein and MusclePharm’s Combat combine all forms of whey, while BSN’s Syntha-6 is ideal as well for containing all forms of whey in addition to egg while albumen. At 200 calories per serving and 8 net carbs, it is still a relatively lean choice – mixing in water provides no added calories while mixing in milk will improve the flavor and texture.


There are an incredible diversity of products available, with a range of ingredients that allow you to tailor the right Pre to your specific workout type and end goal.

– The strength matrix includes creatine (muscular hypertrophy), beta-alanine (slowed production of lactic acid), and glucose (fuel).

-Energy blends contain a variety of caffeine sources, in addition to N-acetyl-tyrosine which acts as a nervous system stimulant, and newer to the market, a product called Theacrine which acts in a similar fashion to caffeine but with significantly longer-lasting results.

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– Nitric oxide boosting is based primarily on beet root, which is naturally contains high levels of l-citruline malate and l-arginine, both of which assist in vasodilatation (opening of the blood vessels) and transport of nutrients to the muscles.

– Anabolism (lean muscle gain) comes from a low level BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) complex which aids in intra-workout energy, as well as added glutamine to help prevent stiffness and soreness the following day.

-Several contain an endocrine matrix; a variety of adaptogenic herbs (herbs that protect the adrenal system, preventing systemic fatigue from exertion). Additionally, tribulus and maca are both androgenic, helping to naturally raise free testosterone levels.

Additional creatine and beta-alanine can be used post-workout, but first assess your tolerance to the levels found in the Bullnox. The addition of clean carbohydrates, such as those in CytoCarb help with the absorption of creatine in addition to refueling depleated glycogen stores in the body that were burned from exertion. If you choose to add another nitric oxide booster, our favorites are Mutant Pump and N.O. Bomb from MHP (again, there is some in the Bullnox so assess/adjust add-ons as needed). Adding another BCAA separate can aid in recovery as well, such as Xtend or Modern BCAA.


To ensure a high metabolic rate throughout the day, you want to aim for four to eight meals a day (six being ideal), which not only keeps the body in functional digestion but also keeps a constant flow of nutrients in the body, including proteins (ie – nitrogen release coverage). Aim for six to eight ounces of protein with each meal, roughly 8 ounces of clean carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potato, and fill in your gaps with veggies for added nutrients and physically filling fiber.

Other Supplements:

Depending how many pills you are able/willing to take in a day, there are both multi-vitamin packs geared especially towards sports nutrition such as Universal’s Animal Pak and MHP’s Anavite- however I’ve always had good luck with New Chapter’s formulas. They make both a one daily and two daily formulation, it’s organic, non-gmo, and contains anti-inflammatory herbs to help with joint support and energy production in addition to a nice broad-spectrum multi vitamin & mineral formulation.

You may want to start looking at something for joint support as well, especially depending what sources you get your dietary protein from. If you’re doing a large amount of chicken, turkey, and/or beef for protein, be aware that you’ll be increasing your intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammatory properties in the connective tissue. Balancing this out with high fish intake, or supplemental use of fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids (look for a pure, high EPA formula such as Nutriforce or Wholemega) can balance out your 3-6 ratio and prevent this from occurring. Additionally, omega-3’s act as a natural lubricant for all connective tissue. For the ligaments and tendons, taking products such as Methylsulfonylmethane aka MSM (add C for increased absorption) or boswellia help to prevent damage before it occurs. Collagen (especially Type II), glucosamine, and chondroitin are a good basis for protecting the cartilage padding on the bone ends within the joints.

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