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Xcmiler

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Reviews by Xcmiler



Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to IdealRaw for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 22, 2017

Introduction

One of the great things about the trooper program is the ability to try different and unique supplements. So, when IdealRaw (part of the Hut Group) put up their organic Matcha Tea I had to try it. I had heard about the unique benefits of matcha so I wanted to put it to the test. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Each container of IdealRaw Matcha Tea comes in 30 servings at 2.5g each. In each scoop, there are 5 calories, 0 fat, 1 carbohydrate, 0 protein, and 70mg of caffeine. It is important to note that this product contains a scoop, as most other matc...

Introduction

One of the great things about the trooper program is the ability to try different and unique supplements. So, when IdealRaw (part of the Hut Group) put up their organic Matcha Tea I had to try it. I had heard about the unique benefits of matcha so I wanted to put it to the test. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Each container of IdealRaw Matcha Tea comes in 30 servings at 2.5g each. In each scoop, there are 5 calories, 0 fat, 1 carbohydrate, 0 protein, and 70mg of caffeine. It is important to note that this product contains a scoop, as most other matcha products do not. In addition, some matchas do not make their caffeine content clear this one does. There are two ingredients and one is organic matcha green tea powder, which is culinary grade and silicone dioxcide. Before I go into the matcha I want to touch on the silicone dioxide. Silicone dioxcide is a natural compound of silicon and oxygen. It is present naturally in many foods we eat and is mostly used as a food additive. The primary purpose is to prevent clumping. I will note that studies on the safety of it show no health risk. I understand why IdealRaw put the silicone dioxide in the product but most other matcha products are pure with only one ingredient. I would have preferred a pure product.

Matcha tea is concentrated powdered green tealeaves rather than the loose green tea leaves in a bag like traditional tea. To my knowledge, there are two types of matcha tea they are ceremonial grade and culinary grade. IdealRaw uses culinary grade matcha tea. The major differences between them is ceremonial is strictly for drinking and has a sweeter mild flavor. Culinary grade can be used for drinking, cooking, and baking and has a less sweet taste. Matcha teas benefits are similar to that of green tea but is supposed to be enhanced since it is a concentrated version. It may help prevent certain cancers such as bladder, breast, and prostate. One example is a 22% lowered chance of breast cancer in women who drank green tea (1). Matcha tea can also aid in fat loss, recovery, energy booster and much more. I liked the ingredient profile especially the matcha tea as someone who regularly drinks regular green tea.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

In terms of taste, you have to be aware that when you buy matcha it is going to taste slightly different from regular green tea. Matcha has a very earthy taste, as it is ground tealeaves so you get that tea taste along with that grass like taste. It also is a lot richer and thicker than regular tea from teabags. I personally prefer matcha tea. I was able to mix this in cold water but you really have to stir. I mostly would put it in a blender bottle with the whisk ball and it mixed fairly well. There was always some residue on the bottom but I would shake up the bottle and that mixed it back into the liquid. As far as dosing goes, I used this as a coffee alternative. I normally would do a scoop or two throughout the day.

Effectiveness

It is hard to rate the effectiveness of this product since it does not really have a defined purpose as it has more general usage. So, I will rate it as a coffee alternative. Then I will talk about one aspect of the product that I felt over the course of the bottle. As a coffee alternative, I felt like this product was very effective. It gave me energy that lasted for several hours after taking it. The energy was not over the top as sometimes it is with coffee. Sometimes when I have coffee and espresso I will be hit with a caffeine rush and crash quickly. However, with the matcha tea it was a more stable energy that tapered off. I also used this before some cardio and I thought it was on par with coffee for that since my recent cardio has been more HIIT so it is shorter. Overall, matcha is something I would keep around to switch it up when I get bored of coffee on some days.

A major aspect of this I noticed was the energy I got from this was more calming in a sense. I was energized but it was much smoother. I think this had to do with the fact that there is high levels of theanine in matcha tea. You will see that in some energy supplements and nootropics they include theanine along with their caffeine. I find this to be preferred because it blunts the harshness of the caffeine and gives it a smooth feel.

Value

IdealRaw Organic Matcha retails for $22.99 making it $.76 per scoop. However, you can buy three tubs for $59.99 making it $.66 per scoop. Comparing this to other Matcha Teas, Jade Leaf on Amazon goes for $18.95 and at a similar dosage to IdealRaw you are looking at $.37 per serving. I will note this comes in 100 1/2 tsp servings with each serving coming to $.18 but you need two servings to equal the amount in IdealRaw hence the $.37. Zen Spirit Matcha goes for $22.79 making it $.69 per serving. Ujido Matcha is $24.00 making it $.47 per serving. IdealRaw Matcha is more expensive than other Matcha Teas on the market. However, it does come with a scoop and most do not. I also noticed most other Matcha Teas do not have the food additive silicone dioxide while IdealRaw does. Overall, I think there are cheaper options and the scoop is not worth the extra price.

Quick comparison to coffee, I currently pay $.43 for coffee pods, which is cheaper than IdealRaw matcha. My Espresso pods are actually more expensive and they are $.80 per pod.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Overall, I enjoyed idealRaw Matcha. I felt like it was an effective coffee alternative and gave me a smooth energy. This does contain a filler of silicone dioxide that I wish was not in the product, as other matcha teas do not include this. In addition, it is more expensive than other products but does include a scoop. The only reason I could see purchasing this over other matcha products is if you are invested in the IdealRaw brand and prefer a scoop. I would like to thank IdealRaw for sending the product and the Trooper Program for coordinating it.

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16311246

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Organic
  • Scoop
  • Caffeine Content Listed
  • Increased Energy
  • Expensive
  • Silicon Dioxide


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Nature Restore for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 21, 2017

Introduction

If you have been taking supplements for several years there is a good possibility you have taken AstraGin. I know I have. It is in numerous products inlcuding BCAA, preworkouts, sleep formulas, growth formulas, and many more. I always wondered if it actually worked and if I would be able to see a difference if I took it in a pure form. So, when Nature Restore put up their Astragin product I wanted to try it. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Nature Restore Astragin comes in a 90 capsule bottle. I will note that at the time of this writing if you were...

Introduction

If you have been taking supplements for several years there is a good possibility you have taken AstraGin. I know I have. It is in numerous products inlcuding BCAA, preworkouts, sleep formulas, growth formulas, and many more. I always wondered if it actually worked and if I would be able to see a difference if I took it in a pure form. So, when Nature Restore put up their Astragin product I wanted to try it. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Nature Restore Astragin comes in a 90 capsule bottle. I will note that at the time of this writing if you were to purchase this from Nature Restore you would get three 30 serving bottles. They stated there was a manufacturing error in production when they filled the bottles. Regardless, it is the same amount. Each 100% plant based capsule contains 200mg of AstraGin. Before I get into AstraGin and the benefits it has I want to touch on the plant-based capsule.

If you ever looked at different pill supplements you will notice a vast majority of them come from gelatin capsules. Gelatin capsules are boiled down animal parts from pigs and cows. After it is boiled, you are left with a gel substance that can be formed into a pill shape. One of the drawbacks to gelatin capsules is they aren't very heat tolerant. Plant based capsules are all-natural and are made using cellulose. I much prefer my supplements to be capped in plant-based capsules as opposed to gelatin. I am glad that Nature Restore uses plant based capsules over gelatin capsules for their AstraGin product.

As previously mentioned, this AstraGin comes in a 200mg dosage (per pill). One thing you may notice is that the dosage seems high and it is. Most times when you see AstraGin it is in a 50mg dosage so with this you are getting four times the clinical dosage. Astragin is a blend of astagalus membraneceus and panax notoginseng. The major claimed benefit is that it can increase the absorption of several amino acids, vitamins, and supplements. The claimed percentages are a 6.7% increase in absorption rate of arginine, 18% increase in ATP production, and 50% increase in vitamin absorption. This all sounds great but many of the studies are "in vitro," which means outside the body. In addition, the patent holders NuLivScience used to have a sales sheet but it is no longer accessible. The sheet claimed a 41% increased in absorption of peptides and amino acids. NuLivScience also claims that the results of AstraGin could be seen instantaneous and measurable over a month when using it in a sports supplement. Overall, it is definitely a unique supplement.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

Taste and mixability do not apply to this supplement but as mentioned before the active ingredient is in a 100% plant-based capsule. The standard dosage for Astragin from what I have seen is 50mg. This product contains 200mg in each capsule and they recommend one per day with a meal. My personal dosage was usually one per day with my multivitamins, creatine, or pre workout. I did try two, three, and four pills but I did not notice a difference over the one pill per day. So, if I were to take this again I would stick to just one pill a day.

Effectiveness

I was on this product for about two months and it is hard to rate the effectiveness. I have been off it for several days and feel the same. However, there were three things that I noticed over the course of the bottle and they were some supplements felt stronger, increased vitamin-b absorption (presumed), and some improved recovery. Towards the start of taking this, I had just finished taking a pre workout and I moved to RTD energy/recovery supplements. The main one was FitAid, which was just okay. FitAid without Astragin I struggled getting through my workouts because it did not give me enough energy or really help at all with recovery. However, with the added Astragin I noticed I would be sustained through the workout (they were shorter then) and had slightly more endurance. Another supplement that Astragin aided was VMI Agmatine. I noticed that when I took the agmatine with the Astragin my pumps were slightly better than without it. It was nothing huge but definitely worth noting.

The next area I noticed was a perceived increase in vitamin B absorption. When I have taken multivitamins in the past, I notice that I sometimes will have bright yellow urine. This is due to excess riboflavin or vitamin b2 being excreted by the body. What I noticed when stacking this with my multivitamin I did not have that bright yellow urine all the time. So, this leads me to believe that perhaps the AstraGin was helping my body better absorb the vitamin b2 thus leading to less being excreted in my urine. This could have translated to other vitamins as well but this was the only one I could somewhat measure.

The last area I noticed was some slight increase in recovery. I was taking some recovery supplements while taking the Astragin and I think it enhanced them. I felt better recovery with the recovery supplements and Astragin over just the recovery supplements. This was most notable with Xtend BCAA. I noticed a slight recovery improvement over when I just took Xtend on its own. Overall, Astragin is a supplement that will benefit your other supplements. I do not think it will do much if you are not stacking it with different supplements. When stacked I found it to be effective and a welcome addition.

Value

I actually could only find this product in one place and that was on Nature Restore website. It retails for $32.95, which makes it $0.36 per serving. I did not see a need to go over one pill per day since 200mg is four times the clinical dosage you are looking $0.36 per day. I think this price is fair if you believe in the benefits of Astragin. Just to note Nature Restore was the only place I could find to buy any pure Astragin product that looked legitimate (other had old labels and products I have not seen on the market in years). I am glad I was able to try it and if it did not come up on the Trooper program, I probably would have ended up purchasing to try it. Overall, I think it is worth a try and if you have the budget, it could potentially become a staple.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Nature Restore Astragin is an effective product that is worth a try. It helped me enhance the effects of other supplements, improve my recovery, and perceived absorption of vitamin B2. It is priced fairly and comes in at four times the usual dosage so you are getting your money's worth. I would recommend giving it a try to stack with your current supplements. Thank you to Nature Restore for sending this out and the Trooper Program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Improved Recovery
  • Some Endurance Increase
  • Good Value
  • Increase Supplement Absorption
  • Possible Placebo Effect
  • Not Widely Available


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Dymatize Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 19, 2017

Introduction

I am ashamed to admit but I never really looked at Dymatize supplements. I always thought that they were a bargain brand seeing them in the clearance section of my local supplement store. I took notice of them after trying a scoop of Iso-100 from a friend and the recent updated labels. So, when I heard they were coming out with a new preworkout (I took their old one years ago and was not impressed) I had to try it. Here is the review of Dymatize Pre WO.

Ingredient Profile

Each scoop Dymatize Pre WO comes to 21g and has 15 calories and less than one carbohyd...

Introduction

I am ashamed to admit but I never really looked at Dymatize supplements. I always thought that they were a bargain brand seeing them in the clearance section of my local supplement store. I took notice of them after trying a scoop of Iso-100 from a friend and the recent updated labels. So, when I heard they were coming out with a new preworkout (I took their old one years ago and was not impressed) I had to try it. Here is the review of Dymatize Pre WO.

Ingredient Profile

Each scoop Dymatize Pre WO comes to 21g and has 15 calories and less than one carbohydrate. Pre WO includes several vitamin ingredients. The first is 250 mg of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and can aid the immune system and in recovery. The next ingredient is niacin at 30mg; one of the biggest benefits of niacin is vascularity and a potential increase in HGH production. Then there is 260 mcg of folate, which can enhance NO production. The last vitamin ingredient is vitamin b-12 at 30 mcg in the methylcobalamin form, which is the most desired form. Vitamin B-12 can aid in energy production, help the digestive system, and can boost mood.

The next section of ingredients are those you will typically find in a preworkout and they start with 8g of citrulline malate (CM). The biggest benefits of CM are increased NO production and recovery. The next ingredient is a full clinical dosage of beta-alanine using the trademarked carnosyn. Essentially what carnosyn does is it can blunt fatigue and works as an acid buffer. It traditionally works for higher rep and longer workouts (long distance runs, circuits etc.). I used to use this a lot when I would run but would stack it with baking soda for fatigue reduction. Then you have l-taurine at a 2g dose, which has benefits as an antioxidant, blood flow, and exercise capacity. It is worth noting that 2g is a clinical dosage. This is followed by 1.5g of betaine in the trademarked BetaPower form. There were some studies that showed a 30% increase in squat repetitions after 7 days of taking betaine and then a 60% after 14 days. The performance increases though are seen at 2.5g but Pre WO only includes 1.5g. The next ingredient and one I have been seeing more of lately is nitrosigine at a 1.5g dose. The major benefits to this are increased NO production leading to larger pumps. In addition, it has a cumulative affect and improves overtime while taking it. Following nitrosigine, you have N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) at a 350 mg dose. NALT is tyrosine that has been bonded to an acetyl group. This is supposed to increase bioavailability and absorption of regular tyrosine. The role of NALT is the creation of several neurotrasmitters in the brain including dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Next, we have 300 mg of caffeine anhydrous, which is a stimulant that can increase alertness and energy during a workout. Then there is 200 mg of coconut fruit powder to aid in hydration. The final ingredient is 125 mg of theacrine in the TeaCrine trademarked form. Theacrine is similar to caffeine but it does not have the same side effects as caffeine such as a buildup of dosage needing to take more. It is shown to increase mood, focus, and motivation to exercise. This does also include surcalose and Ace-K as a sweetener.

Overall, I like the ingredient profile but I do wish that there was theanine in the product to blunt the caffeine. One of the major things I noticed (will go into more detail later on) was the overall feeling of the high caffeine and theacrine dosage was harsh. I feel like if theanine was in the product it could blunt the harsh feeling of the stimulants.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

Dymatize Pre WO comes in three flavors handspun cotton candy, chilled fruit fusion, and sweet cherry lime. I received the handspun cotton candy it was pretty good. The taste was on par with other cotton candy supplements I have taken and was very similar to them (PES alphamine and high volume). There was a slight bitterness to the taste due to the theacrine. However, it was nothing that was terrible. As far as mixability goes, it mixed fine but there was some clumping with the powder but shaking the container took care of it. The first time I took this I went with one full scoop and I thought that was too much. About halfway through the workout, I started to crash and headache from it and my performance was negatively impacted. I tried a full scoop the following day and same thing happened. So, I decided to split the dosage to a half a scoop with my AM cardio and the other half a scoop with my workout and/or PM cardio. This worked out much better and eliminated the side effects. As I mentioned before, if this had theanine in it to blunt the caffeine I doubt I would have had the crash/headaches. I was surprised by this as I have taken pre workouts with designer stimulants and have not had issues like this. Definitely assess your tolerance with this pre workout.

Effectiveness

Once I assessed my tolerance and went with a half scoop twice a day (one full scoop per day) at AM cardio and PM workout/cardio this became an effective product. The major things I noticed were increased energy, vascularity, endurance and reduced fatigue. For this section, I will go into the effects during the AM and then the effects for the PM dosage. For AM, cardio will usually walk stairs for about 20 minutes or I will go to the park for long distance running. The major thing I noticed for the stairs was an increase in alertness and a desire to actually do the cardio as it is easy to skip it. I also noticed that my pace quicker and I was able to increase the amount of floors I did over taking nothing for AM cardio. At the park, the biggest increase I noticed was the endurance increase and I felt like I could go farther than usual and noticed a slightly quicker pace. It was nothing huge but it was more than without taking anything. I also noticed some reduced fatigue probably due to the beta alanine. I should note I would usually just drink water and then start my AM cardio. So, the inclusion of this product aided me quite a bit.

As for my PM weight training, I found this to be a very effective product. The major thing I noticed was increased vascularity in my forearms and biceps. They were especially prominent on back and arm day. I would say that it was on par with other pre workouts and a surmise it had to do with the nitrosigine where the effect improves overtime. I did notice some increased endurance and reduced fatigue on my high rep and superset days. This was definitely noticeable on pull days were I would fatigue rather rapidly. I noticed I was able to push a little harder. The energy was good but again I still think theanine would have improved the feeling of the formula. As for PM cardio, I will usually do PM cardio after my workout and I noticed that this pre workout did last long enough for me to do 20 minutes of cardio after my workout. This usually involved the stairmaster or HIIT on the treadmill. The benefits were similar to the AM cardio. As for when I strictly did PM cardio with no weight training this lasted for entire cardio session. Again, the benefits were similar to the AM session with increased energy, endurance, and reduced fatigue. Overall, this was an effective pre workout once I assessed my tolerance.

Value

This does not seem widely available since it is very new. I have seen it retail for $39.99 making it about $2.00 per serving. However, at my dosage of a half a scoop that is a $1.00 per serving ($2.00 per day). If I were to take this, again I would stick to one-half scoop before my workout and use coffee for AM cardio. Comparing this to other preworkouts it is on the expensive side. Pre Kaged goes for $1.80 per serving and Pre Jym is $1.78 per serving. I think you get more bang for your buck with pre kaged and pre jym over Dymatize Pre WO. It may be worth a try if you are looking to take a break from Kaged or Jym.

Side Effects

At a full scoop, I had a headache about halfway through my workout followed by a significant postworkout crash. I split the dosage and this alleviated the workout headache and crash. My side effects could have been due to the combination of caffeine and theacrine, I would say my max for caffeine is 300 mg at one time. I usually stick to 200-250 mg so I could have been over stimulated with the caffeine and theacrine.

Conclusion

Dymatize Nutrition PRE WO is an effective preworkout once you assess your tolerance. I saw increased energy, endurance, vascularity, and a reduction in fatigue. I dosed a half scoop twice a day as one scoop acutely led to some side effects. It is slightly more expensive than other similar pre workouts. It is definitely worth a try as it becomes more widely available. I would like to thank Dymatize Nutrition for sending the product and the trooper program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Performance
  • Quality Ingredients
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Endurance
  • Informed Choice Certified
  • Increased Vascularity
  • Ace-K
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Slight Bitterness To Taste
  • Powder Clumps Up In Tub
  • Crash And Headache At Full Dosage


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 15, 2017

Introduction

BCAAs have been something I have been taking for years. I first started using them when I doing serious running and used them to preserve muscle and to recover. When I got into weight training, I again used them for recovery and as a fatigue fighter. I am always looking to try different products so when VMI put up their Aminogex Ultra I had to try it. I already had great results from their protein powder ProtoLyte so let us see how Aminogex Ultra fares.

Ingredient Profile

Aminogex Ultra comes in a 30-scoop tub. Each scoop is 11.2g and contains multiple ing...

Introduction

BCAAs have been something I have been taking for years. I first started using them when I doing serious running and used them to preserve muscle and to recover. When I got into weight training, I again used them for recovery and as a fatigue fighter. I am always looking to try different products so when VMI put up their Aminogex Ultra I had to try it. I already had great results from their protein powder ProtoLyte so let us see how Aminogex Ultra fares.

Ingredient Profile

Aminogex Ultra comes in a 30-scoop tub. Each scoop is 11.2g and contains multiple ingredients to support muscle recovery, hydration and strength. The first two ingredients are vitamin B6 at 25mg and vitamin B-12 in the methylcobalamine form at 30mcg. Vitamin b6 has many functions such as metabolism and hormone control. Vitamin B-12 can aid in energy production, help the digestive system, and boost mood. VMI included the methylcobalamine form of B-12, which is the more desired form. The next ingredient is 7g of BCAAs as the trademarked InstAminos. These 7 grams are broken down by 3.5g of L-leucine, 1.75g of L-isoleucine, and 1.75g of L-valine. The main benefit of BCAAs are that they can improve and increase muscle protein synthesis. This in turn can reduce DOMS that can enable a person to train more frequently thus helping them achieve their goals more quickly. Another major benefit to BCAA is as a fatigue fighter while training. When you workout serotonin levels in the brain will rise, this will lead to an increase of tryptophan in the brain. This increase of tryprophan will lead to fatigue. However, BCAAs compete with tryptophan thus leading to less fatigue while training. The next ingredient is betaine at a 1.25 g dose. The clinical dosage of betaine is 1.25g twice a day for a total of 2.5g. With this dosage, the major benefits are increased muscle mass and fat loss. Betaine also can help with digestion and detoxification.

Before I get into one key ingredient (MGG), I want to mention the hydration ingredients in Aminogex Ultra. There are 50mg of each of the following potassium glycinate, magnesium glycinate, calcium glycinate, and sodium chloride. All of these are in the TRAACS form, which is a trademarked version of those minerals. All of these will help with hydration and aid in the replacement of lost minerals from sweat. The final ingredient and the most unique in the formula is magnesium glycinate glutamine chelate or MGG. The breakdown of MGG is 40mg of magnesium, 240mg of glutamine, and 120mg of glycine. MGG has been shown to increase lean body mass by 7.04 pounds in a study. The study was conducted over 8 weeks and participants took 400mg of MGG, which is one scoop of Aminogex Ultra. I could not find the actual study but I did find a paper written by the patent holder for MGG that mention these claims. In addition, they were also mentioned in the patent, which you can see at the following link (https://www.google.com/patents/US5888553). The study is mentioned in "example 1" use ctrl F to search for it on the page if you wanted to see since it is rather long. Overall, this is a solid ingredient profile and I like the inclusion of the MGG. Just a note, it is sweetened with sucralose.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

Aminogex Ultra comes in three flavors; they are topical mango, cherry lime Italian ice, and sweet iced tea. I requested and received the sweet iced tea and it was on par with other iced tea flavored supplements I have tried (Ergonine, Amino Energy, and Alphamine). It had a very distinct lemon flavor and less of that "iced tea" flavor. Just make sure that if you were to get this flavor that you are okay with lemon as it was very prominent. As far as mixability goes, it mixed fine with minimal foaming and I did not notice much sediment on the bottom. As far as doing goes, VMI recommends one level scoop. However, they say "for best results" use two scoops per day. I personally used two scoops per day but I will be honest I think one is fine. Especially since at one scoop you are getting the MGG dose used in the study. My dosage was two scoops in 64 ounces of water throughout my workout and into post workout, as I would continually fill up the bottle, as it got lower. On off days I would drink it throughout the day. If I were to use this product, again I would use one scoop.

Effectiveness

The major benefits I noticed with Aminogex Ultra were improved recovery, improved hydration and reduced fatigue. I have mentioned this in my other reviews but I have added in supersets and high rep days into my workouts. One of the things I noticed is that I would extremely sore after my workouts. This was even with a good diet and supplemental protein. However, when I added in Aminogex Ultra I noticed a significant reduction in muscle soreness. The soreness was still there but this seemed to blunt it and I was able to get back into the gym faster. I most notably saw this on back where deadlifts will take a lot out of me; this got me back to the gym faster. As far as running goes, I felt like I was able to get to the park more frequently. I also felt like my longer runs were quicker due to increased recovery from the last run. In terms of improved recovery, I think this was on par with other recovery supplements. However, it surpassed all strictly BCAA products and I think that had to do with the inclusion of betaine and MGG. Another benefit I noticed was improved hydration while running. It has been hot in NJ and I notice that during my runs I will get quite thirsty. However, after adding this product I noticed I would run by my car for water less often than without it. I did not notice too much in terms of hydration in the gym but I usually drink a lot of water/BCAA throughout the workout anyway.

I also noticed a reduction in fatigue while weight training. As previously mentioned my workouts have gone to more high reps and supersets so I can be burnt out. However, with Aminogex I noticed I could push myself a little more. I still burnt out but I was able to get a few more reps in than usual. I think again that this was on par with other recovery supplements I have taken and honestly on par with straight BCAA products. I do want to note that I do not think I was on this product long enough to see the unique benefits it could potentially offer. The MGG study was conducted over 8 weeks and I was only on this for little over two weeks. While this was definitely an effective product I wonder, what my results would have been if I were on it for the full study duration.

Value

Aminogex retails for $34.99 making it $1.16 per serving. However, I did find it on a1supplements.com for $28.95 making it $0.96 per serving. I will be honest I would not mind paying this to run this for 8 weeks to see my results with the MGG. Comparing this to other products is difficult since it has some unique ingredients. However, looking at the price of most other recovery products this is slightly more expensive. The one product that is similar and includes the same amount of MGG is Post Hak, which currently is going for $29.99 or $1.19 per serving. This is slightly more expensive than Aminogex. The major thing is whether you want to try out the MGG and if you do, Aminogex is worth a try.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Aminogex Ultra is an effective recovery product that improved my recovery, hydration, and fatigue. It includes a unique ingredient, MGG, which looks promising. It retails for about a $1.00 per serving, which is slightly more expensive than some other recovery supplements (but not by much). I would not mind paying that price and probably plan to run it for 8 weeks sometime soon. I definitely recommend giving it a shot especially if the MGG is something you would want to try. I would like to thank VMI Sports for sending the product and the trooper program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Improved Recovery
  • Improved Hydration
  • Reduced Fatigue
  • Increased Energy
  • Magnesium Glycinate Glutamine Chelate
  • Not Widely Available


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Utzy Naturals for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 12, 2017

Introduction

Fish oil has been a supplement that I have been taking on and off for years. I started taking it a long time ago when I first got into running. Fish oil much like multivitamins are a foundational supplement that I (and many people) take. However, there is some debate as to whether you actually need them. Regardless of that, I still take them. So, when Utzy put up their U-Omega fish oil product I had to try it. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Utzy U-Omega comes in a glass 60 capsule bottle. Each softgel contains 15 calories, 1.5 g of fat, and 800 m...

Introduction

Fish oil has been a supplement that I have been taking on and off for years. I started taking it a long time ago when I first got into running. Fish oil much like multivitamins are a foundational supplement that I (and many people) take. However, there is some debate as to whether you actually need them. Regardless of that, I still take them. So, when Utzy put up their U-Omega fish oil product I had to try it. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

Utzy U-Omega comes in a glass 60 capsule bottle. Each softgel contains 15 calories, 1.5 g of fat, and 800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. The EPA content is 430 mg, the DHA content is 290 mg, and other omega-3 fatty acids are 80 mg. The Omega-3 content of these softgels is good and on par with other products. For example, Omega Jym per softgel has 375 DHA and 375 EPA, which is close to U-Omega. The one thing I want to mention with U-Omega that I did not like was most fish oil supplements have the total fish oil listed on the label. U-Omega does not but I am presuming the 1.5g of fat means that there are 1.5g of total fish oil in the softgel. This makes it easier to see the total dosage as taking too much fish oil could cause issues (GI issues, blood thinning, and immune system reduction).

The main benefits of fish oil are a reduction in high triglycerides, reduction of heart disease, ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, high blood pressure, arthritis, and several others. In addition, fish oil has also been shown to aid in reduction of muscle soreness, improve exercise performance, and increase muscle strength (in older women). There was a study out of the Washington University that found that 4 g of fish oil (1.5 DHA and 1.85 g EPA) stimulated muscle protein synthesis in older adults (1). The dosage of fish oil varies but for athletic performance, I have seen dosages range from 2-4 g of Omega-3s. Now, the actual dosage of the fish oil product will vary since different products have different ratios. For U-Omega, you are looking at three pills to reach that amount (I took two mostly and sometimes three).

One major thing to note with U-Omega is that they are in the natural triglyceride form. This form has more bioavailability over the other fish oil form of ethyl ester. Triglyceride fish oils are more natural and the preferred fish oil type. I should also note that U-Omega is manufactured in an NSF facility and Utzy has significant quality assurance. This includes testing every lot for strength, purity, composition, and contaminates (https://www.utzy.com/pages/quality).

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

These are softgel so there really is not much of a taste. I will note that they did smell like fish with a little lemon smell. This is standard for fish oil softgels. I had no fish burps while taking these but I always took them with food. As far as dosing goes, I varied my dosages. I always took two softgels for 1600 Omega-3s. There were some days that I took three especially when I ran and weight lifted. As stated previously the desired dosage is 2-4 g of omega-3s but as long as I am close to 2g I notice a difference.

Effectiveness

The three major things I noticed with this product were a reduction of DOMS/inflammation, clearer skin, and an increased well-being. One of the main reasons I first started taking fish oil was for joint and muscle soreness from running. Prior to using U-Omega, I noticed that my knees would be more sore than usual. However, when taking U-Omega I noticed a reduction in my knee soreness when running especially when doing hill work. In the gym, I noticed that my recovery was slightly improved above baseline (baseline is taking BCAA and protein). I also noticed a reduction in my right shoulder pain when doing push exercises.

As for clearer skin, I did not notice this until after I finished taking U-Omega (it was always there I just did not notice). Right after finishing U-Omega, I noticed a decline in my skin quality. It was slight but I broke out a little across my body. Now, I think U-Omega was helping in this regard but it could have been the weather as well. It recently got hot and humid here and I have been adding in AM/PM cardio outside so I have been sweating a lot more. So, that could have something to do with the decline but I do think U-Omega helped with my skin quality. As for increased well-being, I noticed that my mood was slightly improved while taking U-Omega. It was nothing huge but I noticed that I was less stressed over the course of the bottle (it is summer break so that could have also contributed to it as well). Overall, in all three areas I felt that U-Omega was on par with previous quality fish oil products I have taken but surpassed Kirkland and GNC fish oils.

Value

U-Omega retails for $27.70 making it $0.46 per softgel, I mostly took two so my dosage was a total of $0.92 per day ($1.38 on days I took three). These are on the expensive side. Comparing them to Omega Jym you are looking at $0.33 for a two per day dosage. Nordic Naturals goes for $0.57 per two-pill serving with slightly lower Omega-3s. Intelligent Labs Omega 3 you are looking at $0.49 for two pills each day. Overall, Utzy U-Omega is quite expensive compared to the competition. Now, the other companies do not state that they are NSF, GOED Omega Members, or friends of the sea. In addition, I am unsure if they go through the amount of quality assurance that Utzy claims to do (they probably do). So, I think you have to weigh out what is important to you. I know personally while I liked U-Omega it just is too expensive to use and I will choose a different brand going forward.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Utzy U-Omega is an effective fish oil product. I noticed a reduction in inflammation/DOMS, clearer skin, and an increase in overall well-being. I dosed mostly two pills per day and on some days I took three. The main issue that I have with U-Omega is the price. It is significantly more expensive than other brands. If Utzy's quality assurance, NSF certificication, GOED Omega Membership status, and friend of the sea certification appeal to you then they may be worth a try. However, understand you are spending quite a bit more. I would like to thank Utzy for sending out the product and the Trooper Program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21159787
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Natural Triglyceride Format
  • High EPADHA Content
  • Not Widely Available
  • Expensive


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Ronnie Coleman Signature Series for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 9, 2017

Introduction

For a while now I have been, looking at picking up some of Ronnie Coleman Signature Series (RCSS) supplements but never got around to it. After seeing all the reviews on here for RCSS products and animo-tone being the "most wanted" supplement among Troopers, I figured RCSS products had to be good. So, when RCSS put L-Carnitine XS 300 I had to try it, here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

L-Carnitine XS Liquid comes in a 16-ounce container with 31-tablespoon (15 ml) servings. The main ingredient is 3000 mg of l-carnitine. You can find l-carnitine in the bod...

Introduction

For a while now I have been, looking at picking up some of Ronnie Coleman Signature Series (RCSS) supplements but never got around to it. After seeing all the reviews on here for RCSS products and animo-tone being the "most wanted" supplement among Troopers, I figured RCSS products had to be good. So, when RCSS put L-Carnitine XS 300 I had to try it, here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

L-Carnitine XS Liquid comes in a 16-ounce container with 31-tablespoon (15 ml) servings. The main ingredient is 3000 mg of l-carnitine. You can find l-carnitine in the body and is created in the body using lysine and methione. Once created it is stored in various places such as the brain and muscles. It also comes from nature and most notably from meat with red meat containing about 120 mg per serving. L-carnitine is touted as a stimulant free fat burner because of how it works. Now, I am no scientist but this is how I understand l-carntine works. L-caritine is used in the body for fat transport within cells. It takes fats and brings them to the mitochondria who in turn burn them as fuel to produce ATP. This production of ATP using fats can increase your energy and fight off fatigue, which is another benefit of l-carnitine. Other uses of l-carnitine include treatment of l-carnitine deficiency, heart conditions, kidney disease, male infertility, and several others. I will note that this product contains l-carnitine, which is different than ALCAR, L-carnitine l-tartrate, and GPLC. These are different forms of l-carnitine and if you would like to know more about, them check out this link (https://examine.com/supplements/l-carnitine/). It also contains pantothenic acid at 10 mg, which is 48% daily value.

The one thing to note with RCSS L-Carnitine is that it is liquid form. Now, I could not find studies about whether liquid was better than powder but anecdotally from what I saw online liquid is preferred. I personally prefer liquid because I already have a bunch of powders and I prefer the change of taking something in the liquid form. There are no calories, fat, or carbohydrates in this and it is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame-K.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

L-Carntine XS Liquid comes in four flavors they are orange smash, mixed berry, blue razz, and sour apple. I received the orange smash and it was quite good. It tasted like those Smarty Arty Orange Squeezit drinks from the 90s. If you have never tried a Squeezit it is also close to those orange lifesavers or tic tacs. It was almost nostalgic and I enjoyed taking my doses during the day. Mixability does not really apply and I never attempted to mix it with anything but you possibly could. As far as dosing goes, I found that two split doses was best for me. So, I would take 1/2 tablespoon in the AM and another at night. If I took it all at once, I would have slight stomachache and I had some GI issues. I will go into more detail later on the side effects. The one thing I want to mention here is I do wish the cap had a measuring line in it. I looked when I finished the container and did not see one. This would have made it more convenient to dose than always using 1/2 tablespoon.

Effectiveness

There were three things that I noticed over the month I took this product and they were reduced fatigue, increased endurance, and a leaning effect. It took about the second week but I noticed that I had less fatigue during my workouts. I have recently added in supersets, which has been quite difficult. I noticed that when I took this in AM before my workout I was fatigued a little less, this was most notable on leg day. I will usually do high rep supersets and will be exhausted afterward but with this, I had a little left in the tank. I would say the reduction of fatigue was similar to how I feel when taking BCAAs. I was taking an intra workout at the time but this gave it a little kick and I noticed more than with just BCAA alone. As for the increased endurance, I think this goes along with the reduction of fatigue. I had a little more energy to workout longer. It was nothing huge but I think over the course of the bottle it added up.

As this product is touted as a weight loss supplement, I noticed a leaning effect over the course of the bottle. I did not lose any actual weight but my lifts did go up and my weight remained about the same. Perhaps I lost some fat and gained some lean muscle mass. This was probably due to the reduction of fatigue that gave me some increased endurance and upped the intensity of my workouts. You have to go into this not expecting shedding pounds of weight like a thermogenic fat burner, this is more subtle and works overtime. Overall, this was an effective product and I was happy with my results.

Value

At the time of this writing, you can find RCSS L-Carnitine XS on Ronnie Coleman's website for $21.38, which is $0.68 per serving. I also noticed that you could get a 20% off coupon for first time orders so the price is dropped even more. Comparing it to others, Pro Supps L-Carnitine 1500 goes for $0.44 cents per serving but you need to take two servings to reach the dose in RCSS. So, that comes to $0.88 per serving. Dymatize Liquid L-Carnitine comes to $0.31 per serving but you would need to take three servings to reach (and slightly exceed) what is in RCSS. So, that comes to $0.93 per serving. RSP Liquid L-Carnitine 3000 goes for $0.58 per serving, which is slight cheaper than RCSS. I also have seen RSP on sale quite a bit. Nutrex Liquid Carnitine 3000 goes for $1.10 per serving. Overall, I think RCSS L-Carnitine XS is definitely competitively priced especially when it is on sale. Only RSP beats them in price but only has one flavor. I personally prefer more flavor options.

Side Effects

As I mentioned previously I did have some side effects when taking a full serving (one tablespoon) at a time. I would have a slight stomachache and on a couple occasions some GI issues. I then decided to split the dosage and take 1/2 tablespoon two times per day and that completely alleviated and side effects. I definitely would recommend the split dosage.

Conclusion

Ronnie Coleman Signature Series - L-Carnitine XS Liquid is an effective product. I noticed a reduction in fatigue, increased endurance, and a leaning effect over the course of the bottle. It tastes quite good and I would liken the taste to nostalgic drinks of the 90s. I did have some side effects that were completely eliminated once I split the dosage taking a half a serving twice daily. This is competitively priced and cheaper than most other liquid l-carnitine products on the market. I would definitely recommend trying it and I know I will be trying other RCSS products in the future. I would like to thank Ronnie Coleman Signature Series for sending the product and the Trooper Program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Good Taste
  • Good Value
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Endurance
  • Leaning Effect
  • Multiple Flavors
  • Some GI Issues Without Split Dosage
  • Not Widely Available


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Redcon1 for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 1, 2017

Introduction

I am always willing to try new products especially those in the meal replacement category. I usually try to make my own as I find the premixed to be expensive. So, when I saw MRE come up on the Trooper Program I decided to give it a try. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

MRE comes in two flavors, Sweet Potato Pie and Blueberry Cobbler. Each comes in a seven-pound tub that has 25 four-scoop servings. Each four-scoop serving yields 525 calories, 4g of fat, 75g of carbohydrates, and 47g of protein. I want to note that at two scoops of MRE yields 262 cal...

Introduction

I am always willing to try new products especially those in the meal replacement category. I usually try to make my own as I find the premixed to be expensive. So, when I saw MRE come up on the Trooper Program I decided to give it a try. Here is the review.

Ingredient Profile

MRE comes in two flavors, Sweet Potato Pie and Blueberry Cobbler. Each comes in a seven-pound tub that has 25 four-scoop servings. Each four-scoop serving yields 525 calories, 4g of fat, 75g of carbohydrates, and 47g of protein. I want to note that at two scoops of MRE yields 262 calories, 2g of fat, 37.5g of carbohydrates, and 23g of protein. The major thing with this product is Redcon1 wanted to use whole food sources. The carbohydrates in this product consist of rolled oats, dehydrated yam, dehydrated sweet potato, pea starch, dehydrated blueberry fruit, dehydrated goji, and dextrose. I really like the inclusion of all of these except the dextrose, which I could do without. The protein blend in this product is unique in that it is dairy free and contains some protein sources I have yet to see in a protein product. The protein blend includes beef protein isolate, salmon protein, chicken protein, egg albumin, brown rice protein, and pea protein. All of these are whole food sources according to Redcon1. I do like the inclusion of the different protein sources and the salmon protein is a unique addition. For the fat, they use MCT oil. I do wish that the fat content were slightly higher. It is sweetened naturally and artificially, the artificial sweeteners are sucralose and Ace-K. I was surprised that they used artificial sweeteners since they have whole food sources, I would have figured they would have went with stevia or other natural sweeteners.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

I received Sweet Potato Pie as I thought it was rather unique since many companies have a blueberry type flavor. When you first open the tub, it has a very oat type smell to it that is followed slightly by a sweet potato pie smell. I also get hints of cinnamon from it. The actual taste of MRE is quite good and it does replicate a sweet potato pie but the flavor is a little muted. It is not overly sweet, which was nice and had a good finish to it. You can tell that there is rolled oats in it as there is a type of grit when drinking it (not bad, to be expected). When you get towards the bottom, a lot of the grit sinks to the bottom and you will get a mouthful of them. As far as mixability goes, I always used a blender bottle with the blender. It mixed pretty well but again there is that grit that will settle to the bottom and that will not mix up. Again, I am assuming it is from the rolled oats as I have had similar experiences when I would make my own meal replacements using oat flour. I will note that if I put too much water the product becomes watery, which was surprising since four scoops is a lot. I would recommend trying 3-4 ounces of water per scoop and that made a reasonably thicker shake. As far as dosing goes, I took four scoops a day either all at once or spread throughout the day. I honestly think that even at two scoops per day this can still be an effective product and that would increase the value.

I want to add in this section that as previously mentioned there is salmon protein in this product. I am happy to report that MRE did NOT have any fish smell or taste to it. I know that was a concern I saw when this was first announced.

Effectiveness

I took MRE over the course of the day as a meal replacement or pre workout protein shake. As a meal replacement, I thought that MRE was good. I did not find it as filling actual whole foods would be. I suspected that this would have been close to whole foods in terms of being sated as it was whole food based but that was not the case. I noticed that about two to three hours after taking this was I hungry again. I know when I make my own meal replacement with oat flour, protein powder, and peanut butter/almond butter I am sated longer. I think it has to do with the low fat content of the product. Everyone's body is different so someone else taking MRE it could keep them sated longer. In terms of recovery and muscle building, I progressed in my goals consistently throughout the run of the tub. I did replace an actual whole food meal with this and my strength and recovery remained the same. This leads me to believe that MRE is an effective meal replacement.

At first, I took this in the AM as a breakfast but it did not keep me full long enough so I changed it up and decided to use this about two hours pre workout. I felt like this gave me quite a bit of energy from the protein and the carbohydrates to power through my workout. I did get a little hungry during my workouts but that was blunted by the preworkout stimulants I am taking. The major thing I noticed was I had energy towards the end of my workout to do my cardio at the gym. Previously, I would go home and eat then go to the park. But, when taking MRE I had more energy to do it at the gym. This gave me a chance to vary up my cardio by doing it on different machines. I noticed that with the difference in cardio I was sore a little more than usual. But, my recovery remained pretty good and I think MRE and another protein product I was reviewing at the time contributed to that.

Value

Redcon1 MRE retails for $79.99 making it $3.19 per serving. I have seen this go on sale for 30% off making it 63.99 and $2.55 per serving. At two scoops you are looking at about $1.59 per serving and with a sale price $1.27 per serving. Comparing this to other meal replacements was a challenge because most others do not have as many calories, carbohydrates, or protein. I will give you an example Labrada Meal Replacement goes for $2.06 per serving and has 290 calories, 7g of fat, 21g carbohydrates, and 35g of protein. This is more comparable to MRE two scoops that has 262 calories, 2g of fat, 37.5g of carbohydrates, and 23g of protein. Core Nutrionals MRP is another that goes for $2.00 per serving and again compares more closely to MRE two scoops with 245 calories, 3g of fat, 27g of carbohydrates, and 27g of sugar in MRP. There is some definite value to MRE and I think you can customize your experience with the dosages. So, do not let the high price tag upfront scare you purchasing if you plan to use two scoops. MRE also contains whole foods and is dairy free where most other meal replacements are not. I think personally if I were to purchase this, I would move to just two scoops pre workout. To me this is a good especially if looking at as a meal replacement as I at times spend $10 if not more getting lunch at work.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Overall, MRE is an effective meal replacement product. It uses whole food sources and has some unique ingredients like salmon and chicken protein. The tastes is quite good but vary the water amount as it can get watery. This was effective as a meal replacement but was most effective pre workout and gave me more energy and recovery in the gym, which in turn helped me build muscle. The major drawback I noticed was it did not keep me sated very long and if they included more fat, I think that could help. As far as value goes, MRE is priced fairly and even at half a serving rivals popular meal replacements. Someone buying this can customize their dosing and get more value out of it. This is definitely a product that I will purchase and add to my supplement regime. I would like to thank Redcon1 for sending the product and the Trooper program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Whole Food Sources
  • Good Taste
  • Increased Energy
  • Builds Muscle
  • Good Value
  • Increased Recovery
  • Low Fat
  • Dextrose
  • Ace-K


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to IdealFit for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 30, 2017

Introduction

I am always looking to try different proteins especially whey protein isolates. I have had issues in the past with whey protein concentrates and protein blends that favor concentrate. When IdealFit put up their 100% whey protein isolate, Ideallean, I wanted to try it. It had a great profile and some unique additional ingredients. Let us see how I liked this protein product.

Ingredient Profile

Ideallean comes in a 30-serving tub and comes in numerous flavors such as cake batter, pina colada, caramel mocha, and a few more. The one I received was chocolate br...

Introduction

I am always looking to try different proteins especially whey protein isolates. I have had issues in the past with whey protein concentrates and protein blends that favor concentrate. When IdealFit put up their 100% whey protein isolate, Ideallean, I wanted to try it. It had a great profile and some unique additional ingredients. Let us see how I liked this protein product.

Ingredient Profile

Ideallean comes in a 30-serving tub and comes in numerous flavors such as cake batter, pina colada, caramel mocha, and a few more. The one I received was chocolate brownie. Each scoop of the chocolate brownie has 80 calories, 0g of fat, 0g carbohydrates, and 20g of protein. The protein source for this product is 100% whey protein isolate. In addition to the protein, there is also an "IdealFit Recovery Blend" that is a proprietary blend. It includes l-glutamine, which can help with muscle soreness and digestion. Acai, which is marketed, as a superfood with weightloss potential but there are not many studies on it. Mangosteen, which is a fruit that contains Xanthones an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation, offer cardiac protection, and cancer prevention. It also includes blueberry, which again is another fruit that offers antioxidants. Lastly, there is folic acid at 50% daily value. Folic acid has many benefits including lowering homocysteine, depression, high blood pressure, gum problems, and a few other benefits. The major benefit for women (the protein is marketed towards women) is the prevention of miscarriages and birth defects while pregnant. The protein also includes 100% daily value of vitamin D, which is a very valuable vitamin. The major benefits to women taking vitamin D are helping bones grow, increased fertility, reduced risk of breast cancer, and positive mood. Lastly, the protein contains chromium picolinate using the trademarked Chromax version. Chromax is marketed as a weight loss supplement and has been shown to reduce calorie intake by 374 per day. You can find more information about Chromax at the following link: https://nutrition21.com/item/chromax/

Overall, I think this is a strong ingredient profile. The macros on the protein are quite good and it is low sodium, only 125 mg. The inclusion of the vitamin D and chromax are an added benefit especially since vitamin d deficiency is common. The recovery blend might be effective but it is a proprietary blend so it is hard to say what the dosage is of the ingredients. I want to note that the Hut Group owns the company that makes this protein. That may sound familiar because they are the same company behind MyProtein. One last note this is artificially and naturally sweetened and does include sucralose.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

The flavor that I received was chocolate brownie, which is one I typically enjoy. When you first open the tub, it has an almost rich chocolate smell to it. I generally mixed this with milk or almond milk and in both cases; it mixed well with a blender ball. There does seem to be a sandy texture to the protein as you drink it but not in a bad way. You can just tell that there are small particles if you slosh it around in your mouth. In terms of the taste, it is good but a very generic chocolate flavor. Almost like a milk chocolate with a hint of malt. I liked it and it was one that I would drink again. As far as dosing goes, I used two scoops per day but I am a man and this is marketed towards women whose recommended protein intake is lower. So, I think most users will be fine with one scoop.

Effectiveness

I find it hard to measure the effectiveness of protein supplements because I have been on them for years. What I can measure is if I noticed in measureable increases or decreases when I subbed Ideallean into my protein regime. As previously mentioned I used two scoops per day. I mostly used the scoops post workout. I noticed a slight improvement in my recovery and a slight leaning effect. I recently started incorporating drop sets and burnouts into my workouts and this has been especially taxing. Before I started taking Ideallean I was using Dynamik Muscle Protein and Optimum Nutrition Protein and this surpassed those minimally in terms of recovery. Maybe the recovery blend that was included helped. I would say that this is on par with recovery WheyXX, GHOST Whey and Nutrabio isolate.

The leaning effect that I noticed could have been several things. This is a very lean protein and before starting this, I was using some blends post workout, which some left a heavy feeling after taking them. This being 100% whey isolate I did not have that heavy feeling and felt like I looked leaner in the mirror. I was not as hungry as I usually am so I may have been eating less and coincidently chromax is supposed to decrease appetite and carbohydrate cravings. This could have contributed to it but I was also taking 3g of l-carnitine so it could have been a combination of that.

Value

Ideallean retails for $39.99 on the idealfit website. This brings the protein to $1.33 per serving. You can bulk buy the protein with the largest package going for $139.97 for 120 servings making it $1.16 per serving. They are currently running a summer sale for 20% off which brings the price to just over $1.00 per scoop. Comparing this to other isolate proteins Dymatize ISO100 goes for $0.99 per serving, BSN Syntha 6 Isolate is $1.12 per serving, Labrada Jamie Eason Whey Protein Isolate is $2.10 per serving, BPI Sports ISO HD is $1.30 per serving, and Nutrabio Whey Protein Isolate is $1.38 per serving. I will be honest I think Ideallean is competitively priced and on the cheaper side of pure isolates especially with the sale price. I looked at other proteins marketed towards women and they were not 100% whey isolate. The only one I saw was the Labrada one mentioned previously that went for $2.10 per serving. I think there is definite value here especially for women who may find all the different protein choices daunting.

Side Effects

I had no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

Bottom line, Ideallean was an effective protein for recovery that minimally surpassed some and on par with others. I did notice a slight leaning effect, which could have been due to the recovery blend and the added chromax. It is competitively priced and is a great entry-level protein for women (and men) just starting to workout. I would like to thank Idealfit for sending the product out and the trooper program for coordinating it.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Chromax
  • Leaning Effect
  • Good Recovery
  • Many Flavors
  • Builds Muscle
  • Good Value
  • Generic Taste
  • Proprietary Recovery Blend
  • Not Widely Available


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to BELDT Labs for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 30, 2017

Introduction

One of the largest supplement types is multivitamins. The science is still out on whether or not you truly need a multivitamin. I' am not sure if you need one but it may help if you have a less than ideal diet. I know that I have used them for years and notice that I get sick less when I am taking then as opposed to when I am not. This observation could be a total coincidence, I' am not sure. So, when BELDT Labs put up their multivitamin PRIZM I had to try it. Let's see if it becomes a staple of mine.

Ingredient Profile

BELDT Labs PRIZM comes in a 60 caps...

Introduction

One of the largest supplement types is multivitamins. The science is still out on whether or not you truly need a multivitamin. I' am not sure if you need one but it may help if you have a less than ideal diet. I know that I have used them for years and notice that I get sick less when I am taking then as opposed to when I am not. This observation could be a total coincidence, I' am not sure. So, when BELDT Labs put up their multivitamin PRIZM I had to try it. Let's see if it becomes a staple of mine.

Ingredient Profile

BELDT Labs PRIZM comes in a 60 capsule bottle. Each serving is two liquid filled capsules and they recommend taking two capsules 1-2 times daily. These are definitely liquid as I opened some just to see and it is a yellow thick liquid. Before I go into the ingredients, I will note that they are made in the USA, are GMP certified, and use a non-GMO formula. At first glance of the ingredient profile (label submitted below) you can see that this is a basic multivitamin. I would put it above Centrum and on par with GNC Mega Men. In here, you have your standard vitamins and minerals you will find in almost all multivitamins. The forms of the individual vitamins are just okay. For example, the vitamin B-12 is cyanocobalamin the preferred version is methylcobalamin. Another example is the magnesium that is magnesium oxide, which has poor bioavailability than other forms of magnesium. Let me be clear most multivitamins have the forms found in PRIZM like your centrums, mega men, and most others you find at the drug store.

In addition to the standard vitamins and minerals, PRIZM also has some additional nutrients. These include choline bitartrate at 5 mg; the standard dosage is 250-1000 mg. Coenzyme Q10 at a 50 mcg, which is 0.05 mg, the standard dosage is 90-200 mg. Panax Ginseng at a 5 mg dose, the standard dosage is 200-400 mg. There is also a 42 fruits and vegetable blend at a 5 mg dosage. If you could not tell these are immensely under dosed comparing them to the standard dosages. I do not even think these would make a dent in your health at these insignificant dosages. However, I will say that many multivitamins will add these types of ingredients for something extra to put on the label. Before I move onto the next section I want to make mention that this includes Iron at a 9 mg dose, which is 50% daily value. I will go into more detail into why I mentioned this mineral later on.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

Taste and mixability do not apply here. As far as dosing goes, BELDT Labs recommends two capsules 1-2 times daily. I think your average person can just take two capsules one time daily and still have a positive experience with these. I personally took two capsules two times daily with large meals. I did try these on an empty stomach and I did have a stomachache but this is standard with most multivitamins.

Effectiveness

The effectiveness of multivitamins is difficult to assess. I can say that over the course of taking this product I never got sick even when others around me did. I notice that with most multivitamins I take this is an effect that I sometimes have. It could totally be a coincidence. In terms of not getting sick PRIZM was on par with Orange Triad, Vital4U, Animal Pak, Mega Men and Anavite. However, I do think it surpassed Centrum one a day in this regard.

I also noticed an increase in well being and energy. I felt good when I took PRIZM. I am a teacher, the end of the school year can be stressful, and it was not as bad this year. Again, this could have been purely coincidental. I think this was as effective as Mega Men and Centrum in this regard but not as effective as Orange Triad, Anavite, Animal Pak, and Vital4U. As for energy, I did feel a slight uptick in energy after I dosed these with my meals on par with mega men and superior to Centrum. I will say that I have experienced a better increase in energy from Orange Triad, Anavite, Animal Pak, and Vital4U.

I do want to mention some negatives to the effectiveness and that was issues with the inclusion of iron in the multivitamin. Sometimes I react badly to supplemental iron. In this case, I have issues in the bathroom with difficulty going. This in turn creates more issues in that region. So, be aware if you have issues with supplemental iron I would avoid this multivitamin (and any that have iron).

Value

PRIZM currently retails for $15.99 on Amazon. This makes it about $0.53 per serving. I will be honest for what is in the product this is pricey. I recently purchased GNC Mega Men One Daily for $10, which is $0.16 per serving. However, these are not liquid filled and are caplets instead (they dissolved fine). You can bulk buy PRIZM and can get each dosage for as low as $0.42 per serving. Comparing it to other multivitamins Opti-Men is $0.46 per serving, Orange Triad is $0.64 per serving, and Biovite is $0.42. PRIZM falls towards the high end of these with only Orange Triad being more expensive. My main issue with the pricing of PRIZM is I view it as a basic multivitamin above Centrum and on par with Mega Men One Daily. With that in mind, it should be similar priced to those and it currently is not even at a bulk buy. As far as value goes, I do not think I would purchase this even though it falls under my $0.75 budget for multivitamins.

Side Effects

As mentioned previously I did experience a stomachache when taking these on an empty stomach. This is standard for most multivitamins, as they should be taken with food. I also had issues with going to the bathroom due to the iron content of the multivitamin. If you have issues with iron, I would probably avoid this product.

Conclusion

My main issues with PRIZM come down to two things. First, the inclusion of iron that gave me some GI issues. I do wish that they had an iron free version. Before claiming and taking this product, I suspected I may have had issues with iron but this confirmed it. I want to be clear though I suspect that if I took another multivitamin with iron I would have the same issues. Second, the price of this is just too high for what is in it. It is priced at a premium when it honestly is rather basic and on par with Mega Men, which is much cheaper. It is unique in the sense that it is liquid instead of caplets but I do not think it is worth the increase in price. The insignificant dosages of some added ingredients to me just serve as something extra to put on the label (many other companies do this). Overall, it was an EFFECTIVE multivitamin but the price and the included iron held it back for me. I do not think I would purchase this unless they lowered the price and had an iron free version. In terms of recommending it, that is difficult, if you are taking a Centrum this could be a step up and worth a try. I would like to thank BELDT Labs for sending the produce and the Trooper Program for coordinating it.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Made In USA
  • Increased Energy
  • Liquid Filled Capsules
  • Increased Well Being
  • GMP
  • Non-GMO Formula
  • Expensive For What Is Included
  • Iron
  • Low Dosage On Some Ingredients
  • Side Effects From Iron


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to CSA Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 27, 2017

Introduction

Creatine has always been a staple of mine since I first starting lifting. I can remember buying those big tubs of cell-tech back in the day thinking I would look like the man in the ad. This obviously never happened but I still took creatine. I have bounced from various forms but always went back to monohydrate. This is because monohydrate is the most cost effective and actually has validated research studies behind it unlike other novel forms. In my research, I also saw that some believe creatine combined with beta-alanine can yield increased performance. The majo...

Introduction

Creatine has always been a staple of mine since I first starting lifting. I can remember buying those big tubs of cell-tech back in the day thinking I would look like the man in the ad. This obviously never happened but I still took creatine. I have bounced from various forms but always went back to monohydrate. This is because monohydrate is the most cost effective and actually has validated research studies behind it unlike other novel forms. In my research, I also saw that some believe creatine combined with beta-alanine can yield increased performance. The major study noting this concluded that "creatine plus beta-alanine supplementation appeared to have the greatest effect on lean tissue accruement and body fat composition." (1). What does appeared mean? I do not know but this same study noted changes in lean body mass and body fat percent in the creatine/beta alanine group. I cannot see the whole study so I am unsure how large the changes were. So, when CSA Nutrition put up their Podium Gold creatine formula with creatine and beta-alanine combined I had to try it.

Ingredient Profile

When I claimed Podium Gold, I requested the pill version of the product. The pill version comes with 120 tablets. The serving size is two pills twice a day for anyone under 200 pounds and three pills twice a day for anyone over 200 pounds. Each serving contains the CarnoForge Proprietary blend of creatine-B-alanine complex at 2250 mg. CSA Nutrition mentions that CarnoForge is created using a patented manufacturing process that ionically binds creatine and beta alanine. Due to this manufacturing process, CSA Nutrition claims that their product is superior to other competitors who merely mix the two ingredients together. There is suppose to be a pilot study and on CSA Nutrition's website, they mention some results. The results are 12.59% increase in 1RM, 4.89% decrease in body fat, squat 5 rep max 9.86 % increase, and 70% bench reps 74.17% increase. However, I could not find a place to actually read the entire study and it was not cited on their website. I would definitely like to see the entire study and perhaps I missed where it was linked but I do not think so (http://shop.csanutrition.net/).

Just in case a reader was unsure, what supplemental creatine does it increases creatine and phosphocreatine levels within the body. As you work out your body converts ATP to ADP, the latter cannot be used for energy. The ADP will bind to phosphocreatine (the levels are higher now) and convert back into ATP, which can be used for energy. This will give you more energy thus increased performance. As for beta-alanine, it acts as an acid buffer in the body and can improve fatigue resistance increasing endurance. I do like that both creatine and beta alanine are in the product as I have stacked both in the past with positive results. I am unsure if those results were enhanced when I took them together but they were still positive. I will go into detail in the effectiveness section if I believe this product out performed creatine and beta-alanine mixed together.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

Taste and mixability do not really apply to pill versions. However, I will say that the pills had a chemical smell and taste to them almost like alcohol. In terms of dosing, I am over 200 pounds so I took three pills twice a day. However, I noticed some bloating at that dosage and went down to two pills twice a day and the bloating lessened but was still there. I will note that my results were similar with each dosing, which leads me to believe I would have been fine with two pills twice per day from the start. As far as timing goes, I took one dose in the AM and other post workout.

Effectiveness

Prior to taking Podium Gold, I was taking creatine monohydrate at 5g per day. I noticed that my strength and endurance levels slightly increased when I switched over to this product. The strength increases were slightly higher than just creatine monohydrate. However, I felt like they were similar to when I stacked bulk creatine and beta alanine together. For example, I swap between dumbbells and barbell for bench press throughout the year. I noticed that I was able to push slightly more weight with podium gold over just creatine monohydrate (results were similar to bulk creatine and beta alanine). In terms of endurance, I do trail running and I noticed I was able go slightly farther (several hundred feet) on the trail for my runs and I was less out breath. The results I felt were higher than creatine monohydrate alone and even bulk creatine monohydrate and beta alanine. Overall, Podium Gold is an effective product and was superior to just creatine monohydrate for endurance and strength. Comparing it to bulk creatine monohydrate and beta alanine the results were similar for strength but slightly higher for running endurance. I do not feel like the slight increase in my running endurance is worth the price. However, I would definitely give Podium Gold a try.

Value

In terms of value, Podium Gold is on sale for $29.99 making it a $1.00 per day, which is slightly expensive. You can bulk order it and get four bottles for $89.97, which comes out to about $0.75 per day. This is for the pill version. I cannot see the ingredient profile of the powdered version but check out the other reviews since some other reviewers had the powdered version. It is hard to compare this to anything else so I will compare it to bulk creatine monohydrate and beta-alanine. You can find Nutrabio Creatine Monohydrate for $14.99, which is $0.15 cents per day (5g serving in 100 serving tub). Nutrabio beta alanine retails for $33.99, which is $0.18 cents per day (2g serving in 180 serving tub). Combining those totals, you are looking at $0.33 per day taking 5g of creatine monohydrate and 2g of beta alanine. It comes down to whether you believe that CarnoForge is superior to bulk powders. Personally, I will stick to bulk powders but I do think that Podium Gold is worth a try even at $1.00 (or $0.75) per day.

Side Effects

As mentioned previously I did have some bloating while using this product. I noticed increased bloating at the higher dosages but it lessened when I backed the dosage down. The bloating was slightly more than I have had with other creatine products.

Conclusion

Overall, CSA Nutrition Podium Gold is an effective creatine product for strength and endurance. It performed similar to bulk creatine monohydrate and beta alanine in strength but was slightly superior to those in terms of endurance. The product is slightly expensive going for $0.75 per day as opposed to $0.33 for bulk powders. Even though it is more expensive, I still would recommend trying it. I will probably stick to bulk powders but I am glad that I was able to try this through the trooper program. I would like to thank CSA Nutrition for sending the product and the trooper program for coordinating it.

-Xcmiler

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17136944
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Endurance
  • Increased Energy
  • Builds Muscle
  • Increased Strength
  • Not Widely Available
  • Heavy Bloating
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Excessive Water Weight
  • Full Pilot Study Not Available



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