Have you ever been in the gym and a guy walks past you with insane vascularity (veins), making his arms look like something you would normally see on a road map and you wonder "hmmm what's his secret? Could it be 'juice'? or Winstrol?" Your eyes follow him to his workout bench and you see him pick up his water bottle and take a sip of a purplish concoction. You think to yourself, "Is this 'gummyberry-juice-like' liquid the secret to his road-map vascularity?" Majority of the time these colourful liquids are pre-workout drinks that are used to help increase mental focus, muscular pumps, stamina, recovery(to a certain extent) and of course vascularity. Pre-workout drinks are becoming increasingly popular not only amongst bodybuilders but also athletes of other sports. These supplements come in a variety of flavours and colours, not forgetting a varied price range, but they all contain key basic ingredients such as creatine, caffeine, branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) and L-arginine (which increases nitric oxide levels resulting in improved vasodilation and vascularity). In this post I will be focusing more on Nitric Oxide (NO), as many people talk about it but have no clue as to how it works.
Nitric Oxide Synthases are a family of enzymes that catalyze the production of NO from L-arginine (an amino acid found in meat, nuts and dairy). Nitric Oxide is a free radical with a high reactivity, it activates guanylate cyclase, which induces smooth muscle relaxation by:
-increased intracellular cGMP, which inhibits calcium entry into the cell, and decreases intracellular calcium concentrations
-activation of K+ channels, which leads to hyper-polarisation and relaxation
-stimulates a cGMP-dependant protein kinase that activates myosin light chain phosphatase (the enzyme that dephosphorylates myosin light chains) which leads to smooth muscle relaxation
So basically what all this means is that you get insane vasodilation and freaky muscle pumps!
There are many pre-workouts available on the market and each one of them is unique in its own way (sometimes not in a good way). I firmly believe that you have to find the product that best suits you and your budget. In the pre-workout range, BSN's NO Explode rains supreme as it is well known for its effectiveness however it is the price of it (about R560) that puts it out of the budget range of the average person. Another potent pre-workout in this price range that is gaining popularity for its ecstasy-like buzz that it gives you is Muscle Marinade by Purus Labs (however many of the users that I've spoken to have reported experiencing a difficulty in sleeping when using in the afternoon/evening). In my opinion supplements should not be judged as being less effective because they may be cheaper. There are many products by locally produced brands that are cheaper than the imported brands yet equally effective. N.O Blast and N.O Rage are two pre-workout products, from the SPS range, that are moderately priced (between R300-R350), taste good and deliver in terms of pumps and vascularity. (On a personal note, I prefer NO Blast as I feel I get better greater pumps and vasodilation..). Supplements can be an expensive bill to fit especially if you are on a tight budget. There are some of the cheaper pre-workouts available ranging from about R150-R220. Two of my favourites that have worked wonders for me are Muscleworks Nitro-GenX Hardcore (this one tastes like a grape Fizzpop lollipop but works really well) and SSN NO Crea-Pump (this product gives you your monies worth, I've been using it for about 6months without having to increases serving size). In my opinion, once you find a product that works for you and gives you the results you are looking for, stick to it as frequently changing supplements can be a costly affair. Not forgetting the disappointment of not seeing results. Hope this post will be useful to you the next time you are shopping for supps...
Till the next post, Keep it anabolic..