In the past I had been leery about supplements in general. I thought through adequate nutrition my body could derive whatever it could possibly need from such, even with a strenuous training cycle. As a power lifter, I take everything I learn in my ISSA studies and apply it directly to my sport, and a few months ago, something really stuck in my craw –
It pertained to “limit strength” which is basically your body’s 100% all out threshold of force you can generate in one solid effort. Power lifters rely on this strength for competition. The truest manifestation of limit strength according to ISSA’s “Fitness: The Complete Guide” is “achieved while “under the influence” of some form of work producing aid (supplements, hypnosis, therapeutic techniques, etc.”) In the same paragraph it goes on to say:
“All athletes should take every available advantage science has to offer, short of using drugs or other illegal techniques or strategies which are against the rules.
It really got my brain working… Why am I, as an athlete… Specifically as a power lifter, not doing everything in my power to build the absolute strongest limit strength for myself? After reading the above, it just sounded insane to me to hold myself back just because I didn’t want to put the research in to finding quality, tested, appropriate supplements.
Although I had already began dabbling a little in the past – I used a preworkout that contained a blend of creatine and amino acids, and I drank whey protein, I took fish oil, and a multivitamin, but I decided to be more open minded and branch out into finding a combination of supplements that help specifically maximize my own training. I knew I loved the creatine, so that stayed, as well as the protein, vitamins et al. Upon high recommendation from many fellow athletes I switched my preworkout to Jack3d and fell in love. I was however missing out on BCAAs, and if you’ve done any research on them, you should know their benefits are many! At first I was using a powdered form immediately post workout, which was probably not the best way, but I have a small bladder, and taking all these pre and intra supplements results in me spending more time in the bathroom than under the bar.
When I ran out of my old BCAAs, I decided to branch out and try something different this time around. I opted for Scivation Xtend on the pretense that if it didn’t make me want to gag, I could drink it intraworkout instead of water. Now that my training sessions are a little longer, a well blended dosage of BCAAs, electrolytes, and vitamins seemed to be a good way to help fuel myself.
On very first impression, I was concerned. When I put it in my blender bottle and shook it, it had a frothy head on it like this:
I was concerned it was going to be “chunky” or even gelatinous like a protein powder I had sampled one time. It however wasn’t. Once the foam settled it had actually mixed up really nicely. (Note – I have heard people say you HAVE to use a blender bottle to mix this otherwise it is clumpy. So if you plan on investing in this, you should probably also invest in that.)
The first time I used it was on a leg day followed by 30 minutes of HIIT. The flavor was really not bad to me at all, and it “quenched my thirst” when I drank it.
Like most supplements that don’t contain caffeine or other stimulants, it’s not like it has an effect that made me hulk out by any means, but my workouts have felt solid lately, my recovery both during training (I will save the ATP/CP energy production with BCAAs as an aid for my side project), and post training has also felt really solid too.
There is no final verdict yet, as I haven’t been using Scivation Xtend long enough to see what kind of results it will deliver for me. I will keep you guys updated as that changes.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your favorite BCAAs and why! Don’t use em? What other supplements help fuel your training?