My BSN Care Package

This is too cool to put into words, so I will just show it in a picture.

IMG_2807

 

As I arrived after midnight to home (which is common for me) this was waiting on me from BSN. A care package of their top supplements: Their BCAA Amino X, their fat burner, Hyper Shred; Their Protein Syntha-6; and their pre-workout that I’ve wanted to try for over a year: Hyper FX.

Slowly but surely they are changing my mind about them for sure. These are all new products for me, so I am hoping that I was wrong about my statement that their products don’t tend to mesh well with my biochemistry. I’m hoping for the best. If nothing else, this is one of the greatest acts a supplement company has done for me.

Expect four separate blogs on each of these products. Summer time is coming, I need / want abs and maybe, just maybe BSN will be the ones that give it to me. That and a lot of time spent in the gym and eating right in the kitchen.

Thank you so much BSN. Thank you, so much.

Muscle and Fitness Should Rethink their Standards on Beauty

I’ll give you a bit of context. Here’s the latest issue of Muscle and Fitness Magazine.

It’s a Swim Suit issue. I usually don’t read this magazine, I prefer their body building sister magazine, Muscular Development. It’s just a more fun magazine, with way more information on exercises, bodybuilding industry news and of course the latest supplements. M&D, you’re welcome for the free plug.

Not going to get on any soap boxes, especially since we like to keep things fun and light around here. We’ve dealt with things of a racial matter before Once or Twice . Overall, I think racism, discrimination and the like is a dying phenomenon. Overall. Attitudes are changing and although we have a really long, long way to go, we are so close to getting there. But that makes the instances of it when it does occur that much more visible.

I’m not posting any images of the latest issue because first, that pushes the upper limit of fair use laws, plus I think to get the full effect of what I’m saying, you need to actually pick the magazine up and look through it.

What will become painfully aware to you if you are 1) Not American 2) Objective 3) Not Caucasian or 4) Find women sexier if they weigh more than 103 pounds (I kid…kinda) is that women in the current issue of Muscle & Fitness (July) magazine represent the standard archetypal beauty in America. Very thin, and as one of my inspirations, Genevieve, wrote, not very if at all muscular. There’s no definition, no vascularity…and no diversity.

America has long been a hodgepodge of different cultures, religions, ideals and ways of living. Far from perfect, true, but still the ideal society where our differences allow us to learn from each other and grow. So why is Muscle and Fitness pushing an ideal of beauty that is based in 1950′s America? Especially when the women from that era actually were better looking thicker?

No Seriously, when did it?

That just the first problem with M&F’s latest issue.

There’s also the diversity issue. They couldn’t find 1 African American, Asian or Arab fitness model to place in their pages?

I found a few. You really need not go any further than Twitter to find healthy, muscular women with exotic beauty, both inside and out. This was a simple case of lazy journalism by Muscle & Fitness. They got magazines to sell, so they went with the old tried and true method instead of being a leader in changing ideas of women’s beauty.

I challenge Muscle & Fitness to stop resting on their laurels and to go beyond the usual homogeneous images of women and to make their fitness spreads both more inclusive and more diverse and actually…more healthy. I shudder to think of the diets some of this month’s models had in order to fit into the magazine. Overall health should include great dietary choices which to me, it just looks like the women aren’t making.  We are well beyond the antiquated ideas of what makes women attractive today.

And will someone please get the word out… muscle on women is HOT. One of my favorite blogs demonstrates this daily. It’s okay if women lift iron and do more than just run 13 miles daily.

Supplement Review: The New MuscleTech: Neurocore Pt. 5

Well it has been quite a week of supplement reviews looking at NeuroCore. But we’re not done just yet. I wanted to be sure to get another opinion on this particular supplement. So of course it was time to get on the horn and call an old SideKick from before… None other than Scott Crawford from 11 Squared! He’s stopped by our blog before to aid with an excellent Supplement Review. Recently he tried NeuroCore himself and I thought he would be the perfect person to ask for further opinions.

With out further ado, here’s Scott on his experience with Neuro Core. Take it away, Scott!

Neurocore… where getting on your nerves is a good thing.

To put things into context somewhat, I am a 36 year who starting lifting/bulking, really at the start of the year.  I have never been too much into supplements other than protein and daily vitamin packs.  However, since I don’t make it to the gym until about 9:30 at night, I need something to get me over the heavy eyelids humps to get me to the gym and be productive there.  This is the reason that I have started trying preworkout supplements.

MucleTech’s Neurocore is the third PWO that I have tried.  Like many other before me, I have heard all of the negative comments about MucleTech in the past, but when I saw Neurocore being offered on a BOGO sale at www.bodybuilding.com, and I was running out of my PWO, I figured why not give this preworkout a shot.

I will leave the fancy pictures to TheOrangeMask and give Neurocore a no nonsense review.

Gratuitous Fancy Picture of NeuroCore

I went for the Blue Raspberry flavor, which to my surprise was very tasty!  Of course after trying GNC’s Ravage… anything is tasty!  I did notice however, that the first couple of sips were full of flavor, about the last half of the drink had an almost medicinal taste.  Everything dissolved great, so there was no residue, but the taste of it was there.  It is a little weird.  Nevertheless, I give the flavor an 8 out of 10.

As TheOrangeMask has noted, it does take 3 scoops!  My tolerance for stimulants is pretty high.  I did not feel any “surge” or “rush” of energy, but I did notice that I had energy and was raring to go.  The energy was great I was able to get an hour of lifting in, run a 5K on the treadmill and feel like I could do more.  The energy was clean and jitter free, however, this could attribute to my tolerance level.  I did not experience any sort of crash coming down from it either.  I was able to fall asleep shortly after returning home from the gym, which was about 2 and half hours after taking my 3 scoop dose.

Now, I have tried a couple of supplements (PWO’s and others) that have Beta-Alanine in its blend.  I never once have experienced the tingles or the itchy skin that others have.  The same holds true for Neurocore.  I have read other reviews of Neurocore, TheOrangeMask’s included, where folks experienced severe tingling in their extremities.

With regards to pump, I did experience a decent pump from this product.  I also, noticed some vascularity that was not previously there.  I cannot directly attribute this to Neurocore, as I am leaning up as well.  However, I think it helped some of those veins to perk up a little.

Now onto focus… The focus that I experience while taking this supplement is superb, and this is where Nerocore really does it for me.  Once the headphones were in, it is almost like it’s just me in the gym and I really get into a zone, pounding out rep after rep…. set after set!   The focus was even better than I got from SAN Launch… and that is saying something.

Many reviews will give reviews on strength and strength gains…. I have a hard time attributing all of the strength gain to the PWO.  While I did experience strength gains and a lot of personal bests for 1 rep max’s, I think most of it comes from my personal drive and always upping the weight, forcing my muscles to work harder.  Yes, focus and energy level play a role in strength gains so I will concede those two to Neurocore.

After all of that said, there was one side effect that I experience with this PWO that I have not had with others.  Let me set the stage….  I take Neurocore right before I leave my house to drive the 10 minutes to the gym.  By the time I get to the gym and get my stuff into a locker, I have to make an immediate visit to the bathroom.  That’s right, for whatever reason it forces an immediate bowel response…. Every time!

All-in-all, I like this PWO.  I do have to agree with TheOrangeMask regarding its value.  Taking 3 scoops only gives you 15 servings… so you do the math.  If you are only working out 2 or 3 times a week, then it may be fine for you, but I am currently doing doubles 4 days a week and take a PWO before each session.  At this rate I will blow through a tub of Neurocore in 2 weeks.  That just won’t do!

I think TheOrangeMask’s “mixed review” is fair.  I would rank it 7.5 out of 10.  I will use this product again and it will likely have a place in my PWO rotation.

 Well, there you have it folks. Neuro Core Week comes to a close on the blog. Overall, the feeling is this is a decent workout though there is the question of value given that you need 3 scoops. Also, you need to be near a bathroom taking this stuff as our good friend Scott found out. But all in all, this is a decent product. 

Questions: What are your thoughts about NeuroCore? Have you tried it? How has NeuroCore week influenced your decision? 

Supplement Review: The New Muscle Tech: Neurocore Pt. 3

This is a continuation of my first post on NeuroCore. Let’s continue.

The Pour

Apparently, the canister is half full

Very small scoop

No, NeuroCore didn’t burn off my goatee, I shaved it

The Verdict

Okay, so would the product stand up to Orange Mask standards?

Well, being perfectly honest…I wasn’t crazy about this product. The smell is fantastic, though the taste is rather bland. It’s not a bad taste, but you get the sense that whatever they did to flavor it, they didn’t do enough of that thing. Yes, it’s Fruit Punch but this would be better titled, “Hint of Fruit Punch”. Now, effectiveness? This product advertises itself as 45 servings, but truthfully it’s more like 15 servings. I didn’t feel anything at all with this product with only 1 scoop. Or 2 really. Buying this product is fine, but go in knowing that you will use all 3 scoops every time you use it to gain any type of utility. At 3 scoops this could get pricey since it would only last 15 days out the month, assuming you work out regularly.

I want to talk about the Beta Alanine in this supplement. I think either something is off with the dosing or something is off with my body. I’ve never had a BA reaction like the one I had on this product. It took about 20 minutes to kick in. But it felt like I was walking barefeet on pins. Every step just wound up with a shot of pins pricking my entire body. I felt it in my head, arms, legs, back, even in my glutes and loins (ouch!) Just walking on the treadmill became laborious because it felt like someone with no skill was giving me horrible acupuncture, using over a million needles at the same time. The effect lasted about an hour after my workout ended. Did not like that at all.

I saw no noticeable pump. I was able to focus though, so I did get into that tunnel vision that you get into but my reaction to the BA distracted me somewhat.

I only slightly felt the 1,3 DMAA in this product which may just speak to my tolerance. Like I said, after the first day, I was already up to 2 scoops, then 3.

If you can look beyond all that, does the product actually work? Yes. It was leg day for me. I added 90 pounds to my squat and was able to get 1 more set of 11 reps in than I ever have before.  Also, despite the BA reaction I had, it was one of those sessions where I still had to tear myself away from the gym in order to make the beach in time.

Final Thoughts

Neuro Core is unique in that it is the first supplement on this site that I give a “mixed rating” to. The main concerns come due to needing 3 scoops to feel any effect, but that effect coming at the cost of great exposure to Beta Alanine all over your body. Still, I have to admit, I had some gains in the gym. This product is still leap years better than the Muscle Tech of old. This has research behind it and for many users, you’re going to see a lot of good gains on it.

It’s not quite up to where I’d like it to be, but it is by no means horrible. I will probably get some more of this, to be honest (I got this on one heck of a deal…50% off at Vitamin Shoppe. Gee, I wonder why? Oh, yeah.) The price is great right now. This product to me, shows that Muscle Tech, now more than ever is committed to the customers.

Have you ever tried this product? What were your thoughts? Write them in the comments below. 

Don’t forget to enter into the Giveaway, too!

Supplement Review: The New MuscleTech NeuroCore Giveaway Pt. 2

You in? I have a spare Neuro Core and it’s Grape Flavor.

If so it’s pretty easy.

1) Leave a comment below telling me if you’ve used any Muscle Tech products before either in the past or currently? What were your honest thoughts about them?

2) Follow me on Twitter.

3) Tweet: “I just entered the @TeamMuscleTech #NeuroCore #Giveaway by @TheOrangeMask! Don’t miss your chance: http://wp.me/p1J36b-lL 

4) Bonus Entry: Subscribe to me via Youtube.

Blink and this will be gone. Winners announced on Thursday via Twitter and this Blog

Supplement Review: The New MuscleTech: NeuroCore Pt. 1

Finally, it’s here on this site. I never ever thought I’d have a MuscleTech product here, but everyone deserves a chance. This isn’t the Muscle Tech of old that spent more money on marketing than on research. No. This is better. It’s new. I think of Muscle Tech as that girlfriend who was never good for you. She looked beautiful, she was stunning. All the guys wanted her. She gave you a shot. And immediately upon dating her you realized, she was nothing but trouble. All looks, no substance. Finally at the end of all that time where you gave her everything and she still screwed you over, you decided she had to leave. So you broke it off.

NeuroCore is Muscle Tech’s attempt at rekindling an old passion. This is their way of asking you, “Please, give me just one more chance. I was wrong then, and I know it. But I want to make this work. I’m committing to make this work. Please, just one more chance.”

We’ve all been there. That moment where all that comes to mind is the truly horrible, messed up things they did to you and the many nights alone in bed you spent crying over them.

But damn it… that little twinkle. That sparkle. And that desire to know, “What if… what if it’s possible they really did change?”

Do you risk it?

At the end of the day I’m a sucker for love and reconciliation. So of course I did.

Here is that story.

The way I conceptualize Neuro Core is that it’s a love letter to the Muscle Tech faithful who’ve been there through thick and thin. They’ve stuck with the products despite the horrible side effects, the bad dosing, the bad reputation and athletes who later admitted to not using the product but were on steroids. NeuroCore is a love letter to say, “Hey, we screwed major @#$% up. Now we’re better. More mature.”

There are some good things to like about the new Muscle Tech. For starters…

1) No More Proprietory Blends – If anything Muscle Tech has the edge on most companies out there. If there is one thing I hate, I mean absolutely despise about the preworkout genre of supps, it’s this idea that customers don’t need to know a) what they are putting into their bodies b) how much of it they are putting in or c) why we’re charging them what we are charging them. Muscle Tech has the edge in telling you exactly how much of each ingredient you are getting. I can appreciate that

2) Backed by research. REAL Research – I appreciate this coming from a research background. Every study is backed my peer reviewed scientific studies. Some companies test for a day or two then say, “See? Nobody died. Our product works!” I challenge you to go to their website and find anything that isn’t backed by several research studies. I can respect that. Muscle Tech of old just put stuff on the shelf, had a bodybuilder pose with it and say “Take this. NOW.” They put their products where the research is.

3) They are the industry standard. I like a few different companies. But the fact is, Muscle Tech is and has always been what Bodybuilding is about. They are the industry standard. They are the industry giant. In some way, most companies are trying to copy at least 1 muscle tech product.

4) They are better than BSN. My God, I can not stand that company. But seriously, BSN today is what Muscle Tech was a decade ago. Overhyped, Expensive products with no efficacy, but heavily pushed by great marketing. I have never had 1 BSN product that was worth the kidney is cost me to get it. Not 1. This is the same feeling I felt circa 10 years ago when first started looking at supplements and kept hearing “Muscle Tech” come up. In other words BSN is 10 years behind Muscle Tech. Yeah, I said it.

They don’t even answer tweets.

Eventually that Hyper FX post will get done. God only knows when.

BSN has one thing going for them.

Fitness Model Amanda Latona. That is all.

Rant over.

MuscleTech at least has helped me answer my questions about them.  Any company that spends time responding to customers online, especially those making repeated queries, is fine with me.

So here we are. 1 last chance. We are putting everything on this one MuscleTech product. Let’s see that happens.

Neuro Core: The Movie

Before we start— What does Muscle Tech say about Neuro Core?

What about you Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath? What do you say?

*Note to Muscle Tech marketers: next time actually show Phil taking Neuro Core. 

Well, now let’s see what the truth is. Has Muscle Tech actually changed? Does Neuro Core work? Is it just more of the same? Let’s stop talking and start working out.

To be continued…


Supplement Review: Betancount Nutrition D-Stunner

It’s been a while since we’ve done a pre-workout here. Let’s fix that now! Today’s product? Betancount Nutrition D-Stunner.

Taken from the site, this is “The New King of Energy”.

Really? Let’s see.

Taken from the site:

Betancourt Nutrition presents the first ever concentrated pre-workout and bronchostimulator D-STUNNERTM. In the era of concentrated pre-workouts, the race is on to create stronger and stronger products with no emphasis on long term increases in: performance, muscle growth or preventing devastating ‘crashes’ that can ruin your workouts. The lack of advancement in the stimulants used in other concentrates causes the users to build a higher tolerance which can make it harder for the user to experience the same ‘rush’ as before. D-STUNNERTM features the most advanced stimulytic blend of 1,3 Dimethylamylamine and REV-PEATM which results in a no crash, sustained energy experience not available in any concentrate available.+ REV-PEA is an advanced blend of energy and focus enhancing phenylethylamines that are more potent and stable then phenylethylamines alone.+ It also features GlycoCarn® for intense pumps not seen in any other concentrate (large amounts of stimulants can cause vasoconstriction, this can limit the ‘pump’ during exercise).+ The most profound advanced in the concentrated pre-workout category however, is that of bronchodilator 3,7 dimethylpurine-2,6-dione. Combined with the mitochondria (energy producing centers of cells) boosting effects of Quercetin, 3,7 dimethylpurine-2,6-dione will boost endurance and performance like never before.

Is all this true? Let’s investigate—but first, some honesty.

I’m actually pretty scared to try this product, honestly. I got this on a deal but I’m not sure how I feel about a product that wants its claim to fame to be that it helps you with your bronchodilation. Is that something I want when I work out? Plus that last sentence? I’ve told you about getting products and you don’t know what the @#$% the ingredients are in them being used.

I’m going to be cautious with this product. For this review, I’m starting with only a half scoop. Then, a full one. You know…assuming the half scoop doesn’t kill me.

The Pour

Right from the start this stuff smells awesome! It smells like you just opened two packets of Kool-Aid and ready to relax for the evening. The mix was perfect too. Not any particles at all floating around. The taste? I have to be careful… I could see a situation where I drink way too much of this stuff then my heart blow up in my chest.

I got the hook up! With a sample pack!

One of the best colored supplements I’ve seen. Pretty!

If they served this at bars I’d almost never go home. The taste was awesome!

The effects? I describe this as the halfway point between Beast Sports Beast Mode and Dymatize Xpand, with just a hint of Hemo Rage with non of the negative effects really. Watch the dosing— over the months, my tolerance for caffeine has gone up a lot but even I was was getting jittery off of the one dose. Pump was decent, focus moderate. It was a good workout. I’d probably keep it at a half dose. This thing runs the danger of being one of those supps that makes you wicked cracked out. How much caffeine is in this thing? Hard to tell thanks to my friend, “Proprietory Blend”. But overall, this product runs the danger of making you stimmed out of your mind.

To me, there comes a point where I’m too cranked up to “focus”. I reached the threshold of that point with this product.

Now, also, this product has 1, 3 DiMeth in it. It’s like Hemo Rage— it’s in there. And it’s completely unnecessary. I say take that out.

This is the kind of product I would use— if I received it for free. It will run you about $30 at Vitamin Shoppe which is a good price. But I’d only advise getting it if you have an extremely high tolerance to stims. This was a bit too much for my liking. I doubt I’ll use it again.

Overall though, I like this company for some reason. Maybe after the hammer falls on the 1,3 Dimeth controversy it might be worth giving this product another look.

For free.

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