Friday, December 15, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: USA Weightlifting Exclusive Apparel & Merchandise Package

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and USA Weightlifting are teaming up to give one lucky winner a signed USAW apparel package!

Our partners over at USA Weightlifting have cooked up something really special for one lucky winner. It’s a Team USA goodie bag, including an umbrella, note cards, Tervis cup, USAW Socks, luggage tag, and more. Oh, and did we mention a select few of these items will be signed by 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist and weightlifting legend Pyrros Dimas?!

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

USA Weightlifting Exclusive Apparel & Merchandise Package

The post 25 Days of Gifting: USA Weightlifting Exclusive Apparel & Merchandise Package appeared first on BarBend.

Watch Sarah Lewis Deadlift 520 lbs for Four Reps

Territory Foods Meal Service Review

The Different Exercises Used With an Axle Bar and Their Benefits

Glute Ham Raises – Muscles Worked, Exercise Demo, and Benefits

Thursday, December 14, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Athletic Greens Travel Health Package

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and Athletic Greens are teaming up to give one lucky winner a travel health package!

The world’s most famous greens supplement is about to make your travel a lot tastier. This giveaway with Athletic Greens includes 3 x 20 count Athletic Greens Travel Packs and a portable Athletic Greens Shaker. Perfect to keep your nutrition on point no matter where your trips take you! 

Athletic Greens is one of the world’s most famous greens powders (and all BarBend readers can get 24% off their greens powder here). As tasty as it is nutritious, Athletic Greens is densely packed with probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and more to supplement performance.

[Learn why Athletic Greens topped our list of Best Green Superfood Powders here! We also reviewed Athletic Greens in-depth.]
Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

 

Athletic Greens Travel Health Package Giveaway

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Athletic Greens Travel Health Package appeared first on BarBend.

How to Survive (and Even Embrace) Rest Days

The Top 10 Most Searched Workouts of 2017 (Strength Sports Made It Twice)

My Favorite Books for Strength Athletes in 2017

In the digital age we have an endless amount of media with endless ways to consume it. As a producer of some of that content, I thank you all for reading and sharing my work that is a speck in a vast ocean of choices. To better my product, I attempt to keep my mind sharp, open to new concepts and challenged with new ideas. Ever since I could read, I have loved books. This year I made my way through 45 of them, and these five were the best I found for shaping perspectives of coaches and athletes.

1. Faster Higher Stronger by Mark McCulsky

Technology is changing everything, including the way we train. We can now measure almost every aspect of sports performance and then analyze the data to make smarter decisions when it comes to training and competition. We can avoid overtraining, enhance recovery and lessen our mistakes on the field, taking the athlete from an also ran to the top of the podium. This book reinforced the necessity of tracking poundages, taping and reviewing sessions, understanding sleep, picking the right contests, making supportive dietary choices and doing anything you can to manage your career as a Strongperson.

Find it on Amazon

2. Behave by Robert Sapolsky

Taking a Stanford biology course online from Professor Sapolsky made me anxious for the arrival of this book. The complex subject of why humans behave as we do is made surprisingly understandable in a very enjoyable, humorous read. As a coach this book is a must. It is our job to communicate in a way an athlete will respond to in a positive manner. When you understand the mix of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors that truly dictate what we perceive to be “free will,” you can become less frustrated yourself and develop an enriched perspective of why human do such odd things.

Find it on Amazon

3. DNA Is Not Destiny by Steven Heine

“Man, that guy is way better than me. He must have awesome genetics.” We are genetic fatalists, says Heine, arguing that people have resigned their fate to what is encoded in their DNA. The problem with this commonly held viewpoint is that the more you understand genetics the less likely you are to agree with it. By seeing yourself as genetically inferior in a sport can radically effect your ability to perform. Our DNA can actually change and respond to our actions. We can not fully predict height, weight, heart disease or cancer risk simply from DNA alone. As competitors, you should forgo the thought of a fixed destiny and instead fight for your own personal future.

Find it on Amazon

4. What the Luck by Gary Smith

With an infinite number of variables that can happen to us in any situation, one must conclude that much of life has to do with luck. Running into the right contact that landed you a new job? Narrowly miss getting hit by a bus today? Perfect score on a standardized test? Smith illustrates how everyone and everything can over (or under) perform but will eventually return to the average of their potential. My big take away from this was what every successful person constantly trumpets; no matter what, you must keep trying no matter how often you fail. While it is no guarantee of success, you will better your odds.

Find it on Amazon

5. Extreme Ownership By Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

These combat hardened SEAL veterans are now executive consultants, and their message is simple: It’s all on you. Sales team fail? You didn’t communicate how to achieve success or you picked the wrong people. Production fall behind schedule? You failed to manage the problem successfully. It is easy to pass of the responsibility but you must understand, it is the tool of the weak and breeds more weakness. Own every rep of every set. Own your nutrition program. Own your sleep schedule. Own the consequences of your actions. The message is clear; once you do, you will experience freedom and a feeling of control that is quite powerful. Your life is yours and you must drive it, it is not a ride along.

Find it on Amazon

You don’t have to grab any of these suggestions though. Just pick up something and read it. It will engage the brain and in some way make you a better athlete and person. Weight training is the best thing you can do to muscular fitness, but do not neglect your intellectual training as well!

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post My Favorite Books for Strength Athletes in 2017 appeared first on BarBend.

When to Use Straps in Powerlifting and Strongman

All strength sports have their own little quirks; powerlifting has sumo deadlifts, CrossFit has kipping, and strongman, well, strongman kind of has a few that irk others. But it isn’t the hitching or the continental cleans that seem to rile people up the most; that honor seems to be reserved for the strapped deadlift.

This isn’t just speculation either, as I say this from experience. While running the social media for Official Strongman, I’d face a torrent of comments each and every day insisting that Eddie’s 500 pull and all the others be struck from the history books because they thought those athletes were ‘cheating.’ All because of a few inches of canvas wrapped round a bar. Fortunately we, as real enthusiasts of strength, can all agree that this isn’t some grand conspiracy and instead just accept the lifts for what they are – strongman records.

[Interested in using straps but don’t know which pair is best for you? Check out our full rundown of the top straps on the market here!]

Despite accepting the lifts of others, even seasoned  powerlifters can overlook straps in their own training, dismissing them as an easy way out. Which is such a shame as straps can add serious weight to your pulls, even when you take them off. Here’s how.

Save your grip for what counts.

When it comes to building a grip strong enough to hold on to anything you can pull off the ground, there are two distinct schools of thought. The first is simple – if you’re training deads with a high enough volume then your grip will grow build on its own and you don’t need to do any specialized hand work. For some this approach works wonders, especially for those lucky enough to naturally have a great grip, work a manual job or just have giant hands.

However, if you’ve ever lost a lift because your grip wasn’t good enough, then it’s time to start listening to the other side and adding in some supplemental grip work.

Finish off your sessions with some farmers walks, weighted hangs and fat bar rows and you’ll have mighty mitts in no time. The problem is that if you start hammering your hands and forearms with farmers walks, weighted hangs and fat bar training, when it comes time to deadlift again your grip will be smoked. This results in you being limited to even less weight on the bar, especially in the short term. That is, of course, unless you strap up for your main deadlift session, while you allow your grip to recover. As with bringing up any weakness this is something best done in the off season, so that as competitions get closer you can start to build back in your strap free deadlift with newly improved grip strength. This is especially important if, like most people, you lift with a mixed grip.  

Injury Prevention

In some of the more hardcore strength circles I’ve heard that having a torn bicep is seen as a badge of honor, a sacrifice to the strength gods, a show of dedication. And while this might be a great story to tell others once you’ve injured yourself, I’m pretty confident that it’s still a club you’re only proud to be in after the fact.

However, we all still all want to deadlift heavy, and with this comes an increased risk of tearing a bicep, especially if you pull with an over under grip. But if you bring straps into the equation for your heavier off season lifts, you can reduce this risk. This is best done by only bringing out the straps for your heaviest work sets and pulling RAW for your warm up and back off sets. This way you get the best of both worlds, reduced risk of a training injury, while still going heavy. This allows you to slowly develop the tendon strength you need while reducing the risk of losing a bicep during a training session.

The other mostly unspoken benefit is that I’m yet to see someone who didn’t benefit from mixing their grip and hand placements up every now and then. Variety is the spice of life after all. As with the previous point do this in the off season and as your powerlifting meet gets closer slowly phase out straps from your heavier sets and reacclimate yourself to lifting how you will on the day.   

Increased Load

No matter how good your grip is, there will be a point where you have to make a choice. Do you stay RAW and lift less or do you throw on a couple of plates, strap your hands to that bar and go rogue. Whether we’re talking a high rep set, a rack pull, a trap bar deadlift or a combination of all three, if straps help you hit that set harder and that’s the goal for the day put protocol aside and strap up. The exact same is true for accessory lifts where grip is going to be a limiting factor, namely rows, shrugs and pull downs.   

Using straps in training isn’t about becoming dependent on a crutch, instead it’s about using every tool at your disposal to get stronger. Just as you might use caffeine or your favorite song to help you push a little harder in a tough workout, straps can be allow you to do things your normally couldn’t. Don’t dismiss it or anything else just because it’s not the most commonly done thing in your sport.  

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post When to Use Straps in Powerlifting and Strongman appeared first on BarBend.

Deficit Deadlifts – Training Percentages and Carryover to Deadlift

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Lift Lab Co. Weightlifting Apparel Package!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and Lift Lab Co are giving one lucky winner a HUGE apparel package (our biggest yet!) with multiple performance gear shirts, a Lift Lab Co backpack, hat, and more!

In fact, this package is by far our biggest apparel giveaway yet, worth over $200!

One lucky winner is about to look even better on the platform! We’re teaming up with Lift Lab Co gym to give out a a Weightlifting Apparel backpack full of Lift Lab Co t-shirts and a brand new hat, perfect for showing off your training style.

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Lift Lab Co. Weightlifting Apparel Package

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Lift Lab Co. Weightlifting Apparel Package! appeared first on BarBend.

Rogue Fitness Named World’s Strongest Man Official Equipment Provider

7 Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger (and How to Fix Them)

An Uncut and Unfiltered Interview With Strength Coach Mark Rippetoe

Rack Pulls vs Rows – Which Is Best for Strength?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Strong Strong Friends 12-Week Strength Training Program & Gear!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and Meg Squats of Strong Strong Friends are teaming up to give one lucky winner a strength program and Weightlifting Gear!

Good progress starts with great coaching. We’re teaming up with Strong Strong Friends to give one lucky winner a 12-week strength program designed by Meg Squats, along with a goodie back of Strong Strong Supply Weightlifting Gear!

[Curious about the Strong Strong Friends brand? Check out our in-depth interview with founder Meg Squats!]

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Strong Strong Friends: 12-Week Strength Training Program + Weightlifting Gear

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Strong Strong Friends 12-Week Strength Training Program & Gear! appeared first on BarBend.

Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Pre Workout Review — All Natural, Still Effective?

Earth Fed Muscle is a Pennsylvania-based company that was founded a couple of years ago by the guys behind Garage Strength, a training facility in Fleetwood, PA. The company sponsors a lot of athletes from various disciplines.

They specialize in all-natural workout supplements, and Stammpede Pre Workout has no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Here’s what’s in the Lemon Lime flavor.

Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Nutrition & Ingredients

One scoop has 7.3 calories and has 200 milligrams of organic caffeine, about as much as you’ll find in two small cups of coffee.

Besides that there are 6 grams of branched chain amino acids: 3 grams of leucine and 1.5 grams each of isoleucine and valine.

There’s also 5 grams of beta alanine, 1.5 grams of tyrosine, and 1 gram of citrulline malate.

The rest of the ingredients are just natural flavoring and organic stevia.

Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Benefits & Effectiveness

I really like the fact that there are branched chain amino acids, which may improve endurance, focus, and muscle retention, particularly if taken on an empty stomach. It’s pretty unusual to find BCAAs in a pre-workout.

The rest of the ingredients are well-researched. The beta alanine has a strong link with endurance, the tyrosine with focus, and the citrulline with blood flow.

Most of these are well-dosed. Generally, it’s recommended that you take 1.6 grams of beta alanine and 500mg of tyrosine, so the fact that Stammpede has 5 grams of the former and 1.5 grams of the latter, in addition to the large caffeine hit, suggests that it’s a very effective supplement.

However, it’s pretty low in citrulline malate: there’s just 1 gram of the stuff, and studies suggest you need a good 5 or 6 grams to have an acute effect on a workout.

Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Price

You can pick up 30 servings for $50, so it’s $1.66 per serving. That’s pretty expensive, since most pre-workouts are between 80 cents and $1 per serving. Then again, there aren’t many pre-workouts that are all-natural and have such effective doses of beta alanine and tyrosine.

Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Taste

The Lemon Lime flavor, which tastes like sweetened lemon tea. It’s a little bit earthy, but it’s not at all unpleasant or overwhelmingly bitter or sweet.

The Takeaway

For an all-natural supplement, Stammpede is pretty tasty and effective, with research-backed doses of researched-backed ingredients that are linked to power, focus, and endurance. It’s a little low in citrulline so I’m not that confident in its ability to increase blood flow, plus it’s pretty pricy. But if you’re after an all-natural pre-workout that will power, focus, and endurance, this is still one of the better options on the market.

The post Earth Fed Muscle Stammpede Pre Workout Review — All Natural, Still Effective? appeared first on BarBend.

More Research Suggests That Active Kids Perform Better Academically

Oleg Chen (-69kg) Block Snatches 4 Kilograms Over the World Record

Bowflex PR3000 VS. Bowflex Blaze

Nike Officially Announces Metcon 4 Details and Release Date (Pics Included)

Rack Pulls – Muscles Worked, Exercise Demo, and Carryover to the Deadlift

Monday, December 11, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Bear Grips Functional Fitness & Apparel Package

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and Bear Grips are teaming up to give one lucky winner a Functional Fitness & Apparel Package!

Work out in style and protect your hands and joints with this functional fitness package from Bear Grips! Featuring Cross Fitness Grips, Wrist Wraps, Knee Sleeves, Shin Sleeves, and a Bear Grips T-Shirt, this is one giveaway sure to keep you outfitted for many WODs to come.

[Looking to up your grip game? Check out our article on 9 time-tested grip exercises!]

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Bear Grips: Functional Fitness & Apparel Package

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Bear Grips Functional Fitness & Apparel Package appeared first on BarBend.

How Trying Too Hard is Killing Your Gains, Plus How to Fix It

Ben Rice Makes an 800-Pound Beltless Deadlift PR for Charity

Quiana Welch (75kg) Hits 108kg Snatch and Breaks American Record

Kazakhstani News Outlet Reports Ilya Ilyin Can Return to Sport In Seven Months

5 Benefits of Half Squat

Ritual Essential for Women Review

Ritual is vitamin supplement company that created a women’s daily vitamin called Essential for Women. The product claims to take the confusion and unknown ingredients out of women’s daily vitamins and replace it with traceability, affordability, and simplicity.

 

We decided to take a closer look.

Ingredients

According to Ritual’s research, most women are lacking in nine specific nutrients, but they wanted to deliver those nutrients in a single pill. The resulting pill is a lineup of vitamins K2, D3, B12, and E, plus boron, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3.

On the website, Ritual provides where in the world each of the 9 ingredient is from, an explanation of ‘why’ the ingredient is essential, and the research that explains why each ingredient is in the form it’s in.

Vitamin D3 2000 IU  

Ritual uses Vitashine™, the world’s only Certified vegan D3 ingredient made from UK-sourced lichen, different than sheep’s wool or fish liver oil – which means that Ritual can be taken by vegans, too. Plus, Vitamin D3 has been shown to help with bone health, immune strength, cognition, and calcium absorption.

Vitamin E 10 IU  

Sourced from Argentina, Ritual claims their Vitamin E is delivered to the body in the same form found in antioxidant foods. 

Vitamin K2 MK7 90 mcg


K2 is known for contributing to healthy skin, bone health, and heart health, and Ritual says they use a pure, non-soy, Norway-originating form of it.

Folate 600 mcg  

The brand’s research suggests close to 40% of women’s bodies are not efficient at absorbing the synthetic folate, folic acid, so instead Ritual uses it’s natural form from Italy, which is supposed to make it easier for our bodies to unlock its supposed health benefits of folate like better mood, DYN synthesis, and brain health.

Vitamin B12 8 mcg


Ritual’s B12 comes in the form of methylcobalamin.

Iron 8 mg


Ritual employs an American form of the mineral that they say has been shown to be more easily digested. Which means you you’ll get some of the benefits of iron like increased energy, better brain function, and healthy red blood cells, without the gas.

Magnesium 50 mg  

When it’s comes to vitamins and minerals, magnesium is the ultimate overachiever. To name some of it’s benefits: curbed anxiety, stronger immune system, and healthier heart and bones. Ritual delivers magnesium in a form that protects it from interacting with other, more oily vitamins, which means better absorption.

Boron 1 mg  

Naturally found in prunes, almonds, and raisins. But instead of prune juice, Ritual says they’ve included a food-form of boron in the pill that is preferred by the body (and less harsh on the stomach) for bone, heart, and joint health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids DHA & EPA 320 mg

You already try to seek out healthy fatty acids in your food (cue: avocado toast and salmon sushi)—but according to Ritual’s research, more than 70 percent of women don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet. So Ritual went vegan by sourcing omega-3s from American algal oil rather than fish.

[Find the best price on Ritual Essential from the manufacturer here.]

What’s Missing?

Vitamin-enthusiasts may be surprised to find that a few of the go-to multi vitamins like calcium and Vitamin C are missing from the ingredient list. That’s because Ritual’s research team says most women get enough Vitamin C from our daily diets. And instead of calcium, the capsules have vitamin D3, K2, boron, which supposedly work together to change how our bodies utilize calcium in and from the foods we eat.

Rituals Benefits and Effectiveness

Before Ritual, my health and wellness routine was completely void of vitamin supplements. 

When I unscrewed the cap the first time, I immediately noticed that the vitamin doesn’t smell the way I expect a vitamin containing omega-3 to smell: like fish. Instead, the the vitamins smell and taste like mint. Each bottle contains a food-grade insert infused with pure peppermint to keep your vitamins smelling minty fresh. That means that even though one of our heart-helping ingredients (algal oil) has an oceanic aroma, the vitamins don’t smell like seaweed.  

The minty taste and smell means I can (and did) take my two Ritual pulls after I brush my teeth without worrying about a funky after-taste.

What stands out to me the most about Ritual is that I never got a stomach ache from the pill, and that’s saying something because my stomach has reacted poorly to supplements containing iron in the past. Ritual uses a vegan, delayed-release capsule that helps bypasses the stomach to prevent nausea.

But Ritual is a daily multivitamin, not pre-workout or a cup of coffee, so neither immediately after taking nor after a month, do I feel any different. According to the website, while some people will feel a difference within 1-2 weeks, many, like me, don’t notice anything at all. But while I don’t feel better-than-ever, I certainly don’t feel worse.

The biggest drawback about the vitamin is that it’s a pill. While the pill is size-0 (or about the size of a chiclet of gum), that’s not negligible, and you have to take two, so if you have a hard time swallowing pills, these probably aren’t for you.

Ritual Price

Ritual follows a pricing plan millennials are used to, and is currently offered only on a subscription basis. For $30 a month (one dollar a day), you’ll receive a monthly shipment of the product delivered right to your door. However, Ritual is surprising easy to cancel if you move or simply aren’t feeling it.

And if you aren’t happy after your first bottle, Ritual picks up the tab. They have a happiness guarantee, so they’ll refund your first bottle no questions asked.

The Takeaway

I enjoyed Ritual Essential. It has nine ingredients research shows women are lacking, some pretty solid potential benefits, and only costs $1 a day. Plus, it has a minty taste and didn’t upset my stomach.

If you have a tendency to forget to cancel a subscription services, have a hard time swallowing pills, or want to see immediate benefits, this may not be the vitamin for you.

But otherwise, I see few drawbacks and some potential upside in incorporating this vitamin into your wellness routine.

The post Ritual Essential for Women Review appeared first on BarBend.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Caffeine and Kilos Coffee and Apparel Package

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and Caffeine and Kilos are teaming up to give one lucky winner a C&K Coffee and Apparel Package!

Great coffee? Check. Hot threads? Double Check. One lucky winner will receive a gift bag of Caffeine and Kilos coffee PLUS a selection of gear from one of the hottest fitness and weightlifting brands around.

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Caffeine and Kilos Coffee and Apparel Package

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Caffeine and Kilos Coffee and Apparel Package appeared first on BarBend.

Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Pre-Workout Review — BCAAs + Caffeine

Nutrex Research is a Florida-based supplement company that sells a ton of products that include fat burners, testosterone boosters, and non-steroidal anabolic agents. (Not surprisingly, they sponsor a lot of physique competitors.)

OUTLIFT is part of their Clinical Edge line, and it’s unusual in that it contains a dose of branched chain amino acids and it has 350 milligrams of caffeine — which is the highest dose you’re ever likely to find. What else is in it? Let’s take a closer look.

Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Pre-Workout Nutrition & Ingredients

There’s no calorie information, but in one scoop you’ll find 350 milligrams of caffeine and the following ingredients, the effects of which I’ll discuss in the next section.

Citrulline malate (8g)
Beta-alanine (3.2g)
Creatine monohydrate (3g)
Taurine (2g)
Branched chain amino acids (That’s 6 grams of leucine, isoleucine, and valine in a 2:1:1 ratio)
Tyrosine (150mg)
BioPerine® a black pepper fruit extract (5mg)

There’s also 135 milligrams of sodium, about 6 percent of the RDI. The other ingredients are mostly your standard natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners, but there are no artificial colors, if that’s important to you.

Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Benefits & Effectiveness

There’s a lot to like, here. There are few pre-workouts that contain branched chain amino acids, but there’s evidence they can help with focus, endurance, and muscle retention, particularly when you’re working out on an empty stomach.

There’s a ton of caffeine here as well, 350 milligrams. That’s as much as you’ll find in 3.5 cups of coffee, and after reviewing dozens of pre-workouts, I can say you’ll rarely ever find more than 350 milligrams in a serving.

As for the rest of the ingredients, they’re variously linked with endurance (beta alanine), focus (tyrosine and taurine), power (caffeine and creatine), and blood flow (citrulline, which is also associated with power). The pepper extract, meanwhile, helps to improve the absorption of all these ingredients.

There’s no nonsense in OUTLIFT, no weird plant extracts with barely any scientific evidence supporting them. Every ingredient is thoroughly researched and has a pretty significant amount of data supporting not just their inclusion, but their dosage.

The dosing is a really important aspect, because many pre-workouts seem to assume you’ll see the name of the ingredient but not check if it’s an effective dose. But it’s super high in almost of these ingredients and in some cases, like the beta alanine and the taurine, there’s twice the recommended dosage.

(The exception is tyrosine — there’s 150mg here, but for an acute effect for a workout you probably want at least 500mg. But there’s still 2 grams of taurine to help with focus.)

The high doses are welcome to me, with two caveats: it’s very high in caffeine, so folks who are sensitive to its effects probably won’t love that; and beta alanine does tend to produce a tingling sensation on the skin, which some people find unpleasant. It’s harmless and a lot of people enjoy this feeling, but if you don’t then you really won’t like the extra high dose of beta alanine in OUTLIFT.

Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Price

Servings are very large — 24.8 grams — so a standard tub of 248 grams contains just 10 servings at a cost of $26. That means one serving is $2.60, which is very expensive. Most pre-workouts cost between 80 cents and a dollar per scoop.

Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Taste

It comes in Blackberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, Miami Vice, Wild Cherry Citrus, but we tried the standard Fruit Punch flavor.

Usually, “Fruit Punch” just tastes like cherry candy. This is one of the few Fruit Punch flavors that doesn’t: it actually tastes like a combination of different tropical fruits, sort of like tutti frutti. I’d say it tastes like pineapple, mango, and bubble gum.

The Takeaway

I really liked OUTLIFT. The ingredients are effective, well-researched, and well-dosed, and it has some BCAAs to help take you to the finish line. It’s expensive, it might be too high in caffeine for some folks, and it’s a little low in tyrosine, but if you’re OK with all that, this is one of the best pre-workouts out there.

The post Nutrex Research OUTLIFT Pre-Workout Review — BCAAs + Caffeine appeared first on BarBend.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: Reebok Nanos and Fitness Apparel!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend Reebok are teaming up to give one lucky winner a pair of Reebok Nanos and a goodie bag of functional fitness apparel!

Reebok revolutionized the functional fitness world with their Reebok CrossFit Nano, and now one lucky winner is going to win a pair PLUS a selection of other great Reebok fitness apparel!

[Looking for a new lifting shoe? Find out if the Reebok Legacy Lifter is right for you!]

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Reebok Nanos & Fitness Apparel

The post 25 Days of Gifting: Reebok Nanos and Fitness Apparel! appeared first on BarBend.

Is There a Perfect Pre and Post-Workout Meal?

StrongGirl Pre-Workout Review — Does Green Tea Help Weight Loss?

In 2015, Iovate Health Sciences — the same company behind MuscleTech — launched StrongGirl, a female-focused brand with four products: a whey protein, branched chain amino acids, a fat burner, and a pre-workout.

The pre-workout comes in Cosmopolitan Fruit Punch and Strawberry Mojito flavors and it contains a wide variety of ingredients, including one we’ve never seen in any pre-workout. Let’s take a closer look.

StrongGirl Pre-Workout Nutrition & Ingredients

One scoop has 20 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates, plus 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6 and 33 percent of your B12.

The rest of the ingredients fall into a “Pre-Workout Energy + Focus Blend.” It’s a proprietary blend, so we don’t know how much of each ingredient it contains. They’re as follows:

Beta alanine
Taurine
Green tea extract
L-carnitine L-tartrate
Caffeine (125 milligrams, about what you’ll find in 1.5 cups of coffee)
Quercetin
Choline bitartrate
Japanese raisin tree extract
Rhodiola extract
Theanine

The remaining ingredients are mostly a series of natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners, a blend of gums (which are thickeners and stabilizers), and some natural coloring from red beet powder. Note that it contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

StrongGirl Pre-Workout Benefits and Effectiveness

We can group most of the ingredients into a few different categories, here.

Energy: The caffeine, of course, is a major player here, but there’s also some evidence that l-carnitine l-tartrate can help with energy and focus.

Focus: The taurine and theanine are both used to improve focus and reduce the jitters that can accompany a big caffeine hit. The rhodiola, made from a Scandinavian flowering plant, is also a way to reduce fatigue and improve focus without technically being a stimulant.

Endurance: The beta alanine is very strongly linked with endurance, and the choline bitartrate might increase anaerobic endurance, or shorter bursts of high intensity exercise.

Antioxidants: The green tea extract and the quercetin, a bioflavinoid found in high amounts in apples and lemons, are both really high in antioxidants. This means they may reduce the cellular damage associated with exercise. There are also some studies that suggest green tea extract may improve sprinting speed and that quercetin could improve VO2 max when combined with caffeine.

Green tea extract is also sometimes considered a weight loss supplement, as it may increase thermogenesis. If it does have an effect, it’s probably going to be mild — 100 calories or so over a day — but the evidence is somewhat reliable.

Hangovers? The Japanese raisin tree extract seemed like an unusual inclusion. It’s generally not known for use in improving workout performance. Rather, it’s used to treat (i.e. reduce) drunkenness and help “cure” hangovers. Studies suggest it may reduce alcohol-related liver damage and helps you metabolize alcohol faster, and a 2017 study found that people taking Japanese raisin tree extract experienced less headache, dizziness, and nausea during their hangover than a control group. So maybe this is a pre-workout that could make it easier to get to the gym if you had one too many last night.

But to be fair, that 2017 study used about 2.5 grams of Japanese raisin tree extract, and there’s probably a lot less than that in StrongGirl Pre-Workout — it’s one ingredient in a 3-gram blend of ten ingredients.

And that’s my main issue with this product: we don’t know how much of any of these ingredients it contains, so we don’t know whether or not it has an effective dose. And the dosage is just as important as the ingredient itself.

For effective doses, studies suggest you probably need 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of taurine, and 500 milligrams of l-carnitine l-tartrate. That puts us over the 3.05 grams in the Pre-Workout Energy + Focus Blend, and we haven’t even taken the 7 other ingredients into account.

But these dosages may not apply for lighter athletes, so it’s actually kind of cool that StrongGirl might be making their product more accessible for smaller women or people who are more sensitive to these effects. The tub actually suggests trying just one scoop at first, and then moving up to two scoops if you don’t feel much of an impact.

StrongGirl Pre-Workout Price

You can pick up 30 servings for $19, or 63 cents per serving. That’s pretty cheap; most pre-workouts are somewhere between 80 cents and $1 per serving. But remember that one scoop is probably only going to be effective for lighter athletes. Others may need to double up.

StrongGirl Pre-Workout Taste

The Cosmopolitan Fruit Punch flavor tasted less like a Cosmo and more like Fruit Punch, which is to say the flavor was mostly cherry with a slightly vanilla aftertaste that was reminiscent of bubble gum.

The Takeaway

This is a pretty cheap pre-workout with a good hit of caffeine and it has a wide range of ingredients linked to energy, focus, and endurance. We don’t know the dosages of any of the ingredients, so we don’t really know how effective this product is, but I’m pretty confident that two scoops will be enough for most people.

The post StrongGirl Pre-Workout Review — Does Green Tea Help Weight Loss? appeared first on BarBend.

Could Jogging Actually Help You Get Stronger?

Friday, December 8, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: $150.00 Trifecta Meal Credit!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend Trifecta are teaming up to give one lucky winner $150 credit for Trifecta meals!

Find out why Trifecta is the athlete’s choice for healthy meals! One lucky winner will receive a $150 Trifecta meal credit, plenty to fuel training and recovery with delicious meals all week!

[Learn more about Trifecta’s food and delivery in our full review of their meals! And all BarBend readers can get amazing deals on Trifecta meals and food here!]

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

Trifecta Nutrition ($150.00 Trifecta Meal Credit)

The post 25 Days of Gifting: $150.00 Trifecta Meal Credit! appeared first on BarBend.

Bowflex PR1000 Vs. Bowflex Blaze

PUMPSURGE Review — A No-Caffeine Pre-Workout?

PUMPSURGE is one of the many pre-workouts on offer from Jacked Factory, a company based in Newfoundland in Canada, and the tub claims that it will provide “laser focus, muscle growth, powerful pumps, (and) endless endurance.”

What’s interesting is that despite those promises there’s no caffeine or stimulants anywhere to be found in the product. So what does it offer?

PUMPSURGE Nutrition & Ingredients

There’s no calorie information, but one tub provides citrulline (4g), betaine anhydrous (2.5g), glycerol powder (1.25g), rhodiola rosea (200mg), alpha GPC (100mg), black pepper fruit extract (5mg) and Huperzine A, made from toothed clubmoss aerial parts extract (50mcg). I’ll discuss all their effects in the next section.

The other ingredients are just an array of natural and artificial flavors, sweeteners, and anti-caking agents. Note that it contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which some people try to avoid. On the plus side, it’s naturally colored with fruit and vegetable juice.

PUMPSURGE Benefits & Effectiveness

There are quite a few ingredients that are linked to power output here, specifically the betaine anhydrous, alpha GPC, and to a lesser extent the citrulline — the latter is usually used for improving blood flow, but there’s some evidence that it can also affect power.

I really liked the rhodiola rosea. It’s a Scandinavian plant that has a pretty strong link with improved focus and reduced fatigue. (It’s also a main ingredient in Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout.)

There’s not so much evidence behind the toothed clubmoss, a plant that’s often used for its purported effect on focus. There haven’t been a lot of human studies.

The glycerol has a link with endurance and it might improve hydration, and finally, the black pepper extract helps everything else to absorb better.

The main issue I had with this product is that a couple of the dosages aren’t very well supported by evidence. There’s 100mg of Alpha GPC (the few studies that have shown an effect on power used over 500mg) and the citrulline is pretty low as well, with studies suggesting you need about 50 percent more per dose to have an acute effect on a workout.

The other ingredients seem to be dosed pretty effectively, except for the toothed clubmoss, of which there’s little consensus on what would constitute an effective dose.

PUMPSURGE Price

You can pick up 20 servings for $25, or $1.25 per serving. That’s somewhat pricy; most pre-workouts cost between 80 cents and $1 per serving.

PUMPSURGE Taste

I picked up the Cherry Limeade flavor, which was tasty, though a lot heavier on the cherry than the lime. The aftertaste had a slightly bubblegum-like flavor, but overall I’d say it was like cherry-flavored candy.

The Takeaway

As far as caffeine-free pre-workouts go, there are more potent options on the market but there aren’t many that are this cheap, so I’d feel comfortable recommending it as a way to boost your workout without taking stimulants. Given the solid doses of betaine, rhodiola, glycerol, and black pepper, it’s a decent choice for athletes who want to reduce their caffeine intake.

The post PUMPSURGE Review — A No-Caffeine Pre-Workout? appeared first on BarBend.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Review

Six Star Pro Nutrition is a supplement company owned by Iovate Health Sciences, the same company behind MuscleTech and StrongGirl, and the brand is targeted a little less toward bodybuilders and more toward pro athletes like baseball, basketball, and football players.

They sell a remarkable four different pre-workouts, and we decided to try out the Fruit Punch flavor of Pre-Workout Explosion, a remarkably cheap, zero-calorie blend with a huge variety of ingredients.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Nutrition & Ingredients

These are the main ingredients:

Beta alanine (1.5g)
Creatine (1.5g)
L-arginine AKG (1.1g)
Pre-Workout Explosion Blend (535mg) that contains Vitamin C, 135mg of caffeine (about the amount found in a large cup of coffee), choline bitartrate, niacin, and tyrosine.
Advanced Pump Complex (500mg) taurine, citrulline, citrulline malate, and arginine HCI.

In addition to these there are some natural and artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and anti-caking agents. Note that it has sucralose and acesulfame potassium, artificial sweeteners that some folks like to avoid.

So what do all these ingredients do?

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Benefits & Effectiveness

The beta alanine has a solid link with endurance and the creatine with power output.  The arginine helps the liver break down byproducts of exercise, like ammonia, so it might help you exercise for longer. Both are dosed pretty effectively.

Pre-Workout Explosion contains two proprietary blends, the Pre-Workout Explosion Blend and Advanced Pump Complex. This means we don’t really know how much of each ingredient it contains. The Vitamin C is in antioxidant, so it may reduce the cellular damage associated with exercise. The choline bitartrate could help with anaerobic power output while the tyrosine may improve focus.

It seems likely that this product may be a little low in one or more of these ingredients, since studies suggest you probably want a good 500 milligrams of tyrosine to have a pronounced effect. There’s 535 milligrams in the whole Pre-Workout Explosion Blend, and 135mg is caffeine.

As for the Advanced Pump Complex, the taurine helps with focus and the citrulline may help with blood flow. The whole blend is 500mg, but studies suggest an ideal dose is a good 1 gram of taurine and 6 grams of citrulline.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Price

Prices change quite a bit, but right now you can pick up 33 servings for $15, which makes 45 cents a serving. That’s very cheap; most pre-workouts are between 80 cents and a dollar per serving. That said, if you look on the front of the tub, it advertises the amount of beta alanine, creatine, and arginine found in two scoops, so it seems to be suggesting that some users should double up.

Even if they do, it’s still pretty reasonably priced.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Taste

The Fruit Punch flavor was pretty consistent with other Fruit Punch flavors on the market: cherry candy with a hint of bubblegum. If you like cherry, you’ll like this, just don’t expect a burst of tropical flavor: it’s cherry.

The Takeaway

Six Star’s Pre-Workout Explosion has effective doses of beta alanine, caffeine, and creatine, so it works as an inexpensive supplement for endurance, energy, and power — which is all most people are after.

I’m not so sold on its usefulness as a supplement for focus since it may be low in taurine and tyrosine, even if you take two scoops. I don’t think it’s great for blood flow either, since it’s very low in citrulline.

But it’s one of the cheapest energy, endurance, and power supplements you’ll find.

The post Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Review appeared first on BarBend.

Reebok Is Coming Out With a Wood Heel Legacy Lifter

Half Squat vs Full Squat – Which Should You Be Doing?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

25 Days of Gifting: SBD Strength Package!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and SBD USA are teaming up to give one lucky winner an SBD Strength Package!

[Read our review of SBD’s famous knee sleeves here! And check out why we think they’re among the best on the market in our full knee sleeves roundup and rankings!]

SBD is a worldwide leader in supportive strength equipment, and now, one lucky winner will receive and SBD starter kit with wrist wraps, elbow sleeves, and their legendary IPF-approved knee sleeves. Protect your joints and go heavy with confidence!

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

SBD Strength Package

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MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Review — What’s Nitrosigine®?

Operated by Iovate Health Sciences in Delaware, MuscleTech is a pretty big name in the supplement business and they sell a ton of different products that are arranged under different product lines. They have the Performance Series, Lab Series, Essential Series, and Pro Series, all with their own products and focus. (They also have the female-focused FitMiss series.)

We’ve tried their whey protein power and one of their branched chain amino acid products, but today we’re looking at one of their pre-workouts in the Performance Series: Vapor X5 Next Gen. It’s part of the Performance Series, which MuscleTech says is for people who are “serious about performance and results.”

What makes it special?

 MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Nutrition & Ingredients

There are a lot of ingredients here and they’re mostly divided into five categories. I’ll discuss their benefits and effects in the next section.

Explosive Energy Matrix has the caffeine — 190mg, about as much as you’ll find in two small cups of coffee — and 100mg of choline bitartrate.

Musclebuilding Matrix has creatine (1.5g) and betaine anhydrous (1.25g).

Performance & Endurance Compound has beta alanine (1.6g) and taurine (500mg).

Pump Matrix contains hawthorn berry extract (200mg) and 750mg of arginine inositol silicate, also called Nitrosigine®.

Finally, there’s the Neurosensory Blend of theanine (62.5mg), galangal extract (25mg) and yohimbe extract (20mg). The yohimbe extract is 6 percent yohimbine, so you’re getting 1.2 milligrams per scoop.

The other ingredients are mostly a little niacin (15mg, 75 percent of the daily intake) and some natural and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. Note that it contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium, artificial sweeteners that some folks like to avoid, and several kinds of gum: carrageenan, xanthan, and cellulose.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Benefits & Effectiveness

There are a lot of ingredients here, so let’s start with the good.

There’s a solid amount of caffeine, and what’s nice is that this product also includes taurine and theanine, two ingredients that are known to help reduce the jitteriness and lack of focus that can accompany a big caffeine hit.

The Musclebuilding Matrix is also solid: it has research-backed doses of creatine and betaine anhydrous, both supplements that could add a significant boost to your power output. The beta alanine, meanwhile, has a strong link with endurance.

The hawthorn berry is known for its antioxidants, so it may reduce oxidative damage and improve blood flow. But there have been no human studies on this effect, so we don’t know what constitutes an effective dose — if indeed there is an effective dose.

I’m also not quite sure why galangal was included. It’s usually used to flavor dishes from Southeast Asia and when used medicinally, it’s typically for stomach pain or combating inflammation. It also has a lot of antioxidants, but MuscleTech says they included it for its “unique sensory effects” and didn’t provide more information than that.

Choline bitartrate may improve time to fatigue, but the 100mg dose here seems on the low side, since many studies use doses of 600 milligrams or more.

The arginine inositol (or Nitrosigine) has a pretty strong link with energy and stamina, but research suggests a better dose would be the 1.5 grams you get in two scoops of Vapor X5, not the amount found in one scoop. The same goes for the stimulant yohimbine: for a buzz that may improve focus, you probably want 2.5 milligrams of the stuff. That’s the amount found in two scoops.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Price

You can pick up 30 servings for $21, so it’s 70 cents per serving. That’s pretty inexpensive; the average pre-workout costs somewhere between 80 cents and a dollar per scoop.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Taste

I tried the Blue Raspberry flavor, which tasted like raspberry candy. While the intense blue color suggested an intense blue flavor, I found that one scoop of Vapor X5 in 1.5 cups of water made for a pretty mild drink. This is good news for anyone who is interested in doubling up the serving size and using two scoops per drink, something the tub suggests as a viable option for those who want a stronger effect.

The Takeaway

There are enough ingredients in one scoop to say that this is a pretty effective and cheap supplement for energy, power, endurance, and focus. That’s because it has a good hit of caffeine, beta alanine, betaine, creatine, and theanine.

If you double the serving size, you’ll have a good amount of yohimbine and Nitrosigine, which will further boost focus and stamina. I found a couple of the ingredients unnecessary but for the price you’re paying, it’s an impressive product with a lot of effects.

The post MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Review — What’s Nitrosigine®? appeared first on BarBend.