Dr. Dwayne Jackson
Ingested daily by 90% of North Americans, caffeine is regarded as our nation’s most “widely enjoyed” psychoactive substance. It is is an ingredient in numerous over the counter medications and exists in coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, energy drinks, medications and many fitness supplements. In the past decade there has been an explosion in the number of scientific studies investigating the ergogenic potential of caffeine, which has exposed its numerous benefits ranging from increased focus and fat burning to increased strength and muscular gains.
Caffeine is most commonly plugged as a central nervous system stimulant, but it’s also highly involved in increasing fat mobilization from fat cells into the bloodstream. Caffeine’s stimulant properties have been shown to increase muscle strength and training intensity when taken preworkout. As well, studies have confirmed that preworkout caffeine supplementation reduces muscular soreness by greater than 50%. It has been shown that preworkout caffeine doses of 3mg/kg or more produce the greatest strength benefits.
A recent blinded and placebo controlled study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research adds to the support for caffeine as a safe and effective preworkout supplement. In this research, scientists from The University of Edinburg aimed to establish whether the effect of caffeine supplementation on maximal strength is different in upper versus lower body muscles. The subjects consisted of 16 resistance-trained men who took either caffeine (6 mg/kg) or a placebo 30 minutes prior to testing and then completed a number of upper and lower body strength measures. The authors reported that preworkout caffeine supplementation produced up to a ~9% increase in maximal upper body strength and ~14% increase in maximal lower body strength (measured as isokinetic peak torque)— which is pretty substantial considering the just took a pill!
To get all the workout benefits from caffeine supplementation, we suggest taking 200-400 mg of caffeine anhydrous, 30-60 minutes before training.
Protein powders are the most widely used supplements in the fitness industry. After all, the amino acids in protein supplements provide the building blocks for muscle growth and act as important cellular messengers for anabolism. Generally, protein powders are marketed to bodybuilders and power athletes (and with good reason), however a recent comprehensive and systematic Meta analysis published in Sports Medicine suggests that protein supplements are valuable for all types of athletes who train with high intensity, progressive resistance, and high volume. In their article, researchers from the Military Nutrition Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), Natick, suggest that protein supplementation will promote greater gains in lean mass and muscle strength for both trained and untrained individuals as well as enhance gains in aerobic and anaerobic power.
Regardless of your goals, we suggest using a high quality protein blend to promote increases in muscle performance and recovery. Take in at least 3 (25-50 gram) servings spread throughout the day. On training days, be sure to take one shake 30 minutes preworkout and another immediately postworkout.
Get it TONG
In the workout world, it is common knowledge that getting big and strong requires adequate testosterone levels. Not only does testosterone promote muscle growth and recovery, but also it is an important for promoting high energy levels and sex drive. Unfortunately, for us guys out there, testosterone levels start to decline as we age. In fact, you can count on your testosterone levels dropping at as early as 30 years old, leading to what doctors call adropause. But wait…there is help!
Tongkat Ali (otherwise known as Eurycoma longifolia or Longjack) is an herb that has evidence supporting it as a testosterone-boosting supplement. Its benefits come from its high concentration of steroidal saponins that increase the release of luteinizing hormone (which signals testes for greater testosterone production).
Recent research has shown that males can benefit from taking a standardized extract of Tongkat Ali to boost testosterone. In the study, a bunch of guys with declining testosterone levels were given 200 mg of standardized Tongkat Ali extract for 1 month. The Aging Males Symptoms (AMS) questionnaire (a clinical assessment of andropause) and blood serum testosterone concentration were tested before and immediately after one month of supplementation. The researchers reported that supplementation boosted serum testosterone levels by about 48% and consequently reduced subject’s AMS scores!
So, if you are getting on in your years and feeling sluggish in the gym and the bedroom, get some high quality standardized extract of Tongkat Ali and take 200mg per day—your wife will thank you.