As I approach the end of my third round of P90X, I want to take a moment and write briefly about the supplements I've been using.
Those of you who have been following my Round 3 Blog know that my intent this round was to gain weight and build muscle. It's been a unique experience, because it's really been the first time in my life where I've tried to gain weight (usually, it's been the other way around!).
I've also "tweaked" the Classic P90X program quite a bit in order to more efficiently reach my goals:
- I've implemented a lot of traditional weightlifting exercises in place of some of the P90X exercises; for example, during all the push-up exercises I move onto the bench and do flat, incline and decline dumbbell bench presses, lifting as heavy as I'm capable of.
- I've also focused on only one muscle group per day. So for example, during the Chest and Back dvd, rather than alternate between those two muscle groups with the people in the video, rather, I'll do the Back exercise with the group and then pick another Back-oriented exercise to do while the people in the video move onto a Chest exercise.
- I've kept the cardio to a minimum, usually only once per week, and I've limited it to shorter but more intense interval-type training, as opposed to longer, more drawn-out cardio sessions that could possibly risk burning muscle tissue.
- And finally, I've run a "positive calorie balance," meaning I've been eating more calories than I'm typically burning (by about 650 per day).
I started Round 3 at a weight of 178.5 pounds and at about 10.5 percent body fat. My goal was to reach 190.5 pounds at or under 12 percent body fat. If successful, that would mean a 12-pound gain in weight, with 8 pounds of it being muscle, in 90 days (not bad!). This morning, Day 77, I weighed 191.5 pounds and I feel pretty good about my body fat (I'm confident that it's close to my target limit – we'll see!). If I'm correct, that would mean I've gained approximately 8.5 - 9.0 pounds of muscle in 76 days!
So, without further adieu, here's what I've been using to help me gain muscle mass and add quality weight:
Shakeology by Beachbody
Shakeology has become the staple of my diet. The 70+ vitamins, minerals and nutrients it contains has allowed me to drop my daily multi-vits. I mix "stuff" (banana, peanut butter, whey protein, soy milk) into mine and by the time I'm done it's typically near 600 calories and 55+ grams of protein – a muscle builder indeed! I usually have my Shakeology as a "bridge" between breakfast and lunch.
Prime by USP Labs
Prime is a testosterone booster (T-booster) designed to help me lift heavier weights and develop denser muscle. I take (2) Prime, six days per week, with meals.
Pink Magic by USP Labs
Pink Magic is another testosterone booster of sorts that can be taken as a "stand alone" supplement or "stacked" with Prime. I'm "stacking" and it's pretty powerful stuff. I take (2) Pink Magic, six days per week, with Prime. I also take (2) additional pills thirty minutes before my workout.
NO Bomb by MHP
NO Bomb is a "vascularity enhancer" that I take thirty minutes prior to my workout. This means that this supplement basically increases blood flow (and accordingly, oxygen delivery) to my muscles during exercise. I noticed a big difference in the quality of my workouts and my muscle pumps when I started using NO Bomb.
Monster Pump by Cytosport
Monster Pump is a powder than I mix with lemonade and take fifteen minutes prior to my workout. Its' concept is similar to NO Bomb, but it also has caffeine and other ingredients that give more energy, endurance and focus during my workouts. I really feel as though this has contributed to better quality workouts as well.
P90X Results and Recovery Formula by Beachbody or Dark Matter by MHP
I alternate these two post-workout "recovery" drinks every four weeks, to keep my body from acclimating to one or the other. They are both quality products and great recovery drinks. Recovery drinks are so important, because they provide the glycogen and insulin that depleted muscles need to repair and recover after intense exercise. Recovery drinks also work towards sort-of "flushing" lactic acid out of muscles, thereby greatly reducing muscle soreness. For performance, I'd give the nod to Dark Matter, for taste, it goes to the P90X R&R by a mile.
Elite 12 Casein Protein
Unlike whey, which your body absorbs and processes quickly, casein is broken down slowly and "feeds" your body over an extended period of time. When people sleep, it's generally the longest period they go without eating and therefore their bodies start to creep from an anabolic state (muscle-building) to being in a catabolic state (where your muscles are "eaten" for energy and sustainment). Ingesting casein protein doesn't allow this catabolic state to occur.
Well, there you have it. I'm excited to see where this round ends and what the final numbers are. If I don't quite reach my goals, believe me, it's won't be from a lack of effort!
People always question not only the price, but the effectiveness of supplements. I'm here to tell you first hand that they played a crucial part in my losing 49.0 pounds and 23.2 percent body fat in my first two rounds of P90X, and now they're playing an equally crucial role in my gaining 13.0 pounds so far here in Round 3.
"Bring It" people!