Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's in your Supplement?

I recently went to GNC to get a small Blender Bottle for my mom for mother's day. (Which, if you haven't heard of these things, they're freaking amazing. Get one! They work for all kinds of stuff!) I can find the large/regular sized ones everywhere, but I have only found the mini ones at a few stores in my area. Anyway, She really likes Spark, and I wanted to get her something easier to mix it in then just a glass with a spoon. The mini size blender bottles work perfectly.

Anyway, the very nice guys at the store asked us what we wanted our blender bottle for and my mom said "Spark! I really love it!" Well, of course since Spark is through AdvoCare and not commercially available, they gave of some samples of things that they thought we would like better that we could buy at their store. Of course.

I got them home and put the samples in the pantry thinking I may get around to trying them eventually.

I work out at a CrossFit gym, I'm studying to be a personal trainer, and I do try to eat pretty clean. I will be the first to admit I don't eat anywhere near as much as I should, but at least I don't eat junk. Yesterday was a particularly challenging work out for me. I absolutely hate trying to get through a work out and lagging behind because my body just decides its physically done. I feel slow, I can't make myself keep going. Its AWFUL. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so to me it feels like failure, which is very difficult for me to deal with.

So, feeling incredibly tired, exhausted, pissed off, and miserable after my work out yesterday I decided maybe it was time to bust out some of those "EXPLOSIVE PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT" samples. I had three different ones to choose from, so I looked them over. Then I got to REALLY looking them over and looking at the labels. That stopped me dead in my tracks. Has anyone seen the warnings on these things???

This one didn't scan so well, so it's hard to see. But basically most of these warnings are close to the same across the board. Don't use if you're under 18, don't use if you have a huge list of health conditions, don't use for more than 8 weeks, don't take any any other sources of caffeine or stimulants if you are taking these, discontinue use if you feel experience rapid heartbeat, dizziness, severe headache, shortness of breath, etc. If you're an athlete you need to consult the governing body of any  professional sports organizations because some of them have banned the substances in these supplements. 

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but that scares me a little bit. Why would I take something that could make me that sick or that has been banned by professional sports organizations, even on an amateur level? It probably works great... but is it worth it, dumping all that stuff into your body? Kinda turns me off.... 

No Thanks! I'll pass on the chemical cocktail. ¬.¬ Just for shits and giggles, lets take a look at what is in an AdvoCare Spark. (Which isn't necessarily designed to do the same thing, but since these are what the GNC guys gave me to try in lieu of Spark... why not compare?)

Hmm. If you're pregnant or nursing, check with a doctor (Which everything under the sun says that) and if you're sensitive to caffeine. 

As far as the caffeine, I've never drank a pop in my life, I don't drink coffee, I pretty much never consume caffeine. I have tea once in a blue moon, which is usually like 20mg of caffeine. I can drink these and be fine. If I eat too much dark chocolate (which is very high in caffeine) I get a massive debilitating migraine. By too much I mean something about the size of a Hershey bar. So I would say I probably qualify for caffeine sensitive. Other people who have similar issues have not had a problem with spark, or to be cautious they only drink half a Spark and are fine. Plus, AdvoCare products are all Informed Decision certified, which means there are absolutely NO BANNED SUBSTANCES in them.

If you work out and like to add a little zing to your routine or are looking to do so, I would caution you to please check the labels and consider carefully before you just start taking something, or check with your doctor of course.

I'm not a chemist or a pharmacist, so I don't know everything. But I know something with that kind of  a warning label definitely causes me to pause. Obviously every person is different and everyone has to find what works best for them. What do you find works for you or what, if anything, do you like to eat or use before a work out or cardio activity? 


  1. If your interested in energy and health read "The China Study."

  2. I use Body Fortress protein powder as my post-workout drink. I just checked the label and it gives the standard "pregnant or nursing" warning and adds that you shouldnt take it if you have kidney disease (because of the modest creatine content). I've been using it for several months and have noticed that I've added muscle and I dont have the same soreness I had after a tough workout that I'd get before.

    **I should say that I have no relation to body fortress (I dont even own stock). So you can know I dont get paid for this kind of product promotion.**

    As for my pre-work out...I like to polish off an apple before class since it is high in water content, low GI, and gives me long term energy.


  3. In my view there is no supplement to eating properly! The only thing I take (which I probably don't really need) is a multi-vitamin tablet and an omega-3 capsule each day. I don't like messing with my physiology to much - mainly for the reasons you've shown on those supplement packets!