A few months back I reviewed some muscle-building supplements and then I discussed how one particular supplement can’t possibly have enough active ingredients to provide everything it boasts on the label.

Since then I’ve ordered some of the ingredients separately and have been toying with using them around workouts. I bought creatine monohydrate, arginine alpha ketoglutarate, branched chain amino acids, caffeine anhydrous powder and some flavoring agents. By flavoring agents I mean packets of Propel fitness water mix and sugar-free Hawaiian Punch mix, both at the Dollar Store.

If you remember, the active ingredients in Jack3d that actually matter are caffeine, AAKG, beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate. There are some others on the label but I couldn’t find any real information on them so I don’t think it’s worth the time to discuss them. As you can tell, I swapped out beta-alanine for BCAAs in my mixture.

My mix includes variants of the following:

5 grams creatine monohydrate

6.4 grams AAKG

150-200 milligrams caffeine

5 – 10 grams BCAA

What I’ve found:

Putting all of that in one shake will most likely cause some GI upset, especially if you drink it fast.

I found it’s better to drink BCAA an hour before and then maybe after the workout for GI considerations, while keep the rest in the pre/during-workout shake. You could do this with the creatine too, as I think the exact timing has little or no effect.

BCAAs taste like ass, so make sure you cover them with some decent flavoring. They also don’t mix well, at least the brand I have.

The extra “pump” from AAKG is pretty fun, especially in upper body workouts. Even the literature speaks to the fact that this pump isn’t there on lower body workouts, for whatever reason. There’s little evidence that AAKG will make you stronger or faster, but the mental fun it provides is worth it, I think.

Call it confirmation bias, but I’ve pretty much confirmed my suspicions: caffeine and AAKG are the ingredients that make you feel something – the difference between supplemented and non-supplemented. People assume this means they’re better-off in the performance realm and this might not be true, or at least not to a significant degree. Creatine and BCAAs have some pretty good evidence behind their efficacy, but won’t give you a noticeable effect right after supplementation – there’s no “rush.”

I’ve also toyed with taking certain mixtures before and during sporting events, specifically dodgeball. I’ve used it before single games and throughout long days in tournaments for which I added sugar. I’ll keep toying to see if I can come up with a game-time formula that makes sense.

Really, I’m just keeping myself entertained. If you’re following along, all the better.

A Follow-up to A Follow-up
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