Does Hydroxycut Hardcore Work?

Many bodybuilders have used Hydroxycut Hardcore as an alternative to ephedra based fat burning stacks. To find out if hydroxycut works you have to look at each individual compound and the research supporting it.

Hydroxycut Hardcore Ingredients:

Ingredients include Green tea extract, caffeine, Methyl 17 alpha-hydroxy-yohimban-16 alpha-carboxylate hydrochloride, Black Pepper Extract, white willow extract, among many other compounds.

You may be wondering what exactly Methyl 17 alpha-hydroxy-yohimban-16 alpha-carboxylate hydrochloride is, it's just a fancy name for one form of Yohimbe. Yohimbe is a well known stimulant herb. It was used pharmaceutically for treating means ED (erectile dysfunction). It turns out, it is also a very good fat burner. It works through the same metabolic pathway as ephedrine, to cause fat loss, just at a different way. It blocks the negative pathway insteading of directly stimulating the adrenaline receptors, like ephedra. Yohimbe doesn't seem to be as strong a fat burner ancedotally, and thats probably because because of it's indirect action. There is plenty of research studies showing the way yohimbe acts on the cells and people losing fat from it's use.

Caffeine in hydroxycut can play an important synergistic role with the Yohimbe in hydroxycut. Many bodybuilders used to stack Ephedrine and caffeine because caffeine has a special role in making ephedrine more potent. Caffeine and Yohimbe has the same effect and is often stacked together, to increase fat burning.

White willow extract is a source of aspirin. They can't use aspirin because that is regulated as a drug, so they have to use the bark where aspirin is derived. Aspirin is thought to help aid in fat loss, by increasing blood flow to areas deep in the fat. The problem about aspirin is it has been proven to stop protein synthesis. As a bodybuilder, you don't want to lose your hard earned muscle, while you lose fat. To me this addition is not good.

Green Tea extract is derived from Green tea and studies show it has a dramatic increase in raising metabolism more than 30%. Green tea also is good for regulating insulin levels and maintaining low glucose levels, which means it increases insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity increases the fat you lose and increases the amount of muscle you retain while cutting because of the nutrient partiotioning effect insulin sensitivity.

Black pepper can aid in fat loss and increase metabolism. This seems to be an effect from most pepper plants.

Conclusion

Hydroxycut Hardcore has a mix of compounds that have a lot of research backing them as raising metabolism or stimulating fat loss through fat loss metabolic pathways. I have a serious problem with them using the aspirin in the supplement. I would not recommend hydroxycut for bodybuilders because the aspirin will interfere with maintaining muscle and increase muscle loss. There are other good fat burning stacks that don't add it. Many bodybuilders often make their own homemade fat loss stacks out of Yohimbe, ephedrine, etc.

No2 (nitric oxide) Supplements Review

Nitric Oxide is one of the most popular muscle building supplements on the market now. Can it actually help muscle gains or is it hype? What I’m about to say may surprise you.

What are NO (nitric Oxide) supplements?

NO supplements are supposed to increase Nitric Oxide in the blood. NO Supplements contain arginine, with most in the form of Arginine-alpha-keto-glutarate. Nitric Oxide has hundreds of functions in the body, especially with blood flow, nerves, and cell communication. It acts as a vasodilator(increasing blood flow) in the body by relaxing the smooth muscles. Nitric Oxide (NO) is formed when the amino acid arginine, is broken down by an enzyme into citruline.

Why do bodybuilders take NO supplements?

To get better muscle pumps, increased strength and muscle gains, and for sexual health. It is thought that nitric oxide plays a crucial role in muscle building based on some indirect studies and theory.

NO supplement studies:

It sounds like NO supplementation is a important supplement, but there is no legitimate scientific studies showing NO supplements increased strength and muscle gains. Most of the NO advocates are using indirect reasoning to support the use of NO as a muscle builder. For example, they believe that since NO could help muscle gains because of the increased blood flow to the muscles. Other studies such as published in Am J Hypertens. 2007 Aug;20(8):825-30, showed an increase in NO production after resistance excercise. This has then led some to assume, that NO may then be involved in causing increased protein synthesis post-workout.

The problem with all these assumptions is that arginine doesn't seem to convert to Nitric Oxide at the recommended dosages. If you go through all the studies done on high doses of arginine, you will see no increase in vasodilation (increased blood flow). It increases vasodilation only at high doses when injected. The reason why we can't get to those levels orally, is because it is much higher than the level that causes stomach upset. So arginine will convert to nitric oxide, just not at the dosages someone could withstand orally, without getting really sick. I suppose someone could start injecting it, but NO supplements aren't THAT good to warrant it! No legitimate scientific study I could find has been able to show a difference, in either muscle gains or strength.

Final thoughts:

NO supplements seem to be nothing more than junk. The vasodilation effects some people "experience", seems to be nothing more than placebo effect. Therefore it's not going to be a Viagra alternative either, for those who seeked arginine for helping impotence. Many reputable experts, who aren't affiliated with supplement companies, also believe NO is a waste of money.

Tribulus Terrestris Review

Tribulus Terrestris extract is a herbal supplement that is claimed by supplement companies to boost testosterone, therefore helping to build muscle. It was first used as a chinese medicine for premature ejaculation.

Unfortunately, over the years multiple studies have debunked the idea of testosterone increases from Tribulus Terrestris supplementation. Bodybuilders that have taken it, usually report no boost in muscle building. Over the years, companies have tried to claim that there tribulus terrestris was superior or that it contained the right form of it in the right amounts.

I think one reason why their is a strong belief that Tribulus Terrestris increases testosterone, is because most notice an increase in libido and erections with Tribulus. Most had previously thought this was probably due to an increase in LH stimulating testosterone production, but a study showed the real cause. A rabbit study published in Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2000 Jan;29(1):22-6 showed that tribulus causes a release of nitric oxide in the body. Viagra works on nitrix oxide too. Nitrix oxide causes improved blood flow to the penis and the rest of the body by vasodilation. A study done on rats Life Sci. 2002 Aug 9;71(12):1385-96 showed increased mounting activity from it's use.

It appears that Tribulus Terrestris may be a good sexual health drug, but for building muscle it is unlikely to help.

Beta-Alanine Review

Beta-Alanine in recent years caught attention as a popular bodybuilding muscle building supplement, but the research supporting this supplement goes pretty far back. Beta-Alanine is one of the biggest supplement breakthroughs since Creatine. Coincidentally, Beta-Alanine was first researched by , Dr. Roger Harris in the 90’s, who’s research led us also to Creatine.

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-Alanine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid, which just means it can’t be converted to protein. Although it is found naturally in certain meats, but it’s only in small amounts. The only way to truly benefit from high doses of beta-alanine, is to buy it in supplement form.

How Beta-Alanine benefits bodybuilders:

Dr. Roger Harris discovered carnosine was in higher concentrations in Type 2 muscle fibers, these fibers are most responsible for getting bigger and producing strength. Inside the muscle, carnosine, seems to regulate the PH levels in muscle fibers. As you know, lactic acid can build up in a persons muscles causing the painful burn and to prematurely end their set. Carnosine in the muscle allows someone to workout longer because of it buffering the PH level and they feel less pain.

The only way carnosine gets into the muscle, is after it has been converted from beta-alanine and histidine in the body. Histidine is already in plenty amounts circulating the body, but beta-alanine is not. The only way to get beta-alanine into the body in the first place, is either to take carnosine (which converts to beta-alanine and histidine during digestion) or to take beta-alanine by itself.

A study by Stout, J., et al., Effects of Beta-Alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromusclular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. University of Oklahoma, OK has reaffirmed earlier research, that beta-alanine allows better muscular endurance.

Not only can beta-alanine supplementation help with muscular endurance and power, but with muscle gains. A study by Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug;16(4):430-46 showed after 10 weeks on 33 football players, showed the beta-alanine plus creatine group gained more muscle and lost more fat, over the creatine only and placebo groups. I suspect this is because they could workout more intensely with beta-alanine and this could lead to better long term muscle gains. Like creatine, beta-alanine allows you to workout longer and more intensely. This better muscular endurance should lead to better long term muscle gains in theory. Another possible theory of mine for the muscle gains, is that lowering the PH level in the muscle fibers during workouts, allows for a better muscle building environment.

Whether you take carnosine or beta-alanine, it doesn't matter because both will eventually get converted to carnisine back in the muscles. Bodybuilders prefer to take beta-alanine powder because it is cheaper and can also be found in bulk powder. Most bodybuilders stack creatine and beta-alanine together, so they get two powerful muscle builders together at once. You may notice a tingling sensation when you first take beta-alanine, but it goes away after a few weeks. This is caused by some stimulation on the nerves.

Liver Tablets Review

Liver tablets were a common supplement among bodybuilders years ago, before they had all the fancy bodybuilding supplements they have today like; creatine, NO supplements, beta-alanine, anti-estrogens, etc. It’s harder to convince bodybuilders they need to spend extra money for something naturally derived from a liver.

What are liver tablets?

Liver tablets are all the nutrients derived from a liver, in a highly concentrated tablet. It would be a lot costlier to eat the liver for the nutrients, than to get it in pill form. Liver tablets contain the full spectrum of important vitamins and minerals, probably not enough to replace your multi-vitamin though. They are also rich in essential amino acids, so are great for pre-workout. One unique thing is they contain nucleic acids, which are precursors to ADP which is then a precursor to ATP, the main energy currency in the cell. Cytochrome P-450 which is important in muscular endurance is also naturally in liver tablets. There are also some natural growth factors contained in liver tablets. Unfortunately, Liver tablets also have a lot of iron in them, which is not good for men.

Conclusion:

Liver tabletsare a great blend of important compounds to work synergistcally, for general health and to support muscle building. It will cost you about the same as a moderate priced multi-vitamin. The one thing I don't like about liver tablets is the high iron they naturally contain, but as long as your multi-vitamin doesn't have any iron in it, it should be OK to supplement together.

Ephedra Alternatives

Ephedra is a natural stimulant herb used in supplements. The media has been trying to scare people for years about it because some people took way over the recommended dosage. The FDA at one point banned it in supplements, but then when a U.S court allowed it in low doses, the FDA has yet to step in on the issue again. Ephedra is certainly not the only fat burner that works, but it is one of the most effective. Let’s look at some of the ephedra alternatives, should ephedra once again get banned by the FDA or because you prefer something else.

Stimulant Ephedra alternatives:

Ephedrine – Ephedrine is the commercial pill version that many bodybuilders used, when ephedra was banned. Ephedrine is often used in cold medicines, but because it is also used in the process to manafacture methamphatemine, it requires identification to purchase it and there is a limit to how much you can purchase at a time. This information is given to the drug enforcement agency.

Synephrine - The citrus plant called "bitter orange", contains an active stimulant similiar in structure as ephedrine, called Synephrine. Because it is similiar to ephedrine it should be almost as beneficial in aiding fat loss. It also can be stacked with caffeine to increase effectiveness, just like the old ephedrine caffeine stacks.

Yohimbe - This stimulant has been around for years, first used to treat men's erectile dysfunction. It actually turns out to be a good fat burner, but it works on a different mechanism than ephedrine. It also has the unique ability to help with spot reduction of fat.

Read more about Yohimbe's fat loss spot reduction in a previous article of mine:
Can Yohimbine Transdermals Spot Reduce Fat

There are other stimulants that are used commercially for fat loss, but none as researched and well known as the above.

Non-Stimulant Ephedra Alternatives:

Most of the non-stimulant fat burners aren't potent enough by themselves, like the stimulants such as Ephedra or synephrine. Therefore, most common fat burner supplements stack together an array of fatburning compounds. Green tea is common in most commercial fat burner stacks, which raises the metabolism by up to 30%! Octopamine HCL (also known as Norsynephrine HCl) is found in some fat burners. This is a amine akaloid that is derived from synephrine, except it is not a stimulant and it's been highly concentrated to magnify it's benefits. Octopamine HCL increases metabolism, increases fat oxidation, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases catabolism of muscle tissue. Sesamin, derived from sesame seeds, has a unique method of increasing fat oxidation and preventing fat storage. Acetyl-L Carnitine (ALCAR) is a well proven fat loss ingredient, found naturally in meat, but in a different form. There are countless other fat burning compounds, far too many to go through here, that have potential to aid in fat loss.

Does ZMA Work?

ZMA is a proprietary trademark blend, developed by Victor Conte of Balco Labs, based on research studies. It was developed to increase testosterone and muscular strength.

How ZMA works

ZMA is zinc, magnesium and B6. Zinc appears to have a strong role in regulating testosterone levels, by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, through the 5A Reductase enzyme. Magnesium is a important neurological mineral and has been shown in past studies to improve strength. Vitamin B6 helps with zinc's inhibitory action on the 5A reductase enzyme.

ZMA Studies

The original study on ZMA was founded by the Victor Conte. He had NCAA football athletes stop taking nutritional supplements for 8 weeks. The control group took ZMA and their lean muscle, strength, and serum testosterone levels were monitored. ZMA supplementation iincreased the leg strength by 11.5% over 4.9% of the placebo. There was an increase of 30% in free and total testosterone (vs 10% in the placebo), and an increase of 20% in IGF-1 levels (vs a 20% decrease in placebo). Results of the study did not show any changes in lean muscle gains despite the anabolic changes.

A study published in (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 1 (2): 12-20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-12) showed no significant differences were observed between groups in anabolic or catabolic hormone status, body composition, 1-RM bench press and leg press, upper or lower body muscular endurance, or cycling anaerobic capacity during 8 weeks of ZMA supplementation.

A recent ZMA study published in (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 19 September 2007; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602899) 14 subjects in their 20s through 30's excercised regularly and took 11 to 22 mg of zinc a day, before the study started. When the study started, they took the recommended doses of ZMA and measured their urine for testosterone and other metabolites and their serum testosterone levels. Results showed no difference in free or total testosterone serum levels or in changes in urine excretion patterns of testosterone and it's metabolites. Serum zinc levels and excretion in urine were heightened.

Conclusion:

The only study that shows ZMA works, was the original funded by the developer of ZMA. ZMA probably only works if you are deficient in magnesium or zinc. Zinc appears to be excreted after excercise, so bodybuilders may require slightly more to offset their active lifestyle. This doesn't point to the efficacy of ZMA as being anything special, just that some may benefit from ZMA because they are already deficient. If you have a really good multi-vitamin with a easily absorbable form of zinc (something other than zinc oxide), it should be adequate zinc intake.

11-OXO Review

11-oxo is one of the hottest bodybuilding supplements to hit the market in recent years. What differentiates it from any other supplement is it’s unique ability to block cortisol. Cortisol is that nasty hormone that breaks down muscle in the body and promote fat gain. It is released during weightlifting, high stress, and waking up in the morning. By controlling cortisol levels, 11-oxo helps you build more muscle and accumulate less fat during bulking.

How 11-oxo works on cortisol:

11-Oxo real name is Adrenosterone. It is of the class called first selective inhibitor of 11b hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I reductase. This basically means it blocks cortisone from attaching to the 11HSD1R and converting to cortisol, by 11-oxo attaching to 11HSD1R itself instead. This mechanism is called competitive inhibition.

Apparently, 11-oxo is naturally released in the androgen glands as a counter-balance to controlling cortisol, which is also released by the andrenal glands. Adrenosterone was discovered by Patrick Arnold, world renowned steroid expert and chemist, while researching in past research study texts.

Is 11-OXO a pro-hormone?

In addition to being a cortisol blocker, 11-OXO also acts as a pro-hormone, by converting to an active steroid 11-oxotestosterone in the body. This means it can be suppressive to your testosterone production and must be cycled. However, cortisol has a suppressive effect on testosterone product, therefore the cortisol blocking effects should help offset a bit the testosterone suppression from the pro-hormone conversion.

11-OXO results:

Thousands of bodybuilders have tried 11-oxo and have seen great results. There is a lot of research to backup 11-OXO, unlike most other bodybuilding supplements. Patrick Arnold is the only true authority in bodybuilding supplement research and he has researched this compound well. There are other compounds found naturally or artificially that can block cortisol through various ways, but 11-OXO has the safest and most effect route of doing it. While bulking, 11-OXO can help you bust through a plateau and gain a few lbs of muscle and make the gains more leaner. While dieting, 11-OXO can help you lose more fat and less of it being muscle.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

Originally published in 1985 and since been updated, Arnold Schwarzenegger's The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding is one of the most popular bodybuilding books. It's popular among beginners learning how to build muscle and experienced bodybuilders who are fans of Arnolds sucess. Arnold is endeared by all bodybuilders because of his multiple olympia wins, perfect symmetry, charisma, and his rise to great sucess from his roots as an unknown austrian bodybuilder.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

The The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding is a massive 800 pages. You are going to want to make sure you have spare time when you start reading it because it's hard to put the thing down. Arnold gives his own personal insight and tips throughout the book, making it very interesting read. This encyclopedia covers a lot of things that other bodybuilding books don't. It has a photographic "Bodybuilding Hall of Fame", how to pose and handle publicity, injuries. He covers nutrition and supplements, but it's outdated since it was last updated 1999. There has been quite a bit of new supplements and nutrition science that has come out in the last 10 years.

Arnold had workout routines set for beginners and advanced lifters. His workout routines are all high volume, but his advanced routines are very extreme. For example he recommends working out 6 days a week all with multiple sets. I think every natural would overtrain to some degree on the advanced routines. Arnold gives some special tips on how to define and bring up certain muscle parts. I don't agree with some of the information in his book, as some of it is long held myths, that have been debunked.

We owe a lot to Arnold for what he did to the sport of bodybuilding. He made it look cool and appealing and no one has looked as symmetrical as him on stage since then. However, the workout plans he suggest are just too extreme for the vast majority of people. It would lead to overtraining and no muscle gains for most. Arnold has some of the best bodybuilding genetics ever, making recovery easier. Arnold also used steroids whiched helped him even recover even faster. If a bodybuilder with average recovery genetics used Steroids, he would still probably overtrain on these routines. Most people who try his routines wind up very dissapointed when they don't gain muscle. If everyone had the genetics, there would be a lot of people who could be built like him, just following his routines.

You can purchase The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding at Amazon.

Muscly Jerk Review

Muscly Jerk E-book

The Muscly Jerk muscle building program was written by an unknown author at MusclyJerk.com . He plays on the same cocky arrogant style of humour as Musclehead Program and Rich Jerk e-book. The book is meant to take the popularity of Rich Jerk e-book was to affiliate marketing and write one for bodybuilding. The author's real identity is actually known, he is a clever affiliate marketer who says he wrote it after inspiration from Rich Jerk and because he had an interest in bodybuilding. He has since sold the book to a new owner after making a few thousand.

Muscly Jerk Program Overview

The book The Muscle Jerk Guide, Workout, and Nutriton Plans is the main component of the program. The book covers all the basics from how to setup a sensible routine and diet, to how to perform ecercises. The only problem about the book is its only 25 pages. You could get more information just by surfing the net for a few hours. It became very clear this guy did in fact know little about the complexities of diets and workouts and was quickly thrown together for profit. Muscle Jerk program also throws in 3 other e-book bonuses to try and help with your love life, Some of this stuff is similar to some other "player" sites on the net. I actually think these bonus e-books were better than the main muscle guide book.

Conclusion

The program is 37 dollars, but it's a waste unless you want to read something humorous and if your a total dork with women, you might actually find the other e-books on women a little helpful. There is a 8 week moneyback guarantee backed by Clickbank.com, so there is no risk in buying it if you're curious.


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