How to Build a Bigger Back

how to build a bigger back

#TeamReflex athlete and Muscle Model champion, Emil Hodzovic, gives us a run down on some fundamental movements for building a bigger back.

The back. Now, not to state the obvious but it’s behind you. This often means in a new gym-goers formative years it is often forgotten or at least neglected for more obvious muscle groups (such as the chest). However, it is such a fundamental part of a physique that physique shows have been won or lost the second the line-up turned to face the rear.

Let’s be honest, you can see a good back from the front and even clothed, a mountain range of a back will leave people in no doubt whether you even lift, more so than that chest or set of arms.

So how does one go about building a bigger back that a gorilla would be proud of? Read on…

This topic is huge. I could lecture endlessly about all of the fine intricacies of a bigger back training. Instead, I’m going to break it down into my top three back exercises. If you include these in your weekly split then you’re well on your way to a sick set of wings. If you don’t do any of them on a regular basis then you really need to re-evaluate your status as a gym goer.

 

1. The Deadlift

The deadlift is the bread and butter of back training. Before we go into some more detail, let’s just clear a few things up. Deadlifts don’t give you a thick waist. They will develop your core, just like squats and the other big compound movements but to achieve a level of oblique hypertrophy where your waist is thicker than if it just had excess fat on it is nigh on impossible. So get that excuse straight out of your head. And that’s exactly what it often is, an excuse…because deads are HARD. There is no other exercise that loads the back to the same degree as deadlifts from the sheer weight lifted. It will build both thickness and width and it will give you that 3D effect that so many people crave.

Top Tip – Deads are hard and although this isn’t an excuse not to do them, it is possible to overdo them and deadlifting heavy and often can be quite taxing. For me personally, I tend to do them roughly once a fortnight as part of my back workout but I tend to go in hard when I do. Oh, and also, don’t bounce them. It’s a ‘dead’ lift. That means a dead stop at the bottom before you go again.

 

2. The Barbell Bent – Over Row

The barbell bent-over row is next on my list of bigger back training essentials. It’s such a versatile and comprehensive movement and although you can’t load it as heavily as the deadlift, you can still shift some pretty serious weight. There are infinite variations of grips and back positions including the single arm dumbbell row and T bar row but generally speaking the barbell version is the most ubiquitous and even within just this bit of kit there is wide variation. Generally speaking, I prefer over grip and I try to get right over the bar with my back as horizontal as possible. If you’re not careful or start any higher it just ends up turning into a shrug. Within the movement, try and lift the bar to the top abs and control the movement as much as possible but you can alter the line of the lift and angle of the back so you are hitting different parts of the back.

Top tip – Depending on the variation, a little bit of leg bounce is entirely acceptable but if you’re nearly upright and throwing the bar in some sort of half range jerking movement then you’re doing it wrong… bro.

 

3. Lat Pull Down

I think the final one on the list has to be the Lat Pull Down. Often available in even the worst gyms and even more often performed horribly; it hits the back in the vertical plane versus the horizontal movement of say, the Bent Over Row. Again, there are infinite variations of grips and handles and ranges of movement but the standard wide grip front down does the job.

Top tip – Before you start the movement, grip the bar and allow the arms and scapula to extend fully – imagine you’re hanging loosely and letting the shoulder relax. Then, to begin, bring the scapula down and back, keeping the arms straight before bending at the elbows. This is the FULL range of motion and allows you to engage the lats and rest of the back MUCH more effectively.

 

… 4. Pull-ups

I know I said only three, but no discussion on a bigger back training can be complete without talking about the lowly pull up. I love this movement but in terms of sheer versatility the Lat Pull Down pips it when talking general usefulness and versatility. That said, I include pull-ups in most of my workouts as it’s both extremely effective but it’s also one of those movements that you’re kind of expected to be good at as someone who trains regularly. I often put it towards the beginning of a session as a warm up while I’m still fresh. I find I fatigue quickly on these and I try to keep them in even when gaining weight as this is essentially adding resistance to the movement over time.

 

A Look for the Future

Reflex Nutrition Re-Brand and new categories

Along with a reputation for delivering unparalleled quality in the sports nutrition market, at Reflex Nutrition we are known for our unique holographic packaging.  As part of a process of ensuring that we capture the very essence of the brand and make your navigation around the different categories as logical as it can be, we have redesigned the labels and trimmed the categories down from five to three (but keeping all existing products). Each new category has a dynamic logo that reflects its individual essence;

Strength and performance

Our previous ‘muscle and strength’ and ‘energy and endurance’ ranges have been merged to form a category that contains every product needed for any strength, performance or endurance goal.
The Strength & Performance graphic is designed to represent a brightly shining force, almost star like sense capturing the sense of strength or dynamic performance.

High protein

The High Protein graphic is designed to represent a highly active, almost sense of breakthrough in whatever physical activity you are undertaking.

Vitality

Our vitality range has been expanded to include out previously named ‘weight management’ category and contains everything from vitamins and minerals to diet proteins and other weight management supplements.
The Vitality graphic is instantly much calmer and softer, representing a more rounded sense of health and wellbeing.

All new Reflex Nutrition products off the production line will have the new packaging layout with existing products coming into circulation from early March.

Train to Gain: A Guide to Progressive Overload

When it comes to strength training, how to do you ensure your progress? Athlete Tom Wright talks us through Progressive Overload – what it means and how to use it.

If you were to ask any coach worth their salt what the most important factor in strength training then they would likely say progressive overload. You may never even have heard of it, but you’ve almost definitely seen it and even used it in practice before. So what exactly IS progressive overload?

Simply put!

Progressive overload is the increase in stimulus on your muscles (and connective tissues) over time. If your goal is to become bigger, stronger or faster then your training volume must increase over your career. Muscle adapts to the stimulus put on it, so if you want it to grow you must create a hypertrophic stimulus by increasing the stimulus on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis. To add strength you need to increase the weight lifted over time. Thankfully the two tend to go hand in hand and in most cases increasing one will allow you to increase the other.

However, when applying the principle of progressive overload it’s important to remember that more isn’t always better. If lifting more weight comes at the cost of your form then scale it back and complete all your reps with good form. This is still progress. Simply performing movements that you couldn’t before is improving your neurological signalling and motor unit recruitment.

How to Use Progressive Overload

If you’re a novice starting out in your weightlifting career then increases in size and strength will come quickly. The first 6 months of lifting will allow you the most gains as your body adapts to completely new movements and stresses. That being said proper programming can set you on the right path to moving up the ranks quickly.

Try to add ~5% to your lifts week on week for 3 weeks for the same sets and reps, and on the 4th week (or when you can’t manage full reps at the increased weight) drop your weights by 10% to allow you to progress the following session. This is known as a deload.

Tom Wright - Progressive OverloadAs you progress to intermediate level things become a little more complex. Increases in strength and hypertrophy won’t come as easily and programming will need to be more thoroughly planned out. Increases in strength can be achieved using programming such as ‘wave loading’ in which you increase the weight by no more than 5% but decrease the reps each session. Eg.

  • Bench press week 1: 3×8 at 80kg
  • Bench press week 2: 3×7 at 84kg
  • Bench press week 3: 3×6 at 88kg
  • Bench Press week 4: 3×6 at 80kg (deload week)

You can see that as the reps decrease we increase the weight by 5% of original weight. On week 4 we program in a deload week by dropping back to original weight but keeping the same reps. On week 5 we would go back to 3×8 but at the new weight of 84kg and the process is repeated.

Of course this won’t always go as smoothly as above, but by following a process like this we will see progression over time.

Anything else?

Another factor to consider is your assistance or isolation lifts. These are the exercises performed after your main compound movements. For bench press this may be the French Press aka ‘skullcrusher’. To increase strength and muscle mass you want to increase the reps each week but using the same weight. So on week one you perform 3 set of 12 with 20kg, week two you try for 14 reps, and week 3 you aim for 3×15, followed by a reload of 2×12 at 20kg.

Advanced lifters will only see marginal gains for a large amount of effort. Small increases in strength over months and size may not change at all once you are at your genetic potential. Programming becomes essential at this stage and periodisation is integral to progression.

Even with physique the changes may be so minimal that measurements don’t reveal true progress so it is better to track weight lifted and volume. This is especially true for athletes in an ‘off-season’ as added body fat will make it incredibly difficult to track lean muscle gain. Track strength with 1RM or AMRAPs and look at total volume of each session and for the week. A monthly or 3 monthly increase in these will indicate progressive overload.

Start seeing greater results in the gym by using the information above to better plan your sessions, and training blocks. Train smarter, not just harder.

From Strongman to Lean Machine: My Transformation Story

Reflex Nutrition athlete, Emil Hodzovic, shares his unique transformation story and reminds us that whatever your goal – enjoy the process.

A lot of people ask me about my transformation. It’s not a traditional ’12 week weight loss’ or anything like that, rather, it is my continued evolution and journey through the fitness world.

It all started when I first discovered the gym at around 16. I already played a lot of sport and I was quite slim and athletic. Like a lot of teenagers, I wanted to bulk up. I started training, and alongside rugby, I steadily gained some muscle. This was slow and I was further distracted by university, alcohol and exams but I was hooked.

After a few injuries, I was forced to quit rugby but I kept training while moving between sports. I dabbled in MMA wining my only amateur fight and I also did some kettlebell training and general functional fitness. Then, after meeting the legendary British strongman Mark Felix at BodyPower in 2010, I decided to compete as a strength athlete and this is where the real bulking started.

As with everything I do, I took it very seriously and meticulously tracked my macros up to 6000kcal a day for months on end. This packed on the size and I grew to a peak body weight of 142kg. I was pretty good at strongman and won a few competitions but ultimately when I started work as a junior doctor in 2011 I couldn’t maintain the rigorous eating and training and had to give it up.

I kept lifting weights despite not competing and I lost a little bit of weight through apathy and a busy schedule at work. I was in a pretty bad state in my mid 20’s with a BMI of over 40 and I getting out of breath walking up stairs. Thoughts of going back to strongman had made me subconsciously try to stay heavy but it dawned on me that it probably wasn’t optimal for my health so I made the decision to drop some fat. My first real ‘cut’ was a shambles but it worked. I went from 132kg to 110kg but lost a lot of muscle in the process due to lack of knowledge. Although I never stopped, my training had again taken a back seat to work as a doctor and my weight remained pretty steady for a while. I had no aim and no sport to focus my attention; I just carried on with my life.

In 2014 I did my second cut, more out of curiosity, to see what I could achieve and again lost a lot of muscle but I got much more shredded this time and my diet was much more moderate. Overall I was progressing and I was slowly discovering the bodybuilding way of training.

At the beginning of 2015 I met Shaun Stafford at an event and that was the impulse I needed. At that point I decided to compete as a physique athlete (can you sense a pattern emerging?) and got to work planning my next diet. In May of that year I stepped on stage with the WBFF as a muscle model and although I didn’t win, I’ve been desperate to get back on stage since.

My journey has been full of ups and downs and as you can see it’s far from a single rapid fat loss ‘transformation’ like social media can so often portray. There were many false starts, steps backwards and periods where other things were more important. This is real life and the most important thing is that you enjoy the process, as I did and still do.

Athlete Favourites: 3D Protein

In this blog post, Reflex Nutrition athlete and A&E doctor – Emil Hodzvic – tells us why 3D Protein is his ultimate choice of protein supplement and how it fits in with his hectic lifestyle.

 

My favourite supplement at the moment has to be Reflex Nutrition’s 3D Protein. The concept is simple – three different sources of top quality protein in one blend, each with a unique and complimentary digestion and absorption time. What this means in everyday terms is you’ve got three different ‘speeds’ of protein in a single shake from rapid whey protein, to intermediate egg white protein and then much more gradually absorbing micellar casein.

 

When do I use it?

Most people who train use whey protein powder regularly and rightly so as it’s a complete, rapidly absorbing protein. It’s perfect for after the gym when you need that immediate protein hit to optimise the hard work you’ve done during your session. What about at other times though?

In an ideal world I aim to have decent protein-containing meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This protein hit is especially important first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed though this realistically rarely goes to plan. Essentially 3D Protein is absolutely ideal for periods either when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you won’t be eating for a while whether it’s because you’re working, sleeping or travelling for example. As an Accident and Emergency doctor, fitness professional and physique athlete I’m extremely busy and my schedule is all over the place. For this reason I don’t know when I’m going to be training or eating day to day and on top of this my actual shifts can be totally unpredictable (as you can imagine in a busy A+E).

 

Early mornings

Often when I’m waking up early to get things done (4am, for example) I’m simply not hungry. However, just because I don’t want a full breakfast, it doesn’t mean I want to miss the chance to trigger muscle protein synthesis (MPS). You only get 3 or 4 opportunities in a day to spike this vital muscle building process so it’s a folly to neglect it. For this, 3D Protein is perfect. It provides the whey for the rapidly absorbing, high quality protein to initiate MPS, then it has the slower blend for a sustained release of protein to keep me full for as long as I need before I get round to my next meal. This means once I get my head down in my pile of work or get on the road to travel somewhere, I don’t even need to think about food for the next 4-6 hours. This would be sacrilege, usually as a bodybuilder, to go this long without eating but it’s OK as I’m confident I’ve got a steady stream of amino acids trickling in.

 

Post workout but before bed

I also like to use 3D Protein if my workout is delayed and I end up training late. It is the perfect post workout for me. Once I’m finished, I aim to have a shake immediately afterwards. If it’s my usual Instant Whey Pro shake, then that’s perfect for the post workout period, but I’m aware that I need to try and eat again before I go to bed to keep the protein going in all night. However after these late sessions I usually just want to shower and go to bed. On top of this, straight after an intense workout I don’t tend to get hungry for a good few hours and realistically I’d rather not stay up just to wait to eat again. For these reasons, 3D Protein covers me with both the rapid release whey protein perfect for post workout to ensure I get the most benefit from my training, but it also has the slower release egg white protein and micellar casein for overnight while I sleep.

 

Shift work

Finally, during my long night shifts I can never guarantee when (or if!) I’ll have a chance for a break. This means I need a quick snack that will last. I simply put 2 scoops of 3D Protein ready in a shaker for as soon I get a moment to add water and get it down. It fits the bill perfectly and even if I don’t manage to have a proper break for the whole 10 or 12 hour shift I can still pop out for a few seconds to get my shake in before jumping straight back in.

 

For me, 3D Protein is absolutely invaluable because of it’s unique time release formula and the requirements of my busy, non-stop lifestyle. There are other ways to get my protein in but none as neat and effective as this one.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, when talking about upcoming events, but how true is this really?

Everyone has dreams but very few know how to turn them into a reality. Whether your goal is fitness related or not, the process is always the same. I’m going to tell you how to set yourself up for success with easy manageable steps and milestones along the way.

Now a huge goal can seem very daunting even when it’s over a long time period. But imagine a set of dominoes that start out very small and get bigger with each one until the last one is the same height as you. If we knock down the first small domino it will hit the slightly larger one, knocking it into its superior and so on. Eventually the last domino will fall, all originating from that tiny flick of a finger. This is how we are going to approach your goal.

Let’s look at that big domino. The end goal. First thing’s first – be very clear about what you’re setting out to achieve. If your goal is to lose 10kg then let’s set a deadline for that and make it realistic, so 10kg over 4 months would be manageable with some consistent hard work.

It’s very important to know why you want to achieve this goal. Is it for you? For your family? Think about what achieving this really means to you. A strong ‘why’ will make it easier to stay motivated.

Now we need to work backwards. If we have 16 weeks then we can set markers of success. Every 4 weeks we want to see a 2.5kg weight loss to show that we are on our way to our target weight. Plan it out on a piece of paper or in a diary and write down your target weight to aim for. These markers are milestone dominoes in our line.

During these 4 week blocks we have a lot of work to do so we are going to split them into weekly chunks. Each week you are going to have actions you need to perform. We will set small actionable tasks to do each week, and by completing these weekly we will hit our milestones. If we consistently do this then there is no reason the dominoes won’t keep on falling.

So each week set yourself some tasks and daily habits.

For example:

Weekly targets – 4 gym workouts, stick to my diet, no alcohol

Daily tasks – prepare all my meals, go to the gym, no drinks after work

If we perform all of our daily tasks then our weekly targets become much easier to do. When we weigh in at the end of the week our weight should go down and then every 4 weeks we can see if our 2.5kg domino topples. If it doesn’t then we need to go back to our weekly goals and daily tasks and see how we can make them work better for us.

One of the pitfalls of goal setting is willpower. But thankfully there are a few hacks for willpower that we can use to our advantage…

Think of willpower as a cup full of water. At the beginning of the day our cup is full after a night of sleep. Throughout the day we sip from the cup until at the end of the day it’s almost all gone. This is how willpower works. Whatever your worst task is, try to do it in the morning. If you find it hard to work out when you’ve finished your day job then go in the morning or at lunchtime. This is when your cup is full and you’re more likely to get it done. Sleep refills your cup so get a good night’s rest and watch your progress increase.

So to recap:

  • Set yourself a clear, measurable goal that is achievable and matters to YOU
  • Give yourself a time frame to work to and work backwards from there
  • Set milestones and aim towards those
  • Plan out your week with weekly tasks, targets and checklists
  • Perform your daily actions – small things you can do daily that amount to big success

Goal setting can be a very powerful tool if used correctly so make sure you give yourself the best chance for success.

Protein Pancakes | Cheat Day Recipes

Reflex Protein Pancakes

Cheat day: potentially the best day on the calendar. Anyone that follows a fitness and nutrition regime will know that to maintain it in the long-term, flexibility and balance is crucial. So we set out to find the ultimate, mouth-watering treat for cheat day – and came up with one that amazingly, isn’t actually all that naughty and still packs a protein punch.

The Protein Chef has collaborated with Reflex Nutrition to create a stack of delicious protein pancakes, smothered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce, and topped with soft R Bars for your protein-packed pleasure. The best thing about this recipe? It won’t destroy your calorie count for the day or leave you feeling sluggish and full of remorse. And to top it off, each serving delivers 33g of protein to support your workout when you pick it up the next day.

Here’s the recipe to get you started:

Pancake ingredients
200g Oat flour
70g Reflex 3D Protein vanilla
10g Baking powder
100g Liquid egg whites
400ml Milk
1tsp Coconut oil (for frying)

Toppings – as much or as little as you’d like
Peanut butter
Reflex R Bars
Sugar-free chocolate sauce

Method

  1. Mix together the oat flour, protein powder and baking powder.
  2. Then add the egg whites and milk and whisk well.
  3. Heat a pan to a medium/high heat and add the coconut oil.
  4. Once the coconut oil has melted, add a few spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan.
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes then flip it over and cook for a further minute until golden and fluffy.
  6. Pile the pancakes high, add the toppings and enjoy.

Macros
(per portion for the pancakes only. Recipes serves 2-3 people)
Calories – 409
Protein – 33g
Carbs – 55g
Fat – 6.6g

One portion of these protein pancakes provides 33g protein, 55g carbohydrates, 6.6g fat and just 409 calories, meaning you can enjoy your day off without regret. The light and fluffy texture has a delicious naturally sweet flavour, thanks to the vanilla ice cream flavoured Reflex 3D Protein used in the recipe. Our 3D Protein is the first time release protein to contain Native Whey Protein, Micellar Casein and Egg White Protein for a fast, medium and slow release of protein, in the correct ratio.

We’ve topped with chunks of our R Bars, to give an extra protein kick, fantastic texture, and a satisfying sweetness to round off this dish. Our R Bars provide 20g protein, 1-2g sugar and 9-10g fibre per bar, plus they are made with almonds and peanuts, cocoa butter, and natural flavourings.  The Protein Chef has used our Chocolate Peanut Caramel flavoured R Bar, but you can choose from our range of six flavours including double chocolate brownie and cookies and cream.

Reflex sends huge thanks to The Protein Chef. To read more of her fantastic protein recipes, visit The Protein Chef website.

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Unreal results made simple, transform your Body

Body transformation gym - Reflex Nutrition

The Brilliance of Nick Mitchell

You’ll see a photo at the top of this blog and see what looks like the impossible. More often than not this type of picture is questionable. I’m here to tell you that the photo above is in fact very real; it is the direct result of hard work, a good diet and smart supplementation. This transformation is the direct result of a new straightforward training approach which is to be detailed in a new book by Nick Mitchell, and yes I’m going the plug it but for one reason only. I personally believe he’s the best at what he does in the world today. My statements are often bold but I stand by them, in the same way that I might say that Reflex Nutrition make the best whey protein supplements in the world, I back it up with hard facts. The point is Nick Mitchell has earned an enormous following for developing training regimes that are based on scientific fact, they produce results, significant results in what is in reality short periods of time. But how?

Focusing on Correct Exercise Selection

Nick Mitchell’s exercise regimes revolve around selecting the correct exercises in a specific sequence which are tried and tested. The exercises when performed correctly create a massive stimulus within the body. The exercises are changed frequently to keep the body adapting, losing more and more body fat and building lean mass in the process. The real key to success though is the focus on intensity and putting 100% effort into every single workout and every single exercise, you need the right mind set and you need to focus.

Focusing on a proper Diet

Without a proper diet the effort you put in will be wasted. However, if you follow the right diet it will work in synergy with the training and fast track results. What is the ultimate diet? Everyone is different so the perfect diet will vary from person to person, but in a nutshell it’s all about choosing quality sources of protein which are eaten throughout the day in conjunction with a varied selection of fresh vegetables, healthy fats and micro nutrients. All the junk has to go and any alcohol is paired right back and if possible removed completely. Sounds extreme? It’s not, and it becomes the norm in a short period of time.

Focusing on Smart Supplementation

When training hard to change your body it requires significant amount of protein, normally about two grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. More often than not, obtaining this amount of protein from whole food sources like beef, chicken and fish for example can be impractical. It’s easy to eat three square meals a day but the additional three portions of proteins needed makes protein shakes very convenient, effective and good value. The best approach is to simply take three protein shakes a day along with omega 3 fish oils and a high quality multivitamin to ensure you are covering the full nutritional needs of your body. There is a separate blog post about why you should take a multivitamin and a number of other posts about protein shakes, in particular protein blends and their superior performance compared to whey alone.

Just a few quotes from leading fitness experts and individuals that have used Nick’s superb training techniques

“In just 12 weeks I lost 8kg of fat, added 10kg of muscle and ended up on the front cover of Men’s Fitness magazine. I don’t for one second believe that there is another trainer in the UK capable of getting such phenomenal results. Nick Mitchell is, without question, the king of body transformations.” – Joe Warner

“With these startling results Nick Mitchell has reaffirmed himself as one of Europe’s top trainers. I myself saw Glenn at the early stages of his transformation and to see him come so far in such as short space of time is a testament both to his own steely determination and work ethic, and to Nick’s depth of experience and coaching knowledge.” – Charles Poliquin

“As the first forty year old man on the cover of Men’s Health magazine I can say that I would have had no chance without coaching, support, and occasional bullying from Nick” – Wesley Doyle

Nick’s own words,those who come to work with me and my team at Ultimate Performance should come because they want something special, something that you would never find in a commercial gym or a pristine, chrome-filled personal training studio. We ask a lot of our clients, but we give even more back, and because of this we are certainly not the right Personal Trainers for everybody. But if you want results – real, tangible life changing results – then I think you should be knocking on our door.

If you are serious about changing your body in the most efficient way possible I thoroughly recommend that you visit Nick’s website and check out his Twitter and Facebook pages, they make for entertaining reading and of course look at his training material. It’s easy to follow and as long as you put the effort in you’ll get the results you want faster than you thought.

Creatine, which type is best?

Reflex Creatine products

In the 20 years since starting Reflex Nutrition we have witnessed every single variant of creatine come to the market promising great things. I am often asked why we don’t offer some of these so called “uber” creatines? Well we would if the people behind these so called “uber” creatines offered some really strong evidence to show their superiority over creatine monohydrate. But there isn’t any. Perhaps more worryingly is the fact that almost none of these new types of creatine have any long term safety studies. Especially worrying is Creatine Nitrate and I’ll get to that later.

At Reflex Nutrition we have worked very closely with creapure since the beginning nearly 20 years ago! Creapure is factually the most used, most proven and safe form of creatine in the world. In the 20 years that Reflex and Creapure (now owned by AlzChem) have been supplying creapure products literally billions of servings have been consumed the world over. Olympic athletes, professional athletes and amateur athletes have enjoyed significant benefits from it. With such an unblemished history you really need to ask yourself why you would risk your health using another form? So let’s just look at all of the various forms and you will be surprised to see just how many there are;

Creatine anhydrous
Creatine α-ketoglutarate
Creatine ketoisocaproate
Sodium creatine phosphate
Creatine ethyl ester
Creatine citrate
Creatine gluconate
Creatine orotate
Creatine malate
Creatine pyruvate
Creatine taurinate
Carnitine creatinate
Creatine methyl ester HCl
Creatine α-amino butyrate
Creatine pyroglutamate
Creatine decanoate

I’m sure there will be more and no doubt there are probably some I have missed, this list has come from a published scientific study that looked into all of the above forms of creatine.

The “Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine” study can be found on springer.com, it was published in 2011 so is now 4 years old, their findings are unlikely to change overtime because there is one common finding with all of these different types of creatine. None were found to be any more effective than creatine monohydrate. None!

I quote their final paragraph from the studythere is little to no evidence supporting marketing claims that these newer forms of creatine are more stable, digested faster, and more effective in increasing muscle creatine levels and/or associated with fewer side effects than CM. “

If you are a supplement company focused on marketing every conceivable form of creatine then this study is bad news because it paints a very clear picture for consumers in a clear fashion. That last paragraph is all people need to understand. I find it rather frustrating to see so many companies touting the so called benefits that simply don’t stand up when rigorously investigated. The simple truth is that some supplement companies simply lack the basic knowledge to even understand the basics, personally I think they are too focused on trying to deliver the next best thing with little regard to efficacy and safety of the consumer.

This leads me to Creatine Nitrate. Personally I wouldn’t touch it. There are two reasons. The first is simple, it’s no better than creatine monohydrate and has no proven long term safety studies. Second, and perhaps most worryingly of all there is an article in the Journal of Applied Physiology warning about the potential carcinogenic effects of Creatine and Nitrates from food and supplements.

I suggest you read the “Beware of the pickle: health effects of nitrate intake” article before even consider using Creatine Nitrate or other Nitrate supplements.

I’m a firm believer in practising what you preach, I use supplements every day. I love my job and the different things we do at Reflex Nutrition that make us different. I can tell you no that there is absolutely no way that I would ever make a supplement that I personally would not use. I’ve been here long enough to know what works, what doesn’t, what is safe and what is not!

So what Creatine is best? The one we’ve been using for 20 years, Creapure.

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All-in-One Bodybuilding Supplement gets Massive Overhaul

all in one bodybuilding supplement improved formula

Reflex Nutrition’s All-in-one bodybuilding supplement, One Stop® Xtreme, has just has a massive overhaul with absolutely no price increase. It makes One Stop® Xtreme the potential winner for industry awards for “best all-one-bodybuilding supplement 2015” and it is expected to become one of the bestselling all-in-one supplements across Europe.

The new formula ditches the old foil bag which many consumers found messy and difficult to get on with. New OSX is now in the familiar black tub and a new style of holographic packaging that really does shout “I’m a serious product”. In short it really looks the business and will certainly find pride of place on many on serious bodybuilders’ kitchen units up and down the country.

As always Reflex have been listening to feedback from consumers and have gone that extra mile to ensure that new OSX tastes far better than its predecessor. In short the difference in flavour is night and day. Initially OSX is to be launched in 3 flavours with more to follow in the not too distant future.

The actual formula in terms of active ingredients has really been overhauled in quite a dramatic fashion. The protein content remains the same but the blend now is primarily an EU Grass Fed Blend of Whey and Micellar Casein which falls in line with current scientific studies relating to increasing protein synthesis.

A first for OSX is the inclusion of Betaine Anhydrous which is quickly earning a very strong reputation in the scientific journals for its role in bodybuilding. Unbelievably just one single serving provides the same dose as found in one of the most recent and positive studies. 1

It’s no secret that Reflex Nutrition has partnered with the world’s highest quality manufacturer of minerals called Albion® Minerals. New OSX uses its entire mineral spectrum exclusively from Albion® Minerals. They are patented high bioavailable chelated forms that are probably the best forms of minerals used in supplementation. As far as Reflex Nutrition knows, new OSX is the only all-one-bodybuilding supplement in the world to exclusively use Albion® Minerals.
If that wasn’t enough Reflex Nutrition have also updated the friendly bacteria, OSX now contains 3 different friendly bacteria made by LAB2PRO. They are patented bacteria that are dual coated so that they can reach the intestines intact to do their job, another world first!

As mentioned at the beginning of this article these valuable additions come at no extra cost.

Managing Director James Phillips explains, “There are a number of all-on-bodybuilding supplements on the market at the moment. We’ve always see OSX as the market leader in terms of composition and quality since it contains numerous premium ingredients like Creapure Creatine and has always been free from soy protein. But now we’ve really taken things to another level with OSX. The partnership with Albion®, the addition of Betaine Anhydrous and the work with LAB2PRO® means that OSX is in a different league.”

New One Stop Xtreme is available now from the Reflex Nutrition website and all major stockists throughout Europe during February 2015. Flavours Vanilla, Chocolate Perfection and Strawberries and Cream.

A quick overview of the main ingredients per serving:

  • Protein – 55grams
  • Carbs – 73 grams
  • BCAA Content – 10,320mg
  • Creapure Creatine – 5,000mg
  • L-Leucine free form – 3,000mg
  • Betaine Anhydrous – 2,600mg
  • Beta Alanine – 1,800mg
  • Taurine – 1,500mg
  • Albion® Magnesium – 150mg
  • Albion® Zinc – 7.5mg
  • Digezyme – 145mg
  • Bifidobacterium Bifidum – 362,500,000 CFU
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus – 362,500,000 CFU
  • Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – 362,500,000 CFU
  • Additional vitamins and minerals from A-Z.

 

1 Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone.