Is it really REAL FOOD?

There’s nothing more nutritional than real food, so what’s the deal with Rich Piana’s 5 Percent Nutrition REAL FOOD? It’s exactly what it is labeled, real food. No, it’s not packed with chicken, beef and all those protein sources (that wouldn’t smell good anyways, right?) needed to grow but REAL FOOD is built with natural carbohydrates. The carb sources in REAL FOOD are Pounded Yam, Oats, Sweet Potato, and Blueberry Fruit Powder! Now you will need to consume this with a protein source for a complete meal, but all of that in one scoop? – No brainer. Hit your macros clean and easy.

This product mixes extremely easy with water and contains absolutely zero added sugars. You can use this product for post workout glycogen replenishment or even as a pre-workout carb loading. Compared to going out, purchasing carbs and prepping them, this all-in-one product averages $0.72 per serving. Not too shabby. So get the most out of your carbs and try out REAL FOOD in two amazingly delicious flavors, Sweet Potato Pie and Blueberry Cobbler!

Photo Ready Labeled Product with an Amazing Taste

I know what you may think, another protein product…really? The USPlabs team has put together yet another protein product. Since the discontinued OxyElite Protein, the void of a protein product was shortly filled with the newly formulated Modern Protein. The biggest question we get is, “Is it the same as OxyElite Protein? What makes this protein product different?”

The breakdown of proteins within the Modern Protein goes like this. The proteins are made up of Triple Isolate Matrix, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Hydrolysate (fastest acting protein source) along with a part Whey Protein Concentrate and Micellar Casein (slow digesting protein source).  With this blend, you get a part fast digesting and absorbing proteins and a part moderate to slow digesting and absorbing proteins, leaving you feeling full longer.

They also add a Lipid Matrix and Digestive Enzymes to this blend. The Lipid Matrix consists of Sunflower Oil, Mono & Di-Glycerides (healthy fatty-acids), Disodium Phosphate (salt like compound), Silicon Dioxide (a compound to absorb moisture), and Tocopherols (flavor protection)). Some may have issues breaking down a heavy whey concentrate or a caseinated protein, with the lipid and digestive support, this product should breakdown easy for a stress free digestive system.

Last but not least, the flavor. Although the competition of flavored protein on the market is high, most companies stick to the core flavors, Chocolate and Vanilla. This may be temporary but for now, the flavors USPlabs built – although basic – are delicious and can be consumed with good old H2O or mixes well in a blender/nutrabullet.  The cost per scoop isn’t bad, some may ask, it is roughly $1.15 USD per scoop in the 2lb container and roughly $0.94 per scoop in the 5lb container. Both are now available.

Andro-5A this summers Newest Anabolic | Breakdown

Andro 5a by Lecheek Nutrition

Andro 5a™ is the new testosterone enhancing product by Lecheek Nutrition™. After tons of demand for this type of product we have finally decided to bring you this amazing product. If you are looking for lean dry gains you can keep, Andro 5a is the product for you.  Andro 5a™ can be stacked with our top rated Post Cycle Therapy AD3 PCT™ as well as Cycle Armor™ for increased protection. This product contains a great combination of two of the most potent muscle gaining yet hardening ingredients on the market. If you want results Andro 5a™ is your answer!!!

5a-Hydroxy Laxogenin was discovered in 1996 and shown to have an anabolic/androgenic ratio similar Anavar, but without the side effects of liver toxicity or testing positive for steroidal therapy. Athletes claim to have seen strength increases in 3-5 days, and muscle mass increases in 3-4 weeks.

AKA Laxogenin

This compound has shown up as a standalone in Anabolica and Zoe’s Ecdysterone.

5a-hydroxy-laxogenin is a steroidal sapinogen, although whether or not it is the desired laxinogen is a mystery since no lab standard for it is available, nor was it referenced within the GCMS library.

Marketing claims for this compound say it is the only product ever designed to increase mass and strength without steroidal influence and that it doesn’t test positive for steroids.

Tests showed that protein synthesis increased by over 200%, the key to lean muscle growth and accelerated repair. In testing, 5a-Hydroxy Laxogenin has balanced cortisol response, which is the major cornerstone to healthy recovery and reduction of muscle wasting.

It’s also been shown to balance cortisol on calorie restricted diets, helps control glucose and increases thyroid function.

Drips and Drabs pulled from the Internets….

“Laxogenin does indeed have some pretty profound anti-inflammatory effects. In addition to being able to be synthesized from Diosgenin, it is a component of smilax sieboldii.”

“Laxogenin is a steroidal sapogenin isolated from Smilax sieboldi. As a spirostanic analogue of the brassinosteroid – teasterone, Laxogenin is noted for it’s growth promoting activity [in plants]. It has also been demonstrated to aquire [cytotoxic] properties however, to what degree, I am not sure. In contrast, Laxogenin was demonstrated to aquire antitumor-promoting activity in a two-stage lung carcinogenesis experiment.”

The best (published) study can be found in the journal Phytochemistry, 1971, vol. 10, pp 1339-1346. Again in 1989, same journal vol. 28, no. 9 pp 2509-2511 (laxogenin acetate). There is reference going back to 1965 in Chem. Pharm. Bull. 13(5), pp. 545-550 (laxogenin).

It was Syrov’s paper of 1976 though, appearing in Farmakol, Toksikol that really sparked my interest. The paper is entitled, “An Experimental Study on the Anabolic Activities of 6-keto Derivatives of some natural sapogenins.

It details the 4 sapogenins (referred to as compounds 1-4 in the Soviet Union) and gives source material, results of the classic steroid model (levator ani studies) and mentions other clues critical to their use. Most of these compounds can be derived from Diosgenin (so can testosterone).

Laxogenin appears closest to Compound 2, the most desirable of these. Thermo includes it as 25R in their formulation and I very much wish it were available as a standalone. I can tell you from experience that when you get the right Laxogenin, it for sure delivers on the recovery, anti-inflammatory etc. side of things and is a superb regenerative agent.

Complete the Andro-5A stack with AD-3 PCT & Cycle Armor.

Animal Rage Review and Bench + Delt Training!

Hey everyone! Here today to finally drop my thoughts on the pre-workout, RAGE, by Animal. I had used this before at an Animal Barbell Club event during the Arnold Classic and had a freakishly good leg session, but I wasn’t positive if it was from the Rage or simply from having the opportunity to train next to powerlifter and bodybuilders from the Animal and Universal teams that I have the utmost respect for. Moving on, below I am basically going to run through my day, the training we did, how I feel the product worked for me and my overall thoughts. To get right to the product review you can skip right to the bottom, but COME ON, I took the time to write this so read it and leave me some feedback.

Most, if not all, take the precious pre-workout for an extra boost of energy and intensity to blast through a grueling workout. Some people work long hours or demanding jobs but still have that motivation and inner desire to improve their overall health and physique in the gym at the end of the day and rely on this boost to get them there. Saturday was no different for my boy Chris and I. Chris was generous enough to assist me in moving my belonging to a new house which you know is never easy and always involves lifting heavy, awkward items up and down flights of steps. It was also about 90 degrees that day. I promised him we’d get a sick training session in at the famous Exercise Warehouse following the move. After everything was settled the first drink mixed at the sink was RAGE “Slaughtermelon,”(find the taste and mixability test here, I have used basically just pill pak’s from Animal and Universal so I wasn’t sure what to expect taste wise, but it was BOMB. Loved the watermelon flavor. No residue at the bottom of the shaker either, so you know you’re taking in all the contents. But, how did I feel throughout training?

Warehouse is your typical old school, bodybuilding and powerlifting gym. No AC, that’s not going to get you bigger or stronger, just all of the iron and equipment you need to become better than you were yesterday. Our workout went even longer than expected, finished up around the 2 hour mark and I felt like I could’ve went even longer. You can find the training below but it started out with Brandon Lilly’s Cube Method for Bench (Heavy Day) with some additional bodybuilding accessory work/modifications, followed by a full variance delt day and capped off with some abdominal work. Throughout the entire session I felt fully charged, which I would  have to give credit to Animal’s “Sustained Energy Complex” which is designed to give you the initial jolt you need to get started, as well as carry through and not fade out leaving you feeling fatigued at the midway point. I must say that I keep referring to getting “energy” for your workout but this is not the correct term. Your body get energy from calories and macronutrients, carbohydrates and fat, so without these your actually not getting energy moreso just drive, focus and the boost from caffeine. The pump I felt in my arms and chest was second to none, that skin splitting feeling that we all are looking for throughout every workout.

Truly, there was nothing I did not like about RAGE. I will say that I am not a fan of proprietary blends as you don’t know how much of each ingredient is included and if it is enough to give you the benefits of clinically studied doses, but being that Universal is a company I trust and they have been around since 1977, I don’t see them trying to pull the wool over our eyes. A huge benefit, as I mentioned in my first pre-workout article, is that it does NOT contain creatine. As we know, caffeine negates the positive effects of creatine so it is pointless to take simultaneously. There also is no shady mixtures or unknown fillers in Rage. Animal has an awesome testing program that they open up to their FORVM members and when they see an ingredient that isn’t worth the risk, they remove it. Which is why there was never any 1-3 dimethylamylamine in Rage. They initially tested two versions, one with and one without. The group taking it with saw no greater benefit and some negative side effects, so they cut it out before the study was finished.

All in all, I give RAGE a 8.5 out of 10. Reason being, rarely(never) do I give 10’s because nothing is perfect, and the proprietary blend’s drop it .5 points.

Final recommendation, supplement it with 2-3g pure Beta-Alanine in your post workout shake when you are consuming your creatine. Beta-Alanine has shown to work well with creatine and since it is part of a blend, you may not be getting the required 3.2g-6.4g as studied for the ergogenic benefit.

The Workout

Powerlifting Bodybuilding Training Fitness

For more training advice leave a comment or tweet me @LuKKoV

Stay Fit


Chasing The Pump (Check Your Pre-Workout)

We ALL love that feeling, the PUMP. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, your training is most likely sub par. Anyway, the pump is that feeling you get when it feels like the muscle your training is about to burst through the skin. Remember Arnold’s famous quote? If you don’t, stop reading this and go watch “Pumping Iron.” Arnold stated, “The greatest feeling you can get in a gym, or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is… The Pump. Let’s say you train your biceps. Blood is rushing into your muscles and that’s what we call The Pump. You muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight – it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feels fantastic.” Funny, yet true. The pump is probably the best feeling you get in the gym next to a PR (personal record) but I would argue that is more mental than physiological.

A solid pre workout formula can aid you in achieving that lovely pump, which quite honestly is the main reason I supplement with a pre-workout. Granted, the research is there to demonstrate that ingredients making up most of the pre-workout blends on the shelf have proven benefits on strength, endurance, and hypertrophy, I enjoy feeling and seeing it goto work even if that pump fades two-hours later(there’s my bro-esque line of the blog) Before we dig any deeper I am going to be completely honest with you, as all of my articles will be, NO ONE ever got huge off of a pre-workout supplement. So don’t ask if this one works or that one works. I am not going to sell you snake oil, because quite frankly, I’m not getting paid for pushing supplements, rather giving you the knowledge to make the correct choice for your needs. You need to evaluate the ingredients and determine if it contains the ingredients I will talk about below at the the recommended dosage. Sure, you can have all the right ingredients, but if it is not dosed properly, you’re probably not going to see a benefit. This can be difficult as most companies use a proprietary blend to avoid giving out their formula, since this is the case I recommend sticking with a reputable company that has been in the game and proven to produce a quality product time and time again. Beyond the ingredients you have to test what works for you. Many friends of mine have raved about a particular brand but when I tried it I thought it was a dud. Similar to diet, diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. Again, I’ve never heard of anyone getting huge off of a pre-workout, but I have witnessed many grueling workouts get completed that may not have without the extra boost and ergogenic aid provided by the mythical pre-workout solution. Below I will briefly run through some key ingredients that should be part of your pre-workout and one surprise powerhouse that you may wish to avoid. Later this week I will be reviewing Animal RAGE and demonstrating it’s mixability, taste, as well as go through a training session that I will post for you to give a try.

Proven ingredients have been scientifically shown to improve performance in endurance and strength as well as gains in muscle mass. Caffeine and Creatine are undoubtably ergogenic aids. Both of these have been studied more than anything else and as long as the subjects were given the proper dose both have come out on top time and time again. As for creatine (monohydrate) a 20g loading phase for 1 week followed by 5-10g per day is recommended.This dosage has been shown to increase size and strength in multiple studies, just goto and search creatine and hypertrophy and you will find thousands of results for research studies.

Caffeine is really individualized in the amount an individual can handle. Some do not do well with stimulants and require a caffeine free pre-workout, others, like myself, have a high tolerance and can handle upwards of 600-800mG (about 4-5 Tall Starbucks coffees). Caffeine has shown to be beneficial at different dosages and is generally studied by weight of the subject. A 2008 study demonstrated participants to lift significantly more repetitions on the bench press as opposed to those consuming a placebo. The dosage provided in this study was 5mG/kG body weight, which would be the equivalent of 500mG for a 200 pound individual. Assess your tolerance and see what you can handle.

Before we go into the next two. Caffeine actually counteracts the benefit of creatine loading in muscle when combined(2). This is the reason I solely take creatine post workout along with a carbohydrate, which has shown to increase its benefit. By consuming creatine pre workout along with caffeine you are not doing any harm, but you also may be wasting your money.

Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn) is what gives you that tingling sensation that usually hits about 15-30 minutes after consumption. This should be dosed at 3.2g/day to see an ergogenic effect. This does not all have to be consumed at once and has actually shown benefits to be broken up into two 1.6g doses (you will most likely avoid the tingly feeling). If your pre workout does not contain 3.2g you can purchase this in the raw form,, and add it to your post workout shake as it has shown benefits when combined with creatine.

Citrulline-Malate has been around but is starting to generate more buzz for its benefits of reducing muscle fatigue and increasing endurance (53% more repetitions on bench compared to placebo)(4). These studies have provided subjects with 6-8g of Citrulline-Malate prior to working out. Again if your favorite pre-workout doesn’t currently have this in or you are unsure of the dosage, you can purchase it in the raw form and add it in if you wish.

There are definitely more ingredients you will find on the label of your pre-workout but these are some of the main ingredients with evidence to back them up. If you have any questions about additional ingredients feel free to contact me on twitter @LuKKoV or facebook,

Remember to check back for the Animal Rage review and an accompanying training session.

Stay Fit

.Pre-workout Supplement

1. Woolf K, Bidwell WK, Carlson AG. The effect of caffeine as an ergogenic aid in anaerobic exercise. Int J of Sport Nutr Exerc Meta. 2008;18:412–29.

2. K. Vandenberghe, N. Gillis, M. Van Leemputte, P. Van Hecke, F. Vanstapel, P. Hespel  counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading. Journal of Applied Physiology February 1, 1996 vol. 80 no. 2452-457

3. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012;43:25–37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z

4. Perez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24:1215–1222. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.