Supplement Reviews

BSN N.O. XPLODE 2.0

Many health enthusiasts tend to be skeptical when a well-known company releases an ‘updated’ version of a flagship product, and this includes BSN N.O. Xplode 2.0. As a pre-workout supplement, N.O. Xplode remains one of the most popular products in the world and the 2.0 release has updated the ingredient list as well as changed the dosage on some of the more prized ingredients. This includes a unique blend of B vitamins, caffeine, Taurine, and the sought after nitric oxide.

Overall, this supplement will provided users with more focus and intensity when working out as well as increased pumps and vascularity. When combined with a number of decent flavors and a price of around $27 for 2.48 pounds, it ranks among the most cost-effective pre-workout supplements on the market.

Features:

  • Nitric oxide production
  • Electrolytes
  • Fat burning properties
  • B12 and B6 vitamins
  • Increased endurance and resistance to fatigue
  • Enhanced pumps and vascularity
  • Better oxygen delivery to muscles
  • Improved mental alertness and focus

When it comes to pre and post-workout supplements, few companies have a following asloyal and as enthused as BSN, and this comes for a good reason. The company approaches their customers with a relatively open book policy when it comes to some of the more complex supplements. For N.O. Xplode 2.0 users, this is a welcome relief from the slew of products that hide all of their ingredients behind an infuriating ‘proprietary blend’ labeling. N.O. Xplode 2.0 contains all of the ingredients that bodybuilders, athletes, and health enthusiasts in general have come to love ranging from B12 and B6 to Taurine and a liberal dose of caffeine.

Within a few minutes of taking this supplement, typically beginning with one scoop and an 8 oz. glass of water, the effects can be felt. A flush is common as well as a significant boost in energy and focus. This makes it a great option for those that have become lethargic or tired of their workouts and in need of a boost to push them back into the gym. Once the training begins, the muscles will immediately swell for those that are looking to get a great pump and the focus that N.O. Xplode 2.0 provides is nearly unbeatable. While many other competing products only offer that initial surge of energy for the first few sets, this updated N.O. Xplode has effects that last for a relatively long time, often as much as an hour or more of strenuous training.

Once out of the gym or done with a training sessions, the stimulants continue to boost one’s metabolism and increase circulation which will serve one important purpose. The mandatory post-training session snack or meal will break down and feed the muscles in a much more efficient manner. Whether it is a quick sandwich or a synthesized protein shake, the ingredients within N.O. Xplode ensure that the body is prepped to receive nutrients when the muscles have essentially gone into a glycemic shock. Over time, this means that athletes and fitness enthusiasts of almost any type will begin seeing the results that they have worked so hard for including better endurance, more definition, and improved strength.

The Bad

When taking a look at the ingredients of the original N.O. Xplode and N.O. Xplode 2.0, it will become readily apparent that the lists are practically identical. There have been some small changes to the active ingredients, but many of the changes have been made to inactive or nearly inactive ingredients. This is both a good and a bad thing, however, as the original blend was the perfect fit for many customers.

There also still tends to be some issues with a number of ingredients that are most likely not needed and could cause unwanted side effects such as stomach cramps or a flushed face. For many, this could be the abundance of phosphor which has a negative impact on certain individuals. It also appears as if whatever changes happened to the blend made it slightly more difficult mix up, especially with older batches. Without a shaker bottle, some may find themselves having to spend a little extra time to break apart the clumps for a more consistent drink.

Finally, most avid athletes or those used to these common ingredients are going to find that the suggested serving is nowhere near what is needed to feel the full effects of this product. BSN suggests that all users gradually begin with around a full scoop, but the real energy boost is not felt until upwards of 2 to 3 scoops in many cases. This means that smaller jugs such as the 2.48 pound bottle may only last a few weeks which could dramatically increase costs.

 

When taking a look at the ingredients of the original N.O. Xplode and N.O. Xplode 2.0, it will become readily apparent that the lists are practically identical. There have been some small changes to the active ingredients, but many of the changes have been made to inactive or nearly inactive ingredients. This is both a good and a bad thing, however, as the original blend was the perfect fit for many customers.

There also still tends to be some issues with a number of ingredients that are most likely not needed and could cause unwanted side effects such as stomach cramps or a flushed face. For many, this could be the abundance of phosphor which has a negative impact on certain individuals. It also appears as if whatever changes happened to the blend made it slightly more difficult mix up, especially with older batches. Without a shaker bottle, some may find themselves having to spend a little extra time to break apart the clumps for a more consistent drink.

Finally, most avid athletes or those used to these common ingredients are going to find that the suggested serving is nowhere near what is needed to feel the full effects of this product. BSN suggests that all users gradually begin with around a full scoop, but the real energy boost is not felt until upwards of 2 to 3 scoops in many cases. This means that smaller jugs such as the 2.48 pound bottle may only last a few weeks which could dramatically increase costs.

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The Verdict

It is tough to find many things wrong with not only one of the biggest companies in the fitness industry, but also one of the most popular and successful pre-workout supplements that is available today. There are some minor drawbacks, including some unnecessary changes to the ingredients, but this can be overlooked with the results that BSN’s N.O. Xplode 2.0 can produce. For those that are looking for a decent tasting product, it is probably best to steer clear of some of the more unique flavors such as watermelon and stick to standbys such as lemonade, cherry, and fruit punch. When combined with a consistent and effective exercise regimen, users are sure to see results in no time at all.

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Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Review

Sporting an immaculate reputation among protein powder supplements Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a popular product with those looking to maintain or increase muscle mass. It uses whey protein isolates, the purest form of whey protein, as its main ingredient in order to pack in as much protein as possible while leaving out things your body doesn’t need. The combination of whey protein isolates and whey protein concentrates gives you 24 grams of protein in each serving. Gold Standard 100% Whey is manufactured by Optimum Nutrition, a highly respected producer of fitness supplements, and has been one of their best-selling products since it was first introduced in 2005.

The Good 

Features:

  • Primarily composed of whey protein isolates
  • High protein percentage (81% by weight)
  • Contains enzymes to improve the body’s utilization
  • Produced entirely in-house in the USA
  • Instantly mixes by shaking or stirring
  • Low lactose content
  • Low calorie count
  • Comes in 18 flavors

Like all Optimum Nutrition products, Gold Standard 100% Whey is produced by the manufacturer. Many companies import their raw materials, making the quality questionable. Factories that make cheese, the source of whey, may not be properly regulated in some countries. With Optimum Nutrition products, you know you’re not getting unwanted residues like heavy metals or cow hormones.

A benefit of using primarily whey protein isolates is that harmful products such as cholesterol, fat and lactose are left out. This is especially important for those who are lactose intolerant, but also a benefit for anyone who works out regularly, and thus takes this supplement regularly, because it means that they won’t be putting harmful substances into their body. Gold Standard 100% Whey is approximately 81% protein, which is very high and a great value considering the cost. It is, of course, a lower content than you’ll find in a supplement made of pure whey protein isolates. The reason for this difference is that the ion exchange process, the means by which whey proteins are separated, is an expensive process. This is why whey protein concentrate is used as a secondary ingredient. This keeps costs down, making the product more affordable while not taking away from its muscle-building benefits. Since the second ingredient is whey protein concentrate, there is some lactose in each serving, but lactase is included as an additive to help break it down in the body.

Along with the 24 grams of protein in each serving are approximately five grams of branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). This is a benefit for users because muscle tissue is largely comprised of these amino acids. Calorie content varies depending on the flavor, but the highest calorie count is only 10. Again, this is important for those who will be using the product on a regular basis because it allows them to put on only muscle weight. The powder mixes almost as soon as it touches the water. It can be mixed with a spoon or in a shaker, and so far, I haven’t had any problems with the powder clumping together.

The Bad

One problem with this supplement is that it contains artificial sweeteners. Depending on the flavor, it might contain sucralose (strawberry), acesulfame potassium (chocolate) or other additives, and this isn’t made clear on the labeling. Fitness buffs are careful about what they put into their body, so this could be a problem for some. Of course, the reason for this inclusion is to improve the flavor because whey alone has an unpleasant taste.

It’s a matter of personal taste. I personally enjoy the Double Rich Chocolate flavor. It is not overly sweet but still has a nice flavor that reminds me of the Nesquik Chocolate Powder. Of course, the purpose of a supplement it to build body mass, not to be delicious. It can always be mixed with other ingredients such as bananas and strawberries for a nice smoothie.

The Verdict

Gold Standard 100% Whey has been on the market for several years and comes highly recommended by fitness expertsand long-time users alike. This shows that it has given them proven results over the long term. While the main complaint about this product is the taste, this doesn’t seem to be an issue for most. Other products such as Isoflex can claim to have 90% protein content per serving because their protein source is only whey protein isolate. Users with extreme lactose intolerance may prefer this alternative, but for most people, the added protein probably won’t convince them to pay more than twice the price.

In its price range, Gold Standard 100% Whey is one of the most solid and proven whey protein powder supplements on the market. Its high protein, low calorie content make it a product that anyone trying to gain or maintain muscle mass should try out.

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