Energy Drinks and Figure Bodybuilding Training – Part One

My heart was pounding. I was out of breath, but I felt exhilarated. Something inside me was ready to explode with power, like an ocean wave the second before it crashes.

For me, energy drinks and bodybuilding have a lot in common. I’m not talking about the use of caffeine for a workout. To me, it’s much more than that: I’m a biochemist who studies energy drinks and trains for bodybuilding competitions.

One fine day in the gym I had just finished my warm-up when it happened. My competitive drive collided with the realization that my next bodybuilding competition was only 7 weeks away. Like a rubber band being pulled to the limit or the moment of transition after “for meeeeee” in “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I knew I was about to unleash considerable power. I always have caffeine before my workouts, but this energy surge was something new. I turned my music up two notches, took a deep breath, then launched into my set.

[Internal energy = potential energy + kinetic energy = Yay for Laws of Thermodynamics!]

I was doing a long jump/sideways medicine ball throw circuit. I honestly can’t remember the last time my legs have jumped that far and that fast. At one point my legs were springing from one jump to the next so fast, I thought I’d fall on my face. But I kept pushing forward. During the sideways med ball throws I felt I could have punched a hole in the wall, so I used the metal post of the multi-station instead. This surge of energy stayed with me through my entire workout. I hit a new max for deadlifts and didn’t feel tired like I normally do after plyo-pushups.

 

Red Bull Super Power Figure Prep
Caffeine meets Figure Prep: GreenEyedGuide on Instagram

 

For me, hitting a new max in the gym and discovering a new level of strength is very similar to finding a new energy drink. In both scenarios, I feel like I’m acquiring superpowers and the confidence that comes from knowing I can do things that were previously impossible.

I remember the first few times I tried Monster for all-nighters in college: I felt calm and focused despite the fact I was memorizing metabolic biochemical pathways at 3 a.m. I also remember my left bicep would tingle sometimes – not all the time, and not consistently, just like an eye twitch (which I also got when I was stressed: correlation is not causation).

In the gym, a foundation of strength is a prerequisite to the exhilarating energy surge like the one I described above. With energy drinks, the prerequisite is trust in the brand and knowledge of the ingredients. If it’s a brand I know and trust, the science nerd in me gets excited before the caffeine enters my system. When I first laid eyes on Red Bull Purple and Lime sugar-free Editions, I was so excited I literally jumped up and down in the grocery store.

When it’s a new energy drink from a brand I don’t know, or when I don’t understand the logic behind the ingredients, that’s a different story. We’ll save that for Part Two.

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Let’s connect!

Cool Blue Revitalizer, Red Bull Purple Edition, Iconic Protein Coffee Drink, Monster Hydro Mean Green, F’Real Frappe Coffee, and West Coast Chill: June Recap of Quick Reviews – Science of Energy Drinks

Here’s a recap of the quick reviews posted this month for the “Science of Energy Drinks” series on the GreenEyedGuide Instagram and Facebook pages: Cool Blue Revitalizer, Red Bull (sugarfree) Purple Edition, Iconic Protein Coffee Drink, Monster Hydro Mean “Green” (more like yellow), F’Real Frappe Coffee, and West Coast Chill (caffeine free!) energy drink.

Cool Blue Revitalizer

  • Caffeine Content 100 mg = Fatigue Level 2

Science Behind Cool Blue Revitalizer

Science Behind Cool Blue Revitalizer: This drink makes a big deal about 3 natural ingredients but it’s UNNATURALLY blue.

✔1. “Real Sugar” – true, but it ALSO has sucralose.
✔2. “Natural Flavor” – I guess BLUE drink =BLUE-berries? To me this drink tasted like CITRIC ACID OVERLOAD!!! WOAH BUDDY!
✔3. “Natural Caffeine” – From where? The label doesn’t specify but it’s 100 mg caffeine [#fatiguelevel2]
🤓PET PEEVE: 1 container= 1.3 Servings? Really…you couldn’t change your formula or can size?
🔬SODIUM BENZOATE— Did you know that benzoate salts like this one prevents growth of microorganisms like yeast and mold; it’s used for preservation of sour food (pH 4 and lower) and is often used with other preservatives especially at low pH (acidic food).
🔬SODIUM BENZOATE SAFETY NOTES — Consumers can ingest up to 5mg per kg of body weight of benzoic acid and its salts according to European Commission – Scientific Committee on Food. There are safety concerns suspected but unconfirmed for benzene formation from benzoic acid with ascorbic acid. However, this risk “cannot be reliably assessed on basis of data available” per BfR Expert Opinion. [More Info on the “Panera KNOW-No List“]

Red Bull Purple Edition (sugarfree)

  • Caffeine Content 114 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Red Bull Purple Sugar Free

The Science Behind RED BULL PURPLE EDITION: Red Bull has less caffeine and fewer ingredients than Monster and Rockstar. No guarana, carnitine, glucuronolactone, ginseng, or ginkgo; NO PRESERVATIVES! NO SUGAR!

🤓Since Red Bull has been around a long time there are mounting scientific studies testing its effectiveness
🤓Red Bull is not only the NUMBER ONE SELLING ENERGY DRINK BRAND  on the PLANET, they also set the standard for energy drink industry SAFETY GUIDELINES. Red Bull was the FIRST ENERGY DRINK Company to list caffeine content on their cans several years ago, paving the way for other companies to follow suit.
🤓FURTHERMORE Red Bull has been open about their commitment to food safety and quality – you can read all about that HERE: ⚡ Red Bull on Caffeine Safety and Transparency
✔This MAY NOT BE FOR YOU IF you are trying to avoid artificial flavors and/or sweeteners – This drink has Sucralose and Ace-K but I am more concerned about the KNOWN effects of high sugar intake than the DEBATABLE effects of these two sweeteners.
✔Ace-K has been USED AROUND THE WORLD for 15 years and used in the US since 1988.
✔Sucralose was approved by FDA in 1998, and it’s considered safe by government/regulatory agencies worldwide.
✔As far as caffeine interactions that (maybe?) make energy drink more dangerous than coffee, I enjoy Red Bull’s simple ingredients, sugarfree options, and moderate caffeine content. 🤓💚⚡⛾⚡🔬⚡

Iconic Protein + Coffee Drink

  • Caffeine Content 180 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Iconic Protein Caffeine drink

If caffeine is best for PREworkout and protein is best for POSTworkout, what do you do with a CAFFEINE+PROTEIN COMBO?
🤓 DRINK IT!
But seriously, here’s what you should know:

✔ This drink has 180 mg caffeine per container. That’s as much as a Monster Energy (160 mg)
✔Caffeine doses of 3-6 mg caffeine per kg bodyweight are the best for pre-workout. That’s the range used in “[X] Til Exhaustion” studies (cycling, running, rowing…)
✔ Protein doses of 20-25 grams* protein taken in the 30 min window after workout is ideal for muscle growth but overall protein consumption matters too. *NOTE bigger protein doses don’t mean bigger results
✔ONLY 3 GRAMS SUGAR from Agave. Sweetness also comes from MONK FRUIT (aka Luo Han Guo) & STEVIA! I LOVE seeing these natural sweeteners used in caffeinated beverages 🤓💚🔬➕⛾➕🏋️‍♀️

Monster Hydro Mean Green

  • Caffeine Content 125 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Monster Hydro

As the GREENEyedGuide I’m bummed “Mean GREEN” is yellow.

As a Food Scientist, I know artificial green is hard to keep green and natural green often involves spirulina, which has the slightest seawater taste. I don’t normally talk about taste in my reviews bc it’s subjective, but this tasted like flat Moutain Dew or old lemonade to me. 🤓💚🔬⛾

KEY Ingredients:
✔Sugar sources include sucrose (table sugar), glucose, and artificial sweetener sucralose. 23g! Not awful but <10g is my sweet spot (food pun!)
✔NO GUARANA OR TAURINE OR CARNITINE so really different than the typical Monster Energy Blend.
125 mg caffeine per bottle, compared to 180mg in most flavors of Monster Energy.

Is Monster Hydro a healthier alternative to Monster Energy?
YES in terms of lower caffeine content and FEWER Caffeine-(other ingredient) INTERACTIONS, which some people* think make some energy drinks more dangerous than coffee.
*I’m on the fence about this. Caffeine-Taurine-glucuronolactone combos are fine but no data for or against caffeine-carnitine combos yet.

F’real Frappe Coffee

  • Caffeine Content not disclosed – Unknown Level of Fatigue

Science Behind FReal Frappe Coffee

That Moment When you want to hide your CAFFEINE CONTENT so badly, you COMPARE yourself to something AMBIGUOUS. “2x caffeine as leading frozen coffee” 

Who is the leading FROZEN coffee and HOW MUCH caffeine do they have? It is FALSE to assume a cup of coffee has a standard amount. 1 cup at Starbucks doesn’t equal 1 cup at Pikes or 1 cup at your hotel.
Neat concept with the DIY F’Real Blender machine but if we’re going to GET REAL (or “f’real”) ABOUT CAFFEINE SAFETY we need EVERYONE to report caffeine content.

Have you ever seen a bottle of ALCOHOL that DID NOT disclose the %?
PS – sixty-one grams of sugar y’all. Sixty. One. But look at how clean and simple the ingredients are. Too bad simple doesn’t = healthy. 🤓💚⛾🔬

West Coast Chill (caffeine free energy drink)

  • Caffeine Content = ZERO! Fatigue Level 0-1 Energy Drink

Science Behind West Coast Chill

An energy drink with NO CAFFEINE?!? Does the term “energy drink” mean anything anymore!?!

Let’s inspect it: 🤓💚⛾🔬Active ingredients include:
🤓Ribose – a compound that participates in an odd (pun) energy producing reaction called the Pentose phosphate pathway. Promising science, just hasn’t caught on yet.
🤓Ginseng – be skeptical of benefits!
🤓Arginine – amino acid with important jobs in the body (Urea Cycle Waste Removal). HOWEVER the BEST way to supplement arginine is to TAKE Citrulline!
🤓B-vitamins AND minerals – minerals aren’t usually in energy drinks. Curious… 🤓💚🔬⛾📚

Click HERE to learn more about how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue.

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Let’s connect!

GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge Day 8/10 – Fatigue Level 3

For Day 8 we talk about Fatigue Level 3. Learn what distinguishes a Level 3 beverage from a Level 4 beverage. ***PLAY ALONG-share your favorite Fatigue Level 3 product on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide, or add your pictures to the Caffeine Challenge Event page at Facebook.com/GreenEyedGuide/events

Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.

  • Support GreenEyedGuide on Patreon at Patreon.com/greeneyedguide
  • Love energy drinks/coffee/caffeine? Visit Facebook.com/energydrinkguide
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Do you need energy drinks in your 20s? [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post provided by Walter Hurley, who works as a freelance writer for https://eduzaurus.com/There are several good points here, and I am one of those people who would not have made it through college and grad school without the help of energy drinks. Balancing multiple jobs and rigorous studies in biochemistry, “get more sleep” was not an option. 

Why Drinking Energy Drinks Is Important in Your 20s

walter-hurley-guest-post-photo

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/drinks-supermarket-cans-beverage-3008/

When you’re in your 20s you have a lot on your plate, whether it is going through the rigors of college or graduate school, playing sports, raising a young family, or all of the above. With such high demands on your body, it is essential that you supplement your diet with natural products that increase your alertness and overall physical performance. One thing you might not have known is that consuming energy drinks can be a healthy, beneficial way to achieve these results for both men and women. Energy drinks tend to get a bad rap, but with the right knowledge, you will see that they really can make a positive difference. But don’t just take our word for it; the research is in and energy drinks are the way to go.

Essential Nutrients

The website Livestrong.com provides a review of four important ways in which energy drinks can act as a booster whether you’re in an office or at the gym.

  • CARBOHYDRATES. A typical 8-ounce can of energy drink contains between 18 and 25 grams of carbs [according to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Sports Medicine Advisory Committee]. Carbs are important for replenishing your body’s energy levels and the result can include better performance and recovery.
  • CAFFEINE. Caffeine is a common ingredient in most energy drinks that is good at boosting performance. While caffeine content can vary from brand to brand, the top-selling energy drink contains 80 milligrams of caffeine [according to Caffeine Informer]. The recommended daily limit of caffeine consumption is 400 milligrams for healthy adults.
  • ELECTROLYTES. As your body sweats, you lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are nutrients that serve a variety of important functions such as regulating your heartbeat and allowing your muscles to contract. Electrolytes also help keep your body hydrated. For best results, seek out energy drinks with 460 to 690 milligrams of sodium per liter.
  • SIMPLE SUGARS. You are typically told to avoid simple sugars because of their negative side effects such as raising unhealthy blood sugar levels. However, when you are loading up on carbs before highly intensive athletic activities, simple sugars are key. Unlike complex sugars, the simple forms of sugar are devoid of fiber, which is good because, as you are exercising, fiber can cause digestive problems. The liquid form of simple sugars is an easy, instant way to gain the benefits, which is yet another reason why energy drinks can be beneficial.

walter-hurley-guest-post-photo-2

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/runner-track-athlete-relay-race-1544448/

Good for the Heart

The European Society of Cardiology found concrete evidence that consuming energy drinks can improve heart function. This study, which involved subjects with a mean age of 25, found that drinking energy drinks containing caffeine and taurine improved left and right ventricular functioning one hour following consumption. The amount of energy drink that each participant consumed was based on their body surface area, which amounted to 168 ml/m2. Taurine serves as one of the beneficial ingredients in energy drinks because it regulates the flow of calcium, which is necessary for a healthy heart.

Improves Physical and Mental Performance

A study published in the medical journal Amino Acids also discovered some good news involving energy drinks. In this particular case, Red Bull Energy Drink (which contains caffeine, taurine, and glucuronolactone – a naturally occurring chemical that contributes to the structure of connective tissues)  was measured against non-energy control drinks. The study found that subjects who drank Red Bull saw improvements both physically and mentally. The physical benefits were found after having the participants ride cycle ergometers: those who drank 500ml Red Bull saw increases in aerobic endurance (the ability to maintain a high heart rate) and anaerobic performance (maintaining maximum speeds). The indicators of higher levels of alertness included better reaction time, concentration and memory. This is not to say that Red Bull is the best energy drink, although its aforementioned key ingredients are common among other energy drinks.

Of course, there are many energy drinks that contain higher and lower amounts of caffeine, some that are sugar-free, and even caffeine-free energy drinks that contain ginseng, acai berry and other ingredients that can increase alertness and energy levels. Ultimately, which energy drink is the best for you comes down to your own lifestyle choices and what you seek to achieve in terms of physical and mental benefits.

Consume Energy Drinks in Moderation

Of course, the main thing to note is that just like everything in life, when consuming energy drinks, you would want to make sure to do it in moderation. It goes without saying that high levels of caffeine and sugar are bound to have negative health consequences, so always keep to the daily recommended levels as espoused by the medical experts and use energy drinks as part of an active lifestyle. So go out there and choose the best, healthy energy drink that is right for you!

This guest post is provided by Walter Hurley who works as a freelance writer for https://eduzaurus.com/.

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Learn how to find the best energy drink using the 5 Levels of Fatigue

Review the entire ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH SERIES

What happened to the Energy Drink of the Month series? Cute puppies, lofty goals, and some excuses.

Every 13th of the month, I review a product that is either an “energy drink in disguise” or an energy drink alternative. So what happened July and August that prevented these treasured posts?

play

ONE – How can you say no to ^this^ face?

Adding a puppy to our family has been an eye-opening adventure because I never realized just how easy it is to be the kind of parent that works and works, then comes home too tired to play. Balancing family and work troubles everyone, men and women. Some people say when a man works 60 hours a week, he is supporting his family — when a woman works 60 hours a week, she is neglecting hers. 20150621_183521

The level of truth behind this paradox depends on your profession, but it is something I have been genuinely struggling with. This struggle is amplified by the fact that the work I would like to do for GreenEyedGuide.com amounts to what would easily be a part-time if not full time job. Balancing my real job with my fun job with my family might be a little easier if it weren’t for all the other things I want to accomplish.

Beauty in Strength
#NeverTooPretty – Empowering women since 2015! TooPrettyBrand.com

TWO – Shredding for the Wedding

My upcoming wedding is one of four reasons why I decided to start competing in NPC Figure competitions this year. The other reasons have to do with turning a certain age, my nostalgia for gymnastics in this Olympic year, and my love of competition.

[TooPrettyBrand.com ]

Training and competing is a blast, and planning a wedding has been a breeze…okay, that one weekend it felt like a gale force wind threatening to knock me over, but that was only one time. Everything that needs/needed to be done is manageable, but both training and planning are projects on which I have enjoyed spending my free time.

so many dresses
Which dress will best accommodate my newfound lat spread?

THREE – Am I raising the bar too high or are all these new products as unappealing as they look?

I. Don’t. Care. I don’t care if your product is made with all natural ingredients, blessed by Tinkerbell, the Non-GMO Project, certified Organic and Free-Trade. If your product contains more than 20 grams of sugar per serving, it’s not for me. If your drink is sold only online and the best response you can give me when I ask about your food safety testing standards, allergen control, and recall plan is “we follow GMP”, your product is not for me.

[Related Reading by GreenEyedGuide: Confessions of a Shady Supplement Supplier]

20160505_132519
THIRTY-EIGHT grams of sugar per 12 ounce can?!? REALLY?!?

It shouldn’t be this hard to find new products to review, but it has been. Time to change strategies. Evolve or perish, right?

Lofty goals for the future of Energy Drink of the Month series

PissedOffandPoisonousNow featuring Energy Drink of the Month – The Look Away series.

Okay, it’s a working title but the GreenEyedGuide blog is nothing without its eye-related puns. If grocery stores and gas stations continue to provide the same paucity of options, it’s time to start dissecting the poor options with constructive criticism. Up til this point, I’ve simply avoided the products I don’t look kindly upon. However, to continue this series in a robust manner, I must confront the products I dislike. This will be a different side of GreenEyedGuide, but perhaps reviewing the undesirable options will throw the healthy alternatives we’ve already reviewed in even better light.

#TheMoreYouKnow #YouveBeenWarned

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ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon)

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