[ Q ] What Is Xtend?
Xtend is a precise, scientific blend of "Energy Aminos" consisting of the proven 2:1:1 ratio of Branched Chain Amino Acids (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine), Glutamine, Citrulline Malate, and Vitamin B6.
|FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BCAA|
|FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CITRULLINE MALATE|
|FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GLUTAMINE|
[ Q ] If I already eat a lot of protein, will additional free-form BCAA be beneficial to me?
The metabolic effects seen from ingesting free-form amino acids are different from ingesting the same amino acids when they are in a whole protein (peptide bond). The rapid flushing of the system with the particular amino acid exerts a much more powerful activation of its target pathways.
For example, if you were to ingest 5 grams of free-form arginine pre-workout you would notice a greater pump than without it. If you were to ingest 5 grams of arginine in the form of a whole protein1 you'd have to eat a ton of protein to acquire the 5 grams of arginine and2 the rate of delivery would be much slower and3 you would not be flooding your system with a large dose of arginine at one time.
The same holds true for BCAA. Ingesting 10 grams of BCAA will lead to greater activation of mTOR, PI3K, etc.* than ingesting 10 grams of BCAA from a whole protein.
*refer to my BCAA article for more info on these pathways.
[ Q ] What if I already take in a lot of whey protein which is high in BCAA?
Free-form amino acids are absorbed quicker than whey, and as stated above, whey will not flood your bloodstream with BCAA as quick as ingesting free-form BCAA. The BCAA from whey compared to free-form BCAA could be compared to filling up a glass of water from a garden hose (whey) to a faucet (free-form BCAA).
If you use a garden hose you have to wait until the water travels the length of the hose before you can use it. With a faucet, the water is right there when you turn it on.
On top of this, the faucet has a wider opening than the garden hose and releases more water than the garden hose. During your workout and times of stress (dieting), you want the BCAA to get to your muscles as quickly as possible.
[ Q ] I have heard one can get the same effects from taking Leucine alone as from taking all 3 BCAA, is this true?
Due to leucine's metabolic properties, many people focus solely on leucine and not the other two BCAA's, valine and isoleucine. Research has shown that leucine-rich diets or administration of leucine alone lead to decreases in valine and isoleucine plasma concentrations and a BCAA imbalance (Shirmomura et al., 2004).
While it may be cheaper to supplement with leucine alone instead of all three BCAA, one should supplement with all three BCAA so not to create a BCAA imbalance.
Isoleucine and Valine also has some interesting properties of their own, separate from leucine. Isoleucine has been shown to increase glucose intake via PI3K activation, one of the same pathways leucine uses, but independently of the mTOR pathway (Doi et al., 2003). Valine has been shown to reduce fatty acid synthase in adipocytes by 40%, which will lead to less fat storage (Taylor & Halperin, 1975).
[ Q ] How much and when should I take Xtend?
How much Xtend you take per day will depend primarily on how much money you can spend and your goals. The following dosing protocols are based on the large tub of Xtend, which has 90 servings.
|How Long Xtend Lasts|
3 Servings During Your Workouts Strategy:
During exercise BCAA oxidation is increased. Supplementing with additional BCAA spares muscle tissue from being broken down to acquire BCAA. Therefore, drinking Xtend around and during your workout is the ideal way to use it. Start sipping your Xtend 15 minutes prior to the start of your workout (i.e. while driving to the gym).
Continue sipping Xtend between sets during your workout and finish whatever Xtend you have not consumed immediately post workout. Follow this up with your usual post-workout shake or meal. If you only use Xtend during your workouts, 1 jug will last as follows:
|3 Servings Sipped Pre/During/Post Workout|
If you want to take additional Xtend on your rest days to accelerate recovery and growth, 1 jug will last:
|3 Servings Sipped Pre/During/Post Workout - Rest Day Servings|
Sipping Xtend Throughout The Day Strategy:
Another popular method for using Xtend is to sip it throughout the day. Many users of this method have reported gaining lean mass while losing fat simultaneously.
This method would be ideal for those cutting on a low-carb, hypocaloric diet. Simply put the desired amount of Xtend in a container (i.e. gallon jug) and drink from it occasionally throughout the day. I would recommend using 4-6 scoops in a gallon jug as pictured here:
If you use 3 servings (6 scoops) per day in this manner, 1 jug of Xtend will last 30 days. If you combine this method with the above method of taking 3 servings of Xtend during your workout, 1 jug will last:
|3 Servings In Gallon Jug + 3 Servings During Workout|
The Original Xtend Megadosing Experiment: Go!
Cardiovascular Training: Different Scenarios.
- Cardio only
- Cardio AM, weight training PM (or vise versa)
- Weight training followed by cardio
Depending on the duration and intensity, cardiovascular exercise can deplete muscle glycogen levels significantly. Supplementing with Xtend will assist in sparing muscle glycogen and muscle tissue and increase gluconeogensis. In addition to this, the citrulline-malate in Xtend will increase your performance due to its ATP boosting effects.
1. Cardio Only:
If you are only doing cardio on a given day, I would treat this just as you would a weight training workout. Start sipping your Xtend 15 minutes prior to the start of your cardio (i.e. while driving to the gym).
Continue sipping Xtend throughout your cardio session. Dosing will depend mainly on the duration. I would suggest taking 1 serving of Xtend per 10 minutes of cardio.
|CARDIO ONLY SERVINGS|
Another option would be to decrease the amount of Xtend and add some whey protein for session greater than 40 minutes. For example, you could do 3 servings of Xtend and 1 serving of Substance WPI (with the matching flavor).
2. Cardio AM, Weight Training PM:
If you perform both cardio and weight training on the same day, I would recommend dosing 3 servings of Xtend pre/during/post weight training as outlined above and supplementing with an additional 2-3 servings of Xtend during your cardio session.
3. Weight Training Followed By Cardio:
If you perform cardio after your weight training session, I would recommend increasing your Xtend servings from 3 to 4-6 servings. Add all of the servings to a jug or water bottle and sip throughout your weight training session as usual. Whatever Xtend you did not drink during your workout is to be consumed during your cardio session.
HIIT is an anaerobic form of cardio. While a HIIT session is usually shorter in duration then a cardiovascular session, it is much more intense. I would recommend using 1-3 servings of Xtend during the session. If you are doing sprints, I would suggest taking 1 scoop (1/2 servings) per 5 sprints.
[ Q ] What Supplements Can I Combine with Xtend for Enhanced Results?
The Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) is one of the body's protein synthesis regulators. mTOR functions as an energy sensor; it is activated when ATP levels are high and blocked when ATP levels are decreased (AMPK is activated when ATP decreases, which works antagonistically to mTOR).
The main energy-consuming process in the cell is protein synthesis. When mTOR is activated (high ATP levels sensed) protein synthesis is increased and when mTOR is suppressed (low ATP levels are sensed) protein synthesis is blunted.
MTOR activation is vital for skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Interestingly, mTOR is also a nutrient sensor of amino acid availability, specifically of leucine availability. Research has shown that regulation of mTOR by ATP and amino acids act independently through separate mechanisms (Dennis et al., 2001).
It is my belief that combining supplements that increase/elevate ATP levels with BCAA will lead to an increased activation of mTOR, and therefore protein synthesis. Our goal is to keep ATP levels elevated while working out. To do so, we must supply the needed nutrients and substrates before and after the workout to keep ATP levels elevated and our bodies primed for growth.
Creatine is used in the high-energy phosphate or ATP-PCr system to regenerate ATP. ATP, the body's main source of energy, is a molecule of adenosine (adenine + the sugar ribose) linked to three phosphate molecules by high-energy bonds. Breaking of the two outer bonds results in the release of energy.
When the most outer bond is broken, the energy is released and ADP and Pi are left behind. Creatine, which is bonded to a phosphate ion, transfers energy to the ADP and Pi molecule by breaking its own bond. This regenerates the ATP molecule, which means one now has more energy to use.
Skeletal muscle has a limited storage of creatine. Therefore supplementing with creatine increases your ability to form ATP and therefore increases the available energy for exercise (Casey et al. 1996 & 2000).
More importantly to our topic on hand, by keeping ATP levels by supplementing with creatine we increase protein synthesis through mTOR activation. Creatine also has many other beneficial effects that are to numerous to address here.
To View Top Selling Creatine Products Click Here.
Nitric Oxide (NO) (Arginine, DiArginine-Malate, AAKG):
The rate-limiting step of amino acid uptake into skeletal muscle is the transportation of the amino acids through the blood to the skeletal muscle, which is governed by blood flow (Wolfe, 2004).
NO vasodilates blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow. This increase when combined with exercises means greater blood flow and greater amino acid deliver and uptake in the working skeletal muscle.
Exercise itself results in an increase in NO production, and the increased blood flow created by exercise is believed to be linked to the increase in protein synthesis post workout (Douglas et al., 2004). Xtend already has Citrulline-Malate in it, which will increase NO production, but an additional serving of arginine (i.e. 5 grams) pre-workout should further enhance NO production, blood flow, and amino acid uptake.
To View Top Selling NO Products Click Here.
- Casey, A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, Hultman E, Greenhaff PL. (1996) Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. Jul;271:E31-7.
- Casey A, Greenhaff PL. (2000).Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?Am J Clin Nutr. Aug;72(2 Suppl):607S-17S. Review.
- Doi M, Yamaoka I, Fukunaga T, Nakayama M. Isoleucine, a potent plasma glucose-lowering amino acid, stimulates glucose uptake in C2C12 myotubes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Dec 26;312(4):1111-7.
- Douglas, Borsheim, and Wolfe. "Potential Ergogenic Effects of Arginine and Creatine Supplementation" J Nutr. 2004 Oct;134(10 Suppl):2888S-2894S.
- Shimomura, Y. Murakami, T.Nakai, N. Nagasaki, M. Harri, R.A. (2004). Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise J. Nutri. 134: 1583S-1587S.
- Taylor WM, Halperin ML. Effect of valine on the control of fatty acid synthesis in white adipose tissue of the rat. Can J Biochem. 1975 Oct;53(10):1054-60.
- Wolfe, et. al., In vivo muscle amino acid transport involves two distinct processes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jul;287(1):E136-41.