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6 OXO Review
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BSN Nutrition Conclusion - 6
BSN Nitrix Review
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Cellucor P6 Extreme Review
Chrysin Supplement Information
Controlled Labs Orange Triad
Dymetadrine Xtreme Review
EAS Pro Science Armor
Everlast N.O. NitroPlex Review
GABA Supplement Information
HMB Supplement - EAS HMB
Horny Goat Weed Information
Instone Forza T Review
Isatori Isa Test GF Review
L-Glutamine information
MHP T-Bomb II Review
Glutamine Side Effects
Glucosamine Chondroitin
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Muscletech Leukic Review - 1
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Muscletech Leukic Review - 3
Nutrex T-UP Black
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Ribose & Creatine Stack
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Steel Libido for Men Review - 1
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Tongkat Ali Supplement
Tribulus Terrestris Facts & Info
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USP Jack3d Review
Waxy Maize Starch Supplement
White Flood by Controlled Labs
Yohimbe Bark Extract Info
ZMA Z Mass PM, Cyclo Zmass

Top Ingredients to Use For Making Your Own Supplements (2)

In part 1
, we talked a bit about my homemade supplement recipe, and discussed a bit about creatine and waxy maize. As an effective pre- and post-workout supplement, you need a little bit of both carbohydrates and protein, and we get our carbohydrates from waxy maize, which is a high molecular weight carb, making it absorb faster. As for protein source, a simple whey protein is preferred. Any whey protein supplement such as Optimum 100 Whey, or Dymatize Elite Whey will do. And if you prefer whey isolates, something like AST VP2, or Syntrax Nectar are good choices. I used Nectar for my mix.

Just to recap, below is a list of the 5 simple ingredients in our recipe:

  • Micronized Creatine
  • Waxy Maize
  • Beta Alanine
  • Citrulline Malate
  • Whey protein

We've already discussed creatine and waxy maize in previous part. In this part 2, we'll discuss beta alanine and citrulline malate in some detail. Both are very interesting, and effective supplements with solid scientific evidence to back it all up. And there's no shortage of anecdotal evidence either.

The Best Supplements for Pre and Post Workout

Okay, so let's first talk a bit about beta alanine, and what it is. Beta alanine is a very interesting ingredient. It is a beta amino acid that boosts carnosine levels that works to delay the onset of muscle fatigue - in effect, allowing you to train longer, and train harder. So exactly what is carnosine? Studies have found that carnosine supplementation helps increase muscle carnosine levels, decrease fatigue, and beta alanine can help increase body mass. [1] Studies have also shown that beta alanine availability is the limiting factor in regulating muscle carnosine synthesis. [2]

Within your skeletal muscles, there is a high concentration of carnosine. Beta alanine substantially increases carnosine levels, and studies have found that this can increase skeletal muscle carnosine by as much as 80%. Higher levels of muscle carnosine leads to improved performance in high intensity exercises.

One study was done on beta alanine and high intensity interval training (HIIT). 46 male subjects took part in this study. The subjects were given either a placebo or beta alanine (1.5g) packet four time a day for a total of 6g/day for the first 21 days and then 2 times a day (3g/day) for 21 more days - for a total of 6 weeks of HIIT training. The results showed significant improvement in VO2 peak, time to fatigue, and lean body mass for the beta alanine group. The study indicated that long term supplementation with beta alanine can further improve endurance and lean body mass. [4]

There are many studies that have found beta alanine to delay onset of fatigue and improve performance during high intensity exercises, and it does not appear beta alanine has any significant side effects, at least none that I could find. One worth mentioning is paresthesia (tingling or pricking sensation on the skin). One study mentioned that doses above 800mg can cause this tingling sensation on the skin. The study also stated that "no important side effect was related to the use of this amino acid so far. In conclusion, beta-alanine supplementation seems to be a safe nutritional strategy capable of improving high-intensity anaerobic performance." [4] It is also worth mentioning that quite a few studies have found that prolong used of beta alanine seems to further enhance endurance, performance, and reduce fatigue.

So what's the deal with the skin tingling or pricking sensation? Well, according to the study if you take more than 800mg of beta alanine, you'll likely experience some skin tingling, and with our recipe, the dose is set at 2g (2000mg) each serving, which is more than double of that 800mg amount. So you're likely to feel some paresthesia. Indeed, I experienced this every single time I took a serving of my mix. The effects are significantly more noticeable when taken on an empty stomach compared to when you have some food in your stomach. For me, the tingling sensation took place on the back of my hands, arms, neck, ears, and scalp. This tingling sensation is harmless as far as I know. In most cases, this skin pricking sensation is mild, and not really bothersome. However, there was once when I took 2g with nothing else first thing in the morning just to test it out.... and boy did I get a good tingling everywhere... It was actually uncomfortable. Generally, this skin tingling sensation lasted around 5 to 15 minutes for me, and it seems that it becomes less noticeable the more I use beta alanine. Or perhaps I'm getting used to it.

Post Workout Recovery Supplements

Now that we know beta alanine was included to reduce fatigue and improve intense exercise performance, how about citrulline malate? Citrulline malate is a non-essential amino acid, and is not abundant in our diet, but it plays a role in regulating Nitric Oxide (NO). Citrulline Malate helps raise arginine levels more effectively, reduces the sensation of fatigue, increase ATP production during exercise by 34%, and increase phosphocreatine recovery after exercise by 20%. [7] More on this in a bit.

It is known that highly intense and exhaustive exercise can result in amino acid catabolism and limited l-arginine availability. Studies have shown that oral supplementation of L-citrulline raises plasma l-arginine concentrations, and also augments nitric oxide signaling. Citrulline-malate ingestion significantly increases the plasma concentration of citrulline. Studies have also found that growth hormone increased more in citrulline malate group compared to placebo groups. [5]

One citrulline malate study revealed some very exciting results. In this study, 41 male subjects performed 2 consecutive pectoral training session protocols (16 sets) to determine the effect of a single dose of citrulline malate on flat barbell bench press performance (as an anaerobic exercise). 8 gram of citrulline malate (CM) or a placebo was given to the subjects. Study results found that there was a significant increase in the number of repetitions in the CM group compared to placebo. In fact the CM group achieved a massive 52.92% more repetitions compared to placebo. The CM group also had a decrease of 40% in muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours after exercise. [6] As you can see, oral supplementation with citrulline malate can provide some amazing benefits, and this is one of the key reasons why I included it in my homemade supplement recipe.

There are many similar types of studies where researchers found citrulline malate to significantly reduce fatigue. More interestingly, another study indicated that citrulline malate supplementation increased the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise by 34%, and increased the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise by 20% - indicating a large contribution of CM towards ATP synthesis and energy production. In most of these clinical trials, doses ranged around 6 to 8 grams per day, and this is the target I also set in my recipe, aiming for 6 to 8 grams total intake per day. Since I took my homemade weight gain supplement pre and post workout using the bracketing method, I split that 6 to 8g dose in two - taking roughly 3 to 4 grams per serving.

There you have it, two exceptional ingredients used in my recipe backed up by real science, and I can share my own anecdote that the results of using my homemade supplement was exceptional. I rarely felt tired, and was able to push more weights for more reps, and rest less. I'll discuss this more in the last part where we talk about how to put it all together, and put together a cost breakdown of this inexpensive homemade supplement.

Below are links to the exact supplements I used in my stack.

>> Click here for Dymatize Micronized Creatine
>> Click here for PrimaForce Citrulline Malate
>> Click here for Now Foods Beta Alanine


>> Click here for Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine
>> Click here for Optimum Nutrition Glycomaize (Recommended over Monster Maize)

Although Cytosport Monster Maize cost a bit more than Optimum's Glycomaize, I went with it because it comes pre-flavored (and also testing it out for the first time), while Optimum's Glycomaize is unflavored. I would suggest going with Glycomaize, since it is more economical.

Part 3: Putting your homemade bodybuilding supplement together.>>


1. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr 7.
Six Weeks of High-Intensity Interval Training With and Without beta-Alanine Supplementation for Improving Cardiovascular Fitness in Women.
Walter AA, Smith AE, Kendall KL, Stout JR, Cramer JT.

2. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 May;106(1):131-8. Epub 2009 Feb 12.
The effect of 4 weeks beta-alanine supplementation and isokinetic training on carnosine concentrations in type I and II human skeletal muscle fibres.
Kendrick IP, Kim HJ, Harris RC, Kim CK, Dang VH, Lam TQ, Bui TT, Wise JA.

3. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5.
Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial.
Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR.

4. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73.
Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance.
Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr.

5. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Sep;110(2):341-51. Epub 2010 May 25.
L-citrulline-malate influence over branched chain amino acid utilization during exercise.
Sureda A, Córdova A, Ferrer MD, Pérez G, Tur JA, Pons A.

6. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22.
Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.
Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM.

7. Br J Sports Med. 2002 Aug;36(4):282-9.
Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle.
Bendahan D, Mattei JP, Ghattas B, Confort-Gouny S, Le Guern ME, Cozzone PJ.