Achieve it every workout by following the 10 rules of Nitric-Oxide Boosters
You love it. It’s one of the reason you lift weights like a madman. Arnold compared it to an orgasm. It’s called “the pump.” The feeling of your muscles being maxed out, blood engorging your veins, your cells and fibers so expanded that they feel like they could burst out of your skin. These days, that feeling happens more often than ever – thanks to nitric-oxide (NO) boosters. This blood-vessel-bulging line of supplements continues to evolve, with new additives and technological breakthroughs coming out almost every week. While most people get good muscle-building results whenever they use NO boosters, there are ways to get the most out of them. But first you need to learn how to take them, when to that them, what type of NO booster to take – and also what to pair them with – in order to optimize results. Well, here they are: The 10 rules for using NO boosters. Follow them for guaranteed results.
Rule #1: Learn how nitric oxide works in the body.
The “NO” in NO boosters stands for nitric oxide, which is a molecule found throughout your body and is involved in multiple physiological processes, most notably blood-vessel dilation. That means nitric oxide causes your blood vessels to relax, which lets them widen, allowing more blood to flow through and be delivered to the tissues of the body, most importantly your muscles.
Getting more blood flow to your muscles pre- and post workout helps to deliver more oxygen; more nutrients, including amino acids, glucose and fat; more anabolic hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone; and more water.
Increased NO in your body before exercise allows you to have more energy for a more intense workout. Increasing water volume is important for getting a bigger muscle pump, as the pump you experience during a workout is due to water filling up the muscle cells. This pump not only looks more impressive, but it helps to encourage long-term muscle growth. Post workout, NO continues to drive nutrients to your muscles, enhancing recovery and growth.
Rule #2: Understand how arginine relates to nitric oxide.
When you take and NO booster, you are not actually taking nitric oxide itself. The NO boosters on the market today typically contain multiple ingredients that help boost NO levels rather that supplying it directly. The one constant ingredient in almost every NO booster available is the amino acid arginine. The reason for this is that arginine in one of its many forms (see Rule #3) is readily converted in the body into nitric oxide. That is why just about every NO booster on the market contains some form of this amino acid.
Rule #3: Pay attention to the form of arginine that you take.
The most common forms of arginine that you will see in NO boosters are L-arginine,
arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, arginine ethyl ester and arginine malate.
The oldest and simplest form of arginine is L-arginine, which chemically is arginine by itself. Research studies confirm that this form of arginine is effective. However, some scientists suggest that L-arginine may be poorly absorbed by the body. If you find you are getting poor results from regular L-arginine despite following the other rules, then you should consider one of the newer forms of arginine.
One such form is arginine alpha-ketoglutarate. This is essentially two arginine molecules attached to an alpha ketoglutarate molecule. Besides increasing absorption by the intestines, the alpha-ketoglutarate molecule is a precursor to the amino acid glutamine, which the body can use to produce arginine. It’s basically like getting a double dose of arginine. This form has been used in several studies, and one study form Baylor University found that subjects taking and arginine alpha-ketoglutarate supplement for eight weeks gained significantly more strength on the bench press than those taking a placebo.
Then there’s arginine Ketoisocaproate, which is arginine attached to, yes, ketoisocaproate. This part of the supplement has anticatabolic properties, meaning that it helps to prevent muscle breakdown during strenuous exercise. This form also plays a role in energy production and aids the removal of ammonia during exercise, which otherwise could induce muscle fatigue. Furthermore, ketoisocaproate gets converted in the body to hydroxyl-beta-methlbutyrate (HMB), a compound that can increase muscle mass and help prevent muscle breakdown.
Arginine malate is a form of arginine that contains malic acid, a molecule involved in energy production in the body. Malic acid helps to burn the lactic acid that’s produced during workouts, providing you with greater energy.
Another form of arginine is arginine ethyl ester. This is arginine with the addition of an acid and an alcohol to it. This addition of the ester group enhances the arginine molecule’s ability to pass across cell membranes such as in the intestine, making it easier to absorb into your body as well as muscle cells.
If you’re using any of these forms: L-arginine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, arginine ketoisocaproate or arginine malate, take 3-5 g per dose. For arginine ethyl ester you can get away with 2-3 g per dose due to its enhanced uptake.
“NO” Way – When and how to supplement nitric-oxide boosters for best results.
Here’s a sample of how you can put together a full day of NO stacks designed to deliver optimal results.
60 MINS PREWORKOUT
30 MINS BEFORE NIGHTTIME MEAL
*Or other form of arginine.
Rule #4: Pair other supplements with arginine to stimulate nitric oxide’s effects.
To convert arginine into NO, the body relies on the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). To maximize the conversion of arginine to NO, you can’t just take a boatload of arginine and expect your body to convert it all to NO. When you supply your body with increased levels of arginine you need to also help your body increase the activity of NO.
The good news is that several supplements are now known to increase the activity of nitric oxide. One of these is Pycnogenol. A trademarked extract of the French maritime pine tree, this is a potent antioxidant flavonoid that increases the activity of NOS. You need about 50-100 mg of pycnogenol when you take your NO product, or look for products that already contain it.
American ginseng, not to be confused with Asian ginseng, is a form of Panax ginseng that increases the activity of NOS. Go with about 100-200 mg of standardized American ginseng when you take NO boosters, or look for NO products that contain it.
Rule #5: Know the other arginine.
The amino acid citrulline is an amino acid that not only helps to detoxify the liver and promote energy, it also significantly raises blood levels of arginine, which can then get converted to NO. Taking citrulline in addition to arginine helps to create a repetitive supply of NO prerequisites for an even greater boost in NO. Some scientists report that taking citrulline better maintains arginine levels in the blood than arginine supplements do. Because of this, many supplements manufacturers add citrulline to their NO boosters. Citrulline is typically available as L-citrulline or citrulline malate. Citrulline malate is composed of citrulline attached to malic acid. And, as we mentioned above, malic acid helps your muscles to use the lactic acid that builds up when you work out, which actually helps prevent fatigue. Take 1-3 g of some form of citrulline when you take NO products, or use products containing citrulline.
Rule #6: Use other supplements to prolong the effects of NO.
In addition to boosting the production of NO, you should also consider supplements that decrease the breakdown of NO, including vitamin C, pomegranate juice and Cnidium monnieri.
Research shows that the antioxidant effects of vitamin C protect nitric oxide by preventing it from being degraded by free radicals. Vitamin C enhances the effects of nitric oxide by “mopping up” free radicals before they can damage nitric oxide. Take 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C with your NO booster.
Pomegranate juice may be another surprise, or maybe not considering all the press this fruit juice has received for its powerful antioxidant effects. UCLA researchers found that, much like vitamin C, pomegranate juice protects NO from being degraded by free radicals. Try drinking a serving of concentrated pomegranate when you take your NO booster.
Cnidium monnieri is an extract from the fruit of the plant of the same name, which grows in China. It protects nitric oxide levels by inhibiting the enzyme that turns off nitric oxide’s vasodilating effects, phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5), to prolong the effects of nitric oxide in the body. This is how Viagra works to increase the blood vessel dilation to you know where. Take 30-50 mg of Cnidium monnieri with your NO booster, or look for products that already have it added.
Rule #7: Use other supplements that enhance blood-vessel dilation.
These include rutaecarpine and Ginkgo biloba. Rutaecarpine, and extract from the herb Evodia rutaecarpa, promotes blood vessel dilation by altering calcium levels in the cells that form blood vessels. Take 10-100 mg of rutaecarpine with NO boosters or look for versions that have it.
Ginkgo biloba contains the flavones glycosides, which lessens the stickiness of platelets. By lessening platelet stickiness around the time of your workouts, you can enhance blood flow to muscles. Take 40-80 mg of Ginkgo biloba with your NO boosters.
Rule #8: Get Stacked.
To get optimal results from nitric oxide supplementation, make sure that in addition to taking some form of arginine, you take citrulline, which boosts the activity of NO; an ingredient that decreases NO breakdown; and an ingredient that increases blood vessel dilation through some mechanism other than nitric oxide. Some NO boosters contain ingredients from a majority of these categories, so you can purchase an NO boosters with most of these ingredients and take ingredients from the other categories that are missing. For more on how to build your own NO stack, see our sidebar “NO Way.”
Rule 9#: Timing is everything
The most critical time to take NO boosters is 30-60 minutes pre workout. This means that when you hit the gym, your blood vessels will be maximally dilated to deliver more oxygen, water, anabolic hormones, and nutrients such as glucose and amino acid to your muscles. All this increases energy for your workout and can enhance your pump.
While NO boosters are typically considered a pre workout supplement, they also should be taken immediately after your workouts, just before your post-workout shake, to help with muscle recovery and growth. Also consider taking one dose in the morning and on before bed time. These doses will help to keep your NO level high throughout the day.
Rule 10#: Take arginine on an empty stomach.
Since arginine is absorbed much better when taken on an empty stomach, ingest your NO product about 30-60 minutes before your pre workout protein shake. Take another dose immediately after your workout, then 30 minutes later, take your post workout protein shake.
For your morning dose, take your NO booster upon waking up and at least 30 minutes before breakfast. Take your late night dose 30-60 minutes before your nighttime meal, which should be a slow digesting protein.
TRAIN FOR THE PUMP (what to do during the workout)
How you train can affect the blood volume in your target muscles. Certain training strategies and protocols are designed to help you take better advantage or your pump. Include these training suggestions in your workouts for better training results.
- WARM-UP SET: Warm-up sets not only warm up you target muscles, the also pump additional fluids into your target muscles.
Pump Action: Perform a warm-up set of 15-20 reps with about half of the weight for your first working set. Do this for each exercise in your workout.
- FORCED CONTRACTION: To improve the quality of your pump, include forced contractions in your training. For this technique, use a moderate weight that you can comfortably use for multiple reps. As you perform the exercise, slow down your rep pace and “oversqueeze” your target muscle, especially at the top of the move. This should exhaust our target muscle before you reach the number of reps you can normally perform. For instance, if you normally squeeze out 12 reps, you may only be able to perform 7-8 reps when performing a forced contraction.
Pump Action: Perform 1-2 sets of forced contractions for each exercise.
- FINISHING MOVES: This is the last exercise for each body part that you’re training. Often, weight trainers will use forced contractions during their last exercise. Some moves better lend themselves to finishing moves, where you de-emphasize heavier weights in favor of a deeper contraction.
Pump Action: Choose an isolation move (a single-joint exercise that directly hits your target muscle, such as cable flyes or triceps press-downs). Perform 2-3 sets for 10-15 reps.
Now you know how to get your pump on with arginine.
So get out… get active…get pumped with Arginine!
Compliments of Commit to be Fit Inc.