The High-Octane Additive
Those of you who own, have owned, or at least appreciate muscle cars are familiar with high-octane gas, or even octane boosters. Simply by using a higher-octane fuel, or by using a high-octane fuel additive, you could coax your 'Cuda, Mustang, Charger, GTO, or Camaro into churning out a bit more torque, a bit more horsepower.
Hell, with the right car and the right fuel mix, you could burn enough rubber to single-handedly increase global warming about a half-degree Celsius.
That's kind of how I view Biotest's Mag-10® Anabolic Pulse formula, minus the global warming thing. It's labeled as an "Intensive Recovery Formula," and while it surely does speed up recovery and increase work capacity, it "torques up" muscle protein synthesis to what's probably the maximum degree possible in human physiology.
It's an ideal formulation for either putting on muscle or speeding up recovery so that you can work out harder and more often. It's also perfect for use in "protein pulsing," a very specific, laboratory-tested strategy where you ingest amino acids ("pulse") in-between meals to increase protein synthesis without hindering the anabolic effects of your actual meals (more on that later).
What Mag-10® Is and How It Works
Mag-10® is essentially a protein powder, but a very special one. Rather than being comprised of whole proteins like milk, whey, egg, etc., it's formulated with a unique di- and tri-peptide blend.
In case you can't remember what a peptide is, it's a short chain of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. In the case of Mag-10®, the peptides it contains consist solely of linked pairs of two amino acids and linked groups of three amino acids.
This is significant because the digestive system doesn't need to break down peptides that are smaller than four linked amino acids. Because they're so small, they ninja right through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream where they're quickly able to initiate muscle protein synthesis.
That means that a single scoop of Mag-10® (10 grams of protein peptides) not only gets to work much faster than conventional whole proteins, it stimulates muscle protein synthesis to a much higher degree than 30 or 40 grams of ordinary protein powders might.
A Very Special Carb That Earns Its Keep
Each serving of Mag-10® also contains a small amount (11 grams) of the "functional carbohydrate" known as cyclic dextrin, which is pretty damn cool because of the following things:
- It has very high solubility and low viscosity. That means it has a very short gastric emptying time so that the gut absorbs it really quickly.
- It's been shown, through numerous studies, to increase endurance and reduce RPE, or "rate of perceived exertion" (meaning that you can work hard without it feeling like you're working hard).
- Its low osmotic pressure (in comparison to drinks that don't contain it), results in less gastrointestinal discomfort while exercising or not.
- It also elicits a small insulin surge, which helps shuttle amino acids directly to muscle cells.
All of this makes Mag-10®, among other things, a perfect pre- and post-workout drink.
When to Use Mag-10®
There are several ways to employ Mag-10®, depending on your goals:
For Protein Pulsing (Building Muscle)
Science has shown that it's not a good idea to constantly jam your body with amino acids. Protein synthesis accelerates rapidly after a meal, but it drops precipitously after about two hours – even if amino acid levels are still high.
It seems you need a refractory period, a time where your body gets a break from the constant influx of amino acids so it can "regroup," so to speak, before re-initiating protein synthesis.
A group of researchers out of Galveston, Texas, however, wanted to see if "pulsing" liquid amino acids and some carbs between meals would work better in growing muscle than just eating a few solid meals throughout the day.
It worked. Those subjects who alternated between a whole-food meal and an amino acid/carbohydrate drink like Mag-10® every 2.5 hours were able to increase muscle protein synthesis without experiencing that precipitous dip.
During Fasting Periods
Generic fasting works great for losing body fat. The trouble is, you often lose nearly as much muscle mass as you do fat mass because your body robs calories from both sources.
So go ahead and stop eating whole foods for your pre-determined fasting period, but continue to drink a serving of Mag-10® every few hours to prevent muscle loss.
In addition to preserving muscle, Mag-10® can actually reset the way the body burns fat, making it more efficient, by doing something called a "Cheat Fast," where you eat a big meal the night before you begin your fast. You can read about it HERE.
For Post-Workout Recovery
After finishing a rough workout, levels of cortisol, the muscle-eating hormone, elevate and your body's rate of protein breakdown exceeds its rate of protein synthesis. Mag-10® puts the kibosh on cortisol-induced catabolism and speeds up growth and recovery.
During Metabolic Conditioning Work
Whether or not fasted cardio (doing cardio on an empty stomach, like first thing in the morning) is actually more effective in burning fat than doing cardio in a fed state is still controversial, but one thing that isn't controversial is that fasted cardio can burn up muscle as well as fat.
Muscle nutritionist Dr. Lonnie Lowery found, however, through laboratory testing, that Mag-10® acts as a muscle "protectant" by interfering with the catabolism of muscle during cardio. All you need to do is sip a serving during cardio. "Fat burning remained in high gear during aerobic sessions, while muscles were fully protected," concluded Lowery.
How to Use Mag-10®
The Mag-10® formula is unflavored, so it requires the addition of a few drops of Biotest Intensified Liquid Flavoring. The latter comes in tiny 3.4 ounce bottles and a couple of drops are practically enough to sweeten a swimming pool of water, should you want to do so. (One bottle is included with every container of Mag-10®, your choice of flavor.)
The label instructions for mixing Mag-10® are very specific:
- Pour 300 ml (around 10 ounces) of cold water into a shaker bottle. Then pour 1 serving (35 grams) of Mag-10® powder into the water. Secure the cap and shake it like a Polaroid for about 20 seconds. This makes it all Guinness-beer foamy.
- While the mixture is still foamy, mix in one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of the liquid flavoring I mentioned above. Swirl it around until it dissipates evenly.
- Add another 200 ml of cold water (about 7 ounces) and again swirl it around until it's all thoroughly mixed.
To substantially kick-start the recovery process, drink one of these 500 ml servings (16.9 ounces) an hour after training. (You can prepare the mixture up to 24 hours before use as long as you keep it refrigerated).
So yeah, pretty specific, right? But there's a purpose behind this exactness. By using approximately 16.9 ounces (the same amount of liquid in a standard screw-top bottle of Diet Coke), you create the perfect osmolality, which is a measurement of the concentration of the chemical particles – in this case, peptides – in a fluid.
This osmolality assures the exact rate of digestion and assimilation that Biotest found to be best for post-workout recovery.
HOWEVER, you might find this amount of preparation to be a pain in the ass. I have to confess that while I use this exact procedure to prepare my post-workout Mag-10® drink, I cheat when I use it for other purposes, whether that purpose be protein pulsing or as a bulwark against potentially muscle-robbing fasting periods.
That's when I get kind of sloppy (probably against Biotest's wishes). I just throw a scoop and some flavoring in whatever amount of cold water I feel like drinking, be it 6 ounces or 16. Much easier and it still works great.
Either way, Mag-10® is super cool and super effective. Last time I checked, it was about the only supplement that Jim Wender, powerlifter and inventor of 5/3/1 training, deemed worthy of using. Bodybuilding coach Christian Thibaudeau said "it might be the only true breakthrough in the world of high-performance bodybuilding nutrition in the past 20 years."
Despite all this high praise, I don't want to suggest that Mag-10® will ever take the place of conventional protein powders, just like the new generation of muscle cars won't ever take the place of little 4-banger fuel-efficient models. However, Mag-10® is a great choice for lifters who crave high performance.
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