Those who appreciate muscle cars are familiar with high-octane gas or even octane boosters. Simply using a higher-octane fuel or fuel additive, you could coax your Mustang or Camaro into churning out a bit more torque and horsepower.
That's how I view Biotest's Mag-10® Anabolic Pulse formula. 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. A peptide is 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 can quickly 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, but it also 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...
- It has very high solubility and low viscosity. That means it has a very short gastric emptying time so that the gut absorbs it 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:
1. 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 when 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Top Coaches Agree
Last time I checked, Mag-10® 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."
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