When I started working out, I made it a point not to immediately get into buying any supplements as they tend to have a connotation that it is strictly only for the regular gym-goers and those who are looking for some serious gains while I’m only looking to have a workable workout habit. Being that I only promised to workout as regularly as my schedule permits but not necessarily dedicating my every waking moment in there, supplements just didn’t seem like something to my I’d imagine adding to my routine.
At best, my “mood booster” is only a can of pre-mixed cold coffee prior to hitting the gym for the first few weeks of my fitness journey. Canned cold coffee, for some reason, just feels more concentrated and spikes my energy better than taking regular hot coffee. I find that my energy is more sustained while working out but the flip-side that I eventually got wary of is that amount of sugar per can (a typical Nescafe Latte canned coffee has at least 15g of sugar-derived carbohydrates per 240ml can) and the fact that it was more expensive than regular coffee (almost AED 25 for a 6-can pack vs. AED 29 for a 24-sachet pack of 3-in-1 coffee).
My decision to try out a supplement this time only came about last January when I was simultaneously going over Katya Henry’s Thicc Challenge workout program (which I shall also be reviewing for you very soon!) and she listed a couple of things she regularly takes to be in her shape and sustain it. Her essentials include things such as whey protein, pre-workout and of course, BCAA. Out of the things she listed, BCAA sounded the least intimidating and least complicated.
I’ll leave it up to you to do your research as to what exactly BCAA does and how it helps in your workout regimen as I wouldn’t want to give any incorrect information about the specifics, but to share an easy-to-digest information – it is supposed to sustaining your energy intra-workout (or throughout your workout) and aids in easier recovery and sore muscles.
I’ve taken it upon myself to try out Xtend BCAA based on recommendations of some fitness trainers on Youtube on which are accessible, affordable and yet effective brands of BCAA and it was just a perfect coincidence that there was an ongoing sale in my local pharmacy, so off I ordered my first 30-serving cannister of the Iced Bluberry flavor of BCAA.
With that in mind, I put this drink supplement into the test for at least 2 to 3 weeks. It was suggested in the packaging to take at least 2 servings per day, especially on your training days and 1 serving on your non-training days. Personally, I’ve restricted myself to only drinking a serving on my training days but none when I’m resting. I’ve limited myself that way because I didn’t want to end up being dependent on it like the cold coffee, plus I was doing my best to stretch the buck I spent.
Right off the bat, my first impression about this supplement was that it was too sweet for my liking. Full disclosure: I’m not a sweet tooth type of girl. I’ve always been more into savory, salty things and I very rarely get the craving for anything sweet unless it’s offered to me. To be fair, it might also have been because I added a serving size into less than the amount of water recommended for my taste test – and honestly it was kind of a bad idea. I’ve adjusted the serving as I got the hang of it, but the initial hit of sweetness was still predominant.
I would say though that after a while, you will get used to the taste in some level. I’d like to highlight however that I wasn’t really a fan of the sweetness coating the insides of my mouth. I could still taste it even if I have already washed it down with lots of plain water after, which suggests that maybe I should give the other flavors a try next time – like their green apple or fruit cocktail.
Performance-wise, this drink is actually surprisingly helpful, even a tiny bit. I’m trying to understand if it’s just a placebo effect but I’m leaning towards the thought of the product as being a worth-a-try supplement. For the first two times, I was probably focusing more on the flavor rather than its supposed benefits to my routine, that I didn’t really pay attention to how it’s or it’s not improving my workout.
At the third try, that’s when I’m able to see more of its effects – especially taking it as an intra-workout drink. Unlike regular water, I don’t really gulp on this as generously. I mostly take it in between sets or exercises, and sometimes even as a pick-me-up when I already feel tired but I still have a lot to do. Don’t go try it and expect that it would give you a boost of energy like a crack because it’s not designed to work that way. It’s not like creatine or pre-workout drinks where you’re jumping like a hyper bunny, it’s more of just a cool little buzz on the back of your head.
Let me also share to you that it does help with sore muscles. I used to have the mentality that I didn’t really go ham on my workout if I don’t feel sore the day after or if I don’t feel my arms and legs falling off from my body. For some time, I kept that mentality every time that I go to the gym but eventually I realized how unnecessary and ineffective it was because I overload my muscle with more than I can handle and end up having to skip some days after because I’m too sore to move. That’s when BCAA came to my life and my recovery has been paramount. Even days of intense lower body workout, I am immediately back in my bad behavior just the next day, doing the heavy lifting.
Would I say that Xtend or BCAAs in general would now be part of my regular workout routine? Probably not. It hasn’t really made that much outstanding dent to keep its place in my nightstand although it doesn’t really hurt to try it out to see how you fair with the product and with the introduction of the amino acids into your regimen.
How about you? Do you have any workout supplements that you’ve tried lately and would like to recommend? Share them with me in the comments box below 🙂