Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Image

Driven Sports Craze has attracted a lot of attention since it was released, devastating users with both amazing results and, rarely, terrible side effects.  Rumors swirled about what the new ingredient “Dendrobex” was and wasn’t was, going to the point of speculating that it contained unlisted drugs.  Driven Sports has provided several drug tests in informal settings on bodybuilding.com’s forums to dispute these claims.  A new topic that has been lingering for a while has been whether there has been some change in Craze since it was first released.  I have linked my previous coverage of these issues above.

The claim is users that bought the initial production run are now experiencing different effects with more recently produced batches.  Many have noted that it is still a good product for them, but that it does not seem to affect them the same way.  Many have noted tolerance as a potential cause, which makes sense of course.  The persistence of these claims makes one wonder if it is more than that, though.  Fueling the fire of speculation was a labeling change — not long after release, Driven Sports listed Creatine Monohydrate as the first ingredient instead of Betaine Anhydrous.  DS states that the two ingredients occur in exactly the same amount, meaning the choice of which is listed first (ingredients in a proprietary blend must be listed from most prevalent to least prevalent) is arbitrary.  They say they moved Creatine Monohydrate to that first position since it is a far more recognized ingredient.  Beyond that, several new flavors of Craze have been released and some users have claimed those do not affect them the same way their old grape did.

An enormous thread on the bodybuilding.com forums on this topic can be found here: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=147591473

After nearly two months of discussion about placebo, tolerance, dishonesty, and a myriad of other speculations about why these reports were surfacing, Driven Sports owner/founder Matt Cahill posted that he had discovered counterfeit products on the market, at least in Europe.  You can find more information at their blog: here and here.  This does not necessarily address the complaints of domestic customers, however.

So what’s the deal?

I’m not sure.  If the likes of Pat Arnold are to be believed (bear in mind that he has backed off his allegations at the request of DS), then the recent complaints from customers are because Driven Sports removed this mythical additive.  On the other hand,  this could be an issue of tolerance, as mentioned earlier.  People keep using the product and eventually it does not work as well without proper stimulant cycling.  Also, the initial reviews were a bit out of this world.  Perhaps the effects were overstated and the subsequent high expectations simply could not be met.  DS has also made mentions that the product was susceptible to settling, so some users would be getting inconsistent amounts of the active ingredients in each scoop unless they “shook the tub.”

Regardless, the product continues to sell fabulously well online.  The fever pitch of interest seems to have died down, but it still has legions of loyal users and remains a common recommendation and even more common request.  Other companies like MAN and Gaspari have recently released products claiming a Dendrobium extract, so we’ll see if those work the same as DS’s proprietary extract.

With the recent burst of news about Ray Lewis and other professional athletes and the actually banned substance called deer antler velvet, I thought it would be useful to inform the masses not to waste their money.  Just because someone deceived a professional athlete into using it, this does not mean it works.  If the news coverage of it makes it seem like it works…well that’s what supplement companies do — they present their product in such a way that it seems like it MUST work.

What’s in it?

Deer antler velvet is being taken and they are extracting the substance IGF-1 from it.  IGF-1 is a growth hormone and something that is actually found in your body and actually does good things for you.  Sounds good, right?  Great.  Is it found in deer antler velvet?  Possibly.

IGF-1 has been studied for medical uses and has been used in treatments for diabetes, cancer, and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  There is some debate as to its efficacy for these various things.  Typically, growth hormones are injected when used for medicinal or even performance enhancement purposes.

Deer antler velvet products are usually available in sprays, under tongue lozenges, or capsule form.  They are not illegal, but they are banned by most sporting organizations.

Does it work?

No.  There is no evidence that it works and with the right knowledge, it would not even make sense that it could work.  First of all, people are either eating it or applying it topically to the skin.  Growth hormones are injected.  It is also unclear whether there is even enough of IGF-1 in the product that someone could buy it, inject it, not die, and get results.  Furthermore, as indicated previously, IGF-1 is very likely not useful for athletes to supplement anyway.

Let’s look at the research:

1. N Z Med J. 2012 Dec 14;125(1367):80-6.

Health benefits of deer and elk velvet antler supplements: a systematic review of
randomised controlled studies.

Gilbey A, Perezgonzalez JD.

College of Business, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, New
Zealand. a.p.gilbey@massey.ac.nz.

AIMS: The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence from RCTs of
velvet antler supplements for any condition, using the QUOROM statement as a
guiding framework.
METHODS: Four electronic databases (PubMed, Medline, Web of Science and Academic
search premier, via the bibliographical platform, Endnote) and two review
articles were searched for all randomised clinical trials of velvet antler
supplements. Retrieved trials were evaluated according to standardised criteria.
RESULTS: Seven RCTs were identified as satisfying all inclusion criteria and
examined the effectiveness of velvet antler for rheumatoid arthritis (2),
osteoarthritis (1), sexual function (1), and sporting performance enhancement
(3). Their methodological quality ranged from 3-5, as measured on the Jadad
scale. Two RCTs reported some positive effects of velvet antler supplements, but
neither were convincing while the remaining five RCTs found no effect of velvet
antler supplements.
CONCLUSIONS: Claims made for velvet antler supplements do not appear to be based
upon rigorous research from human trials, although for osteoarthritis the
findings may have some promise.

PMID: 23321886 [PubMed – in process]

This is a research review looking at all the deer antler velvet research in humans.  They found no proof for usefulness for ANY REASON, and for sports supplementation they see that it was so conclusively useless that it does not even merit further research.

Why would Ray Lewis take it?

Ray Lewis is a consumer just like anyone else.  Like it probably did for you, deer antler velvet sounded really good and it was clearly not a steroid.  Likewise, even if it worked like injectable HGH, the NFL does not do blood testing for heightened levels of growth hormones.  There was not much to lose.

The question was asked to me, “well if it isn’t very bioavailable orally and/or there isn’t enough of the stuff per bottle, isn’t he rich enough to just buy a lot?”  Sure, he’s rich enough.  At this point, though, why wouldn’t he just buy the real HGH?  It would attract less attention and be far more certain to work.  Neither could be tested for by the NFL.  I would guess that he was either sold it by a personal trainer or perhaps he did not buy it at all, and the person leaking this information is just trying to make money on deer antler velvet.

To summarize,

don’t buy this stuff.  No Excuses will take care of you if you want to invest in supplements.  If you want HGH gains, buy HGH…but I won’t help you with that.

The following are all from my personal experience, because you know I’d never lead you astray.  I’ll be honest and admit I do not know whether some of these have Android equivalents, as I own only an iPhone.  Please forgive me if I get you excited about an app that your Android doesn’t yet carry.

First of all, I’m one that always wants my phone with me when I’m working out.  I want to listen to something, I want to perhaps even check something fitness-related while I work out.  When I’m doing heavy sets alone, I also have to do something to fill up my rest time.

So first thing’s first, you must get Pandora.

This is a free service that many probably know already, but it acts as a custom radio station(s) based on your music preferences.  You can give it inspiration by telling your favorite artist and then as it chooses songs for you, you can mark songs that you like, dislike, or even like yet are tired of hearing right now.  I’ve had success getting this to run smoothly without Wi-Fi and it is one less thing for me to stress about instead of having to create a playlist for my workout.

 

____________________________________________________

 

Here’s another listening category for gym-goers.  Sometimes I don’t want to fiddle around with music at all.  For me, in long cardio sessions I often will listen to the sports radio station of my hometown, Chicago.  There is in fact an app for that 🙂  Many radio stations have free apps for listening.  You can get so involved in the content of talk radio that it can keep your mind a little bit detached from your current laborious state.

 

____________________________________________________

 

A do-it-all app is the bodybuilding.com app.

This puts at your fingertips a variety of things.  First of all, you can remotely keep track of your progress much in the same way you can do through their BodySpace feature on your computer.  It all syncs up as long as you sign in.  So you can quickly add in your new one rep maximum, weight, etc. without having to use a computer.  Moreover, at your disposal is a very extensive and easy to use exercise and stretching guide, each categorized by type of movement and body part.  I’ve used this at the gym when I have had to change my workout on the fly and can’t think of the right movement off the top of my head.  If you use bodybuilding.com’s forums, this is also a gateway to those.

 

____________________________________________________

 

 

Anabolic Minds is another top notch app when it comes to information.

It has a different feel than bodybuilding.com’s app and is more forum-oriented.  I actually think forum browsing is easier on this app, but you don’t need it for the forum app.  The “news” feature is very nice and features by and large very good content (well, it doesn’t have me yet and there is still some occasional broscience creeping in).  I really enjoy reading the articles whenever I have time or have time I need to kill.

____________________________________________________

MyFitnessPal is the king of calorie/macronutrient tracking.

This would also be the main website I’d recommend.  The navigation on the app is fairly simple and intuitive and the best part of this app vs competitors is that you are still able to see not only calories but also all of the other macronutrients on both individual foods and your daily total.  This was always frustrating for me with other apps because as we know calories are not the entire story.  I’ve also found in general that MyFitnessPal (app and website) has far and away the most extensive food catalogue, meaning you should almost always be able to find the food you ate without digging out nutrition facts and creating a “custom food” so often.

____________________________________________________

MAPMyRun is simply awesome.

This app is a must if you are going to run outside.  I think everyone should have at least the occasional real life run in their routine.  Your goal may be this thing or that thing, but if you’re going to to do all this work on your fitness you ought to be able to run around.  Anyways, this app tracks your run with GPS either on a pre-programmed route or just one that you ad lib as you go.  Based on GPS, it measures your distance and it will also tell you your pace.  Don’t worry, despite these verbal cues every mile it does not interfere with your music playing!  I know there is a “pro” version, but the free version works just fine for my purposes.

____________________________________________________

That’s all I have for now.  I’ll update as I learn and as always, I’m open to suggestions.  Feel free to tell me about your favorite apps in the comments and I’ll give them a go.

EDIT:  This story has undergone further developments, which I have attempted to summarize at this link.

Truth is, I don’t know.

I can tell you, however, who his lawyer is.  His name is Scott J Ferrell and he has been involved in lawsuits like the Craze lawsuit before.

I see that he has a lawsuit in progress against USPLabs over their use of DMAA. Info here.  The thing of interest in that suit is you’re hearing similar “amphetamine-like” kind of language in regards to a generally safe ingredient, DMAA.

He has also sued ThermoLife, accusing them of false advertising in their Dicana product.  This is mainly concerning their claims to have a patent pending.  I don’t know just yet how that panned out.  Read the legal docs in this PDF.

He successfully sued BSN over false advertisement of their Cheaters Relief product, resulting in refund payouts coming from BSN.  Legal doc here.  He made similar claims in a lawsuit here about several BSN products but I don’t have info on the outcome of that lawsuit.

According to this link, he was actually counter-sued or perhaps pre-emptively sued by a supplement company after he sent a “warning letter” which has been common in his lawsuits.  Apparently they are trying to get him for extortion.

There are actually several other lawsuits open that I have not mentioned here because it was beginning to get tedious.  You get the point.

The lawyer “is an avid runner and swimmer and rarely sleeps.”   Perhaps a fan of supplements as well?

I don’t know what to glean from all of this, but this certainly isn’t the lawyer’s first rodeo.  He has sued supplement companies and won.  I should also mention that if his case against USPLabs is based on relating DMAA to amphetamine, I’d think that he knows little about pharmacology.

EDIT: This story has had further developments, which I have attempted to conclude at this link.

Anyone that is involved in the supplement industry is aware that Driven Sports Craze has been one of the biggest talking points in the supplementation world for a little while now.  Many users reported unparalleled focus, mood boost, etc.  A few users have had negative side effects and another few have just had no effects.  I personally was somewhere between no effect and bad side effects.

The gist of the following lawsuit found first at courthousenews.com (not familiar with the website, but I have seen the court documents which tell me this must be a real thing) is mainly alleging that Craze is spiked with amphetamine or perhaps an analogue.  There is no evidence produced but I hope no legal firm would go forward with this unless there was a lab report somewhere.  I do not have info on Aaron Karmann, the plaintiff, but I’m looking to see if he’s affiliated within the industry.  There have been rumors of this nature since the release of Craze, but to some extent that comes with the territory when you have a supplement that works differently/better than predecessors.

Other parts of the lawsuit include complaints that even the listed ingredients are not legal due to red tape within FDA regulations.  I am not sure how valid these claims are and frankly don’t care much unless Dendrobex is what contains this amphetamine analogue.  Driven Sports claims Dendrobex comes from dendrobium, a long used Chinese medicine ingredient.

A couple things of note:

1. PEA, a perfectly useful and legal stimulant that is on Craze’s label, is technically an amphetamine analogue.  I doubt there will be a legal case to be made if it turns out that the plaintiff is simply anti-PEA.

2. There are no tests offered among the legal documents.  It is possible that the plaintiff plans to produce the tests in court, but at this point it would be unfair to simply assume that DS has spiked the product.

3. This is NOT an FDA case.  This is a lawsuit, as in seeking MONEY.  That doesn’t necessarily make it less legitimate, but there is zero involvement from the FDA at this point and it is simply a man suing Driven Sports and will let other California residents that purchased Craze split the compensation should the lawsuit win.

4. The court date is set for September 2012.

UPDATE: I’ve done a little more digging on the plaintiffs.  Look here for details.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/03/21/44876.htm

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=143497393

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – A diet supplement maker is selling a mislabeled amphetamine with claims that it is “safe” and “helps put you in a fantastic mood,” a man claims in a class action in Superior Court.
Lead plaintiff Aaron Karmann sued Driven Sports, claiming its Craze diet supplement contains amphetamine, “a dangerous ingredient which is regulated as a controlled substance and a dangerous stimulant in California and thus cannot be lawfully included in a dietary supplement.
A visit to Driven Sports’ website on Tuesday found this ad: “Imagine having something available that helps you train BEYOND YOUR LIMITS. Imagine endless energy. No weight is too great and no personal record is safe. That something would give you unmatched results, where others have failed. That something is Craze”!, the ultimate in pre-workout power!”
But Karmann says: “Defendant claims that the product is a ‘dietary supplement’ which is legal, safe, and efficacious. In reality, the product is intentionally tainted with amphetamine, the illegal and dangerous controlled substance that is not declared as an ingredient on the product’s label.”
He claims that defendant’s product “is intentionally tainted with amphetamine, the illegal and dangerous controlled substance that is not declared as an ingredient on the product’s label.”
The complaint adds: “Defendant makes representations regarding the efficacy, safety and legality of the product which are false, misleading and deceptive. These include, without limitation, that Craze is ‘safe,’ that it ‘helps put you in a fantastic mood and enhances your focus,’ that it is ‘designed to enhance your workouts and enhance your progress,’ and that it can be used by students for studying.
“Plaintiff and members of the class relied on defendant’s misrepresentations and would not have paid as much, if at all, for the products but for defendant’s misrepresentations. As a result, defendant has wrongfully taken millions of dollars from California consumers. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit to enjoin the ongoing defrauding of thousands of California consumers by defendant, and to recover the money taken by its illegal practices.”
Karmann seeks an injunction, costs, restitution, disgorgement, and punitive damages.
He is represented by Scott Ferrell with the Newport Trial Group, of Newport Beach.

Well, it’s the time of year that we all decide to change our physique.  In a couple weeks, it will be the time of year everyone gives up on that same decision.  Why does this happen?

It’s easy to say people are unmotivated and there is some truth to that.  Physique changes certainly require a good deal of dedication.  However, I think there are plenty of well-meaning folks that just get frustrated when bad plans are followed with bad results.  The first part of successful achievement of New Year’s resolutions (and any other goal, really) begins with the setting of the goal.  Let’s start with an example of my own –

I wanted to get a six pack. Who doesn’t? I would work hard and try not to eat too much for weeks at a time.  Alas, no six pack.  I continued to be disappointed and I’d eventually for some reason give up.  Maybe I’d binge on some Dairy Queen in my frustration.  Perhaps I’d try on that shirt that I liked but didn’t flatter me…and of course it still wouldn’t.  That stinks – where’s the progress?

You need to set realistic goals in both the short term and long term.  Focus on short term goals.  A physique change like obtaining a six pack is a worthy goal, but it may be far enough in the future (like it was for me) that you’ll torture yourself trying to obtain it.  Instead, if you focus on just losing that one pound per week or getting one rep stronger per workout and you will find yourself approaching those long term goals faster than ever.  I will of course refer you to Fitness 101 so that you can rest assured that your plan of action is well thought out.

What happens when you fail? Unfortunately, you’re going to have this great plan – you’re going to eat in a certain way, work out in a certain way, etc.  Then…your mother bakes you your favorite dessert.  And you eat it all in one sitting, effectively ruining your daily intake.  This is not when you quit!  So what, you lost a day – forget it.  Honestly, just enjoy yourself once you’ve let that day happen.  Tomorrow is a new day and you can get back on track.  Think of it like this: your positive days will so far outweigh those hiccups that the difference will be negligible.  This is no license to slack, but you have to put things in perspective.  A single missed day out of 30 still makes for a good month.  I use a nutrition example here, but you can apply this in many different ways.  I believe that setting short term goals is key to achieving a mindset that allows you to overcome failure.  Every day, regardless of how good or bad yesterday was, you have the same goal.  A good day does not mean that you approach the next day carelessly and a bad day does not mean that your next day is worthless.

I’ll even use this blog as an example of how my positive attitude will keep this going in times it wouldn’t have before.  Some of these posts, particularly guides, are rather long and take considerable effort.  My long term goal is to have several different guides that encompass all kinds of different parts of fitness and athletics.  However, I know that I cannot just make them all appear (especially with the quality I require of myself).  Instead, I write bit by bit.  I focus only on writing the next section and making it well.  Even this relatively short article was written in several different sessions.  Once, I sat down and couldn’t quite find the right words to say.  I just let it go, and now I’ve reset my mind and gotten back to writing.

One thing that helped me in particular once I’d really done some research is that you can really dive in all the way once you are certain that your plan will be effective.  The last thing you want is to let doubt creep in that even with perfect effort, you won’t get results.  This is part of the reason I created this blog in the first place, to let you rest assured that your efforts won’t be wasted.

I’d like to emphasize that the point of this article is not to give license to laziness.  However, we must acknowledge our humanity.  The people we admire aren’t perfect either, so we can’t put so much pressure on ourselves that we crumble at the first moment that things get hard.  You will find that the less pressure you put on yourself, the easier it is to do what you know you need to do.

To summarize:
– Set those big goals!
– Also set short term goals
– Focus on hitting daily goals
– Don’t get hung up on misses
– Results

Let’s make 2012 a big year.

My Web Presence

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Miscellaneous
Tags:

I obviously didn’t just start and if anyone is interested, I’d like to show you where most of my time has been on the web.  As I’ve suggested before, anyone reading this should get an account at bodybuilding.com’s forums.  My username is D3Baseball (take a guess why that is).  I’m going to share links to some of the logs I’ve already done at bodybuilding.com, so you can get an idea of where I came from and if you wish you can learn about the products I’ve reviewed.

This one’s my first log and the one in which I really had some success – I certainly did not have it all figured out, but it was a great start and there were some amazing guys in there helping me out.  One thing for sure is that I was taking way too many supplements for a beginner (or really anyone) – nonetheless, had some great results: First cutting log

Here’s my first sponsored log – this means I was sent a product to review while tracking my own progress throughout the duration of my use of the product.  I was still learning here, and got some great feedback on my workout program which led me towards 5/3/1:  Gaspari SuperPump MAX Log

Here’s a log I ran through the end of a cut, and this another sponsored one so it culminates in a review.  Still learning as always, but I will admit this isn’t the most exciting thing to read.  iForce Dexaprine is a nice energy supplement and good on a cut – suppresses appetite and keeps mood/focus up well.  iForce Dexaprine Cutting Log

This log is current as of the time of this initial posting, I’m back on a bulk and logging my use of Controlled Labs Gold Feast, a nice MRP.  Gold Feast Log

If you want to see some of the several product reviews I’ve done, I’ve compiled these links and more at this link.  I do intend to move most if not all of these reviews to this website once I write my supplementation manifesto (don’t want to send mixed messages with product reviews without any kind of guidance about product use).