I just wrapped up a clinical study that is to my knowledge the first of its kind. wodFuel, a pre-workout product, was tested on experienced CrossFit participants using a benchmark workout of the day (WOD) known as “Cindy”.

Adam Nadler is the owner of wodFuel, Inc. In November of 2012, I began helping Adam re-formulate and re-package wodFuel. The new formula came onto the market just a few weeks ago.

Below I have pasted an article that discusses the project in more detail.

wodFuel®: Lift Stronger, Last Longer!

When Adam Nadler founded wodFuel, Inc. one of his goals was to bring more authenticity to the sports nutrition marketplace. Adam is also the owner of CrossFit Immersion, a box in Coral Springs, Florida.

“When I started this company, I had little experience with the sports nutrition industry, other than as a consumer. I felt there was a need for an authentic brand, one that spoke honestly and openly to consumers about its products. I relied on a contract manufacturer to help me develop my first pre-WOD (workout of the day) formula. Though it received positive reviews, I felt I could do better. I learned from that experience, and in 2012 I teamed up with a leading consultant who has worked with over 30 sports nutrition brands over the last two decades. With his help, I developed a new and better wodFuel.”

Adam explains the thought process that went into developing the new wodFuel formula:

“CrossFit appeals to men and women of a wide range of ages and fitness backgrounds. Most of them don’t want to take products loaded with harsh central nervous system (CNS) stimulants before they exercise. For one thing, it’s not a good idea to begin your WOD or any form of intense exercise with your heart racing. Secondly, there is the risk of long-term health consequences from taking these ingredients. This is why you won’t find harsh stimulants in wodFuel.”

Adam continues, “It’s also important to remember that consumers take pre-workout products several times a week. Therefore, we carefully selected vitamins, minerals, co-factors and other nutraceuticals that not only help your body to perform at its physical best today, but also support long-term health when wodFuel is used on a regular basis.”

The wodFuel Clinical Study: Putting it to the test with “Cindy”

CrossFit consumers are savvy, of course. To convince them of the value of wodFuel, Adam decided to put it to the test in a controlled clinical study. There were 19 subjects in the study. All were experienced CrossFit participants. They performed “Cindy”, a benchmark WOD, in a CrossFit facility.

wodFuel is now the first pre-workout supplement to have been tested in an IRB-approved, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study using CrossFit participants. IRB is short for “Institutional Review Board”. Essentially, this means that the wodFuel study was safe and ethical, and conducted in accordance with federal guidelines for good clinical practice.

“Cardio-Friendly” Performance Enhancement.

In the study, subjects took either one serving of wodFuel or a placebo 20 minutes before performing Cindy. Preliminary analyses show that wodFuel enabled subjects to complete more rounds of Cindy and perform more reps and more total work. It also increased their self-reported energy level, or what scientists refer to as ‘vigor”. Importantly, wodFuel had no significant effects on blood pressure or heart rate. In other words, it was “cardio friendly”, supporting blood pressure and heart rate in the healthy range.

wodFuel Highlights

  • Clinically Studied: wodFuel is the first pre-workout formula tested in an IRB-approved, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving experienced subjects performing a benchmark WOD (workout of the day), ““Cindy”, in a CrossFit facility.
  • Cardio Friendly: wodFuel contains a patented, non-GMO, 100% grape seed extract derived from wine grapes grown in the US using traditional cultivation techniques. The results of controlled clinical studies indicate that it supports blood pressure in a normal, healthy range. wodFuel also contains a clinical dose of coenzyme Q10 to support cardiovascular work output
  • Real Fuel: Glucose (“blood sugar”) is your body’s preferred fuel, particularly during high-intensity workouts. wodFuel supports whole-body glucose levels during your WOD with a non-GMO, gluten-free, whole-grain brown rice extract.
  • Free Radical Protection: Your body produces free radicals all day long, including during your workouts. One packet of wodFuel gives you free radical protection equivalent to nearly 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetables based on ORAC value, a measure of potential antioxidant strength.
  • Natural Caffeine: wodFuel contains no synthetic caffeine. It energizes and drives you with natural caffeine derived from the raw, unroasted seeds of the coffee fruit.Naturally Sweetened, Creatine-Free: Because wodFuel is free of artificial sweeteners and creatine, it won’t produce the side effects (e.g. bloating, weight gain, stimulation of appetite) sometimes associated with these ingredients.
  • Natural Flavors and Colors: wodFuel contains no artificial flavors or colors. It uses natural flavors that offer a richer, more satisfying taste than artificially flavored and sweetened products.
  • Identity-Tested Actives: All of the actives ingredients in wodFuel are tested to confirm their identity before being used to make the finished product.
  • Manufactured in a GMP-certified facility: The wodFuel formula is produced in a manufacturing facility that is GMP certified by NSF and the Natural Products Association.


Why your fish oil may not be fish oil.

The most important components of fish oil are EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are types of fatty acids that scientists believe may have beneficial effects on health, such as regulating inflammation and supporting healthy cardiovascular function. Though, if you’ve been reading the news, you know that some scientists believe that fish oil may not protect your cardiovascular health.

The irony is that many if not most fish oil supplements aren’t technically oil. Most of the EPA and DHA inside a fish exist in the form of triglycerides. Yet many if not most fish oil supplements contain EPA and DHA in an unnatural form known as ethyl esters.

Some research suggests that ethyl esters may not be as easy for your body to absorb. EPA and DHA may also be more susceptible to damage (oxidation) when they are in the form of ethyl esters.

What I’m saying here is by no means conclusive. I’m just learning about this topic myself, in fact. But it does raise a question: If I take “fish oil” supplements, should I be taking a true fish oil product which contains EPA and DHA in triglyceride form?

By the way, I recently came across a Web site discussing this interesting test that can be used to determine if your fish oil supplement is a true oil or an ethyl ester based product. It’s kind of creepy!


Measure and place 20 ml of fish oil in a polystyrene cup. Place the cup on a plate to avoid any mess. Observe the cup after 10 minutes. If the fish oil has leaked significantly through the cup it contains EE. Due to their chemical composition, EE will actually eat straight through the polystyrene cup. This effect will become evident after just a few minutes; however, significant leakage is seen after 10 minutes. Natural TG fish oils placed in the same cup will not show leakage after 10 minutes. Natural TG fish oils may show leakage through the cup in very small amounts after 2-3 hours.

Arginine AKG fails again


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24 physically active men took MRI’s Platinum NO2 product or a placebo for 7 days (1). Platinum supplied a total of 12 g of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) in the dosage given.

Before and after supplementation, the subjects lifted weights.Various measurements were made, including markers of blood flow and nitric oxide (NO) production.

The result: Supplementing with arginine AKG increased arginine levels (not much of a surprise here), but was no more effective at increasing blood flow and NO production than a placebo. Thus, changes in either were attributed to resistance exercise itself.

Conclusion: The best way to get a pump is to work out. Arginine won’t improve it.


1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21813912

New ROB Training Style: “Thirds”

Well, I was going to write an e-book about my new training style and charge the world for it -at least a few bucks, anyways. But I’m so busy with my consulting business that I don’t have the time. Plus, I’d rather just get the information into as many people’s hands as possible, as quickly as possible. So I’ll just tell you what to do here on this blog.

Beginning in 2005, I began experimenting with a new style of resistance exercise. Instead of performing the normal “full” range of motion for each exercise, I perform the first third of this range in which the main muscle being exercise is at its longest length.

Let’s use the barbell bench press as an example. I lift the barbell off the rack and lower it to my chest. Then I lift it back up about 1/3 of the way before lowering it back to my chest. Then I repeat for anywhere from 10-25 reps.

Now let’s consider barbell squats. I begin by bending my knees and descending into a squat position. Once my thighs are parallel to the floor, I begin to lift the barbell back up again. As above, I only lift it up about 1/3 of the way before descending again.

I perform anywhere from 15-20 sets per muscle group using this technique. I hit each muscle group 1-2 times per week.

That’s it.

How does it work? My experience has been that it works very well. If I go back to doing full-range reps for a week or so and then go back to my new “ROB” training style -“thirds”, if you like- my muscles appear much fuller and leaner within 24-48 hours. This type of training really does seem to make the muscles “pop” more. I swear they take on a different shape with this style of training. I really like it.

I’ve talk to one scientist about my new training style, and he says that it is possible that it might produce a greater hypertrophic (muscle-building) stimulus because I am performing my reps in a position where the muscles are longer. May this is why it seems to work. Perhaps there are other mechanisms involved. Noone can know for sure.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!

Will the bodybuilding lifestyle make you age faster?


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If you’re a bodybuilder, then you may not enjoy this post. It even makes me a little concerned. I’ve lived a bodybuilding lifestyle for over two decades, not that I can do anything about the past, of course!

I recently received an impressive review paper from Professor John Speakman, Director of the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He and his colleague, Sharon Mitchell, wrote about the topic of caloric restriction in their paper, which was recently published in the journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine (1).

As I told Dr. Speakman by email, I’m no PhD; nevertheless, I can appreciate the immense amount of work that must have gone into preparing his review paper. I found it very impressive. It was also quite ironic.

What made the paper ironic is the following. Referring to extensive research, Drs. Speakman and Mitchell discuss a number of factors, the restriction or down-regulation of which may delay aging. Yet these are some of the very same factors that bodybuilders -often encouraged by bodybuilding supplement marketers- hope to increase or up-regulate. Therein lies the irony. Let’s hope they aren’t making themselves age faster.

I’ll briefly cover a few examples below. If you want more details, definitely read the full paper.

(1) Caloric restriction: Animal studies suggest that by eating fewer calories, aging may be delayed.

(2) Protein restriction: Restriction of protein may also delay aging. In fact, some of the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction may be due to the restriction of protein per se.

(3) mTOR: If you read enough bodybuilding supplement ads, you’re bound to come across one talking about how the advertised product stimulates mTOR, which in turn increases muscle protein synthesis, the essential element of building muscle. This is common with amino acid formulas, especially those containing leucine. Ironically, mTOR has also been suggested to play a role in aging. That’s why some scientists are studying compounds (e.g. resveratrol) that may lower mTOR activity.

(4) Insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): These two anabolic hormones are often talked about within bodybuilding circles. Bodybuilders generally try to increase their levels, not reduce them. More irony: Reducing insulin and IGF-1 levels may delay aging. Dairy protein (think whey and casein) has been shown to increase insulin and IGF-1. In large (~5-gram) doses resveratrol may lower IGF-1.

(5) Metabolic rate: This is an oldie but still a goodie. Animals with higher metabolic rates tend to age faster. Yet what are all those stimulant-containing “fat-burners” (a.k.a. “thermogenics”) designed to do? Stimulate your metabolism.


A caveat: Yes, much of what I’ve written above remains to be proven. Still, after reading the review paper of Drs. Speakman and Mitchell, it’s hard not to wonder if a bodybuilding lifestyle may encourage you to age more quickly. Again, let’s hope this isn’t the case.


1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21840335


Caloric restriction
John R. Speakman ⇑, Sharon E. Mitchell


New form of HMB may work better than the “old”


A new HMB study has appeared in the British Journal of Nutrition (1). The authors compared the bioavailability of a free acid gel form of HMB with the calcium salt (calcium HMB) in capsule form. The gel was either swallowed right away or held under the tongue (sublingually) for 15 seconds before swallowing. The free acid gel produced nearly 200% greater peak concentrations of HMB than the calcium salt, whether it was swallowed right away or held under the tongue before swallowing. The results also suggest that the HMB from the gel was more efficiently taken up by tissues. The authors concluded, “These data offer the theoretical advantages of delivering a better dosing method based upon ease of administration, and achieving higher sustained HMB plasma concentration that could improve HMB availability and efficacy to tissues.”

I reached out to one of the authors, Dr. Rathmacher, who I have corresponded with in the past. I asked him when the free acid gel form of HMB might be available on the market. Dr. Rathmacher said that no release date has yet been established.


1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21134325



Study on 1,3-DMAA-containing supplement approved by IRB

Good news! I’m currently coordinating two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. One is on a thermogenic dietary supplement that contains 1,3-dimethylamylamine. The other study involves a botanical extract. We will be examining the effect that each product has on thermogenesis and mood. The good news is that our IRB (International Review Board) has approved the studies. I’m very excited.

Fish oil no worky

Lots of people take fish oil supplements thinking that they will make their brain work better, resulting in improved cognitive performance and a more positive mood. I’ve taken fish oil for extended periods of time and noticed zero in both regards. What about you?

A study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition seems to agree with the results of my own personal experiments. For 12 weeks, 159 healthy young adults (18-35 years) received 1 g/day of two types of fish oil. Now, as I understand it, the subjects got 1 g/day of an EPA-rich fish oil and 1 g/day of a DHA-rich fish oil, for a total of 2 g daily. I could be wrong. However, I’ve only got the abstract (see reference below) at this point. I requested the full study from one of the authors.

The authors concluded: “Despite good adherence to the study protocol – as reflected in increased concentrations of n-3 serum fatty acids – compared with placebo, the observed effects of both active treatments were minimal. The only finding of note revealed that supplementation with EPA-rich FO may reduce subjective mental fatigue at times of high cognitive demand, although further investigation is required. These findings, taken together with other recent reports of null effects, suggest that dietary supplementation with n-3 PUFA in healthy, normally developing and impairment-free populations is unlikely to result in cognitive enhancement.”

How does fish oil work for you? Share your story.




The n-3 PUFA are a unique class of fatty acids that cannot be manufactured by the body, and must be acquired via dietary sources. In the UK, as well as in other Western nations, these ‘essential’ fatty acids are consumed in quantities that fall below government guidelines. The present study explored the effects of 12 weeks’ dietary supplementation with 1 g/d of two types of fish oil (FO; DHA-rich and EPA-rich) in 159 healthy young adults aged 18–35 years. An assessment of performance on a battery of computerised cognitive tasks and mood measures took place before and following the 12-week treatment regimen. Venous blood samples were also supplied by participants at both time points which were later analysed for serum fatty acid concentrations.

Friday night I returned from a business trip to Atlanta. It was hot and muggy there, as it is at home in south Florida. But it was a worthwhile trip. I was introducing a new client of mine to a manufacturer. The client is from Asia. I’m helping them develop their own sports nutrition brand. The products will be manufactured here and exported for sale in Asia.

During meetings with the manufacturer and my client, the topic of raw material prices –specifically, protein- came up. We talked about how some companies are trying to cut costs by cutting corners. For instance, when making protein supplements, some companies are diluting the protein with non-protein amino acids like taurine that are much less expensive than protein. When a protein supplement is tested for its protein content, the test measures not protein per se, but rather nitrogen. If the protein has been diluted with amino acids, the results will be similar. But you’re actually getting a lower-quality product from a muscle-building standpoint. It might also taste not as good. (NOTE: Taurine is much less expensive than whey protein. But it is not used by the body to make muscle protein or any other type of tissue protein. That’s why we call it a “non-protein” amino acid.)

How can consumers determine which companies are cutting corners by performing this stunt? Practically speaking, you can’t. You could pay a lab perform tests on a protein supplement to measure the molecular weight of its contents. This might give you some idea as to whether or not the manufacturer replaced some of the protein with amino acids. But other than that, you’re shooting in the dark.

Now here is some good news. I just signed off on a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study. I’m coordinating the study for a client of mine. We’ll be looking at the effects of a weight management supplement and a herbal extract on thermogenesis, mood and fat-burning. I’m excited to see the results! I’ll keep you posted, of course.


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