Supplement Throwdown

Looking for that competitive edge this race season?

Ever feel like you’re barely surviving your weekend group rides?

Just looking for that extra boost to your overall health and energy levels?

Worried your urine isn’t worth as much as you think it is?

Three of our staffers volunteered to take the most popular over-the-counter endurance supplements during the course of an 8 week period in a classic Road Bike Mike throw-down to see which supplement was worth your hard earned money.  Our guinea pigs, errrr I mean staffers, were each given a 60 day supply of their respective supplement (probably the reason these cheap bastards volunteered) and an 8 week High Intensity Training (“HIT”) regime.  All of the participants consumed the supplements on a blind basis and all of the participants believed they were taking potent performance enhancers (coincidentally, they also believed that the experience and resume building potential of working at RBM was adequate compensation).  Ha!

To protect the innocent/guilty and limit ridicule outside of the RBM clubhouse, we’ve altered the names of our participants.  Meet the subjects and their supplements:

OptygenDanny D

According to 1st Endurance: Optygen “is a legal, safe and stimulant-free formula designed specifically to optimize performance for endurance athletes. This revolutionary formula is based on human clinical trials and the latest scientific research on increasing endurance.”

Active Ingredients:

Chromium, Cordyceps, Calcium Pyruvate, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Ribose, Adenosine, and Rhodiola Extract

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SportLegsNateDogg

According to SportLegs: “Muscle “burn” and next-day soreness are so last century.  Get your SportLegs on!”

Active Ingredients:

Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Lactate

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Sugar (Placebo) - Maximillion

According to the Wikipedia: “Sugar is a term for a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose and fructose characterized by a sweet flavor.”

Active Ingredients:

Sucrose

After 8 weeks of intense training and intense rivalry between the test subjects, the results were interesting.  As a proxy for performance gains, each tester was subjected to a one hour controlled spin to calculate the average watts/kg produced over a 60 minute period.  The before and after results for each tester are displayed below:

Subject Supplement Beginning Watts/kg Ending Watts/kg % Gain
Danny D Optygen 3.15 3.91 24%
NateDogg
SportLegs
2.73 3.26 19%
Maximillion Placebo 3.04 3.31 9%

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As you can see by the chart, all 3 testers posted significant improvements in power output over this short 8 week period.  Proof once again that high-intensity training (especially interval training) has a beneficial impact on power and performance.  Interestingly, the Optygen and Sport Legs produced significant gains!

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According to Danny D,

through week 4, I was convinced that I was the guinea pig taking the placebo.  I was pushing it during my workouts and still feeling the effects.  Something kicked in during weeks 5 through 8 and I really started to hit my training stride.  Intervals were less taxing, my recovery was accelerating and my legs would feel fresh the day after particularly grueling intervals.

When told that he was on Optygen, Danny D was quick to admit he was a believer.

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When asked to describe his response to the training and the Sport Legs, NateDogg explained,

I felt good the entire time.  From day 1 through the last day I felt like I was making good progess and I never felt like I hit a wall or plateau.

When asked if he noticed any difference in the lactic acid burn that cyclists grow accustomed to (and that SportLegs claims to minimize), NateDogg said,

you know, I actually had a few moments of doubt when I looked at the power readouts on the stationary and compared them to my perceived exertion levels.  I thought you guys were f#*%&% with me and hacking the bike to throw bogus power numbers out.  I never would have guessed it was the pills.

Maximillion had little to say regarding his training after learning that his compadres doubled their average power output while his modest gains were apparently handicapped by the placebo pills.  Scratch that….he had a lot to say, none of which was publishable or productive.  Thanks for being a good sport Max!