Easily my most popular post on this under-used blog is my review of Max Adrenal from the gang at NOVA3 labs. Its definitely one of my top supplements and I take it every day still to help combat the stresses in my life/training.
When the folks over at NOVA3 released a couple new supplements called Max Perform and Max Capacity, I was excited to give them a try. Transparency: they sent them to me for free to review along with a couple T-shirts. If you think this is enough to buy my love… well, then you know me all too well. All joking aside, this is an honest review of the products and I hope you’ll recognize that at this point in life (finally done with grad school) I no longer need to rely on free shit to survive.
Lets start with the science behind each of the products.
This is the easiest one to describe. Its basically a mixture of powdered Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), Acetyl-L carnitine, Taurine and Caffeine. The purpose of this combination is to be used as a pre-workout supplement to (shocker) increase the overall quality of performance. How does it do this? Well the BCAA’s can reduce the perception of exertion (allows you to push a little harder), are glycogen sparing and can of course be used in protein synthesis. EAA’s get less hype but have also been shown to be important for improving mitochondrial function (basically little cellular engines), reduce muscle breakdown during intense training and (perhaps) curb hunger a little bit as well. Acetyl-L carnitine helps with a bunch of stuff involving fatty acid transport (so improves energy mobilization) and also helps the body to deal with lactate. Guess what, crossfit athletes like to create lactate with their workouts and in my opinion, the athletes that can go the longest without generating tons of lactate AND clear it the fastest, do the best. Caffeine is pretty self explanatory to most people, and Taurine has some nice evidence suggesting it can effect oxidative stress.
Prior to Max Perform I was using a BCAA supplement plus a cup of mild coffee pre workout. It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t terrible either and generally I wasn’t dragging during most workouts.
The folks over at NOVA3 say that “Max Capacity was designed to enhance mental focus and ventilatory/lactate threshold through a number of different mechanisms” So the goal is to help wake your ass up and to also improve your ability to work harder before moving to lactate production as the major energy source. It does this with 4 major ingredients: Cordyceps, Rhodiola, Alpha GPC and Eleutherococcus Senticosus.
So Cordyceps are the really interesting ingredient here as the recent research coming out on their functionality is really really fascinating. Just one major example here. Basically, they are supposed to improve mitochondrial function as well as help improve lactate threshold.
Rhodiola is an adaptogen that I’ve mentioned before in my Max Adrenal post. Since then, the evidence of its solid function for mental and physical benefits really has grown substantially.
Alpha GPC helps with brain function and also has some evidence showing it can affect muscle firing (just a single example here).
Eleutherococcus Senticosus was a brand new find for me, and I basically geeked out on its reported effects on the immune system (they’re good…) but there’s a good bit of evidence that it can also impact on work capacity as well.
Alright, enough F*@!-ing science talk
So how did this stuff affect my performance. I’ve been in this sport for a looooooong time and while my role is really more of a coach/spectator, I still do dabble in the gym.
How I took it: As soon as I got to the gym, I would take both of them immediately. The Max Perform tastes really good FYI. I’d then start my mobility and warm up and roughly 20 minutes later start either a lifting session or some kind of MAP session.
I PR’d my snatch 3 times in 3 weeks. Hitting 240, 245 and finally a fairly sketchy 250 lbs.
I hit a 290 clean in nano’s… previous best is 300 in lifters and with my knees wrapped to high-heaven in some Rogue wraps.
290 power clean (yes, I know…) and a 295 jerk as well. Both of those are PRs.
Gymnastics: 20 UB bar muscle ups is a PR (+3) and I tied my previous HSPU PR (40) with almost no training of it.
Its hard to put a number to my MAP sessions but overall breathing work has improved. Part of that is because of all the breathing work I’m doing but a part of it I THINK is from the MP/MC stack as well.
Overall, I’m very pleased. Mike Kesthely, the co-owner of NOVA3, puts a LOT of thought into his products and every ingredient is well researched. In the world of bullshit snake-oil supplements, he makes my life 1000X easier with his products and also doing a lot of the leg work for me on what works. While I always double check his research, I’ve yet to really be disappointed in an ingredient that he’s stuck in a supplement which is saying something. I’m slightly disappointed that he doesn’t have better body composition, but hey, no one is perfect (you really need to follow that link).
Plus this free t-shirt thing is pretty freaking sweet as well…
OH, and they were nice enough to let me offer a 20% discount code for any purchases to you guys. Just use the code MOLLOY20 when you check out!