By John Hortel (reprinted with kind permission of ‘Pump It’ publication)
For a lot of guys, muscle growth can be a painfully slow process. They bust a gut three or four times a week in the gym, eat all the right foods, and have little or nothing to show for it.
You could spend ten hours a day doing shoulder presses galore in the gym but if you don’t let the right nutrients pass your lips, you’ll never get the kind of body you want so badly.
One of the most popular ‘all-in-one’ sports nutrition products on the market today is Cyclone by Maximuscle. It claims to combine all the best muscle-building ingredients in one product. Like everyone, I’m very skeptical of these kind of claims, and I don’t want to waste time and money on stuff that just doesn’t work. So, I took a closer look at the ingredients to see if Cyclone stands up to close scrutiny.
Each daily serving of Cyclone contains 10 grams of Creatine, which is one of the most effective nutrients legally available. There is actually a lot of research (I was surprised by the sheer number of studies) to show that Creatine will help you build muscle more quickly. In fact, one study I found shows that Creatine users gained weight four times faster than those who trained without it 4. Some people also claim that it gives your muscles a fuller, more “pumped” look, but I couldn’t find any research to back this up, just a lot of positive feedback from people who’ve tried it.
Like Creatine, HMB has been the subject of a lot of research over the past few years. According to one source, HMB has appeared in no less than 730 newspaper and magazine articles in the United States alone. The idea is that it helps you recover more quickly from your workouts, which means faster gains in muscle strength. Recent trials show that just three weeks of HMB supplementation boosted strength gains by an impressive 20% 12.
One study I found shows that Creatine and HMB appear to work better together than either nutrient taken alone. The combination of Creatine and HMB was found to be over 30% more powerful than HMB alone at increasing strength. Not only did test subjects using HMB and Creatine get stronger faster, they also found it easier to gain muscle. In fact, the group using Creatine and HMB gained three times more muscle than those using HMB alone.
Protein is really important if you want to gain muscle mass. If you don’t provide your body with enough protein, it doesn’t have the raw materials it needs to grow. It’s like trying to build a house without any bricks. Whey protein is a very high-quality form of protein derived from milk. It has a very high biological value, is rich in essential amino acids, and is also low in fat. Many athletes use whey protein for its beneficial effects on muscle growth. The whey protein in Cyclone is an exclusive blend of Whey proteins called Biomax™, licenses to Maximuscle.
Glutamine is a very popular amino acid, and is considered essential for muscle growth, as it’s the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue. One thing I found out that surprised me was that doctors and clinicians regularly use it to treat patients with illness, injury or infection. It appears to work by boosting production of powerful anabolic hormones such as insulin, growth hormone and testosterone 3.
I couldn’t find out much about Beta-ecdysterone, (also known as Suma or Brazilian ginseng extract), other than some Russian research showing it helps to increase protein synthesis and muscle growth. A group of 78 elite athletes were assigned to one of three groups. The first group made no changes to their diet. Group two consumed a high-protein diet. Group three combined a high-protein diet with Beta-Ecdysterone. The group making no changes to their diet lost muscle, while athletes on the high-protein diet showed a slight increase in muscle mass. However, those using protein plus Ecdysterone showed a 6-7% increase in lean muscle tissue with a 10% reduction in fat.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. I found a few human and animal studies showing that chromium increases fat loss and promotes muscle gain. Some bodybuilders also claim that chromium gives them greater pumps, vascularity and muscle fullness.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are a class of fatty acids found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and butter. They are different from other fats in that they’re digested and absorbed much faster than conventional fats (in fact, as rapidly as carbohydrate) and are immediately available for energy.
Bioperine™ is a standardized piperine extract obtained from the fruits of the black pepper and/or long pepper plants. T’s not designed to lose fat or build muscle, rather, the main effect of Bioperine™ appears to be to enhance the bioavailability of various nutrients consumed with it, allowing you to get better effects with the same dosages.
So, that’s the science behind it. But what I really wanted to know is does it work?
Cyclone does work, though I do have a couple of reservations about it, which I’ll explain in a moment. As with anything, you need to use Cyclone properly to see the best results. I recommend taking 2 servings a day, one in the morning between breakfast and lunch, and then one in the afternoon or after your evening workout.
I didn’t really notice anything for the first couple of days, but on day 3 (chest and back) I started getting these really insane pumps in my chest. It felt like it was going to explode! Even my back and shoulders, which don’t normally get pumped at all, seemed really tight. It was an awesome feeling!
When I stepped on the scales after 14 days, I’d gained about 8 pounds. Obviously, I was eating a good diet and training hard 3 times a week. Don’t expect these products to be magic pills, you have to train hard and eat more protein, so you can convert it into extra muscle.
Cyclone certainly isn’t cheap. But when I worked out how much all the individual ingredients cost, using Cyclone actually works out a lot cheaper than buying them all separately. It also comes in 5 flavours, interestingly an Orange flavour, which sounded strange, but tasted really good.
This is one of the few products I have given 5 out 5 stars. Shame it is not a little cheaper, but there isn’t anything else like it.
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