With the increased attention the UFC and other extreme sports have been getting lately, so has the number of nutrition supplements that have hit the market.  The number of products out there to choose from is large, and many of the products are very similar.  Almost every professional athlete has his or her name behind a specific brand or drink, causing some consumers to try a specific brand for that reason alone.

With the number of new products and brands increasing each year, it is getting easier for new companies to pick up big name clients and attempt to stand out.  However, the only way you can really find out if a product works or if it the company simply has a good marketing department, is by looking at reviews of products (such as this one), and if everything you read sounds good, trying the product out for yourself.

Some of the many products out there that have been getting rave reviews are made by BSN: “The world leader in cutting edge physique and performance products.”  BSN has products that focus on an individual’s size, strength, performance, energy, and weight management.  The company has many distinct products to meet both male and female athletes training needs.  BSN has proteins, creatine, dietary supplements, and products for pre-and post-workout sessions.  The company even has its own t-shirt and clothing line called “Train Like a Freak.”  TLF designs consist of jerseys, shorts, hooded sweatshirts, and a bunch of different style TLF shirts.  The t-shirts are lightweight and extremely comfortable and come highly recommended.

Over the past several months, I was fortunate enough to try out some of BSN’s products.  The BSN products I drank included N.O.-Xplode, Volumaize, and Syntha-6.

N.O.-Xplode is taken pre-workout and is going to provide you with tons of energy.  The product contains stimulants, vitamin B, and other assorted mental capacity enhancers (such as vinca alkaloids).  The product also contains creatine matrix AVPT and is particularly helpful with short bursts of energy.  The drink comes in many different flavors such as Fruit Punch, Grape, and Blue Raspberry.  My favorite was the fruit punch flavored; however, all tasted good and gave me an energetic red bull type boost of energy and did exactly as the product described on the package.  

Volumaize is used during exercise and supports your performance by keeping your energy levels up.  It does this by keeping up the number of stored carbohydrates in your body for energy and preventing premature muscle fatigue and spasms that many athletes get.  The drink does this by keeping ph levels stable in an athlete’s muscles.  This is important, as the products help keep an anabolic state so that your body does not break down muscle tissue as a source of energy.  Volumaize is a great work out buddy for anyone who is serious about training.  The drink contains all the essential elements that are in most supplements, however, this drink actually tastes good.  I tried the grape flavor and was actually amazed at how good it tasted.  Compared to the other supplements I have given a try, the grape taste was never too redundant and I was able to continue using the drink until the 2.6 lb tub was done.  Besides the overall product taste, for a limited time, BSN is giving its customers a shaker bottle to mix the drinks in.  The added accessory is a good touch that really comes in handy in many instances.

Syntha-6 is pretty much a protein shake that you take after your workout.  It has a nice balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and contains 6 different types of proteins.  The different types of proteins help to keep the drink in your body for up to 3 times the length of a normal whey protein.  BSN also calls the shake an extended release type protein blend, which helps support muscle recovery better.  To me, the drink was very similar to all the other products and whey proteins out there, with one BIG difference; the taste.  Like all of the other BSN products, Syntha-6 comes in many different flavors that you might not find by other companies.  The flavors include vanilla, strawberry, banana, mochoccino, and chocolate mint.  My favorite was surprisingly, the chocolate mint flavor, as I originally thought that would be the one I wouldn't like.  My least favorite was the raspberry, as it was almost too shocking and strong for me to enjoy.  Another great thing about Syntha-6 is that the shake is not too chunky or thick.  Even when putting an extra banana in it, I found that it was still desirable and easy to drink.

My only complaint with the BSN supplements occurred early after using the products for a couple days consistently.  After going to the gym and using the N.O.-Xplode and Volumaize, I would find myself with too much energy upon arriving home.  The supplements worked very well for over an hour to an hour-and-a-half.  At first, my body was not used to the high amounts of creatine, vitamin b, stimulants, and carbs that I was taking in.  I still felt very anxious and had "bad" energy after my workouts.  However, during the workouts I was fine.  Once my body got familiar with the supplements, I was able to harness that energy and use it productively during my workouts and after.  You certainly can feel the boost that BSN products give your body.

Overall, I believe BSN products differ from their competitors because their products actually taste good.  Many of the supplements I have taken in the past have been hard to finish drinking and are impossible to take consistently.  This is one problem that you will not have when using BSN products.  Another area where BSN stood out was the performance benefits and feeling you get from BSN products.  When taking the drinks as recommended, I felt a huge boost in energy that was very helpful with whatever I was doing in my training routine.

If you are an athlete or someone who is training and looking to stay in great shape, BSN products might be what you are looking for.  While recommending BSN products to athletes, I will also advise athletes to check with their doctors, nutritionists, and/or team trainers before taking ANY supplements.  Taking supplements can have positive and negative effects on people and everyone's body reacts differently.  The supplement industry is largely unregulated by the FDA and research does not yet exist detailing the long-term physical ramifications of taking supplements.  Most importantly, some supplements still contain trace amounts of illegal substances or substances that are banned in some professional and semi-professional leagues. 

Many MLB athletes have used mistake of fact as a defense, claiming they did not know about the illegal substances they had been ingesting; however, that is no excuse, and the MLB and other leagues now strictly enforce their drug policies.  Some agencies and sports organizations have even started hiring nutritionists to scrutinize their clients' diets carefully to make sure they are staying away from banned substances.  So, before trying any supplement, I would strongly advise that you check with your doctor, team trainer, or nutritionist and make sure the benefits outweigh the negatives.  If you are a college athlete, I would also strongly urge you to check with your coaches and athletic department to ensure that you are in compliance with NCAA rules.  If you are a professional athlete, check with your agent, coaches, and respective players associations or governing body before taking any supplements.

I would like to thank Eric Morrison of BSN for introducing me to BSN's products and "Train Like A Freak" gear.  You can get your own supplements and clothing from BSN at any of the following links: www.BSNonline.net  / www.EndoRush.com / www.TLFapparel.com.  The BSN website is not only a great source for BSN products, but it also contains a blog and has a lot of useful health and nutrition tips and information from experts and BSN athletes.

If you are interested in having your sports product reviewed, please contact Matthew Allinson at matt@accessathletes.com.