Pre-workout amplifier: a cautionary tale

February 17, 2011 in Exercise, Misc, On Writing by pacejmiller

Look, I don’t know much about workout supplements per se, but since we were on the topic of exercising (to avoid doing what I should be doing, ie, writing), I’ll share an experience I had yesterday.

I take a few vitamins (a multi, fish oil, etc) to maintain my general well-being, and a few days ago I visited a new bargain vitamin store that opened a few suburbs away from us.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been doing the 100 push-up challenge (which is bloody impossible using the suggested ’6-week program’ — if the most push-ups you can do is say 40, how can you possibly do 7 sets of 20-24 push-ups with 45 second intervals and THEN do at least 50 in your last set?) and the 20 chin-up challenge (surprisingly easy).  Together with the cardio and basketball and PS3 Move, I’ve been getting pretty sore lately, so I decided to get some protein powder to assist recovery.

Anyway, at the counter, the assistant couldn’t figure out out to print a store receipt and became awfully apolegetic.  The sheer guilt led him to offer us a bunch of free stuff, such as T-shirts, shakers, drink bottles and supplement samples.

Yesterday I decided to try one — called Code Red from MuscleMeds (check out the website here).

From the outside, it’s a little long red packet which says ‘clinically superior, super-potent workout amplifier!’ and ‘scientifically formulated to enhance muscle growth, pumps, energy, endurance, intensity and improve recovery*’ (* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA).

So I dumped the packet into a glass of water and downed the entire thing.  Tasted like fizzy punch.  Waited 20 minutes for it to sink in while sitting in front of the computer.  Then suddenly, my world began to spin.  I was getting lightheaded, dizzy, even a little nauseous.  Not a good sign, but I felt strong.

So I decided to start my push-up routine.  I’m into the final and sixth week of the program (even though it’s taken me like 10 weeks already) and it’s not easy.  I breezed through the first four sets with ease, surprised by how easy it was.

Then I suddenly realised that I was sweating.  Profusely.  As though I had just been sprinting for half an hour.  The dizzying sensations were still there.  I put my head down and powered through the next four sets.  No big deal at all.  By this time my heart was thumping and I felt like my body was burning from the inside.  A big wet patch developed on the front of my shirt.

The last set was brutal — 58 — and I could never complete it before, not after doing eight sets right before it.  But amazingly, I did it.  I even did 60 for good measure.  I was pumped.  This thing works!

Still feeling strong, I went and did my chin-ups immediately after, and absolutely killed that too.  Did reps of 10 instead of the four that was prescribed.

Then I went hard for 35 minutes on the elliptical machine.

By the time I was done my shirt was drenched in sweat, much like when I play basketball for 2.5 hours on Sundays.  But this time, something was different.  I was too focused on the exercises that I hadn’t noticed it before.  I raised my nostrils and took another whiff.  I was horrified.

I stunk!  I had BO!

I’m one of those lucky people that never — and I mean never — get BO* (* I don’t count foot odour).  I occasionally put on deodourant for the sake of it but even when I don’t I never smell, no matter how much I sweat.  I know I’m not delusional because people have told me how amazing my odourless sweat is on many occasions.

And yet, there was no denying it.  I had BO for the very first time in my life.  Could it be a coincidence?  I think not.  I have no doubt the Code Red was the culprit.

The lightheadedness and the similarly weird sensations followed me for the rest of the night, and I even had a little trouble sleeping.  But none of that bothered me as much as the BO.  I took a cold shower straight after exercising but I found it incredibly easy to sweat again for the remainder of the night.

This morning, the weird feelings were gone, but when I smelled my shirt (the one I put on after I had showered), there was still a tiny hint of lingering BO.  And just now, sitting up alone in my room and typing away on this admittedly humid day, I can still smell something.

Have I opened up a gate I can’t close?  Or do I just need time to allow this evil concoction to leave my defiled body?

One thing is for sure.  I’m never having this stuff again.  Anything that makes you dizzy, lightheaded, sweat like crazy, nauseous, and gives you BO (when you’ve never had it) can’t be good for your body, no matter how good it might make you look.