thermogenics are one of those supplements that i like to test out to try and get sustained energy, that "i'm kicking ass" feeling and most importantly, to burn as much fat and sweat as much as i possibly can.
the other day at a trip to gnc, i was given a few samples to try out. one of them was racing super thermogenic powder (mine was in fruit punch flavor). the product sample was timely: i'm close to the end of the year, which marks crunch time for hitting my goal weight. what better time to try out something that promises increased fat burn? this thermogenic says its manufactured and designed to target fat loss and appetite suppression. so, let's see if it delivered!
how did i use it?
i mixed the powder with about 8 ounces cold water and drank 1/2 hour prior to my circuit class, on an empty stomach per the recommendations on the packet. surprisingly, the flavor while drinking didn't taste artificial at all, and i almost thought i was drinking a slightly mild fruit punch kool-aid might make. after i finished the 8 ounces, i did find that there was a bit of a chemical aftertaste, but it quickly went away after drinking additional water.
how did i feel?
racing super thermogenic powder (say that five times fast) warns that it has as much caffeine as about 3 cups of coffee. i don't think i've ever had 3 cups of coffee in one sitting, but i have used the supplement c4 in the past, which i'm pretty sure packed just as much caffeine (though the label doesn't quite say). if you have not tried one of these products before, DO NOT, i repeat DO NOT go with a full serving at first, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine (in which you probably shouldn't use something like this anyway). you need to asses your tolerance first, so start small and work your way up in dosage.
since i've used thermogenics in the past, i used the full packet and believe me when i say that 15 minutes before arriving at the gym i was feeling the affects of all the caffeine. i started to have a little trouble focusing and my brain felt like it was flying too fast for my mouth to form words. note to self: don't try 3 cups of coffee at one time ever, even if someone triple dog dares me!
did it work?
my circuit class is broken out into 5 stations, with a 6th and final station being an ab workout. i guess i assumed that i would feel like a powerhouse in the first exercise, given my thermogenic power, but in all honesty, the station felt extremely difficult and i was out of breath very quickly. by the second station, my shirt was pretty wet and by the last station it was absolutely soaked through in sweat. i can't remember the last time i sweat so much during this class!
every station seemed harder than usual on the day i tested the thermogenic. i mentioend this to my boyfriend and he said, "you realize it's because you're working harder, right?" and i replied, "i am? i feel like everything is so hard." his response, "i haven't seen you go this hard in this class in awahile." translation: i was kicking some serious ass and the perception that everything felt harder was true because i was pushing my body harder than i normally did. i guess i thought i might feel like a superhero and breeze through the class with my thermogenic powers, but that would be asking for an easy button, right? and we know those don't exist when it comes to earning what you work for at the gym!
in general, i found that stations with more cardio felt harder than stations that were purely strength training (weights, etc). this leads me to believe that i would not enjoy taking something like this for running, and quite honestly, that would be a terrible idea because my heart rate at rest was already so high due to the massive amount of caffeine thrusting through my body. i can't imagine what my heart would do 30 minutes into a run on an already ceiling high heart rate!
one thing that i thought was unusual was how nauseous i started to feel about half way through the class. i'm not sure if this was a direct result of the thermogenic or if it was because i was drinking a nutrition supplement (carbs + protein) during the workout. the packet did say to drink on an empty stomach, but didn't have any during workout suggestions. i assumed consuming nutrition during the workout would be okay, but maybe it wasn't.
what about after the workout?
drenched in sweat, i got the chills very quickly. even after taking a shower, i continued to get chills and hot flashes (and no woman likes those). i felt pretty nauseous until i was able to eat a full lunch, and even then i continued to feel like my heart was pounding out of my chest and that i had too much nervous energy to know what to do with. it took a good three hours or so for the jitteriness to ware off.
i didn't feel like my appetite was suppressed by any means and i felt like i needed to eat immediately post workout to try and counter some of the jitteriness flowing through my system.
so, what's it cost?
though my sample was free, i checked out prices online. normal resale price for a tub of this stuff is $64.99 and you get 30 servings. that's about $2.16 a serving, which is less than a can of monster energy, but more than i would normally want to pay for a powder supplement that doesn't provide any nutritional benefits (carbs or protein). right now, gnc has the product on sale for $44.99, making it $1.49 a serving, which is way more in line with what i would consider a competitive price for something like this.
bottom line - would i use it again?
i would not use a full dose again, that's for sure. based on my experience, it's just way too much caffeine for me and i don't like the side effects one bit. would i use a half dose? absolutely. even though my workout felt harder, it was because my body was working harder and faster, and this showed through my sweat drenched clothes and increased "going hard" at each station (as my boyfriend put it). i was clearly burning calories at a high rate than normal, which is 100% what i wanted from this product.
i would not use this product as a way to suppress my appetite as 1) i don't think it did that and 2) i don't think a product like this is really effective as an appetite suppressant, unless inducing nausea counts as suppressing appetite (which in that case, isn't worth it to me). i would 100% like to continue using a product like this for my circuit classes (and maybe even strength training sessions), assuming a lower dosage kicks the caffeine side effects, but i wouldn't consider using this for running given my dramatically increased heart rate at rest.
(out of 5 dumbbells possible)
overall value: 3.25/5 dumbbells (great fat/calorie burner, doesn't deliver on appetite suppressant but on the costly side)
taste: 4/5 dumbbells (nice flavor, slight chemical aftertaste)
effectiveness: 4/5 dumbbells (ranks high on fat burn, didn't suppress appetite)
side effects: 2.5/5 dumbbells (limit dosage if sensitive to caffeine, nausea possible)
cost: 2.5/5 (there are cheaper products out there, like c4, that will do the same thing)
have you tried this thermogenic, or any others like it? i'd love to hear your thoughts on how they've worked (or haven't worked) for you!