A while ago I wrote an article outlining the pro’s and con’s of MRI’s Black Powder. For those of you that don’t know about Nitric Oxide enhancers, let me give you a short “broscience,” lesson in NO supplements. Nitric Oxide, in simplest terms, helps increase blood flow, a valuable tool when working out. The increase in “pump” as it’s called can help increase muscular endurance at the gym. More blood flow and oxygen to the muscles means faster muscle repair, less recovery time, and more weights you can rack up. There are several pro’s and con’s to NO supplements. On the plus side, the increase in oxygenated blood flow will, in fact, increase your productivity at the gym at help you reach your goals more quickly. On the reverse, for many “hardgainers” such as myself that are trying to bulk up as much as possible, Nitric Oxide supplements often include so much caffeine that reaching those goals can become a challenge. Caffeine, after all, boosts the metabolism and can set you back on your weight gaining goals.
Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of the issue. One thing that everyone has to take into consideration is all the metabolic enhancers that are included in both supplements. I’ve read through plenty of rants about both supplements and how they’ve caused users to lose weight when their main goal is to gain it. First off, one must understand what else is in each product besides nitric oxide. Reading through the back of each label I can, off the bat, pick out two noticeable metabolic boosters: caffeine and green tea extract. How much difference can those make? Well, N.O.-Xplode alone has 225mg of caffeine per serving in their latest version. That’s a lot. When it comes to gaining weight, adding N.O.-Xplode can set you back, however, if you adjust your diet to include the proper amount of calories taking caffeine intake into consideration you should be fine.
That brings me to the second issue: caffeine or nitric oxide? I’ve talked to several physical fitness experts over the last year or so over all the hyped up NO supplements on the market today and many of them are quick to point out that if you slam a few energy sodas before a workout, you’re probably going to workout just as hard as you would taking a pre-workout NO enhancer. What is boils down to is how do you tell that your workout endurance isn’t simply the mass amounts of caffeine you’re consuming and not the supplement itself? Going against the warning label on Black Powder, I decided to do a comparison. I drank an energy soda along with Black Powder in order to reach the same quantity of caffeine as in N.O.-Xplode. Quite a crude test, mind you, however, yes in fact the results did speak for themselves. I’ve always sworn by N.O.-Xplode as a sports supplement over Black Powder, however, the apparent gap between the two seemed to be slightly bridged with the added caffeine intake. If you concern is caffeine however, I’d like to point out that BSN does offer a caffeine free version of N.O.-Xplode
In the end, however, the proof is in the end results. On Black Powder I was able to gain around 5 pounds or so of lean muscle mass; which is no laughing matter. On N.O.-Xplode I put on roughly 8 pounds of lean muscle mass and saw a decrease in body fat percentage from 10% to roughly 7%. I was intentionally keeping my bodyfat higher in both instances in order to maintain necessary nutrient flow for bulking, however, with N.O.-Xplode there was both fat loss and muscle gain. However, keeping that in mind, I did also notice N.O.-Xplode was a little harsher on the my system as far as “crashing” after a workout and trying to sleep later on. As such, I’d suggest N.O.-Xplode only to the “hardgainers” or those that constantly push themselves to a new extreme when it comes to their workouts. If you’re a little more relaxed when it comes to hitting the gym, my suggestion, go with Black Powder.
My suggestion to all NO users is this: cycle your supplements. Always have on and off days. If you’re on a four day split, only use NO for half of them in order to see results longer.