Sport nutrtition supplements were first introduced to me by a commercial in the mid-90’s. Whilst i was a budding beefcake, at the age of something-teen, i saw a television ad for supplemental creatine monohydrate. The advertisement featured a kid my age clad in shirt and trousers, walking across a football field, looking dejected. A tub magically appeared in his hand, and after a video montage of weight-training shots and said youngster drinking glasses of purple liquid, the ad ended with him in uniform, helmet, pads, and cleats, on the very same football field.
It was a fairly cool commercial. That same year, lunch-table mates were talking all about creatine and supplemental amino-acids and things of that sort. Pavlovian? Sure. Chronologically aligned? Yes, no doubt.
I have come of age at an opportune time. The microchip revolution and information superhighway both detonated immediately after i graduated high school. The libraries no longer used card-catalogs, the cordless phone (a wonder all its own in the 1990s) and answering machine were replaced by cellular phones and voicemail systems. Looking back it is no wonder that TV ads for performance enhancing supplements coincided with the explosion of General Nutrition Center locations across the U.S.
And in 1998, when i placed my first ‘online’ order for dietary supplements, using a thing called a “Visa check-card”, i felt like i had taken a quantam leap in the pursuit of a phyique of which my childhood hero, Arnold, would have been proud. I ordered a sack of protein that was as large as a bag of dry dog kibble my mother would purchase for her German Shepherd, the one that ate my Sega Genesis, my lacrosse cleats, and my Rage Against The Machine t-shirt. The revolution was here. Sacks of protein powder, colossal jars which dispensed Hydroxycut, Thermadrine, and Ripped Fuel. A jar of L-glutamine i could have soaked my feet in. It was all here, it was all happening. Soon i’d be a buff beefcake and women would kill, pillage, and burn one another to be on my arm.
Ahem! And then i woke up.
These days, i rely on an entirely separate method of selecting, purchasing, and applying my dietary supplements. My whole-food nutrition and activity specifications dictate what i feel i need, while the network of knowledgeable people i’ve met since 1998 allows me to receive and process input for the thousands of available performance enhancing supplements.
2004-2007 i trained raw, with minimal supplementation.
2007, i signed up as a representative under Amber Dornfeld.
2007-2008, ‘Spark’ becomes my favorite product.
2008-2011, i take minimal sports-nutrition supplements and limit my intake to vitamin D3, multi-vitamins, and some taurine tablets.
2011, Adam T Glass introduces me to ‘JACKED 3D’ and Monster Energy Drink.
May 2011-June 2012 i cycle on and off the aforementioned supplements along with creatine monohydrate.
July 2012 i begin bantering online with Kathi Burger, and she becomes my Advocare rep. I desire an extended break from energy drinks and creatine in order to preserve the applicable integrity of my belief that everything save oxygen is best applied through intentionally, goal oriented “frequency, intensity, and duration”.
Or, everything in moderation (even moderation!).
3.5 out of 4 stars
Spark is a mixable energy-drink powder which has 45 calories per serving, 11 grams of disaccharides and polysaccharides, and (among other ingredients) 120mg of caffeine. Or, more than half a cup of coffee.
Texture: whip it in a magic-bullet, electric mixer, or blender with ice and water if you want to avoid the minor amount of mouth feel the powder provides.
Rapidity of effects: i will call this a fast acting supplement.
Cost: the tub i purchased has 42 servings, and if you supplement with this 4 times a week, the cost/usage ratio averages out to $5.00 a week. That constitutes affordability on any scale.
I performed a control experiment first. At 0430 last Tuesday, I consumed one measured serving mixed with ice and filtered water, on an empty stomach of about 9 hours and then sat down at the computer to read the news. Within five minutes i felt clear and energized and wanted to train. But i couldn’t train right away, as that was a factor in the control experiment. I enjoyed the boost it gave me, and walking my two dogs at 5am saw me skipping and enjoying what is typically a painful process (my dogs are insane in the morning dew & twilight) and about an hour later i hit light aerobic fat-burning training.
Variable: The next day i consumed the same serving around the same time, with no food for roughly 8 hours, and then hit the stationary bike for interval training/fat-loss. I was flying. It was great. I looked at a few pictures of Misty Mae-Traenor in her Olympic bikini and Dwayne The Rock Johnson working out (which he posts on Twitter) and i was ignited, motivated, and as always, dedicated.
Variable Two: Two days later i consumed a slightly smaller serving and then trained with iron. Same effects as before, yet with a different application. I was juiced, jazzed, and the dumbbells were flying all over the weight-room.
In conclusion: the cost/benefit ratio is undeniably in favor of the user, and the boost given from Advocare’s Spark offers all of the benefits of a cup of coffee/multi-vitamin/energy drink complex yet in one small powdered serving. Also, to have the revved up feeling without the unsettled carbonation which canned energy drinks offer me, and the mobility options of drinking spark in mid-workout rather than a precariously toted cup of java, is excellent for my needs. I don’t have a car. I like being able to pack a small shaker bottle of ice and powder in my gym bag and blast off before or during a workout.
My recommendation? Try it with varying servings and proximity to your training sessions to evaluate what options support your goals.
Thanks KB, and thank you, Advocare!