In a recent Exclusive SwoleScience interview with professional strongman Brian Shaw, he was able to detail his diet and key supplements for maximum recovery and results. Two of his favorite supplements were Up Your Mass and Dark Matter, both of which are recovery based and made by Maximum Human Performance. We had to see what the hype is about behind these two supplements that are ‘essential’ to one of the strongest men in the world. So, MHP sent us over a few jugs of these products and these are the real world results over the course of several weeks of intense training.
Proper nutrition and recovery along with a structured training schedule also helps avoid debilitating over training, which plagues many athletes. These products provide two specific parameters of recovery and this is their outcome.
MHP Up Your Mass
MHP’s Up Your Mass is a weight gainer shake that boasts a very broad scope of nutrients and ingredients, in addition to it’s standard calories, protein and carbohydrates. The key ingredients of the shake per single serving, with only water:
- 510 Calories
- 11g of Fat from EFA’s (essential fatty acids), CLA (conjugated Linoleic Acid) MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides)
- 1020mg potassium
- 46g of protein (Blend of soy protein isolate, whey concentrate, and casein)
- 58g of Total carbohydrates (from Barley and Oats)
- 12g of Fiber (oats fiber)
- 1g of sugar
- A multivitamin nutrient profile of an average of 60% of each.
- Full amino acid profile.
- 13g of Glutamine
- 4.5g of Leucine (Branch Chain Amino Acid)
- 3.5g of Arginine
- Total of 11.5 g of Branch Chain Amino Acids
Taste and Mixing
MHP sent over the ‘fudge brownie’ flavor which was excellent. It is by far the best tasting protein type supplement and the closest one to the actual food they named the flavor after. To be more accurate it actually tasted like a light chocolate ice cream and has a slightly thicker than water texture. It mixes very easily with a few shakes of a standard shaker, and there were never any clumps. One benefit to it being a ‘light’ gainer shake is that it is not a heavy drink and does not bog you down or leave you bloated like most concentrated meal replacements. This benefit directly conveys to being able to eat or exercise within a very close proximity to consuming the shake. Therefore, it is was perfect for a preworkout meal or in between meals to supplement nutrients. The shake did not mix as well with milk and the taste was somewhat negatively diluted and therefore mixing it with straight water is recommended.
The product was taken at least once a day and sometimes multiple times a day depending on calorie deficit generated. As previously mentioned, the lack of bloat and easy digestion of the product allowed for it to be taken at any time in the day. The first welcomed factor is the type of carbohydrates provided, which are natural oat derived sources. The second is that the blend of protein supplies an instant influx of protein along with a sustained supply of nutrients. The third factor is the issue of digestibility. As in many ‘weight gainers’ and ‘protein supplements’ the main negative impact upon the body is the upset of digestion and bloat. The lack of fiber and poor digestion of the ingredients leads to swinging extremes of digestive upset that are not only detrimental to the body’s natural balance, but annoying and counterproductive to nutrient intake. There was no negative impact upon digestion on any level while on this product which was a welcomed benefit. This benefit is believed to be from the naturally derived sources of the ingredients. The amino acid complex is very beneficial to preventing catabolism and helping to ensure property recovery. The main ‘beefed up’ amino acids are glutamine which helps the body heal and recover, arginine which is responsible for vasodiliation and healing, and leucine which is an essential muscle building amino acid that increases protein synthesis. One option is to split the serving up, and consume half a serving (255 calories, 26g of protein and 29g carbohydrates) which is very valuable to those looking for a quick meal replacement or post workout drink, who may not want the excess calories but still want a quality supply of nutrients.
Overall the additional caloric and nutrient intake (with dark matter) over the course of 6 weeks yielded a 5 pound body weight gain which was comprised mainly of lean mass. There was a slight increase in strength but the main element that this product brought to the table, especially with high intensity training, was maintaining of strength and size even with incredibly high intensity training. It was taken in between 2-a-day sessions and intensive training sessions to combat catabolism, and proved to be able to maintain a constant body weight, while sustaining proper recovery.
One serving of Up Your Mass is comprised of four scoops, which provides 17 servings at a cost of $52.99 directly from MHP, which in turn amounts to approximately $3.11 per serving. Within the overall realm of weight gainers this is on the higher spectrum of cost per serving. Given the natural ingredients, versatility in consumption, and overall results, it can be stated the product is of value despite being more costly.
The first negative would be the cost of the product which is as aforementioned on the higher end of the spectrum and may be a problem for some. The second negative is more an inconvenience, which is that the jug only provides 17 servings. These 17 servings go quite quick, especially in heavily sustained training, and a larger bag or tub option would be paramount in convenience. The biggest negative is the soy content of the product, which is the second ranked ingredient. Soy is a phytoestrogen and arguably a subpar protein for athletic supplementation.
Up Your Mass is a quality product that is very easily digestible and provides an excellent source of nutrients any athlete who is looking to properly recover or supplement their diet.
MHP Dark Matter
MHP Dark Matter is a specialized postworkout product designed to take advantage of the anabolic window of maximum absorption immediately following a workout. This product has specific ingredients that yield a complex of ingredients that are designed to assist with volume, strength and recovery. Dark Matter’s key ingredients are comprised of:
- 240 calories
- 0g of fat, cholesterol, and fiber.
- 12g of protein
- 48g of carbohydrates
- Waxy Maize complex
- Creatine Pyruvate
- Glucose bound Creatne Gluconate
- Sustained release Creatine Monohydrate
- L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-phylalanine, L-Threonine, L-Valine, L-Histidine, L-isoleucine, L-methione, Luecine-Alanine Di Peptide.
Taste and Mixing
MHP sent over their ‘fruit punch’ flavor which surprisingly tasted like a melted Slurpee. The instructions say to mix 2 scoops with 20oz of water, and yes you do need all 20oz of water. The consistency of this product is very thick and requires a full shaker of water to dilute or it becomes syrupy. At 20 oz of water, the consistency is thicker than an average liquid but it is recommended to add a few more ounces to around 22-24oz of water. Water should already be a postworkout ritual for most athletes and therefore this was not an issue. The product mixes very smoothly with no clumps or dry areas and has a pleasant taste that is easy to drink.
The instructions for consumption of this product is that it is to be consumed immediately after training, and without any other food/shakes within an hour of consuming it to allow full absorption. The premise is through a synergistic system of ingredients and the anabolic window (time immediately after training when body is most susceptible for absorption of nutrients), there will be increased protein synthesis, sustained insulin spike, replenishment of glycogen and maximum volume and recovery through protein/carbohydrates/creatine. The product claims to use different types of amino acids, particularly Leucine, to increase the protein synthesis of the body, and then combines this with an easily absorbed form of protein, and therefore requiring less protein and direct infusion of protein to the muscle. There is a waxy maize complex for replenishment of glycogen in the muscle which provides postworkout energy, recovery, and volume. The creatine complex features three different types for immediate and sustained supply of creatine for volume and recovery. The carbohydrates and low sugar are also a welcomed addition to the product.
This product was taken immediately following combat sports, cardiovascular and strength workouts and the results are as follows. There was no noticeable sensation of ‘tiredness’ within the hours after consumption and there was a marked increase in volume throughout the day after training. Normally, the pump would subside after an hour or so, but with this product the volumization achieved during the workout seemed to be prolonged. This product’s main benefit was as 2-a-day fuel. In between workouts, going from strength and conditioning to mixed martial arts is tremendously draining upon the body in all respects. This product was light enough to be taken in between workouts and fuel the next consecutive workout all the way through, which was invaluable. Another benefit noticed was recovery, postworkout there was a faster recovery and the feeling of being able to do another workout later that day, if needed. With this product, there was no gastrointestinal upset ever experienced which displays superior absorption when compared to other creatines and nutritional supplements. There was as aforementioned a weight gain over the weeks of consumption when stacked with the previously reviewed product Up Your Mass.
One serving of Dark Matter is 2 scoops, which gives you 20 servings at cost of $59.99 directly from MHP, which amounts to approximately $2.99 per serving which is an average cost for a hybrid postworkout product such as this. This may seem high, but this product combines creatine, protein and carbohydrates, thus eliminating the need for separate consumption of postworkout shakes and creatine.
There is some skepticism about the actual amount of protein within the product, and that the “increased absorption and protein synthesis was equal to 40grams of normal protein”, but there was no real negative regarding its performance. Still, it would be better to see a slightly higher amount of protein such as 20-30g per serving.
MHP’s Dark Matter is a hybrid postworkout recovery that covers all bases of an athletes needs. It provided quality postworkout nutrients and recovery components that allowed for sustained and prolonged training and faster recovery.
To Purchase MHP Up Your Mass or Dark Matter check out their website: www.maxperformance.com
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