Livin’ on a Prayer

032913143343The year was 2005. I was fresh out of college and graduated a semester late. You know how it is when you come out. You have this idea that the world is your muse. You come to think that since you’ve put in all those years, have a collegiate diploma in hand, prospective employers would be jumping at the chance to hire someone with your credentials… Yeah, unfortunately not so much. Despite my multiple resume submissions and countless interview attempts, I found myself unable to gain full-time employment.

So what’s a young aspiring bodybuilder to do in order to support his increasing nutritional demands? I became a part-time substitute teacher, that’s what. Having a BA in Social Work, it provided me a start. Still, there were many anxiety filled mornings not knowing whether I’d have a job to go to that day or not. I was in need of some supplemental income. Income to purchase some protein supplements. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. Ah yes, I thought. What I needed to do was to hustle some of my mental muscle.

Almost a decade ago, bodybuilding and fitness message boards on the internet were not anything like what you see today. It may be hard to imagine for some, but boards were mostly centered around training, nutrition, and self-experimentation. Supplements were not pushed as magic pills or powders that were essential to working out. Instead they were discussed as adjuncts to optimize recovery. Today, one only has to check out the Bodybuilding.com forums to see company heads and representatives advertise their latest kitchen sink or Dr. Oz hyped formulas. For the most part, the message boards are void of what made them so great in the first place – stimulating conversation centered around working out!

I must have tried well over a dozen different brands of protein powder back in the day. Everything from the cheapest whey I could find to what was considered by some as the higher-end blends. They all had one thing in common – no discernible taste. Slowly but surely a small buzz began to grow for one small company out of St. Charles, Illinois that was determined to change the landscape of protein products forever. Recognizing the need for something completely different, Xtreme Formulations launched their flagship product “Ultra Peptide” just prior to my graduation. As if it were a Christmas memory from childhood, I remember mixing and drinking my first shake. The impact of what I had tasted was of seismic proportion. It almost had my taste buds confused for a McDonald’s milkshake.

From that moment forward I became a repeat customer. As my progress in the gym continued, I considered it a staple. Eventually there came a time where I bought so much of it; the company owner took notice. We started corresponding through email, talking shop and becoming friends. From the beginning, I had a great deal of respect and appreciation for Dave Rosland. His passion and craftsmanship for the company grew more and more evident as we conversed. Not only is he a businessman, but he’s also an avid lifter who also uses his own products. Best of all, Dave is completely transparent. I tend to believe we are the sum of the friends we allow into our lives. Friends can help lift us up in life, or tear us down. Friends can also be a guide or mentor and inspire us stay true to what you believe in, even if it’s a hard road to travel. While some supplement companies skirt around quality control and cGMP compliance protocols, Dave has prided himself in going the extra mile. Although slightly more costly to the consumer, Xtreme Formulations can certify that all products are produced in an FDA, USDA, and cGMP inspected facility. As a result, the integrity of the brand has spoken for itself over the years. As consumers are becoming more aware of just how unregulated the supplement industry can be, it’s always welcoming to know there are still a few good guys left.

Upon hanging out together the following year at the Arnold Classic in Ohio, Dave offered me a position within the company as a consultant and sponsored athlete. As one could imagine, I was ecstatic. A very proud moment for me. I was officially able to stand behind and endorse not only a brand, but a mindset of quality nutritional products that others could benefit from all over the world. Sure, while Xtreme Formulations caters to the dedicated athlete at it’s core; I knew going in a great tasting protein powder could also be enjoyed by the weekend warrior or to supplement the dietary needs of those with cerebral palsy as well. Over the years I’ve received multiple emails from those who have seen my articles from Bodybuilding.com. Whether it be friends of friends or parents of those directly affected by cerebral palsy, the most common question I get asked is my opinion on creative ways to increase their loved ones protein intake that is also easy to digest.

Dave Rosland, Myself, and Layne Norton - 2006 Arnold Classic

Dave Rosland, Myself, and Layne Norton – 2006 Arnold Classic

For many years, whey protein isolate has been the gold standard within the athletic community to enhance overall recovery. Whey protein isolate is considered easy to digest due to being low in lactose and having the ability to run through the gastrointestinal tract in about 20 minutes. Here’s two studies worth checking out showing whey’s beneficial aspects on digestion in CP:

Whey- vs casein-based enteral formula and gastrointestinal function in children with cerebral palsy.
Savage K, Kritas S, Schwarzer A, Davidson G, Omari T.
JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012 Jan;36(1 Suppl):118S-23S. doi: 10.1177/0148607111428139.
 
 
The effect of protein composition in liquid meals on gastric emptying rate in children with cerebral palsy.
Brun AC, Størdal K, Johannesdottir GB, Bentsen BS, Medhus AW.
Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;31(1):108-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.07.009. Epub 2011 Aug 11.
 

 

Having cerebral palsy myself, I know that it is important to eat a diet high in protein. This is because my body’s added spasticity creates a greater stress and demand for my muscles both in and out of the gym. Without taking steps to promote active recovery through dietary means, I’ve noticed my mobility begins to suffer. I become more fatigued with less stamina to keep up with everyday tasks of living. For those looking for a whey only product, Xtreme Formulations created Ultra Peptide Whey to serve this purpose. Unfortunately, whey does have a few downfalls to note.

Upon mixing in water, whey tends to be thin and lacks volume. In other words, whey protein offers little in the ‘whey’ of satiety. For this reason, whey can be difficult to be utilized as a meal replacement. It also doesn’t lend itself well to making other food items such as protein pudding, mock ice creams or mini cakes. All of which recipes can be found online. The solution to this problem came in the form of Ultra Peptide 2.0 – an all inclusive low-carb meal, specifically targeting the repair and acquisition of lean muscle tissue. To do this, Xtreme uses a 51/49 ratio of a slower digesting micellar casein to whey isolate as a protein component. They also included healthy fats or essential fatty acids to the mix after pioneering efforts to bring you the world’s first sunflower oil powder encapsulated in caseinate. This ensures these nourishing fats will remain protected and not go rancid from high summer temperatures. Rounding things out, a small dose of creatine monohydrate was included as well. Just like what’s found in a typical serving of red meat… For my goals, there is no question. Ultra Peptide 2.0 ranks as my favorite protein product of the brand. With flavors like Chocolate Mint, Cinnamon Roll and Lemon Cream Pie, getting enough daily protein isn’t a hassle by any means. I drink a 2 scoop shake or mix up a batch of pudding every morning for breakfast. I love it because while it’s not technically ‘Paleo’, it is in-line with my otherwise low-carb lifestyle.

A Quick and Easy One Minute Ultra Peptide 2.0 Microwave Cake

A Quick and Easy One Minute Ultra Peptide 2.0 Microwave Cake

Obviously Xtreme Formulations (XFMuscle.com) has been great to me over the years. I’ve been ever so thankful to be a part of their team. I wanted to use this site to give recognition to my sponsor for the great products and customer service they provide. But there’s a little more to the story. Xtreme Formulations has been a huge supporter of my charitable cause – United Cerebral Palsy. When Xtreme heard I wanted to work with United Cerebral Palsy of Central PA on a fund-raising opportunity and give back to those that helped me the most as a child, they were eager to help. They had more exposure, and helped by placing links on their website for orders of my “Overcome” wristbands. It helped also by saving me time and money by absorbing shipping and handling costs. Xtreme had all that was needed, with everything there to ship immediately. Even though it’s been a major blessing to me, I could still use some help from my loyal followers.

Upon selling out of my initial run in 2008, we were able to raise a $600 donation. I was proud of this accomplishment and didn’t think there was enough demand for a second run. Little by little over the years, I received many emails, Facebook messages and text asking where they could get one. After seeing production cost go down and realizing I could get almost double the amount for the same price as I had made 5 years ago, a second run was considered. I was hesitant. The first run took a while to sell out. Then I remembered, what wearing my own wristband represented. Overcoming not just some, but all of life’s obstacles, making what once appeared impossible – possible. The plan was set with a certain goal in mind – $1500. Quite the amount to be donated this time around. A combined estimated total from what I’ve sold locally, has us about half way there. The finish line is in sight. So grab a band, and we’ll make it (to our goal) I swear! Haha, sorry. That one was far too good to pass up… but you get the point. Until next time, be kind to yourselves!

‘Overcome Band’ Direct Link:

http://xfmuscle.com/product_info.php?products_id=37

 
 

Edit: Since UPS shipping is based on weight, please consider patronizing my sponsor to keep shipping costs from exceeding your charitable donation. Thanks again for all the support!

– Toad

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