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Thursday, 14 January 2016

REVIEW:Veganicity Xtra Slim

By Pete Ryan

Xtra slim is a fat loss product based on several herbal and supplementary products reputed to cause fatloss.

The main ingredients are:

  • Green tea
  • Guarana
  • Ginger
  • Acia
  • Caffeine
  • Carnitine

We can go through these and find out whether this is the right supplement for you and if it is likely to work.

Green tea

Green tea has been shown in several studies to aid in fat loss[i]. Unfortunately, you would need an infeasibly high intake of tea to get any fat loss, so supplements seem the only way to get enough to have an effect.


Guarana is a seed. It has more caffeine that than the coffee bean, and it has been used for fat loss for a while now.  Research suggests that it may help in a little fat loss[ii]. It has a load of antioxidants and phytonutrients for the body as a side benefit.


Ginger can control your cholesterol[iii].  It is also a great antioxidant and has anticancer properties.


Acai is a fruit. It has been hyped way beyond any supplement can live up to.  However it does have some fat loss abilities[iv]


Does this need any introduction? Caffeine pumps up metabolism and increases alertness.[v] Remember that caffeine can be addictive, so be aware of cycling off periodically.


This can raise alarm bells for a few people. Carnitine is very high in meat, specifically red meat and recently it has been suggested in research that  ingested carnitine turns into TMAO, which in turn causes atherosclerosis to occur (we are talking blocking arteries here!).  This would be a concern...if you were a meat eater...however studies have shown that vegans have the right bacteria in the gut, the type that do not turn carnitine into TMAO and so if vegans take carnitine it does not cause any issues[vi].

So, with that settled this supplement is not a concern for vegans we’ll get down to the actual product.


The supplement is a stimulant. It is probably not a good idea to take it late in the evening.  It can help you get work done and will get both the mind and body moving.  I actually used it as a replacement for a pre-workout to good effect.  If you are currently using (or wish to try) a stimulant-based pre-workout, then this is actually something I would consider, especially if you are after the twin goals of training stimulation and fat-loss.

My recommendation is something like 4-8 weeks on, then 4 weeks off (avoid caffeine as much as possible during the ‘off’ phase).

This product will not carve away large chunks of fat.  It could however help you shift that last bit of belly fat or increase losses of fat slightly during a cut.

If you are cutting and just need a little support to help suppress the appetite slightly and increase the activity level a little, then this might be just the thing.

[i] Maki KC, et al. Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. J. Nutr. February 2009  vol. 139 no. 2 264-270.
[ii] Boozer CN, et al. An herbal supplement containing Ma Huang-Guarana for weight loss: a randomized, double-blind trial. Obesity Research Center, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York 10025, USA.

[iii] Fuhrman B, et al. Ginger Extract Consumption Reduces Plasma Cholesterol, Inhibits LDL Oxidation and Attenuates Development of Atherosclerosis in Atherosclerotic, Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice. J. Nutr. May 1, 2000  vol. 130 no. 5 1124-1131.
[iv] Kaats G, et al. Single group, open-­‐label, pilot study of weight loss formula designed to improve body composition by facilitating loss of body fat without concomitant loss of fat-­‐free mass. AJOL Vol 1, No 2 (2014).
[v] Colker  CM, Effects of Citrus aurantium extract, caffeine, and St. John's Wort on body fat loss, lipid levels, and mood states in overweight healthy adults. Current Therapeutic Research Volume 60, Issue 3, March 1999, Pages 145–153.
[vi] Koeth, RA, et al. Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis. Nature Medicine, 19, 576–585 (2013).

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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Flooding your changes

By Pete Ryan

Changes can be hard.  New year is especially problematic. You start that ‘ultimate diet’, you go on a juice detox programme, you decide to start exercising, revamp the diet and start decorating the house as well!  The trouble is that for many people making dozens of changes at once overwhelms them.  New diets, new foods, new exercise programmes.  The body is hit on all sides with changes and many bodies do not like too many changes at once.

When changing for the better many hinder your progress

A famous powerlifter for many years ate a terrible diet of fast food and other junk.  He rarely saw a vegetable and never ate what most people would consider healthy options.  Eventually this came back to haunt him as a medical revealed that he had cholesterol and other blood markers so bad that the doctor was surprised that he was still alive, “I have seen better blood work on a corpse!” was what the doctor said to him and warned that if he did not change his diet then he would probably die in the very near future. So, this powerlifter decided to change his diet for the better.  He dumped the junk food, included vegetables and moved to eating wholefoods.  He got very ill?  He went back to his fast food diet and the symptoms disappeared?  He tried again with the same result.  He became totally confused?  Was he allergic to healthy food?  Were wholefoods bad for him?  In the end he found a nutritionist and over the next 6 months began a slow transition to eating a more healthy diet.
So, what was this?  Was it that 'detox crisis' many gurus talk about?  You can get sick if you lose a lot of fat very quickly as toxins are stored in fat, this is to help keep you safe from poisoning, but this wasn’t the case.  In this example the individual had the wrong enzymes being produced to break down healthy food and had the wrong bacteria in his gut to survive on wholefoods.  This can be fixed, but it takes time for the body to adapt.  The ‘human digestive system’ (the symbiotic relationship between our body and the bacteria that live within us) is an amazing system. You can eat virtually anything and survive, you can eat things far away from what are considered healthy and still grow, even train hard and look good.  Usually the issues that develop are invisible, with increases in cancer, cardiovascular issues and probably an earlier death than you would have had otherwise.
Just as the body can take time to adapt to changes, so the mind also needs time to incorporate changes into your lifestyle. If you attempt to include 20 new changes into your life you will most likely fail to get them all done.  Each one will add to the stress of the day and you will finally get overwhelmed by the mass of changes and crumble. A better plan is to slowly bring in changes.
Over new year just think if you said I am going to go to the gym twice a week (or if you prefer, exercise at home).  Just that, nothing more!  Focus on that for a full month just make sure that every Tuesday and Friday you hit the gym with a full body programme.  After a month that training has started to become a habit, next add in the idea of a healthy breakfast, stick at that for a full month, while the training still continues, the month after that add in the idea of a healthier lunch...and so on.  Add one small change and things will improve, you will not be overwhelmed and by the end of a year you will begin to reap real changes. 

One point I would like to make...THIS IS IMPORTANT... if you are aiming at losing significant fat, start weight training, start body brushing and apply coconut oil.  These things will help the skin adjust to the new shape.  You may not be able to eliminate lose skin, but you could possibly lessen the effects. Those are a few changes at once, but you could start with a month of weights & bodybrushing, then the next month begin the fat loss and coconut oil.  If you aim to add mass I would start with resistance training (lifting weights) and pick one meal to increase the calories per day (breakfast is the easiest if you can eat in the mornings), go from there.
Simply increase by one or 2 things every month as you adapt and things will go better.  If you try to add too many things you will be flooded by changes and soon revert to your old ways.  Make 2016 the year you succeeded with your body goals!

Product of the week
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