Modern life can be hectic; we have to juggle a busy working life, family life, social life, and then we have to fit gym workouts in there somewhere too! It can be difficult to find the time to do everything, and you may feel like you need to be superhuman at times.
But to maintain our energy and health in the midst of the madness, looking after yourself is a priority. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and taking regular exercise will help you do this. But you might not have the time to spend a couple of hours in the gym, so how can you get an effective workout in half the time?
Pimp your workout
Be strict about rest periods
Many people take longer rest between exercises than they really need. This can make your workout longer without providing any real benefits for fitness or strength. Maybe you strike up a conversation with a fellow gym goer, or you waste time not really knowing what exercise you are going to do next; this all wastes time. Try taking a stopwatch into the gym with you, and rest for no longer than 30 seconds between isolation exercises, and no longer than 60-90 seconds if you are lifting heavy weights and performing compound exercises such as squats are deadlifts.
This involves doing 2 or more exercises in a row without a rest. You can either do exercises for the opposite muscle group, or you can mix and match upper body and lower body exercises. This will reduce the time you spend not exercising, as while one part is resting, you’re working another body part. You only need to rest for 30 seconds between each superset, so it’s a great training method for fat burning too, as your heart rate stays fairly high.
Do full body workouts
If you want the best results on the shortest time, do full body workouts. This way, you can train each muscle group 2-3 times per week, and you can design the perfect workout for you, whether you want to lose fat or build muscle mass. More muscle groups worked equals more calories burned.
Overhaul your diet
Be realistic about your diet; any amount of exercise is not going to undo the effects of a bad diet. Reducing calories and overall fat intake is a good place to start, then think about increasing your protein intake.
Try pre-exhausting your muscles
If you pre-exhaust your muscles with an isolation exercise before doing a heavier compound exercise, you can work your muscles harder in a shorter time. An example of this would be performing a pec flye before a bench press, so you can work your chest harder over fewer sets.
What about supplements?
If you want to see quicker results from your workouts, you may have considered adding supplements to your workout routine. But do you really need them? For starters, supplements should always be considered as progress enhancers, not as kick starters. If your diet and training aren’t on the right track, taking a pill or powder isn’t going to help you. A supplement is not supposed to be a quick fix, you have to get the basics right. No supplement is going to work if you aren’t training often enough, or intensely enough, or if you are eating too much or not enough. Some fitness experts say that you should only consider supplements once you have been training seriously for a year.
Before thinking about supplements, think about your training programme. Do you focus on multi-joint compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, chin ups, push ups, and lunges? Do you always concentrate on getting your technique correct rather than trying to lift heavier weights? Do you challenge yourself with more difficult exercises and heavier loads?
Look at your nutrition. If you want to gain mass, you shouldn’t just take a mass gain powder and hope for the best. The solution lies in nutritious whole food. You need calories, and not just any calories, but good ones. Here are the foods you should base your diet on to get maximum nutritional value:
Protein: whole eggs, grass-fed beef, chicken, turkey, fish and yoghurt.
Carbohydrate: rolled oats, potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables.
Fat: butter, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts/seeds, game meat, olive oil.
After you have got your diet right, then think about where you can add supplements for an extra boost. Here are the top 3 supplements that are proven by science:
Fish oil is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and improve joint health.
Vitamin D reduces chronic fatigue, it can ameliorate seasonal depression, reduce joint pain, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and weight gain.
If you’re regularly exposed to the sun and you live in a warmer climate, you don’t need to worry about taking additional vitamin D. However, vitamin D supplementation is often necessary in colder climates or if you spend more time indoors, as the body can’t make the necessary amounts itself.
Amino acids from protein are the building blocks of muscle. It’s essential to have a sufficient supply of protein after a workout so your muscles can use it to repair, recover, and become stronger. Food based protein is the best source of protein for your body, but if you train hard, there’s no harm in supplementing with a powder.
What Is It?
DMHA is also known as Octodrine and its scientific name is Dimethyl hexylamine or 2-amino isoheptane. It is a central nervous system stimulant and it has a similar chemical structure to some of the illegal stimulants including AMP Citrate (DMBA), Ephedrine, and DMAA.
There are 2 forms of DMHA:
2-amino-5-methylheptane (naturally occurring)
The synthetic version of DMHA is much cheaper to produce than the natural version, and it is more widely used because it has been more widely researched. The natural version is thought to be more potent however.
The natural version of DMHA can be found in Juglans Regia Extract (Walnut Bark), Aconitum Kusnezoffii Extract, and also Kigelia Africana Extract.
DHMA is quite new to the market but it is starting to appear in a range of pre-workout and thermogenic fat burner supplements.
What is a stimulant?
Stimulants are a type of psychoactive drug which increase activity in the brain. These types of drugs can temporarily boost alertness, mood, and focus. Some stimulant drugs are legal and widely used, but most stimulants can also be addictive. Stimulant drugs have many similarities, but each has its own unique properties and difference in the way it works.
Drugs that are well-known stimulants include:
Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world, and it is found in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and some soft drinks. While caffeine has some positive effects such as increasing energy and mental alertness, heavy use can cause symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. Caffeine is physically addictive, and withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and include headaches, fatigue and irritability.
Nicotine is another one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world, even though there are no medical uses for the drug. During the early to mid-20th century, smoking was believed to be fashionable. Increasing research evidence of the negative health consequences of smoking have led health services worldwide to run campaigns to assist people to quit smoking, however many millions of people around the world continue to smoke.
Tobacco remains a leading cause of death, disease, and disability around the world.
Cocaine is an illegal psychoactive drug made from the leaves of the coca tree. In the 1800s, the prominent psychiatrist Sigmund Freud advocated cocaine as a therapeutic treatment for psychological disorders, but later he realised how addictive the drug could be. In the early 1900’s, cocaine was still legal in many countries and could be found in over the counter formulations.
Upon realising the addictive nature of cocaine, the government began requiring manufacturers to label products which contained cocaine and began restricting its use and distribution.
Cocaine is rapidly absorbed once taken, and is snorted, inhaled, injected, or taken orally. The drug reaches the brain quickly and is then carried to other tissues throughout the body in the bloodstream. Cocaine is rapidly metabolized by enzymes in the liver and blood in around 30 to 60 minutes, and it can be detected in urine tests for up to 12 hours after it has been taken.
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is one of the most commonly used illegal stimulants. Meth is extremely addictive and destroys tissues in the brain, which can lead to brain damage over time.
Prescription stimulants are a group of psychoactive drugs that act on the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system. Some of the effects of using stimulant drugs include tremors, restlessness, tachycardia, insomnia, agitation, and loss of appetite.
Stimulants were once commonly used in obesity and weight loss treatments, but their addictive properties were believed to outweigh the benefits of using them for this purpose.
Prescription stimulants are currently used to treat some physical and psychological disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
The most commonly prescribed stimulants for these conditions include Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine. Prescription stimulants work by enhancing the effects of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, and can increase respiratory function and bring about feelings of euphoria.
What does DMHA do?
DMHA acts in a similar way to other psychoactive central nervous system stimulants, in that it enhances energy levels, boosts cognitive function, decreases appetite, and improves the function of the airways. DMHA has also been shown to increase the levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline, which make you feel good and allow better performance and focus under pressure.
In addition, users of DMHA have reported that they have a higher pain threshold and a decreased rate of perceived exertion, therefore, when working out, they were able to train beyond their usual point of fatigue. The effects of DMHA combine to make it an ideal workout supplement, hence it is being increasingly included in performance enhancing supplements which are coming to market.
DMHA (Octodrine) can benefit bodybuilders
From the list of benefits associated with DMHA, you can see that a lot of the benefits would be desirable in the bodybuilding and weight training world. Those who are serious about their training will benefits from the supplement’s ability to boost energy and focus.
It also has a similar structure to compounds known as monoamine releasing agents. These are compounds which can increase the levels of the chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline, which boost motivation and the desire to train. Studies carried out on animals to assess the effects of DMHA showed that it appears to increase pain threshold. If this effect translates to humans, it would allow for the completion of more intense workouts and a reduction of the perception of exertion. Less fatigue and the ability to work harder for longer will equal better results.
Because strong stimulants are also known to be excellent appetite suppressants, DMHA can potentially also be used to help promote fat loss by minimising the desire to snack and stray from a healthy diet. It’s important to note that while DMHA isn’t a banned substance, because it has a chemical structure which is similar to banned substances such as ephedrine, you probably should refrain from taking it if you are competing.
How to take DHMA
To benefit from the performance enhancing properties of DMHA, it is best to use it around 15-30 minutes prior to working out. If you are using it mostly for its appetite suppressant properties, DMHA can be used during the day between meals. However, take it with caution if using it late in the afternoon or early evening, as it has the potential to reduce your ability to sleep.
The proven effective therapeutic dose of DMHA is 100mg of the synthetic 2-amino-6-methylheptane, or 75 mg of the naturally occurring 2-amino-5-methylheptane.
How long does it take to work?
DMHA begins to work as soon as it is absorbed into the bloodstream, which happens around 15-30 minutes after consumption, though this can vary depending on if you have taken it on an empty or full stomach. You will notice an increased level of mental focus, increased energy and a reduction in appetite, as well as a heightened feeling of wellbeing and motivation.
How much does it cost?
Supplements containing DMHA range in price from $1.17 to $3.50 per serving, depending on the amount you buy and the dosage, and the other ingredients that might be included in the product.
Based on an average price of $2.50 per serving, if you take it 5 times per week, supplementing with DMHA will normally cost around $50 per month.
Due to a lack of human research studies, there’s really not enough information on DMHA’s safety or potential side effects. Due to its similar chemical structure to some known banned stimulants, it can only be assumed that the potential side effects are similar too.
These side effects include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and shortness of breath. With any supplement that contains a stimulant or any compound that has not been fully researched, it’s best to start by using very small amounts. However, for athletes and indeed, for anyone who is drug tested often, it’s best to stay away from the DMHA completely.
There are no official dosing recommendations for DMHA, but according to data from on animal studies and its similarities to DMAA, a conservative safe dose would be 1 mg/kg of body weight up to 160 mg. This may be revised once further research is carried out and the supplement begins to become more widely used.
The future of DHMA supplements
As stimulants such as DMAA and AMP Citrate being phased out of the supplements currently on the market, DMHA might start to appear as a viable alternative. DHMA is likely to be included in pre-workout supplements and fat burners. However, due to the lack of evidence on its safety, DMHA may also end up being banned, and there are already calls for it to be banned in some countries, like Australia.
Stacking DMHA (Octodrine)
DMHA or Octodrine can be stacked with a range of other supplements. It can be combined with a protein, amino acid, or creatine supplement to enhance the positive effects on training. It can also be combined with fat burners and pre-workout formulations. Avoid using it with any supplements which contain highly stimulating ingredients to reduce the risk of negative side effects.
As a supplement, DHMA is still relatively new to the market. It is similar in structure to substances which are banned, so it can only be assumed that it brings with it similar side effects. Be sure to get the basics of exercise and diet right first, and consider supplements which are adequately backed up by research for your own health and safety.