Recently I decided to review as many possible products as I could in the areas of protein and weight gain powders, creatine formulas, and nitric oxide supplements. I had been using supplements since I began training in the fall of 2000, and had used a number of the aforementioned products between then and 2004, with the exception of NO products, which I had not heard of at that time. Although I made consistent gains during that time, I had brainwashing coming in from all angles - on one hand the ads in the magazines suggested that bodybuilding supplements would help a person go from zero to hero in virtually no time, and no the other side of the coin, members of various internet bodybuilding message boards were saying that supplements do nothing and are primarily placebos or snake oil. I bought into that type of information after being a huge follower of the message boards from 2001-2004 and finally in 2004 stopped using supplements.
At the 2007 Arnold Classic I decided to ask certain booths if I could obtain samples of their products for review. I met Tom who is the national sales manager for Gaspari Nutrition and he gave me a full tub of SIZEON, which I used with reluctance, not expecting to make any gains. As it turned out, it worked perfectly well and I have since been using supplements fairly consistently (with breaks) in the year which has followed.
Nitric oxide products are a type of supplement which has recently gained popularity. While the anabolic benefits of NO supplements is lower than creatine products and in many cases not present at all (nor meant to be), they are still great to use for the motivation they provide. When you get such an incredible pump at the gym, it motivates you to eat properly and go to the gym more consistently. In my case, it has always been the case in my brief history with NO products and I am sure that in the future I will feel the same way.
Information about Higher Power NO-XS
Most recently, numerous L-Arginine based nitric oxide products have come on the market, promising to trump the quality of regular NO products. This new products are meant to increase the rate of absorption and thereby increase muscle pumps, strength, and endurance (the primary goals of NO products).
NO-XS by Higher Power attempts to replicate a pH delivery system created by MRI with their initial product NO2. NO2 works through a patented delivery system whereby the pH-adjustment triggers teh body to produce bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is a natural buffering agent whcih slows the passage of L-Arginine AKG which in turn creates a prolonged release. The end result is that a steady result of active ingredient is absorbed over an extended period of time which in turn increase levels of nitric oxide and they remain elevated throughout the gym, resulting in an increased and prolonged pump, as well as higher levels of absorption, muscle pumps, strength, and muscular endurance.
In addition to producing high quality products which attempt to be among the best in the market, Higher Power also always tries to keep their prices low. The idea here is that you will get a premium product at a low price, something which many companies attempt to do and something which I can say quite honestly that Higher Power has been doing.
Below I will outline my use of NO-XS and if I think it has lived up to its claims or not. I always shoot for honesty in my reviews, and if I think a supplement is no good, I will definitely say it.
Day 1: Back
I first used NO-XS on back day. NO-XS does not make big claims regarding increased strength and merely states that "NO-XS goes to the absolute limit, surpassing all others, providing the ultimate in absorption, muscle pumps, strength and endurance." I did deadlifts at the beginning of my workout, starting with 135 and 225 pounds for quick warmups at 12 reps each set, and followed that up with 315, 365, and 405.
I did 315 just for a few reps to feel the weight and get a guage for my strength of that day. Given how easily I handled the weight during that set, I imagine I would have been able to do at least 12 good reps. I next did 365. The last time I did 365 I only managed three reps and that was only one week before this workout. Three weeks prior to that I did 365 for five reps, so I wasn't sure what kind of strength I would have. I did 365 for an easy five and think I had 6-7 reps in me altogether. Next I went up to 405, but could not lift it due in part to being tired at that point in the workout, and in part due to my grip giving out, which I think was the primary cause. I should have managed at least two reps even at that point in the workout, so I know to buy chalk next time to help my grip. My grip is strong, but when your hands sweat it makes it difficult to properly grip the bar, no matter ho strong your grip is.
Overall, I can say that my strength was above average during this workout, especially in light of the fact that I could only deadlift 365 for three reps the previous week and had the strength to do it more than double the amount of reps this time out (although I stopped at five, I really should have done another two more). However, I don't think my recovery had improved at all compared to not using a supplement. I do attribute not being able to do 405 to my sweaty hands and poor grip, but as my workout progressed, I did not feel as though my recovery in between sets was above average. I have used enough NO products at this point to know when a product works and when it does not and recognize very subtle differences in exercise intensity and energy levels, including rates of recovery. As I progressed with my back workout and did other exercises, my recovery was not particularly above average. That said, NO-XS does not make specific claims regarding recovery and simply about muscular endurance, and I can say that my endurance had improved, although not to the degree that other NO products help it to improve. The boost in strength was certainly noticeable during my workout though.
Day 2: Biceps, Triceps
I took a break from NO-XS to sample another product for a day which I reviewed recently called "Cold Fusion EX" by LG Sciences. I used NO-XS again for my biceps and triceps workout and was as pleased with it as I was during my back day, if not more pleased. I do not think it is as good as Cold Fusion EX however, which is one of my favourite NO products thus far, and in some sense, NO-XS was at an automatic disadvantage since I reviewed it in such close proximity to what I would consider an outstanding A+ supplement, and it is hard for other supplements to live up to such standards. That said, my biceps and triceps workout went quite well and having only had one meal in the day before working out and drinking a reasonable amount of water, but not what I would consider ideal, I think my pump and endurance were both very good. I found that recovery was slightly better during this workout and I could go from one set to the next as if it was my first one. Granted, I was using heavier weights than normal as demonstrated in some of the clips below, but overall, I felt a prolonged pump and greater sense of well being in the gym. My experience was roughly equal to my first day using NO-XS, without the increase in strength, but with a pump which was at least as good and also greater recovery than the first day. It should be noted that numerous variables work to determine how you wil feel at any given day in the gym, but overall I can always tell if a supplement is doing what it is supposed to be doing and in the case of NO-XS, so far I am inclined to believe that it has.
Day 3: Legs
I have to say that strength wise, this day was a bad day compared to other days, and I swear I struggled with 225 pounds on the squat rack for reps. That said, perhaps the day could have been even worse had I not used NO-XS. I can't really say that I felt any boost at all today, so I will leave it at that, although I suppose I can't know for certain, but it would appear there was no positive effect in today's workout.
Day 4: Chest
Today was a pretty good day for me. Not the best day I ever had, but not the worst by a long shot, and I would say above average, or a high average. My strength was respectable, as was my muscular endurance, and I also
Day 5: Back
Today was another fantastic day for me, where I performed deadlifts and put up a pretty good lift, although not my best, but far from my worst, and it was definitely a high average performance for me, starting off by warming up with 135 pounds and 225 pounds for reps, and then 365 for seven reps, and 385 for two. Here is a clip of me performing 365X7:
The next time you see me post a clip of me deadlifting, it will be using 410 pounds for reps, and it should not be too long from now. Regardless, this was a good workout, and I moved to t-bar rows after I performed the deadlifts:
After my workout was complete I felt absolutely amazing - I was positively glowing and although I am not sure how much of that can be directly contributed to the NO-XS, I thought it was amazing and look forward to that feeling again, and hopefully it was due to the NO-XS, and I can replicate the sensation.
Higher Power NO-XS is around middle of the road as far as NO products go I would say. I would have to say it is far from the best NO product out there, but also far from the worst, and does do what it's supposed to do and does so with no side effects to speak of, at least none for me. I dislike swallowing these enormous horse pills which are common among NO pills, but the alternative is to consume the NO powders which all have a distinct taste, and not a pleasant one at that, which very few companies have managed to effectively mask, although BSN is definitely one of them which did so with their NO-XPLODE. Also, at a price of $23.98 for 180 tablets, it is fairly affordable among NO supplements. I will definitely vouch for all of Higher Power's product line, and the greatest part about them is normally their affordability compared to the competition. The reason why the price is able to remain so low is because the supplements are sold right from the distributor. A great example of a good product by Higher Power would be 100% Whey Power, which is one of my favourite low price whey protein powders (and one of my favourite protein powders in general). I want to eventually sample all of Higher Power's line of products, starting off with the related products below:
I should point out that I have a tub of AAKG powder, but since it is essentially the same product as the NO-XS, just in powder form, I will want to sample it in a variety of capacities for taste and texture and then see if there are any differences in effectiveness which I doubt there will be. I always like to sample products and give reviews which are as honest as possible since honesty is my primary goal with these reviews, along with detail.
NO-XS 3000 is technically an L-Arginine product which also should essentially be a more advanced version of NO-XS, so I definitely look forward to trying that out next. M1T2 claims to be an "Extreme Muscle Building Anabolic Hormone Optimizer", so I definitely want to give that one a try also.
Also for Higher Power NO-XS, it was a good NO supplement as it effectively did what it was supposed to do and was affordable. I should point out I do not follow the instructions for NO products as directed, since they are fast acting supplements I see no purpose in taking the supplements twice daily and generally take them just once, before my workout, which is what I did with the NO-XS (as well as all other NO products I have sampled). In comparison to other similar products, I would rate NO-XS average for NO supplements, but very affordable.