When I was asked to take 4 little red pills a day of OptygenHP with the promise of them making me ride faster I jumped at the chance. I blame Dave Brailsford, the legendary sports director for Team SKY, for his mantra of marginal gains.
Words - Glen O'Rourke
The bottle says that OptygenHP will increaseVO2 Max, improve oxygen utilisation and anaerobic threshold, while modulating cortisol and reducing lactic Acid.
As it is well documented supplements are an absolute minefield, and claims of performance improvement are often hard to substantiate. For a rider like me there are some significant gains to be made by losing the beer and chocolate rituals, but hey if you can get some improvement without doing that I thought why not give them a try and see...
WHAT'S IN OPTYGENHP
First up I did some research into each of the ingredients of OptygenHP and here are my findings.
Chromium 2000 mcg
The only research that I found indicates aerobic exercise can lead to a loss in Chromium and that can affect blood sugar levels.
Eleuthero Extract 800mg
The research here is really interesting. It is basically an extract of a root that grows in Siberian forests. Sounds mysterious. Soviet Olympic teams ran some research on this ingredient with outstanding results. In fact Soviet cosmonauts toasted achieving orbit in 1967 with a round of eleuthero extract! Overall assists the body deal with stress.
Rhodiola Extract 300mg
There's lots of research available on this one. In summary Rhodiola appears to improve the time until exhaustion during exercise and appeared to reduce heart rate. Also reduce how hard exercise felt. Perfect.
Panax Notoginseng extract and Rosa Roxburghii fruit extract.
Lowers cholesterol and improves cardiovascular function. Strengthens the immune system and holds anti inflammatory properties. Also acts as an antioxidant.
This is made up of various ingredients including Calcium pyruvate, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate and Ribose.
Probably the most significant performance claim that I can find is that a combination of the above can expand blood vessels during exercise.
Beta Alanine 1500 mg (50% more than previous the original Opygen HP)
There are lots of studies that indicate beta alanine delays fatigue or increases VO2max. I have taken beta Alanine before but never for a sustained period. This is the ingredient that interested me the most in terms of research. Everything points to improvement in prolonged intense exercise.
Let’s start with the disclaimer....So my experience without laboratory testing to substantiate any claims my observations are purely my own perception. Also bearing in mind that I have not had a top three in an A grade race for well over 6 months and going into my favourite time of year for racing my training has been tailored towards the month of January.
The tablets are easy to swallow without any immediate side effects. Beta Alanine can cause a tingling feeling in your fingers and skin but I didn’t experience that with this product. Overall this was a hard training week and no significant improvement. Early days but still hopeful.
Spoke with the chief editor to reassure him that I had started the OptygenHP program.
Sunday Placed 3rd in a club memorial race! Look I am not saying it was result of taking OptygenHP. I raced well and remained nice and focused during the event.
I have to say that I felt like my recovery from hard sessions had improved and with my result at the weekend I guess my confidence had improved. Raced again and spent the last lap off the front of the race and just missed out on a win on the line.
I did back off training this week with the intension of a storming ride on Sunday. Placed 3rd
Again I felt really great and was able to push my limits. At my age (44) it takes 3 or 4 days to recover and I really hurt myself during the race. Hard to tell if my recovery was any shorter but my racing results had improved.
A 4 week supply costs around AU$100
WHERE TO BUY
Head online to www.firstendurance.net.au
Do supplements work? If you believe the research, they improve performance in clinical trials. Did they work for me? It is hard to tell. The month that I started taking them was really a focus for me and I did have a good period of racing.
There's always the question of them just giving you a psychological edge for a period that you want to focus on....
First Endurance is a leading manufacturer of performance supplements. Do your research on the manufacturer and only use a reputable brand.
Always read the label etc…….