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Self-testing stimulants

I don't mean to brag, but I am a member of the Amazon Vine program. Basically it's a little loyalty program where they offer me (and a couple thousand other amazon members) free products to try out. The only stipulation being that we have to review them on Amazon's site.
Most of the items are books, but if you move fast when they send out the vine newsletter you can get some other nifty stuff... like over the counter stimulants!

(more about getting jacked up after the break)

In this case I volunteered to try out Hydroxy-stim.  The name makes me think of Hydrox cookies but these little pills promise more energy and "thermogenesis". Thermogenesis is, of course, the generation of heat primarily through shivering. I'm not sure why that is beneficial to working out, unless you really think that warming up is important to raise your core temperature and not to get heart rate up.

Mmmm... stimulating...

I was not expecting much but the label has plenty of warning that (if I were a weight lifter) I would potentially test positive for performance enhancing drugs. While I'm sure that is a reasonable concern for the serious body builder or weight lifter, that also feels kind of like a tease; "hey man, this stuff is so good its practically illegal! " And of course, the claims and statements on the packaging have not been evaluated by the FDA, because if they had to test every super-magic diet supplement they would probably go blind from all the eye-rolling. At any rate my starting temp was a not too shabby 96.3 on my consumer grade thermometer. I'll let you know if I turn into the human torch and/or my heart explodes.


On the first day I took a pill and within an hour I was definitely feeling peppy. Like a nice caffeinated feeling without the urge to pee. Hydroxystim has about 100mg of caffeine which is about as much as a cup of coffee. The strange part is that the labeling clearly instructs you to step up the dosage after the first two days. So basically you're upping your caffeine intake (as well as your geranium extract intake, which I have to admit was pretty low). I guess that's all fine, but I think that when I took it today with my usual intake of Diet Coke it really put me off. I got really irritable and it pretty much ruined my afternoon. Since my consumption of Diet Coke still doesn't put me in the range of two cups of coffee, I'm wary to see if working up to three of these pills is going to have any particularly positive effect.

Not part of a balanced breakfast

When it finally came to try this stuff in a workout, I was disappointed. As before it definitely felt like I had a little more pep in my step. But I don't know if that may have been due to a little placebo effect mixed with caffeine buzz. I was kind of hoping this stuff would be a little more extreme. I suppose I could go nuts and take like 5 capsules at once and really go gonzo, but going off the label can cause all kinds of side effects in many over the counter drugs and supplements. Drink 4 Red Bulls and see how you're feeling if you want a legal rush.

In case you're curious about the use of Geranium extract. Here is an interesting blog post that talks about the uses (and abuses) of this natural ingredient by athletes and body builders. This is exactly the kind of situation where a player, especially an amateur could easily get in trouble. Whenever you hear a report of an athlete testing positive for a "banned substance", Hydroxystim could very well be one of these types of supplements. Its far from a steroid or controlled substance, but can easily trip up an ignorant player who thinks they're just getting a little jolt and some extra vitamins. So I had my fun with it, and I'll probably keep Hydroxystim around like an alternative to No-doz.

Stay safe, stay educated.

This post originally appeared on Stuff Smart People Like. Subscribe to the Podcast.

1 comment:

  1. You intrepid scientist of the self, you rogue researcher. You are a paragon of the very essence of this blogging endeavor. Godspeed.

    Also, nice article.