Monday, November 3, 2014

Optimum Apex: The Breakdown

Optimum Apex is now for sale!  It is available here, as well as Amazon and Ebay.  We are offering a cheaper price here as incentive to our loyal readers. 
Thank you a million times over for your continued support.  We look forward to replacing whatever filler-laden, low quality big name powder you currently spend way too much on!
Buy Optimum Apex Now - $29.99 Per Tub

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What Is Optimum Apex?
Optimum Apex is a performance supplement that makes athletes more athletic.

You can read on for all the crunchy details, but in a nutshell, it makes you better at your sport.  

Why Did I Make This Product?

The supplement business is flooded with garbage.  You know it, I know it.  I took a giant risk in getting into this game, because it means I have to go toe-to-toe with sleaze bags, snake oil salesmen, and scam artists every day, and they have way bigger budgets.  

What's the problem?  Lack of regulation, a legal climate that allows scumbags to make whatever insane claims and lies they want with zero repercussions, the fact that the jar of Nutella you buy at the grocery store has gone through ten times more quality/safety checks versus your favorite pre workout supplement, and so on.  

The famous Bigger Faster Stronger documentary does an excellent job of summarizing the game:

After spending hours upon hours reviewing what works (a tiny little fraction of what's out there) and what does nothing, you start to get fed up with the reality that these companies are taking millions of people for billions of dollars each year with slick marketing and completely ineffective products.

I chose to make Optimum Apex (and hopefully other products) because the popularity of this site shows me that there are people out there who want a no-nonsense version of fitness, and by extension, a no-nonsense version of fitness supplements.  

I may not be able to compete with the big guy's marketing budgets, but I sure as hell can offer a better product to those smart enough to recognize it.

I Don't Want To Read 20 Pages Of Info.  What Does It Do and Why Is It Better?

We offer the following:

  • Increase power and endurance for all out, very short duration activity
    • Ex: 40 yard dash, dead lift 3RM
  • Increase power and endurance for repear high intensity, short duration activity
    • Ex: sprint shuttles with short rest periods, squat 12RM
  • Increase aerobic power and endurance
    • Ex: timed mile run, marathon, low-moderate intensity periods in sports
  • Reduce muscle loss from high intensity exercise 
    • Muscle cells die as a result of exercise, OA mitigates this undesirable outcome
  • Improve recovery, reduce fatigue
  • Optimize hormone profile
    • Performance: increase anabolic hormones, reduce stress hormones
    • General health: improve bone, heart, psychological and immunological health.  Reduce risk factor to practically every major disease
We're better because we offer only proven, well researched ingredients - and nothing else.  99% of other supplements offer half or less of effective doses, and make up the difference with cheap, unstudied, or proven ineffective junk filler and concentrates.

Most important of all, Optimum Apex is lab analyzed for authenticity of label claims.  What's on the label is in the product - proven via certificate of analysis.

What Makes Optimum Apex Better? - In Depth.
Long before I even considered getting into this business, I released an article called An In Depth Look At Pre Workout Supplement Effectiveness And Safety, which examined exactly which common supplement ingredients were effective, and which were completely ineffective or entirely unstudied.  In short, there are very few active ingredients proven to do anything at all - the vast majority have been shown to do absolutely nothing.  The five big ones are creatine, beta-alanine, LCLT, beet root (nitrates and betaine), and vitamin D3.  Many, many other common ingredients such as glutamine, the b3-6-12, exotic creatines, arginine, glycerol, tyrosine, taurine, and so on have been shown to do...well, not much of anything (see the article for references - I don't want to congest this page with copy/paste).

The optimal doses of these ingredients for most people are all established at this point.  Creatine requires 5000 mg/day to maintain loading, beta-alanine and LCLT have been shown to exhibit effects at 2000 mg/day, beet root extract is best loaded at 500 mg/day, and vitamin D reaches optimal levels at ~5,000IU/day.

With that in mind, take a peak:

Left to right: Evlution ENGN pre-workout, BSN Cell Mass 2.0, BPI Pump-HD pre-workout.  

Notice their quantities of creatine, beta-alanine, l-carnitine (none of them have the LCLT pairing, which is absolutely required for l-carnitine to be effective), and so on. Active ingredients either have half an effective dose (or less), or an amount masked by a proprietary blend.  Tons of filler, concentrates, or ingredients with zero research behind them.  Also, some hilarious proprietaries; can you believe someone gets payed to come up with names like "insulino interfusion" and "mind-to-muscle matrix"?


Full doses of the five most effective ingredients.  Nothing else.  

Ingredient Breakdown
Let me start by saying that a number of the ingredients in Optimum Apex are energy system substrates, which means they provide additional resources the body needs for specific intensities and duration of exercise.  If this is a foreign concept to you, or you would like to know more about energy systems and how they impact performance, it wouldn't be a bad idea to read Conditioning For Athletes: Does Your Program Condition You To Win?

Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?
The most studied of all performance supplements, no product of this type would be complete without creatine.  We've all got instramuscular pools of creatine in us. These pools provide the substrate needed to make fresh ATP from ADP when we exhaust our very small stored capacity.  Creatine supplementation provides more of this substrate so that we can create more ATP before the system exhausts.  For an in depth guide to creatine, see What Is Creatine And How Does It Work?

What does it do for me?

The phosphocreatine system powers all out, very short duration activity.  Once this system cashes out, there's a resynthesis downtime.  During this period, power output necessarily decreases (at which point the glycolytic system bears most of the burden).  Creatine supplementation prolongs the time it takes the phosphocreatine system to exhaust, allowing an athlete to maintain maximal power output for longer.  It also shortens the resynthesis time between bouts of maximal activity.  Creatine supplementation also has a host of other confirmed and potential benefits Creatine exhibits effects over activities such as a 40 yard dash or a 3-5 rep squat set.

Creatine supplements have a long standing reputation for increasing muscle growth and size.  Creatine does not directly stimulate increased growth, but the ability to push all-out effort a little longer and harder certainly potentiates additional growth.

Where's the fancy-sounding versions?

You'll see this nonsense marketing along the lines of "premium, patented creatine volumizing growth matrix".  It will usually have some esoteric version of creatine that the company will market as being vastly more effective or beneficial.  In reality, the tried and true creatine monohydrate is almost always the best choice (see in depth creatine article for explanations).

What are the side effects?

It's important to understand that creatine is hydrophilic - it absorbs water.  When it enters the muscle tissue, it will pull in water as well.  This usually means a modest gain in water weight and a look/feeling of fullness in the muscles.  If individual absorption is poor, it can also cause some subcutaneous puffiness.  These effects are harmless and completely reversible, but may be a point of caution for athletes restricted by weight class.

Creatine can also cause stomach pain, bloating, and other gastrointestinal issues.  This is also due to the water absorbing property.  That being said, it is almost always an issue of A) taking way too much creatine and B) not hydrating properly.  Avoiding both minimizes the risk of stomach issues.

Third, because creatine is filtered via the kidneys, it will add to the kidney's workload.   Exercise caution or talk to your doctor if you have any nephrological conditions.


What is it?
Beta-alanine grants similar benefits as creatine in the next step of the anaerobic spectrum.  It is a precursor to carnosine, which is a potent buffer of acidic H+ ions.  These ions are responsible for "the burn" during intense exercise, and we all know that once that threshold is reached, intense activity grinds to a halt. Beta-alanine pushes that level of unbearable acidity a little further back.

What does it do for me?

Because carnosine , offering increased power/endurance for short duration/high intensity (but not very short duration very high intensity, that's creatine's territory) activity.  A good example would be a 400-800m sprint, a 12 rep squat set, or a 3 minute round of wrestling.

By now, there's a healthy body of research indicating what beta-alanine does and does not do.  First, let's be clear that beta-alanine will not make you a faster sprinter.  There's piles of poorly designed studies that have measured the effects of beta-alanine supplementation over repeat short duration sprints using relatively long recovery periods, showing no effect.

Studies by Kern, et al, 2011, Okudan et al, 2014, and many others all indicate that beta alanine is a potent upregulator of carnosine and thus a performance enhancer for activities which hover around the anaerobic threshold.  Studies have also shown that beta-alanine increases lean muscle gain and helps retain muscle even during weight loss (an absolutely crucial component of long term fat loss outcome).  Being that Optimum Apex packages beta-alanine with creatine, it's worth mentioning that studies have also indicated a synergistic performance boosting effect when the two supplements are loaded together.

What are the side effects?

Beta-alanine only has one notable side effect - the infamous tingles.  A number of people who use beta-alanine report that it gives them a strange tingling sensation - some love it, some hate it.  This phenomenon is known as parasthesia, and while it can be a strange sensation, it is completely harmless.  The tingles usually cease after a few uses, but some may experience them even after two weeks of use.

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

What is it?
The primary effect of LCLT is to reduce tissue damage from hypoxic (read: intense) activity.  Reduced oxygen availability to muscle tissue and the subsequent free radical formation is the principle cause of muscle tissue damage.  This damage results in the death of some muscle tissue; at some later point, cytokines will swoop in and mark salvageable cells for repair while marking too far gone ones for destruction via apoptosis.

What does it do for me?

LCLT acts as a vasodilator and improves oxygen availability to muscle tissue.  This reduces the level of destruction wrought by hypoxic work, thus saving the bacon of would-be dead muscle tissue.

The obvious question is - if tissue damage is a key part of the immune system-mediated growth response to strength training (it is, see here), then why would we want to mitigate it?  Well, damage is crucial, death is not.  LCLT reduces the amount of cells that would otherwise die from lack of oxygen, thus increasing IGF-1 binding and overall anabolic effect.

There's quite a body of research on LCLT, though for some reason it often flies under the radar as a first-tier supplement.  Studies by Kraemer et al, Spiering et al, Wall et al, Orer et al, and plenty more all unanimously indicate that LCLT increase O2 binding, reduces cellular death from exercise, and increase IGF-1 binding (which leads to a direct increase in growth) - and all by quite a significant amount.  

In a sentence: LCLT reduces the muscle-wasting effect of intense exercise and increases IGF-1 binding, granting a net increase to growth and reducing recovery time.

What are the side effects?

Possible side effects are similar to creatine supplementation and mostly include general stomach problems (bloating, diarrhea, etc.).  It may also cause heartburn, and some report that it gives the urine/breath a somewhat strange odor.

Beta Vulgaris (Beet Root Extract)

What is it?
Beet root extract is the powdered form of cooked beets.  The quantities provided in Optimum Apex are equivalent to drinking 500ml (17 oz) of juice. It provides two substances of interest: organic nitrates, and betaine.  

What does it do for me?

Low dose nitrates increase substrate availability of nitrate and nitrite, which are utilized during aerobic exercise.  This increases peripheral blood flow, reduces the O2 cost of activity, and significantly improves aerobic endurance.

Betaine is a less studied component of beet root.  You see it pop up all the time in other products, though it is unsubstantiated.  The studies that do indicate performance enhancement utilize a 2+g a day load, which is a quantity practical never seen in supplements.

What are the side effects?

This depends on what generation of literature you buy into.  For a long time, the accepted belief was that dietary nitrates would wreck havoc on blood pressure and increase risk of certain cancers.  This belief has been thoroughly debunked at this point, but like any fitness/health myth, it has been slow to die off.

Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

What is it?
D3 is a vitamin that really behaves more like a hormone.  It's synthesized from cholesterol when skin is exposed to light.  It is then converted to the hormone calcitriol, after which it exhibits a great number of downstream effects.  We can get some from food, but it's rather limited.  

The vast majority of us have suboptimal to deficient levels of D3.  This is especially true of those who live in areas that don't get year round sunlight, or for those of us that just don't spend a lot of time in the sun.  It is extremely difficult to obtain optimal levels of vitamin D from diet alone.

What does it do for me?

The physiological functions of D are numerous.  It is required for cardiovascular, muscular, neurological, bone, and immunological health.  It plays a role in boosting testosterone and other anabolic hormones, improves mood, has anti-aging and anti-cancerous properties, and the list goes on and on.  

While I don't agree with everything over at, it's worth noting that they have this to say about vitamin D:

If there's only one supplement you're taking for your health and your diet is decent, it should probably be Vitamin D. I highly recommend taking Vitamin D instead of a multivitamin most of the time. 
Herman Gill
What are the side effects?
At less than 10,000 IU/day, none.

If you were to look into vitamin D upper limits, you would find 2,000 IU/day in the US and 4,000 IU/day in Canada.  All recent research shows that these are criminally low, and that the real safe upper limit is somewhere around 10,000 IU/day.


Q) How/where is this product made?

A) The formulation, labeling, and all intellectual property were created by Corpus Compendium.  Raw materials were manufactured and mixed in a US laboratory in accordance to FDA cGMP practices (about the only nod of approval a company can get in the supplement business).  All batches were certified to be homogenous and accurately mixed via an independent certificate of analysis.

Q) You keep stating that your competitors don't provide full doses/jam their product full of filler.  Why do they do this?

A) To maximize profit.  Active ingredients are expensive, filler is cheap - and if you use exotic sounding ingredients, filler sounds sexy.  If your customer base doesn't know any better, it's an easy cash grab.  Remember, supplement companies can make any baseless claims they want, because there's no regulation or governing body holding them accountable.

Q) So you're actually saying companies can flat out lie to us with no consequence?

A) Yes.  So long as their products don't cause widespread damage (see the DMAA fiasco).  Supplement companies can say anything and put anything in their products in order to make a dime.

Q) Is this product a pre-workout supplement? 

A) No.  It has no acute effects, and should be taken daily regardless of training schedule.

Q) Does this product contain protein? 

A) No.  It is not meant to provide macronutrients or serve as food replacement.

Q) I see that it has no flavoring, coloring, or sweeteners.  What does it taste like?  

A) It was a bit of a happy accident that LCLT is very sour (testers all said it tastes like the stuff on the outside of sour patch kids) and beet root extract is mildly sweet and has a deep pink color.  When mixed in water, it's a lot like mild, unsweetened pink lemonade.

When I was beta testing it with as many people as I could, most said they preferred it unsweetened and thought it was rather refreshing.  I don't have anything against flavoring/sweeteners, I just liked it the way it was and it allowed me to keep my/your costs down.

Q) Why would I buy your product if you don't promise the same claims as other supplement companies?  Where's the xTreme shredz/garden hose vascularity?  What about the hemo-slayer vasopump volumizing initiation matrix?

A) Supplements only...well, supplement.  They do not take the place of solid programming, hard work, attention to diet, and adequate rest.  If you couldn't read a supplement label to your mom or girl friend without feeling embarrassed, chances are it's completely bogus.  Besides, 
I respect myself and my customers too much to ever try and sell something with such ridiculous claims.

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Effects of β-Alanine Supplementation on Performance and Body Composition in Collegiate Wrestlers and Football Players. Kern, Ben D; Robinson, Tracey L. July 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 7 - pp 1804-1815. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e741cf. Retrieved from:

The effects of beta alanine plus creatine administration on performance during repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise in sedentary men.
Okudan N, Belviranlı M, Pepe H, Gökbel H, 2014. Retrieved from

The Effects of Chronic Betaine Supplementation on Exercise Performance, Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Saturation and Associated Biochemical Parameters in Resistance Trained Men.
Trepanowski, John F; Farney, Tyler M; McCarthy, Cameron G; Schilling, Brian K; Craig, Stuart A; Bloomer, Richard J. Retrieved from:

Safety Measures of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation in Healthy Men.

Effects of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation on Muscle Oxygenation Responses to Resistance Exercise. Spiering, Barry A1; Kraemer, William J1; Hatfield, Disa L1; Vingren, Jakob L1; Fragala, Maren S1; Ho, Jen-Yu1; Thomas, Gwendolyn A1; Häkkinen, Keijo2; Volek, Jeff S1. Retrieved from

The Effects of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation on Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise and Recovery. KRAEMER, WILLIAM J.; VOLEK, JEFF S.; FRENCH, DUNCAN N.; RUBIN, MARTYN R.; SHARMAN, MATTHEW J.; GOMEZ, ANA L.; RATAMESS, NICHOLAS A.; NEWTON, ROBERT U.; JEMIOLO, BOZENA; CRAIG, BRUCE W.; HAKKINEN, KEIJO. Retrieved from

Chronic oral ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans.
Wall BT1, Stephens FB, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Marimuthu K, Macdonald IA, Greenhaff PL. Retrieved from

The Effects of Acute L-carnitine Supplementation on Endurance Performance of Athletes Orer, Gamze E.1; Guzel, Nevin A.2. Retrieved from