In gyms everywhere, if you’re talking about recovery and BCAA’s, there is one brand name and product that seems to always come up. SciVation’s Xtend.
Many of its users will absolutely use no other product and it is this loyal following of users that have made it the flagship product for Scivation.
If you’re wondering if the product is as good as all the hype, I’m going to give you a run down of its ingredients, benefits and uses here so you can make up your own mind, as well as a quick overview of SciVation the company.
Scivation “X-ploded” (sorry for the pun) onto the supplement industry scene in 2004 after some very humble beginnings for its founder Mike McCandless. He had previously worked for GNC and then started his own supplement store.
Eventually, with an already loyal customer base, he created Scivation and promoted it through his on-line store. Word of mouth about the quality of the product made it an instant success and McCandless and his team have built on that reputation offering supplements of very high quality.
Between 2007-2012 Scivation has won many awards for Xtend from top industry judges like Bodybuilding.com. Given their focus on researching and developing supplements of the highest standard, I think they are destined for more awards in the future.
Xtend is an Intra-workout drink powder, meaning it is most effective when taken immediately before or during your workouts and can also be used as a recovery fuel on your non training days.
Loaded with BCAAs, Xtend’s two main purposes are to improve intensity and protein synthesis when and where it’s needed the most.
As an intensity / energy booster, it stands out because it contains NO carbs and NO sugar. Instead it relies on high doses of Amino acids to provide all you need.
I mentioned earlier that Scivation has picked up several awards. Well, most of them are for Xtend where it has won: Glutamine Product of The Year : 2007 & 2008, Recovery Supplement of the Year : 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 and Intra-workout Supplement of the Year: 2011 & 2012.
These are awards from Bodybuilding.com which says a lot about Xtend’s quality and popularity.
The ingredients list for Xtend reads like a who’s who of the BCAA world with A similar list of electrolytes. It sounds corny, but there really are too many to list here, so I’m only going to mention the “Big guns” and their function in our body.
The people at Scivation really came up with the good here, with a blend that I think is optimal for any athlete in any discipline, be it bodybuilding or track, pro or amateur. The electrolyte blend contains the following 3 essential salts.
Potassium is the primary electrolyte found in our body’s cells and stored in muscle fibers along with glycogen. It has a critical role in helping to transport glucose into the muscle cells. It also helps control fluid balance and assists the conduction of nerve impulses.
When glycogen breaks down to supply energy for your workouts, your muscle cells are depleted of potassium. This causes a higher concentration of potassium in your blood and more lost in sweat and urine.
A Potassium deficiency due to a heavy workout can cause nausea, slower reflexes, vomiting, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, cramping, and rapid heart rate. I’m sure a lot of you reading this are thinking “Hmm, so that’s why I threw up doing P90X!”
Sodium Chloride (Don’t skip this one)
Yep, good old, every day, run of the mill table salt! Tastes great on fish and chips, but more importantly, it is essential for you to get the most out of your workouts and your BCAA supplements.
Besides being needed for your normal body function, Sodium Chloride also helps your body to absorb chloride, amino acids, glucose, and water all of which you probably know, are an integral part of your bodybuilding or any other fitness regime. It can also enhance your energy and endurance.
Trisodium Citrate Di-hydrate
This is a salt of citric acid produced by complete neutralization of citric acid it is commonly used in foods to buffer the pH and works the same way in your body to regulate acidity / alkalinity. This can help to reduce the effect of acidosis (Lactic acid build up) during intense exercise.
Amino acid blend
Xtend contains 7000mg of BCAAs per serving. They are:
Maintains muscle tissue by sustaining the balance of nitrogen. It also supplies energy to our body during training and preserves muscle glycogen needed for muscle contraction. Leucine also assists your mental ability and focus even when training at a higher intensity.
Minimizes the breakdown of muscle tissue and helps to improve the synthesis of protein for recovery and growth during and after a workout.
Isoleucine is a very important precursor to glutamine and alanine,which are both used during intense workouts. It’s also used as fuel by muscle cells, sparing other amino acids from being used. Isoleucine is also important for protein synthesis, promoting anabolism and anti-catabolism.
Another BCAA essential for the growth and repair of tissue as well as maintaining the nitrogen balance in your body. Valine can also be used as a source of energy for muscles, which helps to preserve your body’s glucose stores.
Citrulline Malate (1000mg)
Delays the onset of fatigue and helps to speed up recovery. Citrulline also helps in the removal of lactic acid and ammonia after an workout and assists protein synthesis.
Serving size: 14.1gm (1 scoop)
From fat : 0
Protein: 0 gm
Taste and Mix-ability
Scivation Xtend’s formula recently underwent some changes to improve its taste and mix-ability. It is currently available in 7 flavors in the 30 and 90 serving containers. In the single serve stick packs, you’re choice is limited to only 3 flavors, but they are the 3 rated the highest on taste by users at Bodybuilding.com.
The highest rating is for Watermelon, Green Apple and Lemon Lime at only an 8.6 out of 10,000 + users, so maybe a little more work is required. However, if you are like me, taste takes a back seat to effectiveness and isn’t really an issue.
When it comes to mix-ability, Scivation has taken a step forward and really improved their product. Xtend mixes very well with a spoon, with no clumping or grittiness. This sometimes sounds like a petty thing to consider, but in actual fact it’s an important factor. By completely dissolving in water, the electrolytes and aminos are more easily absorbed by your body as they are needed, with a minimum of digestion time.
As I mentioned, Xtend comes in packs of 15 single serve sticks, a 30 stick carton of mixed flavors( a great choice for a little variety), 30 serve and 90 serve containers.
The recommended retail prices are: $34, $35, $55 and $80 respectively. So between $0.88 – $2.00 per serve it is about mid range but there are as usual some great deals available and you can buy Xtend for around $23, $23, $34 and $55 if you shop around bringing the price down to as low as $0.61 per serving.
BUT and this is a big but, if you follow Scivation’s recommended dosage of up to 4 scoops per day, the cost blows out pretty quickly.
Pros and Cons
- Trusted and award winning brand.
- Electrolyte blend is made up of essential salts with no fillers.
- Amino acid blend is comprised of scientifically proven BCAAs for performance and growth.
- Very good mix-ability and absorption properties.
- Taste needs a little more work.
- Gets expensive following the recommended dosage, even at discount prices.
With its reputation among the bodybuilding community, awards from industry leaders and its scientifically proven ingredients, Xtend is near the top of my ratings. For a combined electrolyte replacer, as well as for focus and recovery, I recommend it to any athlete in any sport.