From Ergo Log
British manufacturer Maximuscle's weight gainer Cyclone is also available in web shops and vitamin stores in other countries. Sports scientists at the University of Chichester studied the effect of this supplement on strength athletes – and discovered that Cyclone boosts the effect of strength training.
Weight gainers are controversial. Our diet already contains high amounts of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, critics complain, so why make more products that increase your intake of carbs like glucose by several dozen grams a day. There's some truth in the matter, but nevertheless the sales of weight gainers are booming. Every supplements manufacturer has one in their assortment. And Maxinutrition, the company behind the Maximuscle range, is no exception.
Most weight gainers are based on equal proportions of a fast protein like whey and a fast carbohydrate. This is usually complemented with ingredients that speed up muscle growth. In the case of Cyclone these are creatine, HMB, glutamine, ecdysterone, bioperine, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate and chromium picolinate.
The table below shows the quantity of these substances that you ingest with one serving of the weight trainer.
The researchers got their subjects – 16 male students who'd been doing weight training for at least one year – to take two servings a day of the weight gainer for a period of 12 weeks. The students took one in the morning and one later in the day after finishing training. On the days that the students didn't train they took the weight gainer at about the same time.
The students all followed the same training scheme. They trained four times a week, working through all the large muscle groups in the body in three sessions.
Nine students took the weight trainer and six took a placebo that contained only maltodextrin.
The researchers doubt whether the ecdysterone, the chrome picolinate, the bioperine and the bicarbonates in Cyclone had much effect. But supplementation with 60 g whey, 3 g HMB and 10 g creatine per day would be likely to cause an effect.
And indeed: the weight gainer led to an extra increase in maximal strength, but also an increase in the number of reps.
The students who took the weight gainer put on 2.1 kg. The students in the placebo group gained almost as much: 1.8 kg. So in terms of weight gain the weight gainer had no effect.
To be frank, we find the effects of Cyclone a little disappointing. But this probably has more to do with the way the experiment was set up than with Cyclone. Halfway through the study the university gym closed for the holidays. The students stopped doing strength training and taking the supplement, but started again when the gym reopened. Seems like the researchers hadn't checked the timetable.
"It is concluded that supplementation with Cyclone during resistance training enhanced the performance only of training-specific tasks, i.e. 1- RM and number of repetitions at 80% pre-training 1-RM", write the Brits. "Our observations suggest that Cyclone during resistance training substantially improves the ability to perform training-related tasks in young adult males."
J Hum Kinet. 2012 Jun; 33:91-101.