Nitric oxide supplements are popular for causing hemodilation and are a popular pre-workout tool among many weight lifters. The increased blood flow allows for the delivery of more nutrients to the worked muscles. Nitric oxide also affects the release of adrenaline, may promote alertness and cause an elevated “pump” during strenuous workouts. Arginine, an amino acid, is the primary ingredient in most nitric oxide supplements, and is known to cause intense “crashes” in some users, especially after abrupt discontinuation of use. Other side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Nitric oxide is most widely available in powder form, which most users then mix in water. Other ingredients in popular brands include b vitamins, amino acids, caffeine, and creatine.
When I first heard of nitric oxide supplements, I immediately thought of amphetamines: the alertness, increased physical ability, even the stomach trouble; all of these effects (desired or otherwise) were ones I experienced during my Adderall-fueled workouts. Exercise in sobriety has been difficult for me; I closely relate exercise to stimulant abuse. Even when I have motivation in the gym, I often feel a post-workout craving and/or depression. My head tells me “yeah, you feel good, but you could feel even better.”I initially tried N.O. Xplode during a period of decreased motivation to do anything, let alone exercise. I was surprised by the strength of the supplement.
I felt mentally alert, physically powerful; I was able to do more exercises, more reps, higher weight. Because of the hardcore nature of the workout, the flood of endorphins was more noticeable. This slight euphoria complimented the lingering effects of the supplement, and created a buzz similar to that of a low dose of Adderall. In the moment, I felt little concern. I was proud of myself and excited that a supplement could take my drive from 0-60 almost instantaneously. If I developed an addiction to supplement-fueled workouts, so be it.
The next day, I reflected on my post-workout mind state. I had been thinking almost maniacally: justifying inappropriate thoughts, feeling larger than life. That’s how my amphetamine use started; I went from healthy spontaneity to dangerous impulsivity. I have always had a high sensitivity to stimulants, but still find it hard to eradicate the notion that more is always better.
N.O. Xplode took be back to my old thinking, which included a destructive need to be thin. At this point, I need to focus on my health rather than appearance, and the cheap rush of a supplement “free-lapse” isn’t worth jeopardizing my sobriety.