Essential. What is essential is core or critical. What is essential is needed day in and day out, it is useful at regular intervals, and it is integral to optimal performance. What is essential is foundational. The weights are essential, your desire is essential, the right food is essential. Beyond that, Animal has brought you the foundational products, the year round supplements deemed necessary to your consistent growth and progress. Those that don't need to be cycled. Products like Pak, Flex, Nitro and Pump. To this essential category we now welcome Animal Omega, "The Essential EFA Stack". Animal Omega is the ultimate in essential fatty acid supplementation.
If you're looking to pack on lean muscle mass, add on quality size, or even cut down, ya gotta first take a look at your diet. No matter what your goals are, your quest for the ultimate physique begins and ends with the diet. In other words, the foods you eat. Tailoring the right meals will yield the right results in the gym. Food... Yeah, when you get down to the basics, it's quite simple--to pack on mass, ya gotta take in more quality calories throughout the day. And vice versa, to cut down, ya gotta consume fewer calories, but also from quality sources. And of course keep up the lifting and cardio. Building a solid physique doesn't just stop once you leave the gym, it essentially begins and ends with your diet and nutrition which is a 24/7 job.
When it comes to diets, for the most part, most opt for a low fat, moderate protein, moderate carbohydrate approach. "Trimming the fat" was seen as an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle and shedding the pounds. This is the old school approach, and one put forth by many champions. This was seen throughout the 80s and 90s with the rise of low-fat foods coming onto the market and getting heavily promoted in the news. But as years went on, obesity became more of an epidemic and caused the folks in the nutrition industry to look into it. People weren't eating fat much anymore. They shouldn't be getting fat. Right? Wrong.
Recently it was found that low fat diets weren't all they were cracked up to be. Low-fat diets appear to not protect against heart attacks, strokes, or cancer, a major study found, contradicting what had once been promoted as one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. Plus low fat diets so often translated to lowered levels of the hormones most critical to strength and muscle growth-obviously a huge disadvantage to serious iron athletes.
Long story short, this science just further solidified what a number of nutritionists and doctors have been promoting for years-that there is an important role for fats in the diet and they shouldn't be shoved to the background, but instead brought into the limelight. In other words, "fats" in general aren't the problem. It's certain fats which create the issues. Other fats are, on the contrary, important. Over the years, researchers have found that there are numerous health benefits of certain fats, the essential fatty acids. In other words, it shouldn't be about trimming all the fats from the diet. Cutting back on saturated and trans fats, yeah. But you should actually start using or upping the intake of EFAs, on the other hand.
EFAs are those necessary fats that we as humans are unable to synthesize in our bodies and must be obtained from either diet or supplementation. Just like essential amino acids (EAAs as found in Animal Nitro), and other essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, we need optimum amounts in order for the body to function properly, let alone to make gains in lean mass. Getting the proper EFAs isn't always easy, especially when they are hard to obtain with a typical diet. A typical diet consists of an overabundance of saturated fats, trans fats, and those fats from plant sources (think of common cooking oils) usually overloaded with omega 6 compounds, as they are the easiest and most economical to get your hands on. Now don't get me wrong. Omega 6s are important, as they are EFAs too. But it's not just the types of fats. It's also the ratios. More on that later.
EFAs exert positive effects in many areas, including thermogenesis, anabolism, hormone synthesis, prostaglandin function, immune function, repair of cellular membranes, enabling cells to obtain optimum nutrition and more. For the bodybuilder, EFAs are vital for optimal metabolism, hormone production, cardiovascular health, peak performance, reducing exercise soreness and maximizing fat burning. It's a wonder why they are so overlooked and underutilized by the population.
For supplementation purposes there are only 2 types of fats that are needed; Omega 3's (n-3) and Omega 6's (n-6). Omega 9 is necessary, yet not essential because it can be made by the body in modest amounts. The reason why the body can't make an n-3 or n-6 fatty acid is that human metabolism can't add a double bond to a fatty acid that is more than 9 carbons away from the delta end (acid end). This is also the reason why the body can't convert an n-3 fatty acid to an n-6 fatty acid. Yeah, it sounds like science mumbo jumbo, but is important to see from a chemistry perspective why it's so hard to obtain the right EFAs from the diet.
This is where a supplement like Animal Omega comes into play. Sure, it ain't fancy. No cool bells and whistles here, just the basics. It's not going to "pack on 10 lb in a week" but long-term, it'll get ya to where ya want to be. EFAs are needed, not just any old EFAs, but the right kinds and the right amounts. That's what Animal Omega is all about. Omega is the most complete EFA product on the market. It contains the right fats that bodybuilders require. It's a full spectrum, molecularly distilled EFA supplement, each pack containing a precise and pre-dosed ratio of n-3 to n-6. It is packed with sources of Omega 3 oils extracted from various fish sources such as salmon, cod liver, herring, and plant-sourced omega 3s from flaxseed oil. Such a well-rounded mixture, ensures that you obtain all of the various n-3 extracts that are so important for general health. You get the balance of alpha linoleic acid from flax and the key fish oil extracts, EPA and DHA.
Animal Omega is then rounded out with key Omega 6 oils, including; borage, evening primrose, sesamin, and CLA. Linoleic acid is the other essential fatty acid found in nature. As said before, lack of n-6 in ones diet is hard to come by. However, there is a specific form of n-6, gamma linoneic acid or GLA, that is crucial for health. This is contained in ample doses in Omega. The body uses n-6 essential fatty acids to make various prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Another n-6 found in Animal Omega is CLA. CLA, is touted for its ability to reduce body fat, being anti-catabolic, acting as an antioxidant and enhancing the immune system. CLA positively influences the metabolism and assists with fat regulation and protein metabolism. CLA, though is not specifically an EFA, (it's a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meal and dairy) is an important addition to the Animal Omega formula as its health promoting properties were too good to pass up.
Sesamin is another hot ingredient added to the Omega formula. It's a naturally occurring lignan found in sesame oil. Sesamin can help maximize fat loss, support liver and kidney health and maintain healthy lipid profiles when combined along with other EFAs as found in Animal Omega. Sesamin is touted as a promising ingredient in the process of lean mass recomposition.
All of these potent fatty nutrients are supported by a comprehensive nutrient transport complex which allows for maximum absorption and utilization and transport of Omega's essential fatty acids. L-carnitine, lipase and lecithin make up the complex so you rest assured that the components that make up the n-3 and n-6 complexes are actually getting into your system efficiently and effectively. Another important aspect of this complex is the addition of important antioxidants, Vitamins A, D and E, which ensure EFA stability and prevents 'em from breaking down in the can. A must have for any type of EFA supplement. This translates to ultra potent softgels right from the get-go.
All in all, Animal Omega provides essential nutrition for the bodybuilder. It's loaded with all of the right fats, in a proper ratio of n-3 to n-6 to help support high quality metabolic functioning and body recomposition. It also supports cardio-vascular protection, a healthy immune system and overall health and well being. It won't change your physique overnight, but it will be an important addition to your long term physique goals.
This is a common thread amongst the foundational Animal products. They aren't flashy or sexy. They are complete, comprehensive, and just get the job done. You might not "feel" them immediately, but you sure will know it when you're not using them. They are not about style but substance. They place function before form. They are about results, period. Bottom line is, in the changing landscape of bodybuilding supplementation, quality EFA use is a must if your diet is to be optimized and your goals are to be met. That is why we bring you Animal Omega. For the Animal, the quest to be the best is not a casual choice, not a passing fancy. Like his choice of supplements, it is essential. Animal Omega. It's the last world on EFA supplementation.
Animal Omega FAQs
Q: When using Animal Omega, do I need to supplement with any other EFAs?
A: No. Animal Omega is complete and comprehensive. It makes EFA supplementation easy-just pop a pack and you're all covered. Keep in mind Animal Omega was not designed for the weekend warrior, but the serious lifter. If anything, you could double on the "packs", but for the majority, a single pack will be plenty.
Q: Can Animal Omega be stacked with other Animal supplements?
A: Absolutely. Animal Omega is a "foundational" supplement pack and can be stacked along with any of the other Animal supplements, with the possible exception for Animal Test. For best absorption, leave an hour in between the time you take the Omega and any other Animal supplement.
An ideal "foundational stack", a year round stack, would include Animal Omega (EFAs), Animal Pak (vits) and Animal Flex (joint).
Q: When should I take the Animal Omega?
A: For best absorption, Animal Omega should be taken with a meal (like Animal Pak), never on an empty stomach. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any whole food meal will do the trick.
Q: Does Animal Omega have to be cycled?
A: Nope. Animal Omega, as it's a foundational supplement just like Animal Pak, can be taken year round, 365. The key fats found in Omega are absolutely "essential", so you want these all the time.
Q: How many pills are there in Animal Omega?
A: 7 softgels and 1 capsule. All moderately sized and specially coated.
Q: How long will Animal Omega last?
A: 30 packs total. At one pack per day, you're looking at about one month's worth of EFA supplementation.
Q: Why does Animal Omega contain flaxseed oil? If ALA has to convert (not efficiently) to DHA/EPA, why include flax at all, as shouldn't fish oil suffice?
A: In short, yes, the body converts ALA over to DHA and EPA, however, there are many other essential processes in the body that require straight ALA in order to properly function. Fish oil, though it is very beneficial in other areas, cannot provide straight ALA, as EPA and DHA cannot be converted reversibly back into ALA, and therefore a straight fish oil supplement deprives the consumer of critical ALA. Omega provides a balance of the two -- fish and flax -- to ensure that overall EFA intake is being covered and benefits will be obtained from all angles. We leave no stone unturned.
- constituting or being part of the essence of something; inherent
- basic or indispensable; necessary
- being a substance that is required for normal functioning but cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be included in the diet.
There you have it... A textbook definition of what it means for something to be essential. I didn't make this up; this isn't my definition. Nor was I the one to identify specific fatty acids and amino acids as being essential. I make the assumption that you were paying attention in your high school biology lecture and picked up on the notion that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. Accordingly, that would mean that there are specific fatty acids and amino acids that we would be required to consume because our bodies are unable to synthesize them on its own.
If you're even somewhat serious about gaining muscle, improving performance, dropping bodyfat, or whatever may be required in order for you to reach your physique oriented goal, I'm sure you have already firmly grasped the concept of protein supplementation. I've talked to people who say they are eating 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For a 200 pound man that's four hundred grams per day. Man, even I don't take in that much.
The point is, people have embraced the idea that adequate and proper protein intake is necessary for muscle repair and growth. Taking a look around, between the abundance of quality animal proteins, protein powders and amino supplements, I doubt anyone is in danger of not fulfilling their essential amino acid requirements.
On the same note, you would be hard pressed to find someone who thought it was okay to skip the carbohydrates. C'mon, you know you've always been told how important carbohydrate intake is for fueling your body with the energy it needs to function properly, perform at optimal levels and train with maximum intensity. Wait a second. What did you say? Oh yeah, you're right.
Technically there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate or sugar. That's true, only amino acids and fatty acids are essential for life. But hey, people still eat plenty of them anyways. Aside from the fact that the practically obsolete food guide pyramid suggests that you make carbohydrates the foundation of your diet and get the majority of your calories from them, many people still believe that carbohydrates should serve as the basis of a solid diet.
Alright alright, I'm not here to talk about whether or not carbohydrate intake is necessary or to talk about ketosis dieting or anything like that. I am simply illustrating the fact that people take in plenty of carbohydrates even thought they are not even essential for proper human nutrition. And people have had an easy time accepting the fact that essential amino acids exist and protein intake must be optimal in order for you to be at your best.
So what about fat? Fat. Such a dirty word. I don't know when it started but in my twenty-five years on this Earth I have always heard a low fat diet being advocated by the masses. I was always told to stay away from fat. Fat makes you fat. Sounds logical right? It's almost as if you're going to eat some fat and it is going to enter into your body and immediately attach itself to your abdomen or your ass or your thighs. I hate when that happens.
Let me ask you this--if fat is what makes you fat and you can have your pick of everything from lowfat cheese to lowfat peanut butter (seemingly a contradiction of the very nature of these foods) then why is everyone so fat?! You've seen it yourself. People have gotten and continue to get fatter and fatter and fatter. Interesting huh? You're dang right it is. It's interesting because it makes no sense and people continue to do it.
What do I propose? Well I think people should take a look at the fact that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids and make them the foundation of their diet. If you had a question about World War II and referred to an encyclopedia for your answer I assume you would trust the information you found and accept it as truth. I encourage you to pick up any reference book and read about essential fats. An encyclopedia will tell you how you must have them in your diet, how crucial they are in order for you to function properly and all the positive effects of consuming your essential fatty acids.
So why are people so resistant to incorporating fats in their diet? Because they've had it beaten into their brains that fat is bad for you and that fat makes you fat. Fat does not make you fat. Not eating fat makes you fat. That's right, you heard me. Not taking in any one vitamin, mineral, and or macronutrient puts you at the risk of seriously messing up your metabolism. That's because you need vitamins, minerals, water, and the proper macronutrients to look and feel your best. Neglect any one of them and how could you expect to function at an optimal level? You can't. And if your metabolism is not functioning at 100% because you're depriving it of something that is essential, such as fats, then you will get fat. C'mon, it's not rocket science; it's just common sense.
Personally speaking, I can tell you of the marked improvements I've seen in my physique after incorporating essential fatty acids in proper amounts into my diet just over two years ago. I had always tried to follow a low fat diet and coincidentally (or perhaps it is no coincidence at all), I had always been overweight. Even after losing over 70 pounds in high school I still did not have a low bodyfat percentage; I was not lean.
The first five or six years of my bodybuilding career I just ate to grow and thought that being fat was just part of the process and I accepted that. It wasn't until I dieted for my first national level show, the 2006 NPC Junior Nationals, that I learned how important essential fats were for supporting both fat loss and muscle preservation. And ever since that show, I have never gotten fat in the offseason.
Compared to how I used to get and how I see a lot of other guys get in the offseason, I stay fairly lean and feel great. I can't help but think it's because I make essential fatty acids and essential amino acids the foundation of my diet. I grow easier and stay leaner in the offseason. And pre-contest, I keep more muscle size and strength and lose fat easier. But more importantly, whether I'm dieting or trying to gain lean mass, I feel better than I ever have. I do not have cravings, my moods are very steady, I sleep well, my muscles are fuller, my strength is up, and I do not experience sudden hunger followed by lethargy.
I'd like to share with you the essential fatty acid regimen I followed over the past two years when I won the overall at the 2006 NPC Junior Nationals and the overall at the 2007 NPC Nationals where I earned my IFBB pro card. As many of you know, I'm a bodybuilder who takes nutrition very seriously. Here it is:
- 1,000 mg fish oil x 3 times daily
- 1,300 mg evening primrose oil x 3 times daily
- 1,000 mg flax seed oil x 2 times daily
- 1,000 mg conjugated linoleic acid x 3 times daily
Now keep in mind that I'm an elite bodybuilder and this is what works for me based on trial and error. For you, you'd need to scale back your intake and tailor it to your specific needs. But as you can see, it is a fairly straightforward regime. I get fats from both fish and vegetable sources to make for a complete and comprehensive approach.
I take fish oils because it is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are important for mental health, neurological development, and sharpening insulin sensitivity. Increasing insulin sensitivity is especially important because the more sensitive you are to your insulin, the less your body will need to produce. Less insulin production means less fat storage, better blood lipid profiles, and a healthier heart. Furthermore, fish-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids are very easy for the body to assimilate and use.
From vegetable sorces, I include some flaxseed oil because it contains the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can be used by your body to produce EPA and DHA. While some may argue that it first needs to be converted to EPA and DHA, I feel that it is always a good idea to have a variety and to cover every angle. Besides, EFA supplementation isn't just about EPA and DHA. You want a wide range of fatty acids in your diet.
I also supplement with evening primrose oil in order to get sufficient amounts of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which is vital in order for the body to produce prostaglandins. Prostagalandins are hormones which are necessary for growth, mood regulation, and immune system function. And I round out my supplementation with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which, although it is not an essential fatty acid, has been shown to help keep bodyfat in check. For this purpose, I'm also thinking about adding sesamin in the future.
So there you have it. For a long time, I was buying four different products to fulfill my essential fatty acid needs. Once I heard that Animal was coming out with their own EFA product, Animal Omega, you better believe I was very interested to see what the new product had to offer. Why? Because I've seen a lot of fatty acid supplements which give you a lot of one cheap ingredients and not much of the good stuff. I've seen many that are made for the average health nut. But I will say that I was impressed when I was first shown the profile for Animal Omega.
The first thing I noticed was that Animal Omega is a very comprehensive, all-in-one product. If I were to supplement with Animal Omega I would be getting all of the fatty acids that I got with my regimine plus more. Like I mentioned earlier about taking in ALA in order to cover myself even though I was getting a good amount of EPA and DHA, Animal Omega did the same giving you some flax oil plus fish oil from a wide variety of species.
The same was done with the omega-6 fatty acids, which are also essential. Borage oil and primrose oil which are both high in GLA were included but so was some safflower oil because it supplies LA (linoleic acid) which is the raw building block for GLA and is a good source of CLA. All the bases are covered. On top of the essential fatty acids, sesamin has been added for their positive effect on bodyfat and overall health. And to make the whole thing go down, lipase enzyme and lecithin were added. Honestly, I'll be trading in all my current bottles for a single can of Animal Omega. I know I'm going to like the formula and the convenience.
Gelatin, Glycerin, Purified Water, Caramel Color. This Product Contains Fish.
Use Animal Omega as you would your regular essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement. If this is your first time, take Animal Omega with a meal and you're good to go. Use a pack or two daily, as you need it. Generally, a single pack will do fine for most. Elite athletes can consider doubling up the serving.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.