Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Getting That Degree Is Important, But Caring For Yourself Is Worth More Than Tuition

Don't let your head fall beneath the surface...

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Yes, there are about a million articles just like this expressing the ~importance~ of caring for yourself and mental health in college. They tell you to take a bubble bath, eat some good food, sleep, etcetera, etcetera... Honestly, that stuff is good and all, but bath bombs and chocolates can only do so much for your ACTUAL mental health. Even though I'm only a month into freshman year, I feel like I've learned more in that month to last a lifetime.

Well, buckle up, because I'm about to give you the cold hard truth about caring for yourself, cutting the toxic bullshit from your life, and truly thriving without being suffocated by societal pressures. Here we go...

1. We're all "adults" stumbling around trying to figure out wtf we're doing.

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There's more days that I don't know what I'm doing than days where I feel confident. I've also noticed that others are feeling the same exact way, especially when I sit and people watch in the library. I've already seen countless people wanting to pull their hair out, just silently putting their head down, or just giving up entirely over school work. It happens to the best of us...

2. No one gives a shit what you wear. I promise. 

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The first week of classes I made sure I ~dressed to impress~ every day, but I quickly realized no one cares. Someone may compliment your sweatpants one day, then your cute romper the next. It's such a stress reliever to not have to worry too much about my outfits.

3. For emphasis: People really DO NOT care about looks. 

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On another note, no one cares if you wear a ton of makeup or none at all. They won't notice if your hair is in a messy bun or perfectly curled. We're all just trying to get through each day, honestly.

4. You'll know your true ride or die friends when you meet them. They aren't going to be the first people you meet on campus unless you're SUPER lucky. 

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So, I just so happen to be a ~lucky~ person, because I met my group right off the bat when school started. However, I've heard so many people talk of how they didn't meet their group until second semester or even later than that. Relax. Talk to people you live near and have classes with, but don't force friendships.

5. Do your homework ahead of time... You'll thank yourself later. 

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Everyday I thank my past self for deciding to work ahead in my classes. Professors give syllabi for a reason, and it's beneficial to use it to your advantage. When I wanted to be lazy and watch Bachelor in Paradise, I could because I worked ahead on most of my homework due the next day. It sucks in the moment, but it's great later on.

6. If you want to take over-excessive notes, then just do it.

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I AM THIS PERSON! Literally, people are in awe over how perfectly constructed and color-coded my notes are. They question how I even keep them organized. It's hard to answer simply, because I've just created a certain way I like to take notes. Then come exam time, I type them or rewrite and organize them all together.

7. It's okay to want to stay in on a Friday/Saturday night

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If you don't want to go out and party, then don't. This is where the stereotypical "treat yo self" advice comes in. Make popcorn, order some food, watch a movie, clean, whatever you need to do to just chill out and feel like your life is together for a small amount of time.

8. Destroy the idea that life has no time for simple pleasures and happy things

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If someone gives you shit for liking a certain show, self care routine, habit, etc., then they don't need to be in your life. Simple as that. Yes, school is of utmost importance, but don't let that stop or shame you from doing what you like to do.

9. You're allowed to forget things sometimes

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If you forget a pencil, ask someone beside you. If you forgot to eat today (guilty), grab a good snack. On a wider scale, if you forgot to turn an assignment in, talk to your professor. You've most likely get a grade cut, but it helps to talk to them face to face instead of just forgetting about the assignment in general. We're humans, we forget, fumble, and make mistakes.

10. This isn't high school, cut the drama...

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No one cares who slept with who or what happened at the party at Alpha Chi Pi Psi Epsilon on Friday. I just want to get through my meal or class without dealing with people's extra-ness. Chill.

11. Join whatever clubs you want to, but don't overload. 

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Actually join clubs that will benefit YOU. Don't let someone guilt you into joining things you don't want to either. It's also beneficial to look at what career aspirations you have, and find clubs that will help you build skills for that. Just don't overload. My rule is three clubs I'm going to put my 100% effort into, then 2-3 that I'm interested in being a member of, but not too much commitment.

12. Stay organized, whatever the hell that means for you.

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If this means knowing where everything is under on your desk, then great! If this means color-coding everything and making binders and folders and tabs on things, then go do that! Don't feel pressured to be picture perfectly organized.

13. Again: No one gives a shit. If they do, cut them off. Simple as that. 

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Enough said...

14. Enjoy it. 

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This is the prime time of your youth. Take some time away from social media and snapchatting every moment of the day. Listen in on lectures, be with your friends, compliment someone you pass walking to class, and don't be afraid to just live life.

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