They say great things come in small packages…
The classic Mini, for instance. Or pint-sized action hero Tom Cruise. And now we can add another item to our list; Love Life Supplements Refuel.
This post-workout supplement is the brand new release from the innovative UK-based manufacturer, and today it is going through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to compare against the other top post-workout supplements on the market…
During my Love Life Supplements Refuel review, I’ll be breaking down each of the ingredients and explaining why each item has been included, and where the product comes up short.
No product has ever earned 5 stars, and it’s going to take something monumental to do that.
As always, I incorporated this Refuel into my own training routine prior to this review, so what you’ll see here is not only a scientific review, but also first-hand experience of Refuel in action.
Love Life Supplements Refuel Review – The Good
There’s a considerable number of good points with Refuel.
The macronutrient breakdown of the formula is excellent. Each serving provides 22 grams of protein, 43 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.8 grams of fat.
As far as post-workout recovery shakes go, this covers all the bases perfectly.
The primary form of protein here is whey protein isolate (grass fed, no less), too.
The amount of protein per serving (22g) is also right in the sweet spot for triggering maximal muscle growth after a training session. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that 20 grams of whey protein is ideal for muscle protein synthesis, with a much higher dose of 40g being only slightly better despite being twice as large. (1)
Refuel also packs an impressive 4 grams of leucine into each serving.
Leucine is the powerhouse of the BCAAs, responsible for interacting with mTOR and switching on the muscle building process.
If we’ve killed the weights in the gym and leucine levels are massively declined from training, the body signals mTOR that there is a lack of dietary protein to build new lean muscle with, and we switch off mTOR. The moment we consume leucine, however, mTOR is activated once more and we switch the process back on.
It’s literally the key to building muscle.
This was demonstrated in a 2011 study where researchers concluded that getting optimal post-workout leucine can even substitute for sub-optimal total protein intake! In short, this trial suggests that even if you don’t consume enough protein after your workout, you can still trigger muscle protein synthesis if the leucine content is sufficient enough. (2)
Leucine becomes even more important as we grow older, too.
This information was first shown in a 2005 study, where older trainees were given leucine dosages considerably higher than those found in most whey protein supplements, then confirmed in a 2014 study published in the Nutrition Journal which found that consuming whey protein with additional leucine spiked muscle protein synthesis considerably higher than a group consuming protein alone. (3, 4)
This is all great news for Refuel, as it comes with a whopping 4 grams per shake. An average whey protein supplement will provide us with about 1 gram, maybe 2 grams, so I’m sure regular readers of my website are going to love this info.
Now we actually get to the best part of the formula; the carbohydrates.
When you review as many supplements as me, you expect post-workout tubs to rely heavily on poorly constructed carbohydrate formulas designed to keep production costs very low.
This usually ends up in a product which bangs in 75 grams of sugary carbs per shake, and requires a Pic N’ Mix scoop to measure out.
(Like mass gainers, which are just awful.)
That’s not the case with Refuel.
As mentioned above, Love Life Supplements do not skimp on formulas. They source only the finest quality ingredients, and this has become their “thing” over the last couple of years.
It’s damn refreshing, because there are too many poor supplements on the market.
Refuel comes with 43 grams of carbohydrates per shake, arriving via gluten free waxy maize starch and oat flour.
If you’re a fan of fitness buzzwords, things certainly don’t come “cleaner” than that, my friend.
That 43 gram serving is perfect.
See back in the days when mass gainers were all the rage, we believed we needed an avalanche of carbohydrates after each workout to create as much MPS (muscle protein synthesis) as possible.
Guys would have post-workout meals of 80, 90, even 100 grams – enough to make us leave the gym feeling like a bloated rhinoceros!
But science has since proved this to be incorrect.
A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that a serving half this size will create an anabolic response just as large as a serving over twice its size. Like protein, there appears to be a sweet spot for post-workout carbohydrates. (5)
The inclusion of digestive enzymes (DigeZyme) is a nice touch to Refuel, as this will help the body to digest more of the nutrition on offer here.
The Refuel formula also comes with a large serving of essential amino acids.
That’s always a good thing.
EAAs are deemed essential because the body does not know how to produce them, they must be consumed through diet, and they offer a host of benefits ranging from improved joint support, to immune system function, to reducing inflammation, to even better hair and skin.
People often focus only on BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) because they’re the amino acids linked more closely to building muscle.
This is a huge mistake!
I’m a big fan of EAAs, and I believe that anyone currently using a BCAA supplement should replace that with an EAA supplement immediately. You see, while the big three BCAAs may have a greater impact on muscle growth, if your diet is deficient in any of the amino acids no lean muscle will be built at all.
Most people are unaware of this, and I put that down to the fact there is still a lot of silly advice out there regarding BCAAs in general.
Like this article from Myprotein, which suggests that you can consume amino acids during intermittent fasting without breaking your fast (not true). The reason BCAA and EAA products state they have zero calories is because current food industry regulations prevent the manufacturers from listing the calorie content of free-form amino acids, so the products do actually contain calories and will break your fasting period.
The final good point I’m going to discuss is completely superficial, but I still want to mention it…
That logo is superb!
If there was an award for logo re-branding of the decade, Love Life Supplements would have it nailed down.
The name Love Life Supplements does sum up the company’s approach to great ingredients and simple nutrition, but it’s quite a mouthful. The first time I saw the new logo, and realized they’ve managed to craft the letters “LLS” into a heart symbol, it blew my damn mind.
So much so, in fact, they popped me a t-shirt.
LLS Refuel Review – The Bad
That’s possibly the longest section of good points I’ve ever written, so Refuel is off to a fantastic start in this review, but no supplement is perfect.
There is no creatine included in the product.
For a post-workout supplement to forego the inclusion of creatine, given its proven effectiveness at increasing strength, power, and muscle size, it seems like a strange decision. (6)
Maybe I’m being harsh.
I mean, creatine is very cheap to pick up on its own, and I believe everyone should own a standalone tub of creatine monohydrate, but it could have been included for convenience if I want to nitpick (and I do).
But as far as bad points go, and the way I usually tear products to shreds in this section, I’d say Refuel has come through mostly unscathed.
Love Life Supplements Refuel Review – The Final Verdict
It’s crunch time…
Does Refuel continue the line of fine releases from Love Life Supplements? Or is it their first product to miss the mark completely?
As you have probably already guessed, I loved Refuel.
It belongs up there with the best post-workout supplements the industry has to offer, and contains a far superior science-based formula than many so-called industry big dogs.
With this product, LLS have built upon their steadily growing reputation as a premium supplement brand renowned for using only the absolute best ingredients in their products.
That high quality is reflected in the price, of course, and it should be.
This is a supplement company that I encourage readers to keep a close eye on in future, because they’re doing wonderful things in a fitness industry over-saturated with bulls**t products.
That being said, let’s whack four stars on it!
(That makes it the best post-workout supplement I’ve reviewed to date.)
If you want to try Refuel, it is here.
- Witard, O. C., et al. Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise. Am J Clin Nutr. (2014)
- Churchward-Venne, T. A., et al. Leucine supplementation of a low-protein mixed macronutrient beverage enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis in young men: a double-blind, randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. (2014)
- Katsanos, Christos, S., et al. Aging is associated with diminished accretion of muscle proteins after the ingestion of a small bolus of essential amino acids. Am J Clin Nutr. (2005)
- Luiking, Y. C., et al. Postprandial muscle protein synthesis is higher after a high whey protein, leucine-enriched supplement than after a dairy-like product in healthy older people: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. (2014)
- Glynn, E. L., et al. Muscle Protein Breakdown Has A Minor Role In The Protein Anabolic Response To Essential Amino Acid And Carbohydrate Intake Following Resistance Exercise. Am J Physiol. (2010)
- Rawson, E. S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. (2003)