Top Pre Workout Supplements
|Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy||30||4.7/ 5||Blue Raspberry|
|Muscle Tech Anarchy ||30||4.1/ 5||Blue Raspberry|
|Legion Athletics Pulse||21||4.3/ 5||Fruit Punch||$$$
|MTS Nutrition Clash||40||4.0/ 5||Orange|
|Muscle Pharm Assualt||30||3.8/ 5||Blue Arctic Raspberry|
Get the right amount of nutrients into your body at the right time, though, and you will set yourself up for a muscle quivering, fat blasting workout that will give your body no choice, but to grow.
The right pre workout supplement, could be the difference. Not only between a weak effort in the gym and a balls-to-the-wall muscle assault. Ultimately, between failure and success in your athletic quest.
It will provide you with the energy and intensity that you’ll need to hit it hard every time, regardless of how your body is feeling or how hard your day has been. That is what you need to achieve success.
That’s why the supplement market is so competitive. The money moguls of the industry know that you know how necessary a pre workout booster is and they’ll do anything to get you to spend your money on what they’re offering.
It’s a billion dollar industry with new players coming onto the market every few months. Supplement companies have taken off the gloves in an all out assault designed to convince you that they’ve got the answer to your supplement requirements. You, the customer; are confronted with a bewildering array of choices.
Each one promising to deliver the best workout of your life, day in and day out. So, how do you choose? By forgetting the hype and slick marketing and focusing on the cold, hard facts. In this guide, you’ll be presented with the latest scientific information on precisely what you need in a pre workout supplement. Use it to guide you to the ideal supplement(s) for your body and goals.
Is A Pre Workout Worth It?
Beware Proprietary Blends
As a consumer you have the right to know what you’re getting. That’s why you read the label. You want to check what’s in the product and in what quantity.
After all, quantity is key. It doesn’t matter how good an ingredient is, if the supplement only carries trace amounts. Then you’re gonna’ be shooting blanks in the gym. In the supplement industry, they’ve come up with a phrase that is designed to impress and confound the consumer – ‘proprietary blend’.
Sounds impressive, right? Well, it’s not. All it means is that they’re not going to tell you how much of an ingredient they’ve put into the product. So, if the label reads ‘proprietary blend of creatine, beta-alanine and arginine’, you have no idea whether you’re getting one or five grams of creatine per serving. That difference in dosage is critical.
The message? You can’t afford to gamble on unknown dosages. So, if a manufacturer feels the need to hide behind the ‘proprietary blend’ phrase, they don’t deserve your hard earned cash. Give them “the finger”.
The Lead-In Meal
Your workout relies on nutrition. After all, without the energy that comes from nutrients you won’t be able to power through your training sessions. Many people, think that you shouldn’t eat before working out. They’re wrong. If you are into building muscle, you have simply got to provide the anabolic environment for your muscles to work optimally. The only way to do that is to eat.
The best time have a pre workout whole food meal is about an hour and a half before going to the gym. Any time after that and you are risking stomach upset while training. That 90 minute window will ensure that the nutrients are coursing toward your muscle cells as you walk into the gym. (1)
What Should Be In Your Pre Workout Meal?
For starters, you need a quality lean protein. Fish is a smart choice. White fish, especially, will digest quickly, allowing a steady flow of amino acids to make their way to your muscle cells just when you need them.
In terms of carbs, you want slow release options like rice or a baked potato. That way, you’ll have a constant supply of energy to fuel your way through your training. (2) Stay well away from any high sugar foods, before your training session. They may give you a quick energy hit, but it will come at the price of a later crash – you don’t want that crash to occur in the middle of your squat session.
Supplements: The Ultimate Ingredients
Before the workout, you’ve got a window of about 30 minutes to get the nutrients you need coursing through your bloodstream in order to boost your energy and your strength. We’ve sifted through the plethora of ingredients, in order to provide you with the definitive list of essential pre workout compounds. Combine these ingredients into an anabolic stack that will max out your training effect…
Caffeine is derived from a range of plants including the coffee bean, cocoa bean and kola nut. Seconds after you put caffeine into your body, it enters the bloodstream to be taken to the organs of the body. The effects will be felt straight away.
- Increased heart rate
- Central nervous system stimulation
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Enhanced alertness
- Improved concentration
- Boosts fat burning ability
How does caffeine achieve these impressive results? CNS stimulation is achieved though the release of the hormone epinephrine from the adrenal glands. Production of another hormone, adenosine, is blunted by caffeine.
With caffeine, though, too much of a good thing can be a problem. Too much CNS activation can make a person feel wired and jittery. Getting the optimum balance between too little and too much caffeine is critical to finding the best pre workout for you.
Studies reveal that a caffeine dosage of between 2 and 4 mg per pound of heavyweight will work best as a pre-workout stimulant. If you go beyond this level, you’re likely to generate an unnatural, wired sensation that will be followed by a huge energy crash. (4)
Recommendation: Take 2-4 mg of caffeine per kg of body-weight.
Methylxanthine are compounds that are formed from xanthine and occur naturally in caffeine. However, most supplement ingredients have been produced synthetically. They have the effect of enhancing blood flow, improving blood vessel contraction and dilation and relaxing muscle tissue. It is, therefore, a contributor to the pump effect while working out. Be aware that methylxanthine is a diuretic, which is one more reason that you should be sipping water during your workout. (5)
Recommended dosage: Take 1-3 grams per day, thirty minutes prior to working out. Be aware that methyxanythine is actually a derivative of caffeine and so contributes to the total caffeine content of the product.
Vanadayl sulfate is a derivative of the trace mineral vanadium. It has become popular in bodybuilding circles due to it’s reported ability to mimic the anabolic effects of insulin without the low blood sugar side effects. Specifically, it is claimed to enhance quicker intra-workout recovery, along with improved pump and hardness to the muscle while training. These effects are due to an increased supply of glycogen to the muscle cell, which this compound facilitates.
Most of the evidence on vanadyl sulfate is anecdotal. A 1996 study, published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, involving 40 test subjects proved inconclusive in terms of the effects described above, but did show significant increases in blood glucose and insulin levels. (7)
Recommended dosage: Take 30-50 grams of vanadyl sulfate per day thirty minutes before your workout.
Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It is the compound primarily responsible for green tea’s ability to relax and rejuvenate the body. But theanine has another potent effect. It appears to blunt the jagged, speedy negative effects of caffeine on the body without diminishing the energy enhancing positive ones. Studies have also shown that this wonder ingredient has a positive mood modulating effect on the brain. (8)
Recommended dosage: Take 200 mg per day thirty minutes prior to your workout.
Methyltyramine is derived from the amino acid tyrosine. It can be found naturally in a variety of plants, including barley and acacia and has been shown to enhance the release of noradrenaline in animal studies. More noradrenaline leads to greater blood pressure contraction and force of heart pump. This allows more blood to the working muscle, improving the pump effect. Noradrenaline also brings on our ‘fight or flight’ response, increasing awareness and concentration. Studies have also shown its ability to increase natural insulin levels within the human body. (9)
Recommended dosage: Take 200 mg of methyltyramine thirty minutes before working out.
Agmatine is derived fro the amino acid L-Arginine. It has a pump inducing effect that comes from it’s ability to control nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. Agmatine also has a nootropic effect, helping to improve mental clarity and reduce stress by regulating the body’s cortisol levels. (10)
Recommended dosage: Take 500 mg of Agmatine per day thirty minutes before your work-out.
The B Vitamins consist of the following 8 water soluble vitamins: Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, Biotin, B 12. All 8 vitamins work together to provide a host of health benefits, including increasing the rate of metabolism, maintaining high energy levels and enhancing fat digestion.
Recommendation: Take a complex B vitamin that contains at least 10 mg of B12.
Citicoline is one of a group of brain boosting compounds known as nootropics. Nootrpoics are designed to improve cognitive function, allowing you to be more focused and aware of the mind-muscle connection while working out. Citicoline achieves such an effect by increasing the levels of acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is key to enhancing memory, recall and awareness. In addition, citicoline also improves blood circulation to the brain, further boosting cognitive ability.
Recommendation: Take 1-2 grams per day 30 minutes prior to your work-out.
Muccuna pruriens, also known as the velvet bean, is a herbal extract which has the potential to boost growth hormone (GH) levels and speed up intra-workout recovery. Mucuna pruriens has been shown to significantly increase L-dopa levels in the body, which is required to augment GH release. In addition, the herb actually contains a significant amount of L-dopa (L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine), which works in combination with Tyrosine in the human body to enhance GH levels. Mucuna Pruriens also boosts brain health by increasing the production of dopamine. (10)
Recommendation: Take 150 mg of Mucuna Pruriens daily.
Huperzine A is a derivative of the Chinese club moss plant. On it’s journey to supplement form, Huperzine A goes through quite a bit of laboratory manipulation. It has been proven to be beneficial for memory and learning enhancement, and is especially beneficial for helping to reverse the effects of Alzheimers Disease. Huperzine A is also beneficial in boosting the immune system. (11)
Recommendation: Huperzine A is available in liquid, tablet, and capsule form. Take 50 mg thirty minutes prior to training.
Citrulline malate is a the result of the bonding of the non-essential amino-acid citrulline with the organic salt compound malate. By itself citrulline is synthesized from the amino acid glutamine within the intestines. It plays an important part in the removal of ammonia, which is a by-product of exercise that can negatively affect the production of energy, leading to fatigue and reduced performance.
Malate is found naturally in fruits such as apples and plays a role in the series of chemical reactions known as the Krebs cycle, which produces energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein. Malate is also able to recycle lactate for energy production. This is critical in maintaining the muscles from fatigue and aiding recovery. Acting together, Citrulline and malate enhance training performance by accelerating the clearance of fatigue-inducing ammonia and recycling lactate for improved energy production. (12)
Recommendation: Take 2-3g 30 minutes before your workout and another 2-3 grams at bedtime, preferably on an empty stomach.
Taurine is a sulfur-containing non-essential amino acid. One of the most abundant amino acids in the body, it is found in muscle and organ tissue. Taurine is found naturally in fish, beef, poultry and lamb. It is also a popular ingredient in energy drinks such as Red Bull. Taurine makes your central nervous system more active due to its ability to release calcium in the body. It also has a cancelling effect on the free radicals that are a natural by-product of working out. Supplementing with Taurine before and during your workout will give you more energy, off-setting fatigue and giving you stronger muscular contractions on each rep. (13)
Recommendation: Take 1-2 g of Taurine per day prior to your work-out. It would probably pay to avoid Red Bull, however. Although each can contains 1 g of Taurine, it comes with a whole heap of sugar.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), include the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. All three of these are considered essential amino acids because they are not synthesized by the body and must, therefore, be supplied by our diet. BCAA’s are unique in that they can be oxidized in the muscles for fuel.
The other essential amino acids are broken down in the liver. BCAA’s, especially leucine, are key stimulators of protein synthesis and protein breakdown. BCAA’s can be used as fuel during exercise. They will also prevent the catabolic effects of working out. Post-workout they can enhance muscle-building effects.
The branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are crucial for weight lifters looking to increase both anabolism (muscle building) and decrease catabolism (muscle breakdown). Their benefits don’t stop there, as research suggests they may also be able to boost performance by fighting central nervous fatigue. While BCAA’s potential ability to fight central nervous fatigue is not well understood, one theory referred to as the “central fatigue hypothesis” has emerged as one of the more popular theories.
In a nutshell, the theory looks like this: exercise has shown to increase the tryptophan BCAA ratio, partly due to BCAA’s being used as fuel in the muscles during prolonged exercise, depleting their levels. TRP is a precursor to the neurotransmitter seratonin. By exercise depleting BCAA’s , there is a possible increase in the tryptophan / BCAA ratio. Allowing more tryptophan into the brain, increasing seratonin production. Increased seratonin levels are thought to cause the perception of fatigue to increase and performance to decline.
The theory states that if you increase your BCAA intake, the ratio of tryptophan to BCAA’s is decreased and you will experience less fatigue and perform better as a result. Some studies support this theory and show performance gains from BCAA’s, while others show no performance gains. Based on the current research, it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions if BCAA’s do indeed decrease fatigue based on the central fatigue hypothesis. Regardless, you can’t go wrong taking BCAA’s pre-exercise, as they are beneficial from a muscle building standpoint. (14)
Recommendation: Most experts recommend a slightly higher dosage of leucine and smaller dosages of valine and isoleucine. Supplement with 8g of BCAAs prior to your workout in a ratio of leucine / valine / isoleucine of 3:1:1.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that the human body produces naturally. It is a vital amino for anabolism because it plays a vital role in the synthesis of carnosine, which is found in muscle fiber. Studies and in the gym experience have shown that beta-alanine enhances muscular contraction while off-setting exercise induced fatigue. (15)
Recommendation: Consume 5g of beta-alanine daily just prior to your workout.
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it can be produced within the body. It is easily obtainable from high-protein foods such as soy, turkey, chicken, fish, peanuts, almonds and dairy foods.
It is used in the production of protein and is a key precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine acts in concert with seratonin. When they are out of balance, fatigue ensues. Supplementation with Tyrosine helps to maintain the body’s balance between dopamine and seratonin. The result is reduced fatigue and enhanced performance. (16)
Recommendation: Most studies on l-tyrosine have been based on a dosage of between 50-150 g per kg of bodyweight. This would work out to anywhere up to 10 grams per day. That quantity will never be found in a pre-workout supplement. So, unless you are taking pure tyrosine in powder form, look for a stack that contains between 3-5 grams.
Arginine is what is known as a conditionally essential amino acid. Our bodies are capable of synthesizing arginine, but under certain conditions (trauma, disease, stress) the body cannot produce enough, making dietary sources essential. Arginine can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, fish and chicken. A
rginine can be metabolized into glucose for energy during exercise. It is also important in the production of nitric oxide and creatine. In addition, arginine has been shown to stimulate the production of growth hormone, a powerful muscle-building stimulant. (17)
Recommendation: Take 7-9 g of L-Arginine daily.
Synephrine is a proto-alkaloid found in bitter orange extract, which is derived from citrus fruits such as seville, mandarins, sweet oranges, tangerines and grapefruits. Structurally, synephrine is similar to ephedrine, which was banned by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 as a result of negative health concerns.
A variety of cells within the body have alpha and beta adrenal receptors. These adrenal receptors are targets for stress hormones and catecholamines released in response to exercise, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. Which initiate the fight or flight response.
This binding induces a strong sympathetic response including increased heart rate, heightened alertness and increased force production within the muscles – all of which allow the body to overcome stress. This response increases metabolic rate and subsequent fat oxidation. Alkaloids such as synephrine and ephedrine, like catecholaines, can bind these receptors and induce a sympathetic response, potentially increasing resting metabolic rate and fat oxidation. As a resul,t synephrine is often added to weight loss supplements. (18)
Recommendation: Take 4.5 g per day.
Betaine is a derivative of the non-essential amino acid glycine. It is synthesized naturally within the body. Dietary sources of Betaine include wheat, beets, spinach and shellfish. Recent studies suggest that it may help to facilitate hydration, increase strength, enhance endurance and improve work-out recovery. There is also some suggestion that supplementation with Betaine enhances fat metabolism. (19)
Recommendation: Take 4g of betaine prior to your work-out.
Creatine is a naturally occurring nutrient found in meat and fish. It can be produced in the body by the liver and pancreas from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. 95% of creatine is stored within muscle cells.
During high intensity training, your body relies on phosphocreatine to resynthesize ATP. Once these stores are exhausted, performance begins to decline. Creatine supplementation increases stores of phosphocreatine, allowing your muscles to work at higher rates for a longer time. This will produce an immediate strength boost.
Creatine combines with phosphorous to create phosphocreatine (PC) in your muscle cells. This is an energy rich compound that fuels your muscles during high-intensity activities, such as lifting weights or sprinting. Creatine supplementation raises PC levels typically around 2%.
This enables you to sustain all-out effort longer than usual and recover faster between sets. Creatine supplements also helps promote protein manufacture and muscle hypertrophy by drawing water into the muscle cells. It helps to increase lean body mass, reducing muscle acidity (by buffering excess hydrogen ions), allowing more lactic acid to be produced before fatigue sets in. Creatine also reduces muscle protein breakdown following intense exercise. Resulting in greater strength and improved ability to do repeated sets. (20)
Recommendation: Take 5 mg of creatine per day.
Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to Zaire, Cameroon and Gabon. The bark of the tree contains the chemical yohimbine. Yohimbine was believed for some time to enhance testosterone levels, but this has been proven to be false.
It has proven itself as a libido enhancer and cure-all for erectile dysfunction. Although not scientifically proven, it appears that yohimbine may also be beneficial in helping to remove the stubborn fat that typically stores itself around the waist of men and the hips and thighs of women. (21)
Recommendation: Yohimbine carries with it the side effect of anxiety in higher dosages. It is important, then, to then, keep the dosage manageable. Take .2 mg per kg of bodyweight.
Top Pre Workout Supplements Reviewed
Now that you know what the ideal stack combination looks like, it’s time to put some of the key players in the marketplace under the microscope. No product will include all of the ingredients listed above in the quantities needed, but let’s see how close we can get.
Legion Athletics Pulse
Legion Athletic Pulse provides a sustained energy rush that lasts for about an hour, allowing you to power through your workout, off-setting fatigue and enhancing vascularity and pump. The combination of caffeine and theanine interact synergistically to provide a very smooth energy curve that makes Legion a very natural and extremely effective way to bring it when you get under the heavy weight.
The drink comes in a range of flavours, including fruit punch. Generally the taste is bearable but not great. The fruit punch tastes a little flat and you will probably find it tolarable rather than enjoyable.
Pulse contains 8 grams of citrulline malate to enhance the pump effect. This is more than double the recommended dose, and some people have had a jittery response to this high amount. 4.8 grams of beta alanine is also extremely high. 350 mg of caffeine is also a little high but this is regulated by 350 mg of theanine. L-ornithine helps you to fight off fatigue. The product also contains 2.5 grams of betaine, which works in conjunction with beta-alanine to help you push harder, longer.
Muscle Tech Anarchy
Anarchy will give you an immediate energy boost. You’ll feel awake and zoned in mentally. Some users have reported a buzz in the chest area while training, while others have experienced a crash half way through their work-out. That may have been due to their taking more than the recommended dose and, consequently overdosing on caffeine. The sustained energy produced by the product, however, has also received mixed reviews. When using this product, stick to the recommended dosage.
Anarchy comes in a range of flavors, and the taste is decidedly mixed, from delicious (icy rocket freeze) to blah (fruit punch). The product mixes well, without that annoying clumpiness that makes some pre-workout shakes an ordeal to get down your throat.
Anarchy covers many of the ideal pre workout bases with 3.2 grams of beta-alanine, 380 mg of caffeine, 150 mg of theanine, 2 grams of arginine and 200 grams of choline bitartrate. It also includes hydromax glycerol powder, a proprietary blend based on glycerol powder sourced from Glanbia Nutritionals. This is designed to enhance the muscle stretching, vascularity effect of the product.
MTS Nutrition Clash
Clash seems to have it just right in terms of providing that energy kick to get you powering into your work-out and the muscle building nutrients to ensure that all of your hard work pays dividends. Users almost universally report noticeable, sustained benefits on both of these fronts.
Clash comes in a pink lemonade flavor. This provides a much sweeter taste than the old formulation. Unlike the old formulation, the new Clash doesn’t clump and it mixes exceptionally well. This removes a lot of the citrus taste, which many people prefer.
The all-new reformulated Clash contains 5 grams of Creapure Creatine monohydrate, which is the purest creatine on the market. It also has 3.2 grams of beta-alanine to ward off fatigue, 1.5 grams of betaine anhydrous and 500 mg of tyrosine. The caffeine count is 250 grams. MTS have removed their old Boom! Blend with a completely new formulation of compounds designed to act as a neuro-stimulant and a reducer of stimulant tolerance. This allows you to receive the same stimulatory effect from the product week after week. This new blend, which combines Higenimine hcl, Methyltyramine hcl and Hordinine hcl, turns up the stimulant volume to provide a more amped response than the original Clash – without the post work-out crash!
Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy
Free form amino acids, which this product is based upon, have a limited absorption in the body. This product is best suited for someone who may be on a low carb diet and is trying to inhibit catabolism. At the end of the day, this product is an amino acid blend with some caffeine thrown in. It won’t give you a great energy boost but will provide a modest buzz to get you over the hump of your work-out.
Amino Energy comes in four flavors. It mixes clump free and each of the flavors is pleasant, though not rave-worthy.
Amino Energy contains a proprietary blend of aminos (5 grams per serve), which includes a lot of free form amino acids, such as glutamine, arginine, leucine and beta-alanine. There is no way of telling how much of each of these ingredients is in the product. However, you may feel a slight tingly sensation in the lips when first using the product, which is an indication of high amounts of beta-alanine. Amino Energy includes 100mg per serving of caffeine, which, although a step up from it’s original formulation, is still a little on the light side.
Cellucor C4 Extreme
Cellucor C4 Extreme is an extremely popular energy booster that will give you a huge energy boost while ramping up your strength levels to allow you to push harder more often. C4 Extreme has fused the pump enhancing effects of NO3 (nitrate) with creatine to produce an increased water solubility and overall effect without the side effects that are often associated with creatine supplementation.
Typical user comments on C4 Extreme are that it provides immediate energy and focus, especially early in the morning. It has 70% 5 star reviews on Amazon, with most reviewers stating that it has allowed them to lift heavier and push harder for longer.
This is a great tasting product which comes in a range of flavors. Pink lemonade seems to be the most popular offering.
The core hard hitters of this product are a decent helping of beta alanine (1,500 mg) to offset and delay fatigue, one gram of creatine nitrate that offers all of the strength enhancing benefits of creatine while increasing blood vessel dilation and arginine akg to enhance the pump.
The explosive energy blend includes mucina pruriens, caffeine and bitter orange extract.
Muscle Pharm Assault
Muscle Pharm markets themselves on the basis of Real Doctors, Real Science and Real Innovation. Judging by their flagship product, they are putting those real doctors to very effective use. Assault has harnessed scientific innovation brilliantly to make it a unique and legitimate gold star pre-workout supplement. It will allow you to stay focused, get pumped, blast your way through a muscle quivering workout and have energy to spare.
Assault comes in an impressive array of flavors, ranging from Pineapple Mango to Green Apple. And guess what – they taste awesome. The scoop that comes with Assault is pretty big and some people have found that it gives them too much of a kick, leaving them wired and shaky. For that reason, I’d suggest starting with half a scoop and allowing your body to acclimatize to the product before stepping it up to a full dosage, especially if you’re a new user of pre-workout supplements.
Assault contains more active ingredients than any other pre-workout supplement product on the market today. Each serving contains 2g of beta-alanine to boost endurance and promote the buffering of lactic acid. Hawthorne Berry and Berry Root have been added to promote the body’s production of nitric oxide to induce that wicked pump. A unique aspect of Assault is it’s combination of Creatine, Arginine and Branch Chain Amino Acids into a special nitrate that acts as a super vasodilator to open up the blood pathways. Assault has a superior ability to promote insulin with it’s inclusion of the muscle building nutrients glycine, d-ribose, cinnulin pf and dextrose. A further little trick that makes Assault something special is the patented ingredient Pure Energy, which has added pterstilbine to caffeine in order to harness the energy giving effects of caffeine and produce an effect that last 8 times longer than you’d get from normal caffeine. Assault also delivers a superior hydration system with an advanced combination of electrolytes, coconut water, glutamine and taurine.
After Burn Fuel
After Burn Effect is the pre-workout supplement produced by Mike Chang, the controversial internet mogul whose face is everywhere you don’t want it to be. Regardless of what you think of Mike Chang, his product will give you a slight energy boost that is crash free and lasts for over an hour. It will also provide a pretty good, but not an amazing, pump.
The taste of After Burn definitely hits the spot. The only flavour is Fruit Punch – and that punch certainly delivers, without the chemical after-taste that usually comes with the flavour. The taste is actually very similar to Kool-Aid.
After Burn Effect has a solid ingredient profile but the problem is that it is hopelessly under dosed. Not that it’s easy to discover how much of each product you’re getting. You guessed it – the ingredient list is made up of a number of proprietary blends. First, there’s the ‘Get Jacked Matrix’ comprised of Creatinol O-Phosphate (note; this is not creatine), L-Arginine, Agmatine Sulphate, creatine, beta alanine and citrulline malate. Now, all of these ingredient combine to give a total of 7.5 grams of ingredient. So, though we don’t know the individual dosages, we do know that they have got to be miniscule to total to just 7.5 grams.
The same thing applies to the other proprietary blend in After Burn, the Cognitive Energy Matrix. This blend includes seven different ingredients, including tyrosine, caffeine and choline. Again, though, the combined ingredients only total to a pitiful 1.6 grams.
The bottom line – After Burn simply doesn’t give you enough of a good thing.
De Novo Nutrition Utopia
Utopia is marketed as a pre workout and mental stimulator / cognitive enhancer. It certainly provides a good level of mental focus. In terms of actual workout energy, though, the effect is nothing startling.
The product comes as a very fine powder. It has a very good taste, even though it comes in just one flavour – peach mango. Utopia mixes very well in water, with no clumpiness or gritty after taste.
Utopia has four main active ingredients; caffeine, mucuna pruriens, cognizin and Huperzine-A. Caffeine clearly is the stimulant, with the other products designed to promote cognitive enhancement. There are some notable exceptions from this product such as beta-alanine, creatine and the BCAA’s. This equates to a simple formulation that will give you a little extra edge and get you focused. It cannot, however, be considered a hard-core pre work-out supplement.
The supplement landscape is constantly changing. There is so much advertising and hype that it’s hard not to be sceptical about what’s out there. However, the supplement ingredients that you’ve learnt about in this article really do work. Use them as the foundation for your decision making you’re trying to make an educated decision about the supplements that you see on the shelf.
Supplements, however, will never work in isolation. Unless you build your body on a firm foundation of sound nutrition, hard-ass training and sensible rest and recuperation, all of your supplement spending will be money down the toilet. The truth is that we don’t really need supplements to build muscle, but they do make the whole process a hell of a lot easier and a lot more convenient. So, as long as you use these products just as their classification implies – as a supplement to hard training and proper feeding – you will grow and prosper from the selective, targeted use of pre work-out supplements.
- TIPTON, K.D. et al. (2001) Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab., 281 (2), p. 197-206.
- IVY, J. and PORTMAN, R. (2004) Nutrient Timing. USA, Basic Health Publications
- Singal A, Kaur S, Tirkey N, Chopra K. Green tea extract and catechin ameliorate chronic fatigue-induced oxidative stress in mice. J Med Food. 2005;8(1):47-52.
- Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Volek JS, Hakkinen K, Rubin MR, French DN, Gomez AL, et al. The effects of amino acid supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance training overreaching. Metabolism. 2006 Mar;55(3):282-91.
- Mahoney CR, Castellani J, Kramer FM, Young A, Lieberman HR. Tyrosine supplementation mitigates working memory decrements during cold exposure.Physiol Behav. 2007 May 22