Pre-workout Roundup – 5 reviews for the price of one
Well I haven’t done a preworkout review for some time, so I need to catch up. I have 4 products to take a look at all at once, so I won’t dedicate the time to each one as I did for the previous reviews, but I will take a close look at their various pros and cons. An interesting element of these reviews is that I get some new types of products and some products with changes I’ve asked for in previous reviews, so it will be really interesting to see how everything pans out. The products are: Rari Nutrition Infinity pre-workout, Dub Nutrition Ultimate pre-workout, NutraEdge Edgeblast pre-workout and Vitamin Bounty pre-workout.
Bonus: Also added Jacked Factory’s PumpSurge, a bizarre caffeine-free pre-workout to the list!
I’m going to start with Vitamin Bounty because all the others were ones I receive for review, whereas Vitamin Bounty is the product I actually buy when I want a pre-workout. As a reminder I evaluate all products on a pre-workout basis just by using them prior to working out and examining their ingredients.
Vitamin Bounty Pre-Workout (Watermelon)
So I’ve reviewed a decent number of pre-workouts and this product is the one I buy when I buy them. It’s just simple, effective and has a good value. I want to note that it has basically an identical list of ingredients to another pre-workout I reviewed in the past, Primal Muscle’s “Primal Surge” 10x Pre-workout. So nothing new said here that I didn’t say there besides the packaging and promotion – I will NOT pay more for extra fluff or marketing in promoting a product. It would be interesting to learn someday which of these two products came first (if anyone knows send me a line) and how many other products there are on the market that share the same ingredient layout as these (it is just a very effective mix).
Cover-To-Cover: The Vitamin Bounty pre-workout is a very straightforward product, simple black cover just says “Pre-Workout” in bold letters. In fact it lacks any other brand name besides the manufacturer’s title. Its most basic claim is that it is “for endurance, energy & focus” to “supercharge” your workout. I’ve always appreciated the no-frills, no-nonsense approach but my only criticism of the bottle is that perhaps they’d benefit from a little bit stronger branding – maybe give this product a new name.
Ingredients – Flavor, Look & Mixability: This product is your standard Sucralose flavored product, I’ve asked for ages in my review for more manufacturers to try out Stevia, and it is artificially colored with Red 40 (the flavor I’m looking at today is Watermelon). The mix of silicate/cilicon keeps this product pretty dry and I’ve had no clumping issues, I feel it has a fair mixability as I usually mix it with a spoon in a regular glass. The flavor is watermelon, nothing special to say there just like your standard fruit drink.
Ingredients – Main Ingredients: Niacin (5mg, otherwise known as vitamin B3) is primarily in play as a pump agent in this pre-workout but has a ton of healthy benefits to the body as an essential vitamin. It makes sense that a company called “Vitamin Bounty” would include this. Then you get the very standard mix of pre-workout supplements you expect to see in any well rounded product all at pretty effectual dosages: Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn brand, still no strong opinions on this vs regular Beta-Alanine), Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) and Citrulline Malate.
Ingredients – Stimulants & Others: Mucuna L-Dopa 20% is great to add a little focus and better mood, Taurine balances with the Beta-Alanine dose, Theobromine and Yohimbe HCI are both bolstering the fat burning/stimulation factor. Caffeine is 250mg, and I’ve revised my views on caffeine recently and I do consider 250mg to be a maximal value for pre-workouts, I definitely advise staying away from products that go much higher.
Workout Results: This is a very consistent, effectual pre-workout mix with a very smooth up and down influence on training. I always remind people that pre-workouts often have a minor impact on your workout, they are to get you going not to really change fundamental things about the workout experience (sleep and hydration have considerably larger impacts). However I love this pre-workout, and I do often drink it as a pick me up prior to going to work too.
Dub Nutrition’s “Ultimate” Pre-workout (Grape)
This product is a very interesting product that takes a different approach to the pre-workout formula and I think has some hit and miss points.
Cover-To-Cover: This product came in a white/silver labelled container that was clear outside the label, making the flat white product inside show itsel. It describes itself as the “ultimate energy & pump formula”. I found this approach very odd, but I found no major marketing fluff on the product which was good.
Ingredients – Flavor, Look & Mixability: This was a Stevia-sweetened product with Sucralose as a secondary sweetener, which is a good change of pace. It had a subtle grape flavor, and was very easy to mix of all my most recently reviewed products. I found the powder soft and fluffy.
Serving Size issues: So the product defines itself as being “1 heaving scoop”, which obviously means different things to different people. I scooped as much as I could overflowing the scoop and used that. I really believe this product should get a different scoop and define its serving sizes better (two levelled scoops of a smaller scoop or just have a bigger scoop). Some people may want to take two servings, it’d be nice for them to know exactly what they’re getting. Since I could see people wanting 1 1/2 servings of this, a 2-scoop serving makes it easy to get a half serving extra, so that’s what I’d honestly recommend.
Ingredients – Proprietary Blends: I normally don’t like “blends” because while I get that every pre-workout is a formula and keeping some things secret is a “trade secret” matter to some companies, the exact dose of what a pre-workout provides should be known by everyone consuming it and I believe that trumps any concern a company should have about protecting its “secret recipe”. That said, one nice thing this product does is it makes known key values in its blends.
First is the energy blend, which has N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Malic Acid, Caffeine Andryhous (225mg) and DL-Phenylalanine. I won’t go through every item or attempt to guess doses as I usually do, but I will say that Glucuronolactone is new to me and I don’t have a strong opinion, that I do like NALT, some Taurine, and DL-Phenylalanine as mood-enhancers and elements to balance the stimulation of the caffeine. While a little softer than usual, you do get a good perk from this “energy blend” mix.
Next is the Pump Blend, which has Beta-Alanine (again a good pair with the Taurine although how good is unknown barring knowing the doses), Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) and Creatine Monohydrate. A very standard mix of performance enhancers and vascular pump supplements that are used very commonly in pre-workouts today.
Ingredients – Vitamin mix: There is a day’s dosage of Niacinamide (I don’t know enough of the differences between flat Niacin and Niacinamide to know if the body processes the doses the same way but this is 100% of daily value according to the package), Vitamin B6, B9 & B12. Extra B vitamins are generally always a good idea in pre-workout supplementation due to how many little things they do in the body.
Workout Results: I found that this product gave me more awakeness and alertness, but was not as powerful as some others I’ve had. I really do like this product, despite the little things like not knowing exact doses on a lot of ingredients and the bizarre presentation on the package.
NutraEdge Edgeblast pre-workout
I’m sorry to say that this product is going to be a non-review. After reviewing the label and the product, I do not want to use this product.
I could go on about some things I don’t like about the product from its spastic presentation on the exterior box and bottle, but it is the ingredient sheet that has me not interested in using this product. I’ve reviewed pre-workouts with lots of ingredients, but this one has a full sheet of vitamins, caloric information as it contains some carbs and a list of other ingredients before even getting to the primary pre-workout supplements which are all shortlisted as proprietary blends.
The problem with proprietary blends is that everyone who buys your product deserves to know what is inside it. Sometimes, if enough information is available, I’ll accept this. But not a single measurement aside from Beta-Alanine is available for anything inside their 5 different proprietary blends, that’s nearly 20 ingredients that are all big question marks. People do have issues with Taurine and I consider it pretty serious to not know the exact quantity of Caffine I’m consuming, especially when it’s delivered as a branded mixture (PureEnergy Matrix) with Pterostilbene – if the promotional material about this is to be believed, this caffeine will absorb more efficiently than normal. Again, I have no idea how much caffeine this even has.
I do not think the trade secret of this product are worth keeping your customers in the dark about what servings you actually giving them of your ingredients, and I don’t frankly care if that is a protected “blend”.
Lastly, if you have allergies (I don’t, the issues above are enough for me to stay away), they say they make this product on equipment that is exposed to nearly every allergen and agitating ingredient alive. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, corn, wheat, fish and several others. My stepdaughter might explode if she ever tried this.
As a consumer, until they radically rethink how they compose this product (they need to cut out non essentials and disclose key ingredients at the very least, if not rethink some of their “blends” altogether), I won’t consume this product and don’t suggest you do either. Maybe you think I’m being a whimp by having these concerns, but I simply don’t accept all of these things from a company which wants me to do business with them. As the consumer I should be Nutra Edge’s priority concern, not their competitors or trade secrets. I don’t think anyone is rushing to clone this product’s spastic list of ingredients.
Rari Nutrition’s “Infinity” pre-workout (Strawberry Lemonade)
A very fun pre-workout, I did enjoy this one.
Cover-To-Cover: A simple black cover, has the name of the product in some gold coloring, and has a modest space to claim it gives “unparalleled energy, powerful pumps” and “maximum performance”. I like the inclusion of “suggested use” comments very clearly by the main label with a direct link to the website. It suggests confirming your tolerance, and says that 1 scoop equals “moderate” while 2 equal “intense”. I always appreciate when a product adds that extra info into how they intend for it to be used, it makes me feel they value how we use the product more than just trying to tell us how to feel by describing the product to us (which is how most companies use this type of free space). Love it.
Ingredients – Flavor, Look & Mixability: This product does what I’ve asked for a long time – uses Stevia as a pure flavoring agent. It also uses Beet extract rather than a color dye to achieve the color. Very great! So how does getting what you ask for work out? I gotta say I had the expectation before I even tried the product that it would a little bittersweet because that is how Stevia is, and it definitely was. I admit that the “Strawberry Lemonade” flavor tasted a little bit like powderized sweet tarts. The mixability was fine but as it got old, it did clump up very slightly. I may not be doing the product great justice, but I actually appreciate this approach and while not perfect, I do like it.
Ingredients – “Infinity Blend”: The proprietary blend that makes this product unique comes with something special – exact serving sizes for not one, but two scoops! Awesome. The light 1 scoop of caffeine at 175mg comes with a cavaet that if you ever wanted to double the dose you can safely. I usually like 1 1/2 doses personally of this. This also comes with N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), Agmatine Sulfate, L-Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine and Bioprene (Black Pepper Extract). I like the Agmatine and find this, while having some of the popular supplements, is a unique mix.
Ingredients – The Rest: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and several B vitamins join with Folic Acid to top things off. I appreciate this mix of B vitamins to flush out all the positive workout/health effects they offer a pre-workout, but am not sure the diversity is really “necessary”.
My Spoon Is Bigger Than Yours: This product comes with a dumb big spoon. I wanted to note that the handle of this spoon hardly fits in the container.
Workout Results: I never view pre-workouts as having the huge impact that some do, but I recall Rari’s product giving a more stimulating high when moved closer to the 2 scoop window, while giving a good focus. This is all I can really ask from a pre-workout these days, a good clarity and some extra fire to get the workout going. There was no harsh crash from this.
Definitely would recommend this to anyone interested in trying a product whose maker values how you actually use their product. A con for some of you will be the flavor (which is a byproduct of using a more natural sweetener) and the fact that with taking 1 1/2 to 2 servings you may be getting less pre-workout for your dollar than others which will have enough stimulants and supplements to get you by on a single scoop’s worth (if you do 2 scoops a day you may find yourself with 15 “real” servings rather than 30). That said, I like what this product is doing and I will be adding this product to my circulation.
Bonus: Jacked Factory’s PumpSurge Caffeine-Free pre-workout
So I would say more often than not the primary reason I consume a pre-workout is stimulation. So this pre-workout with no caffeine is just an oddball to me.
Cover-To-Cover: This is a very straight forward product which I like, says it provides “laser focus”, “muscle growth”, “powerful pumps” and “endless endurance”. There is clear instructions on how to use the product and a small blurb about how cutting edge the product is.
Ingredients – Flavor, Look & Mixability: This uses some actual pineapple flavor in here, plus Acesulfame Potassium (ACE-K) and Sucralose. The mixability is fine, although my mix foams a little it might be something to do with my sink (again I mix my drinks in a cup with a spoon, not in a shaker).
Ingredients – The Full List: L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, “Hydromax” brand Glycerol Powder, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Alpha Glycerylphosphorycholine (good grief that word), BioPerene (Black Pepper Extract) and Huperzine A are the list here. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to go through each item, but I like BioPerene and find some of these other ingredients to be good.
My Spoon Is Bigger Than Yours: This product comes with a dumb big spoon. I wanted to note that the handle of this spoon hardly fits in the container.
Workout Results: So I tried this product two ways, one with and one without an extra caffeine pill (200mg). I found the day without the caffeine pill (admittedly I had maybe not the best sleep) to be a yawn fest. Any natural stimulants in this pre-workout just do not pull their weight in the absense of caffeine. With the caffeine pill, I found a little less energy than usual, but it was very smooth and consistent with no crash.
I think the logical conclusion here is that the ingredient mix, for what it does, should have some extra natural stimulants that are more powerful than what it has. It has a good and interesting ingredient list – I regret not having the time to do a fuller breakdown. This product has a very clearcut place in the pre-workout market – for anyone who wants an extra pre-workout to stack around another one or for those who consume a seperate source of caffeine or some other strong stimulants for their workout. For those of you taking this approach, this product is for you. Also this product could be for you if you want a very light pre-workout and feel good about your normal energy level for doing your workout. My workout is powerlifting so for me having a known “peak energy” part of my workout is essential, and without the caffeine I simply didn’t have that from this product. Lastly for anyone else checking this product out I’d simply suggest waiting to see if future revisions to this product give more to offer for their lack of caffeine.
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The Thomas Jefferson Blog
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