If you think a product must meet the doses stated on its label…think again! Or if you think a product is safe or FDA approved just because it’s on the market…think again!
One tested pre-workout supplement even contains an amphetamine-like ingredient.
So if you want to know if you pre-workout is effective, a dud, or even safe to consume…read this post!
The guys over at labdoor were impressed with my scientific approach to supplements and training here at MuscleHack. So we are working together on getting this BRAND NEW research out there regarding pre-workouts.
Also, ensure that you’re training effectively to stimulate gains so that you’re putting that “pre” to good use. Download my free THT Training workout below…
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Labdoor tested 47 best‐selling pre‐workout supplements in the US in certified labs.
Products were then graded based on Efficacy, Purity, Label Accuracy, Safety, and Nutrition.
Let’s just start with the very WORST product!
THE WORST PRE-WORKOUT: TRAIN CRITICAL FX
The worst pre‐workout as tested is: TRAIN CRITICAL FX
Not only is it crap. But it contains a “relative of amphetamine”. Labdoor said…
“Because the FDA isn’t able to handle testing each and every product that gets to retail shelves, we get products like this one that are hugely ineffective and spiked with extremely dangerous substances.
This product was spiked with 50 mg of unlabelled BMPEA (beta‐methylphenethylamine) , a relative of amphetamine that’s been banned by the FDA for causing dangerous increases in blood pressure. Just last year a woman suffered a stroke after drinking a pre‐workout that was spiked with BMPEA. Sometimes companies will hide BMPEA under the plant name, Acacia rigidula, even though they’re unrelated. Train Critical FX was cited by the FDA and the company was ordered to stop distribution, but we were able to still buy it recently with BMPEA present.”
This pre-workout supplement contained a relative of amphetamine. Don't buy this Click To Tweet
THE REST OF THE WORST…
Here are the 4 worst products as tested by Labdoor. Then I’ll get into the best Pre-Workout’s out there.
Click here to see what the 4 worst pre-workout supplements on the market are Click To Tweet
THE BEST PRE-WORKOUTS ON THE MARKET
Here are the top 4 products…
Click here to see what the best pre-workout supplement on the market is Click To Tweet
As you can see, Legion Pulse and Optimum Nutrition Pre are up there as the best pre-workout supplements.
Everyone knows I highly recommend MyProtein supplements (UK site | US site). Their MyPre product ranked number 12 out of 47 with the very popular NO-Xplode pre-workout ranking number 11, both with A- grades. Personally, that satisfies me (especially given that MyProtein’s Impact Whey actually tested as having MORE protein than is stated on the label – that’s why labdoor also officially recommend MyProtein).
What about the rest?
You can see the full list of 47 tested products on the Labdoor site here.
THE ISSUES OF CAFFEINE, CREATINE, BETA-ALANINE & TAURINE
Caffeine can reduce perceived effort, pain and increase muscle contractility. The FDA says caffeine is safe up to 400 mg per day. Higher levels can cause severe dehydration, sleep disturbance, heart palpitations, convulsions, and even death.
23 products with caffeine didn’t report quantities. Most of the 41 products with caffeine had more than 200 mg per serving, and would exceed the safe limit in just 2 servings.
Products with more than 300 mg of caffeine per serving:
(* means that the product didn’t report on the label how much caffeine was added)
● Nutrex Research Outlift Pre‐workout : 380 mg
● MuscleMeds No Bull : 350 mg*
● Legion Pulse Pre‐Workout Drink : 330 mg
● Nutrex Research Hemo Rage : 310 mg*
● Human Evolution Extreme OverRide : 310 mg*
These products had 4X or more of the caffeine in some popular energy drinks . One can of Red Bull, as an example, has 85.5 mg.
- Least caffeine: 60 mg ( Red Leaf Pre‐Workout Energizer )
- Most caffeine: 380 mg ( Nutrex Research OutLift Pre‐Workout )
● SNI Hardcore Series Nitric Shock
● SEI Performance Series Re‐FUEL‐RSQ 5.0
● Blackstone Labs Resurgence
● Hi‐Tech Pharmaceuticals N.O. Overload
Only 7 of the 33 products with creatine had at least 2 g (recommended maintenance dose).
- Least creatine: 0.1 g (Total Body Nutrition 1,3D Nox)
- Most creatine: 4.3 g (Citadel Nutrition Tier 1)
Beta-alanine limits acid buildup in muscle tissue. Only 5 of the 36 products with beta‐alanine had at least 2g (recommended maintenance dose).
- Least beta‐alanine: 0.1 g ( Train Critical FX )
- Most beta‐alanine: 4.3 g ( Legion Pulse )
Taurine improves heart and aerobic performance if taken 2 hours before exercise
All 16 products with taurine had effective levels (more than 500 mg). The highest safe level for taurine is 3 g per day.
1 product, Gaspari Nutrition SuperPump Max , exceeded this with 3.6 g per serving. This product also has more than 200 mg of caffeine.
There is always the option of just making your own pre-workout. It’ll be much much cheaper and you will know for sure the quantities you are taking.
I put the full instructions for making your own homemade pre-workout here.
And here is a cool video one of my readers Juanito Taveras put together for me to show you how to do it…
Lab Results Reveal The Best & Worst Pre-Workouts. Click here for full list Click To Tweet
Again, I’d highly recommend you view the full list of rankings and lab results for all 47 tested products at the labdoor site.
And thanks to labdoor for the valuable and independent testing of all types of supplements. I think everyone in the iron game very much appreciates it!
So…are you surprised? Shocked?
Will you be changing your brand of pre-workout after this? Let me know in the comments below.
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HERE ARE THE SUPPLEMENTS I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
I highly recommend MyProtein for all your supplement needs.
GO TO MYPROTEIN UK/EUROPE
GO TO MYPROTEIN USA
- I also recommend to US readers this Optimum Nutrition whey (and here's a low-carb whey)
- And this quality, inexpensive creatine ~ Mark McManus
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Great stuff again Mark. So hard to know who to trust these days!
I used to take it for granted that what was on the label was what was inside. But this and your last post on BCAAs has really opened my eyes. It’s great that there are people out there testing this stuff!
Good stuff Mark! I use a different “scale/guide”. Muscle pharm Assault has been around for a long time and is used by.many athletes in drug tested sports with no negative results. It bears the “Informed Choice” logo on it’s branding and this means it’s.free.of.any nasty stuff
@Darshan. Seems like a good, legit product Big D 🙂