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Part One: My Experience With Pre-Workout Supplements Over the Past Few Years (2011)

March 13, 2018 // In Entertainment // By Clipper83

Throughout the years, I have seen many pre-workouts come and go. When I first started working at a GNC back in 2011, it seems as if there were only a handful of established pre-workouts. Some that come to mind are 1MR, C4, N.O Xplode, and of course, the legendary Jack3d. Times have changed, and while the ones I mentioned are still around (albeit with new formulations), many have come and gone.  

Let's look at what has changed in the now flooded market of stimulant-based pre-workouts. For this article, I will not mention 2009-2010, as I was not into fitness during these years. This will be the first installment, as I plan to tackle 2013-2014, 2015-2016, and finally 2017-present separately.


2011- Fun Times

This was a wonderful time to be a lifter. DMAA was in its prime and in many pre-workouts. The most notable from the period, was of course Jack3d. I remember this selling so often at my store, that it was the only pre-workout that ever sold out from time to time while other pre-workouts would sit on the shelves. Even the amount of reviews on the OG Jack3d far surpasses any other pre-workout currently on SR, with 91 written in 2011 alone, and 210 total! I went through at least 4 or 5 tubs of Jack3d during those times, and even though I was still a gym noob, could remember how fun it was taking Jack3d.


Those were the days when companies could get away with proprietary blends with little scrutiny. Before the golden era of YouTube fitness (2013-2014), it seems as if there was not as much consumer knowledge on supplements. Back then, companies could get away with crazy and misleading label claims. That was the norm, and most reviews back then were simply based off the energy one would get from the product. It must have been a cakewalk to formulate and make a profit off pre-workouts during this time. Simply throw a bunch of stims in a tub, use under dosed creatine, beta-alanine, and arginine as filler and you have yourself a product on par with the highest selling pre-workouts with a pretty good margin.

                                                                                                 NO Xplode 2.0


One thing I must note, is that these products were more than likely much cheaper to manufacture than most well-formulated pre-workouts on the market today, yet I bet that if someone were to offer me a tub of the original Jack3d or Muscle Marinade in exchange for $100, I’d at least consider the offer. There aren’t any pre-workouts that were made any time after this time-period that could demand this kind of price, perhaps DS Craze, but that’s for a different reason.


Looking at the list of the top-rated pre-workouts for 2011, you’ll see that although many of the products have been marked as discontinued. Some have changed their names, and the ones that are still around, have been completely reformulated. For example, Muscle Marinade still exists, and from what I remember, was absolutely LOVED here on SR, but was discontinued for several years, until making a comeback with a completely different formula.


One thing to take away from all of this, is that products DO NOT last, the product name does. Anybody who has been lifting for a couple of months can tell you they have heard about C4, but is it the C4 you are thinking about? I know the formula has changed so much, that C4 is an entity these days, and I just can’t keep up. It went from a basic DMAA based pre-workout, to now having C4 Mass, C4 Original, C4 Ripped, C4 Ultimate, C4 OTG (on the go)… the list goes on! The original is gone, but the name is more popular than ever. The same can be said for many other companies from back then. While there are plenty of great pre-workouts on the market now that have better formulas than some of the pre-workouts mentioned, the legends of 2010-2012 are mostly dominating the pre-workout market today. N.O Xplode, C4, Hyde, 1MR, and Assault all come to mind.


The C4 I knew and loved

The C4 I Knew and Loved


I’d like to end with a confession. I had a lot of fun back in those days, more so than pre-workout experiences these past couple of years. Buying a new pre-workout with an undisclosed amount of caffeine and DMAA, then heading to the gym hoping you would feel the “tingles” after ingestion was great, even though beta-alanine wasn’t as popular back then as it is now. No worries about how effectively everything was dosed, whether the citrulline was a bonded form of citrulline malate or just malic acid and citrulline blended together, making sure the product had 3.2 grams of beta-alanine or 5 grams of creatine, checking to see if the scooper weighs out the correct amount on the product label, and finally, in some cases not even reading the label and just buying the coolest looking tub at the store.


south park memberberries


If you want more memberberries, check out our top ranked pre-workouts for the year 2011 here:


  • mjtuf1
    Rep: +482
    March 13, 2018

    Great post bro ! I remember jack3d I first used it in 2010 and def could feel the dmaa in it

  • Wis3guy
    Rep: +3,099
    March 13, 2018

    Getting all nostalgic on us.......

  • WarMachine
    Rep: +8,113
    March 13, 2018 - Last Edited: 2018-03-13 17:14:00

    ProSupps first ever formulation of HYDE, was legit one of the strongest I had ever tried back in the earlier times.

    Of course Jack3d was king.

  • March 13, 2018

    Those were the days...

  • dmf8625
    Rep: +2,021
    March 13, 2018

    This might be outrageous but out of all the supplements I have used over the years, I never tried the original Jack3d, only read about it on just about every supplement website on the internet! :(

  • bctuthill
    Rep: +2,134
    March 13, 2018

    I took my first pwo in 2005... it was fast twitch by cytosport. It wasn't even good but after taking it I ran 7 miles clear across town. I'm not a distance runner and that's still a PR by probably 4 miles lol. After that it was no xplode from 06-07 before not taking any again for years.

    Great article!

  • MarsheS
    Rep: +1,532
    March 13, 2018

    lol great post. I remember using C4, I'm just not sure it had DMAA. You always ended up using 3 scoops at the end lol. Also used Jack3d, this one I remember having DMAA. They were both great but you're right, most of the thoughts about a preworkout were mostly based on energy lol.

  • DaSlaya
    Rep: +2,966
    March 14, 2018

    Love the title! My first PWO loves were NO Explode and SuperPump 250. Jack3d was the most popular PWO in the Army, at least in my community, everyone seemed to have it on deployments and in the gyms. Gotta love that DMAA!!

  • Momo1
    Rep: +3,136
    March 14, 2018

    The good old days of pre-workouts that could run your car! Man, DS Craze, I remember I bought a case of that when it went on clearance; that stuff had me in the gym for hours. Of course, we found out later that it contained traces of meth! Lets just say, I was Mr. Heisenberg for a day!

  • Clipper83
    Rep: +4,424
    March 14, 2018

    Thank you all for the feedback.

    MarsheS- yeah I actually never had the DMAA C4 myself, I believe they discontinued it right after I started working at GNC.

  • mhseaver670
    Rep: +6,693
    March 14, 2018

    Great first article brother. The preworkouts have changes enormously, but I feel the last five years proteins have really been the ones going through the change ha

  • davidian
    Rep: +1,049
    March 14, 2018

    This is bringing back some serious memories. I stocked up as many tubs of Muscle Marinade OG that I could when I heard it was being discontinued, and guarded those tubs with my life. For me the PWO of choice back in those days apart from MM was Muscle Warfare Napalm. Fun times.

  • Cray
    Rep: +4,183
    March 15, 2018

    I cry myself to sleep thinking about how much better pres were back in the good old days.

    Give me a tub of Craze any day. That stuff was legit illicit drugs. Don't care. Great preworkout.

  • Decbb55
    Rep: +103
    March 16, 2018

    Great post capturing the best times and evolution of preworkout- I don't think I've ever found anything that compares to 1MR, when it was about to be pulled I ordered 12 containers to have it for an extra year...
    Turnt up is a new preworkout that's strong- not as perfect as 1MR but I haven't yawned once working out at 5am

  • davidian
    Rep: +1,049
    March 18, 2018

    Do you guys think that pres are better or worse because of the changes? I mean, back in the day at clippy says, no one cared if you had 3.2g of BA, if it was CarnoSyn, no one cared about what any of the ingredients were as long as the stuff worked. And man did some of them work. I put in mammoth workouts and felt like I could run through walls on the old stuff to a much larger extent than I do with most of todays pres. Yeah, you dont get full-spectrum ingredients back them, BCAA's, patented ingredient forms and clinical doses, but seriously, OG Jack3d, Isatori's PWR and CTD"s Noxipro were responsible for some of the best workouts ive ever had. So do we just overthink it too much these days? Some days I wish I could swap my 25g scoop of clinically dosed pure ingredients for a 3-5g boom scoop of poo I never even knew what it was but was borderline meth to give me an insane workout.

  • Clipper83
    Rep: +4,424
    March 19, 2018

    I'd say those days were more fun, but we are much better off now. I think it's better to be able to look at a product and kind of know how it's going to effect you, as opposed to simply hoping you get energy from a blend that doesn't even disclose the amount of caffeine.

  • htevans
    Rep: +1,186
    April 5, 2018

    Just read this and it brought back some old memories. Great job on nailing the zeitgeist of that time.

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