Sign Up FREE

Sign In

Remember Me


Submit a review

How-to Guides and Articles

Forum


htevans

SR TROOPer


MEMBER TRUST
100%

  • Reputation is high. (+996)
  • Member has been active for 4 years, and was last online today
  • Member has posted 68 reviews
  • High community participation


 
ADVERTISEMENT
Members don't see ads. Sign up for FREE to remove ads, and start earning free supplements!
ABOUT
STATS
REVIEWS (68)

Reviews by htevans



Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 12, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Improved Hydration
  • Improved Recovery
  • Fully Disclosed
  • Reduced Fatigue
  • Endurance
  • Magnesium Glycinate Glutamine Chelate
  • Great Taste
  • Not Widely Available
  • Artificial Dyes

Quick Summary

Aminogex Ultra is a solid BCAA product that not only helps with recovery and hydration but also tastes great. The only negatives to be found are the artificial dyes and price point.

Introduction

I was looking for a BCAA product to try since I'm in the middle of the calorie-restricted phase of my recomp plan. Having had overall success with VMI's products, I figured I would look at their Aminogex Ultra. When I saw the profile, and that they offered a mango flavor, I knew I had to try it.

Ingredient Profile

8.5/10
Aminogex Ultra contains 7 grams of BCA...

Quick Summary

Aminogex Ultra is a solid BCAA product that not only helps with recovery and hydration but also tastes great. The only negatives to be found are the artificial dyes and price point.

Introduction

I was looking for a BCAA product to try since I'm in the middle of the calorie-restricted phase of my recomp plan. Having had overall success with VMI's products, I figured I would look at their Aminogex Ultra. When I saw the profile, and that they offered a mango flavor, I knew I had to try it.

Ingredient Profile

8.5/10
Aminogex Ultra contains 7 grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio. This is my preferred ratio (its also the one most backed by science) and anything above 5 grams per scoop/serving is noteworthy as most BCAA products on the market offer 5 grams per scoop/serving. BCAAs help with recovery, endurance, and sparing muscle during calorie restricted periods.

There also a few added goodies in addition to the BCAAs (the mainstay of the product). The "goodies" are 600mgs of TRAACS minerals for hydration, Vitamins B6 and Vitamin B12, and 1.25 grams of Betaine. VMI uses TRAACS in a lot of their products, including their Protolyte, to promote proper hydration and with their other products that I have used I have found them to be very effective at it. I always like it when BCAA supplements include electrolytes because they are often used intra-workout when proper hydration is paramount. The inclusion of betaine, albeit at half the efficacious dose (although it is dosed optimally here as you should split the dose according to Examine), is nice to see as well. Betaine has cardio-protective and hydration benefits but it is likely included in Aminogex Ultra for its purported strength and endurance benefits. Finally, while B vitamins are always welcome, I personally get more than enough and don't notice any serious benefit from them.

There is not much more you could ask from a BCAA supplement. Of course there are extra "goodies" one may want like creatine, L-Citrulline, Taurine, Astragin, etc., but those are merely extras and not the mainstay of a BCAA product. That being said, I think creatine would be a good inclusion along with the existing betaine and L-Citrulline or Agmatine would be good for increased blood flow. Taurine would also help with hydration. Adding any or all of these could really make this profile stand out and break past a 8.5 rating.

My only qualm with this profile is the use of artificial dyes. I don't believe they are necessary and if dyes are desired then just use a naturally-derived dye.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
I received the Mango flavor as well as some sample packets for the Pink Lemonade flavor and others (but I only really remember the Pink Lemonade flavor). Both were delicious, the mango was not too sweet and the pink lemonade was not too tart. Mixability was fine - I never had any grit at the bottom of my cup or anything of that nature.

I usually dosed this at 1 scoop intra-workout or pre-workout if I was using a carb supplement intra-workout. Additionally, I later wound up taking a scoop towards the end of the work day to hold me over until my gym session and subsequent dinner. I almost always added pure LCLT powder (2 grams) to this serving but occasionally I would forget and add it to the intra/pre-workout serving. On off days, I would just have 1 scoop at some point during the day and add in LCLT. I always mixed 1 scoop with 16-20oz of water after I found that the flavoring stayed consistent at multiple liquid levels (8-20oz).

Effectiveness

8.5/10
My experience with Aminogex Ultra was in line with what I have come to expect from most well-dosed BCAA supplements. Recovery, especially during my low-calorie days, was enhanced. I saw my DOMS/recovery time decrease by 1-2 days. It is worth nothing that about about a week or so into using Aminogex Ultra, I started taking arimistane which has contributed to me PRing every week since starting. Despite the continual increase in my workload at the gym, my recovery was always cut down by a day or so. That's exactly what I have come to expect from properly dosed BCAA supplements.

Additionally, I saw a small uptick in my endurance in the gym. Cardio felt a little easier, but more noticeably, I felt like I could push through my longer workouts a bit easier. I don't attribute all of this to Aminogex Ultra alone but I think it played some role. I typically measure endurance in terms of how cardio feels (usually in relation to minutes/time) but this time I noticed that my workouts flew by (felt no longer than 1 hour) despite being about 1.5-2hrs long. While carb supplements, arimistane, and even epicatechin likely contributed to this, I firmly believe that Aminogex Ultra played a part too. Perhaps it had something to do with maintaining proper hydration.

To that end, my hydration was on point while I was using this product. I've been actively working on drinking more water and fluids in general but I'm also taking a lot of different supplements that require greater fluid intake so proper hydration has never been more important to me. Taking 1-2 servings within 2 hours of working out (including during my workout) kept me perfectly hydrated and ready to tackle my workout for the day. In contrast, when I am dehydrated, I lose strength and feel extremely lethargic and thirsty; I never once felt like that around the times I would consume Aminogex Ultra. Using both the urine [color] test and the "I don't have the usual symptoms of dehydration" test, I can say with certainty that this product helped me stay hydrated. Was it the sole factor in me staying hydrated? No; my increased fluid intake definitely played a role. Did this have a noticeable positive effect? Yes.

Value

7.3
Aminogex Ultra can be found at a few online retailers for about $30 with S&H. The best all-inclusive price I have found so far is on Amazon Prime for $29.97 for a 30 serving container. That's almost $1/serving. It is worth noting that AllStarHealth sells this for $23.99 and a few flavors on Amazon are $24.99. That brings the price per serving down to $0.80 and $0.83 respectively. However, All Starr charges $5.95 S&H so a single-product purchase here is not significantly better than buying from Amazon. Similarly, you are stuck paying more if you want some flavors, like the mango I tried. Even at the $0.80-$0.83 price point, this is a bit pricey. I would like to see this a lot closer to $0.67 a serving to make this more competitive. Additionally, this needs to be more readily available at more retailers. There are plenty of deals to be had in this product category if you just take the time to look and the somewhat limited availability and rather high pricepoint is doing no favors to an otherwise great product.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Aminogex Ultra.

Conclusion

8.1/10
I get to an 8.1/10 by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, Effectiveness, and Value sections to get an 8.325/10. I then rounded down to a 8.0/10 to account for the greater weight I place on the Value section's rating. There are too many BCAA deals to be had to not give this more weight. I then gave it an extra 0.1 because the mango flavor was delicious and 1) mango is an easy flavor to mess up 2) flavoring is extremely important for BCAA products. I feel that this 8.1 rating accurately reflects my sentiments towards Aminogex Ultra. It is a great product that just makes the cut because its relatively poor value holds it back. All this being said, I recommend giving this product a chance if you can afford it, and like with VMI's Protolyte, I have already recommended this to one of my best friends looking for a BCAA product.



Overall
Overall
9.3
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
10.0
Value
Value
8.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 10, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Tastes Great
  • Non GMO
  • Great Macros
  • TRAACS Electrolytes And Minerals
  • Increased Hydration
  • Quality Ingredients
  • Builds Muscle
  • Mixes Perfectly
  • Better Recovery
  • Not Widely Available
  • May Be Pricey To Some

Quick Summary

VMI's Protolyte is everything you'd want in a whey isolate. It mixes well, is a non-GMO pure isolate, uses cold processing and filtration (i.e. not ion-exchange), tastes great in multiple flavors, lacks artificial dyes, contains a digestive enzyme blend and TRAACS chelate-bonded electrolytes for improved hydration, and doesn't have any fillers. What more could you want? Only the extremely picky among us can find fault with this product.

Introduction

I was in the market for a good fruity whey protein to use in my smoothies (chocolate just doesn't quite cut it)...

Quick Summary

VMI's Protolyte is everything you'd want in a whey isolate. It mixes well, is a non-GMO pure isolate, uses cold processing and filtration (i.e. not ion-exchange), tastes great in multiple flavors, lacks artificial dyes, contains a digestive enzyme blend and TRAACS chelate-bonded electrolytes for improved hydration, and doesn't have any fillers. What more could you want? Only the extremely picky among us can find fault with this product.

Introduction

I was in the market for a good fruity whey protein to use in my smoothies (chocolate just doesn't quite cut it) and I saw VMI's Protolyte pop up on SR TROOPS. Given the satisfaction I have had with other VMI products, I figured this would be a good product to sample. I was 100% right.

Ingredient Profile

10/10
I'm not one for handing out extremely high ratings unless it is especially warranted but the more I look at this profile, the harder it is to not give it high marks. In one 29.6 gram scoop there are 100 calories derived from 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, and about a gram of minerals and electrolytes. There is no sugar nor fat and this is not due to the common but inferior ion-exchange processing. From a pure macro-nutritional view, it does not get much better than this. The next place I would typically go to find fault is coloring, but VMI uses natural food additives for dyes. In the strawberry flavor I received, there is beet root powder added to give it that red/pink color. I have no problem whatsoever with natural dyes - only artificial ones. On that note, the only artificial ingredients here are sweeteners like sucralose and whatever else is included under the term "artificial flavors." Some may want a 100% natural product, and there are products out there for that niche market, but a little artificial sweetener is fine with me considering I have no problem downing a Coke Zero and that's definitely worse. The only other additives are xanthan gum, TRAACS minerals, and digestive enzymes. The latter two ingredients are nice additions to any protein supplement. TRAACS minerals help promote proper hydration and digestive enzymes help users get the most from their protein. Xanthan gum, on the other hand, is a common thickening agent that is likely included here to improve mouthfeel and keep the product gluten-free. I personally don't mind that but I know some purists may. In short, this profile is about as good as it gets unless you're looking to go 100% natural.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I received the strawberry flavor along with sample packets of every other flavor. The strawberry flavor was absolutely delicious and spot on. It wasn't too sweet or artificial. It tasted great on its own with just water (cold and room-temp) as well as in a mixed berry smoothie. The mixability was perfect both on its own in a shaker cup and in a blender as part of a smoothie. I dosed this at 1-2 scoops in smoothies, usually in the morning for breakfast, and at 1 scoop on its own or with creatine post-workout. Furthermore, as a protein supplement, it could be taken whenever you want/need more protein and occasionally I would throw this in a smoothie at night.

Effectiveness

10/10
As a protein supplement, the best way to gauge effectiveness are to evaluate: 1) if it helped me meet my protein requirements for the day 2) caused/exacerbated any digestive issues 3) tasted good enough that meeting #1 wasn't a chore and 4) didn't cause a noticeable regression in recovery when switching from my current protein supplement.

1) Packing only 100 calories but a stellar 24 grams of protein made this easy to fit into my diet. In fact, easy doesn't really do it justice. I would throw a scoop in my morning breakfast smoothie with two servings of mixed frozen berries and find that my breakfast was under 300 calories! Since I'm cutting a bit that was perfect for me. However, even if I was eating a bit more this would be perfect as it would free me up to actually eat (and enjoy) more food to get those extra calories in. Conversely, if I ever found myself approaching my daily caloric limits without meeting my protein goals this was a sure-fire way to fix any ratio imbalances. I could always afford an extra 100 calories, especially when it is basically pure protein.

2) Given that this is an isolate, I didn't expect many issues. Thankfully, I didn't experience any regardless of whether I drank it straight or in a smoothie. I didn't even notice that this had digestive enzymes added until writing this review but those must have helped too. I never felt stomach discomfort nor did I get any cramps. Also, it is worth noting that I didn't get much protein related gas, if any at all. Solid digestion.

3) As I mentioned in the section above, this tasted great in every way I tried it so drinking it to meet my protein goals was more of a luxury than a chore.

4) I had been using MyProtein's chocolate brownie flavored whey (I still have a few pounds to go through) and I was experiencing average recovery (i.e. what one would expect from meeting protein requirements). When I started using Protolyte, I didn't notice a difference at all. In fact, my recovery improved, but I also started taking a host of different supplements that likely contributed more to that than a mere change in protein powder. Still, as long as recovery didn't regress, I consider it a good protein.

Value

8/10
Value is perhaps the only place where Protolyte falls a bit short. VMI just released a 70 serving container, but only a few flavors come in this larger size and strawberry unfortunately is not one of them. VMI sells a 30 serving container for $49.99 which also retails for $39.99 on Amazon Prime (AllStar Health has it for $34.99 but also charges $5.95 for S&H so Amazon is cheaper in the end). That factors out to $1.67/serving and $1.33/serving from VMI and Amazon respectively. The 70 serving container is only found directly from VMI at the moment and retails for $89.99 which factors out to $1.29/serving. Now, given that this is a pure isolate with an impressively clean profile and proper processing, this is not a terrible price. It will be even better if/when retailers stock the 70 serving containers if the $10 discount trend present amongst the 30 serving containers continues with the larger serving containers. It is also worth noting that VMI offers a 20% military discount and has included 20% off coupon codes in my TROOPS boxes so they may also do that for direct orders, making all further orders 20% cheaper but since that's not a certain thing I can't in fairness consider that in the rating. Additionally, there are approximately 4 retailers aside from VMI stocking Protolyte in select flavors at the moment. I would like to see this in stock at many more retailers and a slightly better price point. It is an isolate, and a good one at that, so I would expect to pay over $1/serving but it is a little high at the moment. For reference, I consider a 10/10 value to be a $1/serving price point (even if its a larger, bulk container like the 70 serving one) with widespread availability. At $1.33/serving from a reliable retailer like Amazon, this is somewhere around a 9/10 in absolute value but the limited availability drops it down a point.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking VMI's Protolyte.

Conclusion

9.3/10
I get a 9.3/10 rating from averaging the Ingredient Profile, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, Effectiveness, and Value ratings since I feel that all of these sections are important in a protein powder (especially taste and mixability). This gave a 9.5/10 rating which I then reduced by .25 to 9.25 to account for extra weight that I feel value holds in selecting a protein powder. I then rounded up by .05 to 9.3 to account for the amazing taste. I think a 9.25/10 rating is an apt numerical representation of this product; it is almost perfect but it needs a little work (in value and availability) to truly be the best. I would highly recommend anyone looking for a new clean protein give this a try - in fact I have already recommended this to one of my best friends.



Overall
Overall
7.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
7.0
Value
Value
7.5
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Ronnie Coleman Signature Series for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 7, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Good Taste
  • Convenient
  • A Little Pricey
  • Limited Availability
  • Proprietary Blend
  • Ineffective At One Serving

Quick Summary

RCSS' Stacked N.O. Pump Shot is a unique entry into the pre-workout category that deserves recognition for its innovation and decent delivery. As with any innovative product, however, there is a little work to be done. That being said, it is certainly worth trying out.

Introduction

I saw the RCSS Pump Shot come across TROOPS and claimed it because I thought it was both incredibly convenient and unique. Plus, I have tried Stacked N.O. powder and capsules before and wanted to see how the liquid suspension form compared.

Ingredient Profile

6.5/10
Each ...

Quick Summary

RCSS' Stacked N.O. Pump Shot is a unique entry into the pre-workout category that deserves recognition for its innovation and decent delivery. As with any innovative product, however, there is a little work to be done. That being said, it is certainly worth trying out.

Introduction

I saw the RCSS Pump Shot come across TROOPS and claimed it because I thought it was both incredibly convenient and unique. Plus, I have tried Stacked N.O. powder and capsules before and wanted to see how the liquid suspension form compared.

Ingredient Profile

6.5/10
Each bottle contains 32 servings of 5 grams of a "Stacked NO Pump Shot Blend." In this proprietary blend is HydroGlycerine, Taurine, L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, HICA, and Glycerlphosphorylcholine. I don't really care for the inclusion of L-Arginine and HICA. I also wish these ingredients weren't hidden in a blend because many of them are very dose dependent and at 5 grams, at least some of these are undoubtedly underdosed.

HydroGlycerine [micronized glycerol] is a form of the tried and true pump ingredient glycerol. In short, it increases hydration and intracellular fluid retention resulting in a better pump. It is more commonly found these days in the form of glycerol monostearate (patented at HydroMax) and while the patented form is more concentrated (at least in GMS form), I don't personally mind what form as used as long the creators account for differences in concentration, etc. A typical dose of HydroMax is 1-2 grams.

Taurine is an amino acid that is useful in promoting increased blood flow. An efficacious dose range is 500mg-2 grams. I typically like at least 1 gram.

L-Arginine is a free form amino acid that purportedly helps with nitric oxide production. A typical pre-workout dose is 3-8 grams with some taking up to 18 grams cumulatively throughout the day. However, in the past decade or so many companies have favored using L-Citrulline or Agmatine as they are more effective at smaller doses.

L-Citrulline is a free form amino acid that helps with nitric oxide production. It has shown to be much more effective than its supplement precursor L-Arginine. The efficacious dose range is 6-8 grams.

Agmatine is a derivative of L-Arginine that has cognitive benefits (as well as others) in addition to boosting nitric oxide production. An efficacious dose range is 500mg-1 gram for most people (its an extrapolation based of body weight). I personally find this and L-Citrulline to be equally as effective when properly dosed and both to be more effective than L-Arginine.

HICA is a leucine metabolite that purportedly has anti-catabolic and anabolic properties. The suggested dose is 500mg taken three times daily. It is always a nice addition but since it likely isn't included at 1.5 grams, I'd rather see more useful ingredients - especially those that primarily help with blood flow, intracellular fluid retention, and even endurance (more reps = more pump).

Glycerlphosphorylcholine is basically Alpha-GPC without the "alpha" in the nomenclature and from what I understand, the "alpha" is not always necessarily included to denote Alpha-GPC. Alpha-GPC is a form of choline that promotes cognition, prevents cognitive decline, and has been shown to increase strength output and growth hormone secretion. Depending on the purpose for its supplementation, an efficacious dose ranges from 600mg-1.2 grams. Here, it is likely included to promote cognition and improve strength output.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I received the Unicorn Juice flavor and it was amazing. I can't really put my finger on just what flavor that actually is but is delicious. I would try to describe the flavor more but I'm seriously a bit dumbfounded on this one. The mixability was perfect. As a liquid suspension pre-mixed product, you would expect good mixability but it is still nice to see no settling, clumping, etc. I dosed this at 1 serving (15ml) measured out in the cap for the first few times. I eventually upped it to a full cap, which was about 2 servings. I downed the shot anywhere from 5-15 minutes before my workout.

Effectiveness

7/10
At one serving I had a pretty lukewarm experience. It was very much a hit or miss on whether I could get and keep a good pump on most days. On the days that I felt a difference, it wasn't anything to write home about. I only noticed a definite improvement whenever I did arm work. Yet, even then it wasn't anything too impressive - the pump merely came a bit quicker and stayed a little longer. At two servings things changed for the better. I noticed a definite improvement regardless of whether I was training arms or legs. The pumps not only came on quicker and stayed longer, but they felt a bit stronger. In other words, I felt like I had more of a pump than on days when I did not take anything. I used another pump pre-workout (MTS Vasky) throughout this run and while two servings did not quite compare to 1 scoop of that, it did come pretty close (80% or so). If two servings were as effective as one, then I'd certainly consider using this in the future just for the convenience when I am in a rush. Note: I've tried to account for the difference in effectiveness with the different servings in the rating.

Value

7.5/10
So far I could only find this on the RCSS site and TigerFitness and it retails for $19.99 and $21.99 plus shipping and handling respectively for 32 servings. The S&H at RCSS $5.99, bringing the total for a sole purchase to $25.98. That's not a terrible price - you're paying $0.625 a serving. At two servings, it is $1.25. For comparison, Vasky runs $19.99 with a similar S&H cost for 30 servings - or about $0.67 a serving. From an effectiveness standpoint, it is a bit of a better deal since I needed to double the pump shot servings but on a serving-to-serving comparison it is competitively priced. I would also note that the convenience of having a liquid-suspension product is something that is worth a little extra dough. If I was pressed to give a dollar amount, I would say $0.25 extra per serving is a fair price for the added convenience. To be fair to RCSS, if you did the reverse math on that - it would make a relative price per two servings of $0.75, which is only a few pennies more than a product like Vasky. Note: I've tried to reach a middle-ground between the actual and relative prices with my rating.

Side Effects

10/10
I didn't experience any side effects while taking RCSS Stacked N.O. Pump Shot.

Conclusion

7/10
I came to my final rating after averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections which gave a 7.0/10. I kept this rating because I felt it was pretty accurate in describing my overall feelings and experiences. In short, this is a unique, one-of-a-kind product, that has a lot of potential but is currently just ok in its current form. I'd suggest revamping the ingredients to purely focused on pump - a simple 3-4 ingredient profile would suffice and probably be better. Still, the convenience factor of this makes it worth a shot (technically two).


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Flex Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  June 1, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • More EPA Than DHA
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • High-Concentration Of Omega-3s
  • A Little Pricey
  • No Coating

Quick Summary

Flex-O-Mega is a solid high concentration fish oil competitor. Packing a solid 700mg of Omega-3 fatty acids (400:300 EPA:DHA ratio), it actually just edges out some similar products from well established brands like NOW that contain a more common 360:240 EPA:DHA ratio (600mg). However, there are a few competitors out there that add a little extra, whether it be Vitamin D or enteric/flavored coatings, and as a result they just edge out Flex-O-Mega but it is still a competitive product I would highly recommend.

Introduction

I have been trying to take my supplem...

Quick Summary

Flex-O-Mega is a solid high concentration fish oil competitor. Packing a solid 700mg of Omega-3 fatty acids (400:300 EPA:DHA ratio), it actually just edges out some similar products from well established brands like NOW that contain a more common 360:240 EPA:DHA ratio (600mg). However, there are a few competitors out there that add a little extra, whether it be Vitamin D or enteric/flavored coatings, and as a result they just edge out Flex-O-Mega but it is still a competitive product I would highly recommend.

Introduction

I have been trying to take my supplementation a bit more seriously and part of that has been staying consistent with a high-concentration fish oil. I typically use fish oil for its neuro and cardio-protective benefits but after starting arimistane, it became even more important for joint health. Flex-O-Mega looked to be just the right product at the right time for me so I was all too happy to pull the trigger on the claiming it.

Ingredient Profile

9.0/10
Flex-O-Mega is a rather simplistic fish oil formula, as it should be. Each softgel contains 1 gram of fish oil, of which there are 700mg of Omega-3 fatty acids at a 4:3 EPA:DHA ratio. This is a better concentration than most competitors. It is more common to see a 3:2 EPA:DHA ratio (360mg:240mg) per softgel so you're getting an extra 100mg of Omega-3s here. That's not much but it adds up if you take 3+ softgels a day.

Personally, I like to see a high dosage of both of these fatty acids as they both have a myriad of benefits. I'm not well-versed enough in the benefits of each to nail down some golden ratio so instead I subscribe to the "more is better" philosophy in regards to both; Flex-O-Mega's 700mg fits with this philosophy perfectly. Some products standardize for higher EPA concentrations to help more with inflammation and others have more DHA to emphasize neuro-protective benefits. Please note that this is a very simplistic and rudimentary summary of the difference in EPA and DHA as each fatty acid has many more, often overlapping, benefits. That being said, a product with "flex" in the name should have a greater EPA concentration, and Flex-O-Mega passes that basic test with 100mg EPA than DHA.

The only downside to this profile is the lack of some sort of enteric or flavored coating. In laymen's terms that means there will be fishy burps when taken without food. I recently discovered that Vitacost uses a "natural strawberry flavor" coating on their Synergy Mega EFA and while that's certainly a nice addition, it seems to be rather rare whereas enteric coatings are more common. A similar flavored coating would give Flex-O-Mega the perfect profile in my mind but even an enteric coating would boost it to 10/10.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
There was no taste nor aftertaste this product. Mixability is inapplicable as a softgel so I will substitute for ease-of-taking. Being skinny medium-sized softgels, these were easy and pain-free to take. I dosed this at 3-4 capsules a day split between two meals, one of which was always lunch. I never experienced fishy burps but I also attribute that to this dosing schedule.

Effectiveness

9.0/10
This is a bit tricky for me to rate. I felt about the same as I had when I was taking 2 softgels of Vitacost's Syngergy Mega EFA, which has a lower EPA:DHA ratio and overall Omega-3 concentration. Many of the benefits to taking Omega-3s are not something immediately felt nor something of which you can be aware. Basic science and logic tells me that more Omega-3s means more of these benefits, even if I couldn't consciously feel the difference. Being one of the highest concentrated fish oils (per softgel) that I have seen on the market, this scores high marks in this regard from me. The one thing you can notice (and I did), however, is joint relief. This really became noticeable after starting arimistane.

Before taking arimistane, I noticed a slight improvement in my joint health (i.e. reduction in joint discomfort) from a few weeks of Flex-O-Mega but nothing to write home about. Yet, once the arimistane kicked in, my joints felt like they were going to snap in half just from walking. Although I didn't run Flex-O-Mega during my entire arimistane run (I'm still at it), I noticed that as soon as I finished it and tried to revert back to Synergy Mega EFA, my joint pain got even worse. Granted, some of that was because arimistane takes time to kick into full gear. While I probably would have upped my dose by 2 caps as the arimistane kicked into full gear, I fully believe that I just didn't need as many softgels to get the job (reducing joint pain) done. In fact, I am currently taking almost twice as many Synergy Mega EFA softgels as I was Flex-O-Mega caps. In short, the higher concentration of Omega-3s (especially EPA) found in Flex-O-Mega means you can take less softgels and still get the well-known benefits of fish oil supplementation.

Value

8.0/10
This is currently only available at Flex Nutrition's site for $22.22 for 120 softgels. That's $0.185 a softgel. In comparison, my current fish oil is from Nutricost and a 240 softgel container can be had for $14.95, which breaks down to $0.062 a softgel. Now Nutricost uses the more common 3:2 EPA:DHA ratio and only has 600mg of Omega-3s per softgel so a slightly fairer comparison would take this into account (even fairer would be a breakdown on the EPA and DHA levels but I think you get the point). Thankfully, I can do some basic math. Flex-O-Mega gives you 84 grams of Omega-3s per container; that's $0.265 per gram. Nutricost's product gives you 144 grams of Omega-3s per container; that's $0.104 per gram. In other words, Flex-O-Mega is about 15 cents more per gram of Omega-3s than the best priced fish oil product I've yet to find. That's very impressive, especially considering they are not using the "bulk, no-frills products" business model that Nutricost does. That being said, competitors like NOW's Super EPA offer 120 softgels for $15, albeit at the 3:2 ratio. Similarly Vitacost one-ups NOW with a 240 softgel container (with strawberry flavoring) for $22. In my mind, Nutricost's competing product would be a 10/10 for value and these better priced competitors fill in the space between 8.0-10.0. In other words, Flex-O-Mega is fairly priced, but your wallet is probably better off just taking another softgel or two of a competitor.

Side Effects

10/10
I didn't experience any side effects while taking Flex-O-Mega. I notably did not experience fishy burps but I suspect that I would have had I taken it without food.

Conclusion

8.5/10
I get an 8.5/10 by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections which gives a 8.67 and then rounding down to account for the greater weight of the volume section. I believe that value matters a bit more with products like fish oil as opposed to things like pre-workout. Put simply, all fish oil should work the same so its more about 1) taking less softgels to get the same effects and 2) getting the most for your money. While, Flex-O-Mega may be the best in the first category, it has some work to do in the second. Still, Flex-O-Mega is a great product and it is priced fairly enough that it is at least worth a try.



Overall
Overall
9.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
9.0
Value
Value
8.5
  May 6, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Widely Available
  • Good Value
  • Increased Energy
  • Improved Well-Being
  • Diverse Profile
  • Fills Nutritional Gaps
  • Organic Ingredients
  • Tastes Good
  • Multiple Packaging Options
  • Not Transparently Dosed

Quick Summary

Amazing Grass's Berry Superfood powder is everything I look for in a superfood/greens powder. It is includes enough organic superfoods, pre/probiotics, and digestive enzymes to make up for nutritional deficits and does so without tasting so bad as to make its use a chore. Moreover, it is priced reasonably and widely available in two forms.

Introduction

A few months ago I realized I needed to get my nutrition and supplementation back on track. Some quick reflection pointed out that I just don't get enough veggies in my diet so I should supplement with some sor...

Quick Summary

Amazing Grass's Berry Superfood powder is everything I look for in a superfood/greens powder. It is includes enough organic superfoods, pre/probiotics, and digestive enzymes to make up for nutritional deficits and does so without tasting so bad as to make its use a chore. Moreover, it is priced reasonably and widely available in two forms.

Introduction

A few months ago I realized I needed to get my nutrition and supplementation back on track. Some quick reflection pointed out that I just don't get enough veggies in my diet so I should supplement with some sort of powder. After looking at the main contenders on the market, I settled with Amazing Grass because they are largely organic, well known, widely available, and have multiple variants.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
I'll preface this section by saying that I don't know nearly enough about different "superfoods" or greens to masquerade as any authoritative voice on the subject, nor do I know enough to know who to quote and cite. For example, when doing my initial research, I saw consumers warn about Spirulina sourcing and advocate for particular blends that called for some greens and not others. I was completely confused and out of my element. Since I don't know much (other than that the Spirulina concern was apparently regarding irradiated Spirulina sourced from China) I look for diverse blends of many different kinds of greens and "superfoods" so as to ensure I cover my bases. Also, I'm sure that some of these blends may not be dosed high enough to provide every benefit ever found from their supplementation, but this sort of supplement is meant more to cover deficiencies than provide all of those benefits - that is what dedicated single ingredient products are for.

The largest part of the 8 gram dose is a 5.5 gram "Amazing Grass Green Food Blend." This includes, in order, organic: Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa, Spinach, Spirulina, Chlorella (cracked-cell wall), Broccoli. I don't know the individual benefits of each of these greens, but I know I don't consume nearly enough of even one of them. Furthermore, a blend including some more "niche" greens like Spirulina, Barley Grass, and Alfalfa is helpful because I can't name a single meal I have ever eaten with Spirulina in it. Additionally, I like that some more common greens like Broccoli and Spinach are included since I am more familiar with their benefits as whole foods and still don't consume as much as I would like.

The second largest blend is a 994mg "Amazing Grass Antioxidant Blend." This includes, in order, organic: Rose Hips, Pineapple, Carrot, Acerola Cherry Extract (not organic), Green Tea Extract (not organic), Acai, Beet, Raspberry (not organic), Goji, Maca. Again, I'm not very well versed as to each individual ingredient's benefits but I know green tea has a host of benefits from anti-cancer properties to cardio-protective ones. Additionally, Maca is great for natural energy and libido. Most importantly, all of these ingredients are antioxidants and just as I don't eat enough greens, I don't enough fruit, so I'm lacking antioxidants on both sides. Hence, I like that this blend is mostly made up of different fruits to compliment the greens in the product. Also note that the different berries are what provide the Berry flavor to this product and are not present in some other Amazing Grass Superfood variants. I liked the berries for its contributions to both flavor and the micronutrient profile.

The third and most simple blend is the "EFA Fiber Blend" dosed at 636mg. It includes organic Flax Seed and Apple Pectin. Both are good sources of fiber (of which there is 2 grams per scoop). Additionally, these two ingredients are reported to many other health benefits from anti-cancer properties to lowering cholesterol.

The final blend is the "Digestive Enzyme & Active Culture Pre/Probiotic Blend" dosed at 407mg. This includes: F.O.S. (Fructouligosaccharide from Chicory Root) and Probiotic Enzyme Blend (Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Protease, Amylase, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase). Again, I don't know much about these ingredients but the enzymes in particular are a familiar and welcomed sight. In short, lactase helps with lactose digestion, amylase with starch digestion, protease with protein digestion, cellulase with cellulose digestion, and lipase with lipid digestion. I like that an enzyme to help digestion of each macronutrient is included and that there is some probiotic component with Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
The most important factor in this category for greens supplements is probably taste. It is no news to anyone who has ever had a greens supplement that they can taste downright terrible. In fact, I had tried another Amazing Grass Superfood variant, the Detox and Digest, and it was unpleasant to drink. That lead me to look for something flavored. The Berry Flavor here is faint but noticeable. It is just enough to mask the greens taste. I liked it better with cold water but even with warm water it wasn't bad. Also, mixing this in a smoothie won't overshadow the fruity taste but it will turn your shake a shade of green.

Mixability was about as good as you could expect with a superfood powder. It mixed pretty well with a few shakes but there was always a little residue left over. Another ounce of water and some shakes took care of most of that.

I usually dosed this at one scoop a day, often after work with just water. If I was making a protein smoothie then I'd throw this in the mix as well. Adding this into an extensive supplementation regimen meant that sometimes I'd miss a day or two but I was consistent as I could be. Additionally, I tried a related product, the Amazing Grass Superfood Berry Effervescent Tablets when I traveled to compensate. While technically another product and therefore deserving of its own review (it did taste better), I mention it to illustrate the continuity of consumption.

Effectiveness

9/10
Judging the effectiveness of greens or "superfood" powders can be difficult. That being said, I'll be judging the effectiveness of this product based on two criteria: feeling/wellbeing and closing nutritional gaps. In other words, did I feel any different and did this product help fill the nutritional voids I had.

In all honesty, I didn't notice much after a week or two of continual use. I told myself I was healthier but I couldn't tell it. However, around week 3 and from there on, I felt a slight natural energy boost throughout the day. This was nothing huge; it paled in comparison to a cup of coffee. The best way that I can put it is that I just felt all-around better. Life just didn't feel like as much of a drag. It was a very subtle but noticeable feeling. I also noticed that my digestion seemed a little better. Meals didn't seem to "sit" as long in my stomach as before and I was a bit more "regular" than before. Again, this was pretty subtle but looking back I can notice a clear difference, however small. Altogether, I felt like an optimized version of myself.

As far as closing nutritional voids I had, this product certainly excelled in that area. Although I have made some serious improvements in my diet now, at the time I began using this I was mostly eating protein and starch. I would have maybe a piece of fruit or two at work during the week and I would have greens if I ate out which wasn't anymore often. In short, my diet and nutrition had suffered in an effort to be frugal and I had clear deficiencies that needed to be addressed. This not only addressed my pitiful intake of greens but also of fruits, pre/probiotics, and fiber. Is it perfect in every regard? Does it compensate for every shortcoming in my diet? No. But, I don't think I could have reasonably asked for much more. Even with an improved diet now, I still regularly take this because I feel that it is a solid "insurance policy" that ensures no nutritional gap becomes too large.

Value

8.5/10
I found this for $35.92 for 100 servings on Amazon. That was a main factor in helping me decide to pull the trigger. Now, clearly that was a rare deal. Currently it sits at $52.99 for 100 servings on Amazon but the price is constantly fluctuating within a few dollars. It is also available in 60 serving containers for $31.49 and 30 serving containers for $21.00. There are even single serving packets listed at $17.05 for a 15 count box and effervescent tablets listed at $37.99 for 60 tablets. You can also get it at Whole Foods, where I know it goes on sale every so often in 30 serving containers (some have gift boxes with shakers in them for a similar price I believe). Whole Foods likely has single serving packets for a dollar or two and individual tablet tubes (each tube holes 10 and is about $6) as well. Clearly, there are a host of options at a price point for nearly everyone. An added benefit of the Amazon/Whole Foods connection is that you can visit the closest Whole Foods and get this nearly anywhere in the country if you're on the go.

The price per serving breakdown for each container is as follows: $0.5299, $0.525, $0.70, $1.14, and $0.633. Considering a 60 serving container isn't too much, I feel that it is fair to use this as the primary value. It is not only the cheapest of the two options that approach a $0.50 price per serving, it is also the overall cheapest option in that regard. At nearly $0.50 a day, this is a cheap "insurance policy." If you ever find it dip below a $0.50 price per serving, like the stellar $0.3592 that I found, then I would pull the trigger without a second thought. Given the solid value and widespread availability, there is really no reason to try this out or even make it a staple.

Side Effects

N/A
I experienced no side effects while taking this product.

Conclusion

9/10
I was extremely impressed by this product. It helped me improve my nutrition and well-being. As someone with little knowledge about all the different superfoods, greens, pre/probiotics, etc., I found it comprehensive yet simple enough to understand. I've made it a staple in my supplementation and I'd highly recommend that anyone looking for a greens or superfood product give this a try. You just might make it a staple too.

From a math standpoint, I got to a 9/10 rating by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, Effectiveness, and Value sections which gives a 8.875 and then rounding up to 9. I believe the taste and the multiple container sizes/options and availability are especially worth noting and deserve added recognition that justifies that small boost.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  May 4, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Good Value
  • Tasty
  • Enhanced Focus
  • Increased Alertness
  • Cognitive Boost
  • Did Not Help With Fat-Burning

Quick Summary

VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 is a surprisingly good nootropic. It is tasty, easy to use, and provides a moderate boost in cognitive function - namely alertness and focus. Although it might lack fat burning capabilities, it definitely deserves recognition and rotation into your nootropic stack.

Introduction

I picked up VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 from TROOPS because while I have tried L-Carnitine supplements in the past, I never seriously tracked my progress enough to see if they helped in my fat loss journey. I don't have many pounds to shed at the moment, but I am tryin...

Quick Summary

VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 is a surprisingly good nootropic. It is tasty, easy to use, and provides a moderate boost in cognitive function - namely alertness and focus. Although it might lack fat burning capabilities, it definitely deserves recognition and rotation into your nootropic stack.

Introduction

I picked up VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 from TROOPS because while I have tried L-Carnitine supplements in the past, I never seriously tracked my progress enough to see if they helped in my fat loss journey. I don't have many pounds to shed at the moment, but I am trying to cut a stubborn 5 pounds for the summer and I wanted to see if this would help.

Ingredient Profile

8.75/10
L-Carnitine 3000 is about as straightforward and simple as a profile can get. There is 3000mg or 3 grams of L-Carnitine in 3 forms. 1.5 grams of L-Carnitine, 750mg of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, and 750mg of Acetyl L-Carnitine. Now, L-Carnitine has long been promoted as a fat loss supplement and us biochem/science junkies (at least when it comes to supplements) have long pushed back that it only helps if you're deficient in L-Carnitine. That being said, you never really know until you try it - and track your results. Also, from what I could tell there were no dyes present, which isn't exactly common in this category of supplements but still it is worth noting.

L-Carnitine, in the general form, is typically used to aid fat-burning. The basic theory in a nutshell behind this is that L-Carnitine consumption promotes the use of fatty acids as energy sources by mitochondria. The idea is that by increasing the use of fatty acids as energy, and hence the "burning" of fatty acids, one can burn a little more fat than usual. 1.5 grams is a solid dose as common dosing schedules fall within the range of 500mg-2000mg.

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate is a form of L-Carnitine that is surprisingly good at increasing one's density of androgen receptors which helps amplify the effects of testosterone. Additionally, it has shown some promise in raising post-exercise GH levels. However, these results were typically experienced at a daily dose of 2 grams. Given that there is only 750mg in this supplement, I'm not sure how effective it would be in producing these kinds of results - which may be hard to discern aside from medical tests. I would have liked to see the general form of L-Carnitine dosed lower and this form dosed at at least 1 gram.

Acetyl L-Carnitine is a form of L-Carnitine that helps reduce mental fatigue, boost cognitive function, increase focus, and retard the effects of aging related neurocognitive diseases like Alzheimers. These results were most often experienced in the 1-2g dosing range so it is slightly underdosed in this supplement but not so much that you wouldn't notice a benefit. Like with L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, I would have liked to see the general form of L-Carnitine dosed lower and this form dosed at at least 1 gram.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I received the Patriot Pop flavor and it was delicious. should really add that flavor to their aminos because I could drink it all day. That being said, I did not. I dosed this at 15ml and usually took it first thing upon waking up in the morning on an empty stomach. If for whatever reason I forgot (overslept/in a rush) or woke up really late then I would take it on an empty stomach before hitting the gym. I will note that I measured this dose out the first few times and then eyeballed it in the cap afterwards. So, I may have had a little over 1 serving at times but not by much. Mixability was perfect. There was no grit or residue, not that any was expected. Importantly, though, there wasn't any odd mouthfeel which could indicate an odd mixability. All around high marks in these areas.

Effectiveness

8/10
Seeing as I was trying to cut these stubborn last pounds around my lower abdomen, I was hoping to get some increased fat burning capacity from L-Carnitine supplementation. I'm currently running a really simple fat loss stack: EC with the A once or twice a week to help with blood pressure. I had been running this for about a month or so before supplementing with L-Carnitine 3000 so I knew what to expect. Moreover, I had for the most part dialed down my diet and gym routine to levels I am comfortable with for about 2-3 weeks before supplementing with L-Carnitine. Hence, I had a good baseline to notice progress in regards to fat-loss. Unfortunately, I can say that I didn't notice any extra "oomph." I didn't break through the annoying plateau I've hit and I didn't shed an extra pound. Of course, there could always be extraneous factors but I would have expected this addition (L-Carnitine supplementation) to have resulted in a least a little something extra considering everything else remained relatively constant.

So why is this an 8/10 if I didn't see any boost in fat loss? In two words: nootropic effects. More specifically, I noticed enhanced alertness and focus after taking my L-Carnitine dose, even if it was in the afternoon. It was surprisingly strong and added in a synergistic way to my regular EC doses. I felt more naturally alert. I liken it to "waking up" (once actually being awake) being condensed from an hour to 15 minutes. If it was an afternoon dose, then it was like that "afternoon slump" disappeared within 15 minutes. Additionally, I experienced enhanced focus for about an hour or two. I felt clear-headed and able to concentrate on just about anything, even if it was an early morning. This was a nice bonus if I hitting the gym soon because I was able to "get in the zone" easier and stay there for the entire workout. There's no doubt in my mind that that helped contribute to a week of PRs late last month. In short, I would have thought I had taken a nootropic. I attribute these effects largely to the Acetyl L-Carnitine given that it is reported to have these kinds of effects. While I certainly wasn't expecting these kind of results, and was actually hoping for more fat-burning effects, I was pleasantly surprised to the extent that I'll probably purchase this on my own in the future for the nootropic effects alone.

Value

8.5/10
I found this for $19.95 at A1 Supplements and $19.99 at Campus Protein. That's about $0.65 a serving. There are plenty of competitors with liquid L-Carnitines, I could not find any near this range that used a similar blend. In fact, the ones that I looked at just listed "L-Carnitine" as the sole or main ingredient. I'll take a popular competitor with a 3,000mg L-Carnitine serving (many competitors have 1,500mg servings so it isn't as direct of a comparison) to compare.

RCSS has L-Carnitine XS 3000 which has 31/32 servings of L-Carnitine (only the general form) and Pantothenic Acid dosed at 3,000mg and 10mg respectively. I found it at Muscle and Strength for $15.99 which factors out to $0.50 a serving. That's a little less than VMI's L-Carnitine 3,000 and some labels show an extra serving as well but note the lack of LCLT and ALCAR. Thus, I believe VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 is actually a pretty decent value when compared to competitors. I think the value could be even greater if the ratio of L-Carnitine forms was changed a slight bit but even now its good. Now, I'm sure L-Carnitine powder or capsules, in any form, will be cheaper than a suspended liquid form but that will hold true for every product in this category.

Side Effects

N/A
I didn't experience any side effects while taking L-Carnitine 3000.

Conclusion

8.5/10
In short, VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 is a tasty liquid L-Carnitine supplement that didn't live up to fat-burning claims but did produce nootropic effects. I get to an 8.5/10 by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections which produces a 8.42 and then I rounded up to 8.5 to take into consideration the amazing flavor (seriously it was that good). I wouldn't recommend this for fat-burning but I strongly recommend you check this out if you're looking to start with a mild nootropic or add something to your existing nootropic stack.



Overall
Overall
8.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
8.0
Value
Value
9.0
  April 20, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Great Taste
  • Good Value
  • Convenient
  • Very Chewy
  • Very Little Fiber

Quick Summary

A decent protein bar that isn't as good as some competitors, but the stellar price-point negates the relatively small differences between most competitors.

Introduction

I saw these listed on a PricePlow deals alert email at a price that was an absolute steal. Having just missed out on a similar deal for some muscle milk RTDs, I jumped on these immediately after checking the macros to ensure I wouldn't miss out on yet another good deal. It seems like everyone is throwing up a review of these, so while I am still 3.5 boxes deep into a 6 box order I thought I'd...

Quick Summary

A decent protein bar that isn't as good as some competitors, but the stellar price-point negates the relatively small differences between most competitors.

Introduction

I saw these listed on a PricePlow deals alert email at a price that was an absolute steal. Having just missed out on a similar deal for some muscle milk RTDs, I jumped on these immediately after checking the macros to ensure I wouldn't miss out on yet another good deal. It seems like everyone is throwing up a review of these, so while I am still 3.5 boxes deep into a 6 box order I thought I'd share my thoughts too.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
The ingredient profiles stay the same across bars with some variation in cholesterol and sodium (approximately double the amount) among flavors as Bzyczek pointed out. Apart from that, the macros look decent: 220 calories in the form of 10g of fat (5g saturated; 3g monounsaturated; 2g polyunsaturated), 17g of carbs (1g dietary fiber, 6g of sugar), and 20g of protein. The sodium and cholesterol content ranges from 210-400mg and 20-55mg per bar respectively.
,
While I don't see much wrong with this profile, there are some things I would change. I would like to see at least 3g of fiber (half of sugar content) in these bars but it is not a deal breaker for me by any means. Additionally, I would take the fat down a little if I was making the ideal bar but I don't mind the 10g. I don't mind the sugar content at all because I find 6g to be a rather small amount to ingest to make your bar palatable. Plus, there is something to be said for using sugar over an abundance of artificial sweeteners. While there is still some artificial sweetener in here, it compliments the sugar content well and the bar doesn't taste artificial. Of course, I'd like for natural sweeteners like truvia, stevia, or monkfruit to compliment sugar but it is not a huge deal for me. After all, I have no problem downing a Coke Zero with a meal.

There are a lot of different fillers that reasonably change depending on the flavors. Some have corn cereal (confetti cake crunch) and some have tapioca starch and rice flower (ice cream cookie crunch). Thus, on a micro-nutrient level these bars are certainly not the cleanest option on the market. That's ok. They aren't trying to be or passing themselves off as such. They are clearly highly processed high protein foodstuffs but they are better than grabbing a Snickers, Milky Way, or Kit-Kat. That's how I look at it. If you're looking for a whole-food or more natural bar then look elsewhere but sometimes you just want an indulgence and I'd look no further than here for that.

My biggest problem with these bars is the protein source. While almost everyone has pointed out that the bars mostly use whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and/or whey protein hydrolysate milk protein isolate (in that order), which is excellent, there is some protein coming from less than optimal sources. Depending on the flavor there is also some protein coming from pea protein isolate and/or soy protein isolate. A little bit of either of these protein sources won't kill you, but it should be noted that they are used. Since the bars are not completely transparent (which is a trend that hasn't quite made it to nutrition panels for foodstuffs quite yet) I can't tell exactly how much of the 20g of protein is coming from those sources. However, in the Cookie Dough Crunch flavor soy protein isolate is listed immediately after a whey blend and then pea protein isolate follows a little after. Similarly, in Confetti Cake Crunch it soy protein isolate follows sugar so it could be about 5g. In the rest of the flavors, pea protein isolate comes about mid-profile so its probably like 1-2g and used for texture. I have no problem with a variety of protein sources, especially because whey can lend itself to terrible texture and diversification can help mitigate that issue. However, it is a bit hypocritical to put competitors on blast for their profiles (IMO use) when their products tastes equally as good and they managed to do it without any pea or soy protein (and sometimes less sugar for that matter). In short, its not a deal breaker but it necessarily prevents a higher rating in this section.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

8/10
Mixability is not applicable as this is a protein bar. Similarly, dosing is not really applicable since the "dosing" schedule is to eat them whenever you're hungry, want a snack, or want more protein in your diet. Personally, I had 1-2 straight out of the wrapper in the mornings as a quick breakfast before getting to work or class and then I'd occasionally have one in the evenings during later classes or longer days at work. Seeing as I'm trying to shed a quick few pounds before it warms up here in the DMV (will it ever?) this worked perfectly for my "dosing" needs.

I bought 3 boxes each of the Peanut Butter Crunch and the Ice Cream Cookie Crunch. I found the Peanut Butter Crunch to be my favorite as I am just in the mood for that kind of flavor more often. Oddly enough, I tend to like the Ice Cream Cookie Crunch flavor in the evenings - probably because I am craving something sweet around then.

The Peanut Butter Crunch flavor tasted like a slightly chewy peanut butter cup. The crunch part of the bar was definitely over-hyped when compared to something like a Nestle Crunch bar or a Combat Crunch bar. The peanuts inside the batter made for a little crunch but nothing too fulfilling in that regard. My biggest complaint was that it produced crumbs like an Honey & Oats Nature Valley Bar. Ok, maybe a little less but you get the point.

The Ice Cream Cookie Crunch flavor didn't really taste like ice cream, cookies, or a combination of the two. I got more brownie with vanilla glaze, or chocolate and vanilla glazed donuts (think the ones with the stripes) vibes. Still, while the flavor didn't match the label in my eyes, it was pretty good. The chocolate was definitely the dominant flavor and I found that after a bite or two I'd need a drink to keep myself from getting overpowered by the chocolate - if you're a chocolate connoisseur then this is definitely for you. I didn't really notice any crunch in this bar. Maybe you can consider the layers compacting under my teeth a "crunch" but I look for more oomph when I read "crunch" on a label. This flavor also produced a lot of crumbs like the Peanut Butter Crunch flavor - probably about equal amounts.

Additionally, as a "soft-baked" bar I was expected some soft, slightly chewy texture that was near cookie like. Maybe I am naive but what I've experienced in both flavors is a hard outer shell with a very chewy filling. The extreme chewiness is much worse with with the Ice Cream Cookie Crunch flavor but it it is still present with the Peanut Butter Crunch flavor. The Ice Cream Cookie Crunch can be, at times, like chewing a gob of peanut butter (ironic, right?) whereas the Peanut Butter Crunch is more akin to chewing two Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies.

Effectiveness

8/10
These bars were great for why I wanted them. I used them as snacks and mini-breakfasts and they always kept me full for a few hours. On average, I'd be content for about 3 hours which is perfect for a snack. As a high-protein foodstuff the effectiveness is best rated in relation to how they helped achieve my nutritional goals. Since I am on a moderate cut, these may not look like the best option but that isn't the case at all.

When I cut calories, I often cut fat without even meaning to as I'm just trying to eat healthier foods in general. The 10g of fat in these bars helped me make sure I wasn't dipping too low in my fat intake. If I was attempting to gain weight, I could see these also being useful but I'd probably limit myself to one given the higher fat content of other foods I'd be eating. The 20g of protein in each bar was most helpful though because I can often fall short of my protein needs if I just eat a quick bagel or waffle in the mornings. Getting a head-start on my protein consumption in the morning is crucial for me. Without these bars I would have, without a doubt, been drinking another protein shake or two before bed when I realized I had macros to fill. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it is annoying to have to do after a long day and I can easily forget so this head-start was extremely helpful to me. In short, this was as effective any other protein bar in that it was easy for me to fit into my macros and meet my daily nutritional goals. Cleaner bars may score a little higher because they could be easier to fit in on tight days but this could easily be worked in most days.

Value

9/10
The value on some of these flavors is just downright unbeatable. The Ice Cream Cookie Crunch was $13.99 for a box of 12 and the Peanut Butter Crunch was $14.99 for a box of 12 on Amazon Prime. That is $1.17 and $1.25 a bar respectively. I pay more for a bag of Lays, and just about the same for a candy bar, at a store in DC. The other flavors have various price-points that are not as good but I'd look for the flavors on sale and try to go with those. At $1.16-1.25 a bar, I can eat (literally) any concerns about protein sourcing, fat content, sugar content, chewiness, etc. This price seriously cannot be beat. I highly recommend trying these bars in the event you like them just for this factor alone.

Side Effects

8/10
About half of the time I ate these in the morning, I would experience a mild laxative effect. I don't mind it too much in the mornings since it kind of fits in with my natural routine anyways but it can certainly be annoying when you're in a rush. I also found it a bit odd that the first bar of the day would have this effect as the label warns about this after "excessive consumption." I would also get this in the evening but it would take longer to kick in - probably since I didn't have a completely empty stomach. Either way, it could be much worse as this wasn't anything like diarrhea just slightly loose.

Conclusion

8/10
I loved these bars. Mostly because the taste wasn't too bad and the drawbacks were manageable - especially at this price point. Without a doubt, if these bars were $25 for 12 then I wouldn't be so kind or lenient but I think for this price you just can't reasonably ask for much more. I came to a 8/10 overall rating since every section except Value scored an 8.0/10. I thought it was a clear indication that the product as a whole is a 8/10. In short, I'd recommend these to anyone looking for a quality high-protein snack/foodstuff.


  April 9, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Outdoorsy Smell
  • Easy Application Schedule
  • Great Sales
  • Enhanced Calm
  • Better Stress Management
  • Leaned Out Significantly
  • Libido Booster
  • Sticky
  • Dropper Applicator
  • Small Health Downturn In Beginning
  • Difficulty Sleeping At Night

Quick Summary

Invictus is a transdermal cortisol blocker that gives noticeable physical and mental results. Expect moderate increases in fat-burning, libido, and a fair reduction in stress. Keep your eyes peeled for one of Iron Legion's amazing sales around holidays and double-tap the trigger.

Introduction

I became aware of Invictus after doing a lot of solo research on alternatives to PEDs that don't affect the HPTA axis. Eventually I stumbled upon Invictus and learned that the main ingredient b-AET can reduce cortisol and help promote fat burning, libido, and optimize tes...

Quick Summary

Invictus is a transdermal cortisol blocker that gives noticeable physical and mental results. Expect moderate increases in fat-burning, libido, and a fair reduction in stress. Keep your eyes peeled for one of Iron Legion's amazing sales around holidays and double-tap the trigger.

Introduction

I became aware of Invictus after doing a lot of solo research on alternatives to PEDs that don't affect the HPTA axis. Eventually I stumbled upon Invictus and learned that the main ingredient b-AET can reduce cortisol and help promote fat burning, libido, and optimize testosterone ratios as a result of reducing cortisol, all while leaving my precious HPTA axis alone. Being beyond stressed out, I decided relatively quickly that I wanted to give this a try to just make the going a bit easier - anything else would be a pleasant surprise. After 3-4 bottles over multiple months, I can say I am more than just pleasantly surprised.

Ingredient Profile

10/10
This is one of the first transdermal products I have used, and the first I have used to completion. Thus, it is also my first crack at reviewing a transdermal profile. Now, previous reviews have broken down all the minutia listed on the bottles but it basically boils down to Iron-Legion's legendary Salvo carrier and 100mg/ml (found this from a rep's comment on another message board) beta-Androstenetriol (b-AET).

Salvo is hailed among transdermal products as being a holy grail of sorts for effectively delivering multiple compounds in a bioavailable form. I came across a lot of homebrewers and even a few companies (ex: AlphaGainz) using Salvo in their own formulations/products. Hence, I trust that Salvo is a relatively safe and effective carrier. Furthermore, I'm glad that Iron Legion is the source of Salvo so its all in-house with Invictus. From what I understand, b-AET is a naturally occurring DHEA metabolite that boosts lymphocyte activity (resulting in a stronger immune system) and suppresses glucocorticoids (i.e. cortisol). Suppressing cortisol starting at normal ranges is not without serious trade-offs, but in high-stress and high-producing individuals some suppression can bring cortisol levels back down to normal ranges. Since high cortisol levels can lead to decreased libido, fat gain, catabolicism, lower testosterone levels, and reduced immune function, a return to normal cortisol levels can potentially undo some or all of these conditions (although this is a return to previous baselines it would feel like an improvement from one's new baseline). Furthermore, unlike AAS (which can also reduce cortisol) b-AET doesn't appear to have any significant impact on the HPTA axis from what I could find.

I found this profile to be as close to perfect as possible. Just a carrier, main ingredient, and some woody essential oils to give off a manly smell. You really couldn't want much more and there isn't really anything to want taken out (unless you don't like the wood scent).

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
As a transdermal, there is obviously no taste - or there shouldn't be - so I will replace this metric with smell. The solution was imbued with some woody essential oils (I noticed cedar notes most prominently). Personally, I really liked the smell and almost wish there were some sprays or colognes with that scent to spray around my apartment. It gives off a "manly man" kind of vibe. If you don't like outdoorsy and woody smells then you probably won't like wearing this.

There isn't really any "mixability" per se as the solution comes pre-mixed and you just have to apply it to your skin with the built-in pipette-cap. I will replace mixability with a more holistic "application" meaning ease of application and properties of the solution (sticky, staining, etc). I found Invictus was extremely easy to apply - just squeeze the top of the lid and draw out 0.5ml. The pipette is clearly marked and its easy to hit 0.5ml. The only difficulty I ever experienced in this regard was towards the last week of each bottle when the solution would be so low that it would take multiple draws from various angles to get what I eyeballed to be 0.5ml. That was a bit of a pain and the measurements weren't as precise as the previous weeks. In terms of solution properties, the solution was a bit thick and a little sticky but not staining. After about 10-15 minutes of airing out the application site I would put a shirt on and notice minimal cling but if I was in a rush and got dressed immediately after applying I noticed my clothes would cling to my skin a bit - sort of like when you get dressed after a shower.

Finally, the dosing, or actual application, for Invictus was extremely easy. You could technically take 1ml (2 0.5ml applications) at any time but it was recommended to apply them in the morning and in the evening to correspond with peak cortisol times. I tried to adhere to this as best as possible by applying Invictus upon waking and after getting home from class and/or work. Occasionally I would even pack it in my bag to apply in the bathroom in between night classes. Over the course of a few bottles I experimented a bit with how late to apply the evening solution and found anything past 8pm made it harder to fall asleep. Therefore, I aimed for anywhere between 4:30-7:30 for my second application. I also experimented with multiple application sites. I typically used my shoulders (alternating shoulders between applications), upper chest, and clavicle region. However, I also tried applying it to my the tops of my feet and forearms. I didn't mind the changes but found the upper-body sites to be the best to easily air out.

Effectiveness

8.75/10
Cortisol blockers are somewhat tricky to review. There are tangible effects to be felt from reducing cortisol production, but like with insulin mimickers and blood sugar, it is hard to be certain unless you're actively measuring it. Since I was not getting blood tests done to track this, I will have to rely on all of the subjective markers.

The first few days I had a great placebo effect where I just felt like a million bucks. I'm sure that at a cellular level Invictus was already working its magic but I really didn't notice it until about a true week of continued use. After a week or so, I began to notice I was somewhat calmer and more at ease during the day. I wasn't on-edge or about to break at any minute due to stress. I felt like I could "breathe" in the metaphorical sense. Perhaps the most sought after result for me was a reduction in cortisol translating to how stressed out I felt so this was what I was looking for all along. This effect became stronger in the continuing weeks, and when I ran two bottles consecutively it was really at its peak around week 6-7. While this was largely what I was expecting, it did have a drawback. In some odd way, being too calm or relaxed late at night made it harder to sleep. I wasn't as tired as I was before when I was feeling stressed out. I was physically tired but not mentally tired enough to sleep like a baby as soon as I made it to my bed. Hence, I felt that I needed to sleep but just couldn't actually doze off. I found my optimal second application to be at about 5:00-6:00pm so I could beat back the exhaustion after a long day, hit the gym hard, and then still fall asleep relatively easy. Once I got through this learning curve (perfected by week 3) this was a non-issue for me.

In addition to feeling less stressed, which I attribute to a reduction in what must have been extremely high cortisol levels (conjecture), I also saw some leaning in my upper body. I didn't see any leaning in my abdomen or love handles beyond what I expect from normal weight-loss though. Given that my primary application sites were my delts, upper chest, and clavicle region, this makes some sense. I saw a few veins in my shoulders that I don't think I've ever seen, or at least haven't in a long time. I also noticed some striations and separation between my delts and shoulders. The only time I think I may have ever seen this was about two years ago and even then I don't think it was as pronounced as now. I would hit chest or shoulders in a tank top and just push through my work out with an endurance that seemingly came out of nowhere because I was feeling myself. In short, Invictus really did wonders for my self-esteem which probably translated to some gains in the gym too. However, I didn't notice much in the way of strength gains. I was using a lot of different supplements that help with strength (like creatine) while using Invictus so while it was possible I can't say for sure that Invictus was directly responsible for any strength gains. Moreover, whenever I added Invictus, I did not experience any noticeable boost in strength beyond what I had expected for that week.

Reducing cortisol can also promote immune system health. Again this is hard to objectively measure without medical testing and such so I'll have to rely on subjective measures. Oddly enough, during the first week or so of using Invictus I experienced a small downturn in my health almost similar to what happens to some people after getting an active vaccine. After that week though I felt fine. I didn't get sick in the slightest. This was during the peak of flu season in the Northeast US and I didn't get a flu shot (only 15% effective anyways though) so I consider that a pretty good sign. As soon as I finished Invictus though, I caught a terrible case of the flu that had me bed-ridden for 2-3 weeks. I can't say that Invictus prevented me from getting the flu or that cessation of use caused me to get the flu but I can say I felt that my odds were better while on Invictus. Additionally, I should note that I never experienced another slight downturn in health after finishing the other bottles of Invictus at later times so I can say with some degree of certainty that catching the flu was not related to that.

Finally, my libido had taken some fatal blows due to what I believe was extremely high cortisol production in response to a lot of stress in my life. By the end of week 1 of using Invictus, I saw a drastic improvement. I was back to my old self and getting into the mood perhaps too often. Even better, my cardio/stamina during sessions was a million times better. The difference was seriously night and day, and it only became more pronounced with continued use. This effect never really seemed to "peak" but when using two bottles consecutively, it maintained intensity after weeks 3-4. This was my second most desired result and Invictus delivered just as I had hoped.

Value

8.5/10
Invictus can be bought from Iron Legion's website for $49.99/30 serving bottle. A few third party retailers have it for around $40-45/bottle. That price alone is not bad considering how effective and unique this is. However, Iron Legion regularly runs amazing sales around the holidays that make this an unbeatable value. For example, Halloween (Hallolean) saw a 40% off sale, Thanksgiving was 45% off sale, News Years was 50% off, and St Patty's was 35% off. So it varies but it is pretty consistent. I purchased this during the Halloween sale for $30/bottle which at $1 per serving/day is pretty good in my opinion. If you can snag this during one of the 45-50% off sales you can get the price down to below $1 per serving/day ($27.50-$25.00/bottle) and that is a downright steal for something so unique and effective. I would typically lean towards putting more emphasis on the actual listed price instead of sale prices but the consistency of Iron Legion sales for even relatively minor holidays is just too great not to take it into consideration. Thus, while the $1.67 per serving/day is not a bad deal (probably about a 7.5/10) the more common price point for this effectively $1 per serving/day and that is a deal worth pulling the trigger every day of the week.

On a side note, I once played an order at Iron Legion for some of their products and one of the bottles was missing from my order. Given that their products are often out of stock I figured that my missing bottle was just a few days behind schedule. Well, life happened and a few weeks later I reached out to their sales department about the missing bottle. Rob at Iron Legion expedited me the missing product and promised me a free shirt on the next order. I find that to be absolutely solid customer service, especially since I had waited to so long to email them about the problem. In short, I definitely suggest going through Iron Legion directly to get Invictus and their other products.

Side Effects

8.5/10
Side effects were minimal with Invictus. I did notice some muscle spasms in my head (Drs said it was related to the optic nerve) that I initially thought were related but I no longer think that to be the case as they disappeared after awhile (not entirely certain either way though). I also noticed that applying an evening dose of Invictus past 8pm made it very difficult for me to fall asleep before midnight. Now, I'm not deducting any points for that because it is completely avoidable. Other than that, I also saw a small downturn in health (usually a sudden runny nose, etc.) for the first week of use.

Conclusion

8.6/10
I came to an 8.6/10 rating after averaging Effectiveness, Value, and Side Effects. I find it to be the best average because I don't really know enough about the ingredient profile to justifiably include that and I don't think the application schedule or smell is as important as the other categories. In short, I think Invictus is a stellar and extremely unique product that helps tremendously with stress management and promotes leaning and immune health as secondary effects. Plus, the company appears to have great customer service from my interactions with them. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new and innovative approach to stress management. I would wait for it to go on sale though.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Olympus Labs for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  March 28, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Good Recovery
  • Aids In Gains
  • Good Hydration
  • Taste Good
  • Reduces DOMS And Muscle Fatigue
  • Better Endurance
  • More Hydrated
  • Mixes Well

    Introduction

    I'd like to apologize to Olympus Labs for taking so long to get this review out. I've heard great things about the company so when I saw some of their stuff pop up on TROOPS I wanted to try whatever I could grab. I can always use a good BCAA supplement so I grabbed Endure. I was expecting good things and was not let down.

    Ingredient Profile

    8.5/10
    First and foremost in a BCAA product are the BCAAs. In Endure there are 7.5 grams of BCAAs dosed at a 4:1:1 ratio. While I personally prefer a 2:1:1 ratio, I don't have any serious qualms with a 4:1:1. 7.5 grams is ...

    Introduction

    I'd like to apologize to Olympus Labs for taking so long to get this review out. I've heard great things about the company so when I saw some of their stuff pop up on TROOPS I wanted to try whatever I could grab. I can always use a good BCAA supplement so I grabbed Endure. I was expecting good things and was not let down.

    Ingredient Profile

    8.5/10
    First and foremost in a BCAA product are the BCAAs. In Endure there are 7.5 grams of BCAAs dosed at a 4:1:1 ratio. While I personally prefer a 2:1:1 ratio, I don't have any serious qualms with a 4:1:1. 7.5 grams is 1.5x the typical dose of 5 grams that a lot of BCAAs supplements out there use. I'm always pleased by anything that goes above and beyond the average. Next up is 2 grams of Velositol. This is a patented blend of waxy maize starch and chromium histidinate and picolinate. The 2 grams in Endure supplies 2 grams of waxy maize starch and 1,000mcg of chromium. Velositol is marketed as increasing muscle protein synthesis and increasing insulinogenic function and thereby increasing amino acid uptake. Personally, I find those claims hard to believe since chromium doesn't seem to really do much in terms of insulinogenic function in individuals who are not deficient in it. Still, I guess it can't hurt in the off chance it works.

    A scoop of Endure also includes 2 grams of L-Glutamine, an amino acid often purported to aid and enhance recovery. I've read that some are skeptical as to whether or not it actually does anything but I've always liked it. I typically like to see L-Glutamine dosed at 5 grams so this is underdosed in my opinion but 2 grams is at least a decent start in the right direction. L-Taurine is also present at 1 gram per scoop. L-Taurine is an amino acid with a host of benefits but it was likely included in Endure to promote increased blood flow. An efficacious dose is somewhere in the range of 500mg-2 grams so 1 gram is perfectly in the middle. As always I tend to favor the maximum of dosing ranges but I'm fine with the "Goldilox zone" of perfectly in the middle doses. Additionally, Endure has 980mg of an electrolyte blend which I always like to see in BCAA and intra-workout supplements because proper hydration is crucial for maximizing your workouts and recovery. Furthermore, I tend to struggle with maintaining hydration so I really appreciate a significant electrolyte blend like this.

    Rounding out Endure is 480mg of VitaCherry Sport, a patented extract of Whole Tart Cherry. Tart Cherry contains anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce muscle damage and pain after strenuous exercise like long distance running. I couldn't pin down a suggested dose of an extract since most studies and articles I found talked about Tart Cherry juice. I'll give Olympus Labs the benefit of the doubt here and assume that since this is an extract that 480mg is equivalent to a decent dose. Finally, Endure did use some dyes but nothing too heavy. I'm not a fan of artificial dyes at all but if they must be present at least keep them relatively light (which Olympus Labs did). I'd prefer Endure without dyes but that's much more of a personal preference. All in all, this profile isn't too bad. I think that it could be dosed a little heavier on the L-Glutamine and that the Velositol could be swapped out for something else but as a whole the profile is certainly geared towards recovery and endurance (as it should be).

    Taste/Mixability/Dosing

    10/10
    I received the Krusherz flavor and it was amazing. I can't really describe the flavor too well but it was sort of like a punch mixed with a hint of cherry. It was delicious. I liked it so much I even grabbed it to drink cold after a few heavy nights of drinking. It was beyond refreshing. I seriously wish someone made a juice that tasted like this. The mixability was great as well. I never experienced any clumps, leftover grit, or swirling particles. Like with most BCAA products, dosing was relatively simple. I took a scoop intra-workout and typically drank it during cardio but occasionally drank it during my lifts. As noted above, I also drank this on a few other occasions as one-off uses. However, since I have some BCAAs of my own on deck, I tried to use this only during workout days and used my own during rest days.

    Effectiveness

    8.5/10
    I generally respond well to BCAA supplements and was expecting at least baseline results from Endure. Truth be told, I was expecting even more because I've heard good things about Olympus Labs and thought their BCAA product would be better than a lot of others. Thankfully, my expectations were not too far off the mark.

    I started using Endure about a week after I started using some Xtend that I got for a steal on Amazon. Hence, I had already been using a BCAA product for long enough to start feeling some results. I threw Endure into the mix on workout days and within another week I started to notice results in line with what I'd expect from a BCAA supplement. The first thing I saw was an improvement in baseline hydration. I didn't feel as thirsty after cardio/during my lifts and I didn't feel the "dehydration drain" (i.e. dehydration induced lethargy) that I get post-workout sometimes. In terms of hydration, when I took Endure on those one-off occasions, I saw a real difference over water or Gatorade - especially after a night of drinking. On those days, I had rebounded out of the "dehydration drain," felt more energized, and was urinating clear after 1-2 scoops in about 20-50 oz of water. For comparison, I've chugged full 64 oz Gatorades after a night of drinking and still felt dehydrated (and yes, the other dependent variable of how much I drank stayed about constant).

    I also noticed I shaved off a day or so of DOMS, especially after grueling workouts. Around week 2-3 I began noticing a slight improvement in endurance. I found that I didn't tire out as easily at the end of my workouts. I actually began hitting abs again a few times a week because I still had some left in the tank. Now, I've gotten similar results with some other decent intra-workout/BCAA products so this was nothing new for me but it is a sign of a good product in my eyes. In short, from weeks 1-3 I experienced results typical of a good BCAA/intra-workout product. In week 4-5, I saw much of the same results but I subjectively "felt it" more. What I mean by this is that I started to really grasp just how much I was actually doing in the gym and how little that seemed to weigh on me from a recovery standpoint. I maintained the soreness levels I was getting from weeks 1-2 despite increasing volume (per muscle group), weight, and muscle groups trained. Granted, I wasn't all of a sudden going full GVT or anything but I was adding about 7-10 more sets spread throughout my workout. Was I still getting sore? Yes. But did I ever feel like I got hit by a truck the next day? No. Not even on legs. In my subjective experience, that's pretty good.

    I really noticed how much I was getting from Endure and BCAA supplementation in general after I finished the product. After I finished off Endure, I took a break from BCAA supplementation for about a week and a half to see if anything would change. Maybe I was just experiencing some placebo effect (the power of the mind is ridiculously strong after all). Well towards the end of this time frame I started to get some significant DOMS. I couldn't even deadlift one day because my legs were so sore from a workout earlier in the week. The DOMS weren't necessarily worse at the onset (i.e. I didn't feel sorer on Day 1 or Day 2 after a workout) but the residual effects lasted for much longer. The DOMS from leg day that would normally be gone within a few days were still lingering on at the end of the week. Needless to say, I wasn't very thrilled and immediately started back on the BCAA train. In short, this was what I'd expect from a typical BCAA product and then some. I could definitely tell this was making a positive difference in my training.

    Value

    7.5/10
    I found this on Amazon Prime in all flavors for $35. A quick Google search pulled up similar results once you factor in shipping costs. That's $1.17 a serving - just a hair over $1 a serving. While that's not too bad considering you're getting 7.5 grams of BCAAs, some L-Glutamine, L-Taurine, and more niche ingredients like VitaCherry Sport and Velositol, it is not quite a great value either. For comparison, the other product I was using (and has somewhat of a similar ingredient panel), Xtend, can regularly be found on Amazon Prime for $18 for 30 servings. That's just $.60 a serving - almost half the price of Endure. Now, the ingredients are an exact mirror - Xtend has 500mg more Glutamine, 500mg fewer BCAAs (at a 2:1:1 ratio), and 190mgs more electrolytes. It also has 1 gram of Citrulline Malate 1:1 and no Velositol (or anything similar in terms of starch), L-Taurine (the Citrulline Malate serves a similar function though) or Tart Cherry extract. On a side note, both products have dyes. Still, I don't know if that difference in ingredients warrants nearly double the price. I can see justifying a little more of an increase in price but not double. I'd be willing to give this a 8/10 if it was $1/serving shipped. I know that doesn't seem like much - just $0.17, but in the long run it adds up - especially for staple products like BCAAs. Seeing as there are some patented ingredients in here, I'd even give this an 8/10 if there was a bigger size (60-90 servings) that contained that price point. As of now though, I think 7.5/10 is a solid rating for Endure. I'd still get this on my own dime.

    Side Effects

    10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking this product.

    Conclusion

    8.3/10
    I think Endure is a solid product in the BCAA/intra-workout category. Olympus Labs lived up to the hype that I've heard and my gains in the gym were all the better because of it. I saw reduced DOMS, increased hydration, and a little more energy to take my workouts up a notch. I came to a 8.3/10 rating after averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections which gave me a 8.17/10. I rounded up and then added 0.1 to account for the killer flavoring. I feel that its only fair to reward a product/company when they knock something like flavoring out of the park. After all, this is a BCAA/intra-workout supplement and most people drink them with a fair amount of water and expect them to be palatable. In short, I'd definitely recommend giving Endure a try if you're looking for something different to rotate into your BCAA/intra-workout line-up. I'd also recommend trying it if you were like me and itching to try something from Olympus Labs, it certainly left me with a good view of the company.


    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    Thanks to Dioxyme for sending it out!
    (Show run details )
      March 27, 2018

     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Boosts Endurance
    • Nice Name
    • Overall Performance Enhancer
    • Interesting Ingredients
    • Increased Strength
    • Builds Muscle
    • Tastes Good
    • Very Expensive
    • Expensive Depending On Dosage
    • Proprietary Blend
    • Not Widely Available

    Introduction

    I sincerely apologize to Dioxyme for taking so long on this review. When I saw MPO come up on TROOPS, I pulled the trigger because the profile looked unique enough that it might work where other products failed for me. I had no knowledge of the price at the time but now that I do, I really appreciate the product and ability to try it much more.

    Ingredient Profile

    8.75/10
    MPO stands for Muscle Protein Optimizer, but what exactly is in it to warrant such a name? Turns out there's only a few ingredients but they pack a large punch.

    In the "Nitramino Complex" do...

    Introduction

    I sincerely apologize to Dioxyme for taking so long on this review. When I saw MPO come up on TROOPS, I pulled the trigger because the profile looked unique enough that it might work where other products failed for me. I had no knowledge of the price at the time but now that I do, I really appreciate the product and ability to try it much more.

    Ingredient Profile

    8.75/10
    MPO stands for Muscle Protein Optimizer, but what exactly is in it to warrant such a name? Turns out there's only a few ingredients but they pack a large punch.

    In the "Nitramino Complex" dosed at 6.5 grams there is creatine monohydrate and Beta-Alanine. In short, creatine monohydrate is a well-studied staple ingredient that helps increase strength and muscle hydration. Since it is listed first, it makes up at least a simple majority of the blend. Rounding out the blend is beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid that helps buffer lactic acid production and thereby increase endurance. Since it is listed last it makes up a majority of the blend. Now, I'm disappointed that these ingredients are hidden in a propriety blend. Still, I can deduce basic math and determine that at least, if not both ingredients are undressed at the 1 scoop/serving level. An efficacious dose of creatine is 5 grams and an efficacious dose of beta-alanine is 3.2 grams (although I have heard on here that it is best to split your doses into two 1.6 gram doses). If creatine is dosed at 5 grams, then beta-alanine is just under half an efficacious dose (which may be better). Either way, I'd like to just have a transparent label so I can tell for sure and not have to guess.

    In the "mTOR Optimatrix" blend dosed at 5.25 grams includes, in order, Hydroxy Methylbutyrate (HMB), Alpha-Hydroxyisocaproic Acid (HICA), and Phosphatic Acid (PA). HMB is an active metabolite of leucine that reduces muscle protein breakdown and has shown anti-catabolic properties but doesn't appear to be any better than leucine for promoting muscle growth. An efficacious dose range is 1-3 grams. HICA is another leucine metabolite that has similar properties as HMB, notably anti-catabolic properties. It may also have anabolic properties but the research on HICA is extremely limited. The recommended dose is 1.5 grams a day split into three doses of 500 milligrams. PA is a lipid that has shown promise in activating the mTOR pathway, increasing strength, helping build muscle, and reduce cortisol levels. An efficacious dose is 750mg a day but positive results have been seen at higher doses as well. Again, since these ingredients are hidden in a proprietary blend, it is a bit hard to tell exactly how much of each ingredient is in each scoop. That being said, basic math tells us that these could each be dosed efficaciously (and at the maximum of the range for HMB). Therefore, I'll give Dioxyme the benefit of the doubt here and assume they did that.

    I didn't see any dyes listed and I didn't see any when I mixed MPO with water so I'll assume there are no artificial dyes, which I like a lot. That is always a plus in my book. In short, this profile is pretty solid but the first blend could be dosed a little heavier in my opinion.

    Taste/Mixability/Dosing

    10/10
    I received the lemonade flavor, which I believe is the only flavor available, and it tasted pretty good. It was a very light flavor in all the different amounts of water I tried (8-20 oz) but I actually enjoyed that because I could mix it with other lemonade or lemon-lime flavored supplements I had. Considering each scoop packs a whopping 20 grams of ingredients it mixed pretty well. I never had any residual grit leftover nor did I ever encounter clumps or swirling particles mid-sip. Dosing could not have been any simpler. Dioxyme provides a dosing chart based on one's weight and I typically followed that recommendation. I took 1 scoop a day, typically before or intra-workout, but also occasionally at random points in the day (i.e. whenever I remembered to take it). Occasionally I'd dose this at 1.5 scoops in the event I forgot to take it on a rest day. I took MPO every day to the best of my ability.

    Effectiveness

    8.5/10
    To be entirely honest, I didn't expect much from the start other than results typically experienced from creatine monohydrate and beta-alanine supplementation. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised after about a week of use.

    Around a week into using MPO, I started to notice a bit more strength and endurance. I had just come from using another creatine supplement so I was expecting more of a continuation than anything too noticeable. However, I seemed to get a sudden jolt of strength out of nowhere. I recently started deadlifting again after a long hiatus and although some of it was likely muscle memory, I shattered some then-current PRs on the second week. Ok, so a sudden jump of like 50lbs was definitely not only a result of MPO, but I do feel that it helped. Why do I say that? Because every week throughout the rest of my run, I continued to increase the weight I pulled until I was almost back to my old time PR.

    Furthermore, I noticed these strength effects in other lifts and muscle groups as well. Within two weeks of use, I added at least 5lbs to every dumbbell lift I currently do and 10lbs to every barbell lift I do. Although I find that to be the case whenever I start taking creatine after a long time off, this was a bit surprising for me since I didn't have an "off" period so much as I switched creatine supplements and forms.

    In the way of endurance, I noticed I was able to crank out some seriously hard sets. For example, with deadlifts I pulled a set of 20 seemingly out of nowhere on a day when I was just beat and not expecting anything more than a "running through the motions" type of workout. I really started noticing an improvement once I started using MPO in combination with Vasky, however. I really loved the pumps I was getting, especially in my arms, so I regularly got overzealous and pushed myself to do some sets of 15-20 reps after my usual working sets to really feel (and see) it. Moreover, I wouldn't drop the weight by more than 5lbs so I considered this to be relatively significant in terms of endurance in my eyes. I can honestly say that before using MPO just one set of 15 reps with a weight 5-10lbs after my working sets would have been a serious struggle. Oddly enough, I never really noticed much in the way of endurance in cardio activities (usually just a treadmill for me). I typically see a small improvement in this area with beta-alanine supplementation so I was always kind of waiting for it to kick in but it never did. While that may have been a little disappointing, I would gladly trade improvements in cardio for the results I got in other areas.

    Value

    7/10
    I found this on Amazon and Dioxyme's website for $69.99 for 30 1 Scoop servings. I saw a 15% off coupon on Dioxyme's website that drops the price by nearly $10.50 but it is still almost $60. That's a bit steep for 30 servings. Now I understand you have to consider the ingredients but I can find raws of most of these ingredients for much cheaper. I saw that Xcmiler did a solid breakdown of raws and found that MPO can be value at the end of the day but I still think that since most of the ingredients (Creatine, Beta-alanine, HMB, and PA) can be found for cheaper it is not worthy of a score higher than 7/10. I found creatine and beta-alanine on amazon at $0.03 and $0.02 a gram respectively. I found HMB on amazon for $0.08 a gram. Basic math tells me that I can dose these ingredients on my own for less than $.50 a day. Phosphatic acid is a bit trickier but I get mine from lecithin granules that run me $10-15 for 30 servings and provides over a gram of PA. Including PA, I can run all of these ingredients at a cost of $1 a day. HICA is admittedly hard to find and expensive but I found some from Labrada but 1.5 grams costs about $0.90. Still, even with the HICA, this line up can be run for a little cheaper than the $2.33/serving cost of MPO - and that includes a full 3.2 gram dose of beta-alanine. So in short, I think the cost isn't terrible given the convenience of having everything all in one powder to scoop and flavored, but I would at least like to see one or more of the following before I dropped $60-70 for it: 1) patented ingredients 2) a transparently disclosed full efficacious dose of creatine and beta-alanine

    Side Effects

    10/10
    I received no side effects while taking this product.

    Conclusion

    8/10
    Ultimately, I think MPO is a solid product. Sure, I wish some things were different like a slightly better price point, a transparent label, and efficacious doses where they may not be present. However, I was really surprised by the results I experienced and think that that says something. In some regard, you get what you pay for. I came to a 8.1 rating by averaging the scores for Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value which gave me a 8.08. I rounded up to a 8.1 since I was so impressed by the effectiveness. In short, I would recommend this to anyone looking to break through a plateau or trying to shake up their supplementation a bit - you may just be (pleasantly) surprised at what you get out of it.




    Copyright © 2018 SupplementReviews.com. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
    Some links may earn us advertising or sponsor fees; see our Affiliate Disclosure.