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htevans

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Reviews by htevans




Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
(Thanks to Nature Restore for sending it out!)
----Introduction----
Thanks to Nature Restore for sending this out! I picked this mostly because I wanted to try a challenging review and I like the science behind capsaicin so I figured what better opportunity than this.

----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
Each pill contains 500mg of 0.45 capsaicin extract-that's 225mg of capsaicin. I couldn't really find much on how much effective capsaicin constitutes an efficacious dose but I found the range to be 500mg-3g (500mg-1g 3x/day) with 1.5g being most common. Capsaicin has a host of benefits, some of which are: increased metabolism, fat oxidatio...
----Introduction----
Thanks to Nature Restore for sending this out! I picked this mostly because I wanted to try a challenging review and I like the science behind capsaicin so I figured what better opportunity than this.

----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
Each pill contains 500mg of 0.45 capsaicin extract-that's 225mg of capsaicin. I couldn't really find much on how much effective capsaicin constitutes an efficacious dose but I found the range to be 500mg-3g (500mg-1g 3x/day) with 1.5g being most common. Capsaicin has a host of benefits, some of which are: increased metabolism, fat oxidation, thermogenesis, decreased inflammation, and improved blood flow. Additionally, it is used to help treat arthritis but I think it is more commonly used in a cream form for that purpose, but I am not certain.

Also, I typically 500mg pills of an undisclosed capsaicin extract from competitors. I have used NOW's cayenne before and that extract was listed at 40,000 Scoville units whereas this is listed at 70,000 Scoville units-that's 1.75x more! Therefore, I'll give Nature Restore the benefit of doubt here and assume that this is above the industry standard. I will also assume that the dosing range I found was for capsule amount [500mg] and not effective capsaicin [225mg]. I just can't imagine having to take this 6-7 times to get ~1.5g. The only things I could think of including are some sort of coating to help prevent heartburn and some sort of absorption enhanced like Black Pepper Extract. Their absence is not a huge deal but that is what would make this a 10/10.

----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 9/10
There was no taste per se to this supplement but there was a hint of a peppery aftertaste. Since capsaicin comes from peppers and this is literally cayenne pepper, the aftertaste is no surprise. It is near nonexistent if you take this with food, which I highly recommend. I tried taking this without food a few times and the peppery aftertaste and heartburn were so intense I had to eat immediately and never took it without food again. Moreover, I took this 2-3 times a day with my main meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

----Effectiveness---- 8/10
This category is extremely hard to rate. I have no real way of telling if this decreased inflammation or increased blood flow. Similarly I cannot know for sure if there was improved fat oxidation at a cellular level. I also cannot speak to the arthritis-related effects since I do not have arthritis. However, I do believe I experienced a slight metabolism boost and some thermogenesis. Within ~15-30 minutes of taking this, I felt noticeably warmer. It wasn't like I burning up but I could tell a difference from before the dose. Therefore, I'm relatively sure I experienced some boost in thermogenesis from this cayenne supplement. Additionally, I felt like there must have been some improvement in my metabolism as I was able to sneak in a snack here or there and didn't really notice a difference in the scale. Now, capsaicin will not get you ripped on its own but I think the science behind its metabolic properties is pretty strong so I believe that it certainly aids fat loss to some extent. In other words, I couldn't get away with adding a sheet cake nor a Snickers into my diet but I could probably afford an additional apple throughout the day.

----Value---- 7.5/10
I found this on Amazon [Prime] for $11.95 for a 90ct bottle. In comparison, I found NOW's cayenne pills on Amazon [Prime] for $10.43 for a 250ct bottle. Of course Nature Restore's extract is 1.75x more potent but it is not necessarily worth it as you could save $ and just take more of an inferior product like NOW. Still, you're paying somewhat for the convenience of not having to take 10+ cayenne pills a day and to avoid the subsequent heartburn. If you're in the market for a cayenne supplement, I'd say the cost difference is worth the convenience. However, I would personally like to see a special coating or nutrient absorption enhancer added in for the price.

----Side Effects---- 8/10
The only side effect I experienced was heartburn about 30 minutes after a dose. I mostly experienced this when I did not take the cayenne with food but sometimes I would still get it after a small meal. At its worst, this heartburn was absolutely terrible but the greater my food intake, the less intense the heartburn. By no means should you ever take this on an empty stomach, that is just suicidal.

----Conclusion---- 8/10
Ultimately, I felt like this was a good cayenne competitor. The heartburn was a real pain but I felt a real difference in terms of thermogenesis and an increased metabolism. Also, I trust the science behind the other purported benefits like improved blood flow so I imagine I experienced these hard to notice effects as well. This could be better with the inclusion of a special coating to help prevent heartburn and even some black pepper extract (or something similar) but its potency alone makes it a top contender for this category. I'd recommend this if you are in the market for cayenne for whatever reason, but do not think this is some sort of miraculous natural fat burner; it is not. Furthermore, I would not recommend this to replace a fat burner unless you are using it in conjunction with other supplements in a create-your-own fat burner. If you just want the fat burning properties, then take a dedicated fat burning supplement. If you want some all around health benefits with a fat-burning boost, look no further.

I got a 8 rating by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," "Side Effects," and "Taste/Mixability/Dosing" categories as these were most relevant here. That gives a 8.125 score but I rounded down to an 8 since I felt that there was more room for improvement in value, side effects, and ingredient profile than a 8.125 indicates. In other words, I felt that an 8 score was the most fair rating.

Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
(Thanks to VMI Sports Nutrition for sending it out!)
----Introduction----
Thanks to VMI for sending this out! I really enjoyed it!

----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
What other than caffeine could you put in a caffeine pill? Well, it turns out that you can put a lot in them these days. However, you'll pay for those extras and then you might as well not consider it a mere "caffeine pill" anymore. That being said, I like that VMI seems to have taken a moderate approach.

Each pill contains a 290mg blend of 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine, di-caffeine malate (Infinergy), and L-Theanine. Each pill has ~200mg of caffeine so deductive reasoning tell us the ...
----Introduction----
Thanks to VMI for sending this out! I really enjoyed it!

----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
What other than caffeine could you put in a caffeine pill? Well, it turns out that you can put a lot in them these days. However, you'll pay for those extras and then you might as well not consider it a mere "caffeine pill" anymore. That being said, I like that VMI seems to have taken a moderate approach.

Each pill contains a 290mg blend of 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine, di-caffeine malate (Infinergy), and L-Theanine. Each pill has ~200mg of caffeine so deductive reasoning tell us the L-Theanine is present at 90mg. Now, I'm taking the rep's note of 200mg of caffeine in total and not effective caffeine. The difference is that the effective caffeine would be lower as Infinergy is 75:25 caffeine and malic acid. Since this is one big proprietary blend, there is no way to tell the ratio of caffeine [anhydrous] to di-caffeine malate (but at least we know the ratio of caffeine to malic acid, which is nice). It's not a huge difference in caffeine content but the difference in L-Theanine is more noteworthy.

L-Theanine is a great inclusion in a caffeine pill because it is known to moderate the effects of caffeine, lessening the harsher negative side effects like shaking and anxiety. L-Theanine has also been shown to promote cognition and attention so there is a nootropic aspect here as well. While Caffinity includes what I am assuming to be 90mg of L-Theanine, the efficacious amounts were found to be 100mg-200mg with 200mg being the amount used in studies. I wish VMI would have put 200mg in here because I'm all about efficacious dosing, even if it means more $. I will quickly note that I believe I felt some benefit to the L-Theanine, which may be partly placebo effect and/or partly due to it only being [what I assume to be] only 10mg lower than the lower extreme of the suggested dosing range [100mg]. Still, this is the profile section and I do deduct a little for using less than at least the lowest suggested amount.

On a side note, I don't like the use of a proprietary blend, especially since nothing here is too unique or groundbreaking. There's a rep note that it has 200mg of caffeine but I couldn't find this anywhere on the bottle. I think it is irresponsible for companies not to disclose the total amount of stimulants, especially caffeine, on the bottle. I like the use of patented di-caffeine malate in the form of Infinergy but I'd much prefer the other changes. Also, if I was really picky I'd rail against the use of red dye to make these cool looking pills but I don't mind it as much as I do in powders/liquid. Plus, the red pills made me think I was taking something more intense so I think using dye was worth it here.


----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
These are pills so there is no taste here. Similarly, there is no mixability rating either. I'll substitute taste for ease of taking (size, etc.) here but it makes no difference in rating because the pills were also easy to take.

Dosing was easy, with 1-2 capsules suggested throughout the day. Use before workout is also suggested but obviously that's if you need the pick me-up before your workout. I work 9am-6pm and have to take the metro to get home so I'm not usually hitting the gym until ~7pm most days. That being the case, I usually need a pick me-up somewhere between 1pm and 3pm and so I typically used Caffinity then. Some days I took it a little before or after that but that was the usual time. Also, some days I would take it whenever else I needed a pick me-up like late at night for a long study session.

----Effectiveness---- 9/10
Although the "Ingredient Profile" section may seem a little harsh for caffeine pill, I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. I experienced a nice energy rush after about 15-30 minutes of taking Caffinity (~15 if I hadn't eaten a lot and ~30 if I had). It never felt like it was too much like with some harsher stimulants. Moreover, I believe the L-Theanine helped moderate the negative effects of caffeine a little. I'm curious what 200mg of L-Theanine would have done but even at this amount [presumably 90mg], I noticed a difference from just taking straight caffeine anhydrous or drinking coffee. I was a little less jittery and more focused than with caffeine anhydrous/coffee. The use of di-caffeine malate [Infinergy] likely contributed to this effect as well, as the caffeine doesn't hit you all at once so there is less potential for some negative side effects like jitters. With caffeine anhydrous/coffee I experience a huge jolt of energy but sometimes have trouble focusing and channeling the energy into productive uses. I attribute the heightened focus and productivity more to the L-Theanine though.

I also noticed that the energy rush lasted longer than with caffeine anhydrous or coffee. Caffeine anhydrous/coffee energy boosts usually like 4-5hrs for me. This would last for ~7 hrs which is great considering that caffeine's half life is ~6hrs and that one would expect this to last longer since the di-caffeine malate absorbs over time. In contrast, I felt the cognition and attention benefits of L-Theanine for about 5 hours which I think is pretty good. Overall, I have few complaints here and definitely prefer this over cheap caffeine pills.

----Value---- 8/10
I found this on Amazon [Prime] for $11.35 for a 60 capsule bottle ($0.19/pill). I'd prefer this come in a 100 count bottle, which is common for caffeine pills. This would presumably increase the value a little bit but it is not a huge deal. Now $11.35 is not a lot of money but relative to other caffeine pills, some of which are in 100ct bottles, it is a little high. For comparison, ProLab makes a 200mg caffeine anhydrous pill listed at $7.65 for 100 pills on Amazon [Prime]. That's only $0.08 a pill and for a pack of three it is $15.89 which drops the price per pill down to $0.05. I think the extra $0.14 a pill is worth the better results here. It's ultimately not a lot of money so I think it is worth it-even if you could get 5x as much of a slightly inferior product for $4.54 more. Plus, I expect to pay more for the inclusion of Infinergy and L-Theanine, which accounts for some of this price increase. Still, value is relative and 5x as much is a significant difference so I deduct a little bit from the rating. That being said, I'd have no problem buying these with my own $ if I hadn't gotten them through TROOPS.

----Side Effects---- 10/10
I experienced no side effects when taking Caffinity. In fact, I experienced less negative side effects from caffeine than usual!

----Conclusion---- 8.7/10
Caffinity is a great caffeine pill competitor. It may cost a little more than some cheap caffeine pills but the difference is certainly worth it in my opinion. Sometimes the struggle is real though so it is still worth being aware of-even if its only $4.54 more. I definitely preferred this to straight caffeine anhydrous pills. I really liked the use of di-caffeine malate [Infinergy] and felt a noticeable improvement from the inclusion of L-Theanine. I'll probably only use the caffeine L-Theanine combination now, and when I can I will definitely look for Infinergy. Furthermore, I will likely buy Caffinity with my own $ in the future and probably more than once. I like to continually try new supplements but I always have a go-to for each category and Caffinity is that go-to supplement for my afternoon pick me-up. I definitely recommend you try this if you are in the market for something to give you an afternoon pick me-up and/or a caffeine pill/supplement!

On a side note, I got 8.7 by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," and "Value" sections which are most relevant here. That gives a score of 8.67 so I rounded up to 8.7 since I really enjoyed my experience.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Builds Muscle

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to VMI Sports Nutrition for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to VMI for sending this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 10/10
    VMI's Agmatine competitor delivers 30 grams of patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate and nothing else. Literally, under "other ingredients" VMI lists "none." There is no flavoring, no dyes, no binders, no fillers, etc. Now, I have absolutely no idea how Agmapure agmatine sulfate compares to Agmass agmatine sulfate. I know some brands use one over the other, but I have never really been able to tell the difference (to be fair I have not tried to either). However, I know Agmapure is a popular patented for...
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to VMI for sending this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 10/10
    VMI's Agmatine competitor delivers 30 grams of patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate and nothing else. Literally, under "other ingredients" VMI lists "none." There is no flavoring, no dyes, no binders, no fillers, etc. Now, I have absolutely no idea how Agmapure agmatine sulfate compares to Agmass agmatine sulfate. I know some brands use one over the other, but I have never really been able to tell the difference (to be fair I have not tried to either). However, I know Agmapure is a popular patented form - probably the most popular since I see it more often than Agmass - and the real deal. In short, all other single-ingredient agmatine supplements, regardless of the brand or patented form used, should follow this model.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
    This is an unflavored powder and it is truly unflavored. There is a hint of natural bitterness but I find it gets completely overpowered by whatever beverage I mix it into. You can't ask for much better.

    Mixability was perfect. After a few stirs with a utensil or shakes in a shaker, the agmatine was nearly 100% dissolved and indiscernible in the beverage. Again, you cannot get any better.

    Dosing was extremely easy and flexible. Each scoop is 500mg, which is actually better than a 1 gram scoop in my opinion. This allows for more flexible dosing, which proved extremely important for me given how I used the supplement. I often took this before my later workouts if I had consumed too much caffeine in the day to use a full scoop of a caffeinated/stimulant-based pre-workout supplement. Sometimes, I would just take the agmatine mixed with some juice and other days I would mix a scoop or two with a half scoop or so of a caffeinated/stimulant-based pre-workout supplement. I would also take this before my earlier workouts if I had not yet had much caffeine/stimulants but planned to do so later. The small scoops allowed for extremely intuitive and flexible dosing. VMI suggests 1-3 scoops ("improve pumps"- "maximum n.o." - "vein splitting") but I rarely used more than 2 scoops regardless of the situation (sometimes 2 heaping scoops).

    ----Effectiveness---- 9/10
    If you are looking to improve the quality, intensity, and consistency of your pumps in the gym, then you generally have 3 big routes: Agmatine, L-Citrulline, and Glycerol MonoStearate. I have had great experiences using each alone and various combinations of the three in different ratios. I have now adjusted my feelings on this and feel that a combination is best, and that a Agmatine + L-Citrulline combination is better than either on their own. That being said, that difference (of a combination vs single-ingredient supplementation) is the difference between a 9 and 10. At the proper dose, any of the big 3 should produce good results. That is exactly what I experienced with VMI's Agmatine Sulfate, which is perhaps unsurprising seeing as it's 100% patented agmatine sulfate.

    With 2 scoops, or 1 gram, I consistently experienced above-average pumps after maybe 10-15 minutes of warming up/lifting. These were not quite "vein-splitting" (although to be fair that was promised at 3 scoops) but they were just as good as the pumps I'd get from a pre-workout. Sometimes, I started feeling myself too much and would wind up changing my back workout to be an arm workout or I would add a few more exercises/sets onto whatever workout I had planned for that day. That can be a little annoying if you are on a strict schedule but I am not on such a schedule. In fact, I actually liked this increased propensity to deviate from the plan because it allowed me to have fun again in the gym at a time when I was starting to lose that special relationship I have with my gym time.

    Additionally, at 2 heaping scoops (for those days when you've been watching too much Rich Piana) I noticed a marginal increase in intensity and quality. The pumps were as equally consistent as with 2 scoops but that should not be too surprising. I do not think that the extra agmatine is really worth the increased cost per workout but I do recommend it if you have the $ to spend or need a little psychological boost in the gym to get you back on track like I did.

    To describe the pumps a little more, I'll give an example of a typical arm workout. I would start warming up with triceps after downing approximately 1 gram of VMI's Agmatine Sulfate. After the warm-up sets and 3-4 sets of whatever exercise I started with that day (just depends on what was open at the time) I would have a noticeable pump that would stick around for the entire workout. After 8-10 more sets (or ~2 exercises) my pump would intensify to the point where I felt like Arnold after dropping a Trump diss. This intensity would remain for the rest of the workout and replicate itself in my biceps once I started training them. I would keep the pump, in some degree, for 15-30 minutes after my workout.

    ----Value---- 7/10
    I found a 60 serving unflavored tub for $20 on Amazon. That's $20 for 30 grams of patented Agmatine Sulfate and nothing else. Of course you might be able to find agmatine sulfate for a bit cheaper if it was either an unpatented form, straight from a raws manufacturer, or in bulk. However, you can also find 100-200 grams of Agmapure for $30 on Amazon. You will not typically get such quantity from a reputable brand like VMI. As far as the "reputable brand offering a single ingredient, patented, namesake supplement" category, this is a good price. I have seen other brands charge $30+ for the same stuff. Still, if I am being 100% honest I have always thought blind brand loyalty is stupid. Why pay $20 for 30 grams of Agmapure when another brand will give you 6 the amount for the same price? It is all patented Agmapure so there is quite literally no difference other than packaging. I understand some people like to just stick with whatever they know works or with a brand they can trust so I will not give this an extremely low rating. Simply put, if you want to be frugal than look elsewhere for the exact same stuff, but if you would rather stick with a reputable, trusted brand then this is a pretty cheap option.

    ----Side Effects---- 10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking VMI's Agmatine Sulfate.

    ----Conclusion---- 8.5/10
    This is a solid competitor in the agmatine/pump-based pre-workout supplement market. The results I experienced are exactly what you would expect from quality, patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate. You cannot ask for much more except for in terms of value. If you are looking to maximize your value then look elsewhere because the same patented Agmapure can be found in greater quantities for an equal price or less. However, if you think the trust and consistency associated with a brand like VMI is worth the extra $ then you should definitely try this out (it is actually on par/a little cheap for that department!). I got to a 8.5/10 rating from averaging the Value, Effectiveness, and Ingredient Profile categories with a small deduction from the poor value relative to lesser known brands for the exact same patented ingredient (admittedly this is my frugal nature/bias revealing itself). Ultimately, you will not regret giving this a try - even if you are frugal.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Decent Pumps
    • Increased Vascularity
    • Great Pumps
    • Bitter Taste When Just Using Water
    • Poor Value

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to NuLivScience for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to NuLiv Science for sending this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 10/10
    This one is pretty simple. There's 50mg of ActiGin in each capsule. ActiGin consists of Rosa roxburghii, which purportedly has antioxidant properties, and Panax Notoginseng, which purportedly has recovery and stamina/endurance enhancing properties. This is single, namesake ingredient supplement so there is not much else you could ask for here. This is exactly what you want if you want to try ActiGin. Furthermore, it is worth noting that NuLiv Science is the manufacturer of ActiGin so this su...
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to NuLiv Science for sending this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 10/10
    This one is pretty simple. There's 50mg of ActiGin in each capsule. ActiGin consists of Rosa roxburghii, which purportedly has antioxidant properties, and Panax Notoginseng, which purportedly has recovery and stamina/endurance enhancing properties. This is single, namesake ingredient supplement so there is not much else you could ask for here. This is exactly what you want if you want to try ActiGin. Furthermore, it is worth noting that NuLiv Science is the manufacturer of ActiGin so this supplement derives straight from the primary source of its ingredient - you cannot get any better or legit than this.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
    I took one capsule before one of my workouts for most days. Occasionally I would forget to take my serving, or I would feel extra sore, and would take it later in the day. That did not happen too often and I didn't notice a significant increase in results at two capsules. Also, these capsules are relatively small and one of the easiest types of capsules to take.

    ----Effectiveness---- 6.5/10
    These kinds of supplement are always a bit tricky to judge in terms of effectiveness. However, I've been trying to review more to challenge myself as a reviewer and communicator [of my experience] and improve the consistency of my ratings. That being said, it was a still a challenge to close in on an effectiveness rating.

    NuLiv Science claims that ActiGin improves endurance and recovery. I experienced modest results in each area. I never noticed an immediate effect after dosing and believe that time likely amplifies the effects. After about a week, I noticed some slight enhancement in endurance. Specifically, cardio felt a little easier to do. A 30 minute cardio session felt like 29 minutes. That does not seem like much, I know, but for someone who can absolutely despise cardio sometimes it is a noticeable difference. After two weeks, and progressively with each succeeding week, a 30 minute cardio session began to feel more like a 27-28 minute cardio sessions. Again, that is not much but it can feel like a world's difference at the time.

    In an effort to be fully transparent, I never took ActiGin completely on its own. I always consumed a preworkout supplement or caffeinated beverage of some sort before cardio and sometimes during cardio. It is very possible that some of the improvement in endurance I experienced was due to these other supplements. In fact, I acknowledge that some of it must have been from the other supplementation, but I do believe ActiGin was partly responsible. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell just how much of these results were a result of Actigin. Given my past experience with staples like beta alanine, however, I think ActiGin was about 25% responsible. It's hard to quantify such a subjective experience but this is my best attempt to put it in more relatable terms.

    Recovery benefits from ActiGin supplementation were similarly noticeable but a little easier to quantify. Closer to two weeks into my ActiGin run, I experienced a unique recovery feeling. I may have absolutely destroyed my chest the day before - you know, one of those days where you are just enjoying the gym, feeling yourself, and get a little carried away - and I would wake up with only a slight soreness. It still took a few days to completely subside, but it began at an intensity akin to having already been sore for 1-2 days. Towards the end of my run, it increasingly felt like I had already been sore for 2 days. Despite being a little sore, I never really felt that my soreness held me back in the gym like I have in the past.

    If I were to compare ActiGin with other staples in the recovery/endurance category like BCAAs, I would have to put this below a little below BCAAs. You should probably spend money on BCAAs first - I have not used a non-hormonal supplement in the recovery/endurance category that bests the results I get from simple 2:1:1 BCAA supplementation yet. However, if you already use BCAAs, or cannot for some reason, definitely give this a shot.

    ----Value---- 6.5/10
    I found a 60 capsule bottle on Amazon for about $30 with shipping. Given that you could get anywhere from 30-60 days from this bottle depending on how you dose it, this is not terribly priced. $0.50-$1.00 a day is not too much if the results are there. However, for this price you can pick up a good 2:1:1 BCAA supplement with just as many, if not more, servings. Since value should also incorporate a relative cost/benefit analysis of sorts, I believe that this should be reflected in the rating. In other words, since better recovery/endurance supplements exist within in this price range, I cannot rate this in 7.5+ range. Still, since the price is not exorbitant at 1 capsule a day, I think a 6.5 rating is fair. In short, try it if you can afford it but do not buy ActiGin before the staples.

    ----Side Effects---- 10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking ActiGin.

    ----Conclusion---- 6.7
    ActiGin will probably help your endurance and recovery a modest amount, especially with continued use. However, its consumption should not be prioritized over staple endurance/recovery ingredients with more concrete scientific and anecdotal evidence. If you have the extra $ to spare, then I suggest you try ActiGin out. I came to a 6.7/10 rating after averaging the Effectiveness and Value categories (both 6.5) and adding a small bump for lack of side effects, simple ingredient profile, and easy dosing.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Longer Sets
    • Higher Reps
    • Increased Endurance
    • A Bit Pricey If All You Do Is Lift

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to Hard Iron Labs for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to Hard Iron Labs for letting me try this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
    Simply put, this profile is stacked. It covers nearly all the bases and at great doses. The only faults you could possibly find in it is perhaps the choice of stimulant, creatine, or the lack of truly niche ingredients.

    Hard Iron Labs deserves some props for having transparent dosing. Moreover, they deserve some serious props for having efficacious dosages for every ingredient. Additionally, 1 scoop of this satisfy most of your basic pre-workout needs. L-Citrulline DL-Malate (espec...
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to Hard Iron Labs for letting me try this out!

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
    Simply put, this profile is stacked. It covers nearly all the bases and at great doses. The only faults you could possibly find in it is perhaps the choice of stimulant, creatine, or the lack of truly niche ingredients.

    Hard Iron Labs deserves some props for having transparent dosing. Moreover, they deserve some serious props for having efficacious dosages for every ingredient. Additionally, 1 scoop of this satisfy most of your basic pre-workout needs. L-Citrulline DL-Malate (especially at the 2:1 ratio) and Agmatine provide killer pumps, Betaine and Creatine Monohydrate promote natural strength gains, Beta-Alanine and Taurine increase endurance, Caffeine (especially at 350mg) and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine improve cognition, and 95% Black Pepper Extract improves absorption. Most of you probably knew all of that, but it is worth articulating to demonstrate the comprehensiveness of this supplement. It is hard to really find an area where Death Punch lacks. Not really much else to say.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 7/10
    This mixed pretty well but there was some noticeable residue leftover in my shakers. Nothing of great concern though. A quick rinse of water and you're good to go.

    I dosed this at one scoop before my night workout for most of the run. Occasionally, if I had consumed too much caffeine already, I would take half a scoop and add additional agmatine.

    Without a doubt the taste was my least favorite part of this supplement. I completely understand that there are numerous raw powders that taste terrible on their own and are presumably therefore hard to mask. However, I've had similarly formulated supplements and this just did not pale in comparison. It tasted faintly and artificially blue raspberry-ish, with an odd aftertaste. I tried mixing it with more and less water but the only reprieve was that less water allowed it to go down quicker. Don't get me wrong though, there are most definitely worse tasting supplements out there and this is stomachable. Still, for the price and profile you can find better tasting competitors. My serious suggestion would be to test out more synergistic flavors. For example, lemonade flavors will go well with tart tasting powders.

    ----Effectiveness---- 9/10
    This was one of my better experiences with pre-workouts. My favorite result were the consistently great pumps. The inclusion of both agmatine and l-citrulline were the likely culprits behind my arms feeling like they would explode. Perhaps even better than that feeling was the consistency with which I experienced it. Out of the ~35 uses I got out of a tub (sometimes half-scooping), I experienced those glorious pumps about ~30 times.

    Additionally, I enjoyed the beta alanine tingles. I felt that, at the very least, cardio was a bit easier to do after a scoop of Death Punch. Of course some of that was caffeine, but I use enough caffeine to know when there is something else helping me push along and that was definitely the case here. Caffeine likely also contributed to the overall good feel rush I experienced after ~15 minutes. Additionally, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and caffeine helped with focus after ~15 minutes. These were not game-changing results though. The focus and overall feeling of wellness did not compare to what you may expect from a dedicated nootropic supplement. Furthermore, a more diverse choice of stimulants could strengthen these feelings. Still, the effects were noticeable and an improvement from the usual afternoon lull I battle everyday.

    I cannot truly say if the Creatine Monohydrate or Betaine had much of an effect but I do not blame Death Punch for this. I have been in a rut recently and I feel like that had more to do with it than a deficiency in supplementation. The science is strong on the benefits of these ingredients so I would take science's word over mine on this one. Ultimately, with such a great ingredient profile, it is unsurprising that I experienced the results I did.

    ----Value---- 7.5
    I found this for $39.90 for a 30 serving tub on Amazon. The 350mg of caffeine sometimes necessitates half-scoops if you have consumed too much recently or throughout the day. Still, with an expected 30 servings, $40 will factor out to $1.33 per serving. Let's be honest, that is cheaper than any energy drink, Starbucks coffees, overpriced RTDs at the gym, and the popular underdosed multi-scoop pre-workout supplements hawked at GNC or elsewhere. I'd honestly rate the value an 8 but I think that for the price the flavoring could be a bit better. Fix that and it definitely worth your money. At the moment it is still worth the $ and I am all for the "I'll drink anything if it works" mindset but why be that extreme when there are equal but better tasting supplements out there? Just my $0.02. That being said, this is still worth a shot since taste is extremely subjective.

    ----Side Effects---- 10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking Death Punch. Also, for what it is worth, I did not experience any cramping while using Death Punch - which I contribute to the Taurine. I occasionally get cramps (once every few weeks) and did not get any this run so it could be dumb luck or the Taurine. I cannot tell the exact cause but I felt that the Taurine could not have hurt and thus it was worth mentioning.

    ----Conclusion---- 7.9/10
    I really wanted to give this above an 8 but the flavoring really held me back. I'm not a big stickler for taste if the supplement in question is extremely unique or satisfies a niche need but while this is a stacked pre-workout supplement, there are more than a handful of similarly formulated competitors that simply taste better. My view is simply, why settle? If Hard Irons Labs can improve the flavor then this would be a top competitor in my mind. In all seriousness, I would have likely given this a 8.7 (derived from averaging effectiveness, value [which would be higher with a better taste], ingredient profile, and perhaps a slight bump from lack of side effects) if it had tasted better. Nonetheless, the results I experienced warrant my suggestion to try it out for yourself. Who knows, you may like the taste.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Increased Energy
    • Good Value
    • No Proprietary Blends
    • Quality Ingredients
    • Solid Dosages
    • Mental Focus
    • Endurance
    • More Flavors Would Be Nice
    • Limited Availability
    • SourTart Taste

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to iQ2Labs for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to iQ2 Labs for letting me try this out! This is one of my first experiences using nootropics for a sustained period of time. I wanted to see if all the hype about focus and cognition was true.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 6.5/10
    iQ2 Labs claims that great nootropic ingredients are included "clinically effective doses." This is not completely true. There are some great nootropic ingredients in here, such as DMAE, Vinpocetine, ALCAR, Choline, and Huperzine-A. However, the doses are not always in line with what I consider "clinically effective." The most notable ex...
    ----Introduction----
    Thanks to iQ2 Labs for letting me try this out! This is one of my first experiences using nootropics for a sustained period of time. I wanted to see if all the hype about focus and cognition was true.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 6.5/10
    iQ2 Labs claims that great nootropic ingredients are included "clinically effective doses." This is not completely true. There are some great nootropic ingredients in here, such as DMAE, Vinpocetine, ALCAR, Choline, and Huperzine-A. However, the doses are not always in line with what I consider "clinically effective." The most notable example here is ALCAR which is listed at 150mg but Examine lists the efficacious dose as 630-2500mg. Vinpocetine is also underdosed, but the difference depends on your purposes for taking it. Personally, I'd want more cognitive promotion effects (30-45mg) as opposed to neuroprotective ones (15-60mg) but since either fit the nootropic label, I consider this just slightly underdosed. I couldn't find much concrete information on DMAE but I believe this is also underdosed compared to the 250mg-500mg ranges I found. On the other hand, Choline Bitartrate is within the proper dose range but the bitartrate form may not be effective for nootropic purposes according to Examine.

    On the positive side, Huperzine-A is dosed at 100mcg, which is right in the middle of the efficacious dose range of 50mg-200mg. If you were to take another serving later in the day you'd be at the maximum of the range. Additionally, there is Raw Cacao Bean Powder and Guarana Seed Extract, which I assume are largely present as natural sources of caffeine (80mg) and to provide some antioxidant properties. I prefer natural sources of caffeine that carry some small additional benefits, be it green tea or cacao bean powder so this is a plus in my eyes. Also, 80mg of caffeine is near perfect for a nootropic for me as I like to take them in the morning when I'm also having coffee or some caffeinated beverage out of habit.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
    There is no taste or aftertaste to these pills. They were about average sized and easy to swallow. I took 2 in the morning before breakfast most days and occasionally after breakfast if I forgot due to morning brain fog. I didn't take a day off like some nootropics suggest since iQ2 did not recommend this on the label. A few times I took a second dose in the afternoon but this was uncommon.

    ----Effectiveness---- 7/10
    I'm relatively new to nootropics so I cannot really compare this to much other than my starting state and to another nootropic I am currently using. Perhaps this is good though as it is somewhat indicative of a beginner's experience with nootropics.

    After about 3-4 days, I started to notice a more wholesome, positive feeling in the morning. I wake up early to commute to work and as I would walk to the Metro in the morning, I just felt happier. After about a week of use, I started to feel more "alive" in the mornings. In other words, I felt like I had been up and caffeinated for two hours. Additionally, I felt slightly less stressed out, even on days when I'd have a lot to balance/do. Unfortunately, the bottle ran out after about two weeks, which is quicker than the 30 days you'd get from a 60 count bottle. I expect the results I experienced would amplify with continued use, especially another 2 weeks but I have no true way to verify/prove this.

    As my days went on, I noticed a progressive tapering off of the early morning effects. For example, after lunch I'd feel like my normal self. This is likely why iQ2 Labs suggests taking a second dose later in the day. I did this a few times but just didn't feel the same as I did earlier. This may be due to externalities that naturally come with the later hours of the day, such as having eaten more food or encountered more stressful or negative situations. Still, it is worth nothing that I didn't feel that a second dose was worth the increased cost per day.

    I also felt moderate cognitive enhancement during my use, especially towards the end. For example I may have finished my work in the morning a few minutes early. It was nothing huge, but it was noticeable. The few times I took this later in the day I did not notice any increases in cognitive ability. I also did not experience any sort of increased capacity for memory or anything along those lines like I had hoped. Maybe I am a bit naive when it comes to understanding the realistic effects from nootropics but I would have liked to at least notice a slight increase in my ability to remember things throughout the day.

    ----Value---- 6/10
    Simply put, this is not a good value. It is not absolutely trash since you are getting some good ingredients and the effects are noticeable. However, with the cost ranging from $50 for a subscription from iQ2 Labs or $60 for a single bottle, this is a bit much. Of course buying the raws would be cheaper, but this is true with nearly every supplement. Still, I can find plenty of nootropic competitors that have better or similar dosages for half the price. It could be worse, but unless you find this for a better price or just trust this brand to be your introduction to the nootropic market, I'd suggest looking elsewhere for your nootropic needs.

    ----Side Effects---- N/A
    I did not experience any side effects while taking this supplement.

    ----Conclusion---- 6.5/10
    iQ2 Labs' nootropic competitor is good introduction to the market, but it should not be the last one you try. I experienced decent results for a first time nootropic user but I was still left wanting increases in cognitive and memory capacity. Perhaps this would come with more time, but it is hard to tell. Furthermore, the results I did experience were noticeable but also somewhat weak. Again, these may have been amplified with time but I cannot verify this. Still, I'd normally recommend this, at least for beginners, but given the price I'd suggest you just look for a competitor supplement that will likely produce similar, if not better, results for about half the price. That's not to say there's anything wrong with this supplement or that I did not enjoy this run but the cost effectiveness is just not there. Ultimately, I gave this a 6.5 aftering averaging the ingredient profile, effectiveness, and cost scores which are most relevant here.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Increased Energy
    • Feeling Of Wellbeing
    • Increased Focus
    • Mental Clarity
    • Effects Dropped Off
    • Limited Availability
    • Too Expensive
    • Poorly Packaged With 2 Weeks Missing
    • ALCAR Dose Is Low

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    I'd like to apologize to Metabolic Nutrition for taking so long reviewing this product. I had a lot of personal things going on that when combined with the holidays caused me to fall behind on some responsibilities such as these reviews. I hope this review can help in some way and I apologize for any inconveniences I caused due to my tardiness.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
    Synadrene is a stimulant based fat burner, pure and simple. In a 815 proprietary blend there is Methylxanthine (a form of xanthine, from which stimulants like caffeine are derived), Green Tea Ext...
    ----Introduction----
    I'd like to apologize to Metabolic Nutrition for taking so long reviewing this product. I had a lot of personal things going on that when combined with the holidays caused me to fall behind on some responsibilities such as these reviews. I hope this review can help in some way and I apologize for any inconveniences I caused due to my tardiness.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 9/10
    Synadrene is a stimulant based fat burner, pure and simple. In a 815 proprietary blend there is Methylxanthine (a form of xanthine, from which stimulants like caffeine are derived), Green Tea Extract, 1 3 DMAA, Sulbutiamine (synthetic form of thiamine), Sandalwood Extract, Yohimbine Extract, ALA, and Poly-Thyronine. I'm not sure what else you could really want in this kind of fat burner, without venturing into overkill. I found the stimulant combinations to be super effective and I was wired within 15 minutes of my morning dose. In fact, I'd have given this a 10/10 but I really dislike the use of proprietary blends, especially when the stimulants' dosages aren't listed. Additionally, I don't think the dyes are really necessary as it adds only a "cool" factor but nothing of actual value to the supplement. Still, its not a huge deal since this proved beyond effective. Note, however, that this is a potent stimulant blend and if you're really stimulant sensitive then start with one capsule or perhaps skip this all together.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
    This supplement comes in capsule form so there is no taste to evaluate. Furthermore, the red and white capsules were relatively small and easy to take. Since this is a capsule supplement, I substitute "Mixability" with ease of taking, and these went down effortlessly with liquid. I started dosing this at 1 capsule at day for about a week and then moved to 2 capsules a day. I occasionally tried 3 capsules a day but felt adverse effects at this dose. I went back down to 2 capsules for the remainder of the bottle and felt great.


    ----Effectiveness---- 9/10
    Synadrene was surprisingly very effective. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much as I am an OG Alphamine fanboy but Synadrene pleasantly surprised me. I don't use a scale that often so I don't really know how much weight I lost, but I went from a faintly visible 4 pack to a more visible 6 pack. I'd guess I lost somewhere between 5 and 10lbs during this run, which was near perfect considering I only had about 15lbs to lose. After about 15 minutes of a dose, I'd feel extremely energized and focused to the point where I would have to go do something (usually cardio lol). After about 30 minutes, I would feel noticeably warmer and would stay this way for a few hours. Also, anytime I took this before training I would sweat profusely compared to training sessions without Synadrene. Honestly, I would come out drenched in sweat so the difference here is night and day. Even if that only helped me lose water weight, it made me feel good afterwards and boosted my confidence, which helped me stay on track. Additionally, the energy boost from the stimulants (especially 1 3 DMAA) was absolutely insane in the gym. I would take a capsule of Syadrene, a pump-based pre-workout, and proceed to stay in the gym for 2 hours without a second thought or much of a struggle. Sometimes in the morning, I would study after having breakfast and a dose of Synadrene because the focus and energy were seriously study-drug like (or at least pretty dang close for an over the counter fat burner). The main difference between 1 and 2 servings a day is simply a re-up on the energy, fat, and focus boosts for a few more hours during the day. All in all, I had a wonderful experience with Synadrene and I will definitely use it again given the results I had.

    ----Value---- 8/10
    I found this for about $35 for a 45ct bottle. That's not a terrible price at a 1 capsule serving a day but at 2 or capsules a day, it gets a bit pricey. I rate it a little lower because of the extra expense at 2 and 3 servings a day but this is truly a case of "you get what you pay for." I would say it is worth the extra $ because of the results. Additionally 2 servings seemed to be a sweet spot for me but 1 would cut it if I was on a budget. Personally, I saw negative returns at 3 capsules a day but for some it may even be worth the price at 3 servings a day if they see improved results. I feel like an 8/10 is a fair rating given the extra expense for 2 servings as well as the serious effectiveness of this product.


    ----Side Effects---- 9/10
    I encountered little side effects at 1-2 servings a day. At 3 servings a day, however, I felt "stim sick," as I describe it. I felt nauseous, light-headed, and just too warm for about an hour. The feeling slowly subsided after eating food, but I always got it after taking a third dose so I stopped doing that and the feeling went away. I should also note that Metabolic Nutrition is one of my girlfriend's favorite brands, and I let her try a capsule since she was in the market for a fat burner (I was trying to set y'all up with a customer lol). Although she loves the heavy stimulant-based preworkouts of brands like Metabolic Nutrition, she got seriously ill after one pill and won't ever take it again. I literally had to cancel all my plans that day and care for her in bed the entire day she was so sick. I share this as a warning to stem-sensitive people, take 1 pill to assess your tolerance or perhaps steer clear altogether. Synadrene is no joke. It is seriously strong, but so are the results if you can stomach the stims.


    ----Conclusion---- 9/10
    Ultimately, Synadrene was a huge hit with me. I had a great run (except for those few times I took 3 doses a day) and lost a good amount of excess weight. After an entire 45ct container, I was back to the leanest I have ever been and felt great. While I hope to not ever gain too much of the weight back, I know that if I do I will get some Synadrene to make the going easier. I strongly recommend this to anyone in the market for a fat burner, but be wary of the stimulants and perhaps look elsewhere if you know you cannot handle heavy stimulant supplements.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Increased Energy
    • Good Value
    • Seriously Strong
    • Proprietary Blends

    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    (Thanks to MAXLER for sending it out!)
    ----Introduction----
    I'd like to apologize to Maxler for taking so long to review this product. The last month and half or so have been so hectic and my life has changed immensely since then but I digress as that is not what this review is about. Still, I'm sorry for taking so long and I hope this review can be of some help.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 7.5/10
    Vitacore is not a deluxe all encompassing multivitamin supplement, nor was designed to be. Vitacore occupies the corner of the market of basic multivitamin supplements suited for people who train hard, hence the "core" part of the name...
    ----Introduction----
    I'd like to apologize to Maxler for taking so long to review this product. The last month and half or so have been so hectic and my life has changed immensely since then but I digress as that is not what this review is about. Still, I'm sorry for taking so long and I hope this review can be of some help.

    ----Ingredient Profile---- 7.5/10
    Vitacore is not a deluxe all encompassing multivitamin supplement, nor was designed to be. Vitacore occupies the corner of the market of basic multivitamin supplements suited for people who train hard, hence the "core" part of the name (or so I think anyways). There's a wide range of vitamins and minerals from the B vitamins to iodine and zinc at decent amounts. Now I'm no expert on multivitamins but I can tell by a glance that this profile is lacking a lot of the other things you may find in pricier multivitamins, but I believe that this covers the basics such as vitamins A,D,E,Bs,K, and various minerals. Notably, Vitacore also includes 1.6g of Beta Alanine and 1g of L Carnitine L-Tartrate. While, the L Carnitine L-Tartrate is a solid dose, the Beta Alanine is half of the efficacious 3.2g. That being said, getting half of your daily serving of Beta Alanine in your multivitamin is a really nice treat. There is also 25mcg of Boron which is supposed to help with testosterone. Although I doubt it did much due to my young age, it can't hurt to take. Additionally, I noticed many ingredients were in chelate form which, for many vitamins and minerals, is best for absorption. All in all, this is a decent ingredient profile that surely covers the basics and a few others but lacks all the extras of pricier supplements. In short, not bad for a basic multivitamin supplement.

    ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
    I didn't find that the pills had any taste whatsoever. I dosed this at 3 pills a day as per bottle instructions. Although I had intense training sessions, I never took this twice a day. I'm not sure if it would have made much of a difference to anything other than my theoretical wallet since I get Beta Alanine from other sources. Since this supplement comes in pill form, I'll replace Mixability with ease of taking. The pills were a little large but were smooth and surprisingly easy to take with liquid.

    ----Effectiveness---- 7/10
    I wasn't really sure what to expect from Vitacore, especially since I had been off any multivitamin supplement for awhile. After about a week of taking Vitacore, I got a moderate energy boost throughout the day. Without sounding extreme, everything just felt a slight bit easier. It is sort of like the difference between waking up groggy and waking up refreshed. This feeling lasted for the rest of the bottle and my energy returned to pre-Vitacore levels within a few days of finishing the bottle. I should also note that apart from this energy boost, I likely received an immune boost as multiple people around me fell ill either from the seasonal flus or just stress, but I remained healthy the entire time. Other than the slight energy boost (that didn't really translate to much in the gym) and the likely immune boost, I didn't feel much else. My training sessions certainly never felt any easier. My joints and digestion didn't fare any better or worse (but this is a basic multivitamin so I didn't expect this). Given the L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, Boron, and Beta Alanine, I'd at least expect a little boost in the training sessions, but my experiences fell short of this expectation. Perhaps this is because I already supplement with Beta Alanine, so the extra wasn't doing as much as if I had taken none at all. Still, I'm not sure what that says of the L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and Boron, but perhaps that helps the older guys more.

    ----Value---- 7/10
    I found this for 18.99 +5.99 shipping, or about $25 for 90 pills or 30 servings. That's not a terrible price for a basic multivitamin with a few extras in it (at decent dosages). Still, it is no amazing deal either. If you can find this on sale, I'd definitely pick it up for those rough times when you can't splurge on deluxe multivitamin supplements. At $25 for 30 servings, you can probably find a slightly better supplements for about the same price, but you won't regret this purchase. In short, the value is not bad but I'd try to find it on sale if possible given the nature of the supplement (basic multivitamin).


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

    ----Conclusion---- 7/10
    Ultimately, this is a solid 7/10. Vitacore is essentially a basic multivitamin with 3 extra goodies for those of us who train, and train hard. If you're trying to find a decent budget multivitamin and want to get part of your Beta Alanine and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate supplementation out of the way too, then look no further. If you need a budget multivitamin and don't supplement with Beta Alanine or L-Carnitine L-Tartrate at all, then definitely try this out. If you just need a budget multivitamin with no frills at all, however, then I'd honestly look elsewhere as you can find those for a lot cheaper. Either way, this is a decent multivitamin supplement and you definitely won't regret trying it out, regardless of why you are taking it.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Good Energy
    • Maintains Health
    • Good Value

      Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
      (Thanks to MAXLER for sending it out!)
      ----Ingredient Profile---- 8.5/10
      NRG Max is stacked. There really is not much more to say but I'll try anyways. Every active ingredient is fully disclosed which is a huge plus. Furthermore, the most important ingredients efficaciously dosed. L-citrulline malate, CarnoSyn beta alanine, BCAAs (at a 2:1:1 ratio), taurine, and caffeine are all dosed well. Creatine totals 3g although I think including 100mg of the dicreatine malate and creatine hcl forms is absolutely pointless. Additionally, the Turbofocus and Energocore complexes are well-rounded, despite some ingredients like Rhodiola Rosea ...
      ----Ingredient Profile---- 8.5/10
      NRG Max is stacked. There really is not much more to say but I'll try anyways. Every active ingredient is fully disclosed which is a huge plus. Furthermore, the most important ingredients efficaciously dosed. L-citrulline malate, CarnoSyn beta alanine, BCAAs (at a 2:1:1 ratio), taurine, and caffeine are all dosed well. Creatine totals 3g although I think including 100mg of the dicreatine malate and creatine hcl forms is absolutely pointless. Additionally, the Turbofocus and Energocore complexes are well-rounded, despite some ingredients like Rhodiola Rosea being largely underdosed. Other than the use of dyes, the weird inclusion of 2 severely underdosed creatine forms, and some other underdosing in the Turbofocus and Energocore complexes (Rhodiola Rosea, White Tea Leaf, Cordyceps, Ginko Biloba, DMAE) this product looks good from the profile alone.


      ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 8/10
      I received the pink lemonade flavor and it was a bit too tart. With a little more water it was a little better but I'd still recommend trying a different flavor. Mixability was very good considering the nature and amount of product in each scoop (23g). There were only a few granules left behind after each use and never any serious clumping or unbearable foaming. I dosed this anywhere from 0.5-1 scoops depending on my caffeine needs.


      ----Effectiveness---- 8.75/10
      In short, NRG Max is a heavy hitter in the pre-workout category. With 8g of L-Citrulline Malate, I got some great pumps and found I was "feeling myself" a lot as a result, which only helped me work through some grueling workouts. Beta Alanine does wonders for my endurance but I notice it the most in how I feel after cardio as opposed to the one or two more reps I get on a lift. Additionally, 350mg of caffeine never failed to wake me up and get me focused for my lifts. The inclusion of taurine and tyrosine helped smooth out the potential side effects of caffeine in addition to providing a host of other benefits. The BCAAs and creatine were also included at decent amounts. While a dedicated creatine or BCAA product should give you a few more grams of each of these ingredients, 3 and 4 grams respectively is not terrible. At these levels alone you get some of the usual benefits like increased strength and endurance but the main value is really in that with minor additional supplementation you can reach optimal dosages and see some great results. While I'm unable to pinpoint any one feeling or sensation to any of the underdosed ingredients I identified, it can't hurt to have them and at the very least they worked well in their blends. That being said, the L-Citrulline Malate, beta alanine, caffeine, taurine, tyrosine, BCAAs, and creatine are what really make NRG Max so effective. This is one of the more reliable and effective non-DMAA stim pre-workouts, I've tried. I never failed to get a pump or feel awake and focused for my lifts. Given the lack of side effects, I can only really find fault in the dosages (which I'm sure would have affected my experience more if I hadn't supplemented with BCAAs and creatine separately and so I've deducted accordingly).


      ----Value---- 8/10
      I found this on Amazon for about $30 including shipping and handling for a 30 day supply. There are a lot of worthwhile ingredients in NRG Max that are properly dosed and you're definitely paying for that. However, there are a handful of underdosed ingredients that could likely be removed with little difference to NRG's overall effectiveness and some savings. No one likes paying for something if it isn't helping them and I doubt 100mg of different forms of creatine or white tea leaf extract really makes a noticeable difference. Still, NRG Max is effective and for $1 a workout this is definitely worth it. It is not an amazing deal, but it is a solid price for a staple product.


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


      ----Conclusion---- 8.5/10
      NRG Max is a solid product for a staple, reliable pre-workout. It gets the job done, and then some, all for a reasonable price. Can you find a better pre-workout for cheaper if you come across a good sale or want to take DMAA? Sure. However, you will not be disappointed, nor will you be seriously financially burdened if you include NRG Max into your pre-workout rotation. I've actually suggested this product to some of my girlfriend's family who lifts and they have since tried NRG Max and were impressed. If you're on the fence about trying NRG Max, I'd suggest trying it. The average of the most important important categories is 8.3 (Ingredients, Value, Effectiveness, Taste/Mixability/Dosing) and I added a little bit to reflect the lack of side effects and increased importance of effectiveness over taste/mixability/dosing.
       Pros:
       Cons:
      • Great Ingredient Label
      • Focus
      • BCAA Included
      • Increased Energy
      • Good Value

        Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
        (Thanks to MAXLER for sending it out!)
        ----Ingredient Profile---- 8/10
        There is a lot of good ingredients in this supplement profile, but they are not always at the proper dose. For example, MSM is in a proprietary blend of 1.3g but it is suggested that MSM be dosed at 3g. I'm not a huge fan of blends to begin with but ones that are underdosed so as there is no possible way to efficaciously dose all the ingredients are even worse. Yet, on the other hand, Maxler includes glucosamine sulfate at 1.5g which is not only a good dose but also the best form of glucosamine. Similarly, chondroitin is dosed at 1.2g which is a proper dosage...
        ----Ingredient Profile---- 8/10
        There is a lot of good ingredients in this supplement profile, but they are not always at the proper dose. For example, MSM is in a proprietary blend of 1.3g but it is suggested that MSM be dosed at 3g. I'm not a huge fan of blends to begin with but ones that are underdosed so as there is no possible way to efficaciously dose all the ingredients are even worse. Yet, on the other hand, Maxler includes glucosamine sulfate at 1.5g which is not only a good dose but also the best form of glucosamine. Similarly, chondroitin is dosed at 1.2g which is a proper dosage. Additionally, I like the inclusion of every ingredient in the proprietary blend, however I like to see a least some of them at higher dosages.




        ----Taste/Mixability/Dosing---- 10/10
        The pills are a little big but they go down smooth so I'm not deducting for their size. Additionally, they were not huge, just big. I dosed this at 3 pills once a day per label instructions and found it incredibly easy to do. Can't get much simpler than this.


        ----Effectiveness---- 8/10
        Honestly, I was a bit surprised at how well this worked. I was expecting some modest benefits but nothing huge given my concerns regarding the dosing of some of the ingredients. In short, my experience shattered my expectations. About 2 weeks after starting this product, I felt and heard less creakiness in my knees. Leg day on that week was one of the best I'd had in a few months. I felt great and even ventured to do some heavier-than-usual squats and leg pressing. With long-term use I'd expect these effects to be more pronounced but even after just a few weeks I was content with the results. For another week of use, I felt progressively better but it plateaued towards the end. I'd say my chronic knee pain/discomfort went from a 7/10 to a 5/10 as a result of this. For reference, I'd say the lowest it has even been was a 3/10 so I'd judge this product to be surprisingly good given its effects and the limitations of supplementation in general as well as the need to keep supplements affordable.


        ----Value---- 8.25/10
        Right now this goes for about $15 on Amazon with shipping and handling included. That's about $.50 a day for a decent joint support supplement. Compared to a NOW product of the same name, Maxler offers a very similar product with some added goodies in the proprietary blend. I find the NOW product to be a good deal for a cheap but effective joint supplement. Most of the joint supplements with larger and better dosed profiles that I know of are at least $10 more and really cater to a different need. If you're on a budget then the best you can probably do is something that will give you better-than-modest, but not amazing, joint support, and this is the perfect product for that consumer.


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


        ----Conclusion---- 8.25/10
        Ultimately, I thought this turned out to be a good product. Initially I was skeptical because of the proprietary blend but my fears were assuaged after about 2 weeks of use. While every category matters, the most important is undoubtedly effectiveness, or in other words, "does this product work?" The short answer is "yes, but have reasonable expectations." The average of the 3 relevant categories (value, effectiveness, ingredients) is 8.08 and I round up to 8.25 to account for the easy dosing, and lack of side effects. All this being said, I would recommend this to a friend on a budget looking for an effective joint support supplement.
         Pros:
         Cons:
        • Good Value
        • Helps Relieve Joint Pain

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