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htevans

SR TROOPer


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REVIEWS (80)

Reviews by htevans



Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to The Genius Brand for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  November 8, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Fully Disclosed
  • Low Dose
  • Not Effective

Quick Summary

Estrogen Balance may help with balancing out your bad and good estrogen ratio but you probably won't notice it.

Introduction

I picked up Estrogen Balance in an effort to naturally lower my estrogen and find an alternative to arimistane.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
1 capsule provides 5mg BioPerine, 150mg DIM, and 150mg Grape Seed Extract. DIM is a natural "anti-" estrogen that helps convert "bad" estrogens in the body to "good" estrogens. However, DIM can also block mTOR and androgens. The former may be helpful if you have something like cancer but not so...

Quick Summary

Estrogen Balance may help with balancing out your bad and good estrogen ratio but you probably won't notice it.

Introduction

I picked up Estrogen Balance in an effort to naturally lower my estrogen and find an alternative to arimistane.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
1 capsule provides 5mg BioPerine, 150mg DIM, and 150mg Grape Seed Extract. DIM is a natural "anti-" estrogen that helps convert "bad" estrogens in the body to "good" estrogens. However, DIM can also block mTOR and androgens. The former may be helpful if you have something like cancer but not so much for muscle building purposes. Grape Seed Extract is purported to be a natural anti-estrogen/aromatase inhibitor but a further look into the science dispels much of this science. It appears GSE contains procyanidins that express AI behavior in the lab but from my understanding and reading of the science, it doesn't translate well in vivo. BioPerine is a well known nutrient absorber, although the science behind it used 10mg.

All said, these ingredients are not bad for a natural AI/E-blocker. These seem to be the staples in this department, despite the lack of scientific backing. But hey, that's supplementation as a whole for you sometimes. However, if you were going to give this a shot, it would be best at double the dose for BioPerine and GSE and anywhere from 50-100mg more DIM. As of now, you have the best ingredients (albeit of questionable effectiveness) at mediocre doses. I'd prefer higher doses if I'm putting stock in these ingredients for my AI/E-blocking goals. I should also note that some newer natural ingredients Chrysin and Acacetin are becoming popular and may be worth including/substituting in but I admittedly don't know much about them.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
There's no taste/mixability with this supplement as this is a capsule based product so I will substitute after-taste and ease of taking. The capsules had no aftertaste and were extremely easy to swallow/take as they were relatively small. I dosed this at 1 capsule in the morning for 3 weeks and 2 capsules in the morning for a week to see if I noticed any difference.

Effectiveness

6.5/10
This is a hard section to rate. I noticed no consciously discernible effects. Ever. So why 6.5 and not 0? First off, I buy into the science behind DIM promoting the conversion of bad estrogen to good estrogen. BUT I also tend to believe that at the higher doses where this may become most noticeable there is a good chance you'll also be blocking vital mTOR and androgen pathways necessary for building muscle (all of our goals - right?). I don't buy into the GSE science much though and I never noticed any typical AI effects like I did with arimistane. No sore/poppy joints. No dryness. No strength increase. Nothing. So perhaps I'm too nice here on the effectiveness rating, but I feel that even if I can't tell the difference there is something going on microscopically (ie estrogen form conversion) that should be rewarded in some way. I guess the best I can say is that gave me some peace of mind.

This will not provide results similar to tried and true AIs/E-blockers/SERM like Virtus, Arimistane, or any pharmaceutical grade drug like Letro, Nolva, Clomid, etc. Maybe you're not looking for the latter but I think most of us are looking for the former (competitors to Virtus, Arimistane, etc) so keep this in mind.

Value

6.5/10
I found this for $18.99 on Amazon for a 30 capsule/30 serving container which is $0.64/serving/day/capsule. At first, that doesn't appear too bad, but a closer look reveals competitors with better effectiveness reported from users/reviewers on here for similar price. For example, look at VMI Sports' Arima-XD - it has an average rating of 8.0 for $25.99-29.99/60 capsules/30 servings. Similarly, Virtus commonly goes for about $35 for a 30ml (30-60 serving) container (with a coupon - 40% off which is typical for their holiday sales) and it is 2.2x less strong than Letrozole. Simply put, your money may be better spent in other areas and on other products.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Estrogen Balance.

Conclusion

6.5/10
I got to a 6.5/10 by averaging the Value, Effectiveness, and Ingredient Profile sections which gave me 7/10. I then deducted 0.5 to account for the serious lack of discernible effectiveness. I feel that is fair because at the end of the day effectiveness matters most. If something works amazingly well then people will find a way to pay whatever premium for it. Unfortunately, this was not one of those products. In short, I'd recommend looking elsewhere for you AI/E-blocker goals.


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

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Decent Value
  • Effective Hydromax
  • Reduces Soreness
  • Improved Recovery
  • Good Taste
  • Solid Endurance
  • Great Taste
  • Hydration Lacking

Quick Summary

Aminoaide is a straightforward, no BS BCAA supplement with two solid extra ingredients (LCLT, Hydromax) that make it all the better. It is well worth a rotation into your stack.

Introduction

I selected AminoAide from SR Troops to try out another amino supplement. The profile looked pretty good and I'm always for trying something new so I gave it a go.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
Each 8 gram scoop contains:

5 grams of BCAAs in a 3:1:1 ratio. 1 gram of LCLT and 750mg of Hydromax (65%). Simple and straightforward. The addition of Hydromax is an ideal extra...

Quick Summary

Aminoaide is a straightforward, no BS BCAA supplement with two solid extra ingredients (LCLT, Hydromax) that make it all the better. It is well worth a rotation into your stack.

Introduction

I selected AminoAide from SR Troops to try out another amino supplement. The profile looked pretty good and I'm always for trying something new so I gave it a go.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
Each 8 gram scoop contains:

5 grams of BCAAs in a 3:1:1 ratio. 1 gram of LCLT and 750mg of Hydromax (65%). Simple and straightforward. The addition of Hydromax is an ideal extra for intra-workout. If your pre-workout has it then you're in double luck. I love LCLT and to see it in an amino/intra-workout supplement is icing on the cake. I'll take LCLT whenever I can throughout the day so its not the timing aspect that I appreciate but the fact that I can cut back on extraneous supplementation. I also personally prefer a 2:1:1 ratio on BCAAs but I doubt that a 3:1:1 ratio is of any significant difference. Could you ask for anything else? Maybe some electrolytes and taurine to help with hydration and work in a synergistic manner with Hydromax. Those few additions would bring this from a 9/10 to 10/10.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
I received the mango breeze flavor and it was delicious. It had a slight after-taste that I couldn't quite put my finger on but it was an enjoyable one at that. I finally figured out that it was a cocoa after-taste but just trust me on this one - it works with the flavor. Mango is an easy flavor to mess up and this did it proper. Mixability was perfect but note that the powder will be clumpy in the jar due to the Hydromax. I dosed this at 1 - 1.5 scoops intra-workout. I did 2 scoops once or twice to see what the pump effect would be from the Hydromax but I ultimately decided that, combined with my pre-workout, 1 scoop or so was more than enough. The flavor held well with anywhere from 10-20 oz of water.

Effectiveness

8.5/10
Amino Aide was very effective as an intra-workout supplement. I felt an increase in pumps, hydration, and endurance. Plus, since I enjoyed the flavor I was drinking this really quick and that inadvertently helped me drink more water/liquid during my workouts. Of course I could end it here but I'll try my best to qualify some of these effects. In terms of pumps, I know that my pre-workout supplementation was the main contributor but I could tell that the pumps would last longer when I was drinking Amino Aide. Similarly, I noticed that when I would just take Amino Aide and a caffeine pill or some coffee instead of a full-blown pre-workout that I would still have quicker, stronger, and longer pumps. So yes, this could really help in the pump department if you're looking for a barebones basic approach (i.e. caffeine pill + pump-inducing agent). In terms of hydration, this wasn't on par with other intra-workouts that have electrolytes (especially TRAACs) but I noticed a difference from just drinking water. I never felt like I was parched and dying to have a drink but I was still pretty thirsty. In hydration alone, this was about a 6.5/10. Finally, in terms of endurance, this was great. I have no illusions that it was mainly other supplementation that helped me get into the zone to where I could really just crank out a workout but this certainly helped me along. In fact, I noticed that without Amino Aide, I had the willpower to keep killing the weights but I didn't always have the strength. For example, I may burn out on curls at the end because I'm feeling like it and instead of doing 25s I'd do 20s. Not a big difference, but noticeable nonetheless. Some of that is also likely due to improved recovery over the course of multiple workouts and being able to get back at it quicker. I didn't consciously think about this aspect for some reason but I'm sure it was present. In short, this was a great intra-workout but I think some more hydration support would bring this to the next level (9-9.5/10)

Value

8/10
I found this on Amazon and Rexx Sports Nutrition's website. On Amazon it is currently $25.49 (0.85/serving). It appears to be low on stock so maybe this will go down in the future as stock is replenished. Still, as of now its a decent price. Below $1/serving for an intra-workout with some solid extras (Hydromax, LCLT) is a good deal - no two ways about it. However, a larger serving container (60-100 servings) would presumably bring the price per serving down to a truly stellar level (~$0.60/serving) and that is the difference between a 8/10 and a 8.5/10+ value rating in my mind. If this had even more extras (taurine and electrolytes), even though they are cheap raws to add, it would bring the value up even more to 9.0/10+ levels.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Amino Aide.

Conclusion

8.5/10
I came to a 8.5/10 rating by averaging Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections. This gave me a 8.5/10 and I kept it because I feel that it is right on point for this supplement. It is clearly a good intra-workout, arguably even great, but it is not quite at the amazing level. It is definitely worth the introduction into your supplement rotation and if you find it on sale (or if they make a larger serving size container) then its probably worth it to pull the trigger on a few bottles. Either way, you will not be disappointed with Amino Aide - far from it.



Overall
Overall
8.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
8.8
Value
Value
7.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Basic Supps for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  October 31, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Daily Greens
  • No Artificial Flavoring
  • Increased Energy
  • Fills Nutritional Gaps
  • Proprietary Blend
  • Too Expensive

Quick Summary

Greens is a sweet (but not too sweet) tasting and well-rounded greens supplement. I highly recommend try it out.

Introduction

I picked up Greens in an effort to try more greens/superfood supplements. I wanted to get a sense of the field and try new products to see if I would like one more than my trusted Amazing Grass.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
Greens has a well-rounded ingredient profile that fills the nutritional gaps in most modern diets.

Each 10 gram scoop contains the following:

100 IU of Vitamin E, 5.8 grams of a "Green Health Blend" (mostly ...

Quick Summary

Greens is a sweet (but not too sweet) tasting and well-rounded greens supplement. I highly recommend try it out.

Introduction

I picked up Greens in an effort to try more greens/superfood supplements. I wanted to get a sense of the field and try new products to see if I would like one more than my trusted Amazing Grass.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
Greens has a well-rounded ingredient profile that fills the nutritional gaps in most modern diets.

Each 10 gram scoop contains the following:

100 IU of Vitamin E, 5.8 grams of a "Green Health Blend" (mostly fruit and grasses), 1.4 grams of a "Energy Blend" (Spirulina, Beet Root, Bee Pollen, and Green Tea), 420mg of a "Detox Blend" (containing fruit and herbs - notably milk thistle and acerola cherry/berry), 340mg of an "Alkalinity Blend," 150mg of a "Probiotic Blend Complex," 125mg of an "Enzyme Blend," and 100mg of stevia for flavoring.

While I don't find the names behind the blends too important, I do like the ingredients used in each of them. Some that stand out to me are grape seed, milk thistle, green tea, be pollen, spirulina, acerola berry, chlorella, alfalfa, and the various probiotics and enzymes. I appreciate that each blend has a disclosed dose but I wish that we knew how much of each ingredient was included. Fully disclosed labeling does not appear to be too common of a practice in this part of the supplement industry so this may fall on deaf ears for now. Similarly, I really like the inclusion of probiotics but 150mg is not as useful to me as a cell count. Is there billions? millions? how many? I don't know what to do with 150mg. All that being said, I think the profile has a fair amount of fruits, veggies, grasses, and extras (probioitics, enzymes, etc.) that it is a decent competitor on the market. Does it have the widest spectrum of fruit or veggies? No. But do products that have those other fruits and veggies necessarily have digestive enzymes and probiotics? Also no.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I don't know where it comes from but there is a slight pineapple taste to this that is absolutely delicious. The flavor really makes it a delight to drink and not a chore - which is always a huge plus with greens supplements. The mixability was perfect for a greens supplement. Minimal green residue leftover, no chunks or grit. I dosed this at one scoop in the morning around breakfast or occasionally at night if I forgot and was in a rush.

Effectiveness

8.75/10
I felt just as good taking Greens as I did with other greens/superfood supplements - notably Amazing Grass variations. I actually enjoyed taking it a little more and forgot to take it less because I liked the taste more. I didn't notice any drop off in an increased natural energy and sense of well-being. Is some of that placebo from taking any greens supplement? Probably. I still think it is important to note that I didn't feel worse when jumping right from one greens supplement to another. Similarly, I didn't feel any better either. This tells me that Greens was just as effective as Amazing Grass and other greens supplements in delivering consciously discernible effects (i.e. natural energy increase). From an unconscious standpoint, it certainly helped fill nutritional voids in my diet as well. I definitely don't eat as many grasses, fruits, and veggies as I should. I think there are even more well-rounded supplements in this regard though. For example, the basic Amazing Grass has broccoli, carrot, acai, raspberry, and maca. Do I absolutely need all that? Who knows, but I don't regularly eat it so that supplement is definitely providing more "missing ingredients" in my diet. Hence, I have to stop just short of a 9.0/10 rating for Greens.

Value

7/10
I could only find this for $36.95/30 servings on the basic supps website. That's $1.23 a serving. When compared to the competition, many Amazing Grass flavors run about $20/30 servings or $0.67 a serving. That's about double. Ouch. I think $30/30 servings ($1/serving) would be a fair price for this. Of course AG's price points will be hard for a smaller company to beat with economies of scale and such but they should still come a little closer to get consumers to make the jump. As it stands, this is not a terrible price for what you get - its just not great.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Greens.

Conclusion

8/10
I come to a 8/10 overall rating by averaging the ratings for Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value, which gives a 7.9/10. I then round up to 8.0 to account for a superb Taste/Mixability/Dosing rating. The taste is really good enough to warrant the rounding. You'd swear it was mixed with some pineapple juice. I think this 8.0/10 rating accurately reflects the product as whole as well. In short, it is a solid contender in the greens/superfood supplement arena, but it is not the best - yet.



Overall
Overall
6.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
9.0
Value
Value
5.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Loud Muscle Science for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  September 26, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Libido Booster
  • Solid As A Rock
  • Increase Desire
  • More Frequent Erections
  • Crazy Libido Boost
  • Heartburn
  • Acid Re- Flux
  • Blend
  • Too Expensive
  • Timing Of Servings

Quick Summary

Launch Sequence will certainly get your rocket to launch but there is also a chance it will burn up on the pad like Apollo 1. If the Apollo program was worth the cost, maybe this is too.

Introduction

Saw some mixed reviews on Launch Sequence and decide I'd give it a go for nights when I wanted to pound down some whiskey. I read Clipper's experience with heartburn and prayed I didn't get the same.

Ingredient Profile

5/10
2 capsules provides 1560mg of a proprietary blend containing: Tongkat Ali, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus Terrestis, Yohimbe Bark, Ashwaga...

Quick Summary

Launch Sequence will certainly get your rocket to launch but there is also a chance it will burn up on the pad like Apollo 1. If the Apollo program was worth the cost, maybe this is too.

Introduction

Saw some mixed reviews on Launch Sequence and decide I'd give it a go for nights when I wanted to pound down some whiskey. I read Clipper's experience with heartburn and prayed I didn't get the same.

Ingredient Profile

5/10
2 capsules provides 1560mg of a proprietary blend containing: Tongkat Ali, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus Terrestis, Yohimbe Bark, Ashwagandha, Maca, Mucuna Pruriens, Muira Puama, and Rhodiola Rosea extract.

I have many problems with this profile. While almost all of these ingredients are libido boosters (with ashwagandha and rhodoila rosea serving more of an anti-anxiety purpose), we have no idea how much of each is included. Additionally, we don't even have some basic standardization information for important ingredients like Tribulus Terrestis (<40% saponins is key), Yohimbe Bark, Ashwagandaha, and Rhodiola Rosea. Add to that that none of these are the patented and proven forms. I'm not a huge stickler for patented forms - I like to see them but identical standardizations for active components should provided nearly identical results and are fine with me - but given this product's price point I'd like to see forms like KSM-66 for example. My final issue with this product is that given the side effects I and others have experienced, I feel that there must be something undisclosed in here which is a huge concern.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
Since this is a capsule product, I will substitute taste for aftertaste and mixability with ease of taking (i.e. swallowing difficulty). There was no aftertaste to report and the capsules went down smoothly. I dosed this at 1-2 capsules before a meal. I feel like 2 hours is a bit much. Sometimes things happen quickly or go south quickly and 2 hours just doesn't really account for that. 30 minutes - 1 hour would be ideal but it really does take closer to 2 hours as I found out after some experimentation with dose timing.

Effectiveness

9/10
Despite all of the negative I can list about profile, side effects, price point, etc., I have to admit this stuff works and works well. I would take 1-2 capsules about 1-2 hours before any planned activity with a meal. Within 1-2 hours I noticed I would be inexplicably turned on and in the mood regardless of what I was doing. If I didn't get a release soon I'd have to literally stop what I was doing and take care of matters because it was that strong of an effect. I tried to dose this with smaller meals before drinking and I never had to worry about alcohol doing me and my little buddy in. I was always rock hard and ready to go. If I could sum this up in one metaphorical sentence: this is the Energizer Bunny's sexual mojo distilled into 2 blue capsules. Its honestly the best anti-whiskey stick supplement I've tried in terms of effectiveness and it works so well that I 1) wonder if there is a little something else undisclosed in the ingredient profile *wink wink* and 2) would consider using it in the future despite the side effects.

Value

5/10
I found this on Amazon at 2, 5, and 30 serving sizes for the following prices: $14.75 ($7.38/serving), $24.75 ($4.96/serving), and $89.75 ($3.00/serving). That's ridiculous. That price point is just downright terrible for the lower servings and the best price per serving requires an absurd sum up-front. I'd say that this needs to come down to around $1.50/serving to really be competitive. Nothing in this product demands these kinds of prices - you could get all of the ingredients at a clinical dose from Amazon, in bulk, for less. At this rate, you are better off either getting a script for viagra or cialis, going the RC route, or buying individual libido boosters and running them consistently. All of those are cheaper and likely equally if not more effective and cost-effective in the long run.

Side Effects

2/10
At first, I didn't experience any side effects when taking Launch Sequence. I thought I was in the clear. Then I didn't need it for about two weeks so I took a break. Upon taking it again, I got some ridiculous heartburn. I was up all night with it. I had to take a ton of antacids and even then I wasn't feeling super great. That being said, the antacids seemed to mitigate the heartburn - the feeling was likely more of a mental thing. It was crazy and very uncomfortable. Unless my life depended on laying some pipe that night, I would much rather try other supplements even if they are less effective or take continued use to be effective.

Conclusion

6/10
I came to a 6/10 rating by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, Value, and Side Effects sections since they were extremely relevant in rating this product. That gave me a 5.25/10 which I rounded up to a 6/10 to account for this product's scary good effectiveness. I felt that it really deserved some credit for that in an over-saturated market of bottled snake-oil misleading vulnerable men. Still, it can not get above a 6.0 without reducing side effects and price. All in all, I would say try this if you can't get a script or go the RC route for whatever reason, but use at your own risk!



Overall
Overall
6.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
6.0
Value
Value
6.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  September 5, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Makes A Good Sweat
  • Open Label
  • Reduce Water Retention
  • Some Ingredients Could Be Dosed Higher
  • Not Effective

Quick Summary

L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT unfortunately does not bring the heat. It will help you sweat a little more but that seemed to be about it. All in all, you're much better off just running a standard L-Carnitine supplement and drinking green tea and/or supplementing with green tea extract/powders.

Introduction

I picked up L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT from TROOPS after trying VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 with some success. Still trying to shed a few pounds at the time, I decided to try out the HEAT variant in hopes that it may be more beneficial in terms of fat-loss as I mostly saw ...

Quick Summary

L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT unfortunately does not bring the heat. It will help you sweat a little more but that seemed to be about it. All in all, you're much better off just running a standard L-Carnitine supplement and drinking green tea and/or supplementing with green tea extract/powders.

Introduction

I picked up L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT from TROOPS after trying VMI's L-Carnitine 3000 with some success. Still trying to shed a few pounds at the time, I decided to try out the HEAT variant in hopes that it may be more beneficial in terms of fat-loss as I mostly saw nootropic benefits with L-Carnitine 3000.

Ingredient Profile

6.5/10
The bulk of L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT is 1,500mg of L-Carnitine in 3 forms. Big surprise, right? A little surprising to me, however, was that there was 500mg of each form: L-Carnitine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, and Acetyl L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine 3000 did not use this 1:1:1 ratio and instead used a 2:1:1 ratio. I actually prefer this ratio since ALCAR has nootropic benefits and LCLT has shown some promise in increasing androgen receptors and power output, albeit at a dose of 2 grams. Still, a 1:1:1 ratio gives you more of the better forms. The downfall here though is that there is only 500mg of each form per serving. That's a bit low to say the least.

What separates this product from the other variant, L-Carnitine 3000, is the inclusion of some extra ingredients to aid lipolysis. L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT had 50mg of Green Tea Extract (standardized for 50% EGCG), 25mg of Gamma Butyrobetaine Ethyl Ester Chloride, 25mg of Paradoxine Grains of Paradise Extract (standardized for 12.5% 6-paradol), and 2.5mg of BioPerine black pepper extract.

50mg of green tea extract? I regularly supplement with at least 500mg of green tea extract a day with the same standardization rate providing 250mg of EGCG. Finding green tea extracts providing anywhere from 200mg-250mg EGCG is the norm. 50mg is a drop in the bucket. You're likely better off drinking an actual cup of green tea.

GBB is the molecule needed for your body to produce its own L-Carnitine. Apparently some studies have shown it to have a thermogenic effect of its own after supplementation and certainly makes you sweat a lot more. Also, it may be safer because it cannot convert to D-Carnitine which is toxic. The typical dose here is 10-20mg twice daily so its actually well dosed here, especially if you take two servings throughout the day. My main issue here, is the ingredient's inclusion to begin with. I think it makes sense in a L-Carnitine product for sure, but given that it is only in the HEAT version it appears that its included more for its sweat producing capabilities than its synergy with L-Carnitine supplementation in general. That seems like a little bit of a dirty trick to me since sweat production doesn't equal lipolysis.

Grains of Paradise come from the Ginger plant and contain a notable compound called 6-paradol. 6-paradol is purported to increase one's metabolic rate, activity of brown adipose tissue, and calorie burning. The studies were originally conducted on rats and then recently some have been done on humans that show promise. That being said, I couldn't find anything on what standardization rate of 6-paradol was being used in the studies and came across some studies using 30mg-40mg of Grains of Paradise. Also, it seemed the jury was still out on the relatively new findings. Thus, while this could very well be adequately and efficaciously dosed, I think there are more tried and true options for a fat-burning supplement. For example, I'd much rather see capsaicin extract than grains of paradise.

Finally 2.5mg of BioPerine is weak. The studies were done with 10mg of BioPerine and most supplements at least include 5mg. Its not an expensive ingredient so I don't really see why the common dose of 5mg, which is still underdosed, can't be met.

In short, VMI deserves some credit for using some cutting edge ingredients and that will definitely appeal to some consumers with a bit more faith than me. However, they also deserve some serious flak for including a pittance of 50mg of Green Tea Extract and a drop of BioPerine. If you're putting stock in new and cutting edge ingredients, then at least cover your bases with absorption enhancers and the one tried and true ingredient in the ingredient.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

8/10
I received the Patriot Pop flavor and it was not nearly as good as the regular version. It was kind of spicy. I attribute that to the Grains of Paradise since it comes from Ginger. If you want that ingredient I expect that the spiciness is something you'll have to deal with so I don't fault VMI too much for that. At least it didn't give me heartburn or a lasting burning sensation. Plus, it still wasn't a bad flavor - just a little spicy.

Mixability was perfect. Given that this is a liquid suspension product, you'd expect nothing less but VMI still deserves some credit for not botching this. No clumps, graininess, etc. I always gave the bottle a shake before using but I doubt it was necessary.

I dosed this at 1-2 servings, weighed out in the cap, pre-workout.

Effectiveness

6/10
I can't say I noticed any real lipolytic effects from supplementing with L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT. Fat loss seemed to stay at the same pace before, during, and after using this product. In the timeless words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that."

I also didn't notice much in the way of nootropic effects at one serving. At two servings I seemed to get a mild cognition boost, but it was not as strong as what I felt with the L-Carnitine 3000 product from VMI. I assume this has to do with the reduced ALCAR dosage.

The main effect that I felt from this product was increased sweat production. I was sweating so much. At first, I thought it was a fat-burner I was taking along with some other supplements, but then I realized that when I didn't take L-Carnitine 1500 HEAT I wasn't sweating nearly as much. For example, after a workout with no cardio I would be sweating as if I had just done 30 minutes on the treadmill. Unsurprisingly, I felt and looked a little drier after these workouts. Perhaps, this should be repurposed as a diuretic supplement. Seriously though, it felt like I was in a sauna. Unfortunately, that does not necessarily translate to lipolysis. Sweating more was good and all for the mental effect of "oh, I must be losing more weight since I'm sweating more," but we know that its just water weight and not actual fat burning. In the end, I didn't notice any real impact on my fat-burning efforts, but at least I felt like I was making more progress.

Value

6/10
I found this for $24.99 at most supplement sites and $19.99 on Amazon with prime shipping (and $1 off with a subscription). That's $0.67 a serving. That may not sound too bad, but consider what you're actually getting here. You're getting half the L-Carnitine as the regular version from VMI (which was a decent deal), and you're getting a pittance of Green Tea Extract and BioPerine along with some cutting edge, but relatively unproven ingredients. If the Green Tea Extract was at least increased to 250mg and the Bioperine to 5mg then this could be an ok value. As it stands, its just not a deal I'd pull the trigger on unless I had some serious cash to blow.

Side Effects

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

Conclusion

6/10
I got to a 6/10 by averaging the Value, Effectiveness, and Ingredient Profile sections which gave a 6.17/10. I then decided to round down to a 6/10 because I felt that this accurately reflects my overall experience with the product. I was severely disappointed by the profile and while I tried to give a small boost of 0.5 for the utilization of unique ingredients like 6-paradol and GBB, I think VMI really messed up by underdosing ECGC, and to a lesser extent BioPerine. Additionally, I think another tried and true fat-burning staple like Capsaicin could really help this product live up to the marketing hype. In short, if you're looking for fat-loss and L-Carnitine you're better off drinking a few cups of green tea and supplementing with VMI's L-Carnitine 3000.



Overall
Overall
8.8
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
9.0
Value
Value
8.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Thin Fit Line for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  September 5, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Good Value
  • Convenient Packs
  • Good Absorption
  • Well-Rounded Profile
  • Limited Retailers

Quick Summary

Heroes Pack is a great multivitamin and mineral supplement that comes conveniently packaged in daily packs. Surprisingly Thin Fit Line uses capsules rather than cold-pressed tablets, which I found absorbed better. Solid competitor in this category of supplements and definitely worth a rotation into your stack.

Introduction

I was in search of a new multi to try and came across Hero Packs. The profile looked decent enough and I had never heard of the brand so I wanted to give their product a chance and see what they were about.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
1...

Quick Summary

Heroes Pack is a great multivitamin and mineral supplement that comes conveniently packaged in daily packs. Surprisingly Thin Fit Line uses capsules rather than cold-pressed tablets, which I found absorbed better. Solid competitor in this category of supplements and definitely worth a rotation into your stack.

Introduction

I was in search of a new multi to try and came across Hero Packs. The profile looked decent enough and I had never heard of the brand so I wanted to give their product a chance and see what they were about.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
1 pack contains 5 capsules that have a wide range of ingredients. I won't bore you with every single little ingredient (but definitely check them out) but I will highlight some more notable inclusions. 1 serving includes 50mcg (63% RDA) of Vitamin K-2, 400mcg of Iodine (267% RDA), 105mg of a 42 fruit and veggie blend, 120mg of Bacopa Monnieri, 250mg of Cordyceps, 10mcg of Huperzine-A, 200mg of Ashwagandha Root, 75mg of an enzyme complex and so many other great ingredients I can't list them all here. Sure, some of these are underdosed if you were looking to take this to get an efficacious dose of the extras but that's not really the point in a multi. Instead, the point is to plug in those holes in your diet and give you enough of a boost that with other dedicated supplementation, you'll reach the efficacious daily doses for a lot of these extras. That being said, the doses of the staple ingredients like Vitamins A, C, D, E, K and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and calcium are generally pretty good. Some could be higher, like Vitamin D3 for example, but I can deal with that given all the extras included. Furthermore, a lot of the forms listed are the ones most optimal for consumption because they are most bio-available (i.e. chelated forms) but there are a few oxides like Magnesium (which confusingly listed as both oxide and chelate) which does not have great bio-availability. So all in all, an imperfect but nonetheless well rounded profile with a serious amount of extras like Huperzine-A, Bacopa Monnieri, and Cordyceps included to support external supplementation. I'd typically give a profile like this a 8.5/10 but the sheer amount of extras warrants a boost to 9/10.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
Since this was a capsule supplement, I will replace taste with aftertaste of which there was none with this supplement. Similarly, I replace mixability with ease of taking (e.g. whether or not it was tough to choke down a horse pill). These were all relatively small capsules and easy to take. I had no problems in this regard. I typically took a pack with a meal, either breakfast or lunch (usually the latter) depending on how big of a meal I was having (usually not consumed with small breakfast "meals" like a protein shake).

Effectiveness

9/10
I found Hero Packs to be pretty effective at filling my micro-nutrient gaps. I am basing this judgement off the ingredient profile and the fact that I felt I absorbed the contents better than similar supplements. The profile was well-rounded enough (and then some) to really account for all the things I'm missing in my diet. Additionally, I never had neon colored urine - the telltale sign that you're excreting excess vitamins. Thus, I think I was really getting the most out of the ingredients that were in the capsules. I definitely needed this since my diet has been relatively restricted at times while I'm trying to shed a few pounds. Even if it wasn't, I would still need some help in the micro-nutrient area because my diet is never as "perfect" as I would like for it to be.

Multivitamin and mineral supplements are always hard to gauge in effectiveness. You regularly hear "I can tell when I stop taking it [that it was working]." What can you notice when you're actually taking it though? I noticed over time that I had a little more natural energy. After about two weeks or so of use that I felt a little more "awake" in the mornings. When I stopped taking it, and briefly stopped any multivitamin and mineral supplementation to judge the true effect, I felt a little more sluggish. Nothing even remotely comparable to missing your morning cup of coffee, but it is noticeable when you actually sit and think about it.

Another, albeit imperfect, way I tend to judge an effectiveness of a multivitamin and mineral supplement is whether or not I got sick during use, and the duration (if applicable) of that sickness. The logic here is that these kind of supplements will fill micro-nutritional gaps and thereby optimize your immune system's function. I didn't get sick while taking Hero's Pack and I was around a few sick people during the time. Of course, I can't definitively say that Hero Pack made this possible, but I certainly feel that it helped in this regard.

Value

8/10
Hero Packs can be found for $29.95 for 30 servings. If you choose the subscription option from Thin Fit Line's website it comes down to $25.46 for 30 servings. That's about $1/day or $0.85/day. Both of those prices are not bad at all considering what you are getting. $1 a day for a multivitamin and mineral with all of the extras included in this profile is a perfect price. Furthermore, the product actually works so you know its a dollar well spent.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Hero Packs.

Conclusion

8.7/10
I got to a 8.8/10 by averaging Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value which I considered the most important and relevant categories for this product. That gave a 8.67 which I rounded to 8.7 and then added .1 to take into consideration what I truly believe was enhanced absorption. In short, I think Hero Packs is a great multivitamin and mineral supplement. If you can spare $1/day for your health, then you should probably give this a go.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Beast Sports Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 30, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • DOMS Relief
  • Gets The Job Done
  • Affordable
  • InstAminos
  • Hydration Support
  • Endurance
  • Effective BCAA Dose
  • Improved Recovery
  • Some Underdosed Ingredients
  • Too Expensive

Quick Summary

Beast 2:1:1 BCAA is your slightly above average run-of-the-mill BCAA product. It tastes great, works as expected, and has a few added extras that set it apart from a pure BCAA supplement. In short, you won't be disappointed with this product but you're also probably best off looking elsewhere if you're paying sticker MSRP.

Introduction

I'm currently on a mission to get shredded and as I cut calories I try to supplement lost calories with BCAAs. Plus, I love sipping on them during my workouts. I chose Beast 2:1:1 BCAAs because 1) I've been wanting to try the B...

Quick Summary

Beast 2:1:1 BCAA is your slightly above average run-of-the-mill BCAA product. It tastes great, works as expected, and has a few added extras that set it apart from a pure BCAA supplement. In short, you won't be disappointed with this product but you're also probably best off looking elsewhere if you're paying sticker MSRP.

Introduction

I'm currently on a mission to get shredded and as I cut calories I try to supplement lost calories with BCAAs. Plus, I love sipping on them during my workouts. I chose Beast 2:1:1 BCAAs because 1) I've been wanting to try the Beast brand for awhile 2) I needed some BCAAs and 3) I was curious as to why this hadn't really gotten stellar reviews since it looked fine from an ingredient profile standpoint.

Ingredient Profile

7.5/10
Beast 2:1:1 BCAA has 5 grams of InstaAminos BCAAs at a 2:1:1 ratio - surprising right? This is the most important part of a BCAA supplement and is the golden ratio according to science. While some brands venture up to 7-8 grams, 5 is average so you can't really complain much about this.

There is also a small B-Vitamin complex consisting of B6 and B12, which I assume are included for natural energy. Its always nice to see these included but it is also nearly expected as this point. Additionally, there is 1,000 IU of Vitamin D included. Vitamin D isn't nearly as commonplace nor expected in BCAA supplements but it is a great addition, especially at this dose. Vitamin D can help with testosterone production among other things and is important to supplement with during the winter for those of us in colder climates. Most multivitamin supplements will provide around 2,500-5,000 IU and during winter months/times of less sun exposure some will take up to 10,000 IU. This gets you at least 10% of the way there, which is great considering it is not the primary goal of this product.

Rounding off the ingredients are a host of mostly under-dosed amino acids. Glycine clocks in at 465mg, L-Alanine at 300mg, Taurine at 300mg, and Tart Cherry Extract at 240mg. Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that has a wide range of benefits, including promoting cognition and reducing fatigue. Those two reasons are likely why it was included here. However, science suggests that we'd need a dose of at least 1 gram and even then it may only really help those of us with a deficit. L-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that also has a lot of benefits, notably that it helps promote healthy blood sugar management and immune function. It is likely in here for the former reason but who really knows since its a rare inclusion. I couldn't find too much on how much to take but from what I gather a dose of around 2 grams is suggested. Taurine is another amino acid that promotes blood flow and hydration. It is seen in many intra-workout and BCAA supplements so it is no surprise to see it here. However, an efficacious dose range is 500mg-2 grams with more being better. Thus, its disappointing to see only 300mg of it here. Tart Cherry Extract can help reduce muscle fatigue and pain (DOMS) and increase endurance. Its hard to find an exact dosing range given that most of the studies used juice as opposed to extracts and that Beast doesn't disclose the standardization percentages of this extract, but from what I could find you'd want at least 480mg. Simply put, there are better options out there than Glycine and L-Alanine while Taurine and Tart Cherry Extract are under-dosed.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

8/10
I received the tropical breeze flavor and it was delicious. It tasted sort of like a cross between pineapple, coconut, and other indistinguishable tropical fruits. If you like tropical flavors I think you'll like this.

Mixability was surprisingly poor. I tried mixing this with anywhere from 10-20oz of lukewarm and cold water and regardless of what I did, there was always a decent amount of powder at the bottom of my shaker cup. A quick shake or two before each sip fixed that problem but it was kind of odd and annoying. I've never had this happen with a relatively pure BCAA product - only creatine ones. Still, it wasn't a huge deal since the extra shaking mitigated the problem.

I dosed this at anywhere from 1-2 scoops intra-workouts with an average of 16-20oz of water. Sometimes I would take it post workout or in-between meals but that was rare.

Effectiveness

7.25/10
I found this to be pretty effective at reducing DOMS and increasing endurance, especially at doses closer to 2 scoops. I noticed a little extra gas in the tank when it came to long grueling workouts. It wasn't much and it certainly didn't compare to some of the other intra-workouts I have used but it was noticeable. How noticeable? I felt that with Beast 2:1:1 I had the extra energy (stamina) to start that final exercise after a long workout, or to start cardio. Once I started, I have the mental fortitude to push through and finish so while this didn't necessarily help me finish, it helped me get to the point where I could.

From the DOMS side of things, I noticed a slight reduction in DOMS at one scoop but, again (and perhaps unsurprisingly), this really shined at doses closer to 2 scoops. I always try to rate these kinds of products by how many days of DOMS I feel they shave off. The best I've ever felt is about 2-3 days with more for longer/harder workouts (i.e. legs) with continual use. This probably shaved off a day at most from most of my workouts. After awhile of 1.5-2 scoops I found that I could recover from legs (and deadlifting twice a week) in time to hit them again at the end of the week. That's certainly an improvement from baseline where I'd probably need closer to 7-8 days rather than 6. Now, I wasn't always on my A game during this time but at least I felt like I had recovered enough to do the prescribed workout. That's the BCAA difference and that's what matters.

Additionally, a lot of us take BCAAs to prevent muscle wasting/loss during periods of caloric restriction. Since I am in a cutting phase, how did I fare? Well, up until I hit a wall and got sick I was doing fine. I had definitely shed a few pounds and saw some improvements in the mirror, but I wasn't getting any weaker. In fact, I was getting stronger. That was due to other supplementation but I have to give the BCAAs some credit for helping me hold onto my precious gains from before.

Value

7/10
The cheapest I could find this for was $19.99 from A1 Supplements for 30 servings with Amazon not far off at $20.82. It seems, however, that most other supplement shops list it for around $25 for 30 servings. At its cheapest, this is about $0.67-0.70/serving. In comparison, 30 servings of Xtend can be found for $16.83 on Amazon - that's $0.56 per serving. Now while Xtend (the classic formula) doesn't have Vitamin D, B12, the added aminos or tart cherry extract, it does have an extra 2 grams (7 total) of BCAAs, 2.5 grams of Glutamine, 1 gram of Citrulline Mallate, and a 1,170mg Electrolyte blend. I think Xtend is clearly the better deal and always a good baseline to test BCAAs values against - it has a solid amount of BCAAs, decently (albeit slightly under-dosed) extras, and added electrolytes. If I had to choose between spending my money on one serving of Beast 2:1:1 or an Xtend variant, then I'd probably pick Xtend to be honest. Still, Beast 2:1:1 BCAA isn't a bad value outright, it just isn't the best. If you can pick it up on sale then it would be worth it so that you could double scoop without hurting the wallet too much.

A quick suggestion for Beast that could greatly improve this score is to look into larger serving containers. This would make it more cost effective for those who like the product to up the dosage and see the product shine.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Beast 2:1:1 BCAAs.

Conclusion

7.4/10
I got to a 7.4/10 by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, and Value sections since I think they are most important for this supplement. That produced a 7.44/10. I rounded down to a 7.4/10 because I feel that it accurately reflects the product as a whole and takes into consideration my comments about the ingredient profile and value. I enjoyed Beast 2:1:1 BCAA and would recommend it to anyone who is either 1) a fan of Beast 2) looking to try a new intra-workout/BCAA product (we can all get burnt out on the staples) and/or 3) finds this on sale. In short, it works well but is best dosed closer to 2 scoops and if you decide to go down that route, your wallet will thank you if grab it on sale.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Redcon1 for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 26, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Whole Food Sources
  • Taste Great
  • Lactose Free
  • Increased Energy
  • Excellent Macro-Nutrient Composition
  • Convenient
  • Good Taste
  • Builds Muscle
  • Dextrose
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Ace-K
  • Low Fat

Quick Summary

MRE is a decent competitor to similar products from 5% Nutrition (Real Carbs) and Blackstone Labs (Fast Food). Interestingly, each of the products are similar but also extremely unique in their approach. MRE combines great taste with well-balanced protein and carbohydrate sources, but its lack of fat and use of beef protein isolate leave something to be desired. Still, MRE is a great meal replacement option for most persons in the market for one.

Introduction

I claimed MRE on TROOPS because 1) I want to try more Redcon1 products and 2) I have been wanting to ...

Quick Summary

MRE is a decent competitor to similar products from 5% Nutrition (Real Carbs) and Blackstone Labs (Fast Food). Interestingly, each of the products are similar but also extremely unique in their approach. MRE combines great taste with well-balanced protein and carbohydrate sources, but its lack of fat and use of beef protein isolate leave something to be desired. Still, MRE is a great meal replacement option for most persons in the market for one.

Introduction

I claimed MRE on TROOPS because 1) I want to try more Redcon1 products and 2) I have been wanting to try MRE since I learned of its release because it is an interesting competitor to 5%'s Real Food (now Real Carbs) - of which I had tried a sample from my brother.

Ingredient Profile

8.5/10
4 scoops (130g) provides us with 525 calories, 4g (1g saturated) of fat, 75g of carbohydrate (8g of fiber and 5g of sugar), and 47g of protein. Just from a macro-nutritional standpoint, that is pretty good. That's a fair amount of calories with a decent amount of protein and not an exorbitant amount of carbohydrates. In fact, I'd almost say that this breakdown (or something close to it) would be ideal, but I think the fat content is too low. 4g of fat to replace a meal is just not enough. I'd like to see closer to 10g of fat from healthy sources (Avocado, olive oil, mcts, etc.), even if it meant reducing the carbohydrate and protein content a little. I know that wouldn't necessarily fit with everyone's macros but I think 10g would be a reasonable amount to replace a meal and work for most people.

From a micro-nutritional standpoint, MRE is definitely a top contender in the meal replacement arena. Carbohydrate sources are rolled oats, dehydrated yams, dehydrated sweet potato, pea starch, dehydrated blueberries, and dehydrated goji berries in that order. Not only is that a mix of healthy, complex carbohydrate sources, but it also gets some fruits and veggies in there which is always great for overall health. No complaints from the carbohydrate sources. Protein sources, however, are a different story.

MRE derives its protein content from a proprietary blend of beef protein isolate, salmon protein, chicken protein, egg albumin, brown rice protein, and pea protein. Beef, brown rice, and pea proteins are typically less optimal sources due to their amino acid profiles. I'm not really concerned though with the brown rice or pea protein though. I feel that this replicates a real meal where some small amount of the protein content will be coming from starch sources. That being said, I don't like that beef protein isolate is the first, and therefore main, source of protein in MRE. Any concerns from an amino acid profile from these sources could of course be mitigated with an amino acid profile on the side of container (hint hint). The good thing about using this wide range of protein sources, however, is that it replicates a well-balanced meal and gives you a more accurate mix of amino acid profiles. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing milk protein isolate replace beef protein isolate as the first protein source or seeing beef protein isolate pushed behind egg albumin.

MRE also uses MCT oil as a source of fat, however it is unclear how much of the small fat content (4g) is coming from the protein sources so who knows how much of it is from MCT oil. Again I would like to see more fat because I think its healthier and in that case you'd know that a decent amount of the fat content is coming from good sources like MCT oil.

There is also some coconut water powder for hydration, which is a nice albeit small plus.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
I received the Sweet Potato Pie flavor and it was delicious. It really tasted like pie to the point where I would crave it in the mornings. I could seriously drink it all day.

I mixed 3-4 scoops with anywhere from 14-20 oz of water. It mixed well with a blender bottle and the ball whisk but I feel that it would have been much better in a blender (big surprise, right?). The oats were in powder form so there wasn't any oats clinging to the bottle or anything like with the Real Food sample I had way back when (not sure if the Real Carbs form has changed this any). Yet, there was still some left to be desired in mixability. I would typically get a few unmixed clumps at first and sometimes even further in.

I found that using around 14-16 oz with 3 scoops mitigated most of these but there was always a little bit of the powder that went unmixed no matter what I did. Thankfully it wasn't much and it didn't taste so bad that it ruined my appetite. I almost always had this in the morning for breakfast. I started off with 4 scoops then moved to 3 scoops towards the end. I once had it for lunch and once for a snack.

Effectiveness

8.5/10
MRE is an extremely effective meal replacement. Having 3-4 scoops for breakfast always left me content, but not stuffed. I could last from 7:30-12:00 (noon) without getting too hungry. It was always sat light in my stomach as well. The one time I used it as a substitute for lunch, I had a similar experience. I was hungry around 6 hours later when I got off work but felt content and energized at my desk. I never crashed or got the itis (sleepiness after high carbohydrate intake) like I have after big meals for both breakfast and lunch. Furthermore, I felt a clean energy in a way that I hadn't really before. Also, it made for a quick lunch which can be useful for stressful and busy days. When I used this as a snack, I just had one scoop since I had already eaten dinner. I found that the macros were great for a snack and I felt completely satisfied. My sweet tooth cravings were gone for the time being and I didn't ruin my diet. All in all, I think this was near perfect for a meal replacement. I would rate this even higher if I didn't have concerns about amino acid profiles and fat content. In that case, this may even be a 10. If you don't share those concerns then you should definitely look into this.

Value

7.5/10
MRE can commonly be found for $79.99 for 25 servings (100 scoops). Yet, it can almost always be found on at least some sort of sale that typically brings it down to the $59.99-70.00 range. Currently, Redcon1 is has a 25% off sale that makes it the former. Now, this is almost identical pricing to Blackstone Lab's competitor Fast Food as the cheapest I could find it for is $59.99 for 56 scoops. If you try to equalize that a bit based on calorie count, Fast Food provides close to 19 servings (495 calories, 3 scoops) to MRE's 25 (525 calories). So clearly, just on that alone, it is the better deal. However, I find it only fair to compare it to 5%'s Real Carbs* since that is what seemed to spur the introduction of Redcon1 and Blackstone Lab's products. I found Real Carbs* for $41.95-$43.95. Although Real Carbs* lacks much more protein and so a caloric equalization isn't perfect, doing so would give you about 12 servings (550 calories, 5 scoops) to MRE's 25 (525 calories).

Breaking each of those down gives:
MRE - $2.40/Serving or $0.60/scoop
Fast Food - $3.16/Equalized serving or $1.07/Actual serving (scoop)
Real Carbs* - $3.50/Equalized serving or $0.70/Actual serving (scoop)

Hence, Redcon1 seems to be the clear winner in terms of value among similar products. So why the 7.5/10? Because 1) Without amino acid profile concerns addressed we could be getting less than we think from this product 2) Carbs are relatively cheap, and while some of these protein sources may not be (salmon protein - but again no way to tell just how much is in here), I feel that there could be a little extra something for the price (again I suggest a fat source) and 3) While this is convenient, it is not cheaper nor more effective than a DIY oats and (insert protein powder of choice, and maybe milk) shake - if had a blender handy you could even add your own fruit for cheaper. That being said, you are definitely paying for the flavoring, convenience, brand, etc. but I think $59.99 should and could be the regular go to price - not $79.99. Making the $59.99 price point permanent and addressing my aforementioned concerns with the profile could make this a 9/10 for value in my mind.

*Note: I compared this to Real Carbs, not Real Carbs Rice

Side Effects

10/10
I received no side effects from taking MRE.

Conclusion

8.4/10
I got to an 8.4/10 by averaging the scores for Ingredient Profile, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, Effectiveness, and Value as each of these are near equally important for a meal replacement (how well is it replicating a meal, does it taste good enough to actually drink, does it do that well, and is it affordable to really be considered in your supplement rotation). This gave a 8.375/10 which I rounded to 8.4/10. I did not add or subtract anything else because I thought this was an apt rating for MRE. In short, MRE is perhaps the all-encompassing best meal replacement supplement on the market, but that does not mean there is no room for improvement.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to TBN Labs for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 18, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Easy On The Stomach
  • Clean Profile
  • Good Taste
  • Sweetened With Stevia
  • Limited Availability
  • Sketchy Label
  • Fix Label Claims
  • Foaming
  • Pricey
  • Too Expensive

Quick Summary

TBN Total Go is a decent whey isolate competitor but it has some serious shortcomings that hold it back from going head-to-head with the industry leaders.

Introduction

I claimed TBN Total Go because I was in need of a new protein and despite the mixed reviews I wanted to try it for myself.

Ingredient Profile

6/10
As noted by other reviewers (special shout-out to MMAFreak and JayT), the ingredient profile on Total GO is plagued with flaws. It has a bunch of buzz words for fast advertisement, but most supplements do as well so that's not really a big d...

Quick Summary

TBN Total Go is a decent whey isolate competitor but it has some serious shortcomings that hold it back from going head-to-head with the industry leaders.

Introduction

I claimed TBN Total Go because I was in need of a new protein and despite the mixed reviews I wanted to try it for myself.

Ingredient Profile

6/10
As noted by other reviewers (special shout-out to MMAFreak and JayT), the ingredient profile on Total GO is plagued with flaws. It has a bunch of buzz words for fast advertisement, but most supplements do as well so that's not really a big deal. Of note, however, is that it is labeled as cage-free, halal, grass-fed, gmo-free and organic without any sort of certification or backing for either of those terms. I'm also not quite sure how protein can be cage free since it comes from milk not eggs but still. Similarly, halal claims should have some sort of certification as, like kosher, it is a religious dietary restriction. Also, I thought it halal was just for meat? Furthermore, although the website lists it as a concentrate I don't see that on the actual container. Finally, there is no GMP certification sticker or third party testing certifications so its hard to really accept with near 100% certainty that this ingredient profile, buzzword claims aside, is entirely accurate.

On the plus side, this has almost no sugar (no added sugar), additives, nor preservatives. Additionally, if the label claims are accurate then it is also a organic, grass-fed and non-GMO protein powder which is a real luxury in a market flooded with cheap protein sources, GMOs, and fillers.

1 Scoop provides: 117 calories, 1.7g of fat, 2.1g of carbs (sugars), and 24g of protein. That is extremely clean and should fit into anyone's macros. Sure you could find a protein even less fat and carbs but the difference at these levels is negligible. If this is accurate then it is a great nutritional profile at the very least.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

7/10
I received the strawberry flavor and it was ok. Being a naturally flavored supplement, I didn't expect anything that would absolutely blow me away and wow my taste buds. That being said, it was extremely good for natural flavoring and tasted better than a lot of artificially flavored strawberry protein powders. I mixed anywhere from 1-1.5 scoops with 8-12 oz of cold or room-temp water and occasionally I would add it to a smoothie. The actual mixability was fine but the foam was out of control. I've never had any supplement that foamed this much. It would take about 5-10 minutes for it to die down and be drinkable. That is just ridiculous. There's really no reason for that. This would be a much better supplement if TBN fixed this problem.

Effectiveness

7.75/10
Proteins are notoriously hard to rate effectiveness. I typically try to judge drinkability (a mix of absolute taste and whether or not I could stand it in multiple situations - i.e. not just post-workout but whenever needed), digestibility, and fullness/satiety.

Since I found the taste to be rather good, I had no problem using this protein in a variety of scenarios. I sometimes had a scoop for breakfast (both in a smoothie and on its own), post-workout, or just mid-day as a snack. I always found that it went down smooth and easy. The only problem I encountered in this area was the severe foam. The foam did in fact prohibit me from drinking it on a few occasions where I was in a rush after the gym and couldn't be bothered to wait for the foam to die down. I deduced a fair amount of points from the effectiveness rating for this.

I didn't experience any digestibility problems associated with low quality sources of protein like cramping or gas. Those are huge tell tale signs for me that I am not only not getting everything from the protein but also that I'm likely impeding gains by limiting physical activity due to pain during those times. Since I never experienced any issues here, I can have at least some certainty that it is not a low quality whey concentrate.

I noticed about average satiety with this protein. If I was taking this as a snack or post-workout, I would stave off the hunger pangs for about 2 hours. If I was having this for breakfast, I felt that I remained full for about 3 hours. This is good in my opinion as if you're looking to replace unhealthy snacks or foods with some protein powder, you want to retain similar levels of satiety to prevent yourself from overeating. That being said, this was not a protein that sat heavy in my stomach, so if I was trying to gain weight I could have easily downed 2-3 scoops of this a day without a problem.

In short, this is a solid protein in terms of effectiveness. The foaming is annoying and prohibitive at times but it still tastes great, digests well, can be used in multiple situations, and provides decent satiety. If the foaming problem didn't exist, this would be closer to a 9 or so in effectiveness.

Value

6/10
The cheapest I could find this for is $67.75 for 3lbs or 45 servings. That is about $1.50 a scoop/serving. Seeing as most proteins of similar or better quality with similar macros can be had for near $1.00/serving this is a bit pricey. If this could be confirmed as a non-GMO, grass-fed, and organic protein manufactured in a GMP facility then perhaps something close to the $1.50 price point could be justified but without at least a USDA organics sticker you'd have to be crazy to make that assumption. Plus, no competitor that I am aware of has a foam problem like this. Furthermore, this can only be found on TBN's website or Amazon as far as I know. That availability makes this even more uncompetitive as other proteins can often be found from third party retailers on some sort of sale that includes either freebies like shaker cups or deals on other supplements that may be useful in your rotation (pre-workout, creatine, etc.) thanks to retailers trying to compete with one another. Unfortunately, it looks like there is really no deal to be had here.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking TBN Total Go.

Conclusion

6.5/10
I got to a 6.5/10 rating by averaging the scores for Ingredient Profile, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, Effectiveness, and Value as I believe each of those sections is especially important with this particular product. It is a rare case that each of these should sections should have equal weight, but it is also rare that one encounters enough problems or things of interest to say in each category. This produced a 6.68/10 rating and I then deducted 1.68 to get to 6.5/10 as a way to account for the serious label and foam problems that I think would turn many consumers off from trying this product - especially when solid, well established competing products can be had without these problems for less. In the end, I wouldn't recommend this to a friend or to any of you until TBN addresses some of the major concerns other reviews and myself have raised with this product.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Redcon1 for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 11, 2018

 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Good Recovery
  • Builds Muscle
  • Tastes Good
  • Bad Mixability
  • Too Expensive

Quick Summary

Cluster Bomb is a solid fast-digesting carbohydrate supplement that is both perfect intra-workout or during any other part of the day.

Introduction

I claimed Cluster Bomb from TROOPS because 1) I've been wanting to try Redcon1's line 2) After trying Nutrabio's Supercarb, I've been wanting to try out competing products to compare experiences.

Ingredient Profile

9.0/10
1 scoop/serving contains 25 grams (100 calories) of Cluster Dextrin, a trademarked form of Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. HBCD is a high molecular weight, low osmolaity carbohydrate so...

Quick Summary

Cluster Bomb is a solid fast-digesting carbohydrate supplement that is both perfect intra-workout or during any other part of the day.

Introduction

I claimed Cluster Bomb from TROOPS because 1) I've been wanting to try Redcon1's line 2) After trying Nutrabio's Supercarb, I've been wanting to try out competing products to compare experiences.

Ingredient Profile

9.0/10
1 scoop/serving contains 25 grams (100 calories) of Cluster Dextrin, a trademarked form of Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. HBCD is a high molecular weight, low osmolaity carbohydrate source that is absorbed quicker than other sources of carbohydrates and is claimed to "pull nutrients" like protein through the stomach quicker. Additionally, this quick pass through the stomach equates to minimal gastrointestinal distress and bloating, which is always a plus. It is also broken down slowly in the bloodstream so it does not crash blood sugar levels. Finally, it is reported to lower cortisol levels post-workout.

I'm not sure if I really buy into the whole "nutrient pulling" thing but I do prefer carbohydrate sources that are easily digested and don't cause a lot of bloating. No one likes to be a bloated mess in the gym. Moreover, I like that the profile is simple and straightforward. 25 grams, 100 calories of a pure and high quality carbohydrate source and nothing else. Keeping it simple is the best way to approach these products. That being said, I don't think it would have been a bad idea to include some electrolytes or something like coconut water powder for hydration.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

8/10
I received the Strawberry Kiwi flavor and it was light but delicious. I would use a scoop pre-workout or intra-workout with about 8-12oz on most days. Occasionally I would take a scoop post-workout if I knew it would be a while before I had my next meal. Additionally, I also took this in the morning followed or preceded by a protein shake as a quick on-the-go breakfast substitute. I found it extremely versatile and equally effective in each role. The mixability was decent but I noticed that on many occasions there would be a little clumping that had trouble dissolving. This happened more times than not, and while it wasn't a huge deal, it did make for an unpleasant experience when I would get a wet clump of power in my mouth mid-workout.

Effectiveness

9/10
I found Cluster Bomb to be amazingly effective, regardless of how I used it. When taking a scoop/serving pre-workout or intra-workout, my goal was to provide myself with energy for my workout and hold myself over until I was able to finish my workout and get a meal in. In other words, it filled the gap between lunch and dinner. No matter how fast I drank it and no matter how much water I used, I never once had gastrointestinal distress nor bloating problems. Instead, I felt energized and focused on my workout. On days that I didn't use Cluster Bomb, I noticed clear differences in my strength and endurance and the onset of inevitable lightheartedness.

Whenever I took this post-workout I noticed that I felt perfectly content and satiated for hours. Sometimes I would go another 2-3 hours before eating dinner and felt fine. Without this I know from past experiences that I would have gotten some bad hunger pangs. Similarly, when I would have this with a protein shake for an on-the-go breakfast, I felt satiated until lunch about 4 hours later. That's really impressive for just 100 calories and 25 grams of carbs. I also never experienced bloating or gastrointestinal distress in these situations either.

Despite the lack of electrolytes, I always felt hydrated when using Super Carb, however that is likely due to my high volumes of fluid intake rather than the Super Carb itself.

In short, Cluster Bomb provided me with satiety, energy, and endurance in a multiple different scenarios. I felt that energy was always "clean" and never got a crash, bloating, cramping, nor gas. I really couldn't have asked for much more in a carbohydrate supplement.

Value

7.5/10
I found this in both grape and strawberry kiwi flavors for $39.99 for 30 servings at most places but Amazon had an odd listing of $31.90 for 30 servings. I don't think that is a regular price though. The cheapest price I could find that was a regular price was $38.99 from Tiger Fitness. At $1.29-$1.333 a serving ($38.99-$39.99), this is a little pricey compared to competitors. For comparison, Nutrabio's Super Carb runs $59.99 for 60 servings and $32.99 for 30 servings; that is $0.99-$1.09 a serving. Plus, Nutrabio includes electrolytes for hydration. Still, Super Carb is not a terrible deal if you're a fan of the company or the product, but if you're on a budget and in the market for a high-quality carb supplement then perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere to help your dollar stretch further in the long run.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Super Carb.

Conclusion

8.3/10
I got to an 8.3/10 rating by averaging the Ingredient Profile, Effectiveness, and Value sections which gave a 8.5/10. I then deducted .2 for the problems with mixability. I felt that this was fair as including the Mixability section into the average would have only resulted in a .1 reduction which I feel both understates the problem and the value of supplements that mix well. Ultimately, I really enjoyed Cluster Bomb and would definitely recommend giving it a try if you are looking for a carbohydrate supplement. However, I would caution that the powder may not completely dissolve and that cheaper deals can be had.




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