Review: iForce Nutrition Maximize V2 Pre-Workout Supplement
Note: Maximize V2 has been replaced by Maximize Intense.
“Maximize was designed to insure that you will NEVER have a bad workout again. The key to Maximize’s effectiveness is that this innovative supplement addresses the body’s energy systems, both physical and mental. Rest assured nothing compares to the raw power of Maximize. Your workouts will never be the same, and the results you see in the gym and on the mirror will speak for themselves!”
iForce Nutrition’s Maximize V2 is yet another entry in a pretty crowded field of pre-workout stimulant products. Pre-workout stims are justifiably popular, as they can get you pumped up for a hard workout and reduce during/post-workout fatigue. Lord knows I like ’em: they make it possible for me to keep working at 100% capacity following a hard workout, vs. curling up on the sofa. Thus, I’m always interested in checking out different formulas.
So how does Maximize V2 stack up against the other products I’ve evaluated? Let’s start with what’s under the hood:
Total Fat 0 g
Total Carbohydrates 4 g
Sugars 0 g
Niacin 25 mg
Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin) 500 mcg
Potassium Phosphate 25 mg
Sodium Phosphate 25 mg
Magnesium Phosphate 25 mg
Maximize V2 Dual Stage Ignition System: 6,840 mg
Cognitive Blitz Matrix: Tyrosine, Caffeine, 1,3-Dimethylpentylamine (Constituent of Geranium Oil), Methyl Synephrine
Critical Maxx Overload System: Taurine, Creatine Monohydrate, Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine, Agmatine Sulfate, Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine
It’s a fairly short list, which is a point in favor. Whatever else that can be said about Maximize V2, it’s no “kitchen sink ” supplement with an unnecessarily complex list of “sciency”-sounding ingredients. In fact, most of the above compounds are pretty well-characterized, and have a place in a serious weight-lifter’s arsenal. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
Niacin/Vitamin B12: These are two familar members of the B-complex family of vitamins. Niacin plays an important role in energy production, via its metabolites, NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
Vitamin B12 is likewise important for hemoglobin/energy production and homocysteine metabolism, as well as DNA synthesis. Obviously, both nutrients are required for good health, but there’s no real evidence that taking extra will boost energy, strength or athletic performance (although B12, in particular, is commonly used for this purpose).
Potassium/Sodium/Magnesium Phosphate: Potassium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorus are important electrolytes that can be lost in sweat. Most Western diets, however, are replete with sodium and phosphorus; whereas the amounts of potassium and magnesium provided here are nominal, relative to dietary requirements.
Tyrosine: This is a non-essential amino acid synthesized from phenylalanine.
Tyrosine is a precursor for several important physiological compounds, including thyroid hormone(s) and the catecholamine neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Caffeine: Does this one really need an introduction? Beyond its role as an near-essential pick-me-up for so many people, caffeine is a well-characterized ergogenic aid—which is why it’s included in so many pre-workout supplements. Although caffeine’s effects on strength performance are less clear than for endurance, it can certainly help with focus and training drive.
1,3-Dimethylpentylamine: Also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) and methylhexanamine, this geranium oil constituent is an adrenergic amine that acts as a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant.
It was originally patented by Eli Lilly as a nasal decongestant in 1944, but largely abandoned until re-introduced as a dietary supplement (Geranamine™) by Proviant Technologies. Although there’s no current research on it, DMAA’s gotten mostly rave reviews from users for its effects on mood, focus and energy.
DMAA has been banned by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and Major League Baseball, however, so aspiring professional athetes should be wary of formulas (like this one!) containing this compound.
Methyl Synephrine: This synephrine derivative is increasingly found in fat-burning supps, on the strength of claims that it’s more potent than its parent compound (which isn’t saying much, since—as a fat burner, at any rate—synephrine is pretty wimpy stuff). These claims, however, have not been confirmed by any published, peer-reviewed human studies.
As it turns out, methyl synephrine also has another use: as a drug. Known as Oxilofrine, it’s also banned by WADA as a stimulant. Nutrex Research, which uses methyl synephrine in its “Lipo-6″ and “Ignite” products, is currently involved in a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey over it. Stay tuned… (FYI, the Nutrex complaint is here).
Taurine: Taurine is a non-protein amino acid that is particularly abundant in skeletal muscle. Although human data is limited, animal experiments have shown taurine depletion is associated with impaired exercise capacity and age-related loss of muscle function. It’s considered to be “conditionally essential”—that is, it can be synthesized in the body, but there are times when the body cannot make enough to meet demand.
Taurine has a range of potential therapeutic applications, but the benefits of supplementation for healthy people are still pretty speculative. Beyond that, dose is an important consideration: there is zero evidence that supplemental taurine does much of anything in milligram amounts.
Creatine Monohydrate: Do I really need to discuss this one? Creatine monohydrate is probably the best-studied strength/performance-enhancing supplement on the market.
Citrulline Malate: Citrulline malate is a citrulline salt often found in NO (nitric oxide) boosters and other pre-workout supplements. It can serve as a source of arginine for NO synthesis, and may promote aerobic energy production in exercising muscle. There is also some experimental evidence that it can promote resistance to muscle fatigue.
Beta-alanine: Beta-alanine is one-half of the naturally-occurring dipeptide carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine), which—among other functions—helps to buffer hydrogen ions produced during intense muscular contractions. Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to increase storage of muscle carnosine, reduce muscular fatigue, and modestly improve high intensity athletic performance.
Agmatine Sulfate: Agmatine is a metabolite of the amino acid arginine with neuroprotective and neuromodulating effects. Although it was introduced into the supplement market with a certain amount of fanfare, agmatine has yet to really take off. I’m not sure why, although perhaps the near-total lack of human studies using oral agmatine may have something to do with it… a single study on human patients was only just published this year. Unfortunately, the study concerned pain control and quality of life, not athletic performance. The big claims for agmatine have yet to be matched by big results.
Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine: These are collectively known as the “branched chain amino acids” or BCAAs. The three BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are essential amino acids that play important roles in stimulating protein synthesis, reducing catabolism and (possibly) delaying central fatigue.
So there we have it. Overall, Maximize V2 looks like a real bodybuilding powerhouse… doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, a reality check is in order. Many of the above compounds (i.e., the BCAAs, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, tyrosine, taurine and citrulline malate) are typically taken in amounts ranging from 2g–5g. Yet a single scoop of Maximize V2 contains a little less than 7g of active ingredients, total.
Bottom line: the label looks great, but there simply isn’t enough room in a single scoop for solid doses of everything listed. Sure, I suppose one could take more than one scoop of Maximize… but this may not be the smartest thing to do.
Because—while the creatine or BCAAs might be underdosed—the stims definitely are NOT. When using Maximize V2 for the first time, iForce advises users to assess their tolerance with a single scoop, and to never take more than two. FYI: these directives should be taken seriously. Like Jacked or Hemo-Rage, Maximize V2 is not for the faint-of-heart (let alone the high-of-blood-pressure).
I know this from experience, since I recently gave Maximize V2 a trial run. Flavor-wise, it’s euphemistically described as “Raspberry Lemonade.” For the record, it was a little too tangy and acidic for my taste, but still drinkable.
My kids hated it, though. No, they didn’t actually drink any, but they knew immediately when I was mixing it up—thanks to the fine particulates that dispersed into the air the moment the surface of the powder was disturbed.
Now I have a pretty high tolerance for stims, and—despite my size (124 lbs.)—I typically handle “grown up” doses of pre-workout boosters just fine. But for Maximize V2, I started with the requisite one scoop… and eventually cut it back to 2/3s.
Even a single scoop—while just fine for the gym—left me tossing and turning at night, no matter how early in the day I took it.
Maximize V2 certainly delivered on its promise to reduce workout fatigue and amp mental clarity, but the damn stuff took hours—too many hours—to wear off.
So: thumbs up or down?
I report, you decide. Maximize V2—or more properly, the “Cognitive Blitz” blend—certainly works for its intended purpose… but personally, I see this as a double-edged sword. It’s great to feel energized and focused: both in the gym and afterwards (I do brain work for a living, after all).
But a good night’s sleep is important to workout recovery and progress too. It’s a tradeoff that perhaps a 20-something trainee would find tolerable, but those of us who are into our middle years might want to think twice about this one.