Review: Isatori PWR Concentrated Pre-Workout Supplement
Isatori’s PWR is a super-concentrated pre-workout formula, similar to the popular USP Labs Jack3d. It makes claims similar to the top products of this genre; incredible energy, plus pump, focus and power, all wrapped up in a tiny (under 5 grams) serving. If you’re familiar with pre-workout supplements, it won’t surprise you to learn that Isatori isn’t breaking any new ground with PWR—it contains the usual suspects; caffeine, nootropic compounds (compounds that help with mental focus), creatine, arginine and DMAA.
Compared to more traditional pre-workout supplements—like NO-Xplode, SuperPump 250—PWR only contains a handful of ingredients… 8, in fact. This is a good thing; simplicity rules the day in sports supplements. Too many ingredients increase the chance that many are included at doses too low to elicit any effect and serve no useful purpose other than to dress up the label. And here’s a bonus—with the exception of the energy blend, all the ingredients are clearly labeled, leaving no confusion as to its dosage.
Let’s discuss the ingredients a little more thoroughly…
Beta Alanine (1,600 mg): This amino acid 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.
I have a complete article on beta alanine here, but suffice to say, there is plenty of clinical data to support the claim that this supplement increases storage of muscle carnosine, reduces muscular fatigue, and improves high intensity athletic performance. According to the studies however, an optimal dosages is between 4.5-6 grams daily.
Creatine Monohydrate / Creatine Nitrate (1,000 mg): Creatine monohydrate, of course, is one of the few body building supplements for which there is a decent amount of supporting evidence. Other forms of creatine (including the “nitrate” version included here) are often claimed by retailers to be more effective than monohydrate, the gold standard. There’s no evidence to support this assertion, however, and what we’re left with is a variation which may or may not be, as effective.
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) (500 mg): AAKG is a salt composed of 2 molecules of the conditionally-essential amino acid L-arginine, plus alpha-ketoglutarate, a Krebs Cycle intermediate and nitrogen transporter (via conversion to L-glutamate).
AKG is frequently used in nitric oxide (NO) boosting bodybuilding supplements to increase muscle pump during workouts.
Caffeine 300 mg: A common ingredient in fat burners, energy supplements and pre-workout formulations, it’s no surprise to find caffeine gracing the label of this product. Caffeine, of course, has mild thermogenic effects and can enhance exercise performance.
The Ultra Concentrated Energy Blend is the only proprietary blend on the label and contains 40 mg of the following…
Schisandra chinensis: A principal therapeutic plant in Chinese traditional medicine, and likely standardized for Schizandrol A. Schisandra berries are prized for their adaptogenic, immunomodulating and hepatoprotective effects. There are only a limited number of animal studies available on schizandrol A (schizandrin), however, so it’s difficult to predict what an active dose consists of, or what effects it might have. Isatori doesn’t make any specific claims for this ingredient, but USP Labs, who also include Schizandrol A in Jack3d, says…
“It has not only been shown to outperform amphetamine in cognitive tasks involving focus, but it has also been shown to increase the capacity of muscles to perform work by 222%, while also increasing physical force. In essence, it is able to provide a stimulating effect to the body and mind.”
Unfortunately, this statement doesn’t seem to be supported by any readily available research.
1,3-Dimethylpentylamine (also known as 1,3-Dimethylamylamine or DMAA) : This compound is also known as “methylhexaneamine.” It’s an adrenergic amine that acts as a CNS 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, the parent company of Ergopharm.
Although there’s no current research on it, DMAA’s gotten mostly rave reviews from users for its effects on mood, focus and energy. A few have reported problems with higher doses, however, so some caution is advised. DMAA has been added to the world anti-doping list of banned substances, so keep that in mind if you’re competing in any sort of competition where this might be a problem.
Loquat extract (standardized for maslinic acid): Also known as the Chinese plum, and a distant cousin of the apple, loquat is a fruit tree common to southeastern China. In this formula, it’s standardized for maslinic acid, which is also a by-product of olive oil extraction (from which it is most commonly sourced). It exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral characteristics, and is currently being studied for its cancer-preventative effects. It also appears to inhibit serine proteases, which has lead to further research into its role in fighting HIV/AIDS.
OK, that wraps up the PWR ingredients label. Now that you know what’s in it, how’s this product measure up?
First off, let me say that Isatori’s PWR is the third concentrated DMAA-based pre-workout supplement I’ve tried (I’ve also tried the concentrated HemoRage and USP Labs’ Jack3d).
To me, the product feels very similar but perhaps slightly more potent than Jack3d (a single serving of PWR contains significantly more caffeine than an equivalent dose) and does a great job of providing the necessary “lift” I need to power me through the most intense workouts. I’ve found that all I need is half a scoop, taken directly before a workout—that works best for me.
The taste is fine, but it’s pretty much a minor concern—all you need is a mouthful of water to mix the product up, so it’s pretty painless to swallow it down, regardless if you’re a fan of blue raspberry or not.
At the same time, keep in mind that I am extremely sensitive to the effects of DMAA (this despite the fact that I used to take caffeine and ephedra for years and have an incredible tolerance to either of those stimulants), and you might need a more potent dose.
A friend of mine who does not have the same sensitivity, for instance, found Jack3d to be more effective at getting him primed for a workout.
I also love that fact that PWR’s ultra-small serving size does not mean I have to swill back a half gallon of water 15 minutes before a workout—something you have to do if you’re mixing up a couple of scoops of NO-Xplode, SuperPump and any of the “un-concentrated” supplements.
On the other hand, I didn’t feel any “pump”, nor did I feel the characteristic “tingling” I normally get from H+Blocker, my preferred beta-alanine supplement. No surprise here either; PWR is under-dosed in creatine, beta alanine and arginine. That’s to be expected from a product sporting an ingredients profile that weighs in under 5 grams. And it’s a problem shared by all concentrated pre-workout supplements, including the aforementioned Jack3d.
Yes, you’d probably get close to optimal doses of all three of these ingredients if you took a product like Jack3d at the full 3-scoop serving (Isatori recommends a one-scoop serving, USP Labs recommends 1-3 scoops). The problem is no one I know can tolerate the amount of stimulants present in such a large dose.
The only solution therefore is to buy your favorite ingredients in isolation and stack them with your concentrated pre-workout supplement. One guy I know loves the focus and energy of these products, but hates the absence of the pump. So he buys Allmax arginine and mixes it in.
Arguably, this significantly increases the serving size you have to swill down prior to a workout, and defeats the purpose of a “concentrated” formula.
Still, if you’re looking to get optimal doses of proven strength enhancers like beta alanine or creatine, or if you love the pump offered by arginine, it’s your only option.
A word to the wise; if you’re new to stimulants and especially DMAA-based formulas, go easy to start. You can always increase your dosage once you assess your tolerance. DMAA “hits” differently than other stimulants and depending on your unique physiology, may give you way more of a kick than you like. And of course, folks with high blood pressure and related maladies need not apply.
I like PWR and will continue to use the half-scoop dose immediately before grueling workouts. For me, it does exactly what I need it to do; give me a lift without getting me too wired for my own good.
As usual, Isatori’s products are backed by a no-quibble money-back guarantee if you order direct online—which eliminates the financial risk from your purchase. Well worth a try; order the PWR concentrated pre-workout supplement direct from Isatori here!
|Summary of iSatori PWR|