"Clown Car" Supplements

“Clown Car” Supplements

I’m currently wrapping up a review on Muscle Asylum Project’s “Freak Fix Muscle Whey.”  For those of you who don’t already know, MAP is owned by Iovate Health Sciences – the parent company of Muscletech.  Now MAP is a separate label, but it’s really a distinction without a difference. The way the MAP stuff is designed and marketed, it might as well BE Muscletech.

Now, Muscletech’s stuff really isn’t bad at all…but the marketing is completely over-the-top.  This extends to the formulas themselves, which frequently feature looooong lists of sciency-looking compounds.  Unfortunately, overly complex ingredient labels impress potential customers who don’t understand that DOSE is important too…and the “proprietary blends” all those compounds are crammed into often aren’t big enough to contain useful amounts of all – let alone most – of them.

In other words, a number of those compounds are simply “label decoration” (in fairness, Muscletech/MAP aren’t the only supp companies who do this – far from it.  But they certainly provide some obvious – and familiar – examples).

Which brings us back to “Freak Fix.”  It’s an ok (and actually rather tasty) product, but it looks a lot more special than it really is, thanks to three proprietary blends which – added together – contain a grand total of 24 different compounds.  Problem is, many of these, like creatine monohydrate, BCAAs, glutamine, beta-alanine, etc. are needed in multigram amounts…yet all three blends together add up to only 6.45 g (per two scoop serving).  The only way to stuff all of them into a “space” that small, is to provide less than effective doses.  In the end, the consumer gets a lot less than meets the eye.

It’s a deceptive tactic, in my opinion.  But, it’s a successful one too.  Thus – as I noted in my recent post on NO-Xplode,  manufacturers aren’t gonna quit using it unless they’re given a good reason to.

So how’s about a little mockery?  In my experience, a healthy dose of ridicule can be an effective countermeasure.

There’s already a not-very-complimentary term to describe excessively complicated products: “kitchen sink” supps.  It’s a good description too, but – for whatever reason – it just doesn’t resonate with people.  So I’m proposing a new term: “clown car” supplements.

Y’all know what a clown car is…


I like this metaphor, as it highlights just how ludicrous this tactic really is.  With a little luck, maybe it’ll catch on…

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. We can only hope it will catch on. I have never liked the “proprietary blend” approach. Just tell me what and how much of each ingredient you have.


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  2. I love it! Clown car supps! Excellent!

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  3. “clown car” supplement, huh? well that should explain why some of the taste “funny”. sorry, had to say it.

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