Review: USP Labs Jacked (Jack3d) Pre-Workout Supplement
“USP Labs Jacked gives you the mad aggressive desire and ability to lift more weight, pump out more reps and have crazy lasting energy, along with sick muscle-engorging pumps. Jacked is easily the most intense pre-workout product you will ever want to use again. The amount of energy and focus is perfect, pumps and vascularity will be out of control, but most importantly you will feel great throughout your entire workout. No crash, no bloat, no headaches, no blown workouts.”
Jacked (Jack3d) is USP Labs’ contribution to the pre-workout supplement market. Like NO-Xplode, SuperPump 250 and others in the genre, Jacked is a combination product that provides caffeine, nootropic compounds, creatine and arginine to get you pumped up and ready to hit the weights with a vengeance.
Unlike most competing products, however, the formula for Jacked is relatively simple: beyond the flavor/color additives, there are only 7 ingredients.
Y-RD™ 153.33mg Caffeine, Theophylline (From Guarana), 1,3-Dimethylamylamine, Dibenzo(A,c) Cycloocten-6-Ol, 5,6,7,8-Tetrahydro-1,2,3,10,11,12-Hexamethoxy-6,7-Dimethyl-,stereoisomer (Schizandrol A) ATP-Carnosine-Vaso Complex™ 3166.67mg Creatine Monohydrate, Beta Alanine, Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG)
Other Ingredients Citric Acid, Natural Lemon-Lime Flavor, Effer-Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), Acesulfame-K, Sucralose, Silicon Dioxide, Alfalfa Powder (For Color).
In my book, this is a definite PLUS: as I’ve written before, more ISN’T better when it comes to supplement ingredients…I’ll happily take a supp with a few, well-chosen compounds over some “kitchen sink” formula any day of the week.
Thus far, I like what I see. But are the ingredients in Jacked “well-chosen”?
Let’s take a closer look.
Theophylline is a metabolite of caffeine that’s also found naturally in tea.
Caffeine, of course, has mild thermogenic effects and can enhance exercise performance. Although it’s less well-known or used, theophylline—which is used therapeutically as a bronchodilator—acts in a similar fashion…thus, the two overlap.
1,3-Dimethylamylamine: This compound is also known as “methylhexaneamine.” 1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA), is 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.
Schizandrol A: This is a lignan isolated from Schisandra chinensis, one of the principal therapeutic plants in Chinese traditional medicine. 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. USP Labs’ makes a variety of claims for it, like this one:
“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.”
…but they’re unsourced and not supported by any published research I could find in the usual places. For what it’s worth, it’s not even clear from the above whether we’re talking about human or rat muscles, so I’m taking their claims with a whopping grain of salt…at least for the present.
Now, Schizandrol A is an interesting compound with potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-amnesiac and hepatoprotective effects… but there’s still a lot we don’t know about it.
Creatine Monohydrate: By contrast, creatine monohydrate is something that we DO know a lot about. It’s a tried and true supp for improving lean mass gains and workout performance. Thus, this statement by USP Labs:
“In fact, it’s probably one of, if not the most scientifically validated dietary supplement in existence and it delivers real world results as well.”
…is a claim I can get behind.
Beta-alanine: 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.
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG): 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.
So there you have it. Each scoop of Jacked is fairly small (<5g), but since the recommended dose is 3 scoops, it’s sufficient to deliver a useful dose of the primary ingredients. And most of ’em look pretty good. Yes, I’m “iffy” on the Schizandrol A, but—the way I see it—if it works, it’s a plus, and if it doesn’t, it’s a minor issue…the rest of the formula looks pretty strong.
Is it as strong as it looks, though? Only one way to find out…
My container of Jacked arrived in my last bodybuilding.com order. Next to the competition, it looked pretty small, but this is due to the fact that (as USP Labs’ insists) it’s “ultra concentrated.”
Jacked is lemon-lime flavored and effervescent: it reminded me of Alka Seltzer Plus. It wasn’t hard to get down, though… I’ve tasted worse.
Although I’m small (128 pounds), I’ve always taken “grown up” doses of every single NO-booster I’ve ever trialed…so it seemed natural to start with the full, recommended dose of 3 scoops.
Oh, don’t get me wrong: I felt great in the gym. Jack3d not only got me…well, “jacked”—the effects were almost euphoric.
Even though I was doing a 5 x 5 bench, I felt like I’d been shot up with an elephant tranquilizer—I was feeling no pain.
Later was a different story, however.
As the “buzz” wore off, I felt “wide-awake” tired…not jittery, but edgy and unable to relax. I found myself unconsciously tensing my forehead while working, which was irritating as hell. Even worse, I tossed and turned until nearly 3:00 in the morning—despite the fact that I’d taken the supp around 3:00 in the afternoon and was bone-weary after a bruising workout.
Lesson learned: I cut back to two scoops for my next workout, which was just about right. I felt the same euphoria in the gym, which was great. I still felt a little strung out afterwards, too—but not nearly as much…and it didn’t cut into my beauty sleep. 😉
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with Jacked, and—judging from the user reviews I’ve seen—I’m not alone. It’s a supplement I’ll continue to use, albeit carefully – it’s potent stuff. My inclination is to reserve it for days when I can hit the gym before noon; or else for Friday/Saturday afternoon workouts, when staying awake at night is less of an issue.
If you’re interested in giving Jacked a shot, it’s available at BodyBuilding.com, our recommended online retailer.
|Summary of USP Labs’ Jack3d|