Pre-Workout Supplements: Concentrated (Jack3d, PWR, etc) Vs. Traditional (No-Xplode, SuperPump)
Note: DMAA (mentioned in the video) is subject to regulatory action and has been removed from most pre-workout products.
Pre-workout supplements are all the rage in the workout / body building community these days. If you want a product that will give you a boost of energy, some additional mental focus, a great pump, and some additional ingredients that will help you get the most out of your workout, than you’re probably in the market for a pre-workout supplement.
But which product do you buy?
And do you buy one of the older, more “traditional” supplements like BSN’s No-Xplode or Gaspari’s SuperPump or do you buy one of the new concentrated formulas like Isatori’s PWR, USP Lab’s Jack3d, or Nutrex HemoRage Ultra-Concentrate?
That’s a good question.
Assuming you’ve just watched the video above, let’s briefly summarize the arguments for the two different types of products and then discuss the biggest difference between them…
1. The argument for concentrated pre-workout formulas (Jack3d, PWR, etc): According to the product manufacturers, concentrated formulas do not contain huge, convoluted ingredient profiles, large amounts of sugar or fillers. Because they are “concentrated” and their dose sizes are so small, they only contain the core essential ingredients common to this type of product (stimulants, beta-alanine, creatine, arginine and nootropics) at optimal amounts.
Here’s the truth: While the concentrated pre-workout formulas do not contain convoluted ingredient profiles, tons of fillers or sugars, that doesn’t mean they’re the “perfect” product. Since products like Jack3d and PWR are delivered in such a small dose, it’s impossible that supporting ingredients like arginine, beta-alanine and creatine are going to be present in anywhere near an optimal amount (as an example, studies show 4.5 grams of beta alanine is effective for performance gains).
Yes, it is possible that some of the supporting ingredients are included at optimal dosages when taken at a multi-scoop dosage, but it is impossible to verify this, because of the products’ proprietary labeling. Additionally, because of the potent stimulant profile, most people cannot tolerate a 3 scoop serving of these products.
2. The argument for “traditional” pre-workout formulas (SuperPump, No-Xplode, etc): Since the serving size for these products is usually 4 times larger than the concentrated formulas, it is argued that they contain supporting ingredients in ideal dosages.
Here’s the truth: Yes, it’s certainly likely that ingredients like arginine, beta alanine and creatine—all of which need to be taken in multi-gram dosages to be effective—are included at optimal doses. Unfortunately, proprietary labels prevent us from confirming that for sure. Additionally, most of these formulas are convoluted, and they do contain fillers like maltodextrin in multi-gram doses.
So what’s the verdict, and which product do you choose? It really depends on what you want from a pre-workout supplement…
- For energy and focus: In my opinion, the concentrated formulas win here. While the older, traditional formulas are caffeine-based and work well, the newer concentrated formulas contain a blend of caffeine and nootropics which provide one heck of a boost.
- For pump and strength: No doubt about it, products like SuperPump and No-Xplode are far superior in this regard, for no other reason than that they contain higher doses of critical ingredients.
What if you like the energy of a product like Jack3d, but would really like to have a “pump”, as well?
You can always buy the critical supporting ingredients and stack then in with your Jack3d. If you want a “pump”, you’d buy arginine and stack it. Keep in mind, however, that if you end up stacking a ton of ingredients into your Jack3d, it’s no longer concentrated, or cost effective.
Remember too, that with the concentrated formulas you really don`t need more than a minimum of water to mix the product up—something that cannot be said for products like No-Xplode.
With that said, here’s a list of popular pre-workout formulas on UltimateFatBurner.com. Take the time to find the ideal product for you!