Back in 2015, Adapt Nutrition launched the great Pre Train. Now they’re back with Pre Train V2.
But is this sequel more Terminator 2 or Jaws 2?
You’re about to find out, thanks to my official Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 review!
This is a piece of content I’ve been looking forward to writing, because the original formula was a refreshing kick up the behind to a supplement industry which had began to rest upon it’s laurels.
With Pre Train, Adapt decided to go for what was then an non-traditional approach, by listing all of their ingredients and dosages right there on the side of the tub so the customer could make an informed decision without the need for all of the jazzy hype that typically comes with pre workouts.
Back then, most companies were pushing out below average products and using the fact that they could hide their formula under the banner of a ‘proprietary blend’, so it was a great first impression when Adapt decided to lay things out in such an open, clear, and concise manner.
So what has changed in Pre Train V2?
Have Adapt Nutrition managed to… err… adapt to the advances made in the supplement industry in the last couple of years?
Can it challenge the current top dogs of the pre workout market?
Let’s get stuck in and find out.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 Review – The Good!
Let’s start with a round-up of the best things about Pre Train version 2.
Firstly, Adapt Nutrition have kept true to their style of no proprietary blends, and you can see all 15 ingredients (and their dosages) listed clearly on the packaging.
I’m pleased that this is becoming “the done thing” in the fitness industry now. After decades of shady behaviour, it is now commonly accepted that if you have a strong pre workout formula the best thing you can do is shout about it, not hide it.
In my opinion, any pre workout which chooses to mask it’s formula behind a proprietary blend is simply hiding something bad from you.
Once we get inside the product, you’re met with a whopping dose of caffeine.
(300mg, to be exact.)
That puts Pre Train v2 up at the top end of the energy boosting spectrum, and is sufficient enough to give even the most seasoned pre workout users a big kick.
Another bright move here, one which perhaps goes overlooked by the so-called ‘star players’ in a pre, is the inclusion of 50mg l-theanine. This is designed to take the edge off the common crash which accompanies a heavy dose of caffeine, and should be quite a useful feature here given that the caffeine dose is significant.
Much like it’s original formula, there are no exotic stimulants included in Pre Train v2.
Not even DMHA, the fitness industry’s current ‘big thing’. Whether you see this as a good thing or a bad thing ultimately depends upon your reason for choosing Pre Train as a pre workout. If you want something to ‘blow your head off’ this isn’t it. But if you need a supplement which is completely safe for athletes to use, meaning it features nothing on the banned list (nor anything which will be on it anytime soon), this is a good fit.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 Review – The Bad!
When I reviewed the original Pre Train formula, I gave it 3 stars.
However, times have changed since 2015!
Since then, much research has been done to move the pre workout nutrition industry forward, and we now know the clinical dosages required for reaping the performance benefits of several key pre workout ingredients.
That’s bad news for Pre Train v2.
Because once we get past that huge dose of caffeine and the interesting inclusion of l-theanine to counteract it’s “crash”, things begin to slide downhill.
The original formula used a combination of 3g arginine and 1.5g citrulline malate, and while it’s great to see Pre Train v2 ditching this approach (arginine is simply not as good as citrulline) and instead going with 4.5g citrulline malate, it must be pointed out that this is still too low to be classed as a clinical dose.
We’d need 6g for that.
This familiar tale runs through the remainder of the key players, too, with betaine coming in at 1.5g (a clinical dose is 2.5g) and beta-alanine coming in at 2g (clinical dose 3.2g).
Thanks to the 300mg caffeine per serving, it would be unwise to take a double serving to boost your intake of these ingredients because your caffeine kick would leave you headbutting walls around the gym.
They’ve under-cut the citrulline here because the company also offers an intra-workout supplement (known as Pump) which provides another 2.2 grams of citrulline, hitting you in the pocket for another £22 rather than putting the full dose in one single product.
Adapt Nutrition also keep a few familiar faces from the original formula which we could do without, such as taurine, niacin and vitamin B.
There’s nothing wrong with vitamin B, of course, it just doesn’t need to be in a pre workout supplement. Providing you hit your daily total (which you’ll do via your multivitamin and a decent diet) you don’t need any additional vitamin B and it doesn’t bring about any performance benefits to consume it before a workout.
Throwing it in simply means they can put claims of “increased energy” on the label.
Taurine is often used in pre workouts and energy drinks for it’s mental benefits, but it’s basically the arch enemy of caffeine in supplement form (more on this in the nutritional breakdown section below) so once again, it shouldn’t be in your pre workout if the main ingredient is caffeine.
And caffeine is certainly the powerhouse ingredient in Pre Train v2.
Finally, if a product is slightly under-dosed in beta-alanine a supplement manufacturer can mask this by throwing in some niacin. This B vitamin will mask the under-dosed beta-alanine because it provides a very similar tingly, flushing effect and the user believes they can really “feel” the beta-alanine kicking in.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 Review – Nutrition Breakdown
A few readers have recently commented that they look forward to the Nutritional Breakdown section of my reviews because it provides some science, showing why certain ingredients are included, and helps with learning what to look for when purchasing pre workouts in future.
Well, that’s great.
That’s why I do it.
So now it’s time to put Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 through the same process.
We’ll take a look at every major ingredient here and explain the purpose behind it’s featuring in the product (as well as discuss the chosen dose which is provided).
Let’s start with the big one..
- 300mg Caffeine
Caffeine was the main ingredient in the original Pre Train formula, and it remains so in the sequel.
I mean, caffeine has been shown to improve everything from focus, energy levels, alertness and even total calorie burn. (1, 2, 3, 4)
There’s even new research which suggests it can be used to increase total strength output! (5, 6, 7)
Of course, it does come with it’s downsides.
One such aspect is that caffeine is largely subjective to the individual’s tolerance levels, meaning if you are the type of person who drinks black coffee like water, you’d need a significantly larger dose than someone who doesn’t, because your body has simply adapted to it. (8)
However, 300mg is large enough to give even an angry rhino a boost before a workout, so Adapt Nutrition have gone big on this ingredient.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that the strength output benefits I pointed out above were only accomplished with a dose of 400mg. It’s very rare to see a pre workout go that high in caffeine (although it has been done – check out AML Pre Workout), so a 300mg serving still places this up there near the top end of the marketplace when it comes to caffeine.
There is a growing body of research out there which sheds light on the possibility of theacrine as a long-term successor to caffeine, because it appears to provide the same energy boost without the body’s ability to adapt, and without the comedown which arrives in the aftermath of your workout. (9, 10, 11)
But, although theacrine has made it’s way into a few mainstream pre workouts in the last 12 months, the science surrounding it is still finding it’s feet and it’ll be a while before it can be considered a true heir to the throne.
- 50mg l-theanine
Another substance making it’s way into modern pre workouts now, as we look at the benefits of l-theanine.
Basically, l-theanine is used to Nerf the effects of a large caffeine dosage because it provides a calming, somewhat relaxing sensation.
Research suggests this combination of caffeine and l-theanine enables you to enjoy a prolonged sense of energy, without a subsequent crash. (12)
However, the study above used a split of 200mg caffeine and 200mg l-theanine, whereas Pre Train V2 goes for a top-heavy split of 300mg caffeine and only 50mg l-theanine.
- 4.5g Citrulline Malate
So close, and yet so far…
I consider citrulline malate to be the most useful ingredient in any muscle building pre workout, because it possesses a wondrous array of talents which enable it to enhance a whole host of training benefits.
With a good dose of citrulline malate on a regular basis, you’ll be able to improve your recovery speed between sets, boost your endurance in order to push out more repetitions, and look like a non-green version of The Hulk thanks to the great increase in blood flow it provides. (13, 14)
In the original Pre Train supplement, Adapt Nutrition opted for a combination of 3g arginine and 1.5g citrulline malate.
This has been changed to a straight 4.5g citrulline for Pre Train V2.
That’s a step in the right direction, because once digested citrulline is converted into arginine and goes about doing the same job, but arginine itself has an incredibly poor absorption rate and is mostly lost in the liver and intestines, whereas citrulline improves this absorption rate considerably, enabling your muscles to tap into it’s potential benefits. (15, 16)
But although it’s a good stride forward, it’s not enough.
A full clinical dose of citrulline malate is 6-8 grams, and Pre Train V2 only provides 4.5 grams.
This is something known in the supplement industry as “fairy dusting”, whereby a manufacturer will include a product in order to make claims on the tub (“skin-splitting pumps!”, “greater training endurance!”, etc) despite under-dosing that ingredient.
It happens all the time, it’s just a shame to see Adapt Nutrition doing it.
- 1.5g Betaine
Betaine is a useful pre workout ingredient because of it’s potential benefits to enhance training performance.
Like citrulline, betaine has been shown to improve training endurance, lead to greater muscle recovery, and even increase explosive strength output! (17, 18, 19)
Further still, a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition discovered that improvements in performance can be seen after as little as one week of betaine supplementation. (20)
Once again the issue is not the ingredient, it’s the dosage.
A full clinical dose of betaine is 2.5 grams, and Pre Train V2 provides just 1.5 grams.
- 2g Beta-Alanine
Since it’s appearance in iSatori H-Blocker back in 2007, beta-alanine has been a staple of the pre workout industry.
It’s the ingredient responsible for the tingling, skin-crawling effects most people experience when they drink a pre.
This is known as parasthesia, this is a useful way for making a consumer “feel” a pre workout taking effect, but there is a lot more going on behind the scenes here.
The main use of beta-alanine is it’s ability to act as a lactic acid buffer, delaying the onset of “the burn” during resistance training. During a 2008 study from researchers at the College of New Jersey, supplementing with beta-alanine over a 4 week period was shown to increase the number of reps to failure during a heavy squat program by a 22%! (21)
Although a full clinical dose of beta-alanine is 3.2 grams, I don’t consider it a red flag that Pre Train V2 only contains 2g.
New research suggests that consuming your daily dose of beta-alanine across two servings can improve absorption a little bit, so this is why many supplement manufactures continue to include a dose of around 2 grams in their product.
This is more manageable for most people, who can’t deal with a full 3.2 grams in one single serving due to the increased parasthesia.
However, it does mean you’d need to pick up some beta-alanine on it’s own to get the most out of it (although it is very cheap).
- 10mg Niacin
Niacin has no place in a truly great pre workout supplement. It’s as simple as that.
But it’s an ingredient that this industry continues to throw into products, and it also appears in countless energy drinks, too.
Vitamin B has some great benefits to it, but the often touted energy increase comes regardless of whether you consume it before training or whether you just hit your daily requirements (which you’ll do via your diet and/or a multivitamin capsule).
This “fairy dusting” (there’s that phrase again!) allows pre workouts and energy drinks to plaster claims of increased energy and focus on their packaging.
But in reality, this B vitamin only appears for one reason.
It creates a flushing, tingling sensation which feels similar to the effects of beta-alanine so if you are using a product which doesn’t provide a full dose of BA, it’s easier to mask that by adding niacin into the mixture.
- 140mg Bitter Orange Powder
Ever used a fat burner supplement before?
Then you’ve probably seen bitter orange peel on the label.
Consider it a much less potent cousin of the banned fat burner ephedrine. It possesses slight fat burning, mental focus, and energy boosting effects (although you’ll only see the energy boost if you are caffeine naive). (23)
With 140mg, the dose is enough to provide the necessary results.
- 1g Taurine
Another firm favourite of energy drinks and pre workout supplements.
And, yes, another ingredient which should be moved aside!
There are positive aspects to taurine supplementation (most notably it’s ability to increase mental focus, alertness, and blood flow), but these are offset by one incredible negative which it seems most supplement companies are not aware of. (24, 25)
Taurine and caffeine do not play nice together.
During a study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, researchers concluded that taurine actually goes as far as to oppose some of the effects of caffeine. They concluded that taking both ingredients together increases the likelihood of headaches and decreased training performance. (26)
Given the obvious advantages of pre workout caffeine supplementation, it makes sense to prioritize it over any potential benefits offered through taurine.
Besides this fact, you’d need a dose of 2g to see any of the potential benefits of taurine anyway, so Pre Train V2 (like almost every other pre workout and energy drink supplements) is under-dosed.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 Review – Russ’ Final Verdict
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 takes the formula of the original and builds upon it.
The addition of a sole citrulline malate source (instead of an awkward mixture of arginine and citrulline) is certainly a move in the right direction. And it remains a top-tier supplement regarding it’s large caffeine dose.
But it’s not enough to lay claim to the title “King of Pre Workouts”.
Like the original Pre Train formula, it picks up 3 stars.
There are too many ingredients which don’t carry a clinical dose to yield their full training benefits, and the huge serving of caffeine make this a “one scoop” pre workout so there’s no way to push those doses up without supplementing them separately, which drives up your cost.
However, the caffeine kick and the great combination with l-theanine make Pre Train V2 a useful supplement for anybody looking for perform shorter, HIIT-style workouts due to it’s instant energy boost and then subsequent lack of “crash”. This will be the niche Pre Train V2 will find it’s home in.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more well-dosed pre I recommend going along the lines of RedCon1 Total War for a superior experience.
If you’d like to check out Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2, pick it up here.
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- Hayward, S., et al., Safety of TeaCrine®, a non-habituating, naturally-occurring purine alkaloid over eight weeks of continuous use. ISSN Poster Presentation, 2015
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