Adapt Nutrition are hoping to dominate the supplement industry with their flagship product; Pre Train!
This explosive pre workout supplement is designed to take your workouts UP a notch, and this UK-based manufacturer believe it can compete with the top products out there.
Today we find out if that’s true.
In my comprehensive Adapt Nutrition Pre Train review, I’ll break down every aspect of the formula and then put it through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to see if it really can live up to the hype…
NOTE: This supplement now has an new formula. To see my comprehensive review of Pre Train “v2” click here.
ADAPT NUTRITION PRE TRAIN REVIEW – THE GOOD
It’s good news from the start, because Adapt Nutrition have chosen to use clear and transparent labels.
This means you can see all of the ingredients and all of the dosages used (no bulls**t proprietary blends here!), and it shows that they have massive confidence in the product they’ve created.
It’s a move which has been popularized by Dr. Jim Stoppani (Jym Supplement Science) in recent years, and it’s great to see more and more brands going down this route.
With 300mg caffeine in each serving, Pre Train will certainly give you a kick up the a**! This is enough to make even a Jennifer Aniston romcom seem gripping, and should lead to some great workouts.
Alongside this we get 1.5 grams of beta-alanine. Usually I’d raise a red flag here because a clinical dose is 3.2 grams, but new research suggests splitting it into two doses throughout the day may lead to superior absorption, so I’ll let them off.
ADAPT NUTRITION PRE TRAIN REVIEW – THE BAD
As far as “the good” sections go, that was very short.
That’s bad news for Adapt Nutrition, because Pre Train makes a series of schoolboy erros which massively hold it back in its quest to become a top pre workout.
First up, there’s only 1 gram of betaine. This is a great ingredient which can help to boost strength output, but we would need 2.5 grams to unlock those rewards and Pre Train falls well short.
We also get a God-awful combination of citrulline malate and arginine which they claim can “lead to better delivery of key nutrients to working muscles”. That is indeed what those ingredients are capable of doing, but we would need 6-8 grams of CitMal to do that and Pre Train contains just 1.5 grams (no typo!).
These missteps ruin the potential of Pre Train, but we’re not done…
The formula also contains niacin (cheap ingredient which has a similar feeling to beta-alanine) and taurine (which clashes with caffeine), undoing much of the good work they did in the previous section.
ADAPT NUTRITION PRE TRAIN – INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN
Caffeine is the headline act in Pre Train, and Adapt Nutrition know it.
Each scoop contains a monstrous 300mg and this will give you an energy boost few pre workouts can match.
Caffeine has decades of research to back up its performance enhancing effects, which include improvements to mental focus, increased energy levels, and even (slight) fat loss benefits. That being said, your caffeine experience depends largely on your tolerance levels. (8)
Given that the industry standard is somewhere between 180-250mg, Pre Train should be the pre workout of choice if you ever play a teenager in a Freddy Krueger movie.
This is one of the most misunderstood pre workout ingredients out there.
Beta-alanine is perhaps best-known for the skin-tingling effect it gives us when we first start using it (parasthesia), but it brings a whole host of potential training benefits with it that often get brushed under the carpet.
Most notably are the improvements it can have on training endurance. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that continued beta-alanine supplementation can lead to an average of 22% more reps to failure, which is insane. (7)
A fully clinical dose of beta-alanine is 3.2 grams, so Pre Train comes in well under the mark BUT new research suggests that we can achieve better uptake by splitting it into two separate servings.
140mg BITTER ORANGE PEEL EXTRACT
Ever used a fat burner before?
Then you’re probably familiar with bitter orange peel extract. This substance can provide a slight energy boost, and is basically a less potent version of the now-banned fat burning substance ephedrine.
It’s benefits include slight improvements to calorie burn and improved mental focus and the dose contained in Adapt Nutrition Pre Train is enough to get the job done.
This ingredient combines nicely with caffeine given that it shares many of the same benefits but it’s worth noting that BOPE is only effective if you are caffeine naive. (6)
Betaine shows A LOT of promise when it comes to boosting athletic performance.
Heck, one great study from the University of Connecticut found that using betaine prior to training helped boost explosive strength output by around 25%. That’s nuts! In recent years it’s become a staple for track athletes, too, after further studies showed how useful it could be during sprint-based training, (4, 5)
But here’s the thing…
A full clinical dose is 2.5 grams, and Pre Train only contains 1 gram.
We could argue that Pre Train also contains choline (which is broken down to derive more betaine), but it’s still nowhere near where we need to be.
It’s pretty hard to find a pre workout that doesn’t contain this ingredient.
That’s because taurine is very cheap and has clear links to improved mental focus, making it an easy ‘win’. (9)
However, one thing supplement companies continually overlook is that taurine and caffeine do NOT work well together. In fact, a 2012 study went as far as to call in an ‘antagonist’ of caffeine, noting that it actually PREVENTS caffeine from working as it should. (10)
Given the fact Adapt Nutrition have handed caffeine a starring role in the product, this makes no sense!
3g ARGININE & 1.5g CITRULLINE MALATE
I’ve listed these ingredients together because they essentially do the same thing.
The aim is to use your nitric oxide pathways to temporarily widen blood vessels and create better delivery of key nutrients to working muscles, as well as a great pump.
Arginine was the nitric oxide booster of choice in pre workouts of the early 2000s, but has been dethroned by citrulline malate in recent years after studies highlighted arginine’s relatively poor absorption rate. (2, 3)
When we get a full clinical dose of citrulline malate (6-8 grams) we can expect faster recovery between sets, greater endurance, and a better pump. (1)
But that brings us to another problem…
Instead of giving us the full clinical dose of CitMal we crave, Pre Train decides to fob us off with a weirdly underdosed (and ineffective) combination of arginine and CitMal which will not unlock the benefits mentioned above.
They encourage you to also buy their intra-workout pump formula (aka Pump) which contains an additional 2.2 grams of citrulline, but you’d be better served just buying an optimally dosed pre workout that cuts out this bulls**t.
14mg VITAMIN B6 / 85mcg VITAMIN B12 / 100mg VITAMIN C / 10mg NIACIN
This mixture of vitamins rounds out the Pre Train formula without really adding anything to the product.
Optimal vitamin B intake can lead to increased energy, but they do not need to be taken prior to training (we could simply take a multivitamin or eat plenty of fruit and veg).
Niacin is the standout of this bunch, because it brings a tingly, skin-crawling effect similar to that of beta-alanine. Many companies use this ingredient when they have under-dosed beta-alanine, essentially “tricking” the customer into believing they can feel the ingredient kicking in, when they can’t. It’s completely superficial.
ADAPT NUTRITION PRE TRAIN (ORIGINAL) REVIEW – THE FINAL VERDICT
It’s time to deliver a verdict.
Unfortunately, it’s not a good one.
While I admire Adapt Nutrition for their transparent label which allows us to see every single ingredient, it kinda works against them by highlighting the series of flaws in Pre Train.
What we have here is essentially just a high caffeine drink, and all other ingredients are either under-dosed or unnecessary.
This means it’s never going to trouble the likes of Total War, or Pre JYM for the crown of “Best Pre Workout”.
However, I’m not writing off Adapt Nutrition just yet. They look like a solid brand who are here to stay (the product packaging and marketing campaign behind this product shows this), so it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Pre Train receives 1.5 stars from me.
- Alvares, T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab (2012).
- Castillo, L., et al. Splanchnic metabolism of dietary arginine in relation to nitric oxide synthesis in normal adult man. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1993).
- Sureda, A., et al. Arginine and citrulline supplementation in sports and exercise: ergogenic nutrients? Med Sport Sci (2012).
- Lee, E. C., et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2010).
- Armstrong, L. E., et al. Influence of betaine consumption on strenuous running and sprinting in a hot environment. J Strength Cond Res (2008).
- Stohs, S. J., et al. Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci (2011).
- Hoffman, J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med (2008).
- Beaven, C. M., et al. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2008).
- Kim, S., et al. Taurine Induces Anti-Anxiety by Activating Strychnine-Sensitive Glycine Receptor in Vivo. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2009).
- Giles G. E., et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav (2012).
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