Adapt Nutrition Pre Train Review
It’s time for my Adapt Nutrition Pre Train review, designed to put one of the UK’s most popular pre workout supplements to the test.
Because a great pre workout can make you feel unstoppable, and take your training session to the next level.
However, a poor one can make you feel flatter that a witch’s tit.
Unfortunately, pre workouts often come big on promises and small on performance. So how does Pre Train, the new product from UK-based manufacturers Adapt Nutrition, fare?
I’ll direct you through all the good points, all the bad points, and put it through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to find out how good it really is!
NOTE: This supplement has now been updated with a new formula. I’ve reviewed Pre Train v2 here.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train Review: The Good
I’d like to start by saying “Hats off!” to Adapt Nutrition.
You see, the supplement industry has received the proverbial kick up the a** in the last five years, with consumers beginning to notice the shady tricks manufacturers were pulling when releasing products. In pre workout supplements, that meant hiding the formula behind proprietary blend, under-dosing key ingredients, or just flat out excluding them.
Thanks in part to the great work done by Dr. Jim Stoppani, whose Jym Supplement Science products insisted upon having clear, fully disclosed labels, the industry is moving in the right direction and Adapt Nutrition have joined the small list of companies who are taking the lead when it comes to full label disclosure.
In Pre Train, we have a completely transparent label which allows us to see the full dosages of every ingredient inside the tub.
They were also familiar with my reviewing style before asking me to review Pre Train. They knew I’d tear it to shreds it if didn’t deliver the goods. This shows a company who genuinely believe in their creations. I like that.
Before we dig into the formula fully (down below), the clear highlight here is the 300mg caffeine.
This is enough to make even a Jennifer Aniston rom-com seem riveting, and puts Pre Train near the top end of the market in terms of caffeine dosage.
We also have 1.5g beta-alanine to provide a buffer against the onset of lactic acid build-up.
If you’re a regular reader of my site then we already know the full clinical dose of beta-alanine (for maximum performance) is 3.2 grams, but this isn’t necessarily a red flag. 1.5g is more tolerable for most people, and new research does indicate a slightly superior absorption rate when that clinical dose is taken across two separate servings as opposed to one.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train Review – The Bad
No supplement is perfect, of course.
Despite featuring a few of the big-hitting ingredients we should have in a market-leading pre workout (I showed you them all in my piece on how to create your own pre workout), Pre Train is let down by the dose.
Betaine comes in at 1 gram (clinical dose is 2.5g). Citrulline malate is only 1.5 grams (clinical dose is 6-8g).
Worse still, it’s part of an awkward citrulline/arginine blend which would have been superior had it consisted purely of citrulline alone.
The unnecessary inclusion of niacin is another blotch on it’s report, and will be reflected in it’s score at the end of this review.
Now let’s break down each ingredient in the tub, and give a final verdict on Adapt Nutrition Pre Train…
Caffeine is the headline act in Pre Train. At a mighty 300mg, Adapt Nutrition aren’t messing about here.
Caffeine is one of the most well-researched substances in history, and has been shown to improve everything from our ability to mentally focus, to improved energy levels, and even fat loss. That being said, your caffeine experience depends largely on your tolerance levels. (8)
The industry standard is 200-250mg, so this makes Pre Train a great choice if you ever find yourself playing a teen in a Freddy Krueger movie.
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 increased calorie burn, and improved mental focus.
It pairs well with caffeine, given that it shares many of the same training benefits. But, like caffeine, BOPE is only effective if you are caffeine naive. (6)
At 140mg, the dose inside Adapt Nutrition Pre Train is enough to get the job done.
Beta-alanine is one of my “go to” pre workout ingredients.
Because time and time again, it has been shown to boost our ability to push beyond the build-up of lactic acid during hard exercise (“the burn”). (7)
The tingly effect it cause is known as parasthesia. This is a temporary side effect which only occurs at the beginning of usage, or when increasing the dose, and won’t make a difference in terms of training output.
Many gym-goers make the mistake of continually chasing that tingly, skin-crawling feeling as a sign their pre workout is actually working. But provided you’re achieving your daily dose of beta-alanine, you are reaping those performance benefits regardless of whether you feel the fire ants anymore.
Supplement companies often throw in stuff like niacin (see below) to simulate that burning feeling in order to trick the user into thinking it’s the beta-alanine starting up.
A full daily dose is 3.2 grams and Pre Train contains 1.5 grams. However, all is not lost. 3.2 grams is usually too much for most people to take in one go, so splitting beta-alanine across two doses is more preferable, and new research even indicates it might be slightly better.
Betaine shows a lot of promise when it comes to boosting athletic performance.
One great study from the University of Connecticut found that using betaine prior to training helped boost explosive strength output by around 25%. A further trial noted it to be particularly useful during sprint-based training, and it has since become a mainstay of the supplement regimes of most track athletes. (4, 5)
Optimal dosage of betaine is 2.5g per day.
While Pre Train does give us 1g betaine directly, the product also includes choline. Choline is broken down to derive more betaine.
That’s an interesting combo, but the overall dose of both combined still falls short.
It’s pretty hard to find a pre workout that doesn’t contain this ingredient.
Taurine is a well-known substance which has been scientifically proven to boost mental focus, which is why it’s commonplace it energy drinks and pre’s. (9)
However, the combination of taurine and caffeine is not ideal.
Taurine is an antagonist of caffeine, opposing some of it’s effects. Given the huge benefits caffeine offers, it makes sense to prioritize that over the inclusion of taurine, but most companies appear unaware of this research (one exception being AML Pre Workout), so it continues to make appearances on a regular basis. (10)
Arginine is a nitric oxide booster which was hugely popular back in the 2000’s.
It’s job is to temporarily widen blood vessels, allowing for (real benefit) greater delivery of nutrients to working muscles and (superficial benefit) a better pump. (1)
At 3 grams per serving, the dosage is not high enough to produce maximum training benefits. This is due to arginine’s incredibly poor absorption rate. Which brings us to the next ingredient…
1.5g Citrulline Malate
CitMal is the superior model of arginine.
In this post I explained how this powerful amino acid is able to perform many of the jobs of arginine, with one crucial difference – greater absorption!
Once inside the body, most arginine is destroyed almost immediately. One study suggested that it has an absorption rate of just 1%! (2)
Citrulline is converted into arginine once ingested, and has an absorption rate of around 80%. That makes it a superior way to reap the training benefits of arginine, than using arginine directly. (3)
Those benefits include rapid recovery between working sets, improved training endurance, and a better pump.
However, Adapt Nutrition have really dropped the ball by packing only 1.5 grams of CitMal into Pre Train…
The clinical dose is 6-8 grams, so even if they’d removed the 3g arginine and dosed the entire 4.5 grams of citrulline malate instead, they’d still be well short of the mark we’re looking for.
B Vitamins / Niacin
A mixture of B vitamins rounds out the Pre Train formula.
Like taurine, these represent yet more ingredients which are valuable if taken on their own, but completely unnecessary as part of a pre workout.
B vitamins are added because they’re linked with boosting energy, and this allows a manufacturer to then make bold claims about energy improvements in their marketing. However, it does not matter if you consume vitamin B prioer to training versus any other time of day (i.e. as part of a multivitamin, or via a balanced diet).
Niacin (vitamin B3) was mentioned above.
It’s primary use in a pre is to create a flushing, tingly effect similar to that of beta-alanine.
When a product is low in beta-alanine, companies throw this in to “trick” the user into thinking they can really feel it kicking in.
It’s completely superficial.
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train Review – The Final Verdict
Adapt Nutrition Pre Train is a half-decent pre workout, which isn’t going to trouble any of the fitness industry’s top dogs.
It’s showstopping ingredient is 300mg caffeine, and this makes it a highly useful product if your workouts are typically under 60 minutes, and revolve around high energy training styles, such as HIIT.
All other key ingredients are under-dosed, and there are even a few unnecessary ones (taurine, arginine, niacin).
However, with a few slight changes to the formula they could have something which is ready to tackle the big leagues. I’m not writing Adapt Nutrition off just yet. They look like a solid brand, and their decision to label their products so transparently deserves plaudits.
Pre Train receives 2 stars from me. It has since been updated with a new version, you can see that product here.
- 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)