Back in 2015, Adapt Nutrition arrived in the supplement industry with Pre Train. Now they’re back with Pre Train V2.

But is this sequel more Terminator 2 or Grown Ups 2?

Let’s find out, with my official Adapt Nutrition Pre Train V2 review!

This is a post I’ve been looking forward to writing, because the original version of Pre Train broke a few boundaries with it’s transparent label and avoiding proprietary blends. It wasn’t a perfect supplement by any means, though, and it scraped through by with a two star rating.

So what has changed in Pre Train v2?

Have Adapt Nutrition managed to.. err.. adapt to the advancements made in the supplement industry over the last few years? Can it perhaps even challenge the current top dogs of the pre workout marketplace?

As usual, I’ll take you through all the good points and bad points of Pre Train v2, then put it through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to determine its final score.

Adapt Nutrition Pre Train v2


So why did Pre Train get a sequel?

Sequels are not the done thing in the supplement business, unless a product contained an ingredient which has now been banned and they’ve had to reformulate the product.

Thankfully, that’s not the case.

Adapt Nutrition have released Pre Train v2 simple because they’ve made improvements to the supplement. That’s a good thing. Adapt Nutrition also stay true to their belief in transparent labels. That means there’s no proprietary blend and no hidden ingredients in Pre Train v2. You can see all 15 active ingredients and their doses very clearly.

Take a look below.

adapt nutrition pre train v2 review

Just like the original, caffeine is the star of the show here. With a hefty 300mg serving in each scoop, you’ll charge into the gym like Rocky Balboa scaling a Russian mountain peak. They’ve also made the smart move of including l-theanine. This is designed to take the edge off caffeine, and should stop you from crashing face down in a dumpster after your session.

A great serving of l-citrulline is another highlight. The original formula used an ineffective combination of citrulline & arginine, whereas the new blend removes arginine entirely.

Elsewhere we see that beta-alanine has been upped to 2 grams this time around, and there are no exotic stimulants in Pre Train v2. That’ll make it a great choice for athletes. Untested stimulants are notorious for being banned overnight, so in keeping all 15 ingredients completely within the guidelines and staying away from exotic stimulants altogether, Adapt Nutrition have created a pre workout that can be used safely by athletes who don’t want to always keep one eye on USADA guidelines.


Do you know why I scored the original formula 2 stars?

Because despite showing some promise as a performance booster for HIIT workouts, the lack of other key ingredients besides caffeine meant it couldn’t compete against the industry’s top products.

The bad news is that Pre Train v2 falls victim to a few of the same old mistakes

Betaine is a great inclusion and does increase the dose from the original formula, but at 1.5g is still a whole gram short of a full clinical serving.

We ould argue that you’d achieve a clinical dose of betaine and beta-alanine by simply taking a double scoop, but this would also double your caffeine (to 600mg!). This is a definite “one scooper.”


Now let’s break down all of the ingredients inside the tub, for a thorough look under the hood of Pre Train version 2.0.

Let’s start with the biggest hitter.

adapt nutrition pre train review


Caffeine is the star of Pre Train v2.

At 300mg, you’ll receive a bigger kick than a henchman in a Chuck Norris movie. And that’s a great thing. It has been shown to improve mental focus, energy output, alertness, and even have a slight impact on total calorie burn. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Interestingly, there’s new research which suggests it can be used to increase max strength, too. However, that those strength benefits are only unlocked when the dose reaches 400mg, which very few pre workouts ever dare to try. If you can handle it, one such product is the phenomenal AML Pre Workout. (5, 6, 7)

Of course, caffeine also comes with a few downsides. The effectiveness of caffeine depends largely on the tolerance level of the user, meaning if you drink coffee like a horse drinks water, you’ll need a much bigger dose than a total newbie in order get the same “kick” from it. (8)

However, Adapt Nutrition have gone big on this ingredient, and 300mg is sufficient enough to give even the most seasoned caffeine user a jolt.

One possible development for future releases (if these sequels are to be continued) is the inclusion of theacrine. Many see it as a long-term successor to caffeine, because it appears to provide the exact same energy boost without the body’s natural ability to adapt to the substance, and also without the comedown. It’s one to keep an eye on, as I’m sure Adapt Nutrition already are, but more research is needed. (9, 10, 11)

citrulline benefits


Citrulline is my favorite ingredient in a pre workout.

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ve heard me describe is as the powerhouse of a good pre workout. Citrulline improves recovery between sets, boosts training endurance, and makes us look like a non-green version of The Hulk thanks to the increase in blood flow it provides to working muscles. (13, 14)

Supplements used to use arginine for this purpose, but it turns out citrulline is better at doing arginine’s job than arginine itself. (15, 16)

Adapt Nutrition used a combination of 3g arginine and 1.5g citrulline malate in the original version of Pre Train. In Pre Train v2 they’ve righted this wrong by removing arginine entirly and including 4.5 grams of l-citrulline.

Notice I said l-citrulline, not the more commonly used citrulline malate.

This actually ties in with my earlier suggestion that Pre Train v2 is a good choice for trainees performing HIIT. You see, research indicates that citrulline in its pure amino acid form (l-citrulline) is superior if you are training aerobically. (27, 28)

Now let’s talk about the dose…

You’ve also likely heard that a clinical serving of citrulline is 6 grams. That information is incorrect. A clinical dose of citrulline malate is 6 grams, but we don’t need as much when dealing with l-citrulline.

Citrulline malate is usually made in a 2:1 ratio so a clinical 6 gram dose would actually consist of 4 grams citrulline and 2 grams malic acid. So with 4.5 grams of straight l-citrulline, Adapt Nutrition have clinically dosed this ingredient.

Before we move on, here’s an interesting story. They actually got in touch with me to say the 4.5 grams of l-citrulline in Pre Train v2 is as effective as 9 grams of citrulline malate, because of the 1:1 ratio of citrulline to malic acid. I guess this is true, but over the years I’ve found that most good products use a 2:1 ratio, not 1:1.

Nice try, Adapt. Just take the win!



Since it’s inclusion in iSatori H-Blocker in the mid-2000’s, beta-alanine has been a mainstay of pre workout supplements.

This is the ingredient responsible for the skin-tingling effect you get with a pre, known as parasthesia, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that beta-alanine is rarely given enough credit for…

The main use of beta-alanine in a gym environment is to buffer against the build-up of lactic acid. A 2008 study from researchers at the College of New Jersey showed that participants using this ingredient over four weeks saw an impressive 22% increase in the number of reps to failure on a heavy squats program. (21)

Although a full clinical dose of beta-alanine is a whopping 3.2 grams, I don’t consider it to be a red flag when pre workouts come in under this. Many people simple can’t handle 3.2g in one go. Plus, new research suggests that consuming two smaller doses at different times of the day leads to a slight improvement in beta-alanine’s absorption ratio.



Here’s another substance making it’s way up the supplement industry ranks.

In a nutshell, l-theanine is used to Nerf the effects of a big caffeine dosage, because it provides a somewhat calming, relaxing energy. Research suggests a combo of caffeine and l-theanine allows you to enjoy a more prolonged sense of energy, without much of a crash. (12)

However, that research used a split of 200mg caffeine with 200mg l-theanine (1:1 ratio), while Pre Train v2 opts for a top heavy split of 300mg caffeine and just 50mg l-theanine (6:1 ratio).



If you’ve ever tried a fat burner before, you’ve likely heard of BOPE (bitter orange peel extract).

This is like a much (much, much) less potent version of the now illegal fat burner ephedrine, and it has been shown to promote a slight improvement in fat burning, mental focus, and energy output (although only if you’re caffeine naive). (23)

At 140mg, Pre Train contains enough bitter orange peel extract to do the job.

However, the benefits of this ingredient are often overblown. Results with it tend to differ from person to person.

adapt nutrition pre train v2 review


Betaine is a sprinter’s favourite pre workout ingredient.

It hasn’t really been recognized by the bodybuilding community just yet, but it’s getting there thanks to research which shows it can improve muscular endurance, muscle recovery, and strength output. (17, 18, 19)

Furthermore, a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition discovered that performance improvements can be seen in as little as one week. (20)

Sure, it’s not in a clinical dose of 2.5 grams, but you’ll see solid results with 1.5 grams if you take it consistently and it’s refreshing to see a brand actually use this ingredient.


Here we go again…

Another pre workout, another inclusion of the motherf**ker that is niacin.

Niacin (vitamin B3) serves no purpose in a pre workout other than to create a flushing, tingling effect similar to beta-alanine. Usually, poor supplements throw in this ingredient to mask the fact they’ve severely under-dosed the beta-alanine in the product. It’s a strange inclusion here, as Pre Train v2 contains a decent amount of beta-alanine to begin with.

However, it will ensure that your face feels like it’s falling off in the gym. Yey.

Adapt Nutrition


Taurine is the darling of the energy drink industry.

It allows manufacturers to make bold claims of boosting mental focus and increased blood flow. After all, it has been shown to do both! (24, 25)

But what they’re not mentioning (because most supplement companies appear to be unaware) is that taurine and caffeine do not like each other. They’re like those siblings that just can’t stop f**king fighting.

During a study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour, researchers found taurine actually goes as far as opposing some of caffeine’s effects. They concluded that taking both ingredients together is counterproductive, and increases the likelihood of headaches and decreased training performance. (26)

Given the huge benefits of caffeine, it makes sense to prioritize it over taurine any day of the week.

By including taurine, all they’re really doing is diluting the effects of the caffeine in the product. Besides, you’d need 2 grams to yield taurine’s full benefits, not the 1 gram found in this product and most other pre workouts. Useless ingredient.

adapt nutrition pre train v2


I want to be a fan of Adapt Nutrition.

I like the company and their approach to transparent labels.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict they’ll become a large UK supplement manufacturer in the next 3-4 years.

Like it’s predecessor, Pre Train v2 works best when used in conjunction with cardiovascular training, thanks to the one-two combo of caffeine and l-citrulline. Many of my clients use this before performing HIIT, and I think this will be the niche it dominates.

But we cannot truly call this “the king of pre workouts”, because if your training is more weights-based you’d be better off choosing a pre workout which has been formulated specifically for that purpose, like the ever-popular Total War.

Pre Train v2 picks up a very respectable 3 stars from me, click here to order it.


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  2. Childs, E., et al. Subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of acute caffeine in light, nondependent caffeine users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). (2006)
  3. Holtzman, S. G., et al. CGS 15943, a nonxanthine adenosine receptor antagonist: effects on locomotor activity of nontolerant and caffeine-tolerant rats. Life Sci. (1991)
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  10. Hayward, S., et al., Safety of TeaCrine®, a non-habituating, naturally-occurring purine alkaloid over eight weeks of continuous use. ISSN Poster Presentation. (2015)
  11. Habowski, S. M., et al. The effects of TeacrineTM, a nature-identical purine alkaloid, on subjective measures of cognitive function, psychometric and hemodynamic indices in healthy humans: a randomized, double-blinded crossover pilot trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. (2014)
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  15. 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)
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  19. Holewa J., et al. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, Coastal Carolina University. (2013)
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