My comprehensive Adapt Nutrition Pre Train v2 review will determine whether this ‘sequel’ is a worth successor to the original pre workout.


Adapt Nutrition arrived on the supplement scene with Pre Train back in 2015, and now they’ve returned with Pre Train v2!

That’s right – a sequel!

In this comprehensive Pre Train v2 review I’ll be breaking down every aspect of the new product to determine whether it’s an step up from the original or not.

Let’s discover if this sequel is more Terminator 2, or Grown Ups 2

adapt nutrition pre train v2 review


So why did Pre Train get a sequel?

Usually companies only reformulate a product when an ingredient has been banned, but that’s not the case here. Instead, Adapt Nutrition have simply decided to make a better product!

Pre Train v2 is a definite improvement over the original, and it’s just fantastic to see a manufacturer behave this way. I believe this company will make big moves in the industry in the next few years if they keep this mentality.

You can see the new formula in more detail below.

adapt nutrition pre train v2 review

One of the biggest flaws in the original formula is that it contained an ineffective combination of arginine and CitMal. I’m pleased to say this is a thing of the past; Pre Train v2 gives us 4.5 grams of pure l-citrulline!

This is a clinical dose which will unlock all of the training benefits citrulline can provide (more endurance, faster recovery between sets, better pump). The decision to use pure l-citrulline instead of the more traditionally use CitMal is an interesting one (more on this later), but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Other improvements to the formula include increasing the beta-alanine dose from 1.6 grams to 2 grams, betaine goes up from 1 gram to 1.5 grams, caffeine rises from 300mg to 350mg, and we now have l-theanine alongside it to combat the commonly felt “caffeine crash”.

I’d like to high give Adapt Nutrition for spotting the missteps in their original pre workout and correcting them. They didn’t NEED to do it. I mean, the original formula sold quite well despite only having a 1.5 star review.

They also deserve credit for listing all of the ingredients (no bulls**t proprietary blends here!) and avoiding untested exotic stimulants so that athletes can use Pre Train v2 without needing to keep one eye on USADA guidelines.

But here’s the thing…

It isn’t enough.

Adapt Nutrition Pre Train v2

Aside from the monstrous serving of caffeine and clinical dose of l-citrulline, a lot of the problems from ‘version 1’ are still there.

Beta-alanine is still under-dosed at 2 grams (a clinical dose is 3.2g), betaine still falls short at 1.5g (2.5g), and l-theanine is a nice inclusion but 50mg won’t be enough to combat a 7x bigger dose of caffeine. We could argue that you’d be better served by doubling the scoop to multiply all of these, but that would bump your caffeine to dangerous levels (700mg), so Pre Train v2 is a definite “one scooper”.

The inclusion of taurine is another mistake carried over from the original formula. I don’t want to be too harsh on this one because MOST companies use this ingredient, but given caffeine’s starring role in Pre Train v2 it makes no sense to include an ingredient which has been shown to literally prevent it from doing its job.



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.

The hefty 350mg contained here will have you charging up the treadmills of your local gym like Rocky Balboa scaling Russian mountain peaks, and that’s great!

Caffeine is among the most well-researched subtances of all time, too, so we KNOW it can improve various performance aspects including energy output, mental focus, alertness, and total calorie burn. (1, 2, 3, 4)

There’s even new research which suggests it can increase strength, but those studies used a very high dose (400mg). Pre Train v2 falls slightly below this level, but not by much. The problem with this reseach is that 400mg is too much for most people to handle anyway, but if you CAN then you can achieve a full 400mg dose in the phenomenal AML Pre Workout. (5, 6, 7)

Of course, caffeine also comes with a few downsides.

Most notabe is the fact that we adapt to it over time; so a 350mg dose may “blow your head off” right now, but it won’t work forever. (8)

Looking forward to future Pre Train ‘sequels’, it’ll be interesting to see if Adapt Nutrition begin including theacrine (aka TeaCrine). This potential long-term successor to caffeine appears to provide many of the same training benefits WITHOUT adaptation, but more research is needed before it can truly take the crown. (9, 10, 11)

citrulline benefits


Citrulline is my favorite pre workout ingredient.

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ve heard me describe it as the powerhouse of a good pre workout. That’s because citrulline has been shown use our nitric oxide pathways to greatly improve training endurance, recovery speed between sets, and even the pump! (13, 14)

In the original Pre Train formula, Adapt Nutrition plumped for a 4.5g combination of arginine and citrulline malate. I’m pleased to say they’ve ditched that idea and gone with 100% citrulline this time around.

This is a great move.

Arginine was the nitric oxide booster or choice back in the 2000s but recent studies show that citrulline is a far superior option. You see, once inside the body citrulline actually becomes arginine, but it has a much higher absorption rate – meaning supplementing with citrulline is a better way of increasing your arginine levels than using arginine directly! (15, 16)

So why do they use l-citrulline instead of citrulline malate?

Like I said in the overview section, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m a big fan of CitMal because it brings with it a host of benefits to elevate weight training performance, but by stripping the malic acid compound and giving us pure l-citrulline we get a different set of plus points. New research indicates that l-citrulline is superior when training aerobically, which makes Pre Train v2 a solid choice if you are performing cardiovascular exercise or HIIT. This gives the product a unique niche to dominate. (27, 28)

A clinical dose of CitMal is 6 grams, but when we use pure l-citrulline this is reduced to 4 grams (because malic acid = 2g). Adapt Nutrition have ticked this box by giving us a mighty 4.5 grams in Pre Train v2.



The first time this ingredient was included in a pre workout was way back in 2005, when iSatori launched the now-legendary H-Blocker.

The itchy face, the tingly hands, I remember it well.

Since then it has become a staple of pre workouts because of the positive impact it can have on training endurance. A 2008 study from the College of New Jersey showed that beta-alanine supplementation over just four weeks led to an impressive 22% increase in reps to failure on a heavy squat program. (21)


Altough they have stepped up the dose from the original product, Pre Train v2 still falls below a clinical dose of 3.2 grams. However, consider this a ‘soft’ red flag, as most people cannot handle a full clinical dose in one serving and new research suggests splitting beta-alanine into two separate servings leads to better uptake into the muscles.



The fact that this ingredient is here shows us that Adapt Nutrition keep a keen ear to the ground listening to the latest develpments in the world of sports supplementation.

L-theanine can be used to successfully Nerf the effects of a large caffeine serving, making it a very useful pre workout ingredient because it can prevent you from experiencing the common “caffeine crash” which arrives about three hours after training ends.

The studies which show the BEST results use a 1:1 ratio but few products get this right. Adapt Nutrition use a “top heavy” combination of 350mg caffeine versus 50mg l-theanine, which isn’t enough to unlock the full benefits. (12)

adapt nutrition pre train v2 review


I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to a track athlete without them singing the praises of BETAINE.

Thankfully it is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the bodybuilding world, too! Research shows it can lead to improvements in muscular endurace, strength output, and muscle recovery speed, which is GREAT. (17, 18, 19)

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

The dose of betaine in Pre Train v2 is one gram short of a full clinical dose, but if you continued to use it day in and day out you’d still unlock many of the benefits it offers. Plus, it’s such a rarely recognized ingredient that I’m kinda happy just at the fact it is here at all!


Taurine and caffeine are like two brothers who won’t stop fighting.

But unlike parenting, you must pick a favourite.

You see, taurine brings with it a series of benefits towards mental focus and increased blood flow to working muscles (which is great!) but a 2012 study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior showed that it’s an antagonist of caffeine. That means it literally prevents caffeine from doing its job (if you’ve ever felt sluggish after drinking a pre workout, here’s your culprit). (24, 25, 26)

That means you gotta pick one.

I’ll make that choice easy for you – caffeine wins! The potential training benefits of taurine are significantly smaller and we would need a dose of about 2 grams, which most pre workouts don’t provide.

Given the starring role caffeine plays in Pre Train v2, it makes no sense to throw in one gram of taurine.

Adapt Nutrition


If you’ve ever tried a fat burner before, you’ve probably 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 can lead to slight improvements in calorie burn, mental focus, and energy levels (but only if you’re caffeine naive). (23)

At 140mg per serving, Pre Train v2 has enough bitter orange peel extract to do the job.


Niacin is a B vitamin, and consuming these will lead to greater energy.

However, you’re probably already hitting your daily B vitamin requirements without needing to get more of them in a pre workout (especially if you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, or using a quality multivitamin supplement).

There are two reasons companies include this ingredient in their formula.

*1* It lets them make claims about “increased energy!” on the label, and *2* this ingredient produces a similar “tingling” sensation to beta-alanine, which means if a company has under-dosed that ingredient they can mask it with this.

adapt nutrition pre train v2


I am a fan of Adapt Nutrition.

I like the company and the fact they use trasparent labels.

Pre Train v2 is a definite step up from the original formula, but it’s still unable to compete with the best pre workouts due to a series of small errors it carries over from the previous version.

The combination of caffeine and l-citrulline here mean Pre Train v2 will come into its own as a “cardio pre workout”, and many of my clients have used to this way to great results. This will be the niche it lives in. I believe Adapt Nutrtion are smart to target this corner of the supplement industry, and I expect them to dominate it with future iterations of Pre Train in the next 3-4 years.

However, if you are looking for a pre workout designed for lifting weights, you’d still be better off opting for a superior formula like Total War.

Pre Train v2 gets a respectable 2.5 stars from me.

Click here to order it.



  1. Duncan M. J., et al. The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res (2011).
  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).
  4. Kim T. W., et al. Caffeine increases sweating sensitivity via changes in sudomotor activity during physical loading. J Med Food (2011).
  5. Cook C., et al. Acute caffeine ingestion increases voluntarily chosen resistance training load following limited sleep. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2012).
  6. Del Coso J., et al. Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
  7. Mora-Rodríguez R., et al. Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PLoS One (2012).
  8. Beaven C. M., et al. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2008).
  9. Feduccia A., et al. Locomotor activation by theacrine, a purine alkaloid structurally similar to caffeine: Involvement of adenosine and dopamine receptors. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (2012).
  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. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2014).
  12. Haskell CF, et al The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biol Psychol (2008).
  13. Pérez-Guisado J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res (2010).
  14. Alvares T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab (2012).
  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).
  16. Schwedhelm E., et al. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of oral L-citrulline and L-arginine: impact on nitric oxide metabolism. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008).
  17. Hoffman J.R., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2009).
  18. Lee E. C., et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2010).
  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).
  20. Pryor J. L., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
  21. Hoffman J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med (2008).
  22. Artioli G. G., et al. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2010).
  23. 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).
  24. Kim S., et al. Taurine Induces Anti-Anxiety by Activating Strychnine-Sensitive Glycine Receptor in Vivo. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2009).
  25. Moloney M. A., et al. Two weeks taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diab Vasc Dis Res (2010).
  26. Giles G. E., et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav (2012).
  27. Suzuki T., et al. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2016).
  28. Bailey S. J., et al. l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans. J Appl Physiol (2015).

Who Is Russ Howe PTI?

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Featured in Men’s Fitness magazine and voted in the world’s top 50 fat loss coaches by HuffPost, Russ is the author of ‘The Rip Down’ and is among the UK’s most subscribed personal trainers with 104,357 people getting his free weekly fitness tips e-mail.

In the gym Russ’ clients range from busy parents, to models, to athletes and actresses. Russ also worked alongside the UK government for 8 years in a venture combating childhood obesity in England.

Outside of the gym, he’s a proud Dad to three young boys.

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