MAN Sports are a confident bunch.
Not content with the release of their brand new pre workout, Game Day, they’ve used the accompanying ad campaign to declare war on the entire pre-workout industry, calling out everything from over-priced products, to under-dosed ingredients, proprietary blends, poor science, and all the while, positioning themselves as the saviors you’ve been waiting for.
But now it’s time to get real.
Are MAN Sports really two steps ahead of the game?
Let’s find out, in the official Game Day Fully Loaded review.
Table of Contents
- You Gotta See The Ad
- MAN Sports Game Day Review: Ingredient Breakdown
- MAN Sports Game Day: Russ’ Rating
- Who Is Russ Howe PTI?
You Gotta See The Ad
This review went down a little differently to others.
Usually supplement brands get in touch and ask me to review their latest products. I’ve been doing it this way for years. They know that I do not give high scores lightly, and it pleases me that a high rating from my website gives them something tangible to show off how good their product is.
But that’s not what happened here.
Instead, this review was requested by readers – largely because they were pissed off with the arrogance on display in the advert you’ll see above, in which much shade is thrown at rival brands, and the superiority of Game Day is demonstrated in a somewhat misleading manner, similar to how a kitchen cleaning product will compare itself against a non-existent so-called leading competitor.
It’s a shame they presented it in this way, because Game Day is a decent product, which has unfortunately been handicapped by its creator.
Let’s address the false information given here.
- False Claim #1: “Pure l-citrulline is better than citrulline malate!”
They claim that the more commonly used citrulline malate is “basically a less pure, less usable form of citrulline, and you can only process half the dose anyway!”. This is completely false information. Also, somebody should remind MAN Sports that they actually use (and sing the praises of) CitMal in their own intra-workout formula. (10, 11, 12)
- False Claim #2: “We have 1000mg of science-backed agmatine sulfate, versus competitors’ 500mg or less!”
This is a weird flex, because there is no such thing as science-backed agmatine sulfate. Dr. Gad Gilad, the head researcher of the most comprehensive study ever conducted on agmatine supplementation, even went as far as to say, “The fact that agmatine is touted for bodybuilding purposes is completely unsubstantiated and backed by outright false claims.” Ouch! (21)
- False Claim #3: “Creatine Monohydrate is a lower quality form of creatine!”
I like creatine hydrochloride (ingredient used in Game Day), but it’s no superior to standard creatine monohydrate. It will do the exact same job. (15)
- False Claim #4: “The natural caffeine in Game Day is superior to the synthetic, lab-made, bullshit caffeine other companies use!”
So much derp, so little time! Caffeine is chemically identical in both natural and synthetic form, and will have the same effect on the human body either way. We’ve known this information for about one hundred years, and I believe that MAN Sports are aware of this (at least, I hope they are!), but using the word natural enables them to imply that Game Day is not processed. This would be another false claim, because all supplements are processed (blue razz powder doesn’t grow on trees!). (1, 2)
- False Claim #5: “Game Day is all about clean energy, label transparency, and proven ingredients!”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Game Day. The original version actually used a proprietary blend, the second version featured the dangerous (and now banned) exotic stimulant DMHA. This is the third attempt, and I suspect that discovering this information makes all of the snarky talk about clean energy, label transparency, and proven ingredients seem quite empty.
Let me finish this section by editing their graphic to show you how Game Day compares to a genuine leading competitor (example used: AML Pre Workout).
MAN Sports Game Day Review: Ingredient Breakdown
Now it’s time to go through all of the ingredients in the Game Day formula one by one.
I’ll explain what each key ingredient is supposed to do, take a look whether the latest science backs up the claims being made, and tell you if the dose included here is sufficient to unlock those promised results.
Lets start at the top.
- 358mg Caffeine
We are off to a very good start here.
This monstrous serving of caffeine is significantly higher than the amount you’ll find in most other pre workouts (typically 200-300mg), and it’s easily enough to unlock the vast majority of the training benefits caffeine offers (increased mental focus, greater energy output, and higher calorie expenditure during training). (3, 4, 5, 6)
Seeing as the dose is already this high, it’s a real shame they didn’t push it slightly higher, as there are some interesting strength benefits which can be unlocked with a 400mg dose. That being said, 385mg is still more than enough to make you feel like Jason Statham in Crank! (7)
- 6g l-citrulline
If you’ve ever used a top pre-workout before, then you’ll already know how important this ingredient is.
Citrulline can noticeably improve several key training variables by using the body’s nitric oxide pathways to improve the delivery of nutrients during exercise. This means faster recovery between sets, a better pump, prolonged endurance, and the ability to perform more reps to failure. These results are incredible, too, with a 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showing that continued citrulline supplementation helps trainees record about one more rep on every single set! (8, 9)
MAN Sports have decided to swap out the more traditionally used citrulline malate (l-citrulline with a malic acid moecule attached) in favor of l-citrulline. While l-citrulline doesn’t show the same promise as CitMal during weight training, it appears to be superior during aerobic exercise. (10, 11, 12)
The optimal dose of -l-citrulline is 4.5g-6g, and Game Day smashes this out of the park.
- 3.2g Beta-alanine
This ingredient is best-known for the tingling feeling it creates (parasthesia) but there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Continued use will lead to impressive gains in training endurance, buffering your ability to push through the build-up of metabolites (waste product) around muscle cells so you can keep training harder for longer (“the burn”). (13, 14)
A clinical dose is 3.2g, and Game Day goes all in!
- 2g Creatine Hydrochloride
Creatine is the best muscle building supplement around.
We have decades of research showing how effective it is, but perhaps the most impressive is a detailed 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which looked at the entire body of research on creatine supplementation, showing that it boosts the number of reps tofailure by around 14%, as well as improving explosive strength output by 8%. (15)
MAN Sports have decided to swap out the more commonly used creatine monohydrate for creatine HCL, but the only real difference is that creatine hydrochloride can do the exact same job with a smaller dose. The 2 grams in Game Day is sufficient. (16)
- 200mg l-theanine
This ingredient is the ying to caffeine’s yang. It has the unique ability to pretty much erase the commonly-experienced caffeine crash.
Unfortunately, studies show we need an equal 1:1 ratio of caffeine to l-theanine to unlock these benefits but, like most preworkouts, Game Day goes with a top heavy 4:1 ratio, so it won’t really do anything. (17)
- 1g Taurine
This ingredient can be used to increase mental focus and improve blood flow during exercise, and it’s dirt cheap. (18, 19)
However, it should NOT be in your pre workout.
Taurine is the arch nemesis of caffeine, and it makes zero sense to include them both, considering the important role caffeine plays in Game Day. A 2012 study from researchers at Tufts University, Medford, showed that when we consume both ingredients together, taurine actually works against caffeine, preventing it from doing its job, and this clash of the titans can even leave the trainee feeling somewhat sluggish during exercise. It ceases to amaze me why supplement brands continue to make this mistake (it’s not just MAN Sports, you’ll find it in over 80% of pre workouts!). (20)
- 1g Agmatine Sulfate
From one poor ingredient to another.
Agmatine sulfate rose to prominence in the last few years after supplement manufacturers began hailing it as a “pump enhancer”, but there’s no evidence to support those claims. On the contrary, the head researcher of a 5-year study on agmatine supplementation concluded that it serves no purpose at all for bodybuilding (“The fact that agmatine is touted for bodybuilding purposes is completely unsubstantiated and backed by outright false claims.”). MAN Sports should know this, too, considering all of the mighty claims they’ve made about this being a product designed by science. (21)
- 1g Choline Bitartate
The mental focus benefits of choline appear similar to those offered by taurine (without the aforementioned taurine-caffeine clash), so this is a smart inclusion.
Unfortunately, there’s just not enough research showing that it actually works. (22, 23)
It’s also worth knowing that choline bitartrate is the cheapest and most basic form available (the best would be Alpha GPC), which could be perceived as MAN Sports taking their consumer base for granted, considering all of the big talk in their advertising campaign about only using the best ingredients money can buy.
- 150mg Juniperus Communis
This ingredient began appearing in pre-workout supplements after the ban hammer fell on DMHA, which was the main stimulant used in the previous version of Game Day.
It was hoped that this ingredient could provide a similar energy boost, but it can not.
Rather than removing it from the formula, MAN Sports threw a curveball by claming that it can increase the mind-muscle connection. No research exists to support those claims. Nowadays, it’s an ingredient which is probably best-known for its diuretic properties, which can be used to help a trainee shed unwanted water weight. (24)
- 100mg Coffee Fruit Extract
This nootropic is listed on the label as the much cooler sounding NeuroFactor.
It’s another ingredient which was added to the formula in the hope of replicating the feeling of DMHA. Research is still in the very early stages on this one, but it’s positive. (25, 26)
MAN Sports Game Day: Russ’ Rating
Game Day (recently re-branded as Game Day: Fully Loaded) is a solid pre workout, but it is not the industry leader it claimed to be.
Highlights include full clinical doses of l-citrulline, beta-alanine, creatine HCL and caffeine. This gives it a strong foot-hold in the pre-workout market, because it’s ticking boxes which many products fail to hit.
However, Game Day is not without fault.
It’s a product which has been hamstrung by a very silly advertising campaign which shoots for edgy but comes across as arrogant, and there are some questionable ingredients (agmatine sulfate, taurine, choline) which offer very little to the trainee. There’s also no betaine anhydrous. It receives three stars from me today.
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- Alvares T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab (2012).
- Pérez-Guisado J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res (2010).
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- Rawson E. S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res (2003).
- Miller D. Oral bioavailability of creatine supplements: Is there room for improvement? Annual Meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2009).
- Haskell C. F, et al. The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biol Psychol (2008).
- Kim S., et al. Taurine Induces Anti-Anxiety by Activating Strychnine-Sensitive Glycine Receptor in Vivo. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2009).
- Moloney M. A., et al. Two weeks taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diab Vasc Dis Res (2010).
- Giles G. E., et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav (2012).
- Gilad G. M., et al. Long-term (5 years), high daily dosage of dietary agmatine – evidence of safety: a case report. J Med Food (2014).
- Moreno H., et al. Chronic dietary choline supplementation modulates attentional change in adult rats. Behave Brain Res (2013).
- Naber M., et al. Improved human visuomotor performance and pupil constriction after choline supplementation in a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Sci Rep (2015).
- Raina R., et al. Potential of Juniperus communis L as a nutraceutical in human and veterinary medicine. Heliyon (2019).
- Reyes-Izquierdo, T., et al. Modulatory effects of coffee fruit extract on plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition. (2013)
- Futureceuticals. “NeuroFactor Increases Plasma Levels of BDNF in Humans. (2012)
Who Is Russ Howe PTI?
Russ has been a personal trainer in the UK since 2002, and provided both training advice and full programs on this website since 2011.
His work has been featured in Men’s Fitness magazine, and the content on this website led to him being voted one of the world’s top 50 fat loss coaches by HuffPost.
Russ’ days are spent coaching men and women in the legendary Powerhouse Gym, and creating new content for the 109,246 followers of his popular free weekly e-mail, which you can join below!