MAN SPORTS GAME DAY REVIEW: CHAMP OR CHUMP?
MAN Sports claim that Game Day is vastly superior to every other pre workout supplement out there, thanks to a NO EXPENSE SPARED formula.
Seriously, it’s like they picked a fight with the whole pre workout industry.
In a rather eye-catching advertisement, they’re calling out over-priced products, under-dosed ingredients and proprietary blends, while declaring war on bad science and positioning themselves as the new kings of the pre workout industry.
So are they really two steps ahead of the competition? Or is Game Day just another big-name flop?
I’ll find out for you, in my official MAN Sports Game Day review.
MAN SPORTS GAME DAY REVIEW – THAT AWFUL ADVERT
MAN Sports may have undone their own product with one of the worst ads I’ve seen in recent years.
Take a look:
My problem with this ad is the arrogance towards a so-called leading competitor, which has been handpicked to make Game Day look superior. I hate arrogance. At the end of my review I’ll re-do this ad and compare it to a real leading competitor.
But first we must address the false information on show here, because this ad contains numerous plays on words which are downright misleading.
“Pure” l-citrulline being one such instance, giving the impression that the l-citrulline in Game Day is superior to citrulline malate, which is not the case. They claim that citrulline malate is “a less pure, less usable form, and you’re basically only able to use half of the dose.”
This is a flat out lie.
Also, someone may want to inform MAN Sports that they include (and sing the praises of) citrulline malate in their own intra-workout formula, called Pump Powder.
And the suck gets harder as the video continues…
“Next up we have 1000mg of “science backed” agmatine sulfate, versus the competitors’ 500mg or maybe even less.”
Agmatine sulfate is NOT backed by science at all. In fact, the head researcher on the most comprehensive study on long-term agmatine supplementation had this to say:
“The fact that agmatine is touted for bodybuilding purposes is completely unsubstantiated and is backed by outright false claims.”– Dr. Gad Gillad
Next up they claim that creatine monohydrate is “a lower quality, lower absorbing form of creatine” than creatine hydrochloride. I’m a big fan of creatine HCL, because it does have a better rate of absorption which allows us to use a smaller dose, but no form of creatine has ever outperformed monohydrate. It’ll do the exact same job; no better, no worse.
They also claim that juniperus communis will increase the mind/muscle connection – something it has never been shown to do.
Finally, and this is the one that really got me, MAN Sports hype their caffeine and l-theanine blend as being superior to the “synthetic, lab-made, bulls**t caffeine” other companies use.
You see, the caffeine in Game Day may well be derived from natural sources (it’s been done in many other pre workouts before), but natural caffeine and synthetic caffeine are both chemically identical and have the exact same effect. We’ve known this information for almost 100 years. (1, 2)
They’re simply using the word “natural” to imply that it’s not processed, but the truth is ALL supplements are processed. I mean, blue razz pre workout powder does not grow in a f**king field!
Finally, it’s worth knowing that this is NOT the first time we’ve seen Game Day…
It has been around for years and this is actually the 3rd version of the product. The first Game Day used a proprietary blend, and the second iteration featured the now-banned substance DMHA. This makes all their superior talk of ‘label transparency’ and ‘clean energy’ seem meaningless.
MAN SPORTS GAMEDAY REVIEW – INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN
The unfortunate thing for Game Day is that it shoots itself in the foot with its own advertising. It makes them seem arrogant, and nobody likes that.
It’d be like cheering for Apollo Creed to beat Rocky Balboa.
But I believe every product deserves a chance, so let’s put their awful advertising to one side and let the ingredients do the talking. This is where a truly great pre workout is going to excel.
Most pre workouts contain 200-250mg caffeine, so this puts Game Day way ahead of the pack.
I’ve already shown you that there are no advantages to it being ‘natural’ caffeine, but caffeine in general is still a great pre workout ingredient because it works!
Caffeine can improve focus, energy, calorie burn (if you’re caffeine naive), and even power output (if we get 400mg). It’s a real performance powerhouse. (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
So what about dosage?
Well, a 2012 meta-analysis published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal found that we need AT LEAST 168mg to yield any of caffeine’s training benefits, and the strength and power improvements can be found at the top end (400mg). (9)
There are supplements out there which use a full 400mg dose, like AML Pre Workout.
L-Theanine is like the tag team partner of caffeine.
When properly combined, it’ll wipe out the ‘crash’ which comes from a large caffeine dose.
However, research shows the optimal ratio to be 1:1, whereas Game Day goes with a top heavy split of 385mg caffeine and 200mg l-theanine. You’ll likely still feel some of the benefits from this, but for a product which claims to be ‘by the science’ this is like missing an easy slam dunk. (13)
Citrulline is the most important ingredient in a great pre.
It has so many benefits, showing provements to intra-set recovery speed, endurance, reps to failure, and even pump. It works by opening up nitric oxide pathways and improving delivery of nutrients and water to muscles while they work. A 2010 study found that participants were able to force out an average of one more rep every set when they used citrulline. Those kind of results are potentially awesome. (8, 9)
The optimal dose for citrulline is 6-8 grams, and Game Day ticks this box by providing 6 grams.
However, MAN Sports have essentially handicapped themselves by using pure l-citrulline instead of citrulline malate. While l-citrulline may work well as a performance enhancer during aerobic activity, its performance during anaerobic exercise (i.e. weight training) is not so great and it pales in comparison to the effects of CitMal. (10, 11, 12)
This means Game Day is going to be better suited to cardio-based activity, which is likely NOT the reason you were looking to buy it.
Beta-alanine is best-known as the ingredient which causes “the tingles”.
But this parasthesia (science name) is merely a temporary side effect. The real benefits of beta-alanine come from long-term supplementation, where it has been shown to improve our ability to train through the build-up of lactic acid (“the burn”). (14)
The optimal dose is 3.2 grams, which can be taken all at once or in two separate doses. Game Day hits the mark here. It has a full 3.2 grams, so you might feel like you’ve just washed your face with a nettle. (15)
2G CREATINE HCL
Creatine is the best-selling bodybuilding supplement of ALL TIME.
You don’t get that kind of accolade without being awesome, and it has decades of rock solid science to back it up. Heck, alongside caffeine, creatine is probably the world’s most well-researched supplement.
So what are the benefits?
Well, a 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that creatine increases explosive strength by about 8%, and the number of reps to failure by about 14%. (16)
The optimal dose of creatine monohydrate is 5 grams, but MAN Sports opt for creatine HCL instead. I explained earlier how they talk some s**t in their ad about this being a better blend of creatine, but the only real difference between the two forms is that this one has a smaller clinical dose. Two grams is enough to do the job. (17)
This is where Game Day starts to lose its way.
Taurine is the darling ingredient of the energy drink industry because it is cheap and can improve mental focus, so it allows the manufacturer to make more claims on the supplement label. However, those mental focus benefits require a dose of around 2 grams, which is higher than most pre workouts go.
Also, there’s a MASSIVE DOWN-SIDE to including taurine in a pre workout; it counteracts the effects of caffeine. Taurine is a known relaxant and is used in sleep products for this reason. Heck, energy drink manufacturers like Monster use it to dilute the effects of caffeine and make the user consume more product. It has no place in a pre workout. (18, 19)
1G AGMATINE SULFATE
Agmatine sulfate is often used in bodybuilding supplements due to it being a “pump enhancer.”
These benefits have never been shown in any research.
The lead researcher of a 5 year study on agmatine supplementaion concluded that it serves no purpose as an active ingredient in bodybuilding supplements. The fact that MAN Sports highlight the 1 gram of agmatine in Game Day versus the 500mg or less in other companies products just shows they don’t seem to know about their own ingredients. (20)
1G CHOLINE BITARTRATE
Like taurine, choline offers potential benefits to mental focus.
Unlike taurine, there is no down-side to including it in a pre workout.
If I want to nitpick (and that’s my job), I’ll point out that the premium form of choline is Alpha-GPC. Despite MAN Sports making such a big deal about including “only the best ingredients”, we get the cheapest and most basic form of choline right here.
150MG JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS
Juniperus Communis is supplement manufacturers’ answer to USADA hitting DMHA with a ban hammer.
Many pre workouts which were previously heavy on DMHA have made this move, and it’s a sensible choice because it enables a product to be sold worldwide (juniperus communis is safe and legal, unlike DMHA) rather than being restricted to the bodybuilding scene.
It is said to work alongside caffeine to boost energy output, but no research exists (yet) to document it.
The ingredient they’re calling “NeuroFactor” is coffee fruit extract.
It works alongside Juniperus Communis, in a combo MAN Sports hope can replicate the eurphoric-like training effect of DMHA.
This is an experimental nootropic ingredient and a dose of 100mg has been shown to yield some positive results, but the research is in its very early stages and must be built upon. (21,22)
MAN SPORTS GAME DAY REVIEW – RUSS’ FINAL VERDICT
This is a decent pre workout which is unfortunately hamstrung by a few silly mistakes in the formula and a terrible advertising capaign.
The biggest plus-points in Game Day are the large servings of caffeine, l-theanine, creatine HCL and beta-alanine.
The worst drawbacks are the unnecessary inclusion of l-citrulline over citrulline malate, taurine and agmatine sulfate. There’s also no betaine.
I can probably best illustrate the fact that it won’t trouble any of the industry’s top products by reshaping their silly advert. Let’s compare it to AML Pre Workout.
AML are the current undisputed champions of pre workouts for athletes. By sticking to clinical doses of proven ingredients, Advanced Molecular Labs have created a product which currently has no rivals.
Game Day has more in common with “good, but not great” pre workouts like RedCon1 Total War, but it just costs twice as much for some reason.
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- Futureceuticals. “NeuroFactor Increases Plasma Levels of BDNF in Humans. (2012)