When I was an aspiring trainer, Maximuscle Cyclone was the answer to way too many questions.
Wanna gain size? Start using Maximuscle Cyclone.
Wanna get stronger? Get on Cyclone.
Wanna get 3 weeks of product for the price of 12 weeks? Cyclone.
But how good is it?
Today it faces my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to see how it compares against other industry-leading protein powders. No product has ever received a 5 star review (yet).
The first thing we must do is address the name.
If you’re old-school, you’ll know this company as Maximuscle.
If you’ve picked up the gym bug in the last five years, however, you’ll call them Maxi Nutrition.
Back in 2011, original Maximuscle founder Zef Eisenberg sold the brand to GlaxoSmithKline for £162 million. At the time, they were Europe’s top-selling supplement brand, and they wanted to grow even bigger.
So they took the step to re-brand as Maxi Nutrition.
You know, cuz muscle is scary, and frightens off female customers.
More and more products began to surface with the Maxi Nutrition brand, and we even had product categories like Maxi Raw (basic ingredients) and Maxi Tone (aimed specifically at women) with their own lines of products.
It was confusing as f**k.
And the move didn’t really pay off, because in the years that followed they lost their spot as Europe’s biggest supplier of sports nutrition products.
So when the company was then sold to German food giants Kruga in 2018, they quickly returned under the Maximuscle name.
They are actually due to release a new line-up of what they call “Elite Tubs”, with improved formulation, in April 2020. I’ll keep this review updated with that when it becomes a thing, but for now my review focuses on the Cyclone we currently have access to right now.
Maximuscle Cyclone Review
Cyclone is an “all-in-one” shake, aimed at those who want maximum size and strength gains with minimal fuss.
Every serving provides:
- 25g protein
- 9.1g carbs
- 6.3g fat
As it’s an all-in-one formula, each serving also includes:
- 10g glutamine
- 5g creatine monohydrate
- 1.5g HMB
- 2.5mg zinc
25 grams of protein is a great start, as it strikes the so-called “sweet spot” for maximizing hypertrophy, shown in a 2009 trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, where researchers found that a dose of around 20 grams created a similar anabolic response to a serving twice as large. (1)
Of course, I’m always telling you to look for protein supplements which provide at least 75% protein-per-serving (because you’re likely buying it to boost your protein intake, so you want as much of your scoop to be “P” as possible), but I’m going to give Maximuscle Cyclone a free pass on its 42% protein-per-serving ratio, seeing as it’s an all-in-one and the sole purpose wasn’t purely to give you protein.
But that’s the only free pass it’ll get.
When it comes to the protein formula itself, a**es need to be kicked at Maximuscle HQ.
See, it’s been a long-running joke that Maximuscle products err on the expensive side of the scale, yet the bulk of our protein blend consists of good old whey protein concentrate (one of the cheapest sources of protein money can buy), alongside smaller cuts of whey protein isolate and hydrolysed whey protein.
At £40 for a 1.2kg tub, this ain’t good enough.
Next up we get a whopping 10 grams of glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid long famous for its association with hypertrophy, muscle recovery, and power output – and this reputation was somewhat unjustified, as more recent studies now clearly show us it’s not effective at any of the above. (2, 3, 4)
I know… bodybuilders who have been told for years how “crucial” glutamine is after training are probably in shock right now, but that’s because back in the day we used to just take whatever fitness magazines told us to take. Glutamine is not the “muscle builder” it’s marketed as.
It certainly won’t do you any harm, either, but the sad part for Maximuscle is that they chose to go big on this one, by including 10 grams of it in each scoop.
If you have a glutamine deficiency (vegans, vegetarians, low dairy diet) then you can certainly benefit from supplementation. But if you don’t, then you have no need for it.
So why is it ineffective for muscle recovery?
Well, glutamine is a great amino acid with fantastic muscle building properties. But, as supplement expert Sol Orwell explains:
Creatine is next up on the formula and if you’ve been a long-time reader of my work, then you know I’m not about to trash creatine.
I love creatine!
It’s one of the very few bodybuilding supplements that genuinely lives up to its own hype, and has been shown in countless studies to do exactly what it says on the tin. Those benefits include giving you more explosive strength (which means more weight on the bar), and performing more repetitions to failure.
In a 2012 review study which looked at 22 clinical trials on creatine relating to weight training, researchers confirmed that trainees saw an average strength increase of 8%, and were able to perform about 14% more reps per set. (5)
Heck, take any weight lifter and present them with an opportunity to have 8% greater strength, or get 14% more reps per set, and they’d rightly snap your hands off!
And this is one area where Maximuscle Cyclone gets it totally right.
By including a full clinical dose of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, you will reap the full rewards this substance has to offer. Better yet, they didn’t fall into the usual supplement manufacturer trap of trying to use modern, fancy creatine blends (HCL, ethyl-esther, kre-alkylyn), which are more expensive than monohydrate but have never actually been shown to be any more effective.
Well done, Maximuscle!
Finally, we have the inclusion of 1.5 grams of HMB (betahydroxybetamethylbutyrate) and 2.5mg zinc.
HMB is a metabolite of leucine, the amino acid which plays a key role in the muscle building process. It became hugely popular in the last few years after research linked it with increases in muscle growth, but new studies have since shown it to be no more effective than leucine itself (which you’re already getting thanks to the BCAAs in Cyclone). (6. 7)
It does have an anti-catabolic effect, however, which could be useful in preventing muscle loss. (8)
Current research suggests that although HMB is not as effective as leucine for protein synthesis, it can be up to 20x more effective for preventing muscle breakdown. And that’s certainly useful.
Let me put this into perspective…
If you’re an athlete trying to maximize muscle growth, you’d be better off just getting enough leucine each day, but if you’re an athlete following a high volume training routine which could lead to muscle wastage, HMB has some uses.
The inclusion of zinc as a “muscle building ingredient” plays on its role in the support of optimal testosterone levels. Zinc is easily lost through sweat, so many athletes can be low without even realizing it, which can cause drops in testosterone production and maybe even lead to depression.
However, this is little more than a “filler” ingredient for Maximuscle, though, as research suggests a correct low-end dose of zinc would be between 5-10mg per day, and a high-end dose between 25-45mg – Cyclone provides just 2.5mg per serving, which is going to do very little to unlock its benefits. (9)
Of course, you wouldn’t want to increase your serving size of Cyclone purely to get more zinc, as this would push you way beyond your daily dose of creatine and glutamine in the process. If you want to increase your intake of zinc, a better choice is to grab a single zinc supplement, or go with some ZMA as that’ll also help with sleep, which is great for recovery. They’re cheap enough.
In terms of value for money, Cyclone is a double-edged sword.
It offers the benefit of being a “one-a-day” supplement, so your relatively small 1.26kg container will last 21 days, despite looking tiny when it first arrives.
On the other hand, only having one shake per day means if you’re the type of person who regularly struggles to hit your protein targets you’ll likely need to pick up a secondary whey protein supplement to do that with.
Maximuscle Cyclone Review – The Final Verdict!
For many years, Maximuscle Cyclone was the “go to” supplement for anyone looking to pack on size and build more strength.
They dominated the industry in the UK & Europe, thanks to their clever marketing deals with rugby teams.
Also, positioning themselves as a ‘premium’ brand meant that consumers didn’t mind paying that bit extra for a Maximuscle product.
But that time has passed.
The supplement-buying public is more aware than ever before in terms of ingredients, and I find it odd that large companies like Maximuscle haven’t further developed their previously popular catalog in order to stay current.
Maximuscle Cyclone essentially provides us with 25 grams of whey protein concentrate and 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. Glutamine is unnecessary, and the jury is still out on HMB.
If we think long-term, we see just how over-priced Maximuscle’s relatively basic formula really is…
For 4 months supply of Cyclone (each tub lasts 21 days), we’d need to order six containers at a cost of £240.
As an added bonus, you could ensure you’re getting a correct dose of zinc and a few of them will actually last longer than that time-frame, too.
(See: A quality whey protein supplement (155 days supply) at £71.99, creatine monohydrate (200 days supply) £11.54, zinc (135 days supply) £9.86, HMB (125 days supply) £10.24. Total cost = 103.63 for your 4-5 month supply)
So, sadly, “the king of size and strength” can no longer lay claim to the throne.
Maximuscle Cyclone is a decent all-in-one product, but not the powerhouse it once claimed to be. It receives two stars.
Click here to check out the product if you’d like to get it, or grab my recommendations instead from the links above.
- Moore D. R., et al. Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. (2009)
- Rawson E. S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. (2003)
- Dunsmore K. A., et al. Effects of 12 weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid gel supplementation on muscle mass, strength, and power in resistance trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2012)
- Kreider R. B., et al. Effects of Calcium β-HMB Supplementation During Training on Markers of Catabolism, Body Composition, Strength and Sprint Performance. J Exercise Physiol. (2000)
- Gallagher P. M., et al. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate Ingestion, Part I: Effects on Strength and Fat Free Mass. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2000)
- Kilic M. Effect of Fatiguing Bicycle Exercise on Thyroid Hormone and Testosterone Levels in Sedentary Males Supplemented With Oral Zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. (2007)