MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb Review
MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb is the brand new preworkout supplement from IFBB pro Anth Bailes.
Pre workouts are often marketed the same way as action movies…
Bold statements… Explosions… Massive biceps…
So in this MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb review, we’ll see if it’s more Terminator 2 or Titanic 2.
(Yes, that actually exists.)
Atomic Bomb is the latest addition to the “100% Or Nothing!” series from MaxxMuscle, which claim to be among the best supplements ever developed.
That’s a rather bold statement.
(First box ticked.)
As you can see, they have an explosion on the cover.
(Second box ticked!)
But today it faces its toughest challenge to date, as I run it through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to gauge how well it stacks up against the true industry leaders, and whether it has all the ingredients we need in a great pre workout…
MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb Review – The Good
I’ll break down the entire formula soon, but we’ll start with a roundup of the main plus points.
This is definitely a solid first attempt at a pre workout from Anth Bailes, and I hope to see MaxxMuscle develop more of them in future.
It doesn’t use a proprietary blend (we can see every single ingredient and the dosage used), which is excellent.
It’s alarming how many manufacturers continue to hide their formulas behind proprietary blend stickers. It should be a thing of the past.
The product also takes the unique approach of coming in the form of single serving sachets, as opposed to a typical powdered tub.
3 grams of beta-alanine, even though it’s slightly lower than a clinical dose, will be sufficient to have your skin crawling. We even see 150mg of the exotic stimulant DMHA (2016’s “next big thing” after DMAA was banned).
500mg choline will improve focus during training, and we get a very interesting combination of 150mg caffeine and 150mg TeaCrine. I’m a huge fan of TeaCrine, you’ll see why below.
That’s a solid start – but it isn’t all good news…
MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb Review – The Bad
No supplement is perfect…
The first thing we can see here is that the dose of citrulline malate is way down, at just 2.5 grams. A full clinical dose is 6-8 grams.
Citrulline malate is the most important ingredient in a solid pre workout, so this is game changer for Atomic Bomb…
It also includes 1.85 grams of creatine.
If you’re going to include creatine in your pre workout, it should be done the right way. That means a full clinical dose of 5 grams creatine monohydrate. But MaxxMuscle, like many other supplement companies, have over-complicated the matter by opting for a combination of creatine HCL and monohydrate – in a dose which isn’t sufficient to yield the benefits anyway.
Meaning you’ll still need to buy a secondary creatine supplement.
We also get a gram of taurine.
Taurine is commonly thrown into pre workout formulas because of its links to increased focus on blood flow to working muscles, but if you’re a regular reader of my website you’ll know I f**king hate taurine because it works as an antagonist of caffeine.
It quite literally prevents caffeine from doing it’s job properly.
Given the massive benefits of proper caffeine supplementation, it’s not worth adding taurine to the formula at all.
There’s no betaine, which is a shame given its ability to increase strength output.
And finally we have the inclusion of niacin.
Niacin is vitamin B, and while it does have some energy boosting qualities there are no benefits to consuming it directly prior to training versus any other time of day (just get a good multivitamin and you’re covered).
No, the real reason this is included in many pre workouts is because it creates a tingling, skin-crawling effect similar to that of beta-alanine, so manufactures who have under-dosed a product with BA will hope to “trick” the trainee by throwing some niacin into the mix instead (far cheaper).
That’s an odd move, because Atomic Bomb is almost a full clinical dose, so this was an unnecessary inclusion.
MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb – Ingredient Breakdown
Time to get serious…
Let’s take a look at all the key ingredients in the formula, assess why they are here, and look at whether they’ve been included in a dose which will actually provide you with the results you are promised on the tub.
We will start with the ingredient that’ll draw the most attention…
When DMAA was banned back in 2013, the supplement industry spent a couple of years looking for the “next big thing”.
In early 2016, DMHA arrived.
Providing a slightly watered-down version most of the benefits of its predecessor, it gives the trainee a euphoric mood enhancing effect, leading to some great workouts.
Anything over 100mg should be considered a decent dose, and Atomic Bomb goes in with 150mg.
DMHA is gradually disappearing from the market, though, with the ban hammer already falling in Australia and more countries expected to follow suit. Many large brands who were initially big fans of it (RedCon1, Iron Addicts, etc) have already ditched this ingredient to avoid throwing their product into a grey area for athletes.
Nowadays, of course, people talk about ingredients getting banned as if it’s a badge of honor…
DMAA was banned for very good reason; a few people had heart attacks and died. If DMHA goes the same way eventually, it won’t be without just cause.
Until more is known about the safety of DMHA, use it with caution. If you are an athlete, it’s best to steer clear of any supplement that contains it (including this one).
Case in point; Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt famously had his 4x100m relay gold medal stripped after teammate Nestor Carter used DMAA to enhance his performance.
From a substance lacking in scientific research, to a substance with decades of it…
Caffeine is the most well-researched stimulant in the world – and it works!
It’s been shown to boost a variety of training aspects, from mental focus, to energy, to alertness, and even calorie burn. (1, 2, 3, 4)
150mg is low by today’s standards.
Most pre workouts come in somewhere between 200-300mg.
But Atomic Bomb has a reason for this – the ace up its sleeve, TeaCrine…
I’m f**king excited about this one.
Allow me to introduce you to the next generation of energy supplements; TeaCrine.
When TeaCrine was first discovered, we thought we’d found a distant relative of caffeine which could serve as an alternative.
Turns out, it’s caffeine’s bigger, stronger brother.
Kinda like when Kane appeared in the WWE and started f**king everyone up.
Its popularity is still in its infancy, but I do expect this ingredient to become a real power player within the supplement industry in the next five years.
So what’s the difference between caffeine and theacrine?
Well, caffeine works by inhibiting adenosine receptors. TeaCrine inhibits adenosine receptors and activating dopamine receptors.
Higher dopamine levels = more energy, and more focus! (6)
But that’s not even the best news…
Because while the effectiveness of caffeine depends largely on the person’s tolerance levels, TeaCrine appears to have no tolerance build-up. (5, 7, 8)
Further still, a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed us that a whopping 80% of theacrine’s benefits are exhibited within the first hour of consumption; meaning you won’t spend the rest of your day bouncing off the wall like a piece of Flubber. (9)
More research is needed (and thankfully it’s being done right now) before we can truly consider it a superior option to caffeine, but the signs are great and MaxxMuscle have made a brave move by choosing to combine the two rather than lumping for good old caffeine (even though that would have been cheaper).
A combination does appear to work well, too, as researchers from Rutgers University, New Jersey, found that when they replaced a 270mg dose of caffeine with a combo of 150mg caffeine and 120mg theacrine, it resulted in superior training output. (10)
Atomic Bomb does even better than this, with 150mg caffeine alongside 150mg TeaCrine.
Well done Anth Bailes.
Most people know beta-alanine as the pre workout ingredient which gives you the tingles.
But there’s more going on under the hood.
It’s been shown to buffer against the build-up of lactic acid during intense exercise (“the burn”), and this was demonstrated well during a 2008 trial which noted an average of 25% more repetitions per set with beta-alanine supplementation. (11, 12)
A full clinical dose of beta-alanine is 3.2 grams, and new research suggests that splitting it into two even 1.6 gram servings leads to slightly better uptake in the muscle cells. (13)
Regardless, MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb comes in at 3 grams which is slightly below the max threshold, but still easily high enough to reap the training benefits it offers over time.
(It would have made sense to remove some of the less effective ingredients from the formula and add an extra 0.2g to this one.)
2.5G CITRULLINE MALATE
This is where things take a major turn for the worse.
Citrulline malate is capable of improving a whole host of training aspects, and should be considered a high priority when looking for a potential new pre workout to buy.
Increased recovery speed between sets… check! More reps achieved before muscle failure… check! Better pump… check! (24, 25)
It does this by accessing the body’s nitric oxide pathways, allowing for greater delivery of nutrients to muscle cells as they work, but it is quite an expensive ingredient so we often see companies under-dose it and then still make claims on the packaging about the benefits on offer (a practice known in the industry as “fairy dusting”).
That’s precisely what’s happened here.
Even though it has a much higher absorption rate than its predecessor for this job (arginine), it’s still not enough. (26, 27)
A full clinical dose is 6-8 grams, and Atomic Bomb contains just 2.5 grams.
With such a bright start, this ingredient lets the product down considerably.
Creatine is the best-selling bodybuilding supplement of all time.
It’s also among the most well-researched, with over 30 years of academic trials to back up it’s effectiveness.
It’s used to boost explosive strength output, and a 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that creatine supplementation results in an average strength increase of about 8%, and an increase in the number of reps performed to muscle failure of 14%. (14)
It’s perfectly safe, too. (15)
It’s one supplement every athlete should be using; whether as part of a pre workout or post workout, or simply on its own.
But if you’re going to include it in your pre workout formula, you should do it properly. Many supplement companies fail at this seemingly easy task…
(It’s why I’m such a big fan of AML Pre Workout, as they stuck to the scientific research and nailed it without trying to be fancy!)
To get the most from creatine supplementation, we require a dose of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate.
But manufacturers like to over-complicate things, adding newer creatine blends (with far less research to support them) into the mixture in a bid to stand out from competitors.
All they really do is under-dose the whole thing and Nerf the ingredient.
That’s exactly what’s happened here, with MaxxMuscle proving a 1.8 gram mixture of creatine HCL alongside creatine monohydrate.
Creatine HCL looks good, but is not superior to mono, so it makes no sense to add both. It looks like an attempt to mask the fact there simply isn’t enough creatine in the formula overall. (16)
Hydromax (a.k.a. glycerol) is becoming a popular ingredient in bodybuilding supplements for it’s ability to enhance “the pump”.
A dose of 0.7g-2g is sufficient to yield those benefits, so at 3 grams Atomic Bomb goes “all in” on this one, and you should see some great pumps if you drink plenty of water while you workout (this would have been killer with a full dose of citrulline malate). (18)
While using hydromax, it’s pretty common for body weight to increase slightly.
Don’t panic; this is an increase in water weight, not body fat.
Supplement companies often like to boast about another of glycerol’s potential training benefits, and that’s the ability to provide greater hydration to muscle cells during exercise…
This is bulls**t.
It can do it, but we’d need an astronomical dose.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics predicted that dose to be around 80 grams (!!). If each scoop of your pre workout was this big, the tub would be the size of your f**king fridge! (17)
Bioperine is included in almost every pre workout supplement.
It can slightly increase production of dopamine, but the main benefit is its ability to increase the absorption rate of all the ingredients around it. (19, 20)
500MG CHOLINE BITARTE
Choline is a cognitive booster.
It’s been shown to improve focus, but choline bitarte is among the less expensive forms of this ingredient (Alpha GPC being the best). (21)
A dose of 500mg is sufficient.
Taurine is the darling of the energy drink and preworkout industry.
It can boost focus, but as I mentioned earlier, I like to steer clear of taurine before training because it clashes with caffeine. (22, 23)
it seems most manufacturers are completely unaware of this research, as it continues to be found in the vast majority of pre workout formulas; the only one to buck the trend is the aforementioned AML Pre Workout.
Given caffeine’s obvious training benefits, particularly when they add TeaCrine to get even more from it, it makes no sense to also include taurine.
Chromium is a mineral used for regulating glucose metabolism and insulin.
It’s also quite useful for appetite suppression, although more research is needed in this area.
However, it’s nothing more than filler inside Atomic Bomb.
Because you’ll only see a benefit to supplementing with chromium if you currently have a chromium deficiency. Additionally, you’d need 10x the dose found here.
Another commonly used ingredient right here.
Niacin (vitamin B) is often linked to increasing energy, hence its inclusion in so many preworkouts and energy drinks, but there’s no evidence to support claims it can boost workout performance when taken directly before training.
As long as you get enough vitamin B throughout the day as a whole, you’re good.
It’s mainly included in pre workout supplements to mask when beta-alanine has been under-dosed, as it creates a tingly sensation which feels quite similar.
Got a pre workout which hides its formula behind a proprietary blend and uses both beta-alanine and niacin? Chances are that’s what they’re doing…
With Atomic Bomb providing a near full clinical dose (only 0.2g short), including niacin is unnecessary anyway.
I can only presume they’ve thrown this in because it seems to be “the done thing” in the supplement industry.
MaxxMuscle Atomic Bomb Review – The Final Verdict
It’s time to put the product through my always harsh rating system and determine a score out of five…
Has Anth “The Freak” Bailes delivered on his promise to build a pre workout which can compete with the very best?
Atomic Bomb is a decent product, certainly a good first attempt, but it isn’t going to to trouble those at the top of the pre workout food chain.
Athletes will be drawn to supplements which contain fully dosed servings of key ingredients like citrulline and creatine (this does neither), but the inclusion of DMHA and TeaCrine are the standout moments here…
DMHA because it’s becoming harder to get quality supplements which use it, as more brands move away from it in anticipation of a worldwide ban, and TeaCrine because its still relatively new to the scene.
The decision to go with a full tub of single-serving sachets instead of powder and a scoop is definitely original (and convenient), but this of course is reflected in the price.
If we’re talking £60 for a pre workout (or £40 for the tub version), the fact is you can do better.
Atomic Bomb receives a respectable 3 stars.
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