THE Pre Workout Plus (yes, in capitals) is the latest pre workout supplement from industry giants MyProtein.
Today’s comprehensive review will tell you whether it’s another hit, or a miss.
I have a lot of respect for MyProtein, having watched them develop as a brand which initially provided “budget” supplements, to one which is now among the world’s leading manufacturers.
They’ve done an incredible job moving up the ranks, clocking an impressive 8 million paying customers, and are a perfect example of branding done right.
So right, in fact, that if you were to ask 10 gym members to name a supplement company, it’s a safe bet to say at least half would mention MyProtein.
They’ve slowly began moving away from the “budget option” reputation, and now we have a pre workout formula fully intended to to compete with the so-called “industry leaders”.
The question is… does it?
I’ll be putting THE Pre Workout Plus through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to determine how good (or bad) it is, so get stuck in below…
MyProtein THE Pre Workout Plus Review – The Good
In a nutshell, yes it does compete.
But that’s not to say it’s perfect.
In fact, it’s not even the best option when compared to other pre workouts of the exact same price, but more on that later, let’s cover the main good points here.
6 grams of citrulline is a full clinical dose, and will provide you with speedier recovery between sets, as well as increased muscular endurance (that’s reps per set to muscle failure).
If you’re drinking plenty of water, you’ll also notice a great pump.
THE Pre Workout Plus also has a full dose of beta-alanine, at 3.2 grams. This is enough to give you sufficient tingles to feel like your face is on fire, and continued supplementation at this dose will increase your ability to push through “the burn” during a tough set.
1 gram of l-tyrosine will act as a nice dopamine precursor, and improve energy output, alongside 300mg caffeine.
That caffeine comes with the inclusion of a self-proclaimed innovation in the form of PhaseTech; coating which MyProtein claim will slow down the release of caffeine and keep you feeling energized for longer…
MyProtein THE Pre Workout Plus – The Bad
There are several negative aspects to look at.
First, the form of citrulline here is plain old l-citrulline, not citrulline malate.
If you’re going to include a full clinical dose in your product, it doesn’t make sense to then use an inferior version of the ingredient itself.
Inferior, that is, if your main reason for using THE Pre Workout+ is to support your weight training. Because citrulline malate will perform better in strength training, while l-citrulline is a slightly better option for cardiovascular activity.
We get 1.5 grams of betaine, which is a great ingredient but a full gram short of a clinical dose.
Taurine is included, at one gram, and you guys know I f**king hate this ingredient due to its poor relationship with caffeine.
The benefits of caffeine far outweigh those of taurine, so it makes sense to prioritize the big C over the big T, but throwing both into the same product means they work against each other, causing the trainee to feel sluggish (ever drank a Monster and wanted to go to sleep half an hour later? That’s why)
Speaking of caffeine, 300mg is a decent serving size and will be good enough to provide a nice energy boost. But if we want to unlock all of the benefits it offers, we’d need around 400mg.
That time release theory MyProtein offer here (PhaseTech) is unproven, and if this is the avenue they wanted to go down they’d have been better served using TeaCrine instead of caffeine.
l-Theanine is added to combat the caffeine crash (not sure why we’d get one, if the time release idea works), but it’s not in the ideal 1:1 ratio for optimal results, and finally we get the inclusion of niacin which offers very little to the formula.
MyProtein THE Pre Workout+ Review – Ingredient Breadown
If you’d like to get a lot more in depth on the ingredients in THE Pre Workout+, this is the section for you.
Because now we’re going to run through every key ingredient in the box, and detail what they are here for, and whether the dose is sufficient to deliver on the promises it makes you.
Let’s start with the largest ingredient…
Citrulline is the most important ingredient in a top pre workout.
It has so many benefits, it should be the first thing you look for when scoping a potential new pre workout.
From increased muscle recovery time between sets, more reps per set, a greater pump, better delivery of nutrients to muscles as they work… it’s all good. (1, 2, 3)
Yet, for some reason, supplement companies often under-dose this key ingredient and don’t deliver on the results it can provide.
Thankfully, MyProtein don’t go down this route.
They do provide us with a full clinical dose of 6 grams, but they do it via l-citrulline. Although it’s often claimed that l-citrulline is superior due to it beign “a pure amino acid”, this is complete bulls**t.
Truth is, this is a cheaper option for the manufacturer, and research clearly shows that it’s not as effective. (3)
Caffeine is a great choice for any pre workout.
It has more research to document it’s effectiveness, and safety, than any other ingredient.
More focus… higher energy levels… slightly higher calorie burn…
… it’s all great news. (4, 5, 6)
If the dose went slightly higher (400mg), we’d also see an increase in overall strength output; a little-known benefit of caffeine supplementation, but a very effective one nonetheless. (7)
MyProtein make the claim that THE Pre Workout Plus will prolong the effects of caffeine thanks to their innovative coating technology, known as PhaseTech.
The jury is still out on those claims, but it would have made sense to simply opt for TeaCrine instead if this was the goal.
TeaCrine has been shown to do just that. (8)
Best-known for providing the face tingling sensation known as parasthesia, beta-alanine is commonplace in pre workouts nowadays.
Hats off to Myprotein, though, for going with a full clinical dose.
A 2008 study reported a 22% increase in the number of reps trainees could perform to muscle failure thanks to continued beta-alanine supplementation, which is no mean feat. (9)
Betaine anhydrous is a very useful pre workout ingredient when it is fully dosed.
Sadly, it’s not here.
So although it offers potential benefits to endurance and explosive strength, we’ll likely not experience them using THE Pre Workout+. (10, 11)
So close, yet so far…
Time for another head-scratcher…
The vast majority of energy drinks and pre workout formulas include taurine thanks to its links with increase mental focus and blood flow. (12, 13)
However, in doing so they Nerf one of their big players…
A 2012 study showed that taurine is an antagonist of caffeine (meaning the two don’t work well together when consumed simultaneously).
In fact, taurine counteracts many of caffeine’s potential benefits and can leave the trainee feeling sluggish and mentally tired. (14)
I spoke about this in this article, and it’s a simple case of supplement manufacturers ignoring relevant research in the fitness industry just so they can make bolder claims on the tub.
To combat the crash which often goes hand-in-hand with caffeine doses over the 250mg marker, we get l-theanine.
This ingredient is useful, and definitely works. (15)
However, we’d need another 100mg on top of what’s provided here to make THE Pre Workout Plus more effective.
Another case of good intentions resulting in a missed opportunity.
Choline is another ingredient touted for its ability to boost mental focus.
Thanks largely to a 2008 study which confirmed it’s effectiveness for improving brain function, it’s been a mainstay of pre workout ingredients ever since. (16)
However, even though Myprotein include the premium form of choline (Alpha GPC, as opposed to choline bitarte), it’s still under-dosed at just 150mg.
300MG GREEN TEA EXTRACT
Included under the trendy name of VASO6, this is another pretty useless ingredient.
Often hailed as a “fat burner”, green tea extract in fact does little to warrant its place in a pre workout formula and does not deserve its reputation.
Other than providing a little extra caffeine, this is a nothing ingredient.
We finish on another poor one.
If you read my list of ingredients which should NOT be in your pre workout, you’ll know niacin as the cheap substitute which companies like to use when they’ve under-dosed beta-alanine.
That’s because it creates a similar tingly effect.
It’s a strange choice here, because the product is fully dosed in beta-alanine, so niacin has no place. Myprotein claim it offers energy boosting properties, but that’s simply vitamin B in general, and you’re likely hitting your full daily allowance via your diet regardless.
MyProtein THE Pre Workout+ Review – The Final Verdict
It’s crunch time…
Have MyProtein created a pre workout that can compete with the best in the industry?
Or is THE Pre Workout Plus as annoying as having to use caps lock to type “THE”?
In truth, the product is a middle-of-the-pack formula which won’t trouble those at the top of the pre workout market.
They’ve also released a slightly cheaper version of the product (THE Pre Workout, without the ‘+’), and a non-stim version (THE Pump).
The bright spots are the fully dosed citrulline and beta-alanine, but £34.99 for 20 servings?! Get this instead. It’s far more affordable, and has a better ingredient profile.
And if we want to go “all in” and find a pre workout which ticks every box as a true game changer, we can do that with AML Pre Workout (not a flashy name, but a very flashy product).
Myprotein THE Pre Workout Plus receives 2.5 stars overall.
- Pérez-Guisado J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. (2010)
- Alvares T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. (2012)
- Hickner R., et al. L-Citrulline Reduces Time to Exhaustion and Insulin Response to a Graded Exercise Test. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2006)
- Duncan M. J., et al. The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res. (2011)
- Childs E., et al. Subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of acute caffeine in light, nondependent caffeine users. Psychopharmacology. (2006)
- Kim T. W., et al. Caffeine increases sweating sensitivity via changes in sudomotor activity during physical loading. J Med Food. (2011)
- Cook C., et al. Acute caffeine ingestion increases voluntarily chosen resistance training load following limited sleep. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2012)
- 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)
- Hoffman J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. (2008)
- Hoffman, J.R., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2009)#
- 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)
- 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)
- Haskell C. F., et al The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biol Psychol. 2008.
- Moreno H., et al. Chronic dietary choline supplementation modulates attentional change in adult rats. Behavioral Brain Research. (2013)