T2. Aliens. Big Momma’s House 2.
All solid examples of sequels which don’t suck.
OK. Maybe not that last one.
But when we’re talking about supplements, sequels are usually a poor imitation of the original, thrown together when an ingredient gets flagged up or banned.
Which brings us to Pre JYM 2.0, the brand new pre workout from Dr. Jim Stoppani.
Update: Looking for Pre Jym X instead? I just posted the review of this HERE.
PRE JYM – BUT NOT SO 2.0
I can’t give you a comprehensive Pre JYM review without first giving you the backstory behind why there’s a new version of Pre JYM out there.
So in case you don’t keep up to date with fitness industry shenanigans, Jim originally launched his JYM Supplement Science line with Bodybuilding.com back in 2014. Pre JYM was the first product, and it quickly became the biggest-selling pre workout in the world.
That’s thanks largely to the solid ingredients (which we’ll get to) and the high level of trust Jim Stoppani has earned within the supplement industry after years of sound advice in bodybuilding magazines like Muscle & Fitness, and Flex.
But things didn’t stay perfect for long…
By the end of 2016, Jim and Bodybuilding.com had parted ways after a massive row over who actually owned the JYM brand. This saw Dr. Stoppani release a whole new line-up of JYM through GNC (hence why we now have Pre JYM 2.0).
Weirdly, bodybuilding.com originally stuck to their guns and continued selling the original, so there was a brief period where we had TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the same product available, and it was the only time you could buy a tub of Pre JYM which didn’t have a pic of the doc on it.
This was a low point for JYM Supplement Science, with Jim uploading a series of rants aimed at other supplement companies (most notably this one in which he claimed his supplements are the only ones which don’t use a proprietary blend – they’re not! – and this one where NutraBio boss Mark Glazer took him down).
Eventually the two parties made up and Jim returned “home” to bodybuilding.com in mid-2017, where they continue to sell his “new and improved” Pre JYM formula.
Whoa! Now you’re up to speed!
PRE JYM REVIEW – THE GOOD
It’s very important to know the information above when trying the new Pre JYM.
Because despite the brand change, the drama, and the snazzy new label design, what we see here is an almost identical formula to the original.
While the 2.0 suggests a “next generation” of JYM supplements, this is merely clever marketing, the name altered purely to separate this product – and proclaim superiority – from the old JYM brand which bodybuilding.com said they would continue selling.
In fact, the formula is so similar that the only difference is the inclusion of huperzine-A.
This is a nootropic alkaloid which is added to bodybuilding supplements to increase mental focus, although no significant research exists to document it’s effectiveness at doing so. It has been shown to increase muscle contraction force, though, so that’s something. (1)
Now, is huperzine-A going to make or break your workout? Absolutely not!
But the rest of the Pre JYM formula still holds up well, even 7 years after it was released, so this product continues to hold its own as a premium pre workout supplement.
A full clinical dose of 6g citrulline malate will provide you with more endurance, faster recovery between sets, and a monstrous pump. Couple this with a 2 gram serving of beta-alanine to delay the onset of “the burn” and you should see some rather impressive boosts to workout performance with Pre JYM. (3, 4)
But the real powerhouse of Pre JYM is caffeine. A mighty 300mg per serving puts Pre JYM near the top end of the supplement market in terms of dosage.
Finally, open label transparency continues with the entire JYM Supplement Science brand. This is what set them apart when they first launched, and it means there are no hidden ingredients or misleading proprietary blends on display here. That’s excellent!
PRE JYM REVIEW – THE BAD
Nothing is perfect.
Not even the self-proclaimed “king”!
So where does Pre JYM get it wrong? And where could it be better?
Well, first up we have the inclusion of creatine HCL.
There is nothing wrong with creatine (and creatine HCL shows promise as an alternative to creatine monohydrate) but it doesn’t really need to be in a pre workout. You can pick it up very cheaply, and it sometimes causes digestions issues, so it makes sense to keep it away from your training.
Also, you could argue that beta-alanine is under-dosed in Pre JYM.
At 2 grams per serving, this falls well short of the recommended 3.2g clinical dose. This is both true and false. A full clinical dose IS 3.2 grams, but research suggests that we can slightly increase absorption by splitting it into two servings – and this is what Stoppani suggests doing by packing another 2 grams into his post-workout supplement, Post JYM. (9)
Taurine is a definite red flag, though.
This is often thrown into energy drinks and pre workouts for “increased focus”, but it’s a well-known fact that taurine and caffeine CLASH HARD. Given the huge training benefits of caffeine (and the large dose of it included here) it doesn’t make sense to dilute it by putting taurine alongside it.
Finally, the inclusion of leucine is a controversial one.
BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are often included in pre workout formulas alongside claims of “increased energy”, but interesting new research suggests that they are best kept until after training, where they can support the recovery process. When taken before training they can cause you to feel sluggish and lead to early CNS fatigue. (7, 8)
PRE JYM REVIEW – NUTRITION BREAKDOWN
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the ingredients inside Pre JYM to see whether it contains enough of each key ingredient to give you the expected training results.
The pre workout marketplace is rife with below-par products which hide their formula behind bogus proprietary blends or under-dose key ingredients, leaving you feeling ripped off.
For the most part, you should be pleasantly surprised by Pre JYM.
Caffeine is the star player in any great pre workout, and Pre JYM doesn’t skimp on the dose.
The effectiveness of caffeine is dependent on an individual’s tolerance, but a 300mg serving will give even the most stubborn pre workout users a “kick”. It also cements Pre JYM as a “one-scooper”, unless you plan on laying in bed shaking like a pneumatic drill. (2)
While often touted for its energy boosting properties, caffeine also brings with it some interesting boosts to mental focus and strength output. The fat burning benefits are overhyped, but it definitely deserves its place in a pre workout supplement.
6g CITRULLINE MALATE
Citrulline malate is the most under-appreciated ingredient in a truly great pre workout supplement.
While we like to focus on the ingredients we can feel working (caffeine and beta-alanine), citrulline gets to work in the background and when supplemented regularly it can make a huge difference to the quality of your training!
Six grams is the clinically proven dosage at which we can expect to see the maximum response, so PreJYM hits the mark here.
Have you ever felt your face tingling after drinking a preworkout?
But while it’s often unfairly used as a superficial ingredient which is thrown in purely so you can ‘feel’ your pre kicking in, there are numerous benefits to using beta-alanine.
A 2010 study from researchers at the University of Manchester discovered that boxers increased their punching power by as much as 2000% during the closing stages of a bout via supplementing with beta-alanine prior to training. It is also useful for improving your ability to push through “the burn” during training, with another study showing us that subjects were able to force out 25% more repetitions per set. (5, 6)
There are 6 grams of BCAAs included in each serving of Pre Jym.
That’s broken down as 3g leucine, 1.5g isoleucine, and 1.5g valine.
BCAAs are often referred to as “the building blocks of muscle” due to their anabolic capabilities, so it’s no surprise to see them in so many pre workout formulas from most of the leading brands.
But here’s the thing…
Research suggests that when leucine is taken pre workout it acts as an inhibitor of l-tyrosine, preventing dopamine production and making the user feel sluggish during training. Taking BCAAs before training is one of those popular fitness beliefs which makes sense in theory but doesn’t work in reality, and it needs to be thrown on the scrapheap (see also: the fasted cardio BCAA myth).
2g CREATINE HCL
Creatine is incredible for boosting strength performance and muscle size.
Better yet, it’s probably the most well-researched bodybuilding supplement of all time, so we have decades of solid evidence to support both the benefits and safety of it! (10)
That said, the inclusion of creatine HCL is an odd choice.
Jim insists he did this because creatine HCL is “superior” to creatine monohydrate, but there are no studies which show this to be true. At best it’ll get you the same results, and it appears it can do it with a lower dose (2g instead of 5g). (11)
Taurine is the darling of the pre workout and energy drink industry because it has links to improved mental focus and increased blood flow to working muscles. (12, 13)
It’s also cheap as f**k.
Taurine is a good supplement, but it throws up a couple of red flags for us here.
First, we’d need a dose of 2g to see the full benefits, so Pre JYM is under-dosed (but there’s another gram in Post JYM).
Second, I mentioned above that taurine is an antagonist of caffeine.
I cannot understate this fact, because it means taurine literally prevents caffeine from doing its f**king job. This was shown in a 2012 study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behaviour, and was a big talking point when AML released their excellent pre workout (the imaginatively titled AML Pre Workout) in 2016 because they directly called out the JYM brand over their inclusion of taurine and leucine. (14)
This amino acid is a precursor to dopamine.
That’s a good thing.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that it’s possible to impove maximum training capacity by using l-tyrosine to boost dopamine production, with participants clocking markedly better performance during intense exercise in outdoor heat. (15)
Using l-tyrosine alongside caffeine is EVEN BETTER because this will result in a decent energy boost before training!
However, the inclusion of leucine (see above) means you can never truly unlock the full benefits of the 1.5 grams of l-tyrosine on offer here.
PRE JYM REVIEW – RUSS’ FINAL VERDICT
There will be two groups of people scoping Pre JYM 2.0.
- People who want a great pre workout.
- People who are trying to figure out what the difference is between this and the old Pre JYM.
If you fall into the first group, you can stop searching. Pre JYM is a great pre workout supplement and I highly recommend it. I’ve been a big fan of the doctor for a long time,and this product lives up to its billing as one of the very best pre workout supplements around!
In true Jim Stoppani style, it uses a transparent label and provides full clinical doses for MOST of the key ingredients.
If you wanted to see the differences between the old Pre JYM and the new Pre JYM, then you aren’t really missing anything “new and improved” here other than the packaging – it was already a good product, and it remains one.
However, Pre JYM is no longer considered “the king of pre workouts”.
Since it hit the shelves back in 2013 we have seen a LOT of other trustworthy supplement companies raised their game, and eventually displace Pre JYM at the top of the pile.
It will be interesting to see if we ever get another updated version of Pre JYM (3.0?) to compete with the innovations which have taken place in the last couple of years, most notably the fantastic product released by Advanced Molecular Labs.
As such, my Pre Jym review concludes with the award of 4 stars from my deliberately harsh supplement rating system. The fabled 5 stars is lost due to the inclusion of BCAAs, taurine, and the fact that I’m still a bit p****d the name hinted at a new and improved formula.
- Tang X. C., et al. Pharmacological profile of huperzine A, a novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herb. CNS Drug Reviews 5.3 (1999).
- Beaven C. M., et al. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2008).
- 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).
- Donovan T., et al. Beta-alanine improves punch force and frequency in amateur boxers during a simulated contest. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2012).
- Hoffman J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med (2008).
- Walker D. K., et al. Exercise, amino acids, and aging in the control of human muscle protein synthesis. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2011).
- Choi S., et al. Oral branched-chain amino acid supplements that reduce brain serotonin during exercise in rats also lower brain catecholamines. Amino Acids (2013).
- Artioli G. G., et al. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2010).
- Rawson E. S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res (2003).
- Green A. L., et al. Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. Am J Physiol (1996).
- 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).
- Tumilty L., et al. Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat. Eur J Appl Physiol (2011).