PreFierce is the new pre workout supplement from US manufacturers TruFierce Nutrition, and it’s a product I’ve referred to on my social media as “the Great White Shark of pre workouts”.
It’s been steadily rising up the ranks of the supplement industry and gaining high praise, but today it faces it’s toughest test to date – my deliberately harsh supplement rating system.
(Remember, nothing has EVER received top marks from me – yet!)
So how did it earn its nickname?
Well, imagine being stuck in the ocean with a Great White Shark.
Scary as a motherf**ker, right?
The dread… The hopelessness… Aargh…
In fact, they’re so terrifying that when screenwriters try to add stuff (two-heads, rocket launchers, and any other B-movie nonsense you can remember) they somehow become less scary than the real thing which is out there right now in nature.
And now we circle back to pre workout supplements!
How many times have you used a pre workout which claimed to have “27 active ingredients”, only for it to fail to deliver in the gym?
That’s because in cramming so much into each scoop they usually provide us with ingredients which clash (caffeine & taurine is a good example), or are downright useless (BCAAs), or they critically under-dose the important stuff (a tactic known as “fairy dusting”) in favor of lesser-known (and much less proven) ingredients which have been thrown in just to stand out from the pack.
The truth is you don’t need stacks of ingredients to make a killer pre workout.
When we get down to it, there are only a few substances which are shown to significantly improve performance, and they should be the main focus of the product if we want it to deliver the goods.
I’m talking about creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and so on.
That’s precisely what TruFierce Nutrition have done with this product. PreFierce takes things back to basics, using only the most proven ingredients (and literally nothing else) to create a pre workout which is 10x more effective than most of its competitors.
So let’s dive in (no pun intended) to my official PreFierce Pre Workout review.
PreFierce Review: The Good & The Bad
As you can see above, less is definitely more.
Heck, I don’t remember the last time I saw a pre workout label this short yet so concise.
A 250mg dose of caffeine is enough to give you a kick up the a** prior to training, and it comes equipped with an equal 20mg dose of l-theanine (the “caffeine crash” killer), which means you won’t get the usual energy drop a few hours after training. PreFierce also packs a mighty 7 grams of citrulline malate, which will lead to some monstrous pumps in the gym alongside gradual improvements to recovery time and training endurance.
Elswehere in the scoop you’ll find a full clinical dose of betaine (2.5 grams) and an even higher than clinical dose of beta-alanine (3.5 grams). These two ingredients work fantastically well together and you should see noticeable improvements to explosive strength and the number of reps you can achieve before muscle failure.
Another huge bonus point comes in the ingredients they’ve decided to exclude.
There’s no taurine nor BCAAs here, and that’s a great move!
Taurine has its cognitive benefits, but shouldn’t be in a caffeine-based pre workout because these two two ingredients clash with eachother and can leave the trainee feeling sluggish (but that doesn’t stop most companies from doing it anyway), and you likely don’t need to take BCAAs at all providing your diet is high enough in protein but there is some interesting research which suggests you definitely don’t want to take them immediately prior to training as they can be counter-productive to performance! (1, 2)
It’s clear from the outset that TruFierce Nutrition have not entered the supplement game to be cannon fodder for the big brands. In fact, they’ve created a formula which leaves most of them in the dust!
(Lookin’ at you Grenade, Gaspari, and Optimum Nutrition.)
However, no supplement is perfect.
The biggest weak point of the formula is the inclusion of a so-called “fat burning blend” which consists of green tea extract, black pepper extract and acetyl l-carnitine.
No doubt this has been thrown in so that the company add claims of “fat burning” to their marketing campaign (they’re not the first, and won’t be the last to do so), but there isn’t any scientific data to support those claims. The sales page also claims that green tea extract serves a dual purpose by doubling up as a nitric oxide booster, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this.
One final negative point is the actual name of the product:
TruFierce Nutrition PreFierce Pre Workout.
Who came up with this?! You need a sip of pre just to say it!
PreFierce Pre Workout Review – Ingredient Breakdown
Next up is my ‘Ingredient Breakdown’ section, where I’ll run you through every ingredient and show you what they do – and if the dose is sufficient to unlock optimal results.
We covered some of this in the previous section (Good & Bad) but now we’re gonna go deep, so if you’re not a fitness nerd feel free to skip to the next section where I release the final score.
I’m a complete fitness nerd, so this is the section where I run through all the main ingredients of PreFierce and show you what each of them does, and see if the dose is sufficient to yield the desired results.
Let’s begin the ingredient breakdown with the star of PreFierce; CitMal!
7g Citrulline Malate
Consider this the most important ingredient in your pre workout.
Remember in the early 2000s when there was an influx of “nitric oxide boosting pre workouts”? They relied on the amino acid arginine, which has the ability to temporarily widen our blood vessels therefore leading to increased blood flow (better pump) and greater delivery of key nutrients to working muscles.
The problem with arginine is that it has a terrible absorption rate.
Enter citrulline malate!
When CitMal enters the body it is actually broken down into arginine, but it has a significantly higher absorption rate, so instead of being destroyed by the intestines more of it can be used for the desired purposes. Studies show that the absorption rate of CitMal is about 50% higher, so weirdly it’s a better way of supplementing arginine than taking it directly! (3, 4, 5)
In terms of training benefits, a comprehensive 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that trainees using CitMal were able to perform an average of one more rep on every set of their workout. (6)
Set after set, workout after workout, week after week, it doesn’t take very long for those gains to add up!
Further Reading >> The Training Benefits Of Citrulline Malate
Dose: 6 grams+ will improve several aspects of your training – better pumps, faster recovery between sets, greater endurance! Pre Fierce gives you 7 grams just to be sure!
Remember when The Weeknd sang about being unable to feel his face?
Chances are he drank some of this.
With a whopping 3.5 grams of beta-alanine per serving, PreFierce will likely give you a bad cause of the skin-crawling “fire ants” (known as parasthesia) which are commonly associated with this ingredient.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because many people enjoy it, but it’s merely a superficial side effect. The real benefits of beta-alanine will be seen in the gym, where you can expect significant improvements to endurance (“the burn”) as a result of beta-alanine’s ability to buffer against the build-up of waste product (metabolites) around working muscles. (7)
Dose: 3.2 grams is enough to unlock maximum results, but TruFierce go above and beyond by including 3.5 grams! See if you can handle a scoop without being forced pull your best “Stallone face”!
It’s great to see betaine make an appearance.
It’s been wildly popular among track and field athletes for the last couple of decades, but it seems to have taken the bodybuilding world a lot longer to embrace it – and I’ve never understood why!
This ingredient can yield improvements to endurance levels, muscle recovery speed and explosive strength, and you can expect to see those benefits after as little as one week of usage! (8, 9, 10, 11)
Dose: A clinical dose of betaine anhydrous is 2.5 grams, and the list of pre workout supplements which provide this amount is very short. TruFierce Nutrition have joined that list by including 2.5 grams here!
Caffeine is one of the most well-researched supplements in history.
In fact there is so much research backing up the training benefits, it almost needs no introduction!
Caffeine is linked with a plethora of potential improvements which include better mental focus, increased energy output, and even explosive strength gains. (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
Dose: The minimum dose to unlock most of caffeine’s benefits is 167mg, although we’d need a whopping 400mg to tap into the strength training benefits it offers. PreFierce goes in the middle and gives us 250mg per serving which is totally fine.
Remember how the characters of Jaws transformed an already great movie into an all-time classic?
That’s what this ingredient does for PreFierce.
While the benefits of caffeine are vast, it brings with it a “crash” which many people absolutely hate. The inclusion of this ingredient will offset that crash. Better still, they’ve are one of the few companies to use a proper 1:1 ratio, which has been shown most effective in studies.
Better yet, is that they’re one of the few supplement manufacturers who actually use the correct dose to get the desired result! In order for it to be effective, we’d need a 1:1 ratio of caffeine to l-theanine, and that’s exactly what we get here. (19)
Dose: TruFierce Nutrition have perfectly dosed l-theanine to match caffeine, with both coming in at 250mg.
1g “Fat Burning Blend”
You knew it was coming, and here we are.
As mentioned earlier, I believe the reason these ingredients have been included in the formula is so that TruFierce Nutrition can exploit current supplement industry loopholes and use words like “fat burning” in their marketing efforts.
In terms of actual evidence, though, it’s slim pickings!
The blend consists of:
- 500mg acetyl-l-carnitine
- 300mg coconut water powder
- 150mg green tea extract
- black pepper extract
These are all ingredients which you’ll regularly see included in other pre workouts and fat burner supplements (for the reasons explained above), and they do offer a few healthy benefits, but they will not add anything to your workout performance AT ALL. (20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
It lets the product down.
Dose: There is no correct dose here, because despite these ingredients often being billed as “fat burners”, science clearly shows us that they are not!
TruFierce Nutrition PreFierce Review – The Final Score!
It gets a huge 4 stars from me.
It’s astonishing to think that this is TruFierce Nutrition’s first product.
By sticking to the proven basics, they have formulated a pre workout which leaves most of its big-name competitors standing still, and it fully deserved its #6 ranking on my list of the 10 best pre workouts of 2020. The also offer a unique bulk buy feature on their website (I love seeing innovations like this).
I expect them to grow their range considerably in the coming years, and if they continue in this vein they should become a major force in the supplement industry.
In terms of improvements we could definitely do without the so-called “fat burning blend”, and it would be interesting to see the inclusion of acetyl l-tyrosine and potassium citrate.
Maybe I’m being harsh here, because very few pre workouts actually contain potassium citrate, but that is my job. It would’ve been a great addition to this formula because of its hydration benefits, and the dopamine-boosting effects of acetyl l-tyrosine would have worked very nicely alongside caffeine.
One final big plus point for PreFierce is that it avoids using untested exotic stimulants, ensuring the product will never be flagged by USADA, nor wil they need to make unnecessary label changes.
You can get PreFierce here.
- Giles G. E., et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav (2012).
- Walker, D.K., et al. Exercise, amino acids, and aging in the control of human muscle protein synthesis. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2011).
- Schwedhelm E., et al. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of oral L-citrulline and L-arginine: impact on nitric oxide metabolism. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008).
- Castillo L., et al. Splanchnic metabolism of dietary arginine in relation to nitric oxide synthesis in normal adult man. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1993).
- Sureda A., et al. Arginine and citrulline supplementation in sports and exercise: ergogenic nutrients? Med Sport Sci (2012).
- Pérez-Guisado J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res (2010).
- 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).
- Lee E. C., et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2010).
- 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).
- Pryor J. L., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
- 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).
- Del Coso J., et al. Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
- Mora-Rodríguez R., et al. Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PLoS One (2012).
- McCormack, W. P., et al. Caffeine, Energy Drinks, and Strength-Power Performance. Str Con J (2012).
- Haskell C. F., et al The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biol Psychol (2008).
- Decombaz J., et al. Effect of L-carnitine on submaximal exercise metabolism after depletion of muscle glycogen. Med Sci Sports Exerc (1993).
- Hursel R., et al. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond) (2009).
- Westerterp-Plantenga M.S. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiol Behav (2010).
- Diepvens K., et al. Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol (2007).
- Belza A., et al. The effect of caffeine, green tea and tyrosine on thermogenesis and energy intake. Eur J Clin Nutr (2009).
- Peart D. J., et al. Coconut Water Does Not Improve Markers of Hydration During Sub-maximal Exercise and Performance in a Subsequent Time Trial Compared with Water Alone. Human Kinetics Journals (2017).