With a name like Kill It, Rich Piana & 5% Nutrition have set their stall out from the very beginning.
But is this pre workout a true contender?
You will find out right here, as I put Kill It through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system to compare it to the fitness industry’s current top dogs.
Rich Piana was one of the most polarizing figures in the fitness industry.
His candid views on bodybuilding, his openness about steroids, and his extreme lifestyle often overshadow the accomplishments of the man himself.
Because whether you agree with his views or not, here’s something we can agree on; most fitness celebrities have the charisma of a wet towel, and this guy had personality in spades.
He was also incredibly hard working. He literally did ‘kill it’ every single day, networking his way through the bodybuilding scene and gyms around the USA in order to build his brand up from scratch.
Sadly, Rich passed away a while ago, but he lives on through his supplement company; 5% Nutrition.
Interestingly, the name comes from Rich’s belief that only 5 percent of the world’s population have the drive to to “whatever it takes to succeed”, and is not a reference to body fat percentage.
In all honesty, supplements from famous YouTubers tend to disappoint.
They’re often little more than a cheap formula thrown together to cash in on the person’s social media fame.
That trend was bucked in 2016 when CT Fletcher released the monstrous Sidewalk Kraka, an astonishingly high quality pre workout with a formula to rival anything from supplement industry giants.
So, going into my Kill It review, we could head down a couple of very different paths…
Kill It Review – The Good
5% Nutrition follow the tried n’ tested blueprint for marketing a pre workout supplement to a mass audience:
- Slap a few statements about ‘sleeve busting pumps’ on the tub.
- Make sure the product name could be a movie on SyFy.
Hey, it works.
Because if ‘Amino Energy’ isn’t enough to make you want to smash the iron, then ‘Dino Shark’ or ‘Mega Quake’ surely does.
It’s almost as if 5% Nutrition were trying to inject testosterone directly into the product when they came up with its name.
Inside the tub, we get 250mg caffeine in each scoop, which is a great start.
We also get the inclusion of almost every other pre workout heavy hitter (citrulline malate, beta-alanine, creatine) and even the nice inclusion of Rhodia Rosea.
Saldy, that’s where the good news ends…
Kill It Review – The Bad
One quick look at the Kill It nutrition label reveals a number of the red flags I regularly warn against.
The biggest issue is that most of the label is hidden behind a proprietary blend.
Proprietary blends are a thing of the past, and are a sure sign of a manufacturer using industry loopholes to hide a below-par formula from the buying public.
This will inevitably hold Kill It back from receiving a high score, because even though it contains some proven ingredients, we cannot see if they are correctly dosed to give their full benefits.
Given that the decent serving of caffeine is revealed on the label, we can only presume that 5% Nutrition have chosen to hide the stuff that’s not so good.
Let’s break down each of the ingredients.
1.5g Creatine Blend
Another thing I dislike is the over-complication of this creatine blend.
No type of creatine has ever been shown to outperform the original and cheapest form of creatine (monohydrate), but supplement companies have spent the lats twenty years looking for ways to push fancy, more expensive blends at customers with claims of them being superior.
Kill It totally overdoes it in this regard.
We get a blend featuring magnesium creatine chelate, tri-creatine malate,, and creatine pyruvate.
Despite sounding like the bad guys from a new Marvel movie, none of these are superior to creatine monohydrate. In fact, the only study which hints at creatine chelate being better than monohydrate was actually published by the team who created it, which throws those claims under the bus immediately. (1)
Further more, a dose of just 1.5g isn’t sufficient to yield any significant results. 5% Nutrition should have played it safe here and provided a full 5g dose of creatine monohydrate instead.
7.4g Endurance Blend
We can see a few familiar names inside the so-called “endurance blend” of Kill It.
This is the real nitty gritty of the product, with appearances from the likes of caffeine, beta-alanine, and citrulline malate.
Given that the total size of this blend is just 7.4g, we know that the majority of these ingredients are under-dosed.
After all, a full clinical dose of citrulline malate is 6 grams, and a full dose of beta-alanine is 3.2 grams – we’re already higher than the total figure.
But thanks to the folks at PricePlow, we know that the dose of citrulline malate is actually 3 grams.
This is half the clinical dose, and the only way to reap the full training benefits if offers would be to double scoop the product – inadvertently driving your caffeine to 500mg and making you want to headbutt the nearest wall.
Agmatine sulfate comes in at 750mg, and will provide a nice pump even with a half-serving of citrulline malate.
If we add up the totals of citrulline malate, caffeine, and agmatine sulfate, we’re left with 3.4 grams to cover every other item in this blend (beta-alanine, taurine, acetyl l-tyrosine, l-norvaline, and Rhodia Rhosea).
Taurine is commonly included in pre workout supplement due to it’s ability to boost focus.
However, it does not co-exist nicely with caffeine, inhibiting the effects of the big C and sometimes leading to headaches. (2)
Potassium citrate works alongside beta-alanine to increase cell volumization and hydration, which is great. However, at just 42mg per serving, it’s well short of the required dose for training benefits.
How do you know when a pre workout isn’t as good as it claims to be?
They include niacin.
This B-vitamin serves no purpose in a pre workout other than to mimic the side effects of beta-alanine.
It creates a flushing, tingly sensation, effectively masking the fact that a product is under-dosed in beta-alanine but, unlike beta-alanine, niacin doesn’t give you any training benefits.
As far as Rich Piana goes, there isn’t much middle ground.
We either loved him or hated him.
Thankfully, when it comes to supplements we don’t need to base our choices on opinion.
However, it’s not all bad news.
Kill It does contain a fair serving of caffeine, making it useful in shorter, HIIT-based workouts. Also, the combination of agmatine sulfate and citrulline will provide a nice pump. That’s as far as it goes.
As such, Kill It receives two stars.
- Mg Creatine Chelate Research Threads 2001-2009. Albion Research Notes Vol. 18, No. 3
- Moloney M. A., et al. Two weeks taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diab Vasc Dis Res. (2010)