Ever seen the phrase “proprietary blend” on your pre workout?
I hope not.
When a supplement manufacturer uses a proprietary blend it means they’ve hidden the dose of each ingredient (so you can see what’s in it, but not how much). This industry law was originally put in place to stop rival companies copying formulas from each other, but nowadays it’s simply a tactic for shady brands to take the p**s out of their customers.
I mean, if you’re going to make a joke out of your ingredients, at least make it a solid one:
“Did I tell you about the dream I had where I weighed less than a thousandth of a gram? Seriously, I was like 0mg.”
What Proprietary Blend Means (According To Supplement Brands)
If you ask a supplement manufacturer why they use a proprietary blend, here’s what they’ll say:
“We use a proprietary blend in (insert crazy pre workout name like “Death Pump” here) to protect you, the customer! In doing so, we can prevent rival companies from copying our cutting edge ingredients and creating poor knock offs.”
Sounds convincing, right?
… but it’s bulls**t!
What It Really Means…
Back in the early 2000s it made sense to slap a proprietary blend on your formula because it prevented other companies from releasing copycat products.
For example, when iSatori released the now legendary H-Blocker (the first pre workout to contain beta-alanine – see below) in 2006 they were right to conceal the formula because they’d developed an absolute game-changer and, understandably, they didn’t want other brands muscling in on their creation.
The problem the proprietary blend sticker didn’t work.
You see, it’s very easy for a supplement manufacturer to take a product to a lab and discover the ingredients contained within, so there was really no point in locking down the formula on the label. One glance at the avalanche of pre workouts containing beta-alanine which were released in subsequent years proves this, and thus the need for companies to use the proprietary blend loophole was over.
But here’s the thing…
The FDA still allows companies to use this loophole.
The law states that “the company must list the ingredients used but not the dose”, and this opens the door for shady manufacturers to fairy dust their products and then sell it to unsuspecting customers as a “top of the range pre workout”.
So while the tub might have claims about “increased energy!” (caffeine), “more muscle growth!” (creatine), and “skin-splitting pumps!” (citrulline), the actual product doesn’t contain enough of each ingredient to give you any of the purpoted benefits!
And it’s not just the small companies who do this, either!
In the last few years we’ve seen huge brands like Gaspari, Universal, and Cellucor do it – all of whom should know better.
So make no mistake;
If a pre workout is genuinely as good as it claims to be, it will NOT use a proprietary blend.
Instead it will use clinically proven doses of each key ingreient and show the researh to support the claims being made on the tub, leaving no doubt that you’ve got “the real deal”. A good example of this is the way Jim Stoppani markets his PRE Jym formula, and Advanced Molecular Labs promote their top-of-the-line AML Pre Workout.
Now slap that proprietery blend pre workout outta your shopping cart!
Who Is Russ Howe PTI?
Featured in Men’s Fitness magazine and voted in the world’s top 50 fat loss coaches by HuffPost, Russ is among the UK’s most subscribed personal trainers with 104,357 people getting his free weekly fitness tips e-mail.
In the gym, clients range from busy parents, to models, to athletes and actresses. Russ also worked alongside the UK government for 8 years in a venture combating childhood obesity in England.
Outside of the gym, he’s a proud Dad to three young boys.
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