A clean formulation, likely appealing to anyone not out for a super-high-stim pre-workout. But with just 20 serves per jar, this one isn’t cheap.
- An upgrade from the original
- Clean formulation
- Unique flavours
- Just 20 serves
Optimum Nutrition have recently launched their new “Advanced” version pre workout off the back of their successful Gold Standard Pre. But the question is – is this really an “Advanced” formula, or merely a refresh of an existing one?
Nutrition & Directions
Let’s start off with the key ingredients – per serve you’re getting 300mg of caffeine (anhydrous), 3.2g of beta-alanine, 5g of creatine monohydrate, 6g of micronized l-citrulline and 1.2g of creatine nitrate. These doses are all mid-range which will appeal to most.
With the exception of the creatine nitrate that was not in the original formula, there is considerably more of everything per serve which does support the notion of this being a more “Advanced” formula as these serving sizes are probably more suitable to the more serious trainer. Worth noting, if we simply increased the serving size of the “standard” formulation to obtain 300mg, while the creatine amount would be similar, both the beta-alanine and l-citrulline malate would still be less than the “Advanced” formula.
Some of these core ingredients are what I would consider to be key elements in a pre workout. Obviously, you have the caffeine which is essential to almost any stimulant based pre-workout. 300mg is a moderate serving amount that will appeal to anyone not looking for a really crazy hit. L-citrulline can improve blood flow, pump and reduce fatigue and 6g is a very good serving amount. Beta-alanine can aid in fatigue reduction and power output.
Creatine can assist in power output – and this is found in both monohydrate and the nitrate version. I do wonder why they included both versions when creatine monohydrate is the significantly better researched relative to creatine nitrate. Personally I think it looks great on the label having the “NO3-T” trademark and logo to differentiate this product, but I’m not sure that creatine nitrate is all that necessary.
There are a couple of vitamins added in, namely Vitamin C (200mg/serve) and Vitamin D (10mcg or 400 IU/serve). Now admittedly these are small doses and so long as you’re not deficient, will likely have a negligible impact on your results.
There’s also an electrolyte blend (calcium, magnesium and sodium). This can have quite a beneficial impact on your training levels, but generally you see electrolytes included in intra-workout products as opposed to pre-workout products. The reason here being that as you sweat, you lose electrolytes and you can therefore replenish these by drinking those minerals. While this is certainly unique about this product, I’m unsure that it is all that of a major benefit.
Worth noting, the flavouring is both natural and artificial, the sweetener is sucralose (artificial) and the colouring is natural in the strawberry mango daiquiri flavour while being artificial in the other two. When we deduct the total weight of the active ingredients, we find that the flavouring and sweetener will come out at approximately 3.4g in a 20g serve.
Overall, I think that this product has been formulated as something that is very “middle of the road”. There’s not an excessive amount of anything and nor is there a small amount of anything. They have stuck with some very common pre-workout ingredients (and omitted some others such as L-Tyrosine).
While there is no particularly unique feature about this pre workout in terms of ingredients, there is nothing inherently wrong with the formulation either. It’s clean and appropriate dosed.
With just 5 calories per serve coming from just 1g of carbohydrate, this is as you would expect for a pre-workout.
This is a very transparent label listing each of the key ingredients and their respective amounts. This I feel is essential in a pre workout when dosage is key – particularly with caffeine and the other key amino acids.
It is also specified that the flavouring is a combination of both natural and artificial flavouring. This is not always common practice.
Plus, there are no ridiculous claims here. It’s all very factual.
Having said that, I need to be really (really) picky about one thing – and that’s where they include “Advanced” in the name. Relative to the original “Gold Standard Pre” – sure, I would consider this to be a more advanced formulation due to the increased dosage sizes. But on the flip side, there’s nothing overly “advanced” or unique about this product in its own right. It is just the name and I don’t feel that this is misleading – but I feel it’s worth highlighting.
Directions & Servings
The directions advise to mix 20g (about 1 scoop) into 6-8 fluid ounces of water and consume 15-30 minutes before working out.
First and foremost – Boy I wish they would write this in mL for Australia!
Anyway, we measured a (slightly heaped) scoop and it came out at exactly 20g – so the directions are bang on. 15-30 minutes is ideal to have the caffeine kick in too.
Taste & Texture
There are three flavour options available – Berry Blast, Raspberry Lime Mojito and Strawberry Mango Daiquiri.
With three flavour options, this ranks this product in the top 35% of the category when we consider more flavours being better.
As with many products from the USA, flavours are often quite sweet and candied. The flavour profiles in this product are no different.
Starting with the raspberry lime, the raspberry resembles the taste of a red frog – it is very candied. And then, overlay that with a green jelly bean. It is relatively sweet and fragrant, though quite pleasant to drink. I think this is reasonably nice for a pre workout, though I don’t feel this flavour has a “wow” factor to it.
With the strawberry mango, you’ll find that the mango provides the base flavour with a sweet strawberry to compliment. As is typical with most American flavours, it is quite sweet and candied. I do however find this one to be quite enjoyable, especially because the mango in particular tastes really good.
The Berry Blast tastes primarily like sweet blueberries. Personally I feel that it lacks a little depth versus the strawberry mango – where you can identify the different flavour notes. But, it is a pleasant taste.
None of the flavours leave a nasty aftertaste either.
Overall the flavours are good, especially for a pre workout. I do comment Optimum Nutrition for their unique flavours, steering away from the all too popular pineapple and blue raspberry standards. None are bad or offensive, though I did feel that the strawberry mango was just that bit better than the other two.
Solubility & Texture
Mixing this product into water dissolves quite well, although there is a little sediment left down the bottom upon shaking in a shaker. This is only very minor and may require an additional “swish” as you’re consuming the product.
Value for Money
The Gold Standard Pre Advanced comes in just one size, which is common for most pre workouts. However when we rank it relative to the other products within the category, it ranks in the top 29%, when more size options are better.
So probably the first thing you’ll notice about the Pre Advanced is that the tub looks to be twice the size of a standard pre workout tub. However, it is appropriately filled to about three quarters of the package volume.
The tub itself is solid being a recyclable HDPE black jar. This is fine to take with you to the gym or when travelling as it won’t leak.
Included within the pre workout is a scoop and two desiccants to absorb moisture and to prevent the product from clumping. Also worth noting, the jar has both an external and an internal tamper-free seal.
We weighed a random 20 serve jar claiming 400g and it came in at exactly 400g, meeting expectations.
So far so good, right? Well here’s the kicker – for 20 serves you’re paying somewhere around $50 – ie. $2.50 per serve! To put that into perspective, this ranks in the bottom 19% of the category when we compare the price per serve of this product to other pre workouts.
Even when we compare this to the original “Gold Standard Pre-Workout”, for less than $10 more you can get a 60 serve version.
I have to ask…why are we paying so much relative to other products on the market?
With the only key differentiator of this product being the unique flavours, I don’t feel that there is enough to justify such a steep price point. The formulation itself is very “middle of the road” with some very common ingredients, albeit a clean formulation. And while I will admit that the Optimum Nutrition brand is one that does represent very good quality, I don’t know that this brand equity justifies such a high price per serve.
Therefore, the category score we have assigned here does represent the positioning of this product within the category on a price per serve basis, plus one for it being a clean formulation with quality ingredients.
It is expensive. Though if you’re looking for a quality product with a little extra cash to splurge, then perhaps this is right up your alley.
If you’re looking for something that’s clean with a reputable brand name behind it, perhaps this is the product for you…just so long as you have the extra room in your supplement budget! Unique flavours, great mixability and a solid ingredient line-up make this pre workout a great new offering from Optimum Nutrition.