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Tag Archives: Pre-workout

  • Blackstone Labs Dust V2 Review

    Blackstone Labs is a recognized supplement brand, in Australia and throughout the world. When it comes to the pre-workout supplement by the name of Dust V2, it is no different, even though many people think of Blackstone Labs products as being for hard-core athletes only.

    The truth is, even though there is a certain amount of enigma surrounding the Blackstone Labs brand, there is a very distinct possibility that your workouts stand to benefit handsomely from their products. So should you spend your time (and money) on Blackstone Labs Dust V2? Let's check out what it brings to the table.


    Regardless of your taste preference, Dust V2 has something that will suit your palate. One of the most surprising discoveries we made about the taste is the fact that it is not overpowering. This is a good thing overall, as it means that they have included less artificial sweeteners in the product, even though you can clearly detect that there is some amount contained in it.

    Dust V2 uses maltodextrin and erythritol as their sweeteners, which would explain the less intense sweetness possessed by the product, and the faint bitter aftertaste.

    In terms of flavour varieties, Red Ice, Black Lemonade and Watermelon are likely to appeal to the majority of users, even though Pineapple, Blue Sky, Cotton Candy and Sour Gummy Bear aren't that bad either.

    Overall, not the best tasting pre-workout on the market, but undoubtedly refreshing for people that are tired of intense and overpowering additives in their pre-workout.

    Taste: 4/5


    One of the factors that contributes to making a pre-workout powder successful is how well it mixes in water. In the case of Dust V2, the manufacturer has taken care to ensure that it does this exceptionally.

    Even though many consumers never consider the overall mixability of a supplement before purchasing, they should. Dust V2 leaves no residue in a shaker bottle after mixing, given that you indeed use the recommended 8 to 10 ounces of water per serve.

    It also mixes well with a spoon if you are unable to mix it in a shaker bottle.

    Pro Tip: if you dislike having to chug down more water than is necessary, do not use cold water when mixing your pre-workout powder. Mixability goes up if you add room temperature water instead.

    Mixability: 5/5

    Nutritional Breakdown

    As pre-workout supplements are becoming more advanced, arginine is not commonly employed anymore, instead opting for citrulline. Dust V2 follows this trend as well. More on that in a bit.

    To start off, even though you can see the name of the ingredients found in Dust V2, it is disappointing that the specific ingredient amounts are masked in a proprietary blend known as the Blackstone Labs Dust V2 Blend. There is a total of 8.3g of ingredients, although we do not know the exact amount of any.

    That aside, its ingredient profile looks solid. For instance, starting off with beta-alanine is a solid base, as this ingredient can help you to workout longer by buffering the effects of lactic acid accumulation [1]. Muscles achieve failure- the inability to contract, as lactic acid levels raise and their pH changes to an acidic one.

    The presence of betaine may help to increase the body's natural creatine production [2], proving useful if you do not supplement with exogenous forms of creatine.

    The presence of two citrulline forms; the tartrate and malate may help to further boost absorption and ease digestive discomfort some individuals experience, although citrulline already possesses a much lower likelihood of causing these effects when compared to arginine. Citrulline also more readily supports nitric oxide production and helping you achieve muscle pumps.

    While these ingredients are great, arguably what makes Dust V2 magnificent is its blend of stimulatory and nootropic ingredients. These include caffeine anhydrous and di-caffeine malate, which is a sort of buffered caffeine which delays its rapid onset and clearance. Caffeine is well established to improve exercise performance, energy levels and metabolism [3].

    Agmatine and norvaline, combined with hordenine and N-methyl Tyramine help to exert a calming effect on typical caffeine response, in addition to Agmatine and norvaline possessing dual actions helping to support nitric oxide levels as well. Norvaline inhibits arginase-the enzyme that breaks down arginine [4] and reduces the amount of nitric oxide that may be synthesized. Acreoline (as Arcofuel), also supports resistance to mental fatigue and can result in improved physical performance during your workouts.

    Taurine may also help to take the edge off [5] of caffeine even more, so users do not experience a significant crash of any sort, and may help to prevent muscle cramping from fluid loss during your workout.

    Velvet Bean Extract is a very interesting ingredient, to say the least. There are times when regardless of the amount of stimulants you consume, you lack the drive to get up and get things done. This could be related to your brain dopamine levels- this neurotransmitter being necessary for your drive and ability to achieve things. Velvet Bean Extract (also known as Mucuna Pruriens) is a rich source of L-Dopa, a precursor to the synthesis of dopamine [6]. This explains why Dust V2 is able to take your workouts to new heights, in conjunction with its other nootropic and stimulant compounds.

    Lastly, is MaxxEnsureXT, also known as stearoyl vanniylamide, a compound related to capsaicin, which may help to enhance thermogenesis and metabolic rate.

    Based on its ingredient profile, if you have a difficult time maintaining focus and energy levels throughout your workout you will notice a significant difference. The presence of beta-alanine and betaine also up performance levels and your resistance to fatigue helping you beat the goals you set for yourself.

    Finally, citrulline does what it set out to do – increase muscle pumps and nitric oxide production, and when supported with norvaline and agmatine, you won't be disappointed.

    The only ingredient whose presence seems a bit off in the mix would be stearoyl vanniylamide, which would increase your metabolism but probably not contributes to overall efficacy of the supplement.

    Ingredients: 5/5

    Value For Money

    Dust V2 is fairly priced, with each serve costing you approximately$1.60 (less if you're a Club Z Member), as there are other pre-workouts which are significantly more expensive but don't deliver half as much as Dust V2 might.

    For this reason, it ranks among the best when it comes to value for money.

    Value: 5/5


    Based on the fact that it mixes well, tastes fair, and includes ingredients which are likely to deliver what you've come to expect from a good pre-workout product, Dust V2 gets our recommendation.

    The only thing we would like to see changed is full disclosure of ingredient dosages, but Blackstone Labs has built an impressive reputation for a reason – they consistently make great products. If you are new to using pre-workout boosters, or are looking to take things to the next level, Dust V2 is very likely to help get you there.

    Overall: 4.5/5

    1. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C.Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis.Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
    2. Du Vigneaud V, Simmonds S, et al. A further investigation of the role of betaine in transmethylation reactions in vivo. J Biol Chem. 1946 Oct;165(2):639-48

    3.Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports [1978, 10(3):155-158]

    1. NN Huynh, EE Harris, JFP Chin-Dusting, and KL Andrews. The vascular effects of different arginase inhibitors in rat isolated aorta and mesenteric arteries. Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Jan; 156(1): 84–93.doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00036.x
    2. Chen SW1, Kong WX, Zhang YJ, Li YL, Mi XJ, Mu XS. Possible anxiolytic effects of taurine in the mouse elevated plus-maze. Life Sci. 2004 Aug 6;75(12):1503-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2004.03.010
    3. Lampariello LR, Cortelazzo A, Guerranti R, Sticozzi C, Valacchi G. The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens. J Tradit Complement Med. 2012;2(4):331-9.
  • TC Nutrition Batch 27 Review


    TC Nutrition Batch 27 is a super concentrated pre-workout supplement that promises pump, power, and performance. Is this just another run-of-the-mill pre-workout or can Batch 27 deliver?

    Nutritional Breakdown

    Most pre-workout supplements focus on caffeine for a quick jolt, but Batch 27 contains a well-rounded formula to fuel the brain and the body.

    Let's talk about performance: Batch 27 contains beta alanine and betaine anhydrous, two ingredients that have been shown to increase strength levels during your workout. With one gram of creatine HCl, you'll be providing your lean tissue with instantly-available adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the preferred fuel source of muscle. (1, 2)

    Batch 27 also offers you a collection of nitric oxide-boosting ingredients. Higher levels of nitric oxide during your workout can improve performance and overall results. Batch 27 delivers eight grams of citrulline malate, one of the best ingredients to increase nitric oxide production for that blood-pooling pump. You'll also get tyrosine, agmatine sulfate, theanine, and carnitine. (3)

    With your muscles taken care of, what about your mental energy levels? Batch 27 goes above and beyond most other supplements, offering you two types of caffeine along with two nootropics or brain-boosting compounds for elite-level focus.

    Theobromine complements caffeine anhydrous and caffeine citrate, helping to increase energy levels while alleviating the anxiousness typically felt with caffeine-based products. Huperzine A is the king of nootropics and it's been shown to skyrocket focus, cognitive performance, and memory formation. (4)

    Black pepper extract ties it all together. Studies show that black pepper extract can increase bioavailability of a supplement by up to 2,000%. (5)

    For those who try to limit their exposure to artificial sweeteners, Batch 27 contains both sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace K).

    Overall, this is one of the most complete and advanced pre-workout formulas I've seen. It addresses energy on all levels – mind and muscle – and not just a fast boost and crash. This is a very impressive pre-workout formula.



    TC Nutrition Batch 27 offers three unique flavours: Fuzzy Peach, Rocket Pop, and Sour Batch. For the purpose of this review, I tested Fuzzy Peach. While it doesn't taste exactly like a peach, I was pleasantly surprised with the flavour.

    I've seen other reviews where people comment that the taste is a bit like cough syrup, but I think it's important to remember that supplements are meant to support your fitness performance and goals; a great taste is just a luxury.

    I enjoyed the Fuzzy Peach flavour, and I'd love to try the other two flavours to see which one is my favourite.



    TC Nutrition Batch 27 is surprisingly easy to mix given that it doesn't contain lecithin, which is usually added to help with mixability. I used a shaker bottle with a mixing ball, and it took a few extra shakes but it mixed well.


    Value for Money

    Amazing quality doesn't come cheap and Batch 27 is not on the cheaper side of supplements. The average price you'll find for 20 servings is around fifty dollars. Despite the price tag, I still think it's a worthwhile buy considering all of the ingredients you're getting per serving.



    This is a complete and well-rounded pre-workout supplement, something you don't often find in the overcrowded market.

    It has a collection of scientifically-proven ingredients to power both the mind and the body for an optimal workout experience. Flavour is great and it's easy to mix, but my only pain point is the price. Even with the higher price tag, you're paying for an elite-quality supplement.

    OVERALL RATING: TC Nutrition Batch 27 gets 5/5!


    1. Maté-Muñoz JL, Lougedo JH, Garnacho-Castaño MV, et al. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation during a 5-week strength training program: a randomized, controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:19. Published 2018 Apr 25. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0224-0
    1. Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
    1. Morrissey JJ, Klahr S. Agmatine activation of nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cells. Proc Assoc Am Physicians. 1997 Jan;109(1):51-7.
    1. Wang R, Yan H, Tang XC. Progress in studies of huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jan;27(1):1-26.
    1. Prasad S, Tyagi AK, Aggarwal BB. Recent developments in delivery, bioavailability, absorption and metabolism of curcumin: the golden pigment from golden spice. Cancer Res Treat. 2014;46(1):2-18.
  • Ghost Legend Pre-Workout Review

    The Ghost brand isn't the most recognizable one when it comes to fitness supplements in Australia. However, it is quickly becoming a favourite of many who try it, with the Legend pre-workout product being the flagship product of the Ghost brand.

    Even though it is often overshadowed by bigger name brands, Ghost Legend actually brings a couple things that are quite different from others currently on the market. But let's check out if it's worth your time giving it a shot.


    Straight off the bat, Ghost Legend tastes 'Legendary'. Quite a few other pre-workout supplements on the market possess a taste that is less than palatable, but in the case of Legend we were pleasantly surprised.

    Even though it comes available in four flavour varieties, the two that stood out head and shoulders above the others were the Red Berry and the Sour Watermelon. Don't make a name put you off however, as if you ever had watermelon flavoured Warheads candy as a kid, you'll undoubtedly love it.

    The Red Berry was clearly the sweetest of the lot, and while the sour watermelon was not as sweet (go figure with a name like that), it was still rather refreshing.

    Ghost Legend uses Sucralose, an artificial sweetener in the formulation, but which does not leave that lingering bitter aftertaste that some products are known to possess. In fact, sucralose possesses a rather clean taste that can be compared to that of table sugar.

    It also comes in a Blue Raspberry and Lemon Lime flavour, and while they weren't bad, it is very likely most people would prefer the former two.

    Taste: 4.5/5 Stars


    This is a contentious point many pre-workout supplement manufacturers fail to address.

    Nobody likes drinking a gritty, insoluble pre-workout supplement, especially since most of the flavouring is removed leaving you bitter sand at the bottom of the bottle.

    Ghost Legend mixed flawlessly in water. As long as you are following the recommended mixing ratio (that is one scoop to 250ml of water) you will not encounter solubility issues.

    Whether you prefer to shake a serving up, or mix with a spoon, what you have is a very clean per workout drink ready to go.

    Mixability: 5/5 Stars

    Nutritional Breakdown

    Most effective pre-workout products have begun moving away from using arginine as their primary nitric oxide booster, to using citrulline instead, a step which Ghost Legend has also implemented.

    The supplement consists of two primary blends, the Ghost Legend blend, and the Smart Energy blend.

    Looking at the Ghost Legend blend, to start off it has a massive 4 g of citrulline, which is significantly more than many other competing pre-workout products.

    It also contains a sizable 2g of beta-alanine, which is also higher than the typical 1.5 g contained in many others. Beta-alanine is a very popular additive in pre-workout products that can help to boost endurance and allow you to get more out of your workouts.

    The Legend blend also contains Agmatine sulphate and Norvaline, which play minor accessory roles in muscle protein synthesis and nitric oxide production.

    The Smart Energy blend, on the other hand starts off with an impressive 237 mg caffeine, which is a slightly greater equivalent than consuming 2 cups of coffee, theobromine (another methylxanthine closely related to caffeine), and taurine which can help to prevent muscle cramping due to water loss from cells. Taurine also helps mitigate the jitters some people experience the first time consuming stimulant heavy pre-workout.

    Other ingredients in the Smart Energy blend include alpha GPC, NADH and olive leaf extract which together exert antioxidant effects, and support power output and energy production.

    While there seems to be a lot going on, the primary ingredients of citrulline, beta alanine and caffeine have the product deliver what you look for when choosing a pre-workout product, and the supporting ingredients also go a long way in supporting your aim.

    Ingredients: 5/5 Stars

    Value for Money

    In terms of pre-workout products, Ghost Legend ranks amongst the more expensive ones. This could be a hard point to sell, but based on the fact that it does contain more of the ingredients that help you to achieve a fantastic pump, it is a justifiable purchase.

    The cost of each serve comes out to approximately $2.20, which may sound like a high asking for a relatively unknown brand, but what you are paying for is complete ingredient transparency and more of what matters.

    You can think of it this way; you can pay $2.20 per serving, and often times need just one (you can also consume two serves), or be all but assured that you would need to consume two serves of other products that cost $1.50 a pop.

    It is definitely worth it in my opinion, but it's not a bad idea should the company decide to manufacturer bigger tubs with more servings in an effort to bring down individual cost per serve.

    Value: 4/5 Stars


    Not a bad product at all. Ghost has done a great job of putting the extra effort into their flagship product, and will undoubtedly help you get more out of your work out. Flavour options are great, and there is no issue with mixability, so it's a pleasure to consume as well. You just need to decide if you are willing to pay a little bit more for a premium product, but nonetheless it gets our recommendation.

    Overall: 4.5/5 Stars

  • Cellucor C4 Ripped vs. Cellucor C4 50X

    What is Cellucor C4 Ripped?

    Cellucor C4 Ripped is a popular upgrade to the traditional C4 formula that focuses more on leaning out and getting shredded than its predecessor. Packed with a thermogenic punch for metabolic boosting, C4 Ripped is effective as an all-around pre-workout with a fat burning boost. However, when it comes to all-out energy, C4 Ripped can't compare with C4 50X.



    • C4 Ripped can be broken down into two categories: energy boosting and fat burning. Its energy blend provides nearly 400 mg of the following: Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. These ingredients are an excellent line-up for when you need a big boost in your energy levels. (1-3).


    • Despite the energy boosting line-up, C4 50X is going to be the better pick for energy. It provides you with 200 mg of caffeine per serving from THREE different caffeine types including Anhydrous, XCelicor, and TeaCor. Compare that to the 150 mg of caffeine found in C4 Ripped. (1-4)


    • C4 Ripped also contains a thermogenic (fat burning) blend that features scientifically proven ingredients including L-Carnitine, Green Tea Extract, and Capsicum. This is where C4 Ripped shines as the thermogenic compounds help to promote weight loss and fat burning. C4 50X contains no thermogenic compounds as it is strictly an energy-focused blend. (1-2, 5-6)


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 Ripped

    While not as powerful of a pre-workout as C4 50X, C4 Ripped is going to be the ideal choice for when your focus is a boost in energy AND you also want to support lean gains or begin a cutting phase. It packs an industry standard blend of energy boosting ingredients but the real strength of C4 Ripped is in the thermogenic compounds that trigger a higher level of fat burning.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 Ripped

    C4 Ripped is definitely an improvement over the traditional C4 formula; however, using C4 Ripped is going to depend heavily on what your personal fitness goals are AND your tolerance to thermogenic compounds.

    If your primary goal is to skyrocket energy levels and you need a higher dose of caffeine to do that, then C4 Ripped may not be your best option. Instead, you'd want to choose C4 50X.

    If, however, you want to focus on fat loss, then C4 Ripped has your back. It provides an excellent fat burning blend WHILE boosting energy levels to a level that is considered normal when compared to products across the industry.


    What is Cellucor C4 50X?

    Another upgrade to the C4 series, Cellucor C4 50X is every bit as powerful as the name suggests. It still holds the foundation of the original formula; however, what sets it apart is the increase in energy boosting ingredients across the board.



    • C4 50X is solely focused on your energy levels and it makes this abundantly clear by offering you 200 mg of caffeine per serving from THREE different caffeine types including Anhydrous, XCelicor, and TeaCor. These three forms of caffeine have been shown to be effective at amplifying energy levels for an extended period of time. Best of all, there is no crash.


    • C4 50X also contains a variety of proven pre-workout ingredients including Beta Alanine, Creatine, and Arginine. All of these ingredients may be able to promote performance and results. What's more, they are dosed appropriately, according to previous studies and research. In other words, you are getting the dosages that are most likely to provide the best results. (1-4)


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 50X

    Cellucor C4 50X is made exclusively to ensure you have an incredible workout. If you are someone who has built up a tolerance to caffeine or you just want to ensure you can crush your workout after a long day then C4 50X is for you.

    50X doesn't feature the weight loss compounds like C4 Ripped; however, it isn't marketed as a weight loss supplement. If you want a boost in your fat loss and you're not too worried about energy levels, then C4 Ripped is the better pick.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 50x

    Celucor C4 50x contains 200mg of caffeine per serving along with several other pre-workout ingredients. If you have a caffeine sensitivity, then C4 50X may be too much to handle. We'd recommend trying a less aggressive pre-workout such as C4 Ripped or you can simply halve the dose.



    1. Spradley BD, Crowley KR, Tai C-Y, et al. Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2012;9:28. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-28.
    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. F. L. Dodd, D. O. Kennedy, L. M. Riby, and C. F. Haskell-Ramsay. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology. 2015; 232(14): 2563–2576. Published online 2015 Mar 13.
    1. Kuhman, Daniel J., Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. 'Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women.' Nutrients 7.11 (2015): 9618–9632. PMC. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.
    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.
    1. Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):651-59.


    Quick Facts:

    • Considered one of the pioneers of what we now know as the supplement industry, Optimum Nutrition began in 1986. For more than 30 years, they have been providing elite quality fitness supplement products. Whether you need a premium whey protein or a way to boost your testosterone levels, Optimum Nutrition has you covered.
    • Optimum Nutrition offers a wide range of products available in powder, tablet, and ready-to-eat form. These product categories include Whey Protein, Casein Protein, Protein Bars, Mass Gainers, Pre-Workouts, Post-Workouts, Amino Acids, Creatine, Glutamine, Multi-Vitamins, Fat Burners, and Fitness Accessories.

    Top Products:

    1. Gold Standard 100% Whey
    • This combination of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides has become the shining example of what real, high quality protein should be across the industry.
    1. Gold Standard Pre-Workout
    • Featuring a unique high-energy blend of ginseng, caffeine, and l-citrulline malate, this product sets the bar high for other pre-workouts.
    1. Serious Mass
    • When you want to gain size and strength, nothing comes close to the power of Serious Mass. This product is one of the best mass gainers for those in need of size in the entire industry.
    1. Micronized Creatine Powder
    • The use of creatine for athletic performance and fitness results has become commonplace thanks to O.N. This pure, pharmaceutical grade creatine helps support recovery and gains.
    1. Opti-Men
    • Not all multi-vitamins are created equal. Opti-Men was specifically formulated and designed to help a man achieve optimal health.

    Who Uses Optimum Nutrition?

    • Optimum Nutrition is a brand that is accessible and available to all types of fitness enthusiasts. Whether you only see the gym once in a while or you practically live there, Optimum Nutrition has a product for you. In particular, Optimum Nutrition is very popular with those looking to build muscle, burn fat, boost recovery, and improve strength levels. It has a unique line of supplements that apply to every type of fitness goal.
    • Bodybuilders
    • Weight lifters
    • Athletes
    • Power lifters
    • Wanting to lose weight
    • Looking to improve overall health

    Fitness Goals & Which Supplement to Use?

    1. Muscle Building

    When you want to increase lean muscle mass or if you simply want to maintain your current levels, two of the best products in the entire industry come from Optimum Nutrition. Using an elite quality whey will provide you with muscle building amino acids. Using a creatine product before and after your workout will help supply energy to muscle tissue.

    1. Fat Loss

    Nutrition and exercise are key when you want to burn fat; however, everyone can benefit from extra help. Thermogenic supplements help to promote weight loss by triggering a metabolic response and directly supporting fat burning. O.N. has one of the most user-friendly thermogenic fat burners in the industry.

    1. Energy

    We all know the feeling of coming home from a long day and STILL needing to get to the gym on top of everything else. When you're in need of a serious pick-me-up that won't leave you with a crash, O.N. has you covered. O.N. produces an industry-shattering pre-workout that contains scientifically proven ingredients. Best of all, there's no crash! Get your energy with O.N.

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