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Pre-workout supplements sometimes get a bad rap in the media. Unfortunately for the companies that play by the rules and manufacture safe, effective, good quality products, and for the people who use these supplements responsibly to improve their performance and reach training goals, substance abuse, adulteration of product with illegal drugs and irresponsible behaviour makes for a much more compelling story.

Then there are the skeptics who discount the immense research that reputable companies put into the formulation of these products, and the veracity of the claims that these manufacturers make.

While there is a lot of research that looks into the more common pre-workout ingredients on an individual basis, trials on pre-workout formulations are rare, and of interest to the industry.

MusclePharm is one of the best known names in the supplement industry and Assault is their market-leading pre-workout formulation. It contains a number of common ingredients that promote strength, endurance, drive, and focus, including caffeine, creatine, beta alanine, amino acids and B vitamins. A group of researchers have studied the effect of this supplement on healthy, recreationally active men.

The group split the men into two groups, one of which was given Assault, and another given a placebo. The men were instructed to take one scoop, prepared according to manufacturers instructions, either twenty minutes before exercise, or whenever they wanted on non-exercise days. This regime was followed for 28 days.

After this time, the researchers measured a number of parameters designed to assess the safety of Assault, including blood tests assessing liver and kidney function, heart rate, blood pressure, and assays of body composition, aerobic activity, muscular strength and endurance were used to determine the efficacy of the product.

The study easily demonstrated the safety of this product – no detrimental changes were noted in biomarkers of liver and kidney function, nor were any negative effects observed on heart rate or blood presssure after use of Assault. On top of this, participants in the Assault group showed increases in fat free mass and strength, lower resting heart rate, and more efficient use of oxygen, showing that this group had made improvements in strength, condition and overall fitness during the course of the trial compared with the control group.

While MusclePharm will be thrilled with these results, other pre-workout manufacturers are also likely to be pleased that the benefits of this class of product are being recognised by science. Many of us are already familiar with the benefits that a high quality pre-workout can have on peformance, hopefully these findings will encourage more people to improve their performance and physique by giving these safe and effective products a try.

Kendall KL, Moon JR, Fairman CM, Spradley BD, Tai CY, Falcone PH, Carson LR, Mosman MM, Joy JM, Kim MP, Serrano ER, Esposito EN.Ingesting a preworkout supplement (ASSAULT) containing caffeine, creatine, β-alanine, amino acids, and B vitamins for 28 days is both safe and efficacious in recreationally active men. Nutr Res. 2014 May;34(5):442-9.

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