Rocked V2 is API’s most recent pre-workout. The ingredient profile consists of the usual pre-workout ergogenics as well as a few stimulants…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to Nitric Oxide which generally enhances physical performance, specifically endurance.
A 2010 study, published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology”, found that subjects who consumed 6g of L-Arginine experienced increases in circulating Nitric Oxide levels which ultimately enhanced performance (by lowering the oxygen cost of exercise).
A 2011 study from “Sports Medicine” found that supplementation with 6 grams of L-Arginine (same dose as the positive study above) increased muscle blood volume post-workout, but did not increase intra-workout strength
The AKG form, which API has elected to use in Rocked V2, is alleged to be superior due to better absorption, but research indicates this may not be the case.
A 2012 study from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found no performance enhancement benefits with 3700mg of Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate prior to resistance training. In fact, in this particular study, subjects who received the AAKG actually performed slightly worse than the placebo group. Due to the relatively small size of this study, it cannot be considered conclusive, but it certainly does not lend credibility to the notion that Arginine AKG is as effective as L-Arginine, let alone superior.
Unfortunately, Arginine is unreliable when it comes to performance benefits, and the effects don’t appear to be dose dependent. For Rocked V2, API uses Arginine AKG which, unfortunately, has outright failed to enhance performance in one study.
Beta-Alanine is the rate-limiting precursor to the synthesis of the amino acid Carnosine, which acts as a Lactic Acid buffer, capable of reducing fatigue in the working muscle. In recent years, Beta-Alanine has become a true pre-workout staple, as all the research indicates it is highly effective at increasing muscular Carnosine and enhancing muscular endurance.
One study in particular that measured the Carnosine levels of sprinters found that individuals with higher muscular Carnosine levels exhibited higher power output in the latter half of a 30m sprint (because they had less lactic acid build-up). Multiple studies have confirmed that Beta Alanine supplementation increases muscular Carnosine in a dose dependent manner.
In particular, a 2012 study published in “Amino Acids” found that subjects who consumed 1.6 or 3.2 grams of Beta Alanine daily experienced significant increases in muscle carnosine in as little as two weeks, with the higher dose achieving a higher concentration of Carnosine. The doses used in this study, 1.6 and 3.2g, are the most common doses seen in supplements.
A 2008 study, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, noted improvements in power in resistance trained males using 4.8g daily for 30 days. This same 4.8 gram dose was also shown to increase muscular endurance in sprinters in a 2007 study from the “Journal of Applied Physiology”.
While we don’t know the exact amount of Beta-Alanine present in Rocked V2 (API uses a proprietary blend), it’s a safe bet that it’s less than 3.2g. How much less? We Don’t know, but two servings would probably yield at least a moderately effective dose.
Creatine is the most extensively studied ergogenic aid currently available, and by far one of the most effective at increasing both strength and muscle mass. Its primary mechanism of action is its ability to rapidly produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to support cellular energy, thereby directly increasing strength and power output.
Additionally, during high intensity exercise, Creatine is used for energy which tends to spare the glycogen that would normally be used. Since lactic acid is a by-product created when glucose is burned for energy, Creatine may also indirectly reduce lactic acid build-up which poses a secondary mechanism by which Creatine can potentially enhance performance.
Creatine Monohydrate is the most basic form of Creatine and is generally the form we recommend, except for those with sensitive stomachs (then we’d recommend Creatine HCl). Given Creatine’s position (third) in the 5.9g Rocked V2 proprietary blend, there can be no more than 1.5-2g, so two scoops is necessary to achieve a somewhat effective dose.
Phenylalanine is the first amino acid involved in the Phenylalanine-Dopamine conversion cycle, and a direct precursor to Tyrosine. As many of our readers know, Tyrosine can help maintain cognitive function in the presence of a stressor (such as exercise) by supplying enough substrate to keep Dopamine and Noradrenaline levels optimal. Phenylalanine “should” be able to fulfill the same basic function (with an extra step), but no studies have confirmed this. Furthermore, since some Phenylalanine will always be diverted for other purposes (such as building proteins), Tyrosine should be the more effective substrate.
We’re not really sure why API chose to use Phenylalanine instead of Tyrosine for Rocked V2, because using Tyrosine eliminates one step in the conversion cycle.
Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid, oral consumption of which triggers the release of Catcholamines (Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Adrenaline, etc.), generally inducing a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. Additionally, Caffeine can directly enhance calcium-ion release in muscle tissue, which directly increases muscle contraction force. Rather than discuss dozens of studies, we’ll leave it at this: Caffeine is an extremely effective ergogenic aid, though tolerance build-up is certainly an issue to keep in mind. Those looking to get the most out of the Caffeine in Rocked V2 should limit their additional Caffeine intake.
Choline, once inside the body, is converted into the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which is associated with many functions including (but not limited to) memory, attention, and muscle control. It is the neurotransmitter most closely associated with the “mind-muscle connection” (although this may be something of an over-simplification), and therefore of much interest to athletes and bodybuilders alike. While certain forms of choline may be associated with increased muscular power output (namely Alpha GPC), Choline Bitartrate is generally considered the least bioavailable choline source, though oral doses of 1000-2000mg have still been shown to increase serum Choline levels significantly.
A 2012 study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” found that 1 gram of Choline Bitartrate was able to significantly increase, not only plasma choline levels, but also plasma Betaine levels. Betaine itself is commonly included in pre-workout formulas as it has been shown, in some cases, to increase power output. While Choline Bitartrate has not been studied in regards to performance enhancement, it is just as effective at increasing Betaine as supplemental Betaine, meaning it may very well convey the same performance enhancement benefits.
Unfortunately, the amount of Choline Bitartrate in Rocked V2 is probably pretty negligible. We base this off the fact that it is listed after Caffeine, meaning there is no more Choline than Caffeine, and probably less.
Piper nigrum, also known as Black Pepper, contains Piperine. Several studies have found that black pepper extract, when combined with other supplements, has increased the absorption of those supplements (as measured by plasma levels). Piperine’s ability to increase absorption of other compounds is due to the inhibition of certain enzymes which breakdown most compounds, as well as the slowing of intestinal transit (increasing the amount of time these compounds are exposed to the possibility of uptake).
In the context of Rocked V2, Bioperine is a “support” ingredient, not a key ingredient, meaning it is just there to enhance the overall absorption of the formula.
In vitro and animal studies indicate that Hordenine’s primary mechanism of action is via Momoamine Oxidase inhibition (similar to Tyramine) with oral doses being shown to augment Noradrenaline-induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself.
So, rather than acting as a stand-alone stimulant, Hordenine can amplify/extend the effects of Caffeine (and other stimulants) by blocking the reuptake of Noradrenaline (and other Monoamines). Hordenine helps take the mental effects of Rocked V2 beyond those of Caffeine by itself, though individual effects with surely vary depending on tolerance levels.
Schizandra, generally standardized for the active compound Schizandrol A, has historically been used as a performance enhancer. A 2008 study from the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that Schizandra was able to increase time to fatigue in mice. This was replicated in a 2009 study from the “African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology”.
Allegedly, human trials have been conducted in Russia, though these studies have not been made available online or in hard copy.
As a performance enhancer, we’d still consider Schizandrol “speculative”, albeit with more preliminary support than the average “speculative” ingredient.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
API has certainly gone for a simplistic approach with Rocked V2. Given that API has elected to use a proprietary blend to conceal levels of individual ingredients, it’s tough to gauge the efficacy of certain ingredients, but considering the entire blend is 5.9g, this looks like a 2-scoop type deal. While the Rocked V2 formula doesn’t really have anything particularly special about it, the price is really where API may actually turn some heads. At about $17 for 40 servings, even two scoops is still completely affordable.
Not sure which pre-workout is right for you?
The Pre-Workout category is one of the most saturated and arguably one of the most difficult to navigate. With every product claiming the be the absolute best, selecting the right one can be extremely difficult. Thats why we created this list…Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements
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- Bailey, Stephen J., et al. “Acute L-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance.” Journal of Applied Physiology 109.5 (2010): 1394-1403.
- Kraemer Zhang Alvares, Thiago S., et al. “L-Arginine as a Potential Ergogenic Aidin Healthy Subjects.” Sports Medicine 41.3 (2011): 233-248.
- Derave, Wim, et al. “β-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters.” Journal of applied physiology 103.5 (2007): 1736-1743.
- Hoffman J, et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. (2008)
- Stellingwerff, Trent, et al. “Effect of two β-alanine dosing protocols on muscle carnosine synthesis and washout.” Amino Acids 42.6 (2012): 2461-2472.
- Wilson, Jacob M., et al. “Beta-alanine supplementation improves aerobic and anaerobic indices of performance.” Strength & Conditioning Journal 32.1 (2010): 71-78.
- Sale, Craig, Bryan Saunders, and Roger C. Harris. “Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance.” Amino acids 39.2 (2010): 321-333.
- Suzuki, Yasuhiro, Osamu Ito, Naoki Mukai, Hideyuki Takahashi, and Kaoru Takamatsu. “High Level of Skeletal Muscle Carnosine Contributes to the Latter Half of Exercise Performance during 30-s Maximal Cycle Ergometer Sprinting.” The Japanese Journal of Physiology 52.2 (2002): 199-205.
- Kraemer Graham, Terry E., Danielle S. Battram, Flemming Dela, Ahmed El-Sohemy, and Farah S.L. Thong. “Does Caffeine Alter Muscle Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolism during Exercise?” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 33.6 (2008): 1311-318
- Kraemer Graham, T. E., and L. L. Spriet. “Metabolic, catecholamine, and exercise performance responses to various doses of caffeine.” Journal of Applied Physiology 78.3 (1995): 867-874.
- Kraemer Graham, Terry E. “Caffeine and exercise.” Sports medicine 31.11 (2001): 785-807.
- Ebashi, S., and Mi Endo. “Calcium and muscle contraction.” Progress in biophysics and molecular biology 18 (1968): 123-183.
- Poisner, Alan M. “Caffeine–Induced Catecholamine Secretion: Similarity to Caffeine–Induced Muscle Contraction.” Experimental Biology and Medicine142.1 (1973): 103-105.
- Kraemer, William J., and Jeff S. Volek. “Creatine supplementation: its role in human performance.” Clinics in sports medicine 18.3 (1999): 651-666.
- Casey, Anna, and Paul L. Greenhaff. “Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.2 (2000).
- Thompson, C. H., et al. “Effect of creatine on aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle in swimmers.” British journal of sports medicine 30.3 (1996): 222-225.
- Feduccia Tayebati, Seyed Khosrow, et al. “Effect of choline-containing phospholipids on brain cholinergic transporters in the rat.” Journal of the neurological sciences302.1 (2011): 49-57.
- Feduccia Tomassoni, Daniele, et al. “Effects of cholinergic enhancing drugs on cholinergic transporters in the brain and peripheral blood lymphocytes of spontaneously hypertensive rats.” Current Alzheimer Research 9.1 (2012): 120-127.
- Feduccia Gimenez, Rosa, Josep Raich, and Juan Aguilar. “Changes in brain striatum dopamine and acetylcholine receptors induced by chronic CDP‐choline treatment of aging mice.” British journal of pharmacology 104.3 (1991): 575-578.
- Badmaev, Vladimir, Muhammed Majeed, and Lakshmi Prakash. “Piperine derived from black pepper increases the plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 following oral supplementation.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 11.2 (2000): 109-113.
- Majeed, Muhammed, and Lakshmi Prakash. “Targeting Optimal Nutrient Absorption with Phytonutrients.” (2007)
- Barwell, C. J., et al. “Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat.” Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology41.6 (1989): 421-423.
- Shehua, Cao, et al. “Evaluation of anti-athletic fatigue activity of Schizandra chinensis aqueous extracts in mice.” African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 3.11 (2009): 593-597.
- Panossian, Alexander, and Georg Wikman. “Pharmacology of< i> Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine.”Journal of ethnopharmacology 118.2 (2008): 183-212.
- Alfthan, Georg, et al. “The effect of low doses of betaine on plasma homocysteine in healthy volunteers.” British journal of nutrition 92.04 (2004): 665-669.