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MuscleTech Anarchy Review

Anarchy is the most recent pre-workout supplement to be released by MuscleTech. The brand has placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that Anarchy contain Nitrosigine, a superior form of Arginine…

MuscleTech Anarchy

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Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine, which functions as a lactic acid buffer, capable of reducing fatigue in the working muscle. Although it takes time to accumulate in muscle tissue, Beta-Alanine supplementation is a highly effective way of increasing muscular Carnosine levels and can induce noticeable increases in as little as two weeks.

A 2002 study from the “Japanese Journal of Physiology” which 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 (due to 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.

Anarchy contains 1.6g of Beta-Alanine per serving, an industry standard dose which may be moderately effective over-time.  Of course, double-dosing would be the best way to achieve a truly effective dose of Beta-Alanine.

Nitrosigine

Arginine Silicate is a combination of Arginine and Silicon which, aside from conveying the benefits of both substances, has exhibited additional benefit, beyond that of standard Arginine.

A 2005 study noted that Arginine Silicate induced greater vasodilation and increase blood flow in mice, as compared to Arginine HCl. Similar results were achieved in a later (2007) study published in “Metabolism” and it was concluded that Arginine Silicate was more effective at raising plasma Arginine levels than Arginine HCl.

Given that various forms of Arginine have produced questionable results when it comes to performance enhancement, Nitrosigine is a much better way to go than the usual Arginine HCl or AKG.

Although MuscleTech certainly isn’t the first brand to use Nitrosigine in the context of a pre-workout supplement, it is definitely a major ingredient in Anarchy.  With 750mg per serving, Anarchy contains more Nitrosigine than some other PWOs we’ve seen, but it’s tough to gauge the true efficacy of this particular dose.

Glycerol

Glycerol has become pretty popular over last couple years as a pump-inducing ingredient in pre-workout supplements. It’s mechanism of action is simple: Glycerol draws water into cells which can directly enhance what we all know as “The Pump”. Beyond that, Glycerol has been alleged to have actual performance enhancement implications as well.

A 1996 study, published in the “International Journal of Sports Medicine”, found that Glycerol supplementation prior to exercise increased endurance in cyclists. These findings were replicated in a 1999 study from the “European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology” in which pre-exercise Glycerol supplementation enhanced time performance (also in cyclists).

A 2003 study, published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, found that, while post-exercise Glycerol supplementation prevented exercise-induced dehydration, this had no impact on performance measures (compared to placebo).

The research as a whole indicates that Glycerol can be an effective pump agent (due to water retention), but may only noticeably enhance performance (endurance not strength) during long-duration exercise when dehydration becomes a contributing factor to fatigue.

MuscleTech lists the amount of HydroMax in Anarchy at 325mg per serving, considerably less than most other Glycerol containing pre-workouts.  The idea here is that Nitrosigine and Glycerol “should” work together to induce considerable pumps but, since they work completely differently, synergy is unlikely.  So, in the context of Anarchy, Glycerol may not be all that effective (due to under-dosing).

Caffeine Anhydrous

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.

Anarchy contains 190mg of Caffeine per serving.  This may seem like an odd number but when you consider that many users will be taking two servings at a time, it makes sense to keep the total dose under 400mg (recommended upper intake).

Choline

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.

Anarchy contains only 100mg of Choline Bitrate which, sorry to say, is pretty much useless.  Even at higher doses Choline Bitartrate is still subpar compared to more bioavailable forms of Choline such as Alpha GPC.

Theanine

MuscleTech is one of the few mainstream brands that uses Theanine which continues to be a rare find in pre-workouts (usually due to cost issues).  Theanine and Caffeine is one of the few combinations that can actually be considered synergistic, rather than merely additive.

In a 2008 study, published in “Nutritional Neuroscience”, researchers investigated the cognitive effects of a combination of Theanine and Caffeine compared to Caffeine alone on various measures of cognitive performance. Participants received either 50mg of Caffeine or 50mg of Caffeine and 100mg of Theanine before completing various tasks including word recognition, visual image processing, and attention switching. While Caffeine was able to increase alertness and accuracy during the attention switching tasks, the combination of Caffeine and Theanine was able to improve both performance and speed, while reducing the subjects’ susceptibility to distraction.

Another 2008 study from “Biological Psychology” found that, while 150mg of Caffeine increased alertness and improved (decreased) reaction time, adding 250mg of Theanine further improved reaction time, alertness, and decreased the number of headaches reported from Caffeine.

The combination of Caffeine and Theanine was further put to the test in a 2010 study from “Nutritional Sciences” and another 2010 study published in “Appetite”.

Anarchy contains 75mg of Theanine per serving which is within the clinical range of 50-200mg.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is what is known as an “adaptogen”, meaning it can help the body adapt to stressful situations, both physical and mental. Unlike most obscure herbal extracts, Rhodiola Rosea has actually demonstrated a considerable amount of efficacy with regards to performance enhancement.

A 2013 study, published in “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research”, found that 225mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract was able to reduce the heart response to exercise and significantly reduce perceived exertion, effectively increasing endurance.

These findings were roughly in-line with those of earlier studies, and lend even more credibility to the already established notion that Rhodiola Rosea supplementation can in fact improve exercise performance at doses of around 200mg.

Anarchy contains 50mg of Rhodiola extract, but the standardization is unknown.  For that reason, it’s tough to say just how much this ingredient enhances the Anarchy formula, if at all.

Yohimbe

Pausinystalia yohimbe is generally standardized for the alkaloid, Yohimbine HCl, which is an alpha(2) receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor responsible for blocking lipolysis (breakdown of fat). By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine allows for more lipolysis than would otherwise be possible from exercise.

A 2006 study, published in “Research in Sports Medicine”, found that Yohimbine supplementation (20mg/day) induced relatively significant fat loss in athletes (soccer players), but had no influence on measures of exercise performance.

Anarchy contains 20mg of Yohimbe extract standardized to 6% Yohimbine, meaning one servings provides 1.2mg.

The Bottom Line

Although Anarchy doesn’t contain any groundbreaking ingredients that can’t be found in other similar pre-workouts, it is pretty well-rounded.  Aside from one or two, every ingredient in Anarchy is more or less properly-dosed on a per serving basis, although we’d still recommend two servings at a time to be sure.  Of course, the price of Anarchy is what may turn some people away.

Still don’t know which pre-workout is right for you?  Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!

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