Reviews

HAK Nutrition Pre HAK: An Evidence-Based Review

Pre HAK, as the name implies, is a pre-workout supplement by HAK Nutrition.  This a fairly new brand, but given the strength  of it’s first two supplements, it looks like a brand to keep an eye on for the foreseeable future…

Pre HAK Hak Nutrition

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Pre HAK Claims/Benefits

HAK Nutrition is one of the few brands that seems to be doing things the correct (scientific and transparent) way.  With this brand, it’s all about:

Research, Transparency, Education, Responsibility“.

Those, HAK believes, are the ingredients to ultimate customer satisfaction (and ultimately a sustainable business).

HAK takes the usual claims about more energy, focus pumps, etc. one step further by pledging $1 of each sale to local YMCAs to keep kids active and healthy.  Most brands that are raking it in big time aren’t willing to donate to charity like that, so clearly HAK has a different bussiness model than most.  This type of giving back likely represents the “Responsibility” part of their brand message.

We’re aware of VERY FEW supplement companies that give any of their money to charity.  A lot of them are pretty greedy actaully…

Now, let’s take a look at the ingredients in Pre HAK and see what it’s really all about.

Pre HAK Ingredients

Te Pre HAK fromula appears quite complex, but somehow they’ve managed to include clinical doses of all key ingredients…

Caffeine

Caffeine forms the basis for most stimulant-based pre-workout supplements, although Pre HAK also contains Theacrine (a similar but different stimulant).

By triggering the release of Catecholamines (a group of chemicals including Noradrenaline and Dopamine) Caffeine increases perceived energy, focus, and mood.

Aside from the purely psychoactive effects, Caffeine also has physical mechanisms by which is may enhance endurance, so it’s absolutely worth incorporating in any pre-workout supplement.

With 275mg of Caffeine per serving, Pre HAK isn’t necessarily overwhelming, but the addition of Theacrine adds to the stimulant aspect so it’ll pack a powerful punch in terms of energy if you’re not used to Caffeine.

Theacrine

Theacrine which is produced and sold by Compounnd Solutions under the brand name TeaCrine, is a stimulant that functions somewhat similarly to Caffeine, but acts on different neurotransmitters in different ways, so the effects are not exactly the same.

Theacrine appears to be more selective for Dopamine than Noradrenaline, so it makes sense to stack it with Caffeine (because Caffeine is more selective for Noradrenaline).

In particularly Theacrine has been shown to enhance mood/well-being, and also appears to be less likely to cause tolerance (in mice at least).

Average doses range from 25-200mg of Theacrine, but not clinical dose exists because not enough studies have been conducted.  HAK Nutrition is playing it safe with this one by not over-doing it.  25mg of Theacrine is a fine dose, especially combined with that 275mg of Caffeine.

Betaine

Betaine is a unique compound which serves a variety of purposes throughout the human body but has been studied fairly thoroughly in the area of performance enhancement.

It has been shown to

While the precise mechanism by which Betaine works remains a mystery, it may have something to do with it being a powerful Osmolyte.  An Osmolyte is an substance that can regulate the amount of fluid in a cell.

In the case of Betaine, it’s capable of drawing additional water in to muscle cells, resulting in a phenomenon called “cellular swelling” where muscle cells become instantly larger (because they’re full of water).

Researchers believe this cellular swelling protects muscle sells against physical call (like resistance training).  That would explain why Betaine supplementation has been shown time and time again to boost strength, performace, and recovery.

We’re thrilled to see that HAK has included 2500mg of Betaine in each serving of Pre HAK.  This is a true clinical dose capable of proiding the above-mentioned benefits.

Creatine HCL

Creatine is hands down the oldest, most reliable performance enhancing substance that legally exists.  It has been used for decades, works very well, and has an extremely solid safety profile.

Specifically, Creatine has been proven to:

HAK Nutriton lists the amount of Creatine HCL at 2g.  Since Creatine is allegedly more easily absorbed than Creatine Monohydrate (not true), it tends to be dosed lower.  Ideally, we’d like to see 3-5g of Creatine per serving, but 2g is technically a maintenance dose provided you use it daily.

Taurine

Taurine is a unique amino acid with anti-oxidant properties  that give it a variety of important roles in the body, mostly related to detoxification of tissues.

Taurine supplementation has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in muscle tissue and is therefore useful as a recovery aid.  As a pre-workout performance enhancer, it’s actually not too reliable, having failed to actually improve performance in certain studies.

Still, Taurine makes an excellent addition to any supplement that also has BCAAs as the combination is considered synergistic because it reduces muscle soreness more so than either supplement on it’s own.

Pre HAK contains a highly effective 2g dose of Taurine, the higher end of the clinical range.

BCAA (2:1:1)

the Brached Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) consists of:

BCAAs, although plentiful in many protein sources, are distinct from other amino acids because they by pass the liver and are metabolized in the muscle tissue.  This has made them one of the most popular workout supplements, but is it warranted?

Taking extra BCAAs certainly won’t harm you in any way (it’s like drinking an extra glass of Whey Protein), but how much benefit you’ll derive from BCAA supplementation depends on your individual circumstances.

We discuss that very subject in this article.  Definitely worth a read if you’re tired of the marketing and hype and just want the truth about BCAAs.  Recently there seems to be a lot of “bad press” about how necessary BCAAs are but the truth is they can be incredibly useful for certain people.  Again, read this to learn why.

Pre HAK contains 6g of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio which definitely sits it in “all-encompassing” territory as far as we’re concerned.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is precursor to Carnosine, higher levels of which are associated with better endurance performance.  Beta-Alanine has been studied quite intensely and has proven an effective meas of increase muscular Carnosine levels and, as a result, improving muscular endurance.

It’s wort mentioning that Beta-Alanine sometimes causes a harmless side effects known as Parasthesia which bascially feels like pins and needless in your head (it’s not bad).  This goes away with prolonged use and is NOT an indication that “it’s working” as many pre-workout users have been led to believe.

Pre HAK contains 2g of Carnosine Beta-Alanine (a patented/trademarked form).  That’s just about what can be considered a clinical dose but the Parasthesia shouldn’t be too overwhelming for most people.

RHODIOLA ROSEA

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most thoroughly researched herbal supplements and offers a seemingly unlimited range of benefits, ranging from stress relief to performance enhancement.

As an adaptogen, Rhodiola helps the body adapt to stress, both physical and mental, which makes it useful for both improving cognitive function and physical endurance.

Pre HAK contains a solid 180mg of Rhodiola per serving, standardized to contain 5% Rosavins (active components).

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT)

Tyrosine is a precursor to L-Dopa which is a direct precursor to Dopamine and Noradrenaline.  For this reason, it is often included in stimulant formulas which contains stimulants that deplete levels of these neurtransmitters.

Tyrosine can’t magically convert into Dopamine and Noradrenaline, but it can be used as substrate to create more when levels are low.  This might be the case during a mentally demanding taks or working out, so Tyosine makes sense to include in pre-workout supplements such as Pre HAK.

With a whopping 1.5g of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT), Pre HAK definitely has what it takes to provide the cognitive benefits of Tyrosine.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is, in our view, one of the most exciting/underrated ingredients out there right now.  It’s a Choline-source which is considered the “most bioavailable”, meaning it can easily cross the blood brain barrier and exert cognitive effects.

An early (2008) study demonstrated that Alpha GPC boosted power output with just one serving of 600mg prior to working out.  Until recently, however, this was teh only study.

However, a recent study replicated these findings, adding an element of reliability to Alpha GPC that was lacking before.  Alpha GPC is by far one of the most underrated and under-utilized performance enhancing substances there is…probably because it’s so expensive.

Still, that didn’t stop HAK from putting in a solid 300mg dose in each serving of Pre HAK.  This is equal to or more than you’ll find in any other pre-workout besides Momentum Nutrition Catalyst (which contains a true 600mg clinical dose).

THEANINE

Theanine is a non-dietary amino acid which is not a stimulant but has been shown to improve various aspects of cognitive function, induce relaxation, and synergistically enhance the effects of Caffeine.

It’s one of the few substances that can relax you without making you drowsy.  It’s unique interaction with Caffeine only makes it more worth incorporating in any pre-workout supplement, so we’re happy to see HAK Nutriton include it in Pre HAK.

Given the massive amount of evidence supporting the use of Caffeine and Theanine in a synergistic manner, any great pre-workout supplement which contains Caffeine should definitely contain Theanine.

Pre HAK contains a solid 100mg of Theanine.

L-Citrulline DL-Malate

We felt like maybe Pre HAK was missing something…until we realized it contained a true clinical dose (6g) of Citrulline Malate in each serving.  Most pre-workouts tend to skip on Citrulline Malate because it’s expenive, but not HAK.  They’ve included a highly effective (clinical) dose of Citrulline Malate in each serving.

Citrulline Malate at 6-9g has been shown to

If you’re not taking Citrulline Malate prior to working out…you’re missing out.  If you’re taking less than 6-9g, you’re missing out.  HAK hit it right on the money with this one by including a clinically studied 6g per serving.

Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a highly bioavailable form of of the amino acid Cysteine which serves as a precursor to Glutathione, your body’s “master anti-oxidant”.

NAC has been shown to reduce oxidative stress from exercise and therefore may be an effective recovery aid and possible performance enhancer.

We wouldn’t call it a “main ingredient”, but a little NAC definitely never hurt anyone.

Cocoa Bean Extract (Theobromine)

Cocoa Bean Extract can be cultivated to yield differing amounts of Xanthines (Caffeine, Thebromine, Theopylline).  In this case, it appears that HAK is using it for its Theobromine content.

Theobromine is an interested Xanthine because it doesn’t appear to be as psychoactive as it’s cousin, Caffeine, but functions more as a cardiac stimulant.  In other words, it’ll get your heart rate up and can potentially increase oxygenation.

Research also indicates that Theobromine has an even stronger safety profile than Caffeine.

Quercetin

Quercetein is an intriguing compound which could have a variety of health implications, but doesn’t appear to be entirely reliable when it comes to performance enhancement.

A 2010 study, published in the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism”, found a significant increase in time to fatigue in untrained cyclists who consumed 500mg of Quercetin daily for 7 consecutive days.

However, a follow-up 2011 study, failed to replicate these findings with the same dose of Quercetin for the same amount of time in sprinters.  So, Quercetin may be a little “hit or miss”.

Pre HAK contains 450mg of Cocoa Bean Extract standardized for 6% Theobromine.

BioPerine

BioPerine is simply an absorption enhancer, intended to allow maximum absorption of the rest of the ingredients in Pre HAK.  Indeed, BioPerine has been shown to slow intestinal transport (allowing more time for nutrients to be absorbed) and may interact with certain digestive enzymes that contribute to better absorption.

In the context of Pre HAK, consider BioPerine more of an “insurance policy” than an active ingredient.  It’s just there to make sure you get the most out of the other ingredients.

Pre HAK Ingredient Takeaway

Well, Pre HAK has literally every ingredient you need, all of which are clinically dosed we should add, that will

  • Increase Mucular Endurance
  • Boost Strength/Power Output
  • Enhance Recovery

This is clearly one of the best pre-workouts to be released in a while and if you’re looking for an all-around effective pre-workout that will provide the above mentioned benefits to the extent that you can actually feel it, you’re going to want to give Pre HAK a try.

Dosing

There are no dosing issue to speak of with Pre HAK.  Unlike most pre-workout supplements these days, everything in HAK is dosed at (or near) a clinically effective level.  You don’t need two scoops, you just need one.  If 300mg of Caffeine doesn’t do it for you, then switch to Adderall or something, because this is one stacked up pre-workout supplement which will pack a powerful punch when it comes to energy and focus.

One of the few pre-workouts that can actually be considered a “one-scooper”.

Is Pre HAK Safe?

The only stimulants in Pre HAK are Caffeine, which is dosed well within the safe range for most people, and Theacrine, which is dosed low enough to not be problem.  If you’re extremely sensitive to stimulants, maybe try a half scoop of Pre HAK before moing up, but if you want clinical doses of performance enhancing ingredients like Betaine and Citrulline, you’ll need to work your way up to 2 scoops

Is HAK Nutrition A Brand You Can Trust?

HAK Nutrition may be a relatively new brand, but it’s quickly establishing itself as a brand you can trust by:

  • Using Research-Backed Ingredients
  • Using Clinical Doses Of Those Ingredients
  • Being 100% Transparent

If you value these things in your pre-workout supplement (you better if you’re on this site), then you’ll want to pay close attention HAK.

Additionally, HAK is commmitted to the direct-to-consumer model which of course means higher margins, but also better value for the customer.  You see, the supplement industry is full of middle men who give themselves fancy names like “distributors” and “retailers” but the reality is the internet removes the need for these businesses to exist and instead opens up an entirely new lane in the supplement industry: direct-to-consumer.

Ordering direct ultimately benefits the consumer more than buying things at retailers.  There’s no doubt about it.

Not only does HAK Nutrition promise to reinvest the money that they save by avoiding middle men in the further development of their products and the use of quality ingredients, but (according to the brand’s website) $1 of every sale gets donated to the YMCA to help children stay active.

Come on now…it doesn’t get less greedy than that!  In an industry where the average company owner is a scumbag who couldn’t care less about their own consumers–let alone the community they operate in–we can honestly say HAK is on the right track!

Should I Stack Pre HAK and Post HAK?

HAK Nutrition makes two products, Pre HAK and Post HAK.  The names gives away the purpose of each product.  One’s a pre-workout and one’s a post-workout.  So, of course the question is “Can I Stack Them?!”…

Yes!  They are designed to be stacked!

In fact, Pre HAK and Post HAK is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive pre-workout/recovery stacks we’ve seen to date.  Definitely worth stacking…

Where To Buy

As alluded to above, HAK is a direct-to-consumer brand so you’ll only find Pre HAK at:

While the concept of direct-to-consumer supplements may seem premature, it’s actually what any innovative, forward thinking brand should be moving toward.  You don’t even need to finish a full semester of Economics to know that middlemen, in any industry, will cease to exist when they no longer offer any value.

The only supplement retailers that are hanging in there are the ones that have some sort of specialization or cult-like following, but any store that carries the same old brands (MusclePharm, MuscleTech, Cellucor, etc.) is going down…sooner than you might think.

Don’t believe us?  Look up “competition” in an economics textbook and you’ll quickly learn that competition erodes profits, eventually resulting in nobody making any money.

By operating  a professional, trustworthy, user-friendly site where it provides extremely effective products at more than reasonable prices, HAK Nutrition is definitely thinking about the future.  Good job guys…

The Bottom Line

Well, we can honestly say we are intrigued and excited by Pre HAK so we’ve decided, after careful consideration, to add it to our Best Pre-Workout Supplements List (bumped Pre-Kaged down a spot).

HAK Nutrition appears to be a no BS brand that actually cares about the health and wellness of its customers and, not that we generally comment on business models, but clearly they’re headed in the right direction there as well.

If you’re looking for a new pre-workout, we recommend giving Pre HAK a try.

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