Reviews

MHP Reckless: An Evidence-Based Review

Reckless is a pre-workout supplement by MHP, the brand behind Vasculore and BCAA-XL.  Needless to say, it’s an important product for MHP as a brand because it signifies something of a re-birth…

MHP Reckless Pre-Workout

FIND IT HERE

Claims/Benefits

On the Reckless Page of MHP’s site, they claim Reckless is a “fully loaded, clinically dosed” pre-workout formula that will”

Provide a “Dramatic Surge Of Energy, Strength and Focus” ultimately allowing you to “perform like never before”.  MHP also mentions that Reckless tastes delicious but we’ll leave that for you all to decide…

The point is that this is the same basic benefits that all six million pre-workout supplements claim to provide these days, and it appears the term “clinically dosed” is getting thrown around loosely, given that some of the ingredients in Reckless are definitely not clinically dosed.

But let’s take a look at the ingredients and see what we’re really looking at here…

Reckless Ingredients

If you take a look at the Reckless supplement facts panel, you’ll find that it’s pretty complex.  There are a ton of ingredients in this thing so, at first glance, it may appear overwhelming.

However, if you just take a minute to break down the ingreidents one by one, it’s actually not that unusual of a formula.

So let’s dive on in…

Yerba Mate

Ilex paraguaniensis, more commonly known as “Yerba Mate” is simply a natural source of Caffeine which contains other related compounds, called Xanthines.  In this case, MHP lists Theophylline–a chemical  relative of Caffeine which is also in the Xanthine class–at 20%.

The Caffeine content is 45mg per serving from Yerba Mate (but there are other sources of Caffeine as well of course).

There isn’t much research about Theophylline, but it makes sense that it has some stimulatory and perhaps psychoactive properties, like Caffeine.

Caffeine Anhydrous

Caffeine, as most people are aware, is a stimulant.  It triggers the release of Catecholamines, a group of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) which include Dopamine and Noradrenaline.  These chemicals increase focus, perceived energy, and mood and can be quite useful for maximizing your workout.

MHP lists that amount of Caffeine Anhydrous in Reckless at 150mg, bringing the total Caffeine content (from Yerba Mate also) to just under 200mg–a moderate but not overwhelming dose by most people’s standards.

Sensoril Ashwagandha

Sensoril is a patented form of Ashwagandha which is more trustworthy than other off-brand sources of Ashwagandha for the simple fact that it’s standardized to contain a precise amount (10%) of the active components, Withanolides.

Ashwagandha in general is an adaptogen which possesses a wide variety of potential health benefits, mostly pertaining to it’s ability to reduce stress (both physical and mental).

It’s been shown to reduce Cortisol levels as well as perceived stress level in multiple studies, so at this point it’s considered pretty reliable (assuming you’re using a branded extract that contains what it’s supposed to).

We get into the Cortisol reduction benefits of Ashwagandha in this article, but it also has performance enhancement implications, as it has been shown to enhance endurance and even increase strength and muscle mass (one study, but still…).

Unfortunately, Reckless only contains 63mg (a seemingly random dose) of Sensoril (standardized to 10% Withanolides).  Studies have shown benefit between 300-600mg, so this places Reckless way below clinically dosed territory when it comes to this particular ingredient.

NeuroFactor

NeuroFactor is simply a trademarked name for Coffea arabica (Coffee Fruit Extract) which MHP claims increases Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), a protein which is associated with various aspects of brain function such as memory, ability to learn new skills, and reaction time.

While it is true that Coffee Fruit Extract has been used in studies in which benefits were observed with regards to cognitive function, it was cofounded with other ingredients so the benefits can’t be specifically attributed to this ingredient alone.

Reckless contains 50mg of NeuroFactor.

L-Theanine

Theanine is a unique (non-dietary) amino acid found mostly in Green Tea (and Matcha) which has been shown to interact with Caffeine in such as way that improves the positive aspects and decreases the negatives (jitters, anxiety, etc.).

This makes it worth using in any formula that contains Caffeine, but Reckless only contains 50mg of Theanine per serving to almost 200mg (195mg really), not exactly in line with the research, but not necessarily ineffective either.

You can learn more about the relaxation benefits of Theanine here and if you’re interested in learning about how Theanine interacts with Caffeine, check out this article.

Theacrine

Theacrine is loosely related to Caffeine.  It’s a stimulant but it appears to be more selective for Dopamine whereas Caffeine is more selective for Noradrenaline.  On it’s own, Theacrine kind of sucks, but combined with other stimulants many people find it quite useful.

It has been shown to improve aspects of cognitive function (which makes sense given it’s affinity for Dopamine receptors) and there’s no reason to suspect that it’s dangerous in any way when used in reasonable quantities.

Earlier rodent studies indicate that Theacrine may not induce tolerance like Caffeine, but human studies have not confirmed these findings at this time.

Reckless contains 25mg of Theacrine, not necessarily a high dose, but combined with other stimulants, you may get something out of it.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the dipeptide Carnosine, higher muscular concentrations of which are associated with greater muscular endurance.

Although Histidine is also used by the body to produce Carnosine, research indicates Beta-Alanine supplementation alone is all it take to notably increase muscle Carnosine concentrations and enhance muscular endurance.

The clinical range for Beta-Alanine–that is, the range of doses used in studies in which Beta-Alanine was proven effective–is roughly 3-6g/day, with 1.6g/day being the absolute lowest dose shown to increase muscle Carnosine.

Unfortunately, Reckless contains just 800mg of Beta-Alanine, not even close to what can be considered a clinical dose.

Creatine

Reckless contains three kinds of Creatine:

  1. Creatine Monohydrate
  2. Creatine HCL
  3. Creatine-AAB (Alpha Amino-Butyrate)

To be clear, no other type of Creatine has ever been proven more effective than Creatine Monohydrate.

Creatine (usually studied as Monohydrate) has been shown to:

  • Increase Strength
  • Enhance Muscualar Endurance
  • Increase Muscle Size
  • Speed Up Recovery

but you need atleast 3-5g/day typically to acheive these benefits.  Reckless only contains 1250mg of Creatine in total, much less than what can be considered a “clinical dose”, so you may need to supplement with additional Creatine.

ElevATP

ElevATP is trademarked combination of Ancient Peat and Apple Extract sold by Futureceuticals which allegedly increases the body’s natural ability to produce ATP.  Futureceuticals makes the following claims about ElevATP:

  • Helps improve athletic performance and body composition
  • Promotes increased power output and training volume
  • Helps reduce performance decrements associated with overreaching
  • Supports increased lean muscle and strength

But research is limited.  One study showed the benefits listed above, but we’ll need to see some more research before drawing solid conclusions.

Furthermore, MHP lists the amount of ElevATP in Reckless at 75mg, only half what was used in the study referenced above.

L-Citrulline

L-Citrulline is an amino acid which serves as a precursor to Arginine and is capable of increasing Nitric Oxide levels and improving exercise performance.

It has been studied fairly extensively in the area of performance enhancement and is considered effective for:

  • Increasing Muscular Endurance
  • Increasing Blood Flow (Pumps)
  • Reducing Muscle Soreness

Unfortunately, as with some of the other ingredients in Reckless, MHP has severely under-dosed L-Citrulline.  The clinical range for L-Citrulline is 3-6g (6-9 for Citrulline Malate), but Reckless only contains 500mg per serving.

At such a low dose, the benefits listed above are far from a guarantee.

L-NORVALINE

Norvaline is an analogue of the branched amino acid Valine which (unlike Valine) is not used to build complete proteins, but has other valuable functions throughout the body.

In vitro, it has been shown to inhibit the enzyme Arginase, responsible for the breakdown of Arginine.  The theory goes something like this…

By inhibiting Arginase, Norvaline can indirectly increase the amount of circulating Arginine which should increase Nitric Oxide production as well.

Unfortunately, this remains an untested hypothesis.  There are no studies investigating Norvaline’s impact on exercise performance in humans, so in the context of Reckless, it’s tough to say how important it really is.

Spectra

Spectra is a blend of anti-oxidant rich natural ingredients like ElevATP, is a trademarked ingredient by Futureceuticals with a variety of claims attached to it and some limited research to back them up.

One study concluded that the:

“Unique activity of SPECTRA suggests potential for the use of the supplement in modulation of oxidative stress, NO bioavailability, inflammatory response, blood glucose levels, and ultimately supporting optimal health.”

As a pre-workout ingredient, Spectra may verywell reduce oxidative damage and support certain aspects of physical performance, but so far there are no studies which have specifically investigated the impact (if any) of Spectra on exercise.

It stands to reason that it’s more of a recovery ingredient than a performance enhancer.

BioPerine

BioPerine is a patented Black Pepper Extract which is standardized for the active component Piperine and has been shown to enhance the absorption of other ingredients.

It works by activating certain digestive enzymes as well as slowing intestinal transit (time it takes nutrients to move through your intestine).

In the context of Reckless, it may be useful for enhancing absorption, but it certainly doesn’t make up for the severe under-dosing of some of the “would be” key ingredients.

Reckless Ingredient Takeaway

Despite the claims that Reckless is “Clinically Dosed”, there are actually several under-dosed ingredients, not to mention a few ingredients that probably just don’t do anything.

That said, it is a pretty unique formula and would appeal to anyone who likes moderate (but not intense) levels of stimulation, and moderate levels of performance enhancement.

Ultimately, we would’ve liked to see MHP come up with something a little more…clinically dosed and less complicated, but Reckless is far from the worst pre-workout we’ve analyzed and we’ere happy to see MHP back on the right path (except for dosing)…

Dosing And Use Of Proprietary Blends

As mentioned already, there are some ingredients–particularly Citrulline and Beta-Alanine and Creatine–which are extremelely under-dosed.  Clearly MHP is banking on people not doing their research, becuase if you did, you’d realize that you’d need four or five servings just to acheive true clinical doses of those ingredients.

This takes away from the overall efficacy of the formula witout a doubt.

Is Reckless Safe?

Reckless contains 195mg of Caffeine per serving, not a particularly high dose by most accounts, but still capable of providing a notable boost of energy and focus in individuals that don’t normally consume Caffeine.

There are some other stimulants (Theophylline and Theacrine), but the doses are pretty low…so no worries there.

Is MHP Making A Comeback?

When we saw the “re-brand” of MHP on the horizon, we were excited to see the formulas.  While there is no doubt that MHP–a brand which has always been resistant to transparency–it would appear that Reckless is a step in the right direction.

There are still some dosing issues and it’s clear that this is a very commercial brand trying to make lots of money selling somewhat under-dose supplements, but that’s to be expected, right?

Where To Buy

Considering MHP used to be one of the most recognized brands in bodybuilding, you can expect that some of those distribution relationships are still in place.  That means you’ll probably be able to pick up Reckless at just about every retailer eventually, but for now it’s available at:

If you know of any other retailers that carry MHP Reckless, let us know in the comments below.

The Bottom Line

If you’re an MHP fan from back in the day, you can give Reckless a try…but just don’t expect to be blown away by any particular aspect of the formula.

Reckless will provide roughly the same amount of energy and focus as an extra strength 5-hour energy, but the performance enhancing ingredients (Beta-Alanine, Creatine, Citrulline) are all under-dosed (A LOT), so don’t expect much in the way of muscular endurance of strength increases.

If you’re looking for a way better pre-workout supplement, check out our Best Pre-Workout Supplements list.

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