Max Out is the most recent pre-workout to be added to the iForce line-up. It contains a combination of stimulant and non-stimulant ingredients which are, for the most part effectively dosed and balanced…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Phenylethylamine HCl can induce a short, but somewhat potent release of Catecholamines (Dopamine, Adrenaline, Noradrenaline). While studies testing the effects of PEA supplementation on exercise performance are limited, a boost in Catecholamines may certainly translate into more energy in the gym, resulting in a more intense workout. Unfortunately, the effects of PEA tend to degrade very quickly as it is rapidly metabolized upon reaching the brain. For this reason, it is generally seen alongside Monoamine Reuptake Inhibitors (such as Hordenine) which block the enzymes that break down PEA. However, given that no such compounds are present in the formula, it’s unclear just how effective PEA is in the context of Max Out.
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. Many studies have concluded that pre-workout Caffeine consumption can enhance exercise capacity and muscle contractibility, in many cases quite significantly.
It should be kept in mind that habitual Caffeine consumption often results in tolerance, reducing the stimulant effects. We generally recommend that individuals seeking the full benefit of pre-workout Caffeine consumption try to limit their Caffeine intake at other times of the day. Max Out contains 300mg of Caffeine, a highly effective dose for individuals who don’t regularly consume Caffeine.
Synephrine acts as a beta-receptor agonist and an alpha-receptor antagonist, the net effect of which is an increase in lipolysis (fat breakdown). Because of this mechanism of action, Synephrine is often compared to the now banned Ephedrine (also a beta-agonist/alpha-antagonist), though it’s important to understand that it is significantly less potent. Fortunately, it’s also much safer (which is why it isn’t banned). A 2011 study, published in the “International Journal of Medicinal Sciences”, found that supplementation of 50mg Syneprhine increased the metabolic rate in human subjects without affecting blood pressure or heart rate. Synephrine may further enhance the fat-burning effects of the above mentioned stimulants: Caffeine and PEA, while maintaining a favorable safety profile.
Glycerol is a colorless, odorless, syrup-like substance found in such household products as soap, cough syrup, and hair care products. Max Out, like many pre-workouts these days, contains a powedered form of Glycerol known as Glycerol Monostearate, which, due to its propensity for water-retention, is used by athletes to counter dehydration during extended exercise as well as increase the “pump” aspect of weight lifting. Originally, Glycerol was purported to enhance athletic/exercise performance. However, while several studies have demonstrated increased water retention as a result of pre-exercise Glycerol consumption, none have demonstrated a clear performance enhancing effect as a result of that. Despite not possessing any inherent performance enhancing benefit, Glycerol may be useful for those who seek a fuller muscle feel while lifting (A.K.A. The Pump).
Potassium Nitrate is a salt formed by a combination of potassium and nitrate ions. Though commonly used in industrial products and fertilizers, it’s safe to assume that in the context of Max Out it serves a Nitrate source. Nitrate, once inside the body, converts to Nitric Oxide and supplementation is associated with performance enhancement.
A 2012 study, published in “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”, found that increased dietary nitrate intake (usually in the form of Nitrate-rich whole Beetroot) improved running performance in healthy adults. A 2013 study, published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, found that Nitrate supplementation (from beetroot juice) effectively elevated plasma Nitrate levels which translated to improved performance during high-intensity exercise in athletes. A 2013 Meta-Analysis, which looked specifically at 17 separate studies using doses of 300-600mg Nitrate from various sources, concluded that supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in time to exhaustion at a given work load.
Normally, supplemental Nitrate is found in the form of Beet Root Extract because Beets are naturally high in Nitrates. However, iForce has gone with an entirely different delivery method by using Potassium Nitrate. With 600mg per serving, Max Out contains a highly effective dose which may certainly convey some noticeable performance benefits.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body adapt to stressful situations, both physical and mental. Generally speaking, we’re not too fond of herbal extracts because the evidence tends to be more anecdotal than scientific, but Rhodiola Rosea is an exception.
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 (2000-2004), and lend even more credibility to already established notion that Rhodiola Rosea supplementation can in fact improve exercise performance at doses of around 200mg.
Despite having demonstrated the ability to counter fatigue and increase endurance in multiple studies, the exact mechanism of action remains unknown.
DMAE is becoming a popular supplement specifically as a nootropic, because it is a cholinergic compound which may enhance certain aspects of cognition via increasing levels of Acetylcholine in the brain. Increased Acetylcholine is associated with several potential benefits including increased exercise capacity but there haven’t been enough human studies to be sure. One study done in 1991 showed that a mixture containing DMAE, ginseng, vitamins, and a few minerals “increased the subjects’ work capacity by improving muscular oxygen utilization”. However, the obvious flaw with this study is that it is confounded with several other substances, so the effects cannot be solely attributed to DMAE.
Huperzine A is an Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine (resulting in increased levels of Acetylcholine). Acetylcholine controls skeletal muscle and is largely responsible for the ‘mind-muscle connection’. In addition to controlling the muscles, Acetylcholine is also involved in learning, memory, decision making, and various other mental activities. Huperzine is effective at very low doses (usually measured in micrograms), and offers an effective way to increase Acetylcholine levels in the brain. Whether it can act synergistically with the above mentioned DMAE remains unclear, but given they are both Cholinergic compounds, it would make sense.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Max Out is unique in that it omits many of the standard pre-workout ingredients (Beta-Alanine, Citrulline, Creatine, etc.) and instead makes use of some pump-based ingredients such as Potassium Nitrate and Glycerol. The stimulant blend is not the most comprehensive we’ve seen, but with 300mg of Caffeine (as well as Synephrine and PEA), it may provide the focus and alertness that many users of pre-workouts are seeking. Rhodiola and Huperzine A offer both mental and physical benefits without adding to the stimulant content of the formula. Overall, Max Out is not necessarily the most ground-breaking new pre-workout to hit the market, but is relatively well-rounded, making use of a diverse array of ingredients.
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