Peak Perform is a pre-workout by HIT Supplements which contains several brand name pre-workout ingredients such as Carnosyn, BetaPower, and GlycoCarn. The most unique aspect of Peak Perform is that it contains Peak ATP (hence the name), an effective, but seriously under-utilized performance enhancer…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
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. Though it takes time to accumulate in muscle tissue, Beta-Alanine supplementation, for at least two weeks, is highly effective at increasing muscular Carnosine concentration.
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. Peak Perform contains 1.6g per dose.
Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). As demonstrated in a 2007 study, supplemental Citrulline is significantly more effective at raising plasma Arginine than supplemental Arginine itself.
The problem with supplemental Arginine is that it is metabolized in the intestines and liver into other substances such as Ornithine and Urea. The intestines and liver contain relatively high levels of Arginase, the enzyme that converts Arginine to Ornithine and Urea. As a result, very little goes on to be involved with the synthesis of NO because it is being diverted for other purposes. Citrulline, on the other hand, is able to bypass the liver and is metabolized into Arginine elsewhere, where not as much Arginase is present. Thus, more of the Arginine is able to go on to convert into Nitric Oxide.
A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Malate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males.
A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of Free Radical Research”, found that 6 grams of Citrulline Malate given to male cyclists before a race increased “plasma Arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage”.
A 2011 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that supplemental Citrulline increased muscular contraction efficiency (less ATP was required for the same amount of power), in-line with the findings of the above-mentioned human study.
Citrulline is generally considered to be most effective at doses of 6-8g, though it is rare to find that much in pre-workout supplements (it gets kind of expensive). Peak Perform contains 1.5g, which may provide some marginal benefit, but is still significantly less than the doses used in the above mentioned studies.
BETAINE ANHYDROUS (BETAPOWER):
Betaine (also known as Trimethylglycine) is the amino acid Glycine with the addition of three methyl groups attached. Betaine is alleged to increase power output and strength by increasing cellular swelling, a phenomenon well established with Creatine supplementation, which can drastically reduce the damaging effect of outside stimuli (such as exercise) on the working muscle. So far, Betaine has been investigated in several human studies, and has had some pretty encouraging results in most.
A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that 2.5g Betaine (split into two 1.25mg doses) over the course of 15 days increased muscle endurance during squats and appeared to improve the quality of each rep (likely because they were easier).
A 2010 study, again from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that the same supplementation protocol (2.5g daily in two equal doses) effectively increased isometric bench press and squat force as well as bench throw and vertical jump power.
A 2011 study, published in “The Journal of Strength & Condition Research” noted improvements in number of bench press repetitions and total volume load with same 2.5g dosing protocol for 14 days. However, another 2011 study from the same journal noted no such improvements in power output or number of reps performed, though there were subjective reports of fatigue reduction.
A 2012 study from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” noted improvements in cycling sprint power after just one week of supplementation at the standard 2.5g dose.
Most recently, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” noted increases in arm size, bench press work capacity, overall body composition, and a trend toward increased power (but not strength). This was the first study to specifically measure the effects of Betaine supplementation on body composition, so further study is needed to corroborate these findings.
ADEONSINE 5′ TRIPHOSPHATE DISODIUM (PEAK ATP):
Peak ATP is simply a patented, orally bioavailable form of Adenosine Triphosphate. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the basic unit of cellular energy which powers just about every reaction in the body. An increase in ATP can improve strength and power output, and this is the primary mechanism of action by which Creatine works.
A 2012 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, concluded that 15 days supplementation with 400mg of Adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP) was able to reduce muscular fatigue and preserve force output towards the end of the workout. This study was further corroborated by a later (2013) study, published in “Nutrition and Metabolism”, in which it was observed that 12 weeks of ATP supplementation (again with 400mg/day) was able to increase muscle mass and full-body strength in healthy human subjects.
Peak Perform contains 200mg of Peak ATP, meaning two doses must be consumed to achieve the clinically effective doses used in the above mentioned studies.
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. A vast multitude of studies have concluded that Caffeine consumption prior to exercise can favorably impact performance and enhance muscle contractibility.
Since habitual Caffeine consumption often leads to tolerance build-up, those seeking to get the most out of their Caffeine-containing pre-workout should limit Caffeine throughout other parts of the day. Peak Perform contains 200mg of Caffeine which, for most individuals, is a pretty effective dose. At two servings (400mg), Peak Performance delivers quite a hefty dose which would likely increase focus, altertness, and perceived energy even in relatively Caffeine-tolerant individuals.
Peak Perform contains three distinct types of L-Carnitine, but since there is a lot of overlap between Acetyl-L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, we have grouped them together for the purpose of this review. Both are superior in terms of absorption compared to standard L-Carnitine. While there is some evidence that Carnitine (either form) can enhance exercise performance, the bulk of the research indicates that it is much more reliable at decreasing muscle damage and exercise-induced oxidative stress.
A 2002 study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism”, found that 2 grams L-Carnitine L-Tartrate effectively reduced various markers of exercise-induced muscle damage in resistance trained men. These findings were replicated with 1 gram in a later (2007) study published in “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research”. A likely mechanism of action was identified in a 2008 study (from the same journal) in which it was found that L-Carnitine L-Tartrate supplementation significantly increased muscle oxygenation during exercise when oxygen would normally be lacking.
Peak Perform contains 1500mg of all three types of Carnitine, though HIT Supplements doesn’t disclose exactly how much of each type is present.
GLYCINE PROPIONYL-L-CARNITINE (GLYCOCARN):
Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine is a formed when L-Carnitine is bound to the amino acid Glycine. Though it possesses the same essential characteristics of the other forms of Carnitine discussed above, it appears to reliably increase Nitric Oxide as well. A 2007 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found that 3 grams of GPLC was able to increase Nitric Oxide in resistance trained men. These findings were replicated in a 2009 study published in the “International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research”, but 1 gram was seen as ineffective. Ultimately, GPLC appears to be able to reliably increase Nitric Oxide at high enough doses (around 3g). It’s not clear exactly how much GPLC is present in Peak Perform, but since Acetyl-L-Carnitine has also been shown increase Nitric Oxide, two servings of Peak Perform should be able to do the trick.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
HIT Supplements has certainly taken a science-based approach with Peak Perform in terms of the ingredient profile and the dosing, although it should be noted that the ingredient levels listed on the front are what is obtained with two servings, not one. So, while the price of about 75 cents per serving may seem like an insanely great deal, in order to get clinically effective doses of most of the key ingredients the price becomes $1.50. That being said, $1.50 per serving is actually a pretty appropriate price relative to pre-workouts with similar ingredients and levels of those ingredients. Those looking for an effective pre-workout with no stimulants other than Caffeine (albeit a hefty dose) may want to consider giving Peak Perform a try.
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