Clash doesn’t contain any revolutionary ingredients but is an all-around pretty complete pre-workout…FIND IT HERE
Creatine is the most extensively studied ergogenic aid currently available, and by far one of the most effective at increasing both strength and muscle mass. Creatine’s primary mechanism of action is its ability to rapidly produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to support cellular energy. During high intensity exercise, Creatine is used for energy which tends to spare the glycogen that would normally be used. Since lactic acid is a by-product created when glucose is burned for energy, Creatine may also indirectly reduce lactic acid build-up which poses a secondary mechanism by which Creatine can potentially enhance performance.
Creatine comes in various forms, the most common of which is Creatine Monohydrate, which is formed by dehydrating a solution of Creatine, where a single water molecule remains bound to the Creatine powder. No other form of Creatine has demonstrated any clear superiority over Creatine Monohydrate, so we generally recommend sticking with this particular form. The optimal dose of Creatine is generally around 5 grams per day, taken consistently (regardless of training days) for several weeks. MTS Nutrition has included 2.5g of Creatine Monohydrate per serving of Clash, meaning two servings yields an effective dose.
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.
A 2008 study, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, noted improvements in power in resistance trained males using 4.8g daily for 30 days. This same 4.8 gram dose was also shown to increase muscular endurance in sprinters in a 2007 study from the “Journal of Applied Physiology”.
The highest dose we generally see in pre-workouts is 3.2g, with 4.8g being the absolute max we’ve ever seen. Clash contains 1.6g per serving which, by itself, is a technically effective dose. However, two servings of Clash would yield a highly effective 3.2 dose, capable of increasing muscle Carnosine levels to a meaningful degree in as little as two weeks.
Recently, Agmatine has become quite pervasive in pre-workout supplements because of its alleged ability to regulate Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), an enzyme that catalyzes the production of Nitric Oxide (NO) from Arginine, and either elevate or reduce its presence, depending on the type of NOS. NOS is a widely misunderstood enzyme, mostly due to supplement companies not properly explaining its function and how that function relates to physical performance. It is commonly thought that NOS is the enzyme that “breaks down” NO, when it is actually the enzyme that catalyzes the production of NO from Arginine in the first place. NO generally has a positive connotation in the bodybuilding/athletic community because it is associated with vasodilation, which clearly has performance/health benefits. However, this beneficial effect of NO only pertains to NO in the blood vessels. Elsewhere in the body (like the brain) NO can inflict damage and actually be quite harmful. So ideally, what we really are after is a way to reduce NO in the areas of the body where it can cause harm, while increasing it in blood vessels where it can beneficially influence physical performance.
It’s important to understand that there are several types of NOS, all which are required for the production of NO. Inducible NOS (iNOS) and Neuronal NOS (nNOS) are considered harmful because they elevate NO in immune cells (causing inflammation) and the brain (causing neuronal damage), while Endothelial NOS (eNOS) is considered beneficial as this is the kind which increases Nitric Oxide in the blood vessels, resulting in vasodilation. Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate eNOS (the “good” NOS) while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS). However, as mentioned above, Agmatine remains under-researched because it is a relatively new entrant in the supplement industry.
Currently, most of the research has been done in vitro, with absolutely no studies regarding the potential physical performance benefits of Agmatine in humans. Because of the lack of human studies, no optimal dose has been established for Agmatine, though average doses in pre-workout formulas are 500-1000mg. MTS Nutrition has dosed Agmatine smack in the middle of this range with Clash containing 750mg per serving (1500mg per two servings).
BETAINE ANHYDROUS (BETAPOWER™)
Betaine (also known as Trimethylglycine) is the amino acid Glycine with the addition of three methyl groups attached. It 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.
Clash contains 750mg of Betaine per serving (1500mg per two servings), which unfortunately may be less than optimal. It’s not clear why MTS pulled back on the Betaine for the Clash formula, and ultimately we’d rather see a higher Betaine content than Agmatine (since Betaine is backed by several studies and Agmatine is not).
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which serves as a precursor to Dopamine and Norepinephrine (Catecholamines). Because of this relationship, it is commonly alleged (mostly by supplement companies) that Tyrosine can increase levels of these neurotransmitters, which would ultimately convey some performance enhancement benefits. However, supplemental Tyrosine has failed to produce any noticeable performance enhancement benefit in multiple studies.
While Tyrosine may not increase workout performance directly, it has been shown to preserve cognitive function in the presence of an acute stressor, such as noise, cold exposure, and potentially, exercise. This is because Tyrosine, upon ingestion, forms a pool which is then drawn from to create more Dopamine and Norepinephrine when depletion occurs. To put it simply, Tyrosine will not increase Dopamine and Noradrenaline, but can help ensure optimal levels are maintained during/after exercise.
MTS has included 250mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, a more bioavailable form of L-Tyrosine, in the Clash formula.
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.
MTS has placed 125mg of Caffeine in the Clash formula, with two servings yielding a 250mg dose. Although 125mg is not an overwhelmingly effective dose for most individuals (caffeine intolerant or not), combined with the other stimulants in the “boom blend”, it will certainly help to enhance focus and workout intensity.
Higenamine has been shown (in vitro) to be a beta-adrenergic receptor agonist as well as a weak alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonist, the same basic mechanisms of action by which Synephrine and Ephedrine work. By activating beta-receptors while simultaneously (albeit weakly) blocking alpha-receptors, Higenamine can potentiate the effects of Noradrenaline-releasing agents such as Caffeine and facilitate more fat-loss than could otherwise normally be achieved through exercise alone.
Higenamine is the major component underlying the fat-loss effects seen with Nelumbo Nucifera in mice studies, but human studies are non-existent at this point in time. For that reason, it’s tough to determine its degree of efficacy as a fat-burner, though the mechanisms certainly exist. MTS Nutrition does not disclose the exact amount of Higenamine in the formula, but considering Clash also contains NMT, Caffeine, and Hordenine, the Higenamine (at whatever dose) may certainly amplify the overall stimulant-like effects.
Tyramine is a derivative of the amino acid Tyrosine which is thought to act as a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), meaning it blocks the enzyme (Monoamine Oxidase) responsible for the breakdown of certain neurotransmitter (Noradrenaline, Adrenaline, Dopamine, etc.). The result is an increase in levels of these neurotransmitters which can induce a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. Human research on Tyramine is somewhat scarce and the combined effect of the Tyramine and the other stimulants present in the formula has not been the subject of any published study. However, given its mechanism of action, it stands to reason that Tyramine can synergistically enhance the effects of the catecholamine-releasing agents in the Clash formula.
Despite its escalating popularity in pre-workout and weight-loss supplements, Hordenine remains very under-researched. In vitro and animal studies indicate that its primary mechanism of action is via Momoamine Oxidase inhibition (similar to Tyramine) with oral doses being shown to augment Noradrenaline-induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself. So, rather than acting as a stand-alone stimulant, Hordenine can amplify/extend the effects of other stimulants by blocking the reuptake of Noradrenaline (and other Monoamines). By blocking its reuptake, Hordenine allows more Noradrenaline to remain in the synaptic space, ultimately extending/augmenting its effects (i.e. focus, intensity, lipolysis). Unfortunately, until more human research is published we won’t know exactly how potent oral doses can be, nor do we know how much Hordenine is present in the Clash formula.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Clash is a pretty well-rounded pre-workout in terms of the ingredient profile. Although it comes with 40 servings per container, it’s pretty clear that Clash is intended for two serving doses, and yields highly effective doses of most key ingredients (with the exception of Betaine) at that dose. At $1.85 per two servings, Clash is more or less appropriately priced and we’d recommend the formula to those looking for the physical benefits of such ingredients as Creatine and Beta-Alanine, while also seeking a well-formulated stimulant-blend which is sure to increase focus, drive, and intensity.
Still not sure which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!
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