MusclePharm Combat Black Review

Combat Black is MusclePharm’s Black Series Mass Gainer which contains, among other things, a whopping 55g of protein per serving…

MusclePharm Combat Black



Maltodextrin is derived from starches and is commonly used as a thickening agent in foods and beverages, though it has supplemental implications as well.  Since it is a simple carb, Maltodextrin can quickly supply the body with glucose for energy.

In the context of Combat Black, Maltodextrin serves as a means of quickly replenishing glycogen post-workout.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are more easily oxidized and burned for energy than LCT’s.  In the context of Combat Black, MCTs simply serve as a healthy fat-source.


Flaxseed is a substantial source of Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) which is an Omega 3 fatty acid, but it doesn’t contain DHA or EPA which are found in Fish Oil.  This significant lowers its value as an Omega-3 supplement.  In the context of Combat Black, it’s just extra fat (not a bad thing given that Combat Black is a Mass Gainer).


Honey is just sugar.  It may be more appealing to some because it’s “natural”, but in terms of physiological reaction, it is just a simple sugar.


Whey Concentrate is the least processed form (70-80% protein by weight) of Whey Protein which makes it the cheapest to manufacture.  MusclePharm does not disclose the amount of Whey Concentrate relative to Whey Isolate, but given that Concentrate is listed first, we know there is at least slightly more Concentrate.


Whey Isolate is defined as at least 90% protein by weight.  This gives Isolate an obvious advantage over less pure form of protein, but due to the further processing that is required to produce Isolate it tends to be more expensive.  That is likely why MusclePharm has chosen to use both Concentrate and Isolate in the Combat Black formula.


Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that is involved in a variety of bodily functions, from immune health, to providing a back-up fuel-source for the brain. Aside from its general physiological roles, supplemental Glutamine has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression.

Our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, but in the short-term, exercise actually temporarily lowers our immune defenses, thus making us more susceptible to infection during that time-frame. This temporary compromise of the immune system has been proven to correlate with lower levels of glutamine.

For this reason, it is suggested that increased uptake of glutamine may help keep the immune system strong post-exercise. In addition, lower glutamine levels have been recorded in over-trained athletes, suggesting that higher levels of glutamine may help to prevent overtraining.

In the context of Combat Black, Glutamine isn’t necessarily such an important ingredient.


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. Its primary mechanism of action is its ability to rapidly produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to support cellular energy, thereby directly increasing strength and power output.

Additionally, 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.

Combat Black contains 2g of Creatine Monohydrate per serving which is enough to maintain muscular Creatine saturation once saturation occurs, but is not a particularly effective dose on its own.  Ultimately, the Combat Black formula would benefit further from added Creatine.


Combat Black definitely has what it takes to help pack on a few pounds of a combination of muscle and fat.  With 23g of Saturated Fat and 13g of Sugar per serving, it’s certainly not what we would consider a “lean” mass gainer, but if just gaining mass (fat and muscle) is the goal, it’ll do the trick.  Given that Combat Black packs 55g of protein per serving, some may choose to split it up throughout the day.  There’s no reason to guzzle 55g of liquid protein in one sitting.

Still not sure which Mass Gainer is right for you?  Check out our Best Mass Gainers List!

[expand title=”REFERENCES” tag=”h5″]

  1. Casey, Anna, and Paul L. Greenhaff. “Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.2 (2000).
  2. Kraemer, William J., and Jeff S. Volek. “Creatine supplementation: its role in human performance.” Clinics in sports medicine 18.3 (1999): 651-666.
    Thompson, C. H., et al. “Effect of creatine on aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle in swimmers.” British journal of sports medicine 30.3 (1996): 222-225.
  3. Castell, Linda M., and Eric A. Newsholme. “The effects of oral glutamine supplementation on athletes after prolonged, exhaustive exercise.” Nutrition13.7 (1997): 738-742.
  4. Gleeson, M., and N. C. Bishop. “Elite athlete immunology: importance of nutrition.” International journal of sports medicine 21.Sup. 1 (2000): 44-50.
  5. t-Onge, Marie-Pierre, and Peter JH Jones. “Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity.” The Journal of nutrition 132.3 (2002): 329-332.
  6. Papamandjaris, A. A., et al. “Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women.” International journal of obesity 24.9 (2000): 1158-1166.
  7. Heino, Antti. “Microfiltration in cheese and whey processing.” (2010).
  8. Reitelseder, Søren, et al. “Whey and casein labeled with L-[1-13C] leucine and muscle protein synthesis: effect of resistance exercise and protein ingestion.”American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 300.1 (2011): E231-E242.
  9. Solanki, Girish, and S. S. H. Rizvi. “Physico-chemical properties of skim milk retentates from microfiltration.” Journal of dairy science 84.11 (2001): 2381-2391.
  10. Mahe, Svlvain, et al. “Gastrojejunal kinetics and the digestion of [15N] beta-lactoglobulin and casein in humans: the influence of the nature and quantity of the protein.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 63.4 (1996): 546-552.
  11. Andersen, Lars L., et al. “The effect of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of protein on muscle fiber size and muscle strength.” Metabolism 54.2 (2005): 151-156.
  12. Dangin, Martial, et al. “Influence of the protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects.” The Journal of nutrition 132.10 (2002): 3228S-3233S.

[/expand] exists to educate the supplement community and seperate the science from the hype.

Click to comment
To Top