There are many arguments for and against the use of pre-workout supplements, especially for casual gym-goers and non-professional athletes. I’m assuming at this point you’ve already made up your mind on using a pre-workout but can’t decide on a particular brand among the countless choices out there.
If so, this article might be helpful as I’m going to review two of the most popular pre-workout powders: Mesomorph by APS Nutrition and Jack3D by USPlabs. This will be a brief comparison of the two formulas and my opinion on which one is a better choice.
The Mesomorph Formula
APS Nutrition’s Mesomorph is a proprietary formula that consists of three main blends of ingredients as follows:
- Nitric oxide boosting blend — 6500mg: Beta-alanine, L-citrulline DL-malate 2:1, arginine.
- ATP energy boosting blend — 4500mg: Creatine nitrate, di-creatine malate, creatinol-o-phosphate, L-taurine, ascorbic acid, agmatine sulfate.
- Stimulant blend — 1860mg: Glucuronolactone, methylxanthine anhydrous, senegalia berlandieri extract, theobromine, naringin, isopropylnorsynephrine hcl.
The formula has the three key components you’d want in a pre-workout: Blood flow (pump) boosters, muscle strength and endurance boosters, and stimulants.
Although it is a proprietary blend, the listed dosage for each group of the ingredients seems high enough to suggest you’re getting a full dose of at least most of the ingredients.
This product contains two different creatine forms: creatine nitrate and di-creatine malate. Although a lesser-known compound, creatine nitrate has been suggested to have about 10 times better water solubility compared to creatine monohydrate, however, I could not find a scientific proof of this claim.
Di-creatine malate is a combination of creatine and malic acid. It is said to have a higher absorption rate than other creatine formulations. Creatinol-o-phosphate is a synthetic analog of creatine that can improve muscle strength and endurance.
Finally, there is a mix of some natural stimulant compounds that provide a mild energy boost. These include 300mg of caffeine per serving, which is listed on the label as “methylxanthine anhydrous”, aka caffeine anhydrous.
The Jack3D Formula
Some years ago, Jack3D by USPlabs used to be the #1 selling, top-rated pre-workout supplement in the USA. It had a powerful stimulant effect, which was mostly due to a single ingredient: DMAA.
DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) is a synthetic amphetamine derivative that is commonly used to enhance athletic performance. This is basically a drug, not a dietary supplement, and it has some serious safety concerns as it has been linked to increased blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and increased risk of a heart attack. The FDA banned DMAA, and as a result Jack3D — as well as other supplements that used to contain this substance — was taken off the market.
Jack3D was later relaunched with a new formula that does not include DMAA. The new formula is a proprietary blend that includes the following ingredients:
Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, caffeine, 2-aminoisoheptane hcl, geranium extract, yohimbe extract, schisandra chinensis extract.
The recommended serving size is 1 to 3 scoops, which provides a total dose of 5.55g to 16.65g, containing 135mg to 405mg of caffeine, respectively.
While the new formula is not as powerful as the old one, it does contain some potent stimulant ingredients, namely caffeine, yohimbe, and 2-aminoisoheptane hcl (aka DMHA).
DMHA is a synthetic stimulant compound that is similar to DMAA but has a weaker effect. But don’t get too excited yet, because once again, the FDA has banned the use of DMHA is dietary supplements and has recently sent out a bunch of warning letters to manufacturers using this ingredient in their products. It’s probably just a matter of time until USPlabs drops this ingredient from Jack3D.
Mesomorph vs. Jack3D: Which is Better?
Both of these supplements have the basic ingredients any pre-workout should contain, such as arginine/citrulline, creatine, beta-alanine, and some stimulant substances.
Mesomorph provides a good dose of citrulline and arginine, which gives you a decent pump, especially if your diet lacks foods that contain these two amino acids. It also packs different forms of creatine that are believed to be better absorbed than creatine monohydrate. In terms of energy, it’s much like a caffeine boost.
Jack3D is reputed for its stimulant effect, which lost a lot of its kick after it was reformulated without DMAA. The new formula still provides a considerable energy boost, but if you’ve been reading some old reviews of amazing or exceptional results, then they probably refer to the old formula which is no longer sold in stores.
One little warning about Jack3D: Yohimbe has been known to cause side effects, such as rapid heart beat, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to yohimbe than others and not everyone may experience these side effects.
All in all, both Mesomorph and Jack3D are among the good choices for a pre-workout supplement, and both provide a mild energy push comparable to that of caffeine, but nothing exceptional really. Personally, I’m more in favor of Mesomorph as it contains less controversial ingredients and it comes at a lower price (per gram).