As a company, RedBull is pretty hard to bash.
I mean, how can you hate on a company that sponsors some of the most exciting and creative pieces of entertainment around?
Seriously, let’s take a moment to admire the laundry list of cool shit they’ve brought to the masses:
- Crashed Ice (link)
- Their amazing F1 Team
- Air Races (link)
- Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from space (link)
- Base Jumping (link)
- Rebull Rampage – prepare to crap your pants (link)
- Extreme Sailing – it’s more fun that it sounds! (link)
- Soapbox racing (link)
- And so much more…
They also have one of the most amazing office spaces ever conceived by man.
Does your workplace come with a slide? Didn’t think so.
But all of this credit should go to their marketing department.
In fact, that’s pretty much what RedBull is — a marketing company that happens to sell some sugar water with a bit of caffeine.
My mistake, overpriced sugar water with caffeine.
Sure, it may have other ingredients like Taurine, and B Vitamins but that’s all for show, as a new study recently revealed.
Let’s dive into it and see what they found.
The Study Design
The researchers wanted to see whether RedBull — as a formulated drink, had any benefits over taking caffeine by itself to increase performance. I should point out that caffeine has already been proven as a stimulant that increases work output, so I was very curious about this head-to-head comparison.
The subjects were (thankfully) a group of trained cyclists with an average VO2 max of around 60 (this is a very good score, it shows they have some serious cardio).
The reason this excites me is because too many researchers conduct studies on an untrained population – on whom pretty much any protocol can show a favorable result.
For example: take a freshman high-school kid who’s never touched a weight in his life and teach him how to lift a few times a week, and he’ll put on like 10 pounds of muscle in the span of 60 days.
Or give someone who’s never been exposed to caffeine a cup of coffee, and they’ll be bouncing off the walls.
In short, the untrained population don’t make very good cases for the “real world.” So the fact that these researchers actually took the time to recruit real athletes shows they care.
The 3 Drinks Involved
The cyclists were divided up into 3 groups, and each were randomly given either RedBull, a placebo or a drink with the exact same amount of caffeine content, but nothing else.
As this was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, it meant that no one really knew which group was taking what until the end.
This is a good thing, because it means no one could mess with the results or partake in any shenanigans. Another point goes to the researches for this.
The Study Results
Compared to placebo (which was probably just sugar water), RedBull increased performance by an average of 2.8%. This isn’t bad considering they were trained athletes and in cycling, even a second or two can make the difference between 1st and 2nd place. So a near 3 percent bump is legit.
However, the group that took straight caffeine showed an increase in performance by 3.1% compared to placebo.
Initially, This Might Not Seem Earth-Shattering. But Then You Look At The Cost…
A can of RedBull has about 80–90mg of caffeine and costs $2.99.
Well, a regular cup of coffee has 100–110mg of caffeine costs anywhere from 50 cents to $1 (ignoring your trips to Starbucks, of course).
In fact, the cost per gram of caffeine can be lowered even further if you buy in bulk, and brew a cup yourself. Not to mention that coffee is loaded with antioxidants and has shown to help burn fat, decrease risk of Parkinson’s disease and provide a whole host of benefits that would take me an entire article to cover.
Most of the performance/benefits that you experience from RedBull (or any energy drink for that matter) is usually related to its caffeine content.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting something magical. Most of the time the trace amounts of extra ingredients listed are merely a marketing tactic.
Are There Supplements Out There That Stack Well With Caffeine?
Most definitely! We’re not called Hardcore Training Solutions for nothing.
After years of testing, we’ve put together an incredible pre-workout stack which we recommend to our elite clients such as powerlifters, bodybuilders and competitive athletes.
If you’d like to get your hands on this formula, enter your info below for instant FREE access.
Here’s Our Kick-Ass Pre-Workout Stack
First, you should know that it is your responsibility to have medical clearance before attempting to use the following supplements. Please check with your doctor or health professional to know if it’s right for you.
Also, just for signing up we’ve emailed you our BIG 5 workout absolutely free. It’s one of the most effective and efficient plans ever put together – especially for those who are short on time and can’t be bothered with fancy machines or other gym equipment.
With that said, below is the formula. If you’d like to know more details about the supplement such as: why it’s on the list, where to get it, brands we recommend etc., just click the info link.
- 5 g – Creatine Monohydrate (info link)
- 200 mg – Caffeine (info link)
- 200 mg – L-Theanine (info link)
- 5 g – Beta-Alanine (info link)
- 20g – Maltodextrin (info link)
How To Take It
It’s up to you whether you want to mix it all together or take each ingredient one at a time. Just be sure to take it all about 30 minutes before your workout on an empty stomach.
It is by far the safest and most potent stack every put together. These dosages have been tweaked and tested over the years for maximum ass-kicking.
FAQs About Our Preworkout Stack
“Is this for men only? Or can ladies get in on the fun”
Absolutely they can! This stack is ideal for both men and women. However do note that if your workout isn’t (ahem) hardcore or the duration is very short (less than 30 mins) then we recommend you cut the dosages in half.
“Do I need to buy everything on the list? Or can I pick and choose?”
If you know what you’re doing then sure, do whatever you want. But if you don’t have experience with supplements then why bother reinventing the wheel? Just stick to what works.
“Is this stuff illegal?”
No, everything listed here is WADA approved and your drug-test should come up clean. However, you have to know the supplement company you’re buying from. Click the info links to see our recommendations and for a special discount. But again, it’s your responsibility to know what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure, double check by contacting the vendor and asking the right questions.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Proven Stack?
While pre-mixed formulas are convenient, we recommend you buy the individual supplements and put it together yourself (called a “stack”) for the following reasons:
- It’s Cheaper – You’ll get more servings per dollar compared to a tub of the latest preworkout
- Higher Quality – The one thing we can’t stand are “proprietary” blends because you never know how much of an ingredient you’re getting. To us, that’s a huge red flag. With stacks, you control what ingredient you buy and from where. On a further note, Reviews.com did a pretty good job of finding the best pre-workout supplement, and avoiding ones with proprietary blends was high on their priority list. I applaud them for that.
- Customizeable – Sure you can use half a scoop of your current pre-workout powder, but you’ll also get half of everything else. With stacks, you can pick and choose how much of each ingredient to use based on your specific needs.
- It’s Fun – This might be subjective, but at HTS we love testing out new stacks and pushing the boundaries of what works best. If you respond well to a certain supplement, you can use it more often (while keeping an eye on safety, of course).
Final Thoughts: Don’t Forget To Keep An Eye On The Bigger Picture
While working out creates a stimulus for your body to grow stronger and supplements can give you that extra edge, if you don’t have a meal plan in place that is specially designed to help you recover and repair your body, then you can expect results to take up to 3x as long.
Depending on which expert you want to ask, the minimum amount of impact a proper nutrition plan can make towards helping you reach your goals is 50%. Realistically in our experience (both from training clients and consulting with other high-level coaches) the impact is more like 60 to 70%!
We think you’ll agree that’s quite a significant piece of the puzzle that shouldn’t be ignored. So for a limited time, we’re offering a special 30% discount on custom meal plans to our readers. Just click the button below for more details – and remember, you don’t pay unless you see results!
Probably the most well-researched supplement on the planet. It helps your body produce ATP, which means you can do more reps and sets than you could previously. And more work equals more results. Also, studies have shown that it aids fast loss and helps you recover faster. What’s not to love?
But be careful! Due to its popularity, many hack-job companies and suppliers have come out with very cheap alternatives that are contaminated and laced with unknown filler ingredients. For this reason we at HTS recommend buying CreaPure creatine. It’s only made in Germany and is of the highest quality. You can buy it at MyProtein.com. Be sure to use the code HARDCORETRAINING at checkout for a special discount.
Caffeine gets a lot of hate, but it’s actually pretty damn awesome if you’re an active individual. It helps burn fat, increases alertness, improves focus, and let’s you push past your current pain threshold to do more work.
Where you get your caffeine from is upto you. The most ideal source would be 2 cups of coffee. As you’ve just read, it’s not only superior to RedBull but also loaded with antioxidants which can help reduce soreness post workout. But for convenience, you can’t beat caffeine pills. They’re cheap and effective. You can buy it at MyProtein.com. Be sure to use the code HARDCORETRAINING at checkout for a special discount.
This supplement is known as the relaxing amino acid. But that’s not to be confused for a supplement that’s a sedative, so don’t worry about falling asleep during your set. This ain’t melatonin.
So why do we include a “relaxing” supplement in our pre-workout stack? Because it goes really well with caffeine to eliminate jitters, giving your a smooth, alert feeling without the crash. You can buy it at MyProtein.com. Be sure to use the code HARDCORETRAINING at checkout for a special discount.
Ever taken a pre-workout that made you all tingly around your body and had you scratching your ass, ears and face? That’s beta A at work. But the tingles are nothing to be afraid of; you’re (most likely) not having an allergic reaction. The reason your body tingles is because the nerve endings underneath your skin are being stimulated and firing at a higher rate than normal.
But here’s why the tingles are worth it: Beta A delays fatigue during workouts, enhances athletic training, and improves overall muscle strength and performance. You can buy it at MyProtein.com. Be sure to use the code HARDCORETRAINING at checkout for a special discount.
If you thought this was some fancy super-secret supplement, then I hate to break it to you but maltodextrin is simply a high glycemic sugar powder. I know what you’re thinking “Refined carbs?! How dare you? I’d never put that in my body!”. But there’s a time and place to go low carb, and before a hardcore workout isn’t one of them
The reason you want simple carbs is because combined with the stack of ingredients above, you’ll have rapid energy available for use and you can do a lot of heavy work within the first 15 minutes. You’ll also experience better mental clarify and thicker, fuller pumps. Just be sure to drink an adequate amount of water as your body needs it to absorb carbohydrates. You can buy this stuff at MyProtein.com. Be sure to use the code HARDCORETRAINING at checkout for a special discount.