My apologies for the pun. It was just too easy.
It seems like there is always some new piece of exercise equipment or supplement being put out there. Something that promises to be the next great thing. Promising to revolutionize the way you get stronger, bigger, or leaner.
A good percentage of them are crap.
Most of the stuff that works has been around for decades and just gets revised or rediscovered every now and then, but for the most part it comes down to eating a lot dead animals and moving a heavy bar around. Every now and then though, science seems to come through for us and give us the upper hand that Eugene Sandow and his buddies didn’t have.
However, those guys clearly one-upped us on ratio of muscles to awesome handlebar mustaches.
I’m traditionally a pretty cut and dry guy when it comes to my lifting and supplements. I’ll go months without anything but protein powder, and that’s just food if you ask me, but I finally decided to get back onto the pre-workout supplement horse after years of being away. Back in high school, I felt like I had just donated way too much money to companies who were simply giving me caffeine powder and sugar with food coloring, and I was just as well off with a black coffee before lifting.
So this is me giving it another shot.
Jack3d by USP Labs
Price – $23 online, $35 in stores
Flavors – lemon-lime, blue raspberry, raspberry lemonade, fruit punch, grape bubblegum
Taste – Lemon-lime, B+, reminded me of candy sour straws from when I was kid.
A big advantage I had when adding this supplement into my routine is that I wasn’t using anything at all prior and would be keeping my diet and training relatively the same: high protein, carbs only around workouts, moderate fat, and the same 4 day training split of push, pull, legs, arms. So any larger-than-average jumps in performance or muscle gain could be at least partly attributed to using a new supplement. If you’re already using 12 different supplements and add in lucky number 13, then how the hell do you know what is doing what?
Now a natural trainee is only going to see so much progress in four weeks. Progress is measured in months and years, not days, but I definitely made steps in the right direction during this month. I saw noticeable increases in my regular and close grip bench, push press, and wide stance squat, all while losing close to 1.5 inches on my waist.
I was surprised that even after weeks of taking it, I didn’t have to bump my serving size due to building up a tolerance. I’m a guy who likes his black coffee with a couple extra shots of espresso, and I can slam a Redbull or two and immediately go to sleep, so caffeine alone just doesn’t do it for me. In fact, I actually lowered my does after a week or two after finding that the three scoops my friends suggested left my a little shaky in the stomach, and I could do just as well working on a scoop and a half.
I also appreciated the bare-bones ingredient list. Unlike so many companies that hide behind a proprietary blend, they actually tell you what exactly what you’re putting in your body. And better yet, it’s only six ingredients. Anyone who has been lifting for a year is already pretty familiar with them.
1) Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate – Remember a couple of years ago when everybody lost their mind at the idea of Nitric Oxide (NOS) supplements? Well it shows up here, too. It’s not quite the super supplement that everybody wanted to say it was a few years ago, but it does what it promises. It increases blood flow, giving you a better “pump”, and helps shuttle the creatine monohydrate into your muscles. Speaking of….
2) Creatine Monohydrate – Believe it or not, I hadn’t used creatine in years. I had used it in high school when everybody on my football team was sure that it was going to be the secret ingredient that got us SWOLE for the next season, but I wasn’t impressed at the time. The only thing I noticed then was a few pounds increased on the scale from the extra water I was holding thanks to it. Well obviously, I actually know what I’m doing in the gym now, and I definitely saw an increase in the number of reps I could get in my later sets after introducing creatine back into the game. After years of studies, creatine has definitely shown itself to be a perfectly safe supplement that will only help you in the weight room.
3) Beta Alanine – A nice supplement for improving muscle endurance. I personally like the little tingle and slight skin flush that comes with it, though some people see that as a side effect and worry a bit. I just see it as way of knowing that it’s working
4) Caffeine – And oldie but a good one nonetheless. USP labs has put out that each scoop is lower than but close to around 150 mg a scoop. When I was using straight caffeine before workouts I would sometimes go as high as a gram before heavy sessions, so I can’t imagine that was good for my heart or CNS. This lets me have an even more intense “rush” before my workouts without bringing me right to the edge of a caffeine overdose. (By the way, look up what happens with caffeine overdoses. It’s not pretty.)
5) 1,3-Dimethylamylamine – It increases energy and focus, and although it hasn’t had any long term studies, everything we have seen so far says that it is safe. Of course you should be careful not to exceed to the prescribed dosage, but as long as you stay in the guidelines, then you should be just fine. It should be noted that if you take part in any kind of competitive sports, this supplement has been showing up on a few banned supplement lists, so make sure to check that out before using. All in all, this looks to be the next superstar of the energy supplement industry.
6) Schizandrol A – The biggest question mark in Jack3d. What we do know is that it comes from a Chinese herb, and scientists believe that it brings on a feeling of inhibition. All USP lab seems to say concerning this is that it was tested on rats who were given electric shock after being given the herb, and they were significantly less stressed than their rat buddies who were getting electrocuted without the herb….
So that’s comforting…
Honestly, for the price and number of servings that I got out of it, I think it’s a great deal. For the time being, I’ll keep using it, although I know you can get a similar custom made supplement for a slightly better price at places online. I personally think that the 1,3 Dimethylamylamine is what people love so much, but until I try it on its own, I will have to hold off on that conclusion.
Have you used it before? What were your experiences with it? Let us know in the forums!