Back from the time before sucralose…
A Greek Mythology Brand?
There’s a trend of supplement companies using ancient Greek buzzwords for names. It started with Olympus Labs and Sparta Nutrition, but now you can add a newcomer to the list with Acropolis Nutrition.
Relatively new, Acropolis has just a single product available as we write this, and it’s a fantastically-dosed pre workout supplement with no artificial sweeteners! It’s named PRE Historic, and this pre-workout packs a pump-infused punch but is balanced with BCAAs and a solid energy complex.
It can be hard to trust new products that come onto the supplement scene, but Acropolis Nutrition’s claim to glory is that its product contains:
- NO Underdosing
- NO Proprietary Blends
- NO Artificial Colors
- NO Artificial Flavors
- NO Artificial Sweeteners
- NO GMO
- NO Soy or other Fillers
- NO Synthetic or Harmful Anti-Caking Agents
If you’re tired of artificial ingredients littering your “health” products, then those reasons alone are enough to look at the label and give it a chance. We always appreciate these companies who go down the road of full label transparency.
Why should I care about artificial versus natural?
Supplement buyers have begun to consider the effects of artificial additions inside of their products, especially when it comes to flavors, colors, sweeteners, and thickening / anti-caking agents. This is obviously a personal decision, but the trend is moving towards natural after questions have arisen regarding damage to the gut microbiome, amongst other things.
PRE Historic does not use sucralose, but instead relies on stevia for a sweetening effect – but as you’ll see in Mike and CJ’s initial test below, it sure doesn’t taste like it! Stevia often brings a bitter taste, but the game has changed and new formulas like Acropolis Nutrition’s have access to the latest “anti-bitter” forms.
In addition, many of the natural colors have their own benefits. For instance, using spirulina instead of the question mark that comes in the form of “blue #1”, or turmeric (or beta-carotene) instead of yellow #5. Or, in the case of PRE Historic here, using beet root instead of Red #40! The natural forms have additional uses, while the colors typically do not.
Click here to see AcropolisNutrition.com!
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Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.
But Does It Work? The PRE Historic Ingredients
Outside of our experience (which has been fantastic for Mike as well as our new supplement reviewer, Matt), the only other way to tell how this product will work for you is by taking a look at the label. Being a newer brand, you likely won’t find much feedback online yet.
So let’s dive right into that label.
A tub of PRE Historic comes with twenty servings at full-strength, and each serving is packed in a twenty-seven gram scoop. This gets you excited knowing there are no unnecessary fillers here, because you can assume you will get a heavy dose of quality ingredients.
Each scoop comes with twenty calories and five grams of carbs, thanks to the rice syrup solids there to help with flavoring… and an unexpected anti-caking agent we’ll get to later!
But let’s blast into the panel, which is where we always like to hang out:
Pump/Nitric Oxide Matrix (7.8g)
Kicking off the ingredients is a three ingredient matrix designed to pump you up.
L-Citrulline Malate (7g)
These doses just keep getting higher, don’t they? No complaints about this 7g of L-Citrulline, which is going to bust your veins right out of your skin! Known as the pump ingredient, PRE Historic packs a serious 3.5g of L-Citrulline bound to malic acid. Citrulline drives nitric oxide uptake during high-intensity exercise, and it actually works by converting into L-Arginine first — but this nitric oxide pathway works far better than taking L-Arginine itself.
Many companies skimp on the dosage but PRE Historic contains an above-average dose of citrulline, and and we love it! Pump chaser or not, this will get your blood flowing and may impart some endurance benefits too.
Beet Root Extract (500mg)
Beet root extract (Beta Vulgaris) is a great “supporting” N.O. booster thanks to its high nitrate content. Nitrates increase nitric oxide production through a different pathway than the citrulline/arginine one.
Nitrates are powerful nitric oxide enhancers, but they are also extremely useful performance maximizers too, since they can improve blood flow, VO2 max, and oxygen utilization.
We like beetroot because it is another “add on” pump ingredient that hits a different pathway from citrulline. However, beetroot extracts are sporadic with their nitrate standardizations, so the amount of powder you actually “need” isn’t always known. Ultimately it comes down to how much nitrate was standardized out of this powder, and since we don’t know the answer there, we have to rely on first-hand experience (which we’ll cover later).
Bonus: this provides the color too!
L-Norvaline is derived from Valine. It is an enzyme inhibitor, which means it will prevent the degradation of arginine in the body. Basically, more arginine equals more nitric oxide, which equals more pumps!
Norvaline and citrulline work together like peanut butter and jelly (but not orange jelly because that would be disgusting). While one boosts arginine levels, the other will keep your body from breaking down arginine.[5,6]
We call this “playing defense” to protect your NO levels, while citrulline and beet root play “offense”.
With the inclusion of a mega citrulline dose, beet root extract, and norvaline, PRE Historic has the making of a potent pump cocktail.
Strength/Performance Complex (7g)
PRE Historic uses a well-rounded performance complex to compliment its pump matrix (note that many companies put these ingredients into their “pump” complexes but this is far more genuine). The strength complex includes a few ingredients you would expect from a pre-workout:
CarnoSync Beta-Alanine (3g)It might sound like a broken record, but you know a decent dose of beta-alanine will give you a “tingle effect.” It is quite clear that BA is a valuable addition for those who may lack endurance or find their muscles fatiguing easily during a workout. By increasing carnosine levels in skeletal muscle tissue, beta alanine allows users to increase endurance and reduce “fatigue-like” effects (the carnosine helps in lactic acid buffering, and helps support any pH drop).
This makes it ideal for those who may be doing high volume workouts consisting of drop-sets and giant sets, because Beta-Alanine works best in the 1-4 minute exercise range.
3g might scare those unfamiliar with the Beta-Alanine tingles, but the itchy hands and ears are worth the performance benefits! But do note that this is just shy of those clinical 3.2g dose studies. We’re fine with that, but it’s worth pointing out if you’re a true stickler and wanting to make official “claims”.
BetaPower® Betaine (2g)
Betaine is gaining steam for its performance benefits. It works in conjunction creatine to drive the body’s production of creatine. It can help regulate homocysteine levels, which in turn will increase performance output and prevent users from fatiguing sooner.[7,8]
The dose here is a bit below the full daily dose prescribed in research (2.5g), but it should still work well with the added creatine to drive performance, which leads us to our next ingredient. We have a feeling Acropolis is setting the stage for a post-workout to cover the other end… but more on that later…
Creatine HCl (2g)
We don’t need to cover creatine’s benefits in depth, since it’s the most time-proven supplement around (outside of caffeine).
PRE Historic comes with a 2g of Creatine HCl. That’s over half of the minimum we would like for the day, so you’re going to need more elsewhere to obtain true “research-backed” benefits. While creatine monohydrate is the most studied and proven of the creatine forms, Creatine HCl (hydrochloride) has a unique property compared to its monohydrate counterpart:
Why Creatine Hydrochloride?
Creatine HCl is simply a creatine bound to hydrochloric acid, which gives it better water solubility. The research indicates it needs to be dosed in similar proportions, to offer the added benefits. Many users report less bloating with Creatine HCl, and it may possibly be easier to digest for those with sensitive digestive systems. It stands to reason that using Creatine HCl instead of monohydrate could help prevent that from happening.
Sure, Creatine HCl sounds better in theory, but we still want 3-5g per day. Users will need to find the other 1-3 grams elsewhere. The inclusion of HCl is promising news for those who experience issues with other forms of creatine.
Overall, the strength complex looks great but leaves us desiring one more gram from the creatine dosage. The whole “2g of creatine HCl is equivalent to 5g creatine monohydrate” argument is long dead and over. But 3g of each? We’ll take HCl if we can get it cheap enough.
So maybe the company may have an intra-workout or post-workout in the mix that could cover the remaining 1-3 grams needed, which would make sense as to why the PRE Historic appears a gram under dosed. Time will tell?!
Either way, find another gram of creatine or just eat a ton of gyro beef like a true greek warrior and get it in the pre historic way!!
Energy / Focus Complex (6.6g)
A common pre-workout addition, L-Taurine has multiple benefits across the body. Taurine is an osmolyte and aids with cellular hydration, which directly enhances endurance. Another benefit of taurine, is that it works synergistically with caffeine to improve focus and mental performance.
With 1.5g of Taurine, PRE Historic is using a quite strong dose.
But which complex does it go in? (All of them!)
Here’s what’s cool: this could have been added to the performance complex (due to the taurine endurance link above), the pump complex (water transfer to cells for the “water pump”), or the mental performance angle here. Clearly the latter of those is why Acropolis likes taurine.
With 1.5g of L-Tyrosine, this is clearly focused on improving your focus during your workout!
In our opinion, L-Tyrosine is a more effective form of tyrosine compared to its alternative, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine. 1.5g is where the dose starts getting serious, which is what we like here.
Tyrosine drives production of various neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When these neurotransmitter levels are elevated, you should experience a much better focus, concentration, and decreased level of stress and anxiety.
PurCaf® Organic Coffee Bean Extract (300mg)
Similar to creatine, we aren’t going to explain the benefits of caffeine. It is one the most proven performance enhancers around. PRE Historic uses PurCaf Organic Coffee for its caffeine source.
PurCaf® is a patented form of caffeine that is 90% organic pure caffeine extract derived from water-extracted green coffee beans.
Natural caffeine confers all the same energy-boosting and performance-enhancing qualities that more conventional synthetic forms of the stim offer. However, some users swear they get a “smoother” energy curve, although we can’t officially claim that.
Another positive here is that you can sleep soundly at night knowing your caffeine source is naturally-sourced, if you’re into such things (most people using PRE Historic will be).
L-theanine has become increasingly popular in pre-workouts to help balance the undesired effects of caffeine and other types of stimulants. It also enhances the cognitive effects of caffeine, which means you get an improved focus, and your fatigue levels should be lowered in addition to stress, and anxiety.[13-15]
Generally, our favorite balance is a 2:1 ratio of caffeine to theanine, but PRE Historic elected to go with a split 1:1 ratio to keep things a bit less insane. We expect this might cause the caffeine effects to be somewhat tempered, but we’ll touch on this a bit later.
BCAA Blend (3g)
PRE Historic uses a 2:1:1 ratio that we have come to expect from a BCAA matrix. Dosed at 1500mg of Leucine and 750mg of Isoleucine and 750mg of Valine, it might leave some seeking out added BCAA supplementation.
The ratio is the industry standard, and despite the whole “EAA vs BCAA” war (when it comes to building muscle, a complete protein is always better than an incomplete one), pre workout is a great time to get some in your blood stream to prevent catabolism during your workout, the best benefit of BCAAs!
Since the BCAAs are fermented, it improves the mixability of the product as well. When going all natural, we love it when this kind of “ingredient cheating” includes additional benefits – similar to when natural colors add more benefits, as discussed in the intro.
The “Other” Stuff
The remaining agents and ingredients are fairly typical but it sure is nice to see organic options used alongside the natural flavors and sweeteners.
You’ll notice that PRE Historic has 5g carbohydrates providing 20 calories, and that’s mostly coming from the organic rice syrup solids. This is no doubt to assist with the sweetening, and it works out fantastically well because there is no stevia “bite” here for us!
While there’s an over-abundance of carbophobes out there, realize that pre workout is the time to take carbs! If anything, 5g carbs is a performance enhancer, even though the studies showing that carbs boost performance use even higher doses.
Here’s the official list of the other stuff, with some guesses as to doses:
- Stevia Extract (450mg)
- Organic Rice Syrup Solids (~4.5g?)
- Nu-Flow Rice Hulls (~0.5g?)
- Natural Flavors
Rice Hulls?! (Say goodbye to silica)
We had to look into these Nu-Flow Rice Hulls, and they’re made by a company named Ribus, who has several organic and natural rice-based alternative ingredients.
These rice hulls are used for blending spices, spray drying, and anti-caking / flow-aid, which is what we’re going for here!
This is why you won’t see Silicon Dioxide on the label like so many other products — the rice hulls perform the same job but with no silica necessary! Note that if companies want to make an “organic” claim, they definitely can’t put silica inside, so this ingredient is becoming popular.
Hope You Like Berry Lemonade!
The only flavor option for this product is Berry Lemonade. It tastes decent for a pre-workout but we aren’t sure it’s entirely enjoyable to drink. With pre-workout, as long as they don’t taste bad, we won’t knock it. If the flavor sucks and the workout sucks, then we have an issue.
Our PRE Historic Review and Thoughts
Matt tried out this product and sent Mike and CJ a tub to use as well. Matt says it delivers on its pump claims and is a worthy pre-workout supplement – and Mike – when not striving for ketosis – has now used it three times and agrees!
Although Mike likes less L-Theanine and wants a more “face-punchy” caffeine hit, Matt doesn’t find the theanine to overpower the caffeine effects in any noticeable way.
All in all, Matt added that
- It delivers a killer pump,
- It gives solid endurance and prolonged energy, and
- The taurine and tyrosine combo is good enough to give you the needed focus to power through the gym for an hour to an hour and a half.
Go Pre Historic on that Workout
Acropolis Nutrition did a couple cool things here that we hadn’t seen, namely the combination of stevia, rice hulls, and rice syrup solids to help get rid of sucralose and silicon dioxide. There’s some healthy “cheating” that boosts performance, such as the malic acid part of citrulline malate assisting with flavor, while BCAAs help with texture and anti-caking.
We’ve never met Acropolis Nutrition, but they seem to have some smart heads on their shoulders with those moves, and the natural / stevia crowd should really appreciate how they went about it.
At the end of the day, the label has a lot to love, but we can’t lie about our want for a bit more creatine and betaine just to get it over and done with. But we’re guessing Acropolis has a post workout on the horizon, as is the industry norm with these kinds of things!
Long story short? If you can grab a touch of creatine and betaine elsewhere (or a bunch of beef and spinach), we’re confident you’ll have some strong workouts.
We came in joking about the product name on YouTube. We left more than impressed, and the right customer will enjoy this Greek God of a formula true and through.
Click here to see AcropolisNutrition.com!
Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.
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