You know that guy at the gym who has long, epic workouts with nearly equally epic rest periods? The one who crushes a ton of volume over the long course of time, and has the size and strength to back it up?
We know guys like this, and we recently learned that they’re actually right:
A recent study published by Brad Schoenfeld showed that longer inter-set rest periods (of three minutes) enhanced strength and size compared to those who waited one minute — likely due to their ability to lift more on the next set, and increase overall volume thanks to that extra rest.
Workhorse? Then meet the WORKHORSE:
We also learned that there is a supplement meant for just these types of lifters, and it was so unique that we had to do a double-take to understand what it was really doing.
Its name is WORKHORSE, and its made by a company named Black Sheep Supplements.
A transitional supplement: part pre workout, part intra workout supplement
Workhorse is a product is a hybrid supplement, in a product category that we didn’t even know existed! What’s the category, you ask? Well, let’s call it a “pre-intra workout” or a “post-pre workout.”
This isn’t for everyone, but if you’re going through one of those three hour workouts with the now-research-backed three-minute rest periods, then get ready to meet the supplement you take some time between hours one and two.
Let’s give you some insight into Black Sheep before breaking down this polarizing product, but for those of you who just want to see the supplement, check it out first:
Who Is Black Sheep Supplements?
Dylan Burns is an amateur bodybuilder who goes on epic training sessions. The market lacked a few supplements that he felt he needed, and believes he created something superior to what was on the market.
Dylan began designing his own supplements after being worn out from contest prep and frustrated with an industry he believed was “flooded with hype, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and under-dosing.” No arguments there! Dylan decided to start mixing his custom formulation for his contest preparation, and stumbled on a few very original ideas.
Black Sheep’s mission is to create clean and well dosed supplements with no artificial or fake flavors for those who are looking for a trusted source of supplementation. These supplements are based on the attitude that real food and hard work come first. According to Black Sheep, supplementation is there to improve an already solid bodybuilding program.
Now on to the beast we recently had the pleasure of testing:
WORKHORSE Will Give You Horse-Like Strength
Okay, maybe not. WORKHORSE is a comprehensive intra-workout supplement specifically designed to enhance blood flow, pump, and feed muscles. But with a couple of twists.
Workhorse combines immediate carbs from dextrose with a touch of caffeine (100mg – equivalent to a small cup of coffee) that kicks in during the latter part of your workout to keep you going stronger, longer, and harder. Workhorse also contains MSM powder (methylsulfonylmethane) to aid connective tissue and joints, by donating some sulfur to your depleted body. Even better, Workhorse is free of artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors. In fact, two of the main ingredients are the flavors!
Is it a pre? Is it an intra? We say early-intra for those insane sessions
Well, why did Mike and Matt determine this was a “pre-intra” or “post-pre” product? One glance at the label’s directions and you will see!
When you read the directions, twenty ounces is the recommended amount of water for a two scoop serving. Here is where things get interesting. The directions then tells user to drink the entire mixture “within fifteen minutes of warming up.”
But it makes sense when you realize that some people train for hours — not minutes — and they want something to helps sustain them! Say you have a fast metabolism and you take a pre workout supplement 30 minutes before a 2.5hr training marathon. You’re going to want something extra along the way!
So on our YouTube channel, Mike and Matt had a fun time figuring this out, because the “pre vs. intra” speculation created some awesome conversations about the ideal time to take these ingredients! Ultimately, you decide when you want to take this product – but it can be a “light-stimmed” pre workout for regular training sessions, or an epic intra workout for those longer sessions!
Our WORKHORSE video analysis
The Black Sheep Workhorse Ingredients
Right off the bat, Workhorse packs thirty powerful servings of 43 grams of product! That is a massive dosing! Kicking off the label are the 73 calories, coming from Workhorse’s 18 grams of carbohydrates, based upon dextrose.
Dextrose (20 grams)
Dextrose, which is more commonly referred to as d-glucose, is a monosaccharide (simple sugar) that’s approximately 30% less sweet than pure sugar. This one’s here for speed.
Dextrose has a higher glycemic index (GI) rating, so it enters the bloodstream rapidly. This is a sought after element for energy and glycogen reload mid-workout. Dextrose quickly transports itself (and perhaps other nutrients you consume with it) to your muscles to begin the process of recovery, reload, and replenishment. Simple sugars like dextrose are shown to be the most effective forms of carbohydrates in replenishing muscle glycogen after exercise compared to other forms like fructose, which are better at filling liver glycogen. We care about muscles here!
Dextrose is usually made from corn, which makes it a natural carb source that’s easily utilized by the body and a commonly preferred intra-workout carb source. Your body does not need to do much processing to get it into the tissue.
It makes sense that WORKHORSE packs a heavy dose of Dextrose — this helps deliver on its claim to power users through their training. What better way to power through than using your body’s own carb supply?! It will help regardless of the pre-workout or intra-workout options discussed above. Either way, you’ll be locked and loaded on carbs for energy and should avoid “bonking” that much longer!
L-Citrulline (5 grams)
FOR THOSE WHO PUT IN THE WORK
Stop us if you have heard it before, but we all know L-Citrulline is one of the kings of nitric oxide pump ingredients. Workhorse packs five grams, giving users more than the clinically proven dose! As we have covered often, L-citrulline is an amino acid that converts into L-arginine when it gets digested. L-arginine then joins the nitric oxide pathway and helps produce more NO in the body.
More nitric oxide is a direct contributor to the vasodilatory experience in the body, and this vasodilation generally means greater pumps, thanks to enhanced blood flow. Further, the increased blood flow allows more effective nutrient delivery. When taken in conjunction with Dextrose or other nutrients, you create an effective means to deliver power ingredients to your muscles when you need them most!
Raspberry Ketone Powder 99% (2.75 grams)
Now here’s where WORKHORSE starts to get very unique! This is an ingredient we’ve never seen in a workout supplement, and it turns out that Black Sheep is using it not only for some of the benefits below, but as a natural flavoring agent! The flavor of this product is known as “Raspberry Beetdown”, after all.
In terms of the ingredient, raspberry ketones may help to accelerate fat loss and improve glucose metabolism, but this isn’t a slam dunk. It’s based upon rat research, but the human equivalent doses are right in this range! So whereas those raspberry ketone capsules could not possibly work as well in their small doses that were hyped for way too long, this actually might!
Raspberry ketones are aromatic compounds that naturally occur in raspberries. They’re marketed as a pro-lipolytic compound, but concrete evidence proving these claims has mostly been done on animals.
Either way, they seem to have at least some benefits, and if they’re really here for the flavor, it’s a double-whammy, and kind of a brilliant idea. Why not have your flavor do some work for you while you’re at it?!
L-Glutamine (2 grams)
Glutamine is the most common occurring amino acid in the body and is often promoted as a recovery agent. Its benefits for recovery after training may be overblown, but it is a preferred supplement by many.
Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, yet is also the most abundant amino acid in the body. This may lead you to ask, “Why then, should I take it?” Well, during high intensity exercise (the demographic Black Sheep seems to be chasing here), glutamine stores can be depleted, which could shift glutamine from conditionally essential to “essential” if your goal is to avoid premature fatigue and enhance recovery! This makes Glutamine a solid addition for a product geared to jumpstart recovery or prolong the fight against fatigue, like with Workhorse.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) (1 gram)
MSM, short for methylsulfonylmethane, is a naturally-occurring organic sulfur compound found in green vegetables and other food products. Although it can be obtained from food, the amounts in natural substances are significantly lower than what research has shown to be beneficial.
Joint aid supplementation has been gaining popularity in recent years. No matter how careful you train, your body is going to wear down in one or more particular areas if you constantly push (or pull) for more, and you’re going to get injured to some extent. Some interesting research on MSM has shown that regularly consuming it can speed recovery from injury.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2015 enlisted 40 resistance-trained men to test for changes in soreness following intense training. The test group received 3 gram per day of MSM and the control received a placebo. At the end of the 28 days, researchers documented a greater absolute change in muscle soreness during passive knee flexion, meaning they experienced better recovery since there was less soreness felt.
At the very least, MSM acts as a sulfur donor, and nearly everyone who trains this hard becomes sulfur-deficient. There may be more to it, but we’ll take that extra sulfur no doubt – especially when it doesn’t taste or smell that horrible like other sulfur ingredients do!
If you’re constantly fighting chronic aches and pains or simply feel sore joint, MSM should be on you “must-have” list of supplements.
L-Arginine Monohydrochloride (1 gram)
Arginine used to be considered the king of pump ingredients until further data proved citrulline to be a superior form of delivery. For a while, it was the go-to choice for boosting nitric oxide (and pumps), but has fallen out of favor due to poor bioavailability and superior ingredients like our previous ingredient Citrulline Malate.
However, using the monohydrochloride form of this amino acid may increase bioavailability and deliver a noticable difference compared to Arginine alone. Many users like the citrulline + arginine combo, which is what we have here. As long as we have such an epic dose of citrulline and the agmatine below, we’re happy.
Agmatine Sulfate (1 gram)
Agmatine is typically seen as a pump ingredient, and when you consider the rest of Workhorse’s label, it is easy to see wh Black Sheep chose to include this ingredient! Agmatine Sulfate prevents the breakdown of nitric oxide. For 99% of the population, more nitric oxide means enhanced pumps when weight training, especially when paired with the other nitric oxide enhancers here.
Proper glucose transport assist!
Agmatine also has a unique advantage over citrulline in this formula, because it is better at putting glucose where you want it! Remember those 20 grams of Dextrose we looked at? Things come full circle, because this may help get those where they need to go – your muscles!
Beta-Alanine (1 gram)
Beta-Alanine is popular in pre workouts, but a bit added to intra-workout supplements may help keep the carnosine coming after the pre workout has done its job. Beta-Alanine boosts muscular endurance for exercises lasting 60-240 seconds long, however, for bouts of weight training, it might not be entirely necessary.
The clinical dose is 3.2g per day, which this is not – but if you add it to your main pre workout, you may be getting close to that efficacious range!
Many people swear by beta-alanine supplementation. Matt personally sees immediate effects and loves using it. Meanwhile, if you hate the tingles from beta-alanine, fear not! Workhorse only packs one gram, which shouldn’t cause any noticeable negative effects! Also, for many users, carbohydrate intake blunts those tingles, and we have 20 carbs inside!
Beet Powder (500mg)
Remember our flavor name of “Raspbery Beetdown”? Here’s the second of two ingredients serving dual purpose!
As a pump ingredient, nitrates are found in high amounts in beets and their roots and can have significant impact on vascularity via increased vasodilation during training. Most of the powerful pump products on the market have some form of nitrates, and WORKHORSE adds another compound to its pump blend with 500mg of Beet Powder.
This should have a synergistic effect alongside the other ingredients we discussed… and once again, we have an ingredient assisting with the flavor so we don’t need to rely on artificial ingredients!
Caffeine Anhydrous (100mg)
Finally, Workhorse packs a modest 100mg of caffeine. Nothing crazy here, but we all know the most grueling workouts can be a drag and often having a mild stimulant mid-workout can be a benefit. Since it is only 100mg, it should not be too noticeable but users who train in the evening and may need to gauge a safe zone for how much they should take of Workhorse, if caffeine keeps them awake at night.
As mentioned above, Workhorse embraces its ingredients to do the heavy lifting on the flavor side, and comes in a single flavor, “Raspberry Beetdown.” Thanks to the raspberry ketones and stevia sweetening, the flavor was enjoyable, as shown in our WORKHORSE video! For being naturally flavored and sweetened, Workhorse delivers a solid flavor without sacrificing ingredient efficacy. Just don’t expect sucralose and ace-k or other over-the-top artificial sweeteners.
Takeaway: A unique, monster formula for monster sessions
After reading the ingredients, you might understand why we struggle to place this in the “Pre-Workout” or “Intra-Workout” category, because it can honestly be used for both. But right now, we’re leaning for “early intra” on those long-haul sessions. Depending on when you train and your preference of ingredients, it might work better for you as one than it might for another!
This could be an ideal product for powerlifters, bodybuilders, or really anyone who trains and doesn’t mind some extra carbs coupled with proven performance boosting ingredients!
We know this isn’t for everyone, but we’ve seen people who would love this – natural bodybuilders who train more than anything else in their lives. We’re always thrilled to test unique supplements, and this takes unique to a whole new level. You can check out Black Sheep Supplements’ WORKHROSE below: