Gold Standard Pre-Workout is Here from Optimum Nutrition!

Optimum Nutrition has recently confirmed and released one of the biggest things to hit the market all year:

The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is here!

Could this finally be a pre workout supplement worthy of the ON Gold Standard?

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Our Gold Standard Pre Workout Summary

Gold Standard Pre Workout

Is the new Gold Standard of Pre Workouts here?

Looking at the label below, you can see that we have relatively tempered enthusiasm.

While we’re extremely happy that it’s an open label, and there’s nothing bad in here by any means…. there’s also nothing that’s going to blow anyone’s mind. A pretty decent formula that will work well at 1.5 scoops, and should be priced accordingly.

It’s the safe bet. Everyone will “like” it – there’s nothing to hate here – but it won’t be the talk of the town either.

In short, if Optimum Nutrition can bring this one in at a low enough price level ($15-20), we’ll be happy. But if this is selling for $30, we’ll gladly pass.

Things can change, but we just don’t see it cracking our Top 10 pre workouts list.

Below, we analyze each of the ingredients and discuss the most important part: dosage.

Gold Standard Pre Workout Ingredients

Gold Standard Pre Workout Ingredients

The Gold Standard Pre Workout Ingredients. This tub will need to be about $15 or less for us to get excited here.

With an open formula, we’re able to give this a great bit of analysis. After that, our biggest concern, especially when buying from a top-notch value brand, is overall value.

Below, we’ll explain why this is likely a 1.5+ scoop product, so that needs to be factored into the cost.

  • Caffeine (175mg)

    The amount of caffeine is going to be the primary driver of your dosage of Gold Standard Pre. For us, we’d be at ~1.5 scoops, but many others will want two scoops, which brings the product cost into question.

    The extreme people who need more than two scoops are unlikely to be interested in this supplement unless there’s a really good price drop (get signed up above!)

    Beginners should start at 1 scoop or less to assess tolerance.

    We’re not going to get into the benefits of caffeine – it works for energy, focus, mood, etc – let’s save the science for the other ingredients:

  • Creatine Monohydrate (3g CreaPure)

    All systems go here. At this point, creatine monohydrate is nothing fancy, and it really shouldn’t be: it’s the most tested ergogenic in history, and has numerous studies for the following benefits when taken at 3-5g per day in both men and women (with benefits showing up quickly):

    • Creatine VO2 Max

      Over the course of two weeks, creatine increases VO2 Max in HIIT (high intensity interval training)[13]

      Power[1,2,3,4]
    • Lean Mass[5,6,7]
    • Weight[2,8]
    • Hydration[9]
    • Sprinting Capacity[2,4]
    • Minor Testosterone Increase[10,11]
    • Overall Well-Being[12]
    • Better Oxygen utilization[13]
    • Decreased Soreness (minor)[14]
    • Increased Endurance (minor)
    • Decreased Fatigue[15]

    There are studies done on nearly every sport, and we’re only citing a small fraction of them (15 out of 700!)

    Note that even more studies show efficacy when using more creatine (up to 20g per day), but none using less, which leads us to a small rant below.

    Creatine is SAFE!

    It’s also ridiculously safe, so if you’re still “afraid” of creatine, you need to look at the research above that cites no side effects.

    Perfect Dosage: A switch from C4 will yield results

    3g per scoop is great, since we’re thinking this is a 1.5 scoop product and most studies have at least 5g used.

    A serious issue we have with other popular pre workouts is that they “dust” creatine just so that it’s on the label, and then the more inexperienced users think that they’re getting the benefits listed above, when they’re really not.

    This is not the case with Gold Standard Pre, and if you’re switching from something like Cellucor C4 Extreme (an offender of the above ‘dusting’ issue), and you never supplemented extra creatine on top of C4, you will get results here.

    We’re at the point in thinking that pre workout manufacturers should either do creatine right, or they shouldn’t use it at all. ON did it right here.

    On long-term safety and the fear of kidney damage

    Every year, there are also more long-term safety studies published, in which users continuously take creatine for years, reap the benefits, and have no side effects – especially not in the kidneys. Researchers have known this and had this data for over a decade![20,21,22]

  • L-Citrulline Malate (1.5g)

    The Citrulline Pathway

    The Citrulline Pathway… works best when you have more, though

    This is where the formula falls on its face.

    L-Citrulline is an incredible amino acid that gets converted to L-arginine, and then goes on to boost nitric oxide levels better than arginine.[16,17]

    This L-Citrulline-induced nitric oxide level boost leads to all sorts of impressive benefits, including

    • Increased training capacity / volume[18]
    • A minor boost to growth hormone levels[16,17]
    • Reduced Fatigue[19]
    • Less Soreness[18]

    This is all great, except for two things:

    1. ON is using Citrulline Malate, not L-Citrulline

      By using the cheaper malate form, you are effectively cutting your L-citrulline dosage in half.

      This is going to get far less of the nitric oxide benefits listed above (yet will provide for a few extra endurance benefits thanks to the malic acid).

      While AstraGin might help amplify these effects, this product is essentially not going to be as good as our other favorites in the weightroom.

      It will likely function great on the playing field or in endurance workouts, but this isn’t a heavy weightlifter’s product because of this dosage (unless you feel like adding more bulk citrulline / agmatine / nitrate).

    2. The dosage is not enough.

      The studies cited above use 6g of citrulline malate or 3g of L-citrulline. You’re simply not going to get those dosages in with this product without getting a relatively hazardous amount of caffeine (and then it would cost a lot of money).

    Ultimately, this is the area where we believe ON went soft for weightlifters.

    But maybe they’re not planning on marketing Gold Standard PreWorkout to the guys and gals in the gym…

  • Beta Alanine (1.5g)

    By now, most supplement users should be familiar with beta alanine. It’s the amino acid that boosts endurance, but also gives many users a tingling sensation in the skin (known as a paresthesia) that is very safe.

    Beta alanine boosts how long athletes last, which then turns into more overall workload... which, if you eat right, means more gains!

    Beta alanine boosts how long athletes last, which then turns into more overall workload… which, if you eat right, means more gains!

    Taking beta alanine keeps your muscles loaded with more carnosine[23], which then helps your muscles buffer acids such as lactic acid.[24] It actually works in a way familiar to antioxidants.[25]

    Does it work? Definitely – especially if your performance is between 1 and 4 minutes.

    In fact, there is research for all of the following sports, with studies on both males and females:

    • Rowing[26]
    • Wrestling[27]
    • Football[27,28]
    • Weight lifting / resistance training[29]
    • Cycling (studies on both males and females)[30,31]
    • Overall exercise[32]
    • Running[33]

    Simply put, if you’re an athlete, you’re stupid not to use the stuff. We say that with love, but at this point with all the research cited above, it’s the truth.

    What about dosage?

    Gold Standard Pre has 1.5g per scoop – pretty good. Most studies have the best success at 3.2g per day, so this is going to fall just a touch short, especially if using under 2 scoops.

    If you need to, you can see PricePlow’s beta alanine page to get additional BA for off-days and to add another gram sometime outside of your workout if using 1.5 scoops of this.

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (375mg)

    This is our favorite form of L-Carnitine – also known as ALCAR – it’s the cognitive-boosting form of carnitine that will give you a good bump in focus.[34]

    Once again, though, dosage is of concern: the study cited above used 1500mg/day, which you won’t get here. However, anecdotally, 500mg is where things start feeling pretty good with ALCAR, so 1.5 scoops might do the trick.

    Don’t expect weight loss from L-Carnitine Supplements, unless…

    Note that L-Carnitine does not promote fat loss or weight loss, except for individuals who are carnitine-deficient.

    That is typically only the case in vegans / vegetarians and the elderly. We discuss this further in a few different places in our Best Fat Burner buyer’s guide (there is a “scams” section, but note that ALCAR is not a scam in terms of focus and other benefits).

  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (250mg)

    Another focus booster, and potential endurance enhancer as well.

    Most research is done on L-Tyrosine, but N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is our favorite form – it’s the most stable form.[35]

    There are a few good studies on cognition, all done by military units.[36,37] It works well even when you’re low on sleep.

    However, once again, they were using higher dosages, so the benefits may be less here. However, this is a pretty standard supplemental dosage of L-Tyorsine here – 250-500mg is great for starters.

    If you’re more interested in focus, then you’ll need to buy separate products.

  • AstraGIN (25mg)

    AstraGIN is a proprietary blend of astragalus and panax notoginseng, and has been shown to be an ingredient amplifier.

    If there’s one ingredient that’s going to save the day here, it’s going to be this one. Reason being, it could potentially enhance the nitric oxide boosting abilities of the lower dosage of L-Citrulline Malate.[38]

    However, every supplement we’ve tried that went this route didn’t really work out – it might help, but you still need serious amounts of citrulline for a pump and gym-time strength boost.

  • Supporting Vitamins and Nutrients

    Finally, Gold Standard Pre will provide you with:

    • 100mg citrus bioflavonoids
    • Vitamin D, which we always recommend
    • Niacin
    • Vitamin B6
    • Folic Acid
    • Vitamin B12
    • Pantothenic Acid
    • 1 Carbohydrate (not sure what from)

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Overall, it’s a good-but-not-great formula. The creatine dose is appreciated, but the citrulline dose is not.

Once again, since we want our standard pre workouts to cost less than $1/workout, and this is a 1.5 scooper for most, we’re going to want to see it closer to $15, not $30. We just don’t know if we’ll see that happen, so for now, our wallets are on the sidelines.

The flavors

The initial flavors will be pretty standard, with one interesting twist:

  • Fruit Punch
  • Blueberry Lemonade
  • Green Apple
  • Watermelon

Blueberry lemonade is the one we rarely see, and is the one we’d most like to try because of that!

Our earlier ingredients write-up:

The front of the label features:

  • 175mg Caffeine (from natural sources)

  • 1.5g Beta Alanine

  • 3g creatine monohydrate

So far, the start of a good pre workout meant for the mass public.

  • Creatine is from Creapure (good)
  • Astragin (patented combination of Astragalus and Panax Ginseng – an ingredient amplifier)
  • L-Citrulline, and it’s above the beta alanine, so we’re getting at least 1.5g of it
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), which is a PricePlow house favorite for stimulant-free focus and endurance support
  • N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, the better-absorbed L-Tyrosine which works great for focus at the right levels.
  • Celery??
  • Grapefruit seed extract?? Citrus Bioflavanoids

What do you think??

Also note that this is banned substance free, which makes sense given ON’s enormous userbase.

Initial review thoughts

It’s going to be far better than Platinum PRE-… and looks like a but will ultimately depend on the dosages of the citrulline, ALCAR, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. And cost, of course.

For us, it looks like a solid 1.5 scooper, which gets you 20 workouts. Can the product stay in the sub-$20 range? We’ll do our best to keep the prices low.

Will this replace Platinum Pre?

Alex Carneiro of Optimum Nutrition has confirmed that this will not replace Platinum PRE-, so both will be available.

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In the meantime, you can sign up for release updates below, or go to our Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout page and click Get Price Alerts.

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References

  1. Bemben, M; The effects of supplementation with creatine and protein on muscle strength following a traditional resistance training program in middle-aged and older men.; Neuromuscular Lab, Dept. Health & Exercise Science, U. Oklahoma; 2010
  2. Eckerson, J; Effect of thirty days of creatine supplementation with phosphate salts on anaerobic working capacity and body weight in men.; Department of Exercise Science, Creighton University; 2008
  3. Netreba, A; [Creatine as a metabolic controller of skeletal muscles structure and function in strength exercises in humans].; Ross Fiziol; 2006
  4. Okudan, N; The effects of creatine supplementation on performance during the repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise.; Department of Physiology, Meram Faculty of Medicine; 2005
  5. Gotshalk, L; Creatine supplementation improves muscular performance in older women.; Department of Health and Physical Education, University of Hawaii\; 2008
  6. Hoffman, J; Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes.; Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey; 2006
  7. Chilibeck, P; Effect of creatine ingestion after exercise on muscle thickness in males and females.; College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan; 2004
  8. Branch, J; Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis.; Department of Exercise Science, Physical Education, and Recreation at Old Dominion University; 2003
  9. Lopez, R; Does creatine supplementation hinder exercise heat tolerance or hydration status? A systematic review with meta-analyses.; University of Connecticut; 2009
  10. Hoffman, J; Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes.; Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey; 2006
  11. Volek, J; The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching.; Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut; 2004
  12. McMorris, T; Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of catecholamines and cortisol.; Centre for Sports Science and Medicine, University College Chichester; 2006
  13. Graef, J; The effects of four weeks of creatine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on cardiorespiratory fitness: a randomized controlled trial.; Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Huston Huffman Center; 2009
  14. Bassit, R; Effect of short-term creatine supplementation on markers of skeletal muscle damage after strenuous contractile activity.; Departamento de Fisiologia e Biofísica, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas I, Universidade de São Paulo; 2010
  15. Anomasiri, W; Low dose creatine supplementation enhances sprint phase of 400 meters swimming performance.; Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University; 2004
  16. Ochiai, M; Short-term effects of L-citrulline supplementation on arterial stiffness in middle-aged men.; Healthcare Products Development Center, Kyowa Hakko Bio; 2012
  17. Moinard, C; Dose-ranging effects of citrulline administration on plasma amino acids and hormonal patterns in healthy subjects: the Citrudose pharmacokinetic study.; Laboratoire de Biologie de la Nutrition, Université Paris Descartes; 2008
  18. Perez-Guisado; Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.; Department of Medicine, University of Córdoba; 2010
  19. Hickner, R; L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test.; Human Performance Laboratory, East Carolina University; 2006
  20. Mayhew, D; Effects of long-term creatine supplementation on liver and kidney functions in American college football players.; Exercise Science Program, Truman State University; 2002
  21. Groeneveld, G; Few adverse effects of long-term creatine supplementation in a placebo-controlled trial.; Department of Neurology, University Medical Centre Utrecht; 2005
  22. Poortmans, J; Long-term oral creatine supplementation does not impair renal function in healthy athletes.; Chimie Physiologique, Institut Supérieur d’Education Physique et de Kinésithérapie, Université Libre de Bruxelles; 1999
  23. Drozak, J; Molecular identification of carnosine synthase as ATP-grasp domain-containing protein 1 (ATPGD1).; Laboratory of Physiological Chemistry, Université Catholique de Louvain; 2010
  24. Hipkiss, A; On the enigma of carnosine’s anti-ageing actions.; School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, The University of Birmingham; 2009
  25. Boldyrev, A; Does carnosine possess direct antioxidant activity?; Department of Biochemistry, Moscow State University; 1993
  26. Baguet, A; Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance.; Dept. of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University; 2010
  27. Kern, B; Effects of β-alanine supplementation on performance and body composition in collegiate wrestlers and football players.; Human Performance and Physical Education Department, Adams State College; 2011
  28. Hoffman J; Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players.; Department of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey; 2008
  29. Hoffman, J; Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise.; Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey; 2008
  30. Stout, J; Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women.; Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma; 2007
  31. Zoeller, R; Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion.; Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Florida Atlantic University; 2007
  32. Hobson, R; Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis.; Biomedical, Life and Health Sciences Research Centre, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University; 2012
  33. Jordan, T; Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) during treadmill running: Pre/post 2 treatment experimental design.; School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences, Northern Illinois University; 2010
  34. Cipolli, C; Effects of L-acetylcarnitine on mental deterioration in the aged: initial results; La Clinica Terapeutica; 1990
  35. Magnusson, I; N-acetyl-L-tyrosine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine as tyrosine and cysteine precursors during intravenous infusion in humans.; Department of Clinical Physiology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge Hospital; 1998
  36. Deijen, J; Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course.; Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Vrije Universiteit; 1999
  37. Neri, D; The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness.; Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory; 1995
  38. Zhang, W; Astragaloside IV from Astragalus membranaceus shows cardioprotection during myocardial ischemia in vivo and in vitro.; Department of Natural Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University; 2006
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