iSatori Pre-Gro Max: A Confusing Step Backwards

iSatori Pre Gro Max

Pre-Gro Max from iSatori is the newest version of the popular Pre-Gro preworkout that contains Bio-Gro and several other pixie dusted ingredients.

iSatori has just released Pre-Gro Max, the replacement to their Pre-Gro pre workout that’s infused with a dose of Bio-Gro™ Bio-Active Peptides from colostrum. This is the latest in a long line of new pre workouts from the supplement market that have debuted since the start of the new year.

While most of the new products we’ve analyzed as of late offer increased transparency and clinical dosings of ergogenics, Pre-Gro Max is a big step in the opposite direction.

TL;DR

This is a confusing label full of proprietary blends:

  • There’s 174.5mg total caffeine per scoop
  • The ergogenics will require a double-scoop, if you can handle the stim
  • The pumps are on the light side, even at two scoops
  • There’s 60 scoops per container, so it’s likely meant to be double-scooped

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iSatori Pre-Gro Max Ingredients

With the release of Pre-Gro Max, iSatori has taken a big step backwards in terms of transparency. Yesterday we showed a great example of how a prop blend can deceive you, and while the industry trend is for open labels, iSatori has decided to go the completely opposite route.

Below you’ll find a product crammed full of ingredients, but impossible to gauge if you’re getting efficacious doses even in two scoops.

Amounts listed below are for 1 scoop of Pre-Gro Max:

  • BIO-ACTIVE Muscle Building Complex (2,680mg)

    • Creatine Monohydrate

      iSatori Pre Gro Max Ingredients

      Pre-Gro Max is less transparent than its predecessor and contains numerous ingredients that are completely underdosed.

      Creatine monohydrate is the great, great grandaddy of the muscle-building supplement world. It’s been resoundingly endorsed and backed by research for its ability to improve strength, power, and lean mass gains.[1,2,3]

      However, to reap the benefits of creatine you need to be consuming between 3-5g daily, which you’re most definitely not getting here.

      Remember that last point, because it’s a common theme throughout this ingredient label.

      The good news is that there’s another creatine ingredient here… but with a 2.68g blend total, the math just can’t add up to a solid dose unless you’re double-scooping.

      We do some guesswork below when wondering what we’re getting, and at two scoops, 3g creatine is definitely feasible, but not guaranteed.

    • CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine

      Another one of the proven workout enhancers often included in pre workouts is the endurance maximizer Beta Alanine. Once ingested, beta alanine binds to histidine in the cells and forms carnosine, a powerful intracellular buffer.[4]

      Carnosine helps buffer the accumulation of lactic acid in the body which goes along way to improving endurance, stamina, and strength.[5,6,7]

      To be truly effective on par with clinical studies, though, research shows that you should be consuming 3.2g per day. Often times this can be spread out throughout the day, but without knowing how much is here, we’d have to simply guess and throw in another dose elsewhere in the day.

    • Bio-Gro™ Bio-Active Peptides

      iSatori BIo-Gro

      Bio-Gro is iSatori’s big cash cow that is synthesized from colostrum and touted as “fertilizer for your muscles.” We’re very pro-colostrum, but are still waiting on clear cut research to definitively prove this is worth the extra money…

      Here’s iSatori’s big cash cow in the supplement world, Bio-Gro™. It’s a patented collection of low molecular weight, micro-concentrated form of Bio-Active Peptides derived from colostrum billed as “fertilizer for muscles.”

      Bio-Gro™ is synthesized from colostrum, which is backed by research for enhancing lean lean mass gains, but typically when taken in higher doses.[8,9,10,11] We’re big proponents of colostrum, but we’ve always questioned if Bio-Gro™ is significantly better than colostrum, and at what dose?

      At long last, iSatori has finally released much of their research surrounding Bio-Gro™[12,13], and it shows that individuals will increase total training volume through improved recovery. Nothing earth-shattering, but definitely respectable for a natural compound that also has other general health benefits.

      iSatori’s been marching to the “Bio-Gro everywhere” beat lately. Like it or hate it, they have an industry success on their hands, no doubt. But does that make up for an otherwise confusing formula? We’ve see better results from 5g of dirt cheap creatine.

      We’re also not sure how much Bio-Gro is in here either, if you were planning on taking some extra post-workout. 250mg? Who knows.

    • Creatine MagnaPower®

      Creatine MagnaPower®, a.k.a. Magnesium Creatine Chelate (MCC), is a patented form of creatine produced by Albion Human Nutrition. MCC is creatine monohydrate chelate bonded to magnesium.

      Clinical trials funded by Albion show MCC is better absorbed by the body, but that’s potentially biased.[14] Independent research, however, proves it is in fact no better than monohydrate in terms of bioavailability or effectiveness.[15]

      The question is, does the MCC + the creatine mono give us the 3-5g we need everyday, or is this just included for label-dressing. If it’s after Bio-Gro, it’s likely not much.

  • h3>Plasma Expansion Matrix (760mg)
    • HydroMax™ Glycerol Powder (65%)

      HydroMax

      HydroMax is a high-yield glycerol that improves cellular hydration, endurance, and water-based pumps.

      HydroMax™ is the first of two forms of glycerol included in Pre-Gro Max. It is a much higher quality form of glycerol over monostearate (GMS) as it contains 65% glycerol whereas GMS only contains between 10-25% glycerol, the rest being a bunch of saturated fat.[16]

      HydroMax™ has become the top choice for glycerol in pre workouts these days due to its superior mixability and complete lack of clumping. It’s also a great endurance booster and hydration agent as it acts as a cell volumizer in cells, that makes them soak up extra water.[17,18]

      You’ll also experience very noticeable “water-based” pumps when dosing between 1.5-3g of HydroMax™.

    • Nitrosigine®

      Nitrosigine® is a patented form of the age-old nitric oxide booster Arginine bonded to silicate to improve bioavailability. Developed by Nutrition21, Nitrosigine® has been shown to not only increase N.O. levels after ingestions, but it’s also able to increase baseline N.O. levels![19]

      Basically, Nitrosigine initially increases N.O. production during your workouts, and with continual use, keeps those N.O. levels elevated for up to two weeks, which could lead to further long term heart-health benefits.

    • Glycerol Monostearate

      Our second form of glycerol comes in the older, lower-quality GMS. We reached out to iSatori to explain why GMS was included and not just more HydroMax™. According to iSatori, there were serious clumping issues when using only HydroMax and thus they included a “proprietary mixture” of HydroMax™, GMS, and excipients to prevent clumping.

      While this may sound reasonable, we’ve used many pre workouts lately that use only HydroMax™ in a complete 2-3g dose and have had zero issues with clumping, either in the tub or the shaker. Something to think about…

    • Citrulline Malate

      iSatori Bio-Active Whey Shaker

      Bio-Active Whey is yet another of the products in iSatori’s arsenal that’s getting the Bio-Gro treatment added to it. What’s the ideal way to stack all of this Bio-Gro stuff?

      Citrulline Malate is a combination of the amino acid L-Citrulline and malic acid (malate). It’s one of the best nitric oxide boosters and endurance maximizers around and a top choice when looking for an effective pump booster.

      CitMal is more readily absorbed by the body and raises blood of arginine in the body better than supplementing with various other N.O. boosters like L-Arginine.[20] This leads to some significantly pronounced pumps, but also thank to both Citrulline and Malic Acid’s properties and intracellular buffers, you’ll also experience higher stamina and enhanced ATP production.[21,22,23]

      All of this adds up to better performance in workouts. The drawback here is that it works best at 6-8g of CitMal, where you get the clinical effects and when the pumps are really strong. You won’t get anywhere near that amount even with 2 scoops.

    • Agmatine Sulfate

      Agmatine is both a powerful neurotransmitter in the body and a pump enhancer. It inhibits the enzyme arginase which is responsible for the degradation of Arginine in the body.[24] Agmatine helps keep arginine levels elevated for longer which means more N.O. is available to help support bigger, and longer lasting pumps.

      At this point who knows how much is in here. If you’re an agmatine lover, you probably won’t feel it here (500mg is where you start feeling it pretty well, and 1000-1500mg is where it really gets going).

    • AstraGin™

      What is AstraGin really amplifying here? We're not completely sure

      What is AstraGin really amplifying here? It enhances the body’s absorption of citrulline and arginine.

      AstraGin™ is a combination of highly fractionated astragalus and panax notoginseng. This was also seen in the original Pre-Gro (as are many of the ingredients we’ve previously mentioned. Research shows that AstraGin™ is effective at increasing the absorption of some of the other key ingredients in Pre-Gro Max, such as arginine and citrulline.[25]

      AstraGin™ is included as a supporting player in the body’s absorption and utilization of the rest of the N.O.-boosting ingredients

    • GlycoCarn®

      GlycoCarn® is the last of the many leading nitric oxide supplements included in Pre-Gro Max. Developed by Sigma-Tau HealthScience, GlycoCarn is Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine HCl, also referred to as GPLC.

      Research behind GlycoCarn® shows that it increases endurance, reduces lactic acid accumulation, and vasodilation.[26,27] The amounts used in these studies though were 3-4g, which you’re not going to get here.

      Seeing it after AstraGin leads us to believe we have a case of pixie-dusting here. Some brands love to state “we have X number of trademarked ingredients!” but that’s a bit laughable when they’re in sliver doses.

  • Core Focus Complex (267.5mg)

    Each scoop combines to bring you 174.5mg total caffeine (138mg caffeine anhydrous + 0.73*50mg dicaffeine malate) – a combination we do love:

    • Caffeine Anhydrous (138mg)

      iSatori Siera Capesius Bio-Gro

      iSatori athlete is on the Bio-Gro train, are you on the bandwagon?

      The first of two forms of caffeine, anhydrous is the fast-acting traditional form of caffeine found in coffee, tea, and most pre workouts. It provides the initial stimulus to get you going and also improves endurance, focus, and alertness.

      The dose here is definitely on the low-stim range of pre workouts, and most users will need at least 2 scoop to really feel the caffeine kick in.

    • Dicaffeine Malate (50mg)

      Dicaffeine malate is the second form of caffeine included in Pre-Gro Max that’s a combination of caffeine and malic acid.[28] This form of caffeine provides a more sustained release of caffeine and energy to the body as well as ease the way down once the stimulative effects of anhydrous start to wear off.

      Dicaffeine malate is 73% caffeine, so this yields 36.5mg caffeine total – bringing us to that 174.5mg per scoop.

      We’re big fans of this caffeine combo and enjoy it in other pre workouts we’ve tried. This is also likely a good ratio – when you have pure DCM it just doesn’t hit as hard, so we still want more straight caffeine than DCM.

    • Grapeseed Extract (95% polyphenols)

      Grapeseed Extract is typically included as part of nitric oxide boosting blends. It’s been shown to increase N.O. production and improve recovery time between workouts.[29] Furthermore, it’s been demonstrated to work synergistically with arginine to improve physical performance.[30]

      Furthermore, grapeseed extract has also been documented to be neuroprotective against glutamate, the “neuron cell death” molecule, thus providing some cognitive benefits.[31]

    • Schisandra Chinensis Powder

      Theobromine Half Life

      Taken from the patent application, this is actually about its antitussive effect, but shows that it certainly lasts a while.

      Schisandra Chinensis is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body deal with stress. Additionally, this this fruit extract also possesses the unique ability to act as a vasodilator and increase blood flow.[32]

      This ingredient comes and goes, and got its kickstart in pre workouts back when the original Jack3d was hot. We’ve never really “felt” it though, it seemed that it was always the stims doing the talking.

    • Theobromine

      Theomine is another xanthine compound that stimulates the CNS, similar to caffeine. It’s also sometimes referred to as caffeine’s “younger brother.” Much like caffeine, theobromine increases energy and alertness, but not nearly as strong as its better-known brother.

      One advantage theobromine does provide over caffeine is that it provides a smoother, longer-lasting energy than pure caffeine, and when used in conjunction with caffeine helps smooth out any potential crash that may come from using higher amounts of caffeine.[33]

Dosing Questions

So what’s going on here? Seriously, why should we have to do so much work to figure out how someone else’s pre workout is dosed?

Our guess is that at two scoops, you’ll get about 3g total creatine, 500mg Bio-Gro, and ~1.8g beta alanine. Not bad if you can handle the stim (349mg caffeine).

But why should we buy something that leaves us to guesswork when there are zillions of open formula products out there (and we can just add our own Bio-Gro or colostrum on the side)?

For beginners?

iSatori Pre-Gro Ingredients

Here’s the old Pre-Gro ingredient panel showing everything plainly spelled out. Why in the world would you step away from transparency though… this is the wrong direction!

There aren’t any other ‘aggressive’ stimulants (i.e. no beta-2 agonists like higenamine, synephrine, NMT, etc..), which leads us to believe that this is likely marketed towards beginners or users who like it “plain Jane”. That’s completely fine by us, sometimes you just want caffeine and no nonsense.

But if that’s the case, should be beginners be taking 350mg caffeine? And if not, should beginners be taking underdosed pre workouts at one scoop, when there’s a good chance they won’t be taking creatine elsewhere in the day since they see it twice on this label?

Ultimately, we see this kind of proprietary blending as a net negative for rookies in training. It leads to more confusion than anything else. Hell, we’re confused and we look at these labels all day long.

Meanwhile, most experts we know aren’t going to bother with this. So where does that leave us with this product?

Flavors Available

Once it’s released, Pre-Gro Max will come in 60 serving tubs (you’ll most likely want to use 2 scoops if you can handle it) and will be offered in two new spins on relatively common flavors: Mixed Berry Fruit Smash and Blue Razz Snow Cone.

If Amino-Gro is any indication, the taste will be phenomenal and the colors will be beyond neon status… bringing us to our next point:

A note on the colors

iSatori Amino-Gro Color

Whoa there! Pre-Gro Max will have the same “vibrant” colors as the new Amino-Gro. We’d rather have a clinically-dosed, transparent product than cool, neon colors, but we’re apparently not the demographic. Or is iSatori missing the trend???

iSatori also wrote us to tell us that they are back to new vibrant colors – the natural colors in Pre Gro were oxidizing too quickly, which led to a bad consumer experience. Understood.

But why reformulate everything else – especially in the wrong direction? And if your colors were oxidizing too quickly… does this mean you didn’t test the original Pre-Gro enough?

iSatori: You’re on the verge, don’t screw it up now!

iSatori is on the verge of going big-time, possibly carried by profits from Bio-Gro and their BioGenetic Labs division (our guess). Yet, we keep seeing behaviors that are simply unbecoming of a company ready for prime-time.

Because of this, we’re just not yet on board with their message, even though we’re becoming more pro-Bio-Gro than others in the industry and love that they have more research coming out on it.

iSatori will no doubt do well with or without our blessings, but for now, we’re just going to have to pick and choose the products we like from them, and this isn’t one of them. (To be fair, Lipo-Drex is one new one that we like, review coming soon).

Takeaway on Pre-Gro Max

There’s just too many question marks here to recommend this in a market saturated with bigger beasts. If you like Bio-Gro™, just add it on the side yourself to a better pre workout and you’ll have the best of both worlds.

Pre-Gro Max contains everything one could hope for in a comprehensive pre workout. The problem however is that even at 2 scoops you still might not get the efficacious doses backed by research, and at that point it might be costly.

Perhaps instead of hyping the “vibrant” colors and awesome taste, supplement companies as a whole should focus their attention towards making clinically dosed products with transparent labels. Then hype that other stuff..

We love comparing prices here, but if we’ve learned anything, we’ve found that users are willing to pay extra for a bombastic, open formula. This is not one of them, and if the product isn’t in the $20-25 range, it will stink of profiteering.

Open up the damn formula, iSatori. Do right by the consumer and they will do right by you.

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References

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