MusclePharm Assault New Formula (2016): NO PUMPS?!

Note: This post now talks about the new formula announced in March 2016. Click here to read about the previous (second generation) formula.

MusclePharm Assault 2016

MusclePharm revealed a brand new version of their popular pre workout Assault at the recent Arnold Fitness Expo. It’s quite an upgrade over its predecessors.

Now that the Arnold has come and gone and we’ve all had a chance to catch our collective breath. Let’s examine some of the new product highlights debuted at the expo. (Hint: You’ll be really intrigued by tomorrow’s post!)

MusclePharm was one of the hundreds of supplement companies exhibiting, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. What was surprising is the new version of their popular pre workout Assault that was revealed.

Assault 2016 TL;DR

  • NO NITRIC OXIDE INGREDIENTS (unless you count betaine…)
  • NO FOCUS BOOSTERS (unless you count caffeine and theacrine?)
  • 250mg caffeine
  • Open Formula

This will be the third generation of Assault.

You can check out the all new formula below, but first, let’s talk about our price comparisons.

Just like last time MusclePharm reformulated, they slowly just “merged” the new formula stock with the old one. So you’ll need to check individual stores for the new open label:

Muscle Pharm Assault - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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In the meantime, we expect some great deals on the older proprietary blended Assault (second generation.

Assault 2016 Ingredients

First thing to take note of is that MusclePharm has completely opened up the label for Assault.

Gone are the bloated prop blends that littered the product and replaced by a transparently dosed blend that marks a major step forward for MP’s flagship product.

Secondly, you’ll notice the ingredient list is much slimmer than its predecessors with nearly all of the junk — and nitric oxide enhancers — removed.

  • Strength & Performance

    • Creatine Monohydrate (5g)

      MusclePharm Assault 2016 Ingredients

      The newest iteration of Assault is transparently dosed and features a full dose of creatine!

      This is what we’re talking about! A clinical dose of creatine monohydrate! So often, companies dust in creatine as part of a massive prop blend. Here we’ve got a full 5g of the most studied ingredients in sports supplementation.

      Previously Assault had 1g of creatine nitrate which yielded 675mg of creatine, hardly enough to maintain, let alone reach, saturation. A pre workout doesn’t need to include creatine, but if it does, this is how it’s done.

      Gains is Gains

      So while we’ll have some serious complaints about this product later down, at least realize that a consumer taking this for a month will be contributing to their gains moreso than other pre workouts. For that, we’re happy.

    • CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine (2g)

      Beta Alanine has been carried over from the previous iteration of Assault, in the same dosage as well. BA is a proven commodity that helps boost strength, endurance, and power.[1,2,3]

      Once consumed, beta alanine binds to histidine to form carnosine in skeletal muscle.[4] Carnosine is a powerful intracellular buffer that inhibits lactic acid accumulation and thus extends both endurance and stamina, while staving off that deep “burning” sensation you get from prolonged sets.

    • Betaine Anhydrous (1.5g)

      A new addition to the 2016 version of Assault is betaine, a.k.a. trimethylglycine (TMG). Thanks to a rebirth in 2015, betaine has been showing up in nearly all new and newly reformulated pre workouts hitting the market this year.

      Clinical research has repeatedly demonstrated betaine improves endurance, power, and muscle protein synthesis.[5,6,7] But there’s more!

      Betaine also helps reduce DOMS[8] and enhance the body’s own natural production of creatine.[9]

      The clinical dose is 2.5g, which we’re about 1g short here. To get the remaining gram, you could simply add in some bulk betaine.

  • Muscle Fuel

    • Isomaltulose (5g)

      Palatinose Structure

      Palatinose is a form of sucrose that may be the future of “functional” carbs used in sports supplements.

      Isomaltulose, also known as palatinose, is a low glycemic form of sucrose derived from beet sugar that is approximately 50% as sweet as regular sucrose.[10]

      How does it compare to other forms of carbs taken pre or intra workout?

      Compared to a mixed carb beverage, isomaltulose creates a smaller plasma insulin which leads to greater endogenous carb use and higher fat oxidation in the body during exercise.[11] Additionally, isomaltulose also prevents post-exercise hypoglycemia, a condition that can happen when the body’s blood sugar stores are depleted following high intensity exercise.[12]

      Is palatinose the future of sports drinks?

      We believe that this carbohydrate has a serious future, and expect it to compete heavily with cluster dextrin, which is in NutraBio’s Super Carb (free sample available at time of press).

      Expect to see more studies come out on both of these carbs over time – and isomaltulose is the less expensive one too.

    • L-Glycine (1g)

      It might be good for cardio, we suppose.

      Glycine is one of the 22 amino acids used by the body to synthesize proteins in the body. It’s used by the body for the production of numerous acids as well as creatine phosphate, one of the body’s primary energy engines.

      Glycine also assists with the regulation of blood sugars by converting glucose into energy. Research has shown glycine is particularly useful for improving blood sugar levels in the long term as well.[13,14]

    • L-Taurine (1g)

      Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid found primarily in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle. It functions as a cell volumizer in muscles helping to pull extra water and nutrients into the muscle belly.[15]

      Taurine helps boost endurance, thanks to extra hydration, as well as reduce symptoms of DOMS.[16]

  • Energy & Focus

    • Caffeine Anhydrous (250mg)

      MusclePharm Achieve

      To achieve greatness, you have to be the one to motivate and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

      Not much needs to be said about caffeine that most of you don’t already know, but it’s nice to finally MP disclose the amount included. We’ve speculated for years that Assault ranged in the 200-250mg, and now we finally know just how much of this stim is in there.

      This is the perfect amount for the majority of pre workout users out there as it gives a solid hit of energy, endurance, and focus without sending you into the “high” stim range of 300+ mg.

    • TeaCrine® (50mg)

      TeaCrine® is the trademarked form of theacrine that contains a dose of 98% concentrated theacrine. Theacrine is molecularly similar to caffeine and exerts many of the same effects in the body.

      The difference, however, is that theacrine doesn’t have a tolerance buildup like caffeine does.[17] Basically, you won’t need to continually up the dose of theacrine to get the same energy boosting effects like most do with caffeine. This hopefully keeps Assault users to a single scoop serving at a time.

      Aside from energy, theacrine also reduces oxidative stress in the body when used for at least seven consecutive days,[18] and increases dopamine levels in the brain, similar to caffeine.[19]

  • Absorption Enhancer

    • BioPerine® (5mg)

      BioPerine is the universally known form of patented black pepper extract. It’s frequently included in pre workout formulas to enhance the body’s absorption and utilization of all the other ingredients in the product. Black pepper extracts enhance to body uptake of nutrients by preventing their premature breakdown in the body.[20]

Where’s the pumps?!

MusclePharm Assault 2016 Ingredients

Maybe they just kinda… forgot…

It’s almost as if MSLP forgot to add an entire section or two to this label. Like, maybe graphic designer didn’t get the memo or didn’t scroll down to page two of the PDF they sent him.

But nope, this is happening. MusclePharm Assault has no nitric oxide boosters.

We’d even go so far as to say that it has no pump ingredients, except you can claim that betaine is pump-worthy. Don’t get us started on creatine and taurine for pumps, either…

Our argument is that those three are cheap ingredients — the real nitric oxide boosting ingredients are expensive, which is why we’re so impressed by yesterday’s USPLabs MaxREPS announcement.

Gone are the nitrates. No citrulline. No agmatine. Hell, not even any arginine?!

It might be good for cardio, we suppose.

No focus boosters either?!

Taking it even further… there’s also not a single nootropic ingredient for focus either! Caffeine and theacrine are great, but not a single hit of anything else?

Just… cheap.

Which leads us to our next section…

What’s with the cheap ingredients?

The MSLP stock has been under constant pressure since it went public… all in name of some profitability and at this point, possibly a liquidity event.

It’s becoming pretty clear that MusclePharm is looking for an exit for their investors. They’ve run their course of debt, they’ve hired a smart new CEO, and we believe that they’re looking to get profitable and get out.

By all indications, MSLP seems to be looking for a liquidity event.

Well, good luck to them, but we’re not going to be donating to the cause. Open formulas are cool, but we want some damn pumps when we lift. It’s that simple.

Flavors Available

MusclePharm hasn’t officially released the brand new edition of Assault, but we do know that at least one of the flavors is Fruit Punch. No doubt more will be added to the lineup upon the product’s official release.

We’re hoping the bring back the Strawberry Margarita flavor which is both unique and delicious among the myriad of pre workout flavors.


Another disappointment for #MPNation in their eternal quest for profitability.

MusclePharm has been mired in the muck for sometime now with lots of turmoil at HQ and in the courtroom, but, it seems they’re committed to sticking these tough times out and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel by grabbing profitable sales from their loyal fanbase.

Opening up the label on Assault is a great step forward for the company, and overall, the ingredient panel is rather decent if you like cardio. And at the end of the day, a full 5g of creatine IS going to give you better ergogenic effects than something like C4.

However, is this enough to woo disgruntled fans back to The Athlete’s Company? We’ll just have to wait and see, but our guess is… nope.

Muscle Pharm Assault - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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No spam, no scams.

Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.


  1. Baguet, A et al.; Journal of Applied Physiology; “Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance;” July 2010;” 2005
  2. Roger C. Harris; et al.; “The effect of a supplement containing β-alanine on muscle carnosine synthesis, ventilatory threshold and exercise capacity in Korean cyclists, during 12 weeks combined endurance and weight training
  3. Kendrick IP, et al. The effects of 10 weeks of resistance training combined with beta-alanine supplementation on whole body strength, force production, muscular endurance and body composition. Amino Acids. (2008)
  4. Hill, CA et al.; Amino Acids; “Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity ;” February 2007
  5. Lee EC, et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2010)
  6. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue
  7. del Favero S, et al Creatine but not betaine supplementation increases muscle phosphorylcreatine content and strength performance . Amino Acids. (2012)
  8. holewa, J; Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone.; Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, Coastal Carolina University; 2013
  9. Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise.
  15. Hoffmann, E.K., I.H. Lambert, and S.F. Pedersen, Physiology of cell volume regulation in vertebrates. Physiol Rev, 2009. 89(1)
  17. Cauli, O;Subchronic caffeine exposure induces sensitization to caffeine and cross-sensitization to amphetamine ipsilateral turning behavior independent from dopamine release.; Department of Toxicology and Centre of Excellence for Neurobiology of Dependence, University of Cagliari; 2008
  18. Li WX, et al.; “Theacrine, a purine alkaloid obtained from Camellia assamica var. kucha, attenuates restraint stress-provoked liver damage in mice.“; J Agric Food Chem.; 2013
  19. Feduccia A, et al.; “Locomotor activation by theacrine, a purine alkaloid structurally similar to caffeine: involvement of adenosine and dopamine receptors.”; Pharmacol Biochem Behav; 2012

The second generation of Assault (now the old formula – 2014/2015)

MusclePharm Assault's new formula is a knockout! MusclePharm took a huge risk in reformulating their best-selling product… and it worked![/caption]

MusclePharm has skyrocketed to the top of the sales charts in almost every category since it was founded in 2010. Their best-selling supplement, Assault, is currently a number-one selling pre-workout on numerous websites.

With a few years behind them, however, the self-titled “Athlete’s Company” has decided to revisit some of their original product formulations. MusclePharm has taken the entire Assault formula back to the drawing board, eliminated some unnecessary ingredients andadded some exciting new ones — including nitrates, a PricePlow favorite.

Important Links

Muscle Pharm Assault Official Page

New Assault benefits

The ingredients

A look inside

The MusclePharm Assault Label

The Label and Nutrition Facts Explained Below

So what’s all the hype about? Let’s take a look at the formula so you can see why we’re so excited. The 14.5g scoop is broken down into several smaller blends:

  • ATP Amplifier – 3500mg

    This blend is aimed at buffering your muscles against lactic acid build-up and increasing the efficiency of your ATP (the currency of cellular energy) metabolism, helping you push yourself harder in the gym before fatigue sets in, it includes:

    • Beta-alanine (Carnosyn) – 2000mg

      One of the most studied ergogenics on the market, beta-alanine (BA) is a great endurance booster and is responsible for the “tingles” many people feel when taking products that include it. Beta-alanine provides a significant endurance-boosting effect, reduces fatigue, reduces fat mass, and increases lean mass.

      At this dose, if you typically get the BA tingles from other products, you’ll likely feel it with the new Assault as well.

    • L-tyrosine, L-aspartic acid

      These two amino acids are utilized during ATP metabolism and help shuttle nutrients to the muscles for energy production. While L-tyrosine and L-aspartic acid are not necessary unless you’re deficient in them, their inclusion offers the potential for added ergogenic benefit at very minimal added cost to the product.

    • Red beet extract

      Beet extract contains high levels of nitrates (something we’ll discuss later). The inclusion in this blend as opposed to the nitrate blend is somewhat arbitrary, but this ingredient, due to its nitrate content, improves mitochondrial efficiency of energy generation in cells.[4]

    • Dimethylglycine HCL

      This dipeptide of the amino acid glycine has been suggested in animal studies to improve mitochondrial efficiency, as well as decrease lactic acid production.

  • Cellular transport & insulin activator – 2952mg

    MusclePharm & Colin Kaepernick

    MusclePharm sponsors San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, amongst several other elite athletes. This is one reason for the higher cost of many of their products.

    Our only pet peeve with the new Assault is that most of the substance in this blend was removed as a part of trimming down the formula. While it’s left gutted and underdosed, here it remains in the product.

    This blend contains glycine (a simple amino acid used in some metabolic processes), dextrose and ribose (fast acting simple sugars that can potentially boost energy production), and Cinnulin (a patented cinnamon extract that MusclePharm is licensing).

    All together, these ingredients could possibly help boost insulin, but not at the combined dose of 2952mg. MusclePharm is probably aiming to maintain the marketability of the carbohydrate blend from the old Assault here, but the product would not be any worse off if this sub-blend was just removed entirely.

  • Athlete performance blend featuring ‘ION-3 nitrate technology matrix’ – 2000mg

    • Creatine nitrate, arginine nitrate, 3:1:2 BCAA nitrates (leucine, valine, isoleucine)

      Nitrates have taken the industry by storm in recent years thanks to a tidal wave of studies supporting their positive effects on exercise performance.

      Nitrates increase blood flow, reduce the oxygen cost of exercise, cause ridiculous pumps, and boost endurance through the roof. [5,6,7,8,9]

    • Arginine nitrate

      One issue with nitrates is the development of nitrate tolerance with consistent use. It just so happens that arginine mediates nitrate tolerance [10], meaning you get more out of your nitrates for longer without needing to take a break.

    • Creatine nitrate

      Some studies suggest that nitrates may be synergistic with ATP boosters (think of ATP as your muscles’ energy source), such as creatine, explaining significantly the endurance boost associated with their use. This is because while creatine improves ATP levels, nitrates reduce the rate at which your muscles deplete their ATP stores.[11, 12] So you’ve got more ATP and your body uses it more efficiently. This, combined with the earlier ATP amplifier blend, will result in incredible workout endurance.

  • Energy & neuro igniter – 1750mg

    Assault was never about the “cracked-out stim overload” feeling that so many pre-workouts are associated with these days, so if you’re looking for that feeling you might be disappointed. What’s included is a modest amount of stimulants and cognitive boosters meant to enhance your workout, not your buzz.

    • Choline bitartrate

      Choline compounds have been making their way into more and more pre-workouts lately, as manufacturers and users alike gain better appreciation for the mind-muscle connection. This class of compounds provides a cognitive boost and indirect stimulant action, as well as enhanced acetylcholine neurotransmitter activity for better muscle fiber recruitment.

    • Glucuronolactone

      This natural compound has been shown to increase cognition and mental focus when combined with other stimulants[13], and is also suggested to aid in the body’s clearance of harmful metabolic byproducts and toxins.

    • PurEnergy (peterostilbene-caffeine)

      PurEnergy Pterostilbine - Makes Caffeine stronger and last longer

      Research shows that PurEnergy (Pterostilbene) makes caffeine stronger and last longer

      This brand new compound is hitting the market for the first time in various products. Developed and patented by the ingredient suppliers at Chromadex, PurEnergy is 43% caffeine and 57% pterostilbene. In their patent application, Chromadex demonstrates a dramatically more sustained elevation in caffeine levels, allowing for a much more drawn out energy boost. Additionally, caffeine levels in the body rise more slowly and fall more slowly after consumption of PurEnergy — meaning, you get a less jarring stimulant effect, and no sudden energy crash.

    • Huperzine-A

      This often overlooked nootropic pairs great with choline-based formulas because it acts synergistically with choline. When you elevate the brain’s acetylcholine levels with choline supplements, your body reacts by elevating activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks that acetylcholine down into its metabolites. Huperzine-A inhibits this enzyme, meaning your elevated acetylcholine levels last longer.[14]

  • Hydration system – 1200mg

    • Electrolytes/coconut water extract

      Muscle contraction is dependent on the presence of electrolytes to help facilitate the transmission of neurological signals. Electrolytes can be depleted through sweat during strenuous exercise, so electrolyte supplementation can provide some endurance boost, resulting in longer bouts of strenuous exercise.

    • Taurine/glutamine

      These amino acids aid in the transport of electrolytes to muscle cells [17,18], and can be depleted by exercise.[15,16]

New Assault vs. old Assault

Closing thoughts

MusclePharm celebrity endorsers

The new Assault is a big step up from the bloated, retired formula, and includes improvements in price and effectiveness. A few elements, such as the carbohydrate blend, are mainly added for marketing purposes and should have a limited positive effect on your workouts.

It’s rare to see a supplement company surge to the forefront of an industry this fast. And for MusclePharm, it was a combination of good timing, big name pro-athlete endorsements, and effective products that helped them get there. But marketing is a huge part of the supplement industry and the formula surrounding the new Assault is effective, so we’re not too bothered by that. All around this is a great product from MusclePharm.

The Assault new formula reviews

MusclePharm took a huge risk in reformulating a product that sold so well. It turns out that they stayed ahead of the curve and sales have only gone up, not down. The product consistently gets in the 8.5 to 9.5 range in reviews, with the main complaint coming on cost and users who need far more stimulants.

To address the cost issue, it’s important to realize that MusclePharm is now a premium brand, but the prices are not that bad once you use our price comparisons to save money when buying it.

Directions for use

Always consult your doctor before starting any dietary supplement. The dosing recommendation is somewhat less confusing with the new formula — a simple, single scoop for maximum effect. It is important that you follow the safety warning and do not exceed the recommended amount, as higher doses of nitrates can result in unpleasant side effects, such as headaches.

Where to buy

Check out the price comparison on this page and you’ll be able to find the best price at an online store. Online stores are almost always cheaper than buying at brick and mortar locations because there is less overhead.

References Part 2

  1. J Appl Physiol. 2010 Oct;109(4):1096-101. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00141.2010. Epub 2010 Jul 29.
  2. Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;28(1):31-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2007.11.004.
  3. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):1804-15. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e741cf.
  4. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):591-600. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01070.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 11.
  5. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2007 Sep;191(1):59-66. Epub 2007 Jul 17.
  6. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):591-600. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01070.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 11.
  7. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00722.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
  8. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Oct;43(10):1979-86. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318217d439.
  9. Pflugers Arch. 2013 Apr;465(4):517-28. doi: 10.1007/s00424-013-1220-5. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

  10. Br J Pharmacol. 2000 May; 130(2): 209-210.
  11. J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jul;109(1):135-48. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00046.2010. Epub 2010 May 13.
  12. Cell Metab. 2011 Feb 2;13(2):149-59. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.01.004.
  13. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42.
  14. Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov 29;455(2-3):101-7.
  15. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jan;13(1):58-64. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328332f946.
  16. Amino Acids. 2006 Oct;31(3):273-8. Epub 2006 Apr 4.
  17. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1998 May;26(5):513-9.
  18. Ann Acad Med Stetin. 1997;43:129-42.

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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