From time to time, we happen to stumble upon some real gems in the supplement world, and we wouldn’t be doing our jobs well if we didn’t bring more attention and notoriety to the guys doing things correctly. Today’s gem is a beast of a pre workout from Northbound Nutrition, a relative newcomer to the scene who’s about to make some noise with their pre workout.
We reached out to Northbound to express our interest in their line of products, and here’s what they had to say:
“Built on old school gumption and fueled by modern science, NorthBound was born from a desire to introduce a product line we ourselves would want to use. No hype or deception, just pure empowerment through truth and knowledge. Something that can truly elevate your fitness journey at any level, not just make fact less claims. Our products are the result of years dedicated to analyzing clinical research with ingredients and doses supported by those studies, 100% transparent for everyone to see. With no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Defined by Research. Refined by Performance.”
Long story short, get ready to get rocked:
Pinnacle is a clinically dosed pre workout to give you everything you’d want, and then some, to help you attain the highest peak of your physical capabilities.
The breakdown is just below, but first, take a moment to check the best deal and sign up for PricePlow alerts:
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To reach the pinnacle of anything in life, you need to be performing at your best, whether that means mentally in the business world or physically in the athletic world. To help you reach your own pinnacle, Northbound has included all the daily staples you’ll need at their clinical dosages to get you to your peak performance in and out of the weight room.
Citrulline Malate (8g)This is how we love to see a performance-oriented pre workout start, with the king of nitric oxide boosters, citrulline malate. This combination of malic acid and L-Citrulline has been shown in research to be a superior NO booster and performance enhancer compared to L-Arginine due to its improved bioavailability in the body.
No doubt you know that elevated N.O. levels leads to some pretty badass pumps, but Citrulline Malate offers so much more to your workouts. Aside from pumps, supplementing with Citrulline Malate also improves circulation and vasodilation. This means more blood and nutrients are circulated to your muscles to keep the firing at peak output. Most importantly, CitMal can enhance ATP production, due to Citrulline’s role in the Krebs Cycle, and speed recovery.[2,3,4]
CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine (4g)
Beta alanine is well known around the industry as that little amino acid that gives newbies the tingles when used in high amounts. We’ll tell you up front, that this is the full dose of Beta Alanine, and if you haven’t previously been supplementing with it, you WILL feel the tingles should you do a full scoop your first time out with Pinnacle.
Tingles are ok, and all, but what does this amino acid actually do?
Well, BA binds to histidine in the body and forms carnosine, a powerful intracellular buffer that helps remove lactic acid accumulation. This ultimately helps offset the burning sensation you feel during extended rep sets. In terms of measurables, beta alanine increases time to exhaustion, power, strength, and endurance.[6,7,8]
Most studies show that 3.2g is the minimum you’ll want to get in an entire day. At 4g, no doubt, you’ll be feeling the flow here. If you can’t handle the tingles, you’ll either need to dose less or take it with carbs.
Creatine Monohydrate (3.2g)
Any true “performance” blend wouldn’t be complete without the grandaddy of muscle-builders, creatine monohydrate. Next to caffeine, creatine is the single most studied ingredient in sports science.
Even after hundreds of studies, creatine has still shown time and again to be a winner. It just flat out delivers when it comes to improving lean body mass, increasing strength and power, and decreasing fatigue.[9,10,11,12]
Normally we’re stoked to see a 3g dose, and Northbound just edges it out by going with 3.2g — because why not?
Yet that’s not done, creatine’s “sister supplement”, betaine, is up next:
Betaine Anhydrous (2.5g)
The last of our muscle-building boosters is the “new” kid on the block who’s become quite trendy in most of the new pre workouts, betaine, a.k.a. Trimethylglycine. We’ve come to love this ingredient for it numerous benefits and additional “oomph” it gives to workouts.
Namely, betaine has successfully been documented to boost strength and power, improve endurance, and reduce muscle soreness.[13,14,15] What’s really cool unique about betaine is that it supports, and may even enhance, the body’s natural production of creatine!
Betaine and creatine potentially work in similar fashion, so we honestly don’t know if you need full clinical doses of both of them — but given that they both have research in these doses, we’re excited to see it. Given the lack of side effects, why not take both?!
So if you use Pinnacle with every workout for a month, and you haven’t been taking both of these supplements, we are extremely confident you’re going to get a bit extra mass and performance.
- Vascularity Blend
Pine Bark Extract (200mg)
We’ve already got a significant boost in vascularity from the 8g of Citrulline Malate above, but now it’s time to crank things up another notch. Pine bark extract helps elevate plasma levels of nitric oxide in the body, which increases blood flow to muscles. Greater blood flow carries a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles, which ultimately allow them to operate at higher outputs for longer periods of time.
Grape Seed Extract (200mg)
Derived from the Vitis Vinifera plant, grape seed extracts are typically standardized for polyphenols to enhance their efficacy. Clinical trials conducted with the extract demonstrate it’s able to increase nitric oxide production and reduce oxidative stress after exercise. Most likely this is attributed to the high levels of catechins and tannins contained in grapes seeds.
SPECTRA™ Total ORAC Blend (100mg)
SPECTRA™ is a proprietary blend of powdered nutrients designed to support the body’s immune and antioxidant defense systems. Any sort of strenuous exercise leads to muscle fiber breakdown and the release of free radicals in the body. Antioxidants combat this radical chain of events by offsetting the effects of oxidative stress on the body brought on by exercise.
On the outset, this may sound like a good thing; however, recent studies suggest that consuming high powered antioxidants like Vitamins C and E can actually have detrimental effects on hypertrophy and strength increases[20,21] when dosed pre workout. Although, it is worth noting that the 100mg dose included in Pinnacle doesn’t come close to the doses discussed in those studies.
Either way, something to be on the lookout for.
We’ve addressed physical performance so far with the previous two blends, now it’s time to address an often over-looked aspect of working, focus. There’s no better place to start with proven focus booster, than the non-essential amino acid L-Tyrosine.
In the body, Tyrosine increases the production of two crucial neurotransmitters in the body, dopamine and noradrenaline. These two neurotransmitters work together to heighten cognition, focus, and overall mood. They also help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety[22,23], which helps keep you “on point” during your workout, and not worried about what’s going on later in the day.
Organic Caffeine (325mg)
Too often pre workouts today pack in every known stimulant to man to try and get a rise out of people. Northbound Nutrition eschews that new age mentality and sticks with the tried and true stimulant loved by all caffeine.
This age old stim has been proven to enhance endurance and really just about everything else from energy and alertness to focus and even endurance.[24,25]
One thing to watch out for though is if you don’t handle high doses of caffeine well, and this is up there in terms of caffeine load for pre workouts. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, it might be best to start off with ½-⅔ scoop.
Alpha GPC (300mg)
Our final focus enhancer is the king of choline supplements Alpha GPC. The reason we say “king” is that it’s the most bioavailable form of choline for the body. Choline supplements are not only great for improving focus and mood, but also strengthening the vitally important “mind-muscle connection.” Have a strong connection during a workout allows you to really “squeeze” the targeted muscles and reap as many gains from them as possible.
Other benefits of Alpha GPC include boosting power output and increasing endurance and post-workout Growth Hormone (GH) level![26,27,28] A newer study on this form of choline also shows it leads to significant strength gains when dosed at 600mg. Although we’re not getting that much here, those same researchers have also said they are investigating whether or not lower doses of Alpha GPC can elicit the same gains.
We’ve got a ton of great ingredients in Pinnacle, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on any part of them. For this reason, Northbound Nutrition has included the incredibly popular BioPerine® black pepper extract to aid in the absorption of the various ingredients.
An exhausting ingredient list – the only thing you should ever have to add to Pinnacle is possibly carbs — because you most definitely don’t need much of anything else with this beast!
So far, Northbound Nutrition has only released one flavor of Pinnacle, Tropical Berry. Hopefully, as the brand gains notoriety and a huge fan following, they’ll step up their flavor game and fill out the line with some other tasty options.
Note that Northbound Nutrition is staying true to their word with No Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives. There is artificial sweetening in the form of sucralose, but everything else is all-natural.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen a plethora of extremely well dosed pre workouts hit the market from both big and small supplement brands. Pinnacle is the latest in the wave of premium pre workouts that pack a significant energy punch but also carry all the daily staples you’d look for in a top of the line product.
We absolutely love the look of the panel, and all that’s left to do is put it to the test and see if it can land a spot atop our Best Pre Workouts List. This one would go under the “ONE SCOOP WONDERS” section, because that’s exactly what it is.
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- Curis E., et. al; “Citrulline and the gut;”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care; September 2007
- Giannesini B., et. al.; European Journal of Pharmacology; “Citrulline malate supplementation increases muscle efficiency in rat skeletal muscle;” September 2011
- Perez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM; Journal of Strength and Conditioning; “Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness;” May 2010
- Hickner RC. et. al.; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; “L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test;“
- Baguet, A et al.; Journal of Applied Physiology; “Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance;” July 2010;” 2005
- 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“
- Hill, CA et al.; Amino Acids; “Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity ;” February 2007
- 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)
- Netreba, A; [Creatine as a metabolic controller of skeletal muscles structure and function in strength exercises in humans].; Ross Fiziol; 2006
- 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
- Chilibeck, P; Effect of creatine ingestion after exercise on muscle thickness in males and females.; College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan; 2004
- 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
- Lee EC, et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2010)
- holewa, J; Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone.; Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, Coastal Carolina University; 2013
- Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue
- del Favero S, et al Creatine but not betaine supplementation increases muscle phosphorylcreatine content and strength performance . Amino Acids. (2012)
- Parveen K, et al; Modulatory effects of Pycnogenol® in a rat model of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: biochemical, histological, and immunohistochemical evidences . Protoplasma. (2012)
- Belviranlı M, et al; Effects of Grape Seed Polyphenols on Oxidative Damage in Liver Tissue of Acutely and Chronically Exercised Rats . Phytother Res. (2012)
- Belviranlı M, et al; Effects of grape seed extract supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress in rats . Br J Nutr. (2012)
- Deijen JB, Orlebeke JF; Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress . Brain Res Bull. (1994)
- Dollins AB, et al; L-tyrosine ameliorates some effects of lower body negative pressure stress . Physiol Behav. (1995)
- Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise.
- Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to GHRH of young and elderly subjects.
- Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine.
- Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B; “The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength”; J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015; 12(1):42; Retrieved from http://www.jissn.com/content/12/1/42