Shopping for pre workouts is like going to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. There’s something for everyone! Some want high stim, some want no stim, and then the are those who just want crack.
Meanwhile, some want insane sweeteners and coloring, while others want no artificial sweeteners or artificial colors – a strong trend we’ve seen over the past year.
The problem when it comes to wanting a combination of any of those two styles, it’s not always easy. Sometimes you get a stim-free product, but it’s only about pumps and not performance enhancement. Other times you’ll get a stimmed product that has no pumps.
PreSeries STIM-FREE from Transparent Labs looks to solve that by offering you everything a pre workout should have: focus, pumps, performance, all without a ridiculous amount of stimulants to make you feel cracked out.
The breakdown is just ahead, but first, make sure to sign up for PricePlow alerts and check the best deal, which includes our industry-leading Transparent Labs coupons:
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Our Transparent Labs STIM-Free Review
Mike and CJ throw down the review on PreSeries STIM-FREE, and its overwhelmingly positive… but watch a couple things that Mike finds so you know how to get the most out of your tub:
PreSeries STIM-FREE Ingredients
If you’ve read our post on Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK, which is currently our top-rated low-stim pre workout on our best pre workout buyer’s guide, you’re going to be pretty familiar with the following product label. The only major differences between the two is that STIM-FREE doesn’t contain any of the stimulants or the Testosterone Support Complex that was in BULK.
Other than that, you’re the same great full clinical doses of just about every ergogenic aid you could ask for.
Citrulline Malate (6g)
Citrulline Malate is an awesome ingredient that helps boost pumps and endurance. It’s more bioavailable, and more effective, than L-Arginine in the body resulting in a much more pronounced increase in Nitric Oxide (N.O.).
This increase in N.O. also helps improve strength, endurance, and athletic performance.[2,3] Lastly, Citrulline Malate is a key player in the Krebs cycle where it helps buffer ammonia and lactic acid, which lends to its endurance boosting qualities.
Beta Alanine (4g)
Beta alanine is a potent amino acid that binds to histidine in the body and forms carnosine, a powerful intracellular buffer. Similar to Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine helps to remove lactic acid that builds up in muscles during exercise. This has a twofold effect. First, it helps boost endurance, and second it helps eliminate that “burning” sensation you feel in your muscles when doing longer rep sets.
Additionally, Beta Alanine improves your workout capacity, strength and power output.[6,7,8]
Large dose alert!!
Now, you’re getting a full 4g dose of BA here, so beware that if you haven’t been a regular user of beta alanine, you’ll be in for a severe case of “the tingles,” a.k.a. Paresthesia.
The issue that we’ve seen here is that a level scoop of STIM-FREE provides a bit more than the ~23g serving size — so you should use a food scale when pouring it into your shaker cup.
Why? Because if the scoop throws in well over 23g, the beta alanine tingles are going to get wildly out of control! Plus, you’ll run through your tub quicker… although it’ll give more pumped up workouts, it’s not really necessary to go much over 23g, so watch out for that dose, because this is already a ton of BA.
BCAAs 2:1:1 (4g)
Think of BCAAs as the lifeblood of your muscles. Not only do they stimulate muscle protein synthesis,[9,10] but they also improve recovery and delay the onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).[11,12]
PreSeries STIM-FREE contains 4g of BCAAs. Transparent Labs uses the research proven 2:1:1 ratio, meaning each scoop contains 2g of Leucine, 1g of Isoleucine, and 1g of Valine.
Most stimulant-free pre workouts ignore BCAAs, but we’ll take them any time we’re looking to keep the muscles anabolic.
BetaPure™ Betaine Anhydrous (2.5g)
Betaine is a derivative of choline shown in numerous clinical trials to increase stamina, power, and even muscle protein synthesis.[13,14,15] It’s gained quite the following in recent times for its multitude of benefits in regards to athletic performance and recovery.
Other studies have demonstrated that betaine reduces muscle soreness and can even enhance the body’s production of creatine.
As we’ve seen with all of the other ergogenics in STIM-FREE so far, you’re getting the clinical dose proven to elicit the benefits described above. There’s no pixie-dusting of ingredients here!
Taurine is a conditionally essential amino that acts as a cell volumizer in the muscle. This helps draw in water and additional nutrients which helps improve hydration, stamina, and even lays the groundwork for “water-based” pumps. When used in conjunction with BCAAs, as we have here in STIM-FREE, taurine helps alleviate DOMS.
Lastly, since large stores of taurine of located in the brain, supplementing with it prior to exercise may improve mental focus.
Once again, a large dose – spotting a trend here? Normally taurine maxes out at 1g, so Transparent Labs had to go and top everyone once again!
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (600mg)
Tyrosine supplements are one of the most commonly used ingredients by those looking to improve focus and concentration. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a more bioavailable, and more expensive, form of L-Tyrosine, which means you’ll typically need less of it to see the same effects from a greater amount of L-Tyrosine.
Yet again, Transparent Labs has provided a solid dose of a well-beloved ingredient. Often times, you’re lucky if you get around 350-325mg of NALT. STIM-FREE contains 600mg of this powerful nootropic that also helps relieve stress and anxiety as well.[21,22]
Choline Bitartrate (500mg)
Much like NALT, choline supplements are also regularly used in pre workouts and fat burners to improve focus, cognition, and memory. Choline helps foster a strong “mind-muscle” connection while lifting so you feel more “in the zone” during your workout.
Since we’re not having anything in the way of stimulants to improve focus, having a touch of choline helps to further enhance the focus provided from NALT. However, Choline bitartrate is one of cheaper, less bioavailable forms of choline. It’s not as as readily absorbed by the body as say, Citicoline (Choline CDP). You’ll need a higher dose of this compared to citicoline to really feel its effects, and that’s what Transparent Labs provides (usually we see around 250-350mg choline). Also, when used alongside the other cognitive boosters in PreSeries STIM-FREE, 500mg should easily suffice.
Mucuna Pruriens (70mg)
Not one to skimp on quality, Transparent Labs includes the highest quality extract of Mucuna Pruriens, which is standardized for 98% L-Dopa.
In the body, L-Dopa is a precursor to dopamine and supplementing with it stimulates dopamine production in the body. This ultimately leads to less stress and a much better mood.
One other thing to note is that L-Dopa also boosts growth hormone levels, decreases cortisol, and supports healthy testosterone levels[25,26], all things we want when trying to build muscle.
Cellucor C4 Extreme was the original pre workout to put this dopamine-releasing ingredient into their pre workout. It worked out well for them… so while you normally want a far higher dose than this to get legitimate GH boosts, it’s not anything we’d ever say no to.
L-Norvaline is a derivative of the branched-chain amino acid L-Valine. It’s primarily responsible for improving blood flow and supporting optimal overall cardiovascular function.
Norvaline also helps prolong your pumps. Basically, Norvaline inhibits Arginase, the enzyme responsible for arginine’s breakdown in the body. The longer you have Arginine circulating, the more nitric oxide you have available which supports greater blood flow, nutrient transport, and bigger, badder pumps!
BioPerine® is the incredibly popular black pepper extract used enhance the bioavailability and uptake of the other ingredients in PreSeries STIM-FREE. Black pepper prolongs the life of other ingredients by inhibiting their breakdown in the body. Seeing how many active ingredients there are included here, you’ll want the extra help to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
PreSeries STIM-FREE, like all TL’s products, is naturally sweetened and contains no artificial colors.
Like Pre Series Bulk, STIM-FREE comes in three flavors: Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, and Strawberry Lemonade (the latest one added in April 2017).
After beta testing some samples, we believe that strawberry lemonade is indeed the best one. Transparent Labs is stepping up the all-natural game bigtime!
Finding a well-dosed stimulant free pre workout that still makes you feel “in the zone” can be really hard sometimes. However, PreSeries STIM-FREE is where you want to go.
It contains everything you’d need to have a great workout (strength, endurance, and pumps) without the boatload of stims that are usually found in most other products.
The honest truth is that your liking of this is going to come down to if you can handle the beta alanine — 4g is quite a bit, but if you enjoy it, this is going to get you going without the stim.
As we’ve seen with most of TL’s product it comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth every penny of it to many users – especially those who are having trouble finding these products free of artificial colors and sweeteners. Plus, PricePlow’s got the best coupons in town, which helps with that problem.
STIM-FREE is ideal for when you have a late night workout or you want to take a much needed stim break, but don’t forget about the Pro Tip listed above and using half a scoop alongside half a scoop of Pre-Series BULK for a lightly-stimmed workout too!
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- Curis E., et. al; “Citrulline and the gut;”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care; September 2007
- Hill, CA et al.; Amino Acids; “Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity ;” February 2007
- 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“
- 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)
- Norton LE, Layman DK. Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):533S-537S.
- Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R; Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S
- Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 12;9:20.
- Sharp CP, Pearson DR. Amino acid supplements and recovery from high-intensity resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1125-30.
- Lee EC, et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2010)
- 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)
- Cholewa, J; Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone.; Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, Coastal Carolina University; 2013
- Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise.
- Hoffmann, E.K., I.H. Lambert, and S.F. Pedersen, Physiology of cell volume regulation in vertebrates. Physiol Rev, 2009. 89(1)
- Alford, C., H. Cox, and R. Wescott, The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids, 2001. 21(2)
- 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)
- Prasad SK, Qureshi TN, Qureshi S. Mucuna pruriens seed powder feeding influences reproductive conditions and development in Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica. Animal. (2009)