Performax has been on a major winning streak lately with new version of its popular pre workout HyperMax XT and the recently released all day muscle-builder PowerMax XT. We reviewed and loved HyperMax XT, and now Performax has set its sights on addressing the stimulant free pump pre workout market for its next venture.
Announced back in April 2016, VasoMax was teased as the ultimate pump and focus pre workout free of any and all stims for the stim-sensitive crowd or those that like to workout late at night. Well, after a few months of waiting, the goods are here as Performax recently unveiled the all new product label.
Once again, Performax Labs brings some new and unique ingredients to the house, and makes themselves worth checking out – the question for those on a budget is which product you need to try first!
The breakdown is just ahead, before we get there though, take a moment to check the best deal and sign up for PricePlow alerts:
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VasoMax is a tale of two labels, the first portion of the facts panels is transparently dosed, the second half, however, is hidden in a prop blend, which is more or less typical with a lot of the stim / focus blends of products on the market. Overall though, you’ll be intrigued by one very new ingredient (well sort of) on the panel which checks in at #2 on the following list!
There’s two ways you can start off a great stim free pump pre workout… kicking nitric oxide into high gear with L-Citrulline / Nitrates or super-soak your muscles with extra water via glycerol. The reformulated VasoMax has selected door #2 in this prize game and starts off the pump powerhouse with a strong 3g dose of the high yield glycerol compound Hydromax™.
This form of glycerol is significantly better than glycerol monostearate (GMS) in that HydroMax™ is 65% glycerol by mass whereas GMS is at most 25%, with the rest being composed of saturated fats. It basically transforms skeletal muscle into a sponge that absorbs tons of extra water. This in turn creates a state of “hyperhydration” which results in greater endurance[2,3] and fuels those water-based pumps we were alluding to earlier.
Just be sure to drink plenty of water when using HydroMax™ (at least 16 oz of water) to get the most from this ingredient.
Not familiar with this ingredient? Perhaps not by this trademarked name, but if you’ve ever dabbled with iForce’s Hemavo2 Max, you know this as potassium nitrate. That’s right, the nitrate patent wars (which we’ve largely stayed out of) have continued, and ThermoLife’s Ron Kramer has introduced his patented version on this popular ingredient.
We love nitrates for their ability to significantly increase vasodilation and boost nitric oxide production levels in the body.[4,5] Furthermore, nitrates also reduce blood pressure and protect against endothelial dysfunction thanks to the increased N.O. output.[6,7]
One last awesome benefit to nitrate supplementation is its impact on athletic performance. Research has shown that consuming nitrates pre workout reduces the body’s oxygen cost for exercise and increases in energy efficiency. Basically, what we’re getting at is that your body operates more efficiently, thus exercise “costs” less oxygen to perform the same amount of work that you would typically “spend” during high-intensity work!
The only downside to nitrates is that they need to be dosed roughly 45-60 minutes pre workout so it’s got time to get in your system and work its magic. So take note you’ll need to take this a tad bit earlier than your typical pre workout.
Thrown off by this acronym as well? This ingredient is a newcomer to the stim-free pump world. GSNO stands for S-Nitrosogluthione. It’s a derivative of glutathione and theorized to be a mediator of nitric oxide in the body.
Performax Labs brings yet another new ingredient to the world of nitric oxide enhancing supplements. Basically, GSNO is one of the many compounds involved in the body’s generation of nitric oxide. It would take an entire separate article to explain how this one compound fits into the overall chain of reactions involved in N.O. production in the body, but check out the flowchart to the right and you’ll see how GSNO is involved.
VasoMax Pump and Focus (350mg)
VasoMax’s focus blend starts off with the most effective and bioavailable form of choline for the body, Alpha GPC. Clinical trials using this high quality form of choline noted significantly improved focus and mood, in addition to noticeably stronger “mind-muscle connection.” Furthermore, supplementing with Alpha-GPC has been shown to increase power output, improve endurance and elevate post-workout Growth Hormone (GH) level.[12,13,14]
One other study found that it significantly raised strength levels, but that was at a dose of 600mg! Since the “Pump and Focus” blend is only 350mg total, there’s probably not much more that 250mg(?) of Alpha GPC in here, so don’t expect remarkable strength increases here, but you should still see some focus benefits.
Selaginella Tamariscina (20% Amentoflavone)
Gone by the wayside for a long stretch of time, Amentoflavone has started to work its way back into the pre workout realm lately. Found in the Chinese plant Selaginella tamariscina, amento inhibits phosphodiesterase (PDE) and prevents the metabolism of cGMP and cAMP in the body.
One notable PDE inhibitor is Viagra, and like all PDE inhibitors it functions amazingly well as an enhancer of blood flow throughout the body, leading to greater vasodilation, pumps and performance during training.
It’s also of important to note that Amentoflavone enhances muscle contractions by increasing the amount of calcium transported into muscle cells, leading to strength increases during your workouts. And last, but not least, amento also increases alertness, mood, and fat-burning.[18,19,20]
If you haven’t tried this ingredient yet, you’re doing yourself (and your workouts) a huge disservice. This is one ingredient that definitely adds a “little something extra” to your workouts.
Rutaecarpine is an alkaloid taken from the unripe fruit of Evodia rutaecarpa. This marks yet another rarely encountered ingredient in stim-free pre workouts, but it can be useful, especially when used in conjunction with stimulant pre workouts as Rutaecarpine helps the body “clear” out caffeine by increasing the rate the body metabolizes caffeine and other xanthines like theobromine or theophylline.[21,22]
Here for the vasorelaxation: Get other ingredients working better
Overall, rutaecarpine was included for its vasorelaxing effects. By including an ingredient with vasorelaxing properties, we allow the veins to expand the increases in NO and blood volume to have greater benefit.
Choline supplements such as Alpha GPC or Citicholine work by directly increasing production of neurotransmitter acetylcholine, Huperzine A is a different breed of nootropic though as it indirectly increases acetylcholine levels by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the breakdown the acetylcholine. Stopping acetylcholinesterase dead in its tracks ultimately means more acetylcholine is available which yields better focus.
Another interesting trait about huperzine is that it is also neuroprotective in that it guards the brain against the “neuron death molecule” glutamine, and it may even help foster the creation of new brain cells, a process called neurogeneration.
Vitamin C (250mg)
It may seem to include a powerful antioxidant such as Vitamin C in a pre workout since they’ve been shown to be somewhat detrimental pre workout, but it’s included for a very specific purpose.
See one of the drawbacks of nitrate use is that eventually the body can build up a tolerance to their effects, meaning less nitric oxide production from the same amount of nitrates over time. However, consuming Vitamin C alongside nitrates prevents tolerance build up[27,28,29], allowing you to continually reap the same benefit from the same dose time and time again.
Although we’re not the kind of guys who say “you gotta get all these supplements!” because it would cost a lot, we truly do believe that any supplement user needs to check out at least one of these Performax Labs products. They are absolutely a company worth checking out!
So far, the only flavor that has been confirmed for the revamped formula is raspberry lemonade, which we determined from the lone picture released by Performax Labs. We’re sure a few other flavors are in the works, we just are awaiting confirmation on them.
Yet another cool product from Performax Labs with a couple new ingredients any pump junkie should consider trying this year!
From a pure pump standpoint, VasoMax definitely stands to deliver from the huge dose of HydroMax combined with those costly nitrates we love. Where it may lack for some is the focus blend, which we can’t confirm, but may be a little on the light side based on the size of the blend. That part depends on where the Alpha GPC lands, which is why proprietary formulas make life hard for supplement shoppers who know what they want.
Overall though, it should do what it promises in that it BRINGS THE PUMPS and that’s what we’re really after here anyway.
Stacked with Performax’s HyperMax XT, your arms should turn into giant helium balloons before you’re even done with your warm up sets. As far as all-around stacks go, the Performax family has one of the better ones in 2016, and that’s why you’re going to start seeing them in our best pre workout buyer’s guide. The rest is up to you!
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- Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc; HydroMax: a better glycerol for sports nutrition; NewHope360; 2014
- van Rosendal, S; Guidelines for glycerol use in hyperhydration and rehydration associated with exercise.; School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland; 2010
- Wingo, J; Influence of a Pre-Exercise Glycerol Hydration Beverage on Performance and Physiologic Function During Mountain-Bike Races in the Heat; University of Connecticut, Department of Sport, Leisure, & Exercise Science; 2004
- Broniowska, K. A., Diers, A. R., & Hogg, N. (2013). S-NITROSOGLUTATHIONE. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1830(5), 3173–3181. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.02.004
- Smith, B. C., & Marletta, M. A. (2012). Mechanisms of S-nitrosothiol formation and selectivity in nitric oxide signaling. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology,16(5-6), 498–506. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.10.016
- 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
- Noh K, Seo Y, Lee S et al. Effects of rutaecarpine on the metabolism and urinary excretion of caffeine in rats. Arch Pharm Res. 2011;34(1):119-125. doi:10.1007/s12272-011-0114-3.
- Tsai T, Chang C, Lin L. Effects of Evodia rutaecarpa and Rutaecarpine on the Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine in Rats. Planta med. 2005;71(7):640-645. doi:10.1055/s-2005-871270.
- Zhao, Q; Effects of huperzine A on acetylcholinesterase isoforms in vitro: comparison with tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine and physostigmine.; State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; 2002
- Ved, H; Huperzine A, a potential therapeutic agent for dementia, reduces neuronal cell death caused by glutamate.; Division of Biochemistry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; 1997
- Ma, T; Huperzine A promotes hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo.; State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University; 2013
- Bassenge E, Fink N, Skatchkov M, Fink B. Dietary supplement with vitamin C prevents nitrate tolerance. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1998;102(1):67-71.
- Daniel TA, Nawarskas JJ. Vitamin C in the prevention of nitrate tolerance. Ann Pharmacother. 2000 Oct;34(10):1193-7.
- Watanabe H, Kakihana M, Ohtsuka S, Sugishita Y. Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Preventive Effect of Supplemental Oral Vitamin C on Attenuation of Development of Nitrate Tolerance. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998;31(6):1323-1329. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0735-1097(98)00085-0.
- Chiou, W, et al; “The mechanism of the vasodilator effect of rutaecarpine, an alkaloid isolated from Evodia rutaecarpa”; European Journal of Pharmacology; 1994 May 12; 257(1-2):59-66; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8082708