If you haven’t noticed, our Best Pre Workout Supplement list has been updated… and this here is definitely high up that list!
2016 has been an incredible year for supplements across the board, from pre workouts to post workouts and everything in between. We’ve tested some incredibly-dosed products this year, a few not so great, but we’re ending with one hell of a bang!
We’ve spent the past couple of weeks testing out Kraken, the new pre workout from Sparta Nutrition, and it’s about time we informed the public about the truth on one of the hottest new pre workouts available.
Before delving into the review, we’d like to say thanks to the team at Sparta for sending over some tubs of Kraken for the PricePlow team to review. Yes, this one was free, but just because we get a free tub doesn’t automatically guarantee a favorable review. Our duty is to provide fair and honest feedback on all supplements we test, with the ultimate goal of helping you decide which products are worth buying.
Before we get the the review, here’s where you can find the best deal on Robert’s top pre workout of 2016:
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As you can see, it’s pricey per workout, and this isn’t really the kind of product you half-scoop. So it’s nearly all or nothing. Here’s how we fared:
Robert’s Kraken Review
We’ve broken down the profile in great detail on the blog, so I won’t bother to dissect every ingredient, you can read the blog I wrote for all the info. I’ll just speak to my opinions of the profile.
Basically, it’s everything you’d want in a pre workout!
Kraken is a true beast that totes a fully disclosed label (extremely rare when dealing with the Eria + DMHA combo) and clinical doses of every ergogenic in the product. We’ve got pumps, focus, energy, and mood elevation all in a single scoop!
The one area I thought it might be lacking was the caffeine, at only 200mg per scoop, but based on the higher dosing of the Eria +DMHA I thought it might even everything out. It most definitely did, but we’ll save that discussion for later on.
Powder dissolves effortlessly after a bit of shaking. There is a bit of residue left on the sides of the shaker after the initial mixing (most likely due to the glycerol), but after sitting for a couple of minutes and then re-shaking, the specs on the side the shaker dissolved in the liquid and all was well.
I had the Sex on the Beach flavor. For those of you unfamiliar with this flavor, it’s based off the fruity mixed drink, often labeled as a “chick drink” since it usually masks any alcohol flavor behind the sweet fruit juices.
The powder smells quite fruity, hints of pineapple and peach. The taste is very different from anything you’ve most likely tried before, in a good way. It can get old drinking the same old fruit punch, lemonade, or blue raz (gag!) flavors all the time.
Having never had a Sex on the Beach personally (I’m a whiskey straight up kind of guy), proved to be an interesting taste experience for me. In 8 oz of water, the drink has a decidedly sweet flavor with a bit of a tart twang on the back end. The flavor mellows out a bit when mixed in 12 oz and even moreso when mixed with 16 oz.
It’s a bit difficult to exactly describe the taste precisely, but you definitely taste pineapple and peach, or to equate it to some sort of candy something like pineapple and strawberry starbursts candy eaten at the same time.
Overall, it’s an interesting flavor, and I did enjoy it. I could easily sip on it, or slam it down quickly if in a hurry. With a little tweaking, this could be a winner.
I was stoked about the product based on the profile, but it far exceeded my own expectations. One thing I wasn’t quite sure about was how the energy burst would be given that there was only 200mg caffeine per scoop — my usual sweet spot is 250-300mg. Suffice it to say it delivers on the energy and then some!
There is no wake up, “hit you in the face” moment when the energy kicks in. It’s a smooth ride up over the course of 15-20 minutes and takes full effect around the 30 minute mark. Kraken has a very “balanced” feel to it. You’re never so amped up you can’t catch your breath or stay in control, you’re just charged up and ready to hit the weights. Contrast this to say DVST8 White Cut which hits like a locomotive and left me with a “dirty stim” feel the more often I used it. I honestly felt terrible on DVST8 and didn’t enjoy it much after the first workout or two…you just feel bad.
Kraken on the other hand is very even keel with the perfect amount of immediate “go” and sustained energy…very balanced!
Just Enough Focus
The focus is definitely there, but similar to the energy, you never truly feel like you enter “tunnel vision mode.” Much like the way the energy kicks in, about 20 minutes after drinking Kraken, you start to feel a little warmth in your face and then everything just kind of “clicks” and the only thing on your mind is working out.
The mind-muscle connection is strong, and the more you use the product, the better it gets!
Calm, in control, and on point is how to sum up Kraken’s focus.
Kraken is bursting with pump enhancers, if you can’t achieve a pump, something’s wrong with you (and I’m one that’s never been a pump-fiend by nature)! I’d barely be done warm up sets and the pump would already be setting in, headlined by markedly increased vascularity.
Supersetting chest and back proved for one hell of an upper body pump and when doing supersets with legs, pumps are incredibly full and will definitely have you walking bow-legged in the ensuing hours.
It’s once you get into your workout that’s when you’ll notice it the most, as the focus is really more of a mental drive that pushes you through those middle sets and deciding reps. It kicks you in the zone and actually brings back a bit of naturalness to your workout that the energy forcefully takes, keeping you grounded and making sure you do push the weight and reps and not just ride the energy high.
Kraken sustains for the duration of my typical workout length (50-60 minutes) and carries on for several hours afterwards. It’s also worth mentioning that Kraken’s energy rush is really applicable to all kinds of workouts, whether it be higher rep bodybuilding style workouts, or more plyometrics
Kraken delivers from the smooth uptick in energy and focus at the beginning to grinding out the last set in a workout. There’s no crash in the ensuing hours, all you’re left with is a pleasantly chipper attitude and feeling really damn good the rest of the day!
Strength and performance were top notch throughout the workout, and I even set several PRs during the course of using the product. Additionally, Kraken holds up well when doing supersets and plyometrics interspersed without feeling like your chest is going to explode — again a very balanced, even keel pre workout that functions well no matter what type of workout.
This is a perfect one-scooper product that showed no tolerance buildup (even when used 4-5 times per week) and never required upping the dose. In fact, I’m calling this one my top DMHA pre workout of 2016!
The one thing I think Robert missed above is that the 200mg caffeine is the point of this pre workout! A lot of us want something in this range of caffeine, so we end up 2/3 scooping a pre workout with 300mg caffeine, then losing some of the pump effects or not getting as much bonus stim.
This product was meant for that kind of customer in mind – the kind who likes the “other” stimulants a bit more than the caffeine.
I am that kind of person. For whatever reason, I get uneasy at 300mg caffeine in a lot of products. But I don’t get uneasy from the bonus stims.
So on paper, Kraken makes sense for me. I get my 200mg caffeine, I get my bonus stims, and clearly with this product, I get a truckload of pump and endurance ingredients.
Does the practice live up to the theory?
Yes! Kraken lives up to ALL expectations. The energy, the focus, the pumps — they’re all just downright unreal.
This is truly the product I’ve been waiting for. I don’t need to repeat everything Robert’s stated, it’s all the same vibe. Stuff’s awesome, end of story.
So let’s talk about the cost and usability:
All or none on the dose!
At first, I had a preview tub, and the scoop size wasn’t matched up properly. When using a food scale, it was coming in a bit light.
What I noticed is that a 3/4 scoop simply didn’t get the job done as much like I’m used to with 300mg pre workouts. So it really is all-or-none for me. You want the full ~15g dose here.
…which brings up Cost
This means that you’re not going to really have a sub-$1.00 workout here, which could be a drawback if you’re on a budget. I have a tough time saying “Yeah, you need to be spending $1.75 for this workout”.
But if you do have that $1.75, or you’re the kind that spends money to buy the energy drinks in the fridge at the gym, then by all means, you MUST try Kraken at some point in 2017.
Kraken delivers first and foremost as a top notch energy enhancing pre workout that also provides a significant elevation of mood and focus. 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion, you’ll feel a little more chipper and motivated to hit the gym and unload seven kinds of mayhem on the weights.
Having tested virtually every single DMHA-based pre workout that’s been released thus far, Kraken is certainly the best of the lot, in my humble opinion. It performs consistently day in and day out with no crash, tolerance build up, or otherwise adverse effect. In short, it delivers everything I’m looking for in a pre workout, and then some!
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