Gabriel Wilson, PhD., CSCS
Energy supplements are a leading category in sports nutrition, with millions of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and gym rats relying on stimulant-loaded supplements to fuel their workouts. Recognizing the ever-competitive pre-workout market, some supplement companies have resorted to extreme doses of stimulants, even approaching up to 600mg of caffeine. When does it stop? When is enough caffeine, enough?
You may be surprised to learn that beyond energy, caffeine provides little benefit in terms of your actual mental performance. In fact, too much caffeine can impair performance by rapidly raising your stress, anxiety, panic and jitters.
If you truly want to maximize your workout experience, you have to go beyond caffeine. Fortunately, exciting new research has revealed how natural herbal extracts can help you do just that.
INGREDIENTS THAT SPUR COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE
Theanine is often considered a stress reducing tea extract that calms the mind and body. Alone this is true, but when combined with caffeine, theanine has a true synergistic effect resulting in superior attention, focus and concentration compared to either theanine or caffeine alone.
Theacrine is another novel, non-habituating tea extract that supports natural dopamine production (the pleasure neurotransmitter). When combined with caffeine, this tea extract also supports unique enhancements in reaction time, mood and energy. Both theanine and theacrine also have the benefit of reducing heart rate, jitters and blood pressure normally accompanied by caffeine.
Not surprisingly, enhanced blood flow is not just important for your muscles but for your mental health as well, and can help you to speed your mental processing speed, resulting in greater focus and concentration.
WHAT IF YOU COMBINE THEM ALL?
Studies usually look at one or two ingredients in combination with each other. But what would happen if you tested all these ingredients at once? Well, that’s exactly what MHP, an innovative sports nutrition company, sought to do. MHP’s new pre-workout, Reckless™, is designed based off the latest in mental performance science, and features—at 1-2 scoop dosages—195-390mg of caffeine, 50-100mg of theanine, 25-50mg of theacrine (as TeaCrine®), 63-126mg of the stress reducing herb ashwagandha (as Sensoril®) and a potent blood pump blend. Reckless is also the first pre-workout to feature NeuroFactor™, a novel whole coffee fruit extract, shown to increase a unique brain protein called BDNF by 143% after just one dose. BDNF is a neuroprotein linked to faster skill development, reaction time, mood and mental performance.
MHP tested their new pre-workout Reckless in a gold standard double-blind, placebo controlled cognitive performance study at Auburn University. Young male and female adults (age 18-35) were tested on three separate occasions and performed the same battery of cognitive tests before and 30-minutes after consuming two scoops of a supplement in blinded fashion that either contained a placebo, one serving of Reckless or two servings of Reckless. Electrodes were applied to the scalp to measure brain wave activation using an advanced electroencephalographic (EEG) device. The subjects then performed a demanding attentional switching task that objectively determined their ability to focus and concentrate.
The results were astonishing…After the demanding task, the placebo group had over a 100% decline in mental activation, suggesting they were bored and distracted. In contrast, in just 30 minutes after supplementation, one scoop of Reckless improved cognitive activity by over 200%, while two scoops increased cognitive activation by over 2000%! This potent increase in cognitive activity resulted in a dose dependent increase in reaction time and attentional performance, suggesting superior focus and concentration in subjects. In the attention-switching task, the scientists observed that Reckless substantially improved correct choices and the speed at which they choose correct responses (reaction time), while also substantially decreasing errors.
In sports such as baseball and football where you have milliseconds to make a decision, this could have tremendous implications for optimal decision-making. For the everyday gym goer, it also suggests that Reckless can help them focus and pay attention to their workouts so they can be at their very best. For someone looking for a general boost in focus during the day, these results suggest that Reckless can also help people to concentrate and pay attention during highly monotonous and boring activities where concentration dwindles.
And we have not even gotten into the performance benefits of Reckless, which also features potent doses of creatine, beta-alanine and a novel ancient peat and apple extract called elevATP, shown to potently boost muscle ATP, strength, endurance and muscle mass.
But possibly the most impressive attribute of Reckless is that it is free of any banned substance. We know this because it is Informed-Choice Certified, a gold standard testing procedure used to certify that a product has no banned substances according to WADA. Finally, Reckless doesn’t just deliver results – it delivers in taste too. In a world of bitter pre-workouts, Reckless has delicious, smooth and refreshing flavors including Blue Slushy, Cherry Lime Slushy and Watermelon.
So, the next time you are looking for more than just caffeine-loaded pre-workouts, give Reckless a try!
Dr. Gabriel Wilson has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences, multiple degrees in Kinesiology, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is currently the Director of Science and Innovation for MHP.