the spaz of fitness has arrived

At Large Nutrition: Pre-Workout Review

In General, Training on March 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

[This review was not solicited nor endorsed by At Large in any way whatsoever… I just like to brag about Chris Mason’s company since he doesn’t do enough of it himself ;)]

I’m extremely cautious about what supplements I take– largely because my stomach’s so sensitive and reacts poorly to most brands out there. Generally, I hope that my diet is well-rounded and solid enough that I don’t need supplements. I take fish oil, protein powder (non-dairy), and BCAAs. However, because my schedule has forced me into some awkward workout times when I’m either tired or fresh-out-of-bed, I wanted to try a few pre-workout formulas to see if they helped me get the most out of my WOD. It’s not that my workouts have been suffering– just that, if I’m trying to get in and out of the gym quickly and I’ve already had a long day, sometimes I wish I had more energy to put into that last stretch.

Today, I tried my first 1/2 scoop of At Large’s Pre-Workout, and the difference was so substantial. I’ve been afraid of a lot of pre-workouts because they contain ingredients that may make you feel flushed or antsy or otherwise uncomfortable. They come with this litany of warnings and side-effects (beware of tingling, hallucinations, or radioactive urine)– and I almost always experience the “sometimes” side-effects. However, the ingredients for Pre-Workout are dead simple– caffeine, citruline malate, l-carnitine, l-tartrate, and amino acids. For me, the caffeine dose of a half scoop (perhaps a little less than half) was perfect. I got an energy boost without feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin. I just wanted to throw the bar through the roof. It was a max effort upper body day for me, and for the first time in my life, I strict pressed 75% of my bodyweight. Now, (I’d hope) there are a lot of factors involved, including the amount of attention I’ve been paying to my training and diet lately, but I’m also glad that I felt good enough to hit that PR. 

After that, we did a 16 minute AMRAP of 50 single unders, 5 burpees, 10 sit-ups. You know I haven’t been training longer WODs for a while, but my energy remained consistent for all 16 minutes, and I was watching the clock to monitor my pace. I consistently maintained a 45-second round for all 16 minutes. It was actually the damn 10-seconds of transition time that slowed me down (disentangling a jump rope takes too damn long!).

Anyway… I apologize for using the blog to speak about a specific product. I usually avoid such things; I’ve actually turned down a couple review requests from companies because I didn’t want to use my website to pimp their merchandise. That said, I want to support At Large because Chris himself stands for a lot of what I love about the CrossFit community. He’s very active in the CrossFit world as well as powerlifting and strength-training domains. He uses his many years of experience, training, and expertise to help others– in all fields, even those outside of nutrition. I’ve never seen him push his products on anyone. And he does this without asking for praise or recognition.

So I want to brag a bit about his products for him. The Pre-Workout formula is great for anyone who’d need a boost before their workout, or who wants to see if s/he can push harder. Beyond that, I think my fickle digestive system is testimony to the quality of his ingredients. His is the only brand of BCAAs I’ve tried that doesn’t give me terrible heartburn for hours afterwards. It sort of makes me worry what other companies are putting into their products that I can experience such a difference.

Chris is the first one to admit that supplements aren’t a substitute for food. There’s nothing a supplement can do that a quality diet can’t. But we live in an imperfect world and sometimes we fall back on other resources for the sake of convenience– and I’m pretty damn grateful that At Large provides me with the means to do so.

Thanks for everything, Chris!

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