Last updated on December 3rd, 2018
Pro Pre by Optimum Nutrition
Pro Pre Optimum Nutrition Review
When you’re shopping for bodybuilding supplements, Optimum Nutrition’s line of products has to be high on your list of possible purchases.
The company is renowned for its protein powders, but it’s had a couple of swings at the pre-workout pitch, and missed with both.
Pro Pre, however, is in a different ballpark altogether, and some might even go as far as saying it’s in a league of its own.
…because Pro Pre is a true one-scooper, bringing all four pillars of the pre-workout to the customer:
- Muscle Pumps
- Focus, Mood, Cognitive Function
- Stamina, Endurance (anti-fatigue)
When companies do this, they often under-dose some of the key ingredients because they are trying to do too much with a single scoop of powder.
That’s where it becomes a question of ingredient choices, as some of them require bulkier doses where others are effective in small amounts.
Striking a good balance between both types, while taking care to add synergistic – and not antagonistic – compounds is most of the skill of the formulation.
On top of that, the product must be unique in some way to give it a marketing edge. Not an easy task. And as is often the case, pre-workouts are not as potent as they could, or should, be.
How Is Optimum Nutrition Pro Pre Different?
I’m not saying they’ve gotten everything bang on, there’s always room for improvement.
What they have done right is to get the core ingredients in at strong doses, and then added some excellent energy and cognitive function elements that work well with one another in reasonably small quantities.
The result is a solid platform of muscle pump and muscle endurance inclusions with mental and physical performance enhancers, all within an 18 gram scoop.
Ingredients – What’s In Pro Pre?
There’s a nice blend of vitamins and micronutrients in each scoop of Pro Pre, including: Vitamin D, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vit B12, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium.
Pro Pre has an open label, meaning we know all of the inclusion rates of the ingredients.
The main active ingredients are as follows:
- 6 g – L-Citrulline
- 3.2 g – Beta-Alanine (as CarnoSyn)
- 300 mg – Caffeine Anhydrous
- 200 mg – Rhodiola rosea
- 200 mg – L-Theanine
- 300 mg – Ashwagandha (KSM-66)
- 100 mg – Coffee Fruit extract (NeuroFactor)
- 75 mg – Trans-Resveratrol (resVida)
- 5 mg – Black Pepper extract
- 2 g – L-Leucine
- 1 g – N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
L-Citrulline is pretty much a must have for a pre-workout these days. Most companies are either going with pure l-citrulline or citrulline-malate.
Arginine used to be the pump ingredient of choice but it’s too easily broken down after ingestion and only offers a transient effect.
Citrulline on the other hand is converted to arginine in the kidneys and therefore bypasses the phase where supplemental arginine gets wasted.
The result is higher levels of blood arginine for longer, boosting nitric oxide and enhancing your workout through vasodilation and your recovery due to faster flushing of toxins.
The dosage of l-citrulline in Pro Pre is very good.
Beta Alanine is another no-brainer. It joins up with histidine to make carnosine which buffers lactic acid in the muscles, allowing you to squeeze out some more reps in a high volume set.
It’s not that useful for short strength sets but it owns the 15 – 20 rep volume work that forces you to dig deep.
CarnoSyn is a patented, high purity form of Beta Alanine. At 3.2 grams it’s another great inclusion.
Another couple of ingredients I wanted to discuss are the adaptogens; Rhodiola rosea and Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha, aka withania somnifera is a herb which keeps delivering. It’s good for reducing anxiety and stress, that’s been pretty well established. Some research on exercise performance and muscle mass has shown evidence that it might be beneficial to both.
Optimum Nutrition have elected to include the highest quality extract of ashwagandha in KSM-66, and at 300mg they aren’t messing around.
Rhodiola rosea is a great partner for Ashwagandha as it too can reduce stress, both mental and physical. Rhodiola’s particular strength seems to lie in mental and physical fatigue reduction.
Another benefit might be the reduction of muscle damage post-exercise. Both adaptogens also help overall with cognitive function and the ability to stay focused and positive throughout a workout.
Rhodiola’s minimum effective dose is about 50mg, so the 200mg ON have included is yet another reason to assume they’ve got your back with this formula.
Caffeine and L-Theanine are included at 300mg and 200mg respectively. These two together are a mini-stack on their own.
If 300mg of caffeine is slightly daunting for you then rest assured that the L-Theanine is going to take the jittery spike our of it and smooth out the stimulation. It does this while improving the focus/concentration benefits of caffeine and releasing calming alpha waves in your brain.
There’s more to the Pro Pre formula, but those are the highlights for me, and they should demonstrate to a prospective customer that Optimum Nutrition finally mean business when it comes to their pre-workouts.
Changes I Would Make to the Pro Pre Formula
I’d get rid of the 2 grams of Leucine. It’s the chief BCAA but you don’t need it in a pre-workout. Maybe as an intra-workout and definitely post workout before you down your protein shake.
In leucine’s place I’d have one or more extra pump ingredients.
Beet root powder is giving people some good results, so maybe I’d stick a few hundred milligrams of that in there. Possibly Norvaline too.
What’s the Verdict – Does ON Pro Pre Work?
Big time! It’s a one-scooper, and it checks all the boxes you need for pre-workout energy and focus. It also gives a solid pump and helped me get through gruelling 90 minute workouts.
There’s a couple things I’d change, but it’s minor things, nothing major.
When I test products, I try and use them for a good amount of time. I’ve used Pro Pre for half of the tub so far and I definitely want to go back for the rest in a week or two.