1. They are tremendously overpriced given the cost of most of the constituent ingredients is well … cheap.
2. There’s a LOT of ingredients that have no business being included. I think they’re included to complicate and window dress the label, because of potential ‘ingredient recognition’ (creatine, which has no acute effects btw so its inclusion makes no sense, arginine, etc), or simply because the manufacturers are clowns. I can’t come up with a fourth reason.
3. For the ingredients that DO have some merit or plausible theory in a pre-workout drink (ie. some decent research supporting efficacy) the actual DOSES per serving tend to be insufficient when compared to the effective or research-supported dose. I think the only one most get right is having sufficient caffeine (and arguably too much in some cases in fact). At the opposite end of the spectrum? Things like beta alanine and citrulline malate (if it even includes the latter) tend to be horribly underdosed. But more often than not you can’t even tell because the companies are hiding being the previously mentioned ‘proprietary blend’ – either to hide their magical formulation (yeah sure) OR for the more likely fact that they can put a lower amount of an ‘effective’ ingredient (too low) and it makes the label and thus, hey, it has X in it and X is effective. Thus lower manufacturing cost and more take-home profit. It’s business remember …
I purchased the things below. Then I bought caffeine tablets (They sell them at Walmart, or really anywhere).
You would them mix the powders together, add some flavor (I use 1/2 packet of crystal light or Mio drops) and then add some water (3-4 oz) and drink it. Then take the caffeine tab (optional/up to you) at the same time.
The dosing is as follows:
6-8g Citrulline Malate
3.2g Beta Alanine
2g ALCAR (Acetyl-L-Carnitine)
Here’s some feedback from a client last week;
“Tried the home brew mixture with the caffeine tablet this morning for my workout, it was FANTASTIC!! This morning I ate NOTHING and just had the home brew mixture with the caffeine tablet and felt fantastic!”