“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo DaVinci
A Pre-Workout Supplement History
During the meteoric rise of pre-workout supplements, the trend was toward complexity. It appeared to be a race to the top: whoever had more ingredients that did more things would win. First we needed energy. Then we needed pump, too. Then creatine. Then amino acids. Then insulin sensitizers. Then absorption co-factors. Then cognitive enhancers. Then fatigue fighters (and on and on, ad nauseam). In actuality, it was a race to the bottom:Â with ever-expanding ingredient lists came ever-decreasing dosages (and a commensurate decrease in effectiveness).
Let’s be honest: when a company’s formulators — often the owner(s) or marketer(s), not the lab coats — make a product, their overriding goal is to turn a profit. It is not to put out the best product possible. This is the sad truth. They’d like you to believe they spent thousands of dollars on research and development — they didn’t. They sat down and said, “let’s create a product that fits into a $10-$20 box (even less, perhaps?) that we can sell to distributors for $20-$30, and they can sell it to customers for $40-$50.” The take-home point is the first part: the $10-$20 box. Ingredients cost money. The more ingredients a company crams into their $10-$20 box, the lesser the amount of each ingredient. This should be obvious; the boxes — budgets — are finite and only hold so much. The next logical step, then, is to conceal the true size of the box, and proprietary blends accomplish this nicely. Note the gambit employed in its entirety: a deceptively large ingredient list appears to cost more — the actual doses are concealed — thus the customer believes they are getting more value for their money.
This industry is driven by profit. Believing otherwise is foolish given the recent economic backdrop. And the recession notwithstanding, businesses exist to make money. I’d love to eat crow on this one, but I daresay no companies are saying, “let’s make a better product — thereby increasing costs — and charge less for it! Our margins may crumble but at least we’ll have a killer supplement.” That’s a world I’d like to live in, but the skeptic in me says, “nah”; rather, costs are being cut and companies are looking for ways to charge more for the same trite $10-$20 box. Want proof? The pre-workout category leaders all have at least 20 ingredients — some number in the 40s. Category leaders are nice, and popular by definition, but not remarkable in any regard. I call this the Red Bull effect: the market-leading energy drink does not taste the best, work the best, or look the best. This demonstrates an Immutable Law of Marketing, the Law of Leadership: it’s better to be first than best. Red Bull leads the market because it was the first energy drink — not the best. Me, however? I side with the little guys, the ones pulling themselves up by their bootstraps: the companies trying to produce remarkable products –Â category killers.Â Enter Omega Sports FlashOver. (As a side note that further proves my point, check out thisÂ Rockstar Recovery Lemonade. I’d take one over a Red Bull any time.)
Two things should immediately leap off the page and slap you in the face: there are only 8 ingredients and the amount of each is listed. No fluff. No filler. No superfluous crap. Each of these ingredients works, and each is heftily dosed. Here is Omega Sports’ ingredient write-up, which I have no objections to, with bold emphasis mine:
“When constructing FlashOver, Omega Sports listened to the people. Over and over again, we heard that energy and muscle pump were by far the most important aspects when choosing a pre-workout product. So Omega Sports went ahead and created the very strongest product possible in these regards. Where many concentrated pre-workout products deliver serious energy, they often fail at producing any kind of significant muscle pump. Not with FlashOver. With the inclusion of GMS and a seriously huge dose of Norvaline, FlashOver is guaranteed to produce the most intense muscle pumps you have ever experienced. Together with intense, super focused energy, FlashOver is the absolute king of the concentrated pre-workout category.
Let's face it - no other ingredient in the history of sports supplementation has more proven research behind it than creatine monohydrate. Tried and true, it is the workhorse of our industry. It works and works well at increasing strength and intense athletic output. Supplements that are non-hormonal and claim to increase strength without creatine monohydrate are simply incomplete. There is no other supplement that gives you more bang for your buck than this diamond in the rough.
If Creatine Monohydrate is your All-Star, Beta-Alanine is the un-sung supporting hero. In the last five years, no other ingredient has received so much scrutiny - and passed with flying colors than Beta-Alanine. Working in part by increasing the buffering capacity of working muscles, Beta-Alanine allows athletes to workout harder for longer periods of time. Where before you would hit the wall, with Beta-Alanine, you can push out that one last rep. Furthermore, research shows that when combined with Creatine Mononhydrate, the effects of Beta-Alanine are greatly increased. True synergy. Possibly the best 1-2 punch in sports nutrition.
Glycerol Mono Stereate
Omega Sports was the very first company to use GMS was back in 2004. Now, virtually every company in our industry utilizing this ingredient. Why? Because it works! GMS helps to draw more fluid and nutrients into muscle cells, creating a more vascular, dense look. Also, an increase in intra-muscular fluid and nutrients translates into increased strength gains, which would logically allow an increase in true muscle mass due to an ability to continually lift more and more weight.
N-Acetyl Tyrosine, or NAT, is an ingredient found in many energy drinks and pre-workout products. NAT is the acetylated version of the amino acid tyrosine, which is a precursor for the synthesis of the catecholamines epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine - which support brain function, mental acuity, alertness, possible feelings of euphoria and increased adrenaline output. Because FlashOver utilizes the acetylated version of Tyrosine, it is up to 20 times more soluable in water, as well as better absorbed and better utilized by the body than regular Tyrosine.
Phenethylamine, or PEA, is the chemical found in such foods as chocolate which produce feelings of euphoria, alertness and increased attention. It is believed to work by making the brain release b-endorphin, an opioid peptide which is the driving force behind the pleasurable effects. For this reason, PEA has been dubbed “the love molecule.” When used in supplementation, PEA's effects are virtually instantaneous.
L-Norvaline is an analog of the branched chain amino acid Valine. L-Norvaline works by inhibiting the arginase enzyme thus increasing arginine concentrations, which in turn increase circulating levels of Nitric Oxide, or NO2. NO2 is what is responsible for producing rapid and dramatic muscle pumps. Norvaline is a very expensive ingredient, and is usually severely under dosed in most products. FlashOver, however, provides a hefty dose of Norvaline for the most intense pumps of your life.
Let's face it -Â other than creatine monohydrate, the most widely used ingredient in the sports nutrition industry is caffeine. Caffeine is somewhat of a wonder drug. Praised for its ability to increase metal alertness, cognitive ability, and even ergogenic output (strength) caffeine is a truly multi-faceted ingredient. Simply stated, any pre-workout product without caffeine is not complete.
1,3 Dimethylamylamine is a natural constitute of geranium oil, introduced to the sports nutrition industry by Patrick Arnold. 1,3 Dimethylamylamine is a sympathomimetic amine, meaning it mimics norepinephrine, which revs up the metabolic rate of muscle cells, increases fat mobilization and kicks up alertness.
Although simple on paper, FlashOver is a seriously potent supplement. Care should be taken when using as to not overdose on its powerful ingredients. Always start with the smallest dose possible before moving up to multiple servings. FlashOver may be too intense for some users, so please proceed with caution. For those of you who can handle FlashOver, the most intense workouts of your life await.“
My favorite sentence from the above quote is “although simple on paper, FlashOver is a seriously potent supplement,” except I would rewrite it like this: “FlashOver is a seriously potent supplement because it is simple on paper.” Simplicity is potency, at least in the supplement world, and paring anything in life down to the essential(s) creates devastating focus and effectiveness on the task at hand. Anything non-essential is noise, and noise begets distraction.
Another quote underscores the salient difference between FlashOver and Jack3d: “Where many concentrated pre-workout products deliver serious energy, they often fail at producing any kind of significant muscle pump.” Jack3d is incredible for mental focus; I’ve even taken it to study. FlashOver delivers a similar but distinct mental effect (more alertness/euphoria?), but the ergogenic effect — the pumps and strength and endurance — blows Jack3d out of the water. It’s easy to see why, too: the doses of geranium, norvaline, and N-acetyl tyrosine are absurdly high. The only thing Omega Sports may have missed the boat on is the flavor. Although not bad, it doesn’t taste like “fiery fruit punch” — more like bubble gum.
The best part? The price is simple, too: only $19.99.