A good creatine supplement provides you with the energy boost you need to hit the gym, lift heavy weights, endure the pain, and build muscle in a fast and steady fashion.
Frankly, it’s tough to leave the workplace after a long day and muster the energy to push ourselves through a workout, but with the right pre-workout supplement that problem is out the window. The issue with pre-workout supplements, however, is that most are under-dosed or have a horrible gritty taste that makes them difficult to enjoy, even with a delicious beverage like oat milk.
Transparent Labs is an Utah-based supplement company that dedicates itself to creating transparent supplements, or in other words, supplements without shady proprietary blends. That means we can see the exact quantity of every ingredient in a serving, so we can better assess whether or not the supplement is effective from the get-go.
They have two pre-workout supplements: “LEAN” and “BULK”, with LEAN focusing on weight loss, and BULK focusing on increasing muscle mass. In this article, we’re going to determine whether or not Transparent Labs BULK is the real deal, and if it’s an option for you.
Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout Ingredients
Many supplements make extraordinary claims, so the quickest way to find out if they’re legitimate, is to look at each ingredient, and read the associated scientific literature to determine whether those claims hold truth.
Transparent Labs BULK contains twelve ingredients, and some of them have always been very popular within the bodybuilding spectrum. Let’s analyze these ingredients one-by-one.
Citrulline is one of three dietary amino acids in the urea cycle, a process in which biochemical reactions occur for the production of urea.
It is said that citrulline increases the plasma levels of both arginine and ornithine, which improves our natural ammonia recycling process and nitric acid metabolism.
Nitric oxide appears to play a role in athletic performance, vascular health, and erectile dysfunction.
However, there’s only a limited number of studies suggesting that citrulline has an effect on power output, fatigue, and endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. In many of these studies, acute doses have been used. 1
On the other hand, arginine seems to have a more solid body of research in regards to performance during exercise, so the fact citrulline produces arginine may help in this regard.
Beta-alanine is a modified version of the amino acid alanine.
According to the evidence available, it seems that beta-alanine can enhance muscular endurance. Many people report being able to to perform one or two additional repetitions in sets of 10-15 reps. 2
Beta-alanine supplementation can also improve moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as sprinting and rowing. 3
The recommended dose is between 2 and 5 grams, and this pre-workout contains 4 grams.
BCAA refers to three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
For people with a low protein intake, BCAA supplementation helps promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. It can also prevent fatigue in novice athletes. 4
Researchers explain that supplementing BCAAs prevents a serum decline in BCAAs, which is something that occurs during exercise. A serum decline may lead to tryptophan influx to the brain, causing fatigue. 5
However, more research is required to fully assess the aforementioned benefits.
Also referred to as trimethylglycine, betaine is structurally equal to the amino acid glycine, and the only difference is that has three methyl groups attached to it.
Betaine appears to be effective in reducing homocysteine concentrations when taken daily at 3g or more. Keep in mind that homocysteine is elevated in individuals with cardiovascular health issues, and it’s an important biomarker when measuring cardiovascular complications. 6
In this case, betaine is being used as performance enhancing compound, but according to the scientific literature available, its effects seem to be quite small, and it doesn’t benefit every individual.
Researchers found that when ingested alongside BCAAs, taurine can reduce next-day muscle soreness more than when it’s taken independently. 7
This means that you can recuperate more quickly, which is great if you’re someone that fully fatigues your muscles during a workout. Naturally, this also means that you can back into workout mode, and reap more results.
In addition, taurine also acts as a lipid/membrane stabilizer in the body, so it aids various anti-oxidant systems, promoting overall wellbeing.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is used to produce noradrenaline and dopamine.
This suggests that l-tyrosine may have stress reducing effects and allow for greater mental focus and endurance.
Some studies show that in stressful situations where noradrenaline provides a protective effect, taking l-tyrosine can prolong that effect by delaying the depletion of catecholamines, namely noradrenaline. 8
This has only been noted in acute stress situations, and in instances where the subject is taking high doses of l-tyrosine – more specifically 150 mg.
Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout supplement contains 1000 mg of l-tyrosine.
In short, Alpha-GPC is choline, a B vitamin the body uses to produce create acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine, two compounds that play a role in cognitive function.
However, let me point out that there is no evidence that Alpha-GPC enhances cognitive function in young, health adults, albeit they found that it attenuates the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly. 9
In fact, high doses of Alpha-GPC (1,200 mg) seem to produce an effect in individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
There is also a study suggesting that Alpha-GPC enhanced power output by 14%, but even though it looks promising more research is necessary. 10
L-theanine is an amino acid that can be found in meaningful amounts in tea.
The evidence suggests that it produces a relaxing effect, including a reduction in anxiety. This effect may also lead to an improved sleep quality, helping you dive into deep sleep. However, it’s not a solution for insomnia. 11, 12
Combining l-theanine with caffeine is a good synergistic approach to promoting cognition and attention.
One may say that a pre-workout supplement without caffeine is not a real pre-workout supplement.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and it’s used to improve physical strength and endurance. 13, 14 Habitual coffee drinking is also associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
In order to provide you with a boost of energy, caffeine working against adenosine receptors, which cause sedation and relaxation. Instead, caffeine keeps you alert and awake.
With that being, you can develop tolerance to caffeine, which means its effects may diminish over time.
Theomobrine is generally found in cocoa beans, and its benefits are believed to be similar to caffeine. In other words, it may act as a powerful stimulant for the central nervous system.
However, there is not as much evidence about theomobrine as there is about caffeine, so I believe theomobrine doesn’t play a big role in this supplement.
Dicaffeine malate, according to its manufacturer, is an ionic bonded combination between caffeine and malic acid, and like other forms of caffeine, it can increase physical performance, energy, and ramp up the metabolism.
However, the manufacturer claims that this particular ingredient is like caffeine, but it doesn’t cause you to crash, something that usually happens upon taking higher doses of caffeine.
Sadly, I didn’t find any scientific evidence on this particular ingredient, so I cannot say with certainty whether this is how it works. Though, to be frank, this supplement also contains caffeine.
Usually referred to as astragin, Astragalus membranaceus is one of the fifty fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
This herb has been studied for its anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, and longevity effects.
While there are studies showing a reduction in certain physical and metabolical complication connected to aging, there isn’t a single study able to confirm its supposed lifespan-increasing effects.
Astragin contains flavonoids and polysaccharides, so it may have both cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, just like other ingredients containing such compounds.
Does Transparent Labs Bulk Have Side Effects?
Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout is a safe supplement, however, it’s not recommended if you’re a pregnant woman or child under the twelve years of age.
Each serving contains 180 mg of caffeine, which is a significant amount, especially if you don’t have the habit of consuming caffeine. Some individuals prefer avoiding caffeine later in the day, as they have issues falling asleep.
Also, ingredients such as beta-alanine, may cause a tingling feeling called paresthesia, which is a harmless side effect derived from the large-doses of beta-alanine.
Other than these side effects, there is nothing that could make this supplement dangerous.
How Much Does It Cost?
A canister of Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout supplement costs 49.00 USD, and comes with 30 servings, with each scoop being equivalent to 22.9g of product.
One canister should last you 30 days, which means each serving costs 1.60 USD.
Keep in mind, that although this supplement is not the cheapest, it does contain a wide variety of ingredients, and each one is dosed appropriately, according to the scientific evidence available.
While one canister costs 49.00 USD, you can bring that price down significantly by purchasing in bulk. In fact, Transparent Labs’ discount scheme is pretty straightforward.
|1 Canister||2 Canisters||3 Canisters|
|49.00 USD||89.00 USD (not 98.00 USD)||119.00 USD (not 147.00 USD)|
If you’re interested, feel free to get this pre-workout supplement via Transparent Lab’s official website.
What If I Don’t Like The Supplement?
Since this supplement contains a variety of well-dosed and research-backed ingredients, it’s quite likely that you’re going to experience results, particularly if you’re disciplined about your exercise regimen and diet.
However, in the event that you don’t approve of the supplement, you have 90 days to return the supplement for a refund to be processed.
It’s important to note that Transparent Labs only accepts refund requests if the respective dietary supplement is in the original packaging and the contents have not been completely used.
If you’re interested in learning more about their refund policy, feel free to read it here.
Many of the customer reviews in Transparent Labs’ official website are positive, in fact, it has over 3000 reviews, with most of them being 5-star rated.
Here are some of the reviews on their website:
The only drawbacks I’ve noticed from the relative few negative reviews it has is in regards to the price, and some flavors like orange, blue raspberry, and the strawberry lemonade flavor.
Transparent Labs is a company known for its transparency, which is a WONDERFUL thing because we’re able to determine whether their supplements are legitimately effective.
Fortunately, for both you and me, Transparent Labs uses many research-backed ingredients, and they also happen to include them in the right doses.
Therefore, this is one supplement I would recommend buying, only if you have the means to do it.
At the same time, I know that the supplement isn’t exactly affordable, so it may not be the right choice for individuals searching for supplement that costs 20 USD.
In any case, if you’re interested in buying, you can do so via Transparent Lab’s official website.
1 – Trexler ET, Keith DS, Schwartz TA, Ryan ED, Stoner L, Persky AM, Smith-Ryan AE. Effects of Citrulline Malate and Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Blood Flow, Energy Metabolism, and Performance During Maximum Effort Leg Extension Exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Sep;33(9):2321-2329. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003286. PMID: 31343548.
2 – Stout JR, Cramer JT, Zoeller RF, Torok D, Costa P, Hoffman JR, Harris RC, O’Kroy J. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. 2007;32(3):381-6. doi: 10.1007/s00726-006-0474-z. Epub 2006 Nov 30. PMID: 17136505.
3 – Sweeney KM, Wright GA, Glenn Brice A, Doberstein ST. The effect of beta-alanine supplementation on power performance during repeated sprint activity. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):79-87. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c63bd5. PMID: 19935102.
4 – Gualano AB, Bozza T, Lopes De Campos P, Roschel H, Dos Santos Costa A, Luiz Marquezi M, Benatti F, Herbert Lancha Junior A. Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Mar;51(1):82-8. PMID: 21297567.
5 – Blomstrand E, Hassmén P, Ek S, Ekblom B, Newsholme EA. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise. Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Jan;159(1):41-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-201X.1997.547327000.x. PMID: 9124069.
6 – Schwab U, Alfthan G, Aro A, Uusitupa M. Long-term effect of betaine on risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;65(1):70-6. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.230. Epub 2010 Oct 27. PMID: 20978525.
7 – Ra SG, Miyazaki T, Ishikura K, Nagayama H, Suzuki T, Maeda S, Ito M, Matsuzaki Y, Ohmori H. Additional effects of taurine on the benefits of BCAA intake for the delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage induced by high-intensity eccentric exercise. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;776:179-87. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6093-0_18. PMID: 23392882.
8 – Banderet LE, Lieberman HR. Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. Brain Res Bull. 1989 Apr;22(4):759-62. doi: 10.1016/0361-9230(89)90096-8. PMID: 2736402.
9 – De Jesus Moreno Moreno M. Cognitive improvement in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia after treatment with the acetylcholine precursor choline alfoscerate: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Ther. 2003 Jan;25(1):178-93. doi: 10.1016/s0149-2918(03)90023-3. PMID: 12637119.
10 – Ziegenfuss, T., Landis, J. & Hofheins, J. Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 5, P15 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-5-S1-P15.
11 – Lu, Kristy, Gray, Marcus A., Oliver, Chris, Liley, David T., Harrison, Ben J., Bartholomeusz, Cali F., Phan, K. Luan, and Nathan, Pradeep J. (2004). The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Human Psychopharmacology 19 (7) 457–465. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.611.
12 – Lyon MR, Kapoor MP, Juneja LR. The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Dec;16(4):348-54. PMID: 22214254.
13 – Paton CD, Lowe T, Irvine A. Caffeinated chewing gum increases repeated sprint performance and augments increases in testosterone in competitive cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Dec;110(6):1243-50. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1620-6. Epub 2010 Aug 25. PMID: 20737165.
Top 2 Vegan Recommendations in 2021
- This is hands down our favorite vegan supplement. It’s not your typical multivitamin because it was created from vegans to vegans. It contains vitamin B12, vitamin D, and the Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA). These ingredients are delivered in the right doses, so that you never have to worry about a potential deficiency in the future. Feel free to read my review on the supplement as well.
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