I'm sure many of us can relate to trying to muster up the motivation to workout after a hard day at work or after being up all night with the kids. Getting into your gym kit and out the door is a challenge enough but getting the energy to beat your personal bests and kick ass is a whole other story!
Gym buddies of mine had suggested that I try energy drinks or a pre-workout (PWO) supplement to kick me into gear. I don't drink tea, coffee or energy drinks so the only caffeine boost I would be getting would be from a pre-workout shake about 30 minutes before a session (though a friend wisely advised that I wait until I'm at the gym to take a pre-workout supplement, to avoid it kicking in while I'm driving!)
The PWO I tried was Sci-Mx X-Plode Rippedcore, in the orange flavour. As you'd probably expect form a supplement primarily aimed as masculine body builders (rather than a sleep deprived mum, looking to beat her squat weight PB from her pre-pregnancy training days), the tub has lots of words like "pump", "ripped" and "powerboost", hmm, dramatic packaging! Containing extracts of green tea, coffee bean and gingseng, the X-Plode PWO packs in a whopping 185mg of caffeine in just one scoop (compared to around 90mg in a cup of coffee).
Still determined to give it a try, as I have friends who swear by the use of PWOs, I cautiously mix one 15mg scoop with 250ml of water in my shaker and down it when I reach the gym car park. It mixes well and it tastes pleasant too.
About 20 minutes afterwards I begin to feel really wired and oddly fidgety, like I can't stand still and have a strong urge to be moving about. I guess this is the 'pumped' feeling I'm supposed to get. You certainly wouldn't want to remain sitting around on the sofa after taking it!
By the time I've grabbed my plates and loaded up my bar, my face begins to feel hot and annoyingly tingly which is distracting me during my warm up. I chug some water and stand right near the air con in an attempt to stay cool and feel less itchy. Halfway through squats, my gym buddy asks me if I'm OK and tells me that I'm looking "wide eyed and on a mission", which I have to admit, makes a pleasant change from being told I look tired.
Half way through my workout, I'm still feel really thirsty and restless, but thankfully the irritating tingly feeling in my face is beginning to wear off. Later research tells me that this itchy tingling feeling is owing to the beta-alanine contained in the PWO and the longer you use a PWO for, the less likely you are to feel this effect.
I get through my workout in what feels like lighting speed, with no yawning during bicep curls - which is a first during the last 6 months! I haven't upped any of my weights but I did manage a few more reps with my current weights.
Unfortunately, by the time I got home and took a shower, I felt exhausted and had a dull headache for the rest of the day, kinda like that sugar crash you feel after eating too much junk food. Perhaps I'm sensitive to caffeine, seeing as I don't drink caffeinated drinks I guess it's not surprising that my body responded pretty badly to the PWO. I doubt it would have the same effect on anyone who drinks coffee/tea/energy drinks on a regular basis.
On the plus side, my muscles didn't ache at all the following day, which is unusual given that I'm usually practically crawling up the stairs the next day! (Thank you vitamin B12!). If I didn't appear so sensitive to high levels of caffeine, I'd be willing to give X-Plode Rippedcore another go, but I just can't have another afternoon written off by the caffeine-come down.
You can check out this and other Sci-Mx products on the Sci-Mx Website - I currently have my eye on the Pro2Go milkshakes and flapjacks!
Disclosure: I was sent this product to review, but as always my opinions are honest and my own