Return of the king?
When we talk about the good old days of pre-workouts; we really mean the days when DMAA was allowed to be in our pres and fat-burners. And if anyone asked you what products were the best of the best back then; they would probably give you one of the following pres: 1MR, Craze, Mesomorph and, of course, USPlabs Jack3d! With Jack3d being the one, that most, would say was king! Fast forward 7 years, and after numerous reformulations to align with numerous ingredient bannings, this is what we have.
L-Citrulline is a non essential amino acid that gets converted into the amino acid L-Arginine by the kidneys. Once converted into L-Arginine which then goes on to increase nitric oxide (NO) levels in the blood. Increased nitric oxide has a vasodilation effect on blood vessels, allowing them to relax and open up which results in increased blood flow. Increased blood flow then results in increased oxygen and nutrient delivery within the blood to the working muscles which can improve endurance, power and recovery.
Dose p/serve: 6 grams of L-Citrulline
Recommended dosage: 3 – 5 grams of L-Citrulline
Beta Alanine is a non essential acid; meaning we can synthesis this amino within the body and it is not essentially to consume from our diet. Beta Alanine is the precursor to carnosine which is a molecule we store within our muscles to help flush out acids, such as lactic acid, when required. This flushing of acids prevents their build up which therefore delays the onset of muscular fatigue and increasing muscular endurance. Beta Alanine is most known for the ‘tingling’ sensation users get, known as paresthesia. This sensation is perfectly normal and does lessen with consistent use.
Dose p/serve: 3.2 gram of Beta Alanine
Recommended dosage: 3.2 – 6.4 grams of Beta Alanine
Arginine Nitrate (NO3T)
Arginine Nitrate is the combination of 2 compounds, Arginine and Nitrates. Nitrates & Arginine both have the same purpose in the body; to increase nitric oxide levels therefore increasing vasodilation and blood flow to the working muscles. Increased blood flow results in increased oxygen and nutrient delivery within the body which can improve endurance, power and recovery. Unlike other nitrates, having arginine here helps keep nitrate tolerance at bay ensuring that you experience the same effects dose after dose.
Dose p/serve: 2 grams of Arginine Nitrate (NO3T)
Recommended dosage: 1 – 2 grams of Arginine Nitrate (NO3T)
Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Caffeine is a stimulant which means it speeds up the communication of messages between the brain and body. Caffeine is found in a variety of products such as Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks and Energy Supplements. Caffeine hits the adenosine receptor so it can no longer fire the fatigue signal in the body.
Dose p/serve: 375 mg of Caffeine
Recommended dosage: There is no recommended / clinical dose of caffeine
Theacrine as TeaCrine (40% Tasteless)
TeaCrine, brought to us by Compound Solutions, is a compound chemically similar to Caffeine but functions very differently. TeaCrine is not actually a stimulant and has no increasing effect on heart rate or blood pressure. Unlike caffeine, you DO NOT build a tolerance to the effects of TeaCrine so you will continue to feel it day after day. TeaCrine smooths out the energy lift you get from caffeine so you do not experience any jitters, as well as this it extends the life so there is no crash. Caffeine alone will typically provide 2 hours of energy; when you pair TeaCrine with caffeine you will get 4 – 6 hours of energy. Studies have shown that caffeine actually enhances the bioavailability of TeaCrine so you get more from each dose when paired together.
Dose p/serve: 250 mg of TeaCrine (40% Tasteless) yielding 100mg of active TeaCrine.
Recommended dosage: There is no clinical dose of TeaCrine. The amount of TeaCrine should be in relation to the amount of caffeine and stimulants in the product.
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a vitamin found in various food as well as dietary supplements. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is involved in the repair of tissue and the production of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is very important for immune system health. Vitamin C is used in supplements to assist with nutrient absorption, making sure our body can absorb all the ingredients and let them do their thing.
Dose p/serve: 115 mg of Vitamin C
Recommended dosage: The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for Vitamin C is approximately 45 mg per day.
NeuroFactor – Coffee Berry Extract
NeuroFactor is a patented all-natural extract of whole fruit from the Coffee arabica plant. NeuroFactor has been shown to significantly increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that is responsible for development, differentiation, and protection of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system and plays a role in cognitive and mental health. Studies showed more than 140% increase in BDNF from 100mg dose of NeuroFactor, whereas there was no significant increase in subjects who were given brewed coffee, green coffee bean extract, natural coffee caffeine, grape seed extract, or chlorogenic acid.
Dose p/serve: 100 mg of NeuroFactor – Coffee Berry Extract
Recommended dosage: 100 mg of NeuroFactor – Coffee Berry Extract
First things first, there is no questioning the dosing of the ingredients USPlabs have carefully picked out for Jack3d. L-Citrulline: above clinical dose, Beta Alanine: clinical dose, Arginine Nitrate: clinical dose, Caffeine: a lot of that, TeaCrine: very nice dose of that, Vitamin C: above RDI dose and finally NeuroFactor: clinically studied dose. Its safe to say no one will be complaining about their not being enough of something here in Jack3d.
Lets break the formula down and see what weve got to enjoy:
Muscular Endurance – Beta Alanine (L-Citrulline & Arginine Nitrate to a lesser degree)
Muscle Pumps – L-Citrulline & Arginine Nitrate
Energy – Caffeine & TeaCrine
Mental Focus – Caffeine, TeaCrine & NeuroFactor
As you can see, USPlabs have pretty much all things covered in Jack3d, all but one. Muscular power is the only lacking category in this formula. Yes, you could argue that the muscular endurance ingredients will improve muscular power to a degree but we would have loved to have seen any of the following: Creatine, Betaine and/ or elevATP. That being said, we are big fans of supplementing with creatine post workout though.
All in all, USPlabs have put together a simple but still well thought out formula, with dosages that nobody is going to complain about.
Taste & Consumability:
In Australia, USPlabs Jack3d comes in 3 flavours: Orange Mango Crush, Wild Watermelon and Sour Gummy. While we cannot comment on the taste of Wild Watermelon, we have been able to try the other 2 flavours. Before we get into the actual taste, lets address the mixability & consumability.
The directions state to mix 1 scoop with 1.25 L of cold water. Who in their right mind, mixes their pre in over 1 L of water! There is a reasoning behind this exaggerated volume of water; energy drinks are regulated in Australia by the food standards code, in particular Standard 2.6.4. This states the maximum amount of caffeine they (the product) can contain is 320 mg per litre therefore for Jack3d to contain 375 mg of caffeine, it would need to be mixed in 1.25 L of water to be under this regulated threshold. This is just another label regulation Australia makes these companies comply with.
Now for the flavours of Jack3d, they are good, not great but good. The only thing stopping the flavours from being great was an extracty aftertaste that we would experience after each sip. It was more distinctive in the Orange Mango flavour whereas the stronger Sour Gummy flavour hide the aftertaste. The TeaCrine being used is the tasteless TeaCrine that has been designed to be flavourless in formulas. We put this aftertaster down to a combination of NeuroFactor, Arginine Nitrate and TeaCrine.
The question everyone wants answered, is it TOO MUCH caffeine? Of course this answer will vary from person to person but we can confirm that USPlabs have done a great job of balancing out the energy from all that caffeine with the benefits of TeaCrine. Don’t get it twisted though, you will FEEL this pre-workout!
Weve used 100s of pre-workouts that contain a 3.2 gram dose of beta alanine, but only a few have produced the tingles like Jack3d! Halfway through our shaker and we found ourselves scratching our head like a kid with lice. It’s safe to say you will know when the pre kicks in. The combination of caffeine and beta alanine, is anything but new, but it is highly effective for providing that physical experience of a pre-workout going to work.
Onto the REAL effects now. Overall the energy and focus is very impressive; while it doesnt provide a tunnel vision style of focus the uplift in energy and mood puts you in a very positive mindset for the entirety of your session. The energy comes on strong but not 375 mg of caffeine strong and we can thank the TeaCrine for this. You notice the surge of energy, alertness and readiness to train and this stays with you from start to finish. Finish a set to failure but feeling ready to go again shortly after, this clean energy will give you all the energy you need for whatever your session throughs at you.
Muscle pumps muscle puuuumps! Jack3d surprised us with the pumps it provided, especially given only 2 ingredients in the formula are responsible for these pumps, their dosing must be the key. Whatever you are training will feel very full by the end of your first exercise and, as longs as you keep working and the rests minimal, it will stay full. The only downside was we felt that the pumps didnt last very long after the workout, or if you got distracted in between sets for a long time. Possibly some Agmatine could help extend the life of the muscle pumps in Jack3d.
Muscular endurance is where Jack3d really shined through paired with that energy. We tested this pre with both heavy low rep workouts and higher rep volume sessions and the latter was definitely the style of workout Jack3d is suited for. Not saying if you train heavy you wont like this pre but when volume came into play, Jack3d came through! No matter how high the rep count went, how much the last reps burnt, we would pull up feeling ready to again, and again all workout long.
When it comes to the stackability of Jack3d we asked ourselves, what would we want more of or what is missing to make this flawless. Muscle power and strength were the only factors we felt USPlabs didnt nail in this formula. With that, stacking Jack3d with creatine, betaine or some elevATP could be a very nice addition to the formula.
If youre after MORE pumps then you should be fine with most pump / non-stimulant formulas, we would recommend sticking clear of any formulas that contain nitrates (greater than 500 mg) as the 2 grams of arginine nitrate in Jack3d is a very nice dose. We would not recommend stacking Jack3d with any product that contains caffeine and/ or stimulants.
What’s The Verdict:
USPlabs had some very big shoes to fill with this latest reformulation of Jack3d; and we feel they have done a very good job at filling them. A pre-workout that, while not as hardcore as the original, fits in perfectly with pre-workouts of today. Clinical doses of patented ingredients paired together in a simple but highly effective formula, USPlabs Jack3d will be a very reliable, high energy pre-workout for you to enjoy.