Progenex Force is a new pre-workout supplement. Progenex promises that by taking this formula a few minutes before your workout that you will perform better and prevent catabolic muscle breakdown. After using Force several times, I think it is a great product that definitely helps me perform at my peak. However, I suggest you start with small doses and increase them until you get the effect that you want. A full dose may not be right for everyone. Read on to find out more.
Force comes in a small packet of powder about the size of a candy bar. I used the lemon flavor, and it tastes fine. The entire packet is considered one serving. You can see the nutrition label below. The most important ingredients in the mix are amino acids, creatine, beta alanine, nitric oxide, and caffeine. Let’s talk about them one by one.
Branch chained amino acids (BCAAs) are extremely important to muscle recovery. The best time to supply your body with BCAAs to repair muscle is directly before you break muscle down during a workout. This ensures that your body will stay anabolic (build lean muscle) and not go catabolic (break down lean muscle). Leucine is a particularly important amino acid. I’ve read research that showed supplementing with Leucine alone was almost as effective as supplementing with all BCAAs. Progenex says Force delivers all the necessary BCAAs plus a lot of Leucine. However, they won’t say exactly how much, because it’s a proprietary blend.
Creatine provides your body more fuel for explosive muscular contractions. It is one of the most researched, most effective, and most popular supplements in the history of strength training. No scientific study has ever produced a real negative side effect of creatine supplementation. If you train for strength, then you should supplement with creatine. If all that sounds bold–it is. I challenge you to prove it wrong (by citing scientific research, not your cousin the personal trainer). Anyway, Force contains a small amount of creatine: 1.5 grams. You want creatine in a pre-workout supplement, but this isn’t enough creatine for your entire daily dose. So you will need to supplement extra creatine at other times of the day.
Beta alanine is another well-researched workout supplement. It isn’t as well researched as creatine, but I’m comfortable with it. It helps you recover during rest intervals so you can output maximally during work intervals. When I don’t use Force, I use a simple pre-workout supplement with creatine and beta alanine, and I can tell a noticeable difference in my performance if I fail to take it. So the 1.5 grams of beta alanine in Force is good stuff.
Force contains 100mg of caffeine. A small coffee from Starbucks contains 260mg, so 100mg isn’t a very large dose. Caffeine is probably the most widely used athletic supplement in history. Small doses like this definitely improve focus and energy levels, unless you’re a caffeine junkie, in which case 100mg probably won’t have much of an effect.
Finally, we have nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels, an effect called vasodilation. This allows your brain and muscles to receive more of all the supplements contained in Force. This is one of the more potent ingredients in Force. By the way, it’s also used in Viagra.
My experience with Force started off rocky. Reading the nutrition label, I discerned that in order to get my normal pre-workout beta alanine and creatine dose (5 grams each), then I needed to add more creatine and beta alanine than Force provided. I mixed one whole packet of Force (that’s the suggested serving) with about 3 grams creatine and 3 grams beta alanine. Twenty minutes later, my workout was going great! However, at times I thought I was Don Quixote. I talked to the barbell more than normal. And I might have pooped my pants. I can’t be sure–it’s all a haze. Anyway, that dose was a little much. I shouldn’t have added more creatine and beta alanine. [Update: A Progenex representative read this review and commented, "As you've found, you certainly don't have to add anything to the product. The nitric peptide that we use shuttles all the other ingredients to the muscles so effectively that you don't need near as much as you would if you were taking those products on their own."]
Since then I’ve experimented and found that about 2/3 packet with is just right for me. I drink it with three scoops of Progenex Recovery (yes, I take Recovery before and after my workout). I get the rest of my creatine dosage at other times of the day. This dose is enough that I feel very alert, energized, and I probably still talk to the barbell a little more than normal–but I think a little chat with the barbell is sometimes healthy.
Overall, I think the right dose of Force gives you a big boost for heavy lifting days. Force retails for $2 per serving. Like most supplements, this boils down to how seriously you take your training. If you train recreationally, then Force may not be your cup of tea, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you’re a driven athlete, and you want to ensure that your time in the gym gives the absolute best results, then you may want to give Force a try. We will be offering Force at CrossFit Impulse as a trial run to see if it’s popular. You can also order it directly from Progenex and receive 10% off by clicking here.
By the way, Progenex didn’t give me anything to write this review, so these are my unbiased thoughts. You can read more about Force on the Progenex website.