Non-stimulant preworkout formulas have seen a huge surge in popularity recently. Perhaps it’s due to a number of industry-leading coaches disparaging caffeine’s vasorestrictive (aka. vascularity dampening) effects, perhaps the fitness community has moved on and grown since the semi-ban of DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine), or perhaps everyone’s already cracked out on caffeine from every supplement between protein and BCAAs being supplemented with doses of stimulants. The team over at Genius has capitalized on this stimulant conscious market effectively with the introduction of Genius Pre – an ergogenic and nootropic blend with hefty dosing of some of the more novel ingredients available today.
Before we dig into the dirty details, we’d like to note that Genius Pre is heavily attentive to the FOCUS and PERFORMANCE aspects of your preworkout stack; and it shines beautifully in both areas. It’s slightly lacking in a few of the more popular PUMP-based ingredients, but the ones it does include are extremely effective at the dosages offered. To fully round out the stack, you’ll want to add a pump-based standalone such as Giant Sports Giant Pump or PES High Volume for some added Agmatine and Glycerol.
Genius Pre also delivers quite handily on flavor, though there’s currently only one available. Sweetened with stevia instead of the more industry-standard sucralose, the Grape Limeade is refreshingly unique and rather delicious.
Genius Pre Ingredients
Genius Pre, along with all of Genius’ other products (at the time of this review) employs a fully transparent label; always a huge plus in our book, and it shows that the company fully stands behind their product’s ingredients and dosing. No proprietary blends here, and when you take a look at the panel you’ll see why:
- L-Citrulline Malate 2:1 (6g)
Citrulline Malate is a key fighter of muscle fatigue in the body, utilized in the urea cycle and removal of ammonia produced during periods of muscular exertion. It acts as an intracellular buffer, increasing endurance and augmenting the body’s production of ATP. All of the above result in more productive workouts, and thusly result in more effective lean body mass growth.
It also serves as a potent NO2 booster, serving as Genius Pre’s only (but very effective) pump-enhancing ingredient. We found that, in practical use, Genius Pre does indeed result in some fantastic pumps – but we can’t help but wonder what it would look like with some added Glycerol and Agmatine.
6g is a HEFTY dose, which is the likely explanation of its effectiveness in this formula.
- Carnosyn™ Beta Alanine (2g)
Carnosyn™ Beta Alanine was the specifically trademarked form of Beta Alanine used in the clinical studies that proved its efficacy, making this trademark one that’s not to be ignored.
In action, Beta Alanine works as an intracellular buffer much like Citrulline; it assists in delaying the “burn” caused by lactic acid buildup. This works as a bolster for increasing strength, power, and endurance.
Beta Alanine is known to cause tingling, but nothing to the level of Niacin. If you find this sensation uncomfortable, slowly taper your way up from ½ scoop to a full scoop to allow your body to adjust over time.
- Betaine (2g)
Betaine functions similarly to creatine, but does not cause water accumulation or GI bloating, nor does it require any sort of loading phase. This leaves you with an ingredient that has been clinically proven to increase skeletomuscular endurance, decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness, increase short-term power output, and boost muscle protein synthesis.
The 2g included within Genius Pre is just short of the 2.5g dosing present in studies, but assuming that you’re supplementing creatine elsewhere in your protocol, your bases should be covered anyway (Betaine and Creatine work on the same pathways).
- L-Tyrosine (1g)
Leading off the focus boosters is L-Tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid that’s long been touted for it’s ability to increase focus. It does so by facilitating the production of two crucial neurotransmitters, noradrenaline and dopamine – this combo works together to improve not only focus and cognitive ability, but mood as well. To top it all off, they assist in the management of anxiety and stress, which leads to a deeply motivated and calm-minded workout.
L-Tyrosine is effective at doses of 500mg-2000mg, and Genius Pre fits safely in the middle of that window. We prefer the higher end of the range for intense cardio sessions, but 1g will be more than sufficient enough to provide the intended effects for a great lift.
- L-Arginine (1g)
Arginine is a nitric oxide precursor, used in the body to improve nutrient delivery and blood flow to the skeletomuscular system. The nutrient partitioning effect truly shines when combined with either creatine or betaine, and when paired with either, Arginine has been shown to improve peak power output and muscular endurance.
It seems that Genius intended L-Arginine to work synergistically with the Citrulline Malate in this formula, as both have similar effects and work on separate pathways. It kicks in faster, as it doesn’t have to be converted from Citrulline – so it’s somewhat of a “pump-kickstarter”.
What we noticed is that It certainly does serve to further increase pumps than Citrulline alone, even at the 1g dosage.
- Taurine (1g)
One of the most abundant amino acids in the body, Taurine is what is referred to as a “conditionally essential” amino acid. In this scenario, “conditionally” refers to the fact that during times of tremendous physical exertion (pushing to or past failure, with assistance) the body can’t produce a large enough supply of Taurine to keep up with the body’s demand.
Taurine assists in the partitioning of water and nutrients into muscle cells, working as a volumizing agent. It’s also been clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and increase mental focus, working somewhat as a nootropic compound.
Taurine dosage is incredibly dependent upon both your workout intensity and the rest of your supplement stack – it’s present in a lot of other supplements, even many protein powders. 1g is a more than sufficient dose to include in Genius Pre.
- Alphasize® Alpha GPC (600mg)
Alphasize is a trademarked ingredient yielding 50% Alpha GPC, the most bioavailable form of Choline available on the market today. When choosing from the numerous forms of choline, Alpha GPC is the one we aim for with physical performance and focus in mind.
Alpha GPC has been shown to facilitate creation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that has been explicitly linked to learning processes. Acetylcholine serves to improve focus, mood, and muscle innervation (the mind-muscle connection) that is so critically important for targeted strength and hypertrophy progression. Recent research on Alpha GPC has suggested that it can increase power output, muscular endurance, and post-workout Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland.
600mg is the dose that’s been proven most effective for Alphasize®, and that’s exactly what Genius has provided us with in Genius Pre. Notice a trend?
- α-Hydroxyisocaproic Acid (HICA) (500mg)
HICA, a metabolite of Leucine, seems to be having a bad period in the supplement industry – it’s all but disappeared from most formulas, and considering how amazing of an ingredient it is, we have no idea why. It’s essentially a concentrated Leucine with a smaller caloric value, which means that a small dose goes a long way without effecting blood glucose. It’s also anti-catabolic. All of these factors, when combined, make it absolutely perfect for fasted cardio sessions or extended lifting periods where catabolism might come into play.
The jaw-dropping power of HICA was demonstrated in a study of professional soccer players, and showed that when players in the control group had no calorie restriction and could intake as much food as they wanted, they still managed to lose muscle mass after weeks of intense training. Players in the HICA group consumed a similar number of calories, but experienced no muscle loss whatsoever. The muscle preservation properties of HICA are STRONG.
The study used a 500mg dosage of HICA three times per day, but these athletes were training constantly – meaning that 500mg once a day should be more than enough for each gym session.
- Rhodiola Rosea (100mg)
As we begin to dip into the adaptogenic ingredients, it may be best to explain what an adaptogen is; Adaptogens are naturally-occurring substances that have been proven to help the body adapt to stress and exert stabilizing effects upon body processes. Ingredients like Rhodiola assist in the body’s processing of all kinds of psychological, emotional, and physical stress factors; they also serve to improve endurance and alertness while decreasing mental weariness.
Studies have shown Rhodiola to elevate cognitive function and memory formation, as it acts upon the acetylcholine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine production systems.
Rhodiola is a perfect herbal substitute for caffeine, as it increases energy and alertness without elevating heart rate or exerting any vasoconstrictive properties. 100mg per lifting/cardio session is the perfect dose, above the threshold of experiencing the intended effects.
- ElevATP™ (Ancient Peat and Apple Fruit Extract) (150mg)
ElevATP™ definitely stands out among 2016’s greatest developments in supplement science. Though oral ATP has been available in the form of PeakATP™ for some time, This patented ingredient is significantly more bioavailable than PeakATP and has a taste that is much easier to mask, making it much more suitable for powder-based supplements.
Early research has shown that ElevATP® truly does assist in the increase of intracellular ATP in blood cells, leading to statistically significant increases in power, strength, and performance in resistance-trained individuals aged 28 +/- 5. At the end of the data collection period, all subjects in the EleveATP® group showed increases in maximum squat and deadlift, as well as vertical jump peak power.
The study employed a dosage of 150mg, the exact dosage included in Genius Pre, so we’d say that this dosage is ideal.
- Theobromine (30mg)
Theobromine is, admittedly, a stimulant. We still classify Genius Pre as a non-stimulant supplement simply due to the fact that it’s a very WEAK stimulant, and is included in this formula for the nootropic effects.
Theobromine can be attributed to the “feel-good” sensation you get from eating chocolate, as it’s present heavily in cacao. Its stimulant effects are much more sustained and smooth than caffeine, but I’d bet that Genius included it in this formula more for the vasodilation, focus, mental acuity, and VO2 max (aid in breathing effectively). 30mg is a modest but effective dose here.
- AstraGin® (25mg)
AstraGin®, a patented extract of panax notoginseng and fractionated astragalus, is used mainly to facilitate the transmission and partitioning of nutrients as well as increasing their bioavailaibily. It’s necessary in this formula to increase the absorption of the beautifully-sized doses of other ingredients. Without an accompanying ingredient such as this, the body would not be able to fully absorb nor utilize the 6g of Citrulline Malate mentioned above.
Not much else to say here, other than the fact that Genius pulls through with the nutrient delivery as much as they do with the dosage.
- Huperzia Serrata (1% Huperzine A) (10mg)
To round it all up, Genius Pre brings the glue that holds all the nootropic and focus ingredients together – Huperzine A. By inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, Huperzine A increases the biological active life of acetylcholine and prolongs the effects of the aforementioned Alpha GPC. This also leads to more available acetylcholine in general, further increasing focus and shielding the brain against neurotoxic glutamine. Huperzine A has even been hypothesized to increase the number of active brain cells, which gives it the rare distinction of being a neurogenerative substance in a world full of neurotoxic factors.
Genius Pre stands out as one of the best pre-workouts we’ve tried recently, though the price tag certainly reflects the quality. At only 20 servings per $39.99 tub, it ranks rather low on our price-per-serving list. That being said, it’s worth it.
Keep an eye out for the rest of our reviews on the Genius line of supplements – we’ll be releasing them shortly.
Author: Jared Boynton
Jared Boynton holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee, is a performance and conditioning coach and serves asd the owner of Genomax Performance Coaching. His experience has been accrued through years of real-world implementation with both his own physique and the physiques of numerous clients. You can contact Jared via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his website, http://www.GenomaxCoaching.com.