Most energy products are just too low powered for lifters or, for that matter, any type of athlete. They're essentially cold, bubbly cups of weak coffee, but instead of cream, many brands have inexplicably added some of the amino acid taurine, which serves no easily discernible purpose in these drinks.
It looks like these products were made with gamers in mind, or maybe co-eds who have to stay up late to study for their Econ final, or for the sleep-deprived night managers of 24-hour Kinkos Copy Centers.
Granted, some contain more caffeine that others. Monster has a "Mega Monster" variant that contains 240 mg. of caffeine, but unfortunately, you have to quaff down 24 ounces of liquid and 81 grams of sugar to get at it. At that point, it's more likely that your stretched out bladder and hyperglycemia are doing more to keep you "alert" than the relatively high(er) amount of caffeine it contains.
Regardless, there are people out there that don't really feel anything from most of these generic energy drinks. These individuals are either big people in general, or they've been using caffeine for so long that they're largely immune to small or modest doses.
Others may in fact feel a little something, but what they'd really like is a strong energy product that helps power them through some tough workouts or important athletic events, or that keeps them going full throttle all day long instead of just a couple of hours.
To these connoisseurs of stimulants, I offer the family of Spike® supplements, which come in three "vintages":
Other than differences in serving-size and the amount of caffeine they contain, each variant of Spike® contains one or two additional energizing ingredients. They also share several things in common:
- Zero sugar
- Zero carbs
- High-strength formulas
- Terrific flavor
Let's take a look a closer look at each formulation.
The Spike® Shooter was formulated as an answer to weak-kneed energy products that a lot of people "can't feel." Each can (8.4 ounces) contains the following:
Spike® Shooter contains an impressive 300 mg. of caffeine to increase alertness and work capacity.
This is a naturally occurring amino acid that's used by the brain to make the stimulatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine, leading to the following effects:
- Increased energy.
- Improved concentration.
- Restoration of neurotransmitter levels depleted by ingesting large amounts of caffeine.
Acteyl-L-Tyrosine also helps you cope with stress, both physical and mental. Users report that it even leaves them feeling refreshed after an intense workout. It also has the following cool effects, even though they're not generally things you go looking for in an energy drink:
- Improved moods so that you say goodbye to the doldrums.
- Reduction of social anxiety. No more wallflower. No more struggling with what to say.
- Improved memory.
- Increased learning capacity.
- Improved analytical skills.
This substance used to be the go-to treatment for erectile dysfunction because it pops open blood vessels in your penis (and the rest of your body, too). Then came Viagra and its ilk. It also has a reputation for increasing thermogenesis and selectively targeting stubborn areas of fat, like in the "lower abs" of men and around the upper thighs of women.
In addition to all that, though, it packs a potent stimulatory effect.
I'm not completely sold on the value of added B12, but I can't deny that it's implicated in boosting energy and supporting brain and nerve function, both of which would definitely have a place in an energy supplement.
The Spike® formulation contains 1500 mcg. of methylcobalamin, which is the superior, biologically active form of B12.
Spike® Shooter comes in Original Flavor.
While Spike® Shooter (described above) works well as a great pre-workout or athletic event energy booster, it's also well suited for any situation where you just need to keep jamming away. Spike® Hardcore Energy, though, is specifically designed to help you power through a workout or athletic event.
The formulation is, in many ways, similar to that of Spike® Shooter, but it contains different amounts of shared ingredients and swaps out one key ingredient for another. Here's the breakdown:
- Caffeine: Spike® Hardcore Energy ups the caffeine ante from 300 mg. to 350 mg., albeit in a 16-ounce serving instead of an 8.4-ounce serving.
- Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: Spike® Hardcore Energy shares this potent neurotransmitter ingredient in common with Spike® Shooter.
- Beta Alanine: Spike® Hardcore Energy swaps out the Yohimbine HCL in Spike® Shooter for this non-essential amino acid. Beta alanine, a supplement-world darling, increases muscle carnosine levels, thereby increasing the amount of work you can perform at high intensities. Think bodybuilding-style training in general, or CrossFit or HIIT work.
- Vitamin B12: Spike® Hardcore Energy contains a heftier dose of methylcobalamin (2000 mcg.).
Spike® Hardcore Energy is available in Blue Raz, Strawberry Lemonade, and Original flavors.
This version of Spike® is essentially a more portable, more easily "swallowable" version of Spike® Hardcore Energy. A Double-Shot is only 4.5 ounces and it contains two servings. Drink one serving if you just need a quick boost for whatever generic task you're working on, or drink the whole bottle for all-day energy or to prepare yourself for a beastly workout.
The small size makes it easy to quickly quaff down before a workout or athletic event without giving you any feelings of stomach fullness.
Each bottle (two mini-servings) contains the following ingredients:
- Caffeine: One serving of Spike® Double-Shot contains 175 mg. of caffeine (for a total of 350 mg. per bottle).
- Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: Just as with the other Spike® products, the inclusion of acetyl-tyrosine gives you increased energy, improved concentration, and restores levels of neurotransmitters that might be depleted by the ingestion of a large amount of caffeine.
- Beta Alanine: Like Spike® Hardcore, Spike® Double-Shot contains the non-essential amino acid beta alanine so that you can work out harder and longer.
- Vitamin B12: Spike® Double-Shot contains 750 mcg. of methylcobalamin, which is just a bit less than that contained in Spike® Hardcore.
Spike® Double-Shot is available in Original Flavor.
If you want a powerful, all-round energy supplement that's augmented with a few other energizing ingredients, go with Spike® Shooter.
If you want something to power up your most brutal workouts, go with Spike® Hardcore Energy.
If you want an energy supplement that's more "portable" – something you can toss in your gym bag or carry in your pocket or purse – to power up your workouts or just to experience all-day energy, opt for Spike® Double-Shot.
Warning: Keep in mind, though, that all three of these products are very powerful. Like any product, supplement, or substance that works really well, don't abuse them. These products come with warning labels. Read them.
Feel free, though, to drive or operate any heavy machinery as long as you damn want, though.