It's been some time since a pre-workout has garnered as much hype as the new Total War by Redcon1. This seems to be for good reason. With an increase in the amount of free (albeit sometimes misleading) information available, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to their supplements.
We seem to be witnessing the end of the proprietary blend, and the previously accepted practise of under dosing ingredients. The rise of Total War is a manifestation of that. It provides a big dose of stimulants for those continually pushing the boundary of reduced stimulant sensitivity, but also combines therapeutic doses of ergogenic ingredients. Here's a deeper look at what each of them does.
It's no secret that with habitual stimulant consumption comes reduced sensitivity. Redcon1 haven't exactly held back in trying to deliver enough stims so that even individuals with a tolerance will notice its effects. Let's split them into three somewhat distinct types...
Total War combines two types of caffeine (Caffeine Anhydrous and Di-Caffeine Malate) in a dose equivalent to about 3½ to 4 standard cups of coffee (350mg). Benefits from caffeine include increased adrenaline production, focus, energy, increased utilisation of fat for energy, and the preservation of muscle glycogen (endurance).
Whilst that would be enough to blow the socks of some individuals (and give others anxiety for life), they have also added four others.
Next Level Stims
The newbuzz compound (pun intended) following the ban of AMP Citrate, N-phenyl dimethylamine citrate (125mg) is added alongside 2-aminoisoheptane (100mg). Whilst there is little research on either of their use, they are similar in structure and effect to their previously banned counterparts; such as the aforementioned AMP Citrate, as well as DMAA and ephedrine.
Total War also contains Higenamine (25mg), a Beta-adrenergic receptor agonist thought to aid in fat burning like other ingredients of its kind. It is worth noting however that Higenamine has a rather short half-life, and would therefore need to be taken several times during the day (if these fat burning effects are in fact there as suggested).
The last of many ingredients with a stimulant effect found in Total War is a Theobroma cocoa extract (50mg). It is fairly well-known that cocoa contains a high level of antioxidants. Researched benefits of the extract include increased blood flow and insulin sensitivity, as well as improved blood lipid profiles.
Beyond the Stims
Shown to help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness, whilst simultaneously boosting nitric oxide production (pumps), Citrulline Malate is often added to pre-workouts but rarely in the dose required (6000-8000 mg). In fact, it isn't unusual to see a measly 1000-2000 mg in some pre-workouts. Total War contains 6000mg.
Often associated with the "buzz", Beta-Alanine is the ingredient responsible for the tingles you get from most pre-workouts. Whilst it helps with performance, it has nothing to do with stimulatory energy.
Beta-Alanine converts into a dipeptide known as carnosine in the body. Carnosine helps deal with the fatigue caused from lactic acid, allowing you to perform at a higher intensity for longer. Total War contains a therapeutic doses of 3200mg.
Agmatine Sulfate and Taurine
There is less evidence for the benefits of both Agmatine and Taurine on performance. Nevertheless, Total War contains a full gram of each.
All in all Total War appears to be one of the best high stim products to hit the market. They haven't bothered including creatine but this is a non-issue; 5g of creatine monohydrate in your post-workout shake is sufficient.
If you're a stim junkie and a pre-workout veteran then this is for you. It has hard hitting stims with therapeutic doses of two well researched, performance enhancing ingredients
If you're prone to insomnia, anxiety, or just haven't used many stimulants before, then please steer clear.