Today, I’m going to be reviewing BSN’s NO-Xplode (50 Serving Size). Despite its notoriety as possibly the most popular pre-workout supplement available, and even one of the most popular supplements of all time, I have a guilty confession – I haven’t used it since it was reformulated several years ago. However, I maintain a friendly relationship with a BSN representative who has been harassing me about giving it another shot and I’m currently in what I affectionately call the “dragging-ass” stage of dieting for the summer, so I figured I’d take him up on his offer. At the very least, maybe I’d get some energy out of it. Finally, the product was also recently streamlined from two size options, 40-serving and 60-serving, into one 50-serving size, so I was also curious to see if that benefited or hurt the customer. So, without further ado, here is my review of BSN’s NO-Xplode.
BSN’s NO-Xplode is available in six flavors: orange, fruit punch, blue raspberry, lemon lime, lemonade, and grape. I chose orange for my review as I usually enjoy that flavor. As I washed down the first swig, I was taken aback by how carbonated it was. It is a sweeter orange, and the flavor itself wasn’t bad, just a little fizzy for my tastes. I would definitely recommend drinking this a good 30 minutes before the gym (which is what is recommended on the label, but some people don’t always follow the guidelines) because I could see myself getting sick to my stomach if I was doing a heavy leg workout or something with short rest intervals. Other than that, as I said before the flavor was pleasing to the palate in and of itself and the powder mixed easily. I was just a little turned off by the mouth and stomach feel due to the carbonation and it definitely wouldn’t be something I would want to drink after I’ve started exerting myself.
Ingredients: A cursory examination of the label reveals mostly what you would expect from a “pump” product, and some novel ingredients. I was excited to see that it contained three ingredients that I really like – gynostemma pentaphyllum, Cinnulin PF, and lesser periwinkle. Here are some quick explanations:
–Gynostemma Pentaphyllum – An herb with antioxidant and adaptogenic properties that is from the same family as ginseng, but seems to affect me more. More importantly, not a “common” ingredient, and I always appreciate innovation. Some even believe this herb lengthens life.
–Cinnulin PF – The most-studied cinnamon ingredient on the market, studies show increased glucose disposal/nutrient partitioning, lowered blood sugar, and improved body composition, among other things. Cinnulin PF is a patented ingredient from Integrity Nutraceuticals, they have some nice studies on their website you can look up if you’re interested. I’m not going to do the all legwork on this one.
–Lesser periwinkle – Amongst the other things they’ve standardized this for, it contains vinpocetine – one of my favorite ingredients on the market right now and vastly underrated. At the very base level, vinpocetine is thought to increase blood flow to the brain (remember, the brain requires more oxygen at rest than any other organ in the body) and it readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Enhanced memory, focus, and/or concentration seem to be the most commonly reported benefits, I even notice enhanced pumps – possibly from better peripheral circulation as well? Anyway, cool ingredient if you are unfamiliar.
The more ubiquitous ingredients in NO-Xplode include the usual suspects: creatine, taurine, tyrosine, beta-alanine, caffeine, glucuronolactone, arginine, and citrulline malate. Pretty much par for the course here.
Effect: Well, to be fair, I haven’t taken a pre-workout product in awhile so I wasn’t “used to them” as of late. However, I must say that I was flying. I did chest and arms that day and I did have an awesome pump, and towards the end of my workout I was getting up immediately after completing one exercise in a tricep/bicep superset and running back and forth from my two machines. The biggest criticism NO-Xplode gets is usually that it “stops working” after about two weeks, that remains to be seen.
Pricing/Cost: The website I used to get my NO-Xplode that the BSN representative directed me to sold it for $34.49, I was happy with that price. It comes out to be about $.80 per serving (50 servings) after you factor in the shipping. It was slightly cheaper than the original 40 serving size, also much less annoying because you no longer get bottles that are only filled halfway. Even if that is only psychological, it still used to bother me.
Conclusion: All-in-all, I enjoyed it. My worry would be that it would upset my stomach if I was doing legs and supersetting lunges and leg presses or something to that effect. I think I would get nauseous from the carbonation, but it wasn’t a problem doing chest and arms. The biggest criticism NO-Xplode gets is usually that it “stops working” after about two weeks, that remains to be seen. I would also like to try the lemon lime flavor. In a perfect world, I would use this supplement in a pinch when I really needed a pick-me-up, not as an everyday crutch. If you abuse them, I think the effect is lessened as your body always wants to normalize things. I’m going to finish out this bottle judiciously using two scoops at a time when I really need it unless I’m working out close to bedtime (in which case I would use one scoop). After my two-year exodus from NO-Xplode, I might just be a repeat buyer. There is a promising new pre-workout product that just came out from IForce called Maximize that I want to compare it to.