AC8 Xtreme Pre-Workout Review
‘Extreme’ is one of those words you see everywhere. What started out describing a raft of adrenaline heavy and cultish sporting endeavors a few decades ago has since been slapped before everything from gardening to ironing to knitting (Don’t believe me? Google it..)
‘Extreme’ can be extremely misleading then.
So what about Iron Labs Nutrition’s AC8 Xtreme then? Rendered even extreme-er by the dropped letter (grammar’s for dickweeds, dude,) AC8 finds itself in a crowded field, both by dint of its moniker and its pre workout product status. Is it gnarly enough to score some mondo kudos with us?
Since forming in 2009, UK-based Iron Labs Nutrition has grown into one of the bigger fish in the pre workout market. Just one of their hefty stable of products, AC8 Xtreme claims to improve strength and endurance. It comes in four flavors (Fruit Punch, Tropical Blast, Blue Raspberry and Watermelon,) and is suitable for vegetarians.
AC8 Xtreme features something of a gimmick, with two different serving guidelines: Regular, and the Xtreme of the title. The latter basically equates to double – although first timers are advised to stick with Regular to begin with.
How Does It Work?
At a Glance
- Creatine Monohydrate to boost endurance and lean muscle mass
- Beta Alinine to combat muscle fatigue
- L-Taurine and Citrulline Malate for blood flow
We’ll look at the full formula later – first, the scores.
AC8 Xtreme certainly includes some of the mainstays of the pre workout market. Creatine? Citrulline? Caffeine? Check, check and check.
But that’s not to say there aren’t a couple of questionable things going on with the formula, largely to do with some of the dosages.
Caffeine might be a cornerstone, but there’s probably too much of it here, especially in the Xtreme serving. The opposite is true for the citrulline, with even the larger serving falling well short of the optimal dosage.
We also docked points from AC8 for containing beta alanine, which at this quantity is likely to produce side effects (see below,) and for the high quantity of dextrose (it being the second largest ingredient.)
The product retails for an average of $25 – $30 (or £20 GBP) for a 300g tub, meaning it’s not overly expensive. At the time of press the same tub is available on AmazonUK for £15.78.
We noticed that AC8 Xtreme was no longer listed on Iron Labs website, and it currently only seems to retail on Amazon and eBay. This means it’s likely to have been recently discontinued, and suppliers are trying to shift their remaining stock. In which case, the price might drop further still..
All Iron Labs products are produced at a GMP Certified facility in the UK and distributed by a single company. All of the ingredients in AC8 Xtreme are approved by the FDA and the EFSA.
With AC8 currently being sold in only one or two places, varied testimonials are a little thin on the ground. The Amazon customer reviews are generally decent enough, commenting on the good taste and quick buzz (the large dose of Dextrose probably helping on both counts.)
A notable few mention instantly feeling itchy on taking, however, and others complain of headaches and stomach cramps (that’ll be the Beta alanine and too much caffeine, then.)
Middling score here.
Around for almost ten years now, Iron Labs Nutrition initially focused exclusively on testosterone boosters. Merging with Euro Nutrition some five years ago, they have built a reputation as a company willing to both listen and respond to customer feedback.
Which might explain why they appear to have dropped AC8 Xtreme from their current product range..
How Do I Take It?
Either a Regular half scoop (7.5g,) or an ‘Xtreme’ full scoop (15g,) thirty minutes before working out.
Any AC8 Xtreme Side Effects?
In a word, yes. The beta alanine will possibly cause itching and pins and needles, whilst the caffeine could easily lead to jitteriness and stomach discomfort, especially in the doses present in the larger serving.
Where Can I Get It?
AC8 Xtreme is currently available on Amazon and various eBay retailers.
Ingredients – In Detail
A non-essential amino acid, creatine recycles cellular tissue energy, acts as a pH buffer, and boosts endurance and lean muscle mass. One of the mainstays of the pre workout market, and for good reason – the mass of peer reviewed research that confirms it works is sizeable.
With 1500mg per Regular serving, Creatine is AC8 Xtreme’s main ingredient.
A corn sugar chemically identical to glucose. Known as a ‘simple’ sugar, the body can absorb it quickly for short term energy bursts. Dextrose will increase blood sugar levels rapidly, but it lacks much nutritional value otherwise.
Another naturally occurring amino acid, found in high protein foods, but with far less positive research behind its use as a supplement than creatine.
In fact, despite its increasing prevalence as a pre-workout ingredient, there’s little evidence to suggest that it will boost muscle performance, and it’s role delaying the onset of muscle fatigue is pretty questionable.
There’s no standardized dosage, no human performance studies beyond 12 weeks, and worst of all its become notorious for causing acute parasthesia – better known as severe pins and needles.
Dropped points here for containing a largish 1000mg per Regular serving.
Glutamine is the most common free amino acid in our bodies. A building block of proteins, it’s produced by the muscle and transported via the blood to working cells. Also thought to aid the immune system and improve gut function.
AC8 Xtreme contains 1000mg per Regular serving.
An antioxidant organic acid that increases blood flow and, to a lesser extent, exercise capacity.
Often included so as to interact with other substances, it may have been included to offset the apparent taurine imbalances produced by Beta alanine.
Citrulline Malate – A compound pairing the amino acid citrulline, found naturally in watermelons, with the organic salt malate. Reduces lactic acid, ammonia, and improves blood flow and endurance.
With the optimal amount up to ten or more times the 750mg present per Regular serving, it’s doubtful how many of these benefits you’re going to experience taking AC8 Xtreme.
Last but not least, caffeine. Probably the most number 1 most used ingredient in pre workout supplements. Speeds the metabolism, allowing you to burn fat more rapidly, improves focus, and boosts energy – particularly important with a low carb diet.
Study after study has shown that less is more where caffeine’s concerned, however, given its known side effects at greater levels. Despite being the least included active ingredient in AC8 Xtreme, even the 200mg Regular serving in one go hovers around the high side. The 400mg ‘Xtreme’ serving, meanwhile, is virtually guaranteed to give you the jitters…
There’s also strong reason to believe that it works far more effectively when combined with L-Theanine – which is notably absent from AC8.
Like the neighborhood kid fully kitted out on his brand new downhill mountain bike, AC8 Xtreme can seem fairly impressive at first glance. Watch him wheel to the top of the hill before shaking his head and wheeling back home, however, and your perceptions begin to change.
Yes, AC8 ticks a few of the ‘go to’ boxes for this market ingredients wise, and yes, it can be got temptingly cheaply. But overall it feels a little loaded up with the wrong things, in the wrong doses.
Sometimes if you want to push it to the max, your outlay might need to be just a little more extreme into the bargain. Dude …