Legion Pulse Review
As far as enduring images of strength and stamina go, the Roman legions are pretty legendary. Coming, seeing, and conquering, the legions bossed what was pretty much all of the known world in their day, and continued to do so for centuries (even the Patriots have some work to notch up that sort of run …)
You see, what the Romans had was strength as well as skill – outstanding tactics and game changing organization. It was their secret weapon.
U.S. based Legion Athletics claims that their Pulse pre workout offers the same full package – increasing energy, boosting endurance and sharpening focus, using all natural ingredients, flavorings and sweeteners.
Does it do enough get our thumbs up, then, or should it be thrown to the lions?
Founded in January 2013, Legion Athletics has striven to produce a superior product. Co-founder Mike Matthews makes a point of presenting himself as an everyman gym goer that got sick of buying dodgy supplements and decided to do it better himself.
Of their dozen or so supplements, none are proprietary blends. On their website meanwhile, Mike assures us that they’re all free from artificial junk, ineffective ingredients and dosages.
Legion Pulse is marketed as an ‘All Natural Nitric Oxide Pre-Workout … Creatine Free [and] naturally sweetened and flavored..’
It’s currently available in five flavors: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple and Watermelon.
We are Legion – How Does It Work?
At a Glance
- Betaine and Beta-Alinine for muscular endurance and workload capacity
- L-Theanine and Caffeine for focus
- L-Taurine and Citrulline Malate for blood flow
We’ll delve into the ingredients in detail later … first though, the scores.
As with so many pre workouts on the market, there are things that we like here (citrulline, betaine) and other things that we don’t so much (beta alanine, l-ornithine.)
What seems to be off kilter with this product, though, is the dosages. Some material on the website might be significant here – whilst bemoaning the lack of quality supplements on the market, Mr. Matthews mentions ‘tiny doses’ and ‘under dosing’ a few times. ‘Over dosing,’ noticeably, is never mentioned.
And to that end some of the figures here just seem a little … overcooked. 4.8g per serving of beta alanine? That’s a lot. Considering its side effects, it might even be considered excessive.
Then there’s the 350mg of concentrated caffeine anhydrous. Way too much – like, beyond the effective amount UNconcentrated (which is nearer 200mg – anything after that is essentially doing nothing but staying in your system longer.)
It feels as if Mike got bitten a few times himself by some ineffective junk (he mentions wasting ‘thousands of dollars’ in his time,) and decided to fling the kitchen sink at his own supplements.
Which sort of sounds like a good idea until you realize – well, it isn’t, basically.
Prices vary on Amazon depending on what flavor you want. But at time of press, Fruit Punch can be had for $34.97 for over 500g (or 21 servings,) placing it on the cheaper end of the supplement market.
An American product, Legion Pulse is dearer in Europe, with the same container going on eBay for around £50. Which is a LOT.
On the one hand Legion Athletics seems to absolutely tick all the right boxes. Their products are made in the U.S. at a cGMP and NSF certified facility. You get a 60 day guarantee and a full refund if you’re not satisfied. This is the sort of thing customers want to see when they’re buying into a brand.
But there seems to be one or two liberties taken with the truth. For example, the blurb on Amazon promises ‘no jitters’ – but with 4.8g of beta alanine per serving, that’s patently not a guarantee Legion can make.
On the same site, when a customer asks why ‘artificial flavorings’ are listed on the label of an ‘all natural’ product, Mike Matthews himself responds:
To be fair though, that was in 2014 and it seems that since then they’ve changed the formula to actually make it all natural rather than just saying it’s all natural.
Customer testimonials for Legion Pulse seem positive on the whole, with the main gripes being the taste and reports of pins and needles – one reviewer stated that half the dose reduced this problem (whilst presumably also reducing the positive effects of other ingredients.)
The briefest of glances at their website lets you know that Legion Athletics has got its online market presence down.
Their list of directors boasts a few Doctors, which never hurts, but their main asset here is a refreshingly straightforward presentation that’s still slick feeling. All quite impressive for a company that’s only been operating for a little over five years.
Mike Matthews and Co. are clearly savvy operators, and they pull off that rarest of tricks – you find yourself really WANTING to like their products.
How Do I Take It?
Legion advise mixing one scoop with 10-12 ounces of water, 15-30 minutes before exercise to assess tolerance. Thereafter, the same directions apply before weight training or intense cardio, with two scoops directed for heavier weights and cardio lasting longer than 45 minutes.
Any Legion Pulse Side Effects?
Strong possibility of acute parasthesia (pins and needles) and possibly some stomach complaints caused by the l-ornithine.
Where Can I Get It?
Legion Plus currently retails on Amazon and various eBay retailers, as well as being available directly from the Legion Athletics website.
Ingredients – In Detail
Legion Pulse’s top ingredient at a fairly hefty 8g, citrulline malate is a compound of the amino acid citrulline and ester of malic acid. As any good legionary would no doubt have told you, citrullus is Latin for ‘watermelon,’ and that’s exactly where citrulline is found naturally.
Citrulline Malate is thought to boost Nitric Oxide production, improving blood flow, muscle response and slowing the onset of fatigue.
And it started so well.. Although the makers of Legion Pulse are keen to point out that Beta Alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid (it’s found in high protein foodstuffs,) loading up on high doses of it isn’t necessarily beneficial. What’s more, the 4.8g per serving you get with Legion Pulse very definitely counts as a high dose.
So what’s the issue? Well, quite apart from there being scant evidence that it boosts muscle performance much in the first place, it has developed quite the reputation for causing full body pins and needles. Which aren’t all that helpful when you’re trying to focus on your workout..
A compound found in plants like sugar beets and spinach. Helps increase the body’s production of creatine and boost muscle protein synthesis. Clinical trials have indicated improved strength, muscle capacity and improved liver function.
The 2.5g found per serving of Legion Pulse falls roughly in the middle of the dosages used in most positive studies.
One of the three urea cycle amino acids, found in protein rich foodstuffs but produced naturally. A bit of a dark horse this one, and at 2.2g yet another of Legion Pulses pretty substantial doses.
What does taking masses of it do? Well, according to some sources (including Legion,) it reduces fatigue and promotes in-exercise fat to energy conversion.
Scratch a little deeper, though, and there is really not much clinical evidence to support this. One study (yes, just the one,) reported an anti-fatigue effect, whilst the other one study that concluded it could improve lean mass and power output is very old, has never been replicated, and was testing alongside l-arginine (which isn’t in Legion Pulse.)
Claims it can stimulate growth hormone have also been questioned.
What it apparently CAN do is cause stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Thank Jupiter there’s 2,200mg of it, then …
A highly concentrated caffeine in powder form – with one teaspoon being equivalent to a whopping 28 cups of coffee according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
Regular readers will know that we support the use of caffeine in pre workouts for its renowned energy and focus giving properties. But we also advocate a ‘less is more’ approach.
To be honest, 350mg per serving would be quite a lot of the regular stimulant, let alone the concentrated anhydrous. When you consider that the FDA actually issued ‘unreasonable risk’ letters to several manufacturers in 2015 following two deaths, you’ll understand why more points were dropped here.
Found in certain plant species, including green tea.
Almost certainly included because of its proven synergistic interaction with caffeine, again Legion Pulse seems to have its measures all wrong. The general consensus is that a two parts theanine to one part caffeine ratio produce the best results.
With 350mg here and the same amount of the wrong concentration of caffeine, the equilibrium’s all off.
We reckon Legion Pulse might have got Rome’s armies marching, but only because they were too jittery to sit still.
Yes, for all its manufacturer’s undeniable charm, and despite scoring some definite plus points ingredients-wise, with its scattershot heavy hits Legion Pulse feels more blundering barbarian than gym-savvy soldier.
The thumb’s not quite down, but it ain’t exactly skywards either.