To get away from of all the current political news I thought I’d take a break and do an overdue review of Muscletech’s Myobuild 4x Amino-BCAA supplement drink. Unlike previous reviews this is not a pre-workout, so it has to be judged a little differently.
It’s my philosophy that this type of dietary supplement is a harder review than before because a standard preworkout has a discernible, clearcut pair of effects you can somewhat weigh in on immediately after use – the stimulant factor and how well it carries your energy throughout a workout. The quick recap of how I feel about this product is that while I like this type of BCAA supplement, I don’t necessarily recommend it.
Cover to Cover
The bottle I received is silvery and shiny, with the company logo brazened on each side with flair, one seal saying “bonus!” servings and on the other side a “#1 selling” icon from themselves apparently. One thing I dislike is when a product has a lot going on from the cover, which is exacerbated by the silver sheen. Lots of claims up front with the aforementioned headers, the title of the product, a subtitle caption, lists of non-FDA evaluated claims such as “University tested to build 4x more muscle”, “shown to boost strength by over 40%”, “improves endurance”. Even more information on ratios of BCAA’s, amount of Betaine, amount of tart cherry in a gold sidepanel no less. Gold on silver with walls of black text.
There is also a side label that gives a spiel about how the product is the “world’s most powerful strength-enhancing BCAA formula”. This would be unnecessary in a way, but it lists a few core ingredients and pitches their rationale of being in the product.
Marketing wise, I believe there is such a thing as trying too hard… every product needs one or two things to catch the customer’s eye to differentiate it from sitting on the shelf, but 10 or 12 things makes it a mess.
Ingredients – Flavor & Nutrition
The primary flavor of tart cherry is good having about 340mg (or possibly 480mg if I’m misunderstood) of real tart cherry concentrate and coconut water, bolstered with a little of the standard Ace-K (Acesulfame Potassium) and Sucralose for sweetness. Mix-ability is poor to average, I usually get a bit of residual crust in my cups but not unacceptably more than some other powdered drinks I’ve reviewed. Thankfully the powdered mix itself is dry and powdery with no caking. I will give this beverage the standard sass that it would be nice to have some Stevia, but it seems like a Sucralose/Ace-K mix is a fairly standard way to go these days.
I do like the drink flavor though, so I’ll give it a thumb up for that.
Ingredients – BCAA’s
So here we are at the meat of the review. Just to quickly recap for anyone who doesn’t know (I assume most of you do so I’ll keep it short), BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) are particularly important building blocks of proteins (essentially making them a minimized form of food) and having excess free form BCAA’s is shown by a variety of research to keep your system anabolic longer (building muscle rather than breaking it down) as well as improving your recovery and total ability to create new protein. They are also faster acting, at that, since they get sucked into the blood stream almost immediately after ingestion. Your body will make BCAA’s from normal food by breaking apart proteins, but that obviously creates more work for the body vs. receiving them free-form.
The three aminos featured in this (and most other BCAA supplements for that matter) are L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. Leucine which is a bigger actor in the realm of protein synthesis than the others is appropriately present in a greater dose of 2g whereas Isoleucine & Valine are around 500mg each. If you take two doses of this product daily (the amount they suggest is the maximum recommended amount to take in 24 hours) makes what I’d consider a fair daily dose, however I’d consider it on the low side. I surveyed a random sample of about 10 other BCAA products that were randomly found on the popular Bodybuilding.com online store, and the considerable majority of them had a bigger BCAA serving than this product. Personally I’d like to see about 3g of leucin and 1-1.5g of isoleucine/valine. I do appreciate this product for specifically listing its values though, many BCAA’s just call their ingredients a “proprietary blend mix” and through them all in one ingredient line, and thankfully Muscletech does not do this. +1 point for integrity.
There really isn’t anything more to say than this, one thing about BCAA’s is it is easy to argue that simply consuming more protein through diet or even through whey protein is better or equally as beneficial. Even if you are in the camp who believes free-form BCAA’s are more effective for a variety for reasons, it is hard to reason that the differential is anything more than negligible. At the end of the day, any drink like this truly deserves the label of dietary supplement because this really is a matter of dietary preference. I would not consider any amount of drinking this solution to be a replacement for food sources, but I do think even if the margins are small that the product will be nice to have.
To justify any cost though, a BCAA beverage is going to need other ingredients that also add to the value.
Ingredients – Those other things
My opinion of Betaine Andryhous has not changed considerably since my review of Jacked Factory’s “Nitro Surge”, and appears here in the same dose of 1.25g. It has a variety of positive functions in the body and is a diverse supplement, can lower stress, help fat loss, improve your digestive efficiency & your appetite, help your liver and joints. Not a groundbreaking supplement but a nice one, if you want the positive benefits though you should supplement it often and include it in your diet (spinach, wine, beets all may be good sources).
Taurine is another one of those supplements with a diverse range of biochemical roles, not really being an amino acid as we properly understand it but being essential nonetheless. Many preworkouts who implement taurine will supplement it with beta-alanine (as some of the few negative effects of the beta-alanine are complimented by the taurine), which would be a great throw in, but Muscletech has not taken up this opportunity. Maybe they just want you to get your Taurine in.
Not to be forgotten, this product also includes what plants crave, electrolytes. These are dandy for replenishing yourself after a serious workout, and are generally good. I frankly don’t have much more to say than that.
I feel this offering by Muscletech is weak for what it provides the user, which isn’t to say I think it’s a bad supplement. It could help someone with recovery and protein synthesis as it claims, but so could any BCAA many of which have more actual BCAA’s and a better side panel of other supplements. I can say that while I have it, I consider it a great thing to drink while recovering from a recent surgery to keep myself from being totally catabolic during this fitness downtime, and on that note it has some merit at least for me.