How Do I Get Fit - P90X, Insanity and Beachbody fitness Coaching. You can change your body. This is the place to start.

NeuroCore (MuscleTech) Review

At what point does the universal pre-workout supplement claim of “The most powerful/effective formula since EVER” become noise? While marketing guys get a gold star for adding more hype to a marketplace already full of it, choosing a pre-workout supplement can be tough and labels only go so far. C4 Extreme, Jack3d and NO-Xplode all make similar claims but as  I’ve said before, pre-sup concoctions all have a list of primary ingredients (in varying doses) on which they build: Caffeine (for energy), Beta Alanine (decreases fatigue by acting as a lactic acid buffer, increases vasodilation), Arginine (nutrient precursor/transport for Nitric Oxide?) and Creatine (muscle energy)– usually capped off with a “proprietary energy blend”.

That is, until now– MuscleTech’s done something with Neurocore not many (heck– if any) have: disclose ALL ingredients and the total amount of each used in the supplement– including the fact they kicked pre-workout staple ingredient Arginine straight to the curb (more on that later). No “proprietary energy blends” here– this is naked disclosure and the primary reason I wanted to give this formulation a try amidst a crazy over-saturated pre-workout supplement marketplace.

So, does Neurocore live up to its promise? Read on.

Neurocore Review

Spot It:

The stuff in the shiny black tub with a yellow “pulsating laser” running vertical through the label. If there’s one thing the packaging is going for, it’s to let you know it’s brimming with workout boosting power.


Like many other pre-supps, a Neurocore single serving follows the “ultra-supremely-shrink-ray” concentrated gimmick kicked off by Jack3d. Unlike Jack3d, however, the serving size is about 4.1 g (1gram less). Neurocore has a macronutrient-friendly calorie count of 0 for a recommended dose of one to three scoops max in a 24-hour period. Neurocore mixed very well with a few quick shakes in a shaker bottle.


A few years back I was on a cruise and my sister sampled a “gourmet” salad that used all sorts of leafy greens. Some were bitter and she quickly declared the salad tasted like “poison”. What does that have to do with Neurocore’s taste? I think “tastes like poison” makes a better description than “bitter”. I sampled Neurcore’s “Fruit Punch” flavor and while the taste was initially more like “Grape”, the nasty “poison” taste quickly punched my tastebuds in their unsuspecting faces. Amino Acids (Citrulline and Beta-alanine in this case) can have that effect, but other pre-supps have done taste much, much better. Funny thing is Neurocore’s comparison image (above) states its taste is “superior”. To chlorine bleach or the floor of a public bathroom maybe… but definitely not to anything else I’ve sampled. For me, Neurocore went down like a mouthful of grape-flavored Pine-Sol.


As mentioned earlier, MuscleTech (a mainstay, high-profile supplement player which has kind of been bad-mouthed in a few circles as suffering product quality lately– they’re obviously out to change that) has broken away from using Arginine as an ingredient based on a few studies (see reference links below) showing arginine did nothing, and maybe even inhibited, endurance. Direct quote from one of the research findings of arginine when tested on a set of college athletes:

“Because AAKG [arginine] supplementation may hinder muscular endurance, the use of these supplements before resistance training should be questioned.”

Say wha? You mean all Arginine based pre-supps are –at best– doing nothing and –at worst–doing the opposite of what they’re claiming? According to a few studies, they are. So, using that as a basis, MuscleTech’s Neurocore uses L-Citrulline (which, ironically, arginine is synthesized from anyway…) that happens to REALLY do what arginine always promised– buffer lactic acid and aid endurance while promoting Nitrous Oxide release. But enough science. Does it work?

I used Neurocore in the morning (one and a half scoops) for a P90X Interval Plus workout (40 minutes of interval work) followed by an Asylum “Overtime” set (10 minutes of “you’re not done, you’re just getting started” post-exhaustion craziness). Maybe 1.5 scoops wasn’t enough as I felt like I was lagging a bit more than usual and not as mentally “in the game”.  I had the same “zippy” feeling as other supplements, just not the focus and “RARGH! I can do this ALL DAY!” energy. I’ll update this post when I take it up to two scoops on a resistance day, but as a comparison, I used two scoops of C4 about 48 hours later and had a record-breaking workout full of endurance and pump. So… we’ll see.

UPDATE: After amping up to two scoops, I can say Neuorocre does deliver the “jazzed”/overcaffeinated/excited feeling. I didn’t feel I was amped with additional endurance but I can say I delivered on a P90X Back and Legs workout– more “hyper” than “focused”. As a third follow-up, I’m going to use Neurocore on the same tricep/shoulder/bicep workout I did with the C4– including waiting an hour. This time frame seems to work better for me, personally.

UPDATE II: If you’re looking for pre-workout performance, Neurocore delivers. I took roughly two and a half scoops on the chest/shoulder/tricep workout as promised and this product delivered for days. No crashing, more endurance and all the energy and focus I needed. I’m not sure if it was because on this round I’d cycled off pre-workouts for a week or if it was the higher dose but Neuroocore delivered, despite actually tasting worse.


OK, this might fall in the “TMI” category but I did have some gasiness after use. How’s that for honesty? Nothing crazy– it’s just not something I’ve noticed with other pre-supps I’ve used. OK… stop looking at me like that.

Moving on…

As a note, Neurocore does use “Geranium Extract/Geranium Robertianum”– which is akin to the 1,3 Demethylamyamine stimulant derived from Geraniums. MuscleTech claims their Geranium is a better extract but… of course they will. Either way, the Geranium extract is a very common ingredient in pre-supps these days and as you know (or should know), it’s banned by a lot of sports organizations and may get you booted out the door if you’re a collegiate/professional athlete.

The Verdict:

As of right now, I was both impressed and underwhelmed. I am VERY impressed with MuscleTech’s ingredient transparency and proactivity in testing other supplements (they found they were low in arginine) and using the latest theory/testing in sports science to alter their ingredients with the addition of the more effective Citrulline (watch as the rest follow suit). On the other side, I wasn’t impressed with the taste–AT ALL– and didn’t find my dosage delivering on its promises. I won’t ever take Neurocore up to three scoops as I think that’s far too much for me personally, but I will take it to two and see how it compares to others.  [UPDATE: I’d rate this right up there with Jack3d and C4]. In the mean time, it’s got a 100% money-back guarantee right on the bottle, so there’s not much to lose.

In the mean time, should you decide to test Neurocore for yourself, always start off in moderation, don’t overdo it and ALWAYS follow the Suggested Use label all conservative-like.

As for those study references:

1 Schwedhelm et al., 2007. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of oral L-citrulline and L-arginine: impact on nitric oxide metabolism. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 65(1):51-9.

2 Campbell et al., 2006. Pharmacokinetics, safety and effects on exercise performance of L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate in trained adult men. Nutrition. Sep;22(9):872-81.

3 Greer et al., 2011. Acute arginine supplementation fails to improve muscle endurance or affect blood pressure response to resistance training. J Stength Cond Res, (Epub ahead of print). 

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply