A good option for lasting energy?
Citadel Nutrition (CN) is a premium sports supplement brand that specializes in their Tier 1 Pre-workout formulas.
But for this review, we’ll focus on the “Tier 1 Plus” formula with the only difference being 100mg of additional caffeine per serving (300mg) compared to the original.
Now, a good dose of quality pre-workout can be the difference between a beastly workout and a mediocre session. And that’s why so many people opt for this type of training aid for a noticeable boost in performance.
The standard pre-workout usually contains a blend of ingredients which typically includes a healthy serving of caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and nitric oxide enhancers with some containing additional ingredients which may be beneficial depending on unique the company is aiming to be.
And Citadel Nutrition’s Tier 1 plus is no different. But the quality of ingredients often times makes the difference between a top-notch product and a substandard one.
So, here’s a full review of this top-rated pre-workout product…
- Quality ingredients
- No proprietary blend/s
- Third-party tested
- Great tasting
- Contains sucralose (not ideal for some)
- A little pricey compared to others
Ingredients and Nutrition Information
A serving of Tier 1 Plus contains just four ingredients which include Creapure creatine monohydrate (5g), carnosyn beta-alanine (3.2g), L-tyrosine (3g), and 300mg caffeine anhydrous.
And other ingredients include citric acid, malic acid, sucralose, and natural lemon flavor.
There are no proprietary blends so all of the ingredients (including the amounts of each) are listed on the label.
Tier 1 Plus is formulated using patented and raw ingredients for purity which is also third-party tested as proof. And there are no fillers either. So, where the ingredients are concerned, the company surely believes in full transparency.
Pre-Workout Supplement Benefits
Several studies have proven the ergogenic effects of a multi-ingredient pre-workout supplement for performance benefits and changes in body composition, although studies are relatively limited overall. (1, 2)
But there’s no denying how effective a good pre-workout supplement is for boosting performance considering the main ingredients have evidence/promise as useful aids.
It’s a compound contained primarily in the muscles and your body converts this amino acid into phosphocreatine where it’s then used for energy.
So, if you want to maximize your training (and who doesn’t), creatine is a must.
And the Creapure used in Tier 1 Plus is considered to be the most bioavailable and purest form of creatine. But whether or not the effects are pronounced will be based on individual experience.
The typically effective way to use creatine for athletic performance is to do a loading phase by consuming 20 grams a day spread out over 4 servings for seven days.
Then after the loading phase, you can take 2-5 grams per day for maintenance. (4)
The loading phase allows you to really saturate the muscle as quickly as possible so that you can experience the effects rather quickly.
Caffeine is the main ingredient in a typical pre-workout supplement. It’s a stimulant which many studies have shown to promote weight loss, increase exercise performance, plus improve mental alertness and focus. (5, 6)
And the 2015-2020 “Dietary Guidelines For Americans” recommends consuming no more than 400mg of caffeine per day. (7)
So, be very careful to keep track of your daily intake as too much can cause adverse effects like migraines, nervousness/anxiety, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, to name a few. (8)
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid which is considered safe in recommended doses. And according to a study, 4-6 grams daily for at least 2-4 weeks can be beneficial for improving performance.
Beta-alanine supplementation is also advantageous when combined with other single or multi-ingredient products.
But the 3.2 grams per serving of the patented Carnosyn beta-alanine in Tier 1 Plus will likely have better bioavailability than your typical beta-alanine.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid used by the body for cognitive function like mental alertness and stress reduction. It can even possibly help to maintain mental performance during stressful activities while even having positive effects on memory. (9)
But evidence is lacking for any potential effects of tyrosine on physical performance. (10)
Is It Safe?
But, where a supplement can be dangerous is when you consume more than the recommended dose, and/or you have not built up a tolerance to caffeine or other ingredients contained in the product before taking a full serving.
And sometimes it’s difficult to determine how you may react to a product which is why starting out very small is the best possible way to prevent an adverse reaction.
If you have health issues, then we caution against using a pre-workout because in order to be effective, the formula usually has to be rather potent.
And some products may have less or more, but 300mg of caffeine in CN’s Tier 1 Plus is a pretty good amount, so keep this in mind.
You may be ok taking a quarter or half serving for a while to experience the effects before building up to a full serving, so never think a serving size on the label means you need to start with that amount.
When And How To Take A Pre-Workout?
30-45 minutes after you’ve taken a dose is about right for any pre-workout to kick in (sometimes even 60 minutes) by the time you hit the gym. And this is without food in your system. But, if you have a full stomach you may notice a delay in the effects.
And whether or not to eat is entirely based on the preference of the individual. But always read the instructions on the label.
My Opinion of CN Tier 1 Plus Pre-workout
It’s a popular product made with high-quality ingredients which all play a role in performance improvement. Tier 1 Plus isn’t super special and it doesn’t necessarily offer anything extraordinary over other similar pre-workout supplements…
And to tell you the truth, few products can. But as far as where the ingredients are sourced and which ones are included to create a clean product that promotes sustainable energy; there are a select few which actually measure up.
So, I think this is a fantastic product with a nice serving of creatine, beta-alanine, and creatine per dose. And according to research, the ingredients used in Tier 1 Plus are safe for use with plenty evidence of efficacy.
And the transparency is a plus considering there are no “proprietary blends” which do not require full disclosure of the amount of each ingredient included.
And each product is also third-party certified.
Now, where flavor is concerned, the Lemon taste is completely palatable and not extreme or tart which is very much appreciated. So, you may even consider as a pretty good tasting pre-workout.
But sucralose (Splenda) is used in the product as an artificial sweetener (although likely in a small amount) which many users may not appreciate. However, it’s considered safe for consumption by the FDA. (12)
But, whether or not this is a dealbreaker really depends on personal preference, although the flavor is completely acceptable for most people.
How Much Does It Cost?
The 30 serving container costs $30 which is not cheap but neither expensive for the quality. It’s honestly just about right for what you get. But this is just another factor when considering a nutritional supplement.
And the saying “you get what you pay for” holds true in this case.
My Overall Rating Of CN Tier 1 Plus Pre-workout
- Effectiveness – 8.75/10 Stars
- Ingredients – 8.5/10 Stars
- Taste – 8.5/10 Stars
- Price – 8/10 Stars
Citadel Nutrition is known for their top-notch creatine supplements and Tier 1 Plus pre-workout is definitely right up there with the best.
It contains quality ingredients at effective doses and you’ll definitely feel a difference in your performance as you would any great pre-workout supplement/s.
They make a clean formula (clean, lasting energy) with everything that you need and nothing you don’t, so it’s hard to go wrong here. The benefits of pre-workout supplementation is real and the decision to try a quality one depends on whether or not you appreciate a good performance boost.
But I can definitely give the Tier 1 Plus pre-workout a big thumbs up!
1-Outlaw, Jordan J; Wilborn, Colin D; Smith-Ryan, Abbie E; Hayward, Sara E; Urbina, Stacie L; Taylor, Lem W; Foster, Cliffa A (August 15, 2014). “Acute effects of a commercially-available pre-workout supplement on markers of training: a double-blind study”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 11: 40. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0040-0. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 4190923. PMID 25302053.
2-Harty, Patrick S.; Zabriskie, Hannah A.; Erickson, Jacob L.; Molling, Paul E.; Kerksick, Chad M.; Jagim, Andrew R. (August 8, 2018). “Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 15 (1): 41. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 6083567. PMID 30089501.
3-“Creatine”. Mayo Clinic.
4-“An Overview of Creatine”. WebMD.
5-Tabrizi, Reza; Saneei, Parvane; Lankarani, Kamran B.; Akbari, Maryam; Kolahdooz, Fariba; Esmaillzadeh, Ahmad; Nadi-Ravandi, Somayyeh; Mazoochi, Majid; Asemi, Zatollah (2019). “The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dos-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 59 (16): 2688–2696. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1507996. ISSN 1549-7852. PMID 30335479.
6-Pickering, Craig; Grgic, Jozo (2019-7). “Caffeine and Exercise: What Next?”. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). 49 (7): 1007–1030. doi:10.1007/s40279-019-01101-0. ISSN 1179-2035. PMC 6548757. PMID 30977054
7-“Caffeine and Exercise”. www.eatright.org.
8-“Caffeine: How much is too much?”. Mayo Clinic.
9-Young, Simon N. (2007-5). “L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress?”. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 32 (3): 224. ISSN 1180-4882. PMC 1863555. PMID 17476368
10-Hase, Adrian; Jung, Sophie E.; aan het Rot, Marije (2015-6). “Behavioral and cognitive effects of tyrosine intake in healthy human adults”. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 133: 1–6. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2015.03.008. ISSN 1873-5177. PMID 25797188.
11-Harty, Patrick S.; Zabriskie, Hannah A.; Erickson, Jacob L.; Molling, Paul E.; Kerksick, Chad M.; Jagim, Andrew R. (August 8, 2018). “Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 15 (1): 41. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 6083567. PMID 30089501.
12-Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied (February 9, 2019). “High-Intensity Sweeteners”. FDA.