Last fall, I suffered a chest and shoulder injury while bench pressing and had to take a break from the gym for six long months. During that time off, I lost a lot of muscle and motivation. Before getting injured, the only supplement I used to support my workout routine was protein; I didn’t know much about how other supplements could enhance my performance and aid in recovery.
Since the summer, though, I’ve been back in the gym—and I’ve been pushing my limits to make some serious gains. (My sights are set on beating my deadlift PR and maxing out on squats!) I’ve been working out for longer with heavier weights, doing more reps and sets, and even squeezing in extra cardio.
Now that I’ve been taking my training to the next level, I’ve also been much more curious about supplements that could help me reach my goals. I started really doing my homework with a little help from YouTube University and slowly warmed up to the idea of trying out a performance supplement. All of my efforts have required lots of energy, something I could use an extra dose of! I wondered if a pre-workout could give me the edge I’ve been looking for, so I decided to try a new one at The Vitamin Shoppe: Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout Formula.
My gym friends swear by pre-workout—and, after doing a little research of my own, I understood why. These formulas (which are usually flavored powders you shake up with water) contain all sorts of ingredients that can help people crush their workouts by supporting muscle endurance, boosting focus, ramping up power production, and getting blood flowing.
For me, the promise of enhanced focus piqued my interest the most! Sometimes when I lift heavy, my motivation dwindles; my brain gets fuzzy and I start to lose the willpower to keep going. But maybe a pre-workout could help keep me in the zone so I could train harder!
I was eager to try Gorilla Mode’s Pre-Workout Formula, specifically, because I have seen great reviews about it online. Gorilla Mode also gets a few brownie points for seeking third-party testing to ensure the potency of their formula. (I absolutely love it when companies take this extra step!) I went with the Mouthwatering Watermelon flavor.
This formula is said to:
- Raise nitric oxide, thanks to power ingredients like l-citrulline, agmatine, creatine, and beatine. (Nitrix oxide is beneficial when working out because it increases blood flow, boosting the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles so you can work out longer at a high intensity.)
- Promote intense focus and drive, thanks to l-tyrosine, kanna, huperzine, and betaine.
- Increase power and endurance with the help of caffeine and n-phenethyl dimethylamine citrate (one scoop contains 175 milligrams of caffeine anhydrous!)
Trying Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout Formula
When I first held a tub of Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout Formula in my hands, my initial thought was, This better taste good! It comes in a hefty 40-serving container, so I would have hated to waste it if I didn’t like it.
In fact, the taste delivered. It was just like a classic watermelon hard candy—yet not too sweet or overpowering.
I decided to try the pre-workout on my heaviest lifting days for the next week. On those days, I taught a rowing class and then hit the weight room. (I did not try the product every day because I’m a beginner and currently only lift heavy twice a week.) After that, I’d play around with using it before different types of exercise such as hiking and yoga.
For my first official workout with Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout Formula, I added one scoop to a 32-ounce water bottle. It mixed up well! I drank half about 30 minutes before my class and I really felt it kick in about midway through. I finished the class with long sprints and could really power through them, maintaining a solid average pace on the rower. After class, I drank the rest and then headed to the gym, where I had a grueling workout ahead of me that included heavy squats, deadlifts, and leg presses (among other lower-body exercises).
Curious about how this pre-workout would support my performance, I walked into the weight room with the goal of lifting as heavy as possible. My mindset was “go hard or go home.”
Well, I kid you not, with the help of this pre-workout, I was able to lift harder and heavier than usual. I felt good during my deadlifts and even lifted 10 pounds shy of my max weight! And as far as the cognitive stuff goes, my mind felt clear. Plus, I was jitter-free! (I was so happy about this part.) The one drawback was that I had to use the bathroom five times throughout this whole process because I mixed the pre-workout with way too much water. Lesson learned!
Having learned from my first experience, I mixed my pre-workout with 16 ounces of water before my second workout. In this more concentrated form, the watermelon flavor really punched through and had a tart finish.
Twenty minutes after sipping it down, I felt the jolt; I was ready to start lifting. Again, my plan was to teach a fitness class and then do my own workout after. This time, that workout would combine legs with back and arms (and did I mention a lot of cardio????). I never do full-body with heavy weights, but I wanted to see what the pre-workout could help me do.
Since I already knew the pre-workout could help me level up the weights from my last training session, I set my sights on endurance this time. I reminded myself to not rush and to focus on progressing my weights slowly instead of just smacking them on because I had pre-workout in my system. Could I keep a steady pace and stay strong through all of my sets and reps without my focus fizzling?
On the docket today: Thirty minutes on the stair-climber, plus everything from push presses to bent-over rows to walking lunges to sumo squats.
I noticed throughout this workout that my first working sets felt really smooth. And again, no jitters! By slowing down, I was really able to notice the cognitive benefits of the pre-workout. I felt consistently clear and focused as I moved through my workout. That’s important to me because I have been prone to rushing in the past, which has contributed to injuries and overtraining. Three cheers for feeling groovy and steady.
The following week, I used the pre-workout before doing other types of exercise than weight lifting. I hiked, biked, and did yoga to see how it would go. Since I wouldn’t be lifting, I only used half a scoop—and I’m not sure if it helped me much during those workouts.
However, in general, when I take the pre-workout before lifting, my workouts don’t seem as difficult or daunting. Lifting heavy comes easier to me without any hiccups and I can push through more moderate training without hitting the wall. I feel unstoppable.
Interestingly, I also don’t experience DOMS after my pre-workout-fueled lifts, which is a new thing for me. I can even do yoga the next day without cramping up and without feeling inflexible. (That hasn’t been the case in the past.)
Moving forward, I don’t think I’ll take this pre-workout every time I lift, but I definitely will on days when I want to go ham in the gym or really need a mental release. Ultimately, my takeaway is that the positive reviews about this product are legit! The Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout Formula tastes delicious, my body adjusts to it well, and it helps me handle my business at the gym like a champ.