Many consider 2004 the greatest year in human history for 3 BIG reasons:
1) JT & Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Halftime Show
2) Shrek 2
3) Supplement manufacturer BSN®’s creation, the first complete pre-workout: N.O.-Xplode.
That’s right. The wildly popular N.O.-Xplode (NOX) was the first supplement to officially pop our pre-workout cherries. Since its inception in 2004, countless research has altered and advanced our understanding of pre-workout supplementation—however, through perpetual transformation NOX stays alive.
With yet another new formula underway, has NOX re-revolutionized pre-workouts again? Or is it finally time for BSN® to toss in the towel?
About N.O.-Xplode Pre-Workout Igniter
N.O.-Xplode is a proven, effective pre-workout, now re-formulated by BSN® to pack “more energy, more feel, more focus, and amazing taste.” Despite a lifespan of 12 years, NOX remains an elite pre-workout supplement. Formula notes:
- Enhanced Muscle Gains: Niacin, creatine, BETA, and L-Citrulline Malate. Oh YEEEAAAHHH Bro. Some Best5 Pre-Workouts in that mix.
- 5 Purposeful Blends: Hits your exercise physiology with a well-rounded variety of quality ingredients.
- Underwhelming NO Stack: Despite N.O. title, NOX offers only mild nitric oxide benefits at questionable dosages. Not quite “Xplosive.”
N.O.-Xplode Supplement Facts
|Serving Size: 1 Scoop (18.5 g)
Servings Per Container: 30
|Ingredients||Amount Per Serving|
|Total Carbohydrates||5 g|
|Vitamin D (as Cholecalciferol)||500 IU (125% DV)|
|Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine HCl)||2 mg (133% DV)|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||20 mg (100% DV)|
|Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCl)||2 mg (100% DV)|
|Folate (Folic Acid)||200 mcg (50% DV)|
|Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin)||6 mcg (100% DV)|
|Pantothenic Acid||10 mg (100% DV)|
|Calcium||40 mg (4% DV)|
|Phosphorus||10 mg (1% DV)|
|Magnesium||125 mg (31% DV)|
|Sodium||110 mg (5% DV)|
|Potassium||200 mg (6% DV)|
|N.O.-XPLODE MASTER PERFORMANCE BLEND|
|Myogenic Matrix||5.1 g|
|Creatine Blend (Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Anhydrous, Creatine Peptides [Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate, Creatine Monohydrate] (CREActivate™)), Taurine, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Di-Sodium Phosphate, AstraGin® Proprietary Blend [Astragalus membranaceus Extract (root), Panax notoginseng Extract (root)]|
|Endura Shot||2.9 g|
|BETA Composite (CARN +™ Blend [Beta-Alanine (as Carnosyn®) & Beta-Alanine HCl], Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Cholecalciferol|
|Thermic Energy||1.3 g|
|N-Acetyl-Tyrosine, Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, Grapefruit Bioflavonoids, Pterostilbene:Caffeine Cocrystal (PURENERGY™)|
|N.O. Alpha Fusion||1 g|
|L-Citrulline Malate, Danshen Extract (Salvia miltiorrhiza)(root), Grape Skin Extract (50% Polyphenols), Phyllanthus emblica Extract (fruit)(CAPROS®), Hawthorn Extract (aerial parts)(1% Flavonoids), Folate|
|Shock Composite||290 mg|
|DMAE Bitartrate (2-Dimethylaminoethanol), DL-Phenylalanine, Niacin, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Toothed Cubmoss Extract (aerial parts)(1% Huperzine A), Thiamin HCl, Pyridoxine HCl, Cyanocobalamin|
|OTHER INGREDIENTS: Natural and Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Calcium Silicate, Silicon Dioxide, Sucralose, Malic Acid, Salt,
ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, FD&C RED #40
PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.
|DIRECTIONS: Mix 1 scoop with 4-6 oz of cold water and consume 20-30 minutes before training. Do not take more than 2 scoops at a time or in 1 day.|
1 NOX Serving = 18.5 g of 5 g carbs, 5 proprietary blends, and 30+ ingredients.
Holy Halloween, Batman! That’s a lot of ingredients… Let’s investigate:
- Vitamin D (as Cholecalciferol): Most potent form. Supports muscular strength and function.
- Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine HCl): Essential “anti-stress” vitamin used by all body parts. Boosts ATP formation.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): B3 form not revealed, unfortunately… but its linked with increased exercise capacity ∴ More reps, baby.
- Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCl): “Decent” mood-elevating T-booster. B6 as P-5-P is better.
- Folate (Folic Acid): Synthetic B9. Converts arginine to NO, boosts new cell production (i.e. muscle growth), and co-creates DNA/RNA.
- Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin): Shitty, synthetic form. B12 enhances energy and recovery.
- Pantothenic Acid: Very common essential vitamin. Involved in ATP-producing Krebs cycle.
- Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium: Low doses of typical supplement minerals. Respectively used to increase bone strength, aid calcium, decrease inflammation, retain water, and enhance muscular function.
Myogenic Matrix, 5.1 g
The #1 sold pre-workout ingredient, creatine, is also #1 in this formula. Despite not having each creatine form’s dosage, we do know that all variants help increase power output, muscle mass, and strength.
Taurine, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Di-Sodium Phosphate aren’t “muscle-building” compounds, but they do enhance mental performance, decrease bone and joint pain, and support muscle hydration, respectively.
AstraGin® “amplifies” nutrient absorption—however, considering that muscle easily stores creatine, AstraGin® is slightly redundant here.
Endura Shot 2.9 g
Another incredibly popular pre-workout, Beta-Alanine offers hard-hitting muscle support by reducing muscle fatigue and boosting strength—in other words, BETA boosts endurance. The formula mixes the highest quality of BETA (Carnosyn®) with mid-range BETA (Beta-Alanine HCl). The bicarbonates are most likely used for bubbly carbonation… Shake with caution.
Thermic Energy 1.3 g
Props to BSN for using the high quality N-Acetyl form of Tyrosine in addition to basic Tyrosine—which is an effective “anti-stress” mind booster, notably used in mental domination nootropic stacks.
Also, props to BSN for including the formula’s caffeine content on their website (even though it’s nowhere on the label and Supplement Facts): 275 mg of caffeine per serving. Essentially, 1 scoop = 2.5 cups of coffee.
Most notably, the blend includes PURENERGY® branded pterostilbene, an alleged “caffeine-enhancer.” If true, the 275 mg of caffeine will have a longer, amplified effect… So step off, Starbucks.
N.O. Alpha Fusion 1 g
At 1 g we’re already asking Where’s the pump?? Dose for dose, L-Citrulline Malate offers more pumps than your standard L-Arginine, but the dosage here is questionable. Danshen Extract (Salvia miltiorrhiza) (not the street salvia, ya turkey) helps dilate coronary arteries—logic follows that the vasodilation will help L-Citrulline.
The other ingredients are “good’ NO boosters, but we doubt there’s enough here to get you flexing out of your shirt.
Shock Composite 290 mg
Ingredients here not previously discussed in this review include cognition enhancing DMAE, mood boosting DL-Phenylalanine, and brain regenerating Toothed Clubmoss Extract (or Huperzine A). These offer great nootropic benefits… But the question isn’t Do they work? but rather Is there enough?
Mehhhh…. if you want to boost your brain, we suggest you pick a laser-focused nootropic supplement from our Best 5 list, instead.
N.O.-Xplode is all over the place, but not without aim or purpose. Its ambitious 5 blend combo attempts to satisfy 1) Muscle Mass, 2) Muscle Endurance, 3) Energy, 4) Nitric Oxide, 5) Mind-Muscle Connection—and for the most part, it succeeds.
However, if you buy NOX solely on its namesake then expect disappointment: Big NO pumps are not the formula’s main priority. Nor are they 2nd or 3rd…
Rather, the formula focuses primarily on creatine-packed strength, BETA-backed endurance, and caffeine-spiked energy. It’s a typical, yet tried and true pre-workout mixture used with proper dosages and top-notch ingredient forms.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the N.O. Alpha Fusion and Shock Composite blends. Their ingredients seem to be in quality form (2 can be found on our Best5 List), but the label’s messy formula design obscures their true bioavailability. Additionally, the blends’ overall low dosages cause us to question their effectiveness.
…Perhaps N.O. means something else to BSN?
Is N.O.-Xplode an explosion of NO? N.O. Yet the nitric oxide benefits are sure to be there, especially for new NO users and bodybuilding beginners. Ironically, BSN makes no big claims on NOX’s nitric oxide properties, so we can’t necessarily fault them for false advertising (aside from, well, its name).
Rather, BSN claims NOX was designed “to help deliver increased energy and endurance, support mental focus and muscular strength, and provide second-to-none intensity and performance.”
Energy and Endurance? Yes and Yes. Thanks to 275 mg of caffeine and a hefty dose of Beta-Alanine.
Mental Focus and Muscular Strength? Maybe and Yes. The nootropics are high quality, but in low proportions—yet, the N-Acetyl Tyrosine is sure to help. And creatine is a well-researched strength enhancer.
Intensity and Performance? Yes and Yes [SEE: “Energy and Endurance?”].
Who Takes It?
New or Returning Bodybuilders. Veterans may find the NO pump to be inadequate, but, as a starting point, NOX hits the mark. Additionally, its formula shamelessly mixes carbs in with its creatine—a turn off to carb-watchers, but perfect for the body bulking beefcake.
Any Side Effects?
Nope. If this is your first time taking Beta-Alanine, then you’ll probably notice—and freak out over—the famous BETA “tingle.” It’s a prickly feeling on your skin that subsides after awhile. NOX also contains Niacin, which gives some users a niacin “flush.” While the BETA tingle is described as cold, the niacin flush is hot. Almost like a sunburn. But this too shall pass… oh wise bro.
- Improved Formula. Move towards creatine monohydrate is smart.
- Enhances Endurance. More reps means more muscle.
- Boosts Energy. Albeit “caffeinated” energy.
- Great for Beginners. Prime introduction to NO pre-workouts.
- Ingredient Choices. More good than bad.
- Low NO. Shirt-tearing pumps are not the primary effect.
- Missed Nootropic Opportunity. Tacked-on Shock Composite has more brainpower potential.
- Proprietary Blends. Although we do recognize the movement towards transparency.
Pricing & Buying Info
- 30 servings: $29.99 (~$1.00/serving)
- 60 servings: $46.99 (~$0.78/serving)
- Available online and in retail stores
Final Word on N.O.-Xplode Pre-Workout Igniter
N.O.-Xplode’s new formula maintains the ambitious standards established by the original in 2004. Does it re-revolutionize pre-workouts again? No. But it’s still a damn good supplement with damn good ingredients for BIG muscle gains.