In 2015, Iovate Health Sciences — the same company behind MuscleTech — launched StrongGirl, a female-focused brand with four products: a whey protein, branched chain amino acids, a fat burner, and a pre-workout.
The pre-workout comes in Cosmopolitan Fruit Punch and Strawberry Mojito flavors and it contains a wide variety of ingredients, including one we’ve never seen in any pre-workout. Let’s take a closer look.
StrongGirl Pre-Workout Nutrition & Ingredients
One scoop has 20 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates, plus 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6 and 33 percent of your B12.
The rest of the ingredients fall into a “Pre-Workout Energy + Focus Blend.” It’s a proprietary blend, so we don’t know how much of each ingredient it contains. They’re as follows:
Green tea extract
Caffeine (125 milligrams, about what you’ll find in 1.5 cups of coffee)
Japanese raisin tree extract
The remaining ingredients are mostly a series of natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners, a blend of gums (which are thickeners and stabilizers), and some natural coloring from red beet powder. Note that it contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
StrongGirl Pre-Workout Benefits and Effectiveness
We can group most of the ingredients into a few different categories, here.
Energy: The caffeine, of course, is a major player here, but there’s also some evidence that l-carnitine l-tartrate can help with energy and focus.
Focus: The taurine and theanine are both used to improve focus and reduce the jitters that can accompany a big caffeine hit. The rhodiola, made from a Scandinavian flowering plant, is also a way to reduce fatigue and improve focus without technically being a stimulant.
Endurance: The beta alanine is very strongly linked with endurance, and the choline bitartrate might increase anaerobic endurance, or shorter bursts of high intensity exercise.
Antioxidants: The green tea extract and the quercetin, a bioflavinoid found in high amounts in apples and lemons, are both really high in antioxidants. This means they may reduce the cellular damage associated with exercise. There are also some studies that suggest green tea extract may improve sprinting speed and that quercetin could improve VO2 max when combined with caffeine.
Green tea extract is also sometimes considered a weight loss supplement, as it may increase thermogenesis. If it does have an effect, it’s probably going to be mild — 100 calories or so over a day — but the evidence is somewhat reliable.
Hangovers? The Japanese raisin tree extract seemed like an unusual inclusion. It’s generally not known for use in improving workout performance. Rather, it’s used to treat (i.e. reduce) drunkenness and help “cure” hangovers. Studies suggest it may reduce alcohol-related liver damage and helps you metabolize alcohol faster, and a 2017 study found that people taking Japanese raisin tree extract experienced less headache, dizziness, and nausea during their hangover than a control group. So maybe this is a pre-workout that could make it easier to get to the gym if you had one too many last night.
But to be fair, that 2017 study used about 2.5 grams of Japanese raisin tree extract, and there’s probably a lot less than that in StrongGirl Pre-Workout — it’s one ingredient in a 3-gram blend of ten ingredients.
And that’s my main issue with this product: we don’t know how much of any of these ingredients it contains, so we don’t know whether or not it has an effective dose. And the dosage is just as important as the ingredient itself.
For effective doses, studies suggest you probably need 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of taurine, and 500 milligrams of l-carnitine l-tartrate. That puts us over the 3.05 grams in the Pre-Workout Energy + Focus Blend, and we haven’t even taken the 7 other ingredients into account.
But these dosages may not apply for lighter athletes, so it’s actually kind of cool that StrongGirl might be making their product more accessible for smaller women or people who are more sensitive to these effects. The tub actually suggests trying just one scoop at first, and then moving up to two scoops if you don’t feel much of an impact.
StrongGirl Pre-Workout Price
You can pick up 30 servings for $19, or 63 cents per serving. That’s pretty cheap; most pre-workouts are somewhere between 80 cents and $1 per serving. But remember that one scoop is probably only going to be effective for lighter athletes. Others may need to double up.
StrongGirl Pre-Workout Taste
The Cosmopolitan Fruit Punch flavor tasted less like a Cosmo and more like Fruit Punch, which is to say the flavor was mostly cherry with a slightly vanilla aftertaste that was reminiscent of bubble gum.
This is a pretty cheap pre-workout with a good hit of caffeine and it has a wide range of ingredients linked to energy, focus, and endurance. We don’t know the dosages of any of the ingredients, so we don’t really know how effective this product is, but I’m pretty confident that two scoops will be enough for most people.