Transparent Labs is a Utah-based supplement company with a big dedication to, well, transparency. They have two pre-workouts, “LEAN” and “BULK,” with BULK focused on muscle gain. It claims to do that through increasing testosterone. Plus, the blend also contains big pre-workout ingredients like citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine that can help with endurance and power output.
If you’re looking to gain muscle and want to supplement with a robust pre-workout that may help with that, BULK is the way to go. In addition to its muscle-focused formula, Transparent Labs BULK also nixes proprietary blends, which means you know the exact quantity of every ingredient in a serving. Plus, TL implements third-party testing, and provides certificates of analysis and composition on their site. If it’s transparency and effectiveness you’re after, this could be the last pre-workout formula you need to try.
- Transparent Labs BULK can potentially help increase testosterone levels with its vitamin D, zinc, and boron.
- The smaller dose of caffeine here (180mg) can provide a little boost in alertness without causing unwanted jitters.
- This pre-workout contains four grams of BCAAs, which you won’t find in all pre-workouts.
Transparent Labs BULK provides lots of beta-alanine for improved endurance, as well as a slew of ingredients to aid in focus — two key traits for lifters and endurance athletes alike. Plus, it has citrulline, which can help with nitric oxide production.
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Transparent Labs BULK Highlights
As the name suggests, Transparent Labs BULK is formulated for those who are focused on muscle gain. One of the main properties that draw customers to this supplement is its potential to increase testosterone — its vitamin D, zinc, and boron are ideal for this. In addition, you’ll find solid doses of citrulline, beta-alanine, BCAAs, tyrosine, and more.
However, if you are looking for creatine in your pre-workout, you will not find that here. The caffeine dosage is on the lighter side at only 180mg, which can be great for some, but early morning gym-goers may seek a higher dosage. And of course, if you’d rather focus on weight loss with your pre-workout rather than bulking, there are better options for you on the market.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs BULK
- Athletes who are looking to gain and retain muscle will like the formula here.
- Anyone who’s interested in increasing their testosterone will appreciate the vitamin D, zinc, and boron in this blend that can potentially help with that.
- Folks who want a lower dose of caffeine — this supplement only contains 180mg per serving.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs BULK
- Athletes who would prefer to focus on weight loss can find blends specifically formulated to help with this rather than testosterone production.
- Customers who want creatine in their pre-workout will want to look elsewhere.
- If you want a higher dose of caffeine, you can find pre-workouts with nearly double the dose you’ll find in BULK.
Price and Buying Options
It’s $49.99 for 30 servings, which comes out to $1.67 per serving. This is fairly consistent for high-quality pre-workouts across the market. However, if you aren’t seeking a robust ingredients list, you can definitely find less expensive options. But for pre-workouts with similar ingredients and dosages, this price is right around average.
Transparent Labs BULK Overall
Transparent Labs BULK’s formula focuses on potential muscle gain through testosterone production. The vitamin D, zinc, and boron in this blend can all help with this cause, plus you’ll find other pre-workout staples like citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine that can help with power output and endurance.
BULK also offers quite a bit of flavor variation with its seven varieties — Watermelon, Tropical Punch, Sour Grape, Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, Orange, and Strawberry Lemonade.
Overall, this blend focuses on testosterone, power, and endurance. It’s worth noting that there are no artificial ingredients or flavorings aside from stevia, a natural flavor, and some anti-caking agents. Below, we dive into the details on the rest of the ingredients.
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid found naturally in legumes, organ meat, and watermelon that can help with power output and endurance. BULK contains six grams of citrulline malate, which is citrulline combined with malic acid to potentially help with absorption. This is a fairly high dose for a pre-workout supplement.
The beta-alanine has a strong link with endurance, and while Transparent Labs’ “LEAN” pre-workout has a pretty standard 1.5 grams, there’s a huge four-gram dose in BULK. Beta-alanine tends to cause a harmless tingly sensation on the skin, and four grams of it may be a bit much for those who dislike that sensation.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
BCAAs — leucine, isoleucine, and valine — can help with muscle retention, endurance, fat loss, and focus. There are four grams in BULK, which is a decent dose for a pre-workout. You may find higher doses in dedicated BCAA supplements though.
Several studies conducted with powerlifting movements — squat, bench press, and deadlift — have found that betaine can improve power output. There’s a solid 2.5-gram dose here.
Vitamin D, Zinc, and Boron
BULK contains 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (750 percent of the recommended daily intake, or RDI), 200 percent of the RDI for zinc, and five milligrams of boron (no RDI established).
While this isn’t as strong as steroids, there actually is some interesting evidence. Vitamin D and zinc are both strongly linked with optimal testosterone levels. One study found that over a year of consuming about 3,000 IU per day of Vitamin D (the amount found in a serving of BULK), subjects increased their testosterone levels by 20 percent. (1) Adequate zinc intake also has a link with testosterone, but it’s important to note that neither of these nutrients will increase your T to superhuman levels.
Deficiencies in these nutrients may result in a deficiency in T. However, getting adequate amounts of these nutrients may help bring you to baseline. Studies are much more limited on boron, but it does appear to increase testosterone production and free testosterone in both men and women. (2)(3)
There’s a 180-milligram dose of caffeine here, which is about as much as you’ll find in a small cup of coffee.
Taurine, Tyrosine, and Theanine.
Taurine, tyrosine and theanine can all help with focus during your workouts. This supp contains 1.3 grams, 600mg, and 360mg of each, respectively.
The black pepper extract in BULK is intended to help food and supplements absorb more effectively, which is why it’s sometimes included in medications as well. The velvet bean and the hordenine could have adrenaline-like effects, but the evidence is pretty shaky. The choline bitartrate could also help with power in that it appears to increase anaerobic capacity. Here’s a look at the rest of the ingredients:
- Choline bitartrate — 500 milligrams
- Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean extract) — 70 milligrams
- L-norvaline — 60 milligrams
- Synephrine HCl (bitter orange extract) — 50 milligrams
- Hordenine — 25 milligrams
- Bioperine® (black pepper extract) — five milligrams
What To Consider Before Buying
Beyond understanding the ins and outs of what Transparent Labs BULK’s ingredients can offer, the product itself has some additional qualities to consider before adding it to your cart.
It’s $49.99 for 30 servings, which is $1.67 per scoop. That’s pretty expensive, given most basic pre-workouts are between 80 cents and a dollar per scoop. However, this product is far more potent and robust than many basic pre-workouts on the market. The average pre-workout gives about half as much citrulline, betaine, and beta-alanine. BULK also skips other ingredients altogether. The steeper price here seems justified, and if you compare BULK to other pre-workouts with similar ingredients and dosages, you’ll find around the same pricing.
The Strawberry Lemonade flavor tastes pretty good, albeit very sour. It’s not farfetched to be wary of naturally-sweetened pre-workouts, but the lemon-flavored ones are usually pretty tasty. Strawberry Lemonade, in particular, was a lot more lemon than strawberry, but if you mix one scoop with two cups of water, it goes down pretty easily.
It’s difficult to find fault with this pre-workout. It’s well-dosed for endurance, power, and focus. It’s got black pepper extract to help ingredient absorption and is reasonably priced. The zinc and vitamin D3 make it pretty nutritious and potentially beneficial for your testosterone.
For a muscle-building pre-workout that can provide a decent pump, one might expect to find other ingredients like epicatechin or l-carnitine l-tartrate. Most people don’t get enough vitamin D, and it has a more significant and well-researched effect on testosterone than many other “muscle-building” supplements have on muscle.
There’s not much evidence for the adrenaline-like effects; it’s not the highest-caffeine pre-workout around, and it might be a bit high in beta-alanine, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a buy, particularly if you’re a fan of a nice sour taste.
If you’re looking for a robust formula that can help with muscle gain, the focus on testosterone production here may be ideal. The blend of vitamin D, zinc, and boron that can help increase testosterone is not common in the pre-workout industry, which allows BULK to stand out from its competitors. Plus, this formula also contains pre-workout big-hitters like citrulline, beta-alanine, tyrosine, and caffeine. While the price does reflect its robust ingredients list, we think the cost is worth it for the potential gains you can receive if you take this pre-workout consistently.
Will Transparent Labs BULK make me jittery?
It depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine. This blend contains 180mg, which is a tolerable dose for most, and won’t really cause jitters. However, for those who are extra sensitive or allergic, it may be best to avoid caffeine altogether.
Is Transparent Labs BULK expensive?
Transparent Labs BULK is fairly expensive as far as pre-workouts go, but for high-quality pre-workouts with similarly robust ingredients lists, it’s about average. If you’re looking for a basic pre-workout with a more minimal formula though, you can definitely find cheaper options.
Can women take Transparent Labs BULK?
Transparent Labs BULK is not made specifically for men. However, anything that can potentially affect your hormone levels is worth consulting a physician about before implementing into your regimen.
- S. Pilz, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. 2011. Hormone and Metabolic Research. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854.
- F H Nielsen, et al. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. 1987. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Nov;1(5):394-7.
- Mohammad Reza Naghii, et al. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. 2011. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2010.10.001.