Let’s consider something, for a moment: for those of us who go to the gym regularly (I’m referring to the swolebots and meatheads that miss workouts only for natural disasters, funerals, and… that’s about it), is a formula specifically intended for the boosting of energy levels, endurance, and an unfathomable pump really necessary to maximize a session? I know of individuals who would argue both sides, and I can understand the origination of each perspective. As for me, I consider it to be a requirement. Waking up at 3:50AM (okay, 4:20AM) each morning necessitates more than just willpower, most of the time. Sometimes, it takes a little more to bring out the beast. Enter Koala Freak by STAUNCH, one of the most well-balanced and efficaciously dosed pre-workouts I’ve ever tried.
Before I get into the review, I want to say that I am extremely familiar with pre-workout formulas. I have tried many brands, including BSN, BPI Sports, Optimum Nutrition, and MuscleTech. All of these have had redeeming characteristics, but none of them had the ingredient dosages I was seeking. Yes, it is expensive to create a supplement that has high amounts of key ingredients; but then, would you not choose to only put the best you could find into your body? Being a car enthusiast, I would not use low-octane fuel for a supercar. The premise is the same.
Koala Freak comes in three flavors, which are Pina Koala, Peach Mango, and Blue ‘Baz’ Berry (aptly named after owner Calum Von Moger’s pet lizard – yeah, I’m still trying to identify the correlation, myself). I’ve tried them all, and I think that Peach Mango takes the cake. Pina Koala has a great blend of strawberry, coconut, and pineapple, while Peach Mango has a great combination of both… well, peach and mango flavors. Blue ‘Baz’ Berry is probably the most bitter of the three, but essentially tastes like a tart blueberry Warhead [candy]. All of them have a strong taste of the fruit upon which they are based, but do have a slightly overpowering aftertaste, given the highly concentrated ingredient combinations. All in all, if you are a pre-workout connoisseur, the taste will be tolerable, if not enjoyable.
Now, for the effects: this stuff works quick. The bottle specifies to take it 15-30 minutes before working out, but the paresthesia resulting from the Beta-Alanine (3.2mg!) can actually be felt after around 10 minutes. This formula also contains 360mg of caffeine, which equates to a little less than 4 cups of coffee. There is also a matching dose of 360mg of L-Theanine, which serves to offset the jitters that come from high amounts of caffeine. Warning: those with caffeine sensitivities should steer clear of this formula. There are alternatives (STAUNCH’s PRE Original and PRE Zero Stim have either lower or no amounts of caffeine) of similar quality without the stimulants, which I have also tried and can vouch for. You are not left wondering whether or not your pre-workout works, because it most certainly does. I will say, though, that this pre-workout has the potential to double as a laxative; gastrointestinal irritation may occur, but it is a side effect resulting from this powerful profile. Benefits do exceed the poops.
In application, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such sustained amounts of power and endurance in the gym as I have had with Koala Freak. I do my cardio first (high intensity and/or steady-state interval training on the treadmill for around 20-30 minutes) followed by a 20-30 minute weightlifting session (given the day’s body part), and I’ve never felt taxed to the point that I felt I couldn’t effectively complete my sets. It may be more of an intangible component, but the visual and physical effects of L-Citrulline Malate (vasodilator and blood flow) are very apparent, with Koala Freak; there are 6 full grams of it, which is unheard of in the majority of pre-workout supplements on the market – vascularity is quite prominent even during standard working sets. Strength is consistent and maintained throughout my workout; it helps that the first half of my conditioning is cardio, since it doesn’t require fast-twitch fiber activation. I really don’t sense fatigue creeping in until the very end of my session. By that time, the most useful tool I could have is a wheelbarrow, or a wheelchair, so that walking to the locker room isn’t necessary.
This is genuinely one of the best pre-workout supplements I’ve tried, and the closest I’ve come to a product that I would actually develop and endorse, myself. STAUNCH has definitely hit it out of the park with this. No proprietary blends, no magic dust. Just the good stuff; more of what you actually need, and less of what you don’t. For a company as new as them to develop a formula of this standard is highly impressive, and to offer it alongside a variety of alternatives to suit different tolerance levels is a great display of marketing innovation in an industry as saturated as health and wellness. If you were looking for a change in your pre-workout supplementation, I’d most certainly cop it.
Koala Freak can be had for $49.00 USD on the STAUNCH website, also linked at the top of the page.