The origins of Bucked Up stem back long before it had even become a recognized brand. NFL hall of famer Ray Lewis championed the use of deer antler velvet in the twilight years of his career highlighting it’s benefit in his longevity, recovery and performance.
The owner of the Bucked Up brand, Ryan Gardner, had been promoting deer antler velvet just prior to its boom in popularity off the back of Ray Lewis’ memorable Super Bowl run. Ryan owned the rights to deerantlervelvet.com and after that Super Bowl victory the sales came flooding in overnight.
You could say “right place, right time” but for Ryan this was the opportunity he was searching for to pursue the project that had been close to his heart for so long. Bucked Up was born.
A Look at the Bucked Up Brand
Bucked up aim to disrupt the industry; not only are they creating cutting edge products by bringing deer antler velvet extract into the fold, they also endeavour to include only the highest quality grade of ingredients as well as full transparency on their labels.
As they say themselves “no proprietary blends here!” (proprietary blends are those which are a combination of multiple ingredients without indicating the exact dosages of said ingredients; a way in which companies can technically claim to include an ingredient but without necessarily having to have it in a clinically relevant / associated with benefit dose).
Is Bucked Up Safe?
How “safe” a product is dependent on its uses and ensuring you’re adhering to recommended servings sizes. Bucked up contains stimulatory ingredients and high dosages of these can certainly have health implications but the dose used within the product is well within industry and clinically research health and safety guidelines (the “safe” upper limit for caffeine use per day is currently set at approximately 400mg, Bucked up contains 200mg per serving).
In relation to the deer antler velvet and its safety, extremely high dosages have been trialled (equivalent to 320mg per kg of bodyweight in humans per day for several weeks) and have shown no significant side effects or toxicity indicators. Longer term evaluation may be required but considering these findings (and others) as well as the quality and honesty of Bucked Up products, adhering to the serving size suggested is likely completely safe.
Bucked Up Pre-Workout In-depth Review
The pre-workout market, out of all the sports nutrition market subcategories, is the one most synonymous with misleading consumers thanks to borderline false advertising, ineffective dosing and misleading, quality manipulating proprietary blends.
Bucked Up’s preworkout was specifically designed to be fully transparent; no proprietary blends to be seen. It was also created with clinically effective dosages in mind and stringent testing. Ryan and his team have designed and produced a product which not only alleviates the mistrust that the preworkout sub-market is met with by its consumers, but a product which is also at the forefront of effectiveness (given its dosing and the ingredients included).
What is Deer Antler Velvet and Why is it Used?
Deer antler velvet has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Deer (or in some cases elk) antlers will routinely fall off and regenerate. These antlers are collected and crushed into fine powder to produce the herbal supplement.
Use of deer antler velvet has been associated with improved muscular performance, injury recovery and maximal strength gains. There is also evidence associated deer antler velvet with having an immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, anti-fatigue, anti-osteoporosis, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-stress and anti-oxidant effect.
What are the other key ingredients in Bucked Up?
Aside from deer antler velvet, Bucked Up’s preworkout is absolutely loaded with performance enhancing, clinically proven ergogenic aids. Here’s a quick run down of the ingredients, the dosages and how they contribute to optimizing your performance and recovery.
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Citrulline malate is one of the most robustly investigated and clinically supported performance and recovery aids on the market. It acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to and from our muscles during exercise. This helps to transport nutrients, oxygen and other necessities to the muscle to maintain / optimize performance during exercise while also helping to transport waste products away from our muscles (which can have a negative impact on muscular performance if they accumulate).
Data shows citrulline malate supplementation to not only benefit performance and recovery, but also body composition outcomes as well. The suggested dose amongst the literature is 6g and the number of products on the market that supply this can be counted on one hand. Thankfully, you can include Bucked Up’s preworkout within this small, but excellent group!
Beta-alanine acts as a buffering agent to the by-products of lactic acid breakdown. Lactic acid builds up during exercise and the by-products of lactic acid can reduce muscular function and performance.
Buffering these by-products may therefore allow you to perform more repetitions / increase time to failure. These benefits may be of particular importance when performing volume work and or AMRAPS. A 2g dose is effective and won’t leave you with the prolonged tingly feeling which can disrupt your workout!
It’d be easier to give a list of what caffeine can’t help with; from performance to body composition, recovery and even focus, caffeine truly is a must have ergogenic ingredient for any stimulant including preworkout.
A 200mg dosage is perfect; not too much, but enough to give you that significant pick me up you’ll need to have your best sessions to date!
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Alphasize Alpha GPC
Alphasize appears to have similar effects to caffeine in relation to performance outcomes when compared. So why not combine the two and get the best of both worlds like Bucked Up have in their preworkout product!?
200mg is also the dosage used in the comparison study against caffeine, which did find a significant increase in performance outcomes when Alphasize was compared to a placebo.
In human studies, taurine has been shown to remove waste products that lead to fatigue. It also protects muscles from cell damage and oxidative stress. Studies have also linked taurine supplementation to increased fat burn / oxidation.
When investigated directly, taurine has been shown to improve exercise performance and mitigate recovery from damaging and stressful exercise at dosages from as little as 50mg a day. Bucked Up is packing around 100mg (and you’ll be getting plenty from your diet) so chances are you’re in luck to experience the benefit from taurine!
Himalayan rock salt
When we sweat, we lose electrolytes as well as bodily fluids. Electrolytes enable our body to perform muscular contractions; these are the signal carriers which help to deliver messages from the brain to the body and vice versa.
As electrolytes and fluids decline (typically when we become dehydrated) muscular function will also decline. Sodium (one of the key minerals in salt) is an important electrolyte and ensuring levels remain normalized will help prevent dehydration. Himalayan rock salt will help with not only providing that vital sodium for performance retention but also comes with unique anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits (when compared to plain table salt).
Astragin is a combination of panaxnotoginseng and astragalus membranaceous, elements occurring naturally in plants which may increase absorption of dietary components.
In relation to exercise, increased absorption of nutrients and other dietary components may lead to increases in muscle protein synthesis, energy production and glycogen recovery. More work needs to be done to fully flesh out the possible benefits of astragin in relation to exercise in human models but initial findings and mechanisms look promising!
Actigin is a mix of several standardized bioactives sourced from Panax ginseng and Rosa roxburghii fruit. Standardized is important as research on plant-based ingredients is highly subjected to geography, soil quality, harvesting season, and other factors negatively impacting the concentration of bioactive ingredients.
The use of actigin has been linked to accelerated rates of muscular recovery and increased time to fatigue during exercise. Studies have shown actigin to increase glycogen re-synthesis rates by ~370% and improve time to exhaustion by 20%!
An overview of the benefits of Bucked Up
In brief, given its ingredient profile, you can expect the following benefits from supplementing with Bucked Up before a training session:
- Increased overall performance
- Incredible “pumps”
- Increases in strength and power
- Increases in muscular endurance and time to fatigue
- Improved recovery
- Sharpened mental focus
Bucked Up vs Alternative Pre-Workout Supplements
When we look to compare Bucked Up with other pre-workout supplements on the market, there is a distinct and defined difference. You only have to scroll down Bodybuilding.com’s best selling pre-workouts to see fitness fan favorites that mislead consumers as to the quality of the product; if they’re not riddled with proprietary blends, they’re severely underdosing on clinically proven ingredients in place of much higher dosages of ingredients that don’t have much in the way of scientific backing.
Bucked Up is one of the best all around pre-workouts we’ve had the opportunity to review and we’d rank it right up there with two of our absolute favourites, Pre-Jym and Kaged, which have pioneered evidence-based dosing and a much higher standard of pre-workout.
It is a perfect pre-workout for Crossfit and many team sports, as well as regular gym work, and we’d highly recommend it; Ryan and his team have created a truly awesome product!