Twin brothers Ryan and Jeff Gardner started Bucked Up in 2016, growing from a locally-sold brand to one of the leading supplement companies in the nation. Now sold in over 20,000 stores, Bucked Up made their name on their deer antler velvet extract, especially after the Ray Lewis Super Bowl “deer antler spray” controversy.
Bucked Up takes pride in their transparency; there are no “proprietary blends” or dodges, just clearly-labeled supplements that tell you exactly what they are. Of course, transparency doesn’t automatically make for a good product, just an honest one. So is Bucked Up worth it?
Initial Impressions of Bucked Up Pre Workout
Bucked Up was started by marketing professionals, and boy, do they know their business. Bucked Up Pre-Workout’s packaging is sharp and tight, with an iconic deer-head silhouette that puts their bread and butter front and center. The stark black matte jar and beefy lettering are no-nonsense, just like you expect the product to be.
Break open a bottle, and you’ll find a thick powder. It doesn’t mix up flawlessly – some of that powder wants to settle to the bottom no matter how hard you shake it. But if you’re shaking it up and sucking it down on the way to the gym, you might find that doesn’t matter much.
Energy Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- Caffeine Anhydrous 200 mg
Although the name implies some serious energy, Bucked Up actually has less caffeine than many comparable pre-workout supplements. The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. While many supplements push the limit, Bucked Up keeps the caffeine content at a manageable 200mg.
At 200mg, Bucked Up has enough caffeine to give you a surge of energy to boost your workout, but not so much that you’re plagued by jitters and nerves. Energy is great for a workout; jitters, not so much, especially when you’re pushing serious weight.
Nootropic (Focus and Mood) Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- AlphaSize Alpha-GPC 200 mg
Any athlete knows that athletic performance is 90% physical and 100% mental. You don’t get gains if you can’t get your head in the game. That’s why any pre-workout supplement worth your time is going to include some nootropics like Alpha-GPC. Alpha-GPC is great for memory and learning, but more importantly, it provides mental clarity.
A tough workout demands mental clarity. You know you’re more likely to get injured when you’re mind’s not clear. Unfortunately, compared to some other supplements, Bucked Up only includes 200mg of Alpha-GPC instead of the optimal 300mg. It’s not a big difference, but an edge is an edge.
Anti-Fatigue Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- Beta-Alanine 2000 mg
- Taurine 100 mg
Beta-Alanine has become a standard for pre-workout supplements, thanks to its effectiveness in holding off fatigue during high-intensity workouts. The optimal dosage is generally considered to be 2.5g, so Bucked Up’s 2g is a little underdosed. However, at that lower dose, you’re unlikely to experience the paraesthesia (tingling) that puts some people off beta-alanine.
On the other hand, Taurine is also valuable for warding off fatigue. Taurine isn’t essential, but compared to the optimal 1.5g, the 100mg of taurine Bucked Up might as well not be there are all.
Pump and Blood Flow Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- Citrulline Malate 6000 mg
Bucked Up knows that good blood flow is critical for pushing your body to its maximum potential. If you’re doing weight training, the pump is everything. So Bucked Up includes 6000mg (6g) of Citrulline Malate, a supplement proven to increase blood flow and arterial function.
At 6g, the dose of Citrulline in Bucked Up is a little short of the 8g optimal dose. It’s not a huge shortfall, but with Bucked Up’s other underdosing, it follows a disappointing trend.
Strength Support & Body Composition Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- Deer Antler Velvet Extract 50mg
Of course, Bucked Up’s signature supplement, deer antler velvet, is in there. Bucked Up makes a big deal of its deer antler velvet, which is sourced from New Zealand red deer. Harvested from pre-calcified new antlers, which the deer grow back each year, Bucked Up’s deer antler velvet claims to improve strength and endurance, and to speed muscle repair time.
However, while deer antler velvet has a long-standing place in traditional Eastern medicine, there is very little scientific study to demonstrate any value – just one study that has never been replicated. So take your deer antler velvet with an additional grain of salt.
Electrolyte Ingredients in Bucked Up Pre Workout
- Sodium 39 mg
Bucked Up doesn’t pack in the electrolytes, but hydration isn’t their MO. That said, 39mg of sodium is well below the optimal dose, and there’s no potassium in Bucked Up at all. Bucked Up Pre-Workout is specifically for pre-workout; you’ll have to get your hydration elsewhere.
The Extra Mile?
The following bonus pre-workout ingredients are found in Bucked Up:
Surprisingly, Bucked Up contains no creatine or any other specific muscle-building ingredients. It does include AstraGin and ActiGin, two ginseng extracts. While those extracts do not necessarily influence body composition, they are valuable for helping the body absorb nutrients more effectively.
Taste & Flavors of Bucked Up Pre Workout
Bucked Up offers 20 different flavors for its pre-workout formula; we tested watermelon. In addition to names like Gym N Juice and Killa OJ, users can choose more conventional flavors like Grape or Strawberry Kiwi. Sweetened with sucralose, the flavor is extremely sweet, with a bit of a chemical aftertaste.
Who Bucked Up is For
Bucked Up is probably better for all-around athletes than for heavy-weight training.
Who Bucked Up is Not For
Bucked Up might not be for the hardest of hard-core weight trainers, due to underdosing in key ingredients.
Potential Side Effects of Bucked Up
- Bucked Up’s deer antler velvet has been said to cause stomach issues for some users.
Bucked Up has a lot going for it, and it’s one of the leading names in the pre-workout game. But we’re disappointed that Bucked Up Pre-Workout is underpowered in some key areas, and completely lacking in creatine.