Several of our Modern Athletic Health testers were given samples to review Catalyst, the newly reformulated and flavored Pre Workout supplement from Momentum Nutrition. Before we get into their results and feedback, lets take a look at the product and its ingredients:
Beta-Alanine is non-essential amino acid which serves a precursor to Carnosine. Carnosine is able to delay fatigue in the working muscle by reducing the build-up of, or “buffering”, Lactic Acid.
The result: greater muscular endurance. Beta-Alanine has been the subject of extensive research and has been shown, in multiple studies, to increase muscular Carnosine levels by 20-80% at daily doses ranging from 2-6g. At 3.2g daily, the precise dose present in Catalyst, Beta-Alanine supplementation has been demonstrated to increase muscular Carnosine levels roughly 44% when measured after 4 weeks of supplementation, with a noticeable increase in as little as 2 weeks.
Betaine Anhydrous, also known as Trimethylglycine, is the amino acid Glycine with three methyl groups attached. It has been shown, throughout multiple studies, to increase power output and/or muscular endurance at doses of 2.5g daily. Catalyst contains the same 2.5g dose used in several clinical trials. Check the amount of Betaine in the average competitor and you’ll find roughly 1.25g, HALF of what we packed into Catalyst!
Alpha GPC is the most bioavailable source of Choline and is the only form actually shown to increase power output in athletes following oral ingestion. Upon entering the body, Alpha GPC easily crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and can increase levels of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which is directly involved muscle contraction and what is commonly known as the “mind-muscle connection”. Most pre-workouts contain less potent forms of Choline such as Choline Bitartrate or Choline Citrate. This is because Alpha-GPC tends to be quite expensive by weight. If you compare the amount of Alpha-GPC in Catalyst to that of other pre-workouts (assuming it isn’t concealed within a proprietary blend), you’ll likely find that the closest competitor contains roughly HALF the dose.
Okay, so we all know what Caffeine and that it increases alertness, focus, and perceived energy in the average individual. However, most people are probably unaware of what exactly is going on in the brain after Caffeine consumption. Caffeine’s primary mechanism of action is via increasing Noradrenaline, the neurotransmitter in the brain most responsible for concentration. Caffeine has been shown, in multiple studies, to favorably influence exercise performance, but the magnitude of effect is generally dependent on individual tolerance to Caffeine. Of course, it would be impossible to tailor the formula to every individuals Caffeine tolerance, but we have found that the 250mg dose present in each serving of Catalyst is enough for the average individual to feel noticeably more alert and focused.
A little-known amino acid, Theanine is found almost exclusively in Green Tea and has long been believed to be the primary reason why Green Tea, despite containing Caffeine, does not generally cause the negative side effects (jitters, anxiety, etc.) associated with other sources of Caffeine (like Coffee). Indeed, Theanine has been shown in several double-blind placebo controlled studies to not only reduce the negative side effects of Caffeine, but ENHANCE the cognitive benefits as well. Effective doses of Theanine are anywhere from 50-200mg but, Like Alpha-GPC, Theanine is expensive so it tends to be under-dosed in most pre-workouts. Catalyst contains an effective 100mg of Theanine per serving, roughly twice as much as what we’ve come across in most other pre-workouts.
Hordenine, also known as N,N-dimethyltyramine, is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in a variety of plants such as Barley. Hordenine has been shown to augment Noradrenaline-induced muscle contraction but without directly increasing muscle-contractions itself. This is because Hordenine acts as a Monoamin Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), meaning it blocks the enzyme (Monoamine Oxidase) responsible for the breakdown of Noradrenaline. Hordenine can therefore amplify and/or extend the effects of Caffeine and is one of the main reasons why Catalyst is able to increase perceived energy levels and muscle contraction to a noticeable greater degree than Caffeine alone.
N-Methyl Tyramine (NMT)
N-Methyl Tyramine is actually quite closely related to Hordenine and is the N-Methylated derivative of amine, Tyramine. Like Hordenine, NMT works as an MAOI, thereby augmenting the effects of Caffeine.
Huperzine A is a naturally occurring compound extracted from Toothed Clubmoss (Huperzia Serrata), which acts as a potent inhibitor of Acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme primarily responsible for the breakdown of Acetylcholine in the brain. Recall from the Alpha GPC section above that Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for muscle-contractibility and the “mind-muscle connection”. So, while Alpha GPC increases levels of Acetylcholine directly, Huperzine A prevents it from being broken down. The result, stronger muscle contractions that you can actually FEEL. Huperzine A is so potent (by weight) that it must be administered in micrograms (mcg). Catalyst contains 50mcg of Huperzine-A, not enough to cause an Acetylcholine overload, but more than enough to augment the role of Alpha GPC in muscle contraction and potentially provide some Nootropic benefits as well.
Here is what our testers had to say:
Review 1- Sam; Connecticut
Personal Background: I love pre-workouts. I’ve been taking pre workout formulas for as long as I can remember (with the proper breaks of course) and have also learned what my body likes and what it doesn’t. That being said, I am not a huge fan of high-stim PWOs for the reason that I feel I have too much energy and am not able to properly focus on my lifts or my breathing, plus the feeling of my heart ripping out of my chest isn’t my favorite feeling. Instead, I look for a PWO that concentrates more on improving my focus and pumps rather than energy. Don’t take this as me not liking stimulants because I do, you just won’t see me drinking Mr. Hyde or anything in that 400mg of caffeine range. If what I am using has absolutely zero stimulants, then I will combine it with a 200mg caffeine pill for that small boost, it all depends on the time. I am no stranger to PWOs so I was very happy to be given the opportunity to test out Momentum Nutrition’s Catalyst in the Strawberry Pineapple flavor.
Taste: Strawberry Pineapple 10/10 absolutely killed it on this one. In my opinion pre-workouts should be slammed back and not sipped on, however its almost not possible with this flavor. I have to fight the urge not to drink it throughout the day as a refreshment, it is that good. Definitely not overly sweetened like most other PWOs, in fact you can barely taste the sweetness. By far one of, if not THE, best PWO I have ever tasted.
Mixing: 3-4 shakes and you’re all set. No clumping, no grittiness, just a nice smooth drink. I’ve mixed it with anywhere from 4-12 ounces of cold water and always had the same results.
Effectiveness: Momentum Nutrition has made a fantastic product, nevertheless there is a little room for improvement. Taking the recommended one scoop gives me a solid 1 hour of concrete focus and energy within 25-30 minutes after consumption. Good, but not great compared to other PWOs I have taken where the energy lasts my full 1 ½ - 2 hour workouts. Like I mentioned before I do not focus on stimulant content while choosing my PWOs, but more so the mental/nootropic benefits which is where Catalyst showed its worth. The clinically dosed 600mg of Alpha-GPC gives a great mind to muscle connection that leaves you with incredible contractions throughout your workout. Combine that with 250mg of caffeine and the two work together in a way that make you feel as if you are one with the weights. My biggest bother with this PWO is its lack of a pump inducing ingredient such as citrulline or agmatine. In my opinion, this is what stops Catalyst from being the all in one PWO that we all search for. Overall Momentum Nutrition did a great job producing a PWO for those who care more about just caffeine content.
Review 2- Adam; Missouri
Taste: 10/10 (Strawberry Pineapple)
Such a unique flavor! Perfect balance of the two fruit flavors, and it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet or tangy like many preworkouts can be. It made for a pleasant beverage before each workout, even if you don't like to chug your preworkout drinks.
The energy boost wasn’t overwhelming, but wonderfully sustainable. You'll kick your workout off and then before you know it you're at the end of your workout but you still have plenty of energy left in the tank, even if your muscles are telling you, "Please! No more!” This was the type of product to wake you back up and get you energized for your workout even after a long day of working hard.
The focus went right in line with the energy. Catalyst made it so much easier not to get distracted during the workout, and ensure that you’re 100% focused on each exercise and pushing it until you just can’t get another rep.
There aren’t really any ingredients specifically to enhance muscle pump in Catalyst, but that’s okay. The other benefits of this product seemed to be enough to get you to work hard enough to get a pump all on your own.
All in all a solid product. Catalyst is the type of product that isn’t “too much to handle” for some people. Even so, it’s still enough for stim junkies to get a nice little energy boost and focus enhancement for their workout. Another huge plus is the flavor; it’s great, which makes it even more tolerable for athletes who can’t put up with odd-tasting supplement products. One of the best things about Catalyst is the complete transparency of the ingredient label. There is no mystery about how much of each ingredient is being consumed in each serving. Catalyst is definitely a win!