CITADEL NUTRITION “TIER 1” REVIEW: AN HONEST OVERVIEW
Citadel Nutrition is a fairly new company in the bodybuilding and fitness supplement space, and if you follow other popular blogs and YouTube channels that support them then you may have seen their name pop up here and there.
Those of you who follow my content regularly know that I’m a fairly outspoken critic when it comes to most supplements.
The industry itself is completely overrun with misleading gimmicks, over-priced products and even outright fraud, and for those looking to build muscle and lose fat effectively, there isn’t a whole lot that I recommend beyond a few simple basics.
Citadel Nutrition has been increasingly making a name for themselves for providing honest, legit supplements without all the crazy marketing hype and nonsense that usually goes along with it, and so when they offered to have me review their flagship “Tier 1 Pre-Workout”, I figured it was something worth posting.
With hundreds of different pre-workout supplements available these days and with new ones being constantly released, this can be a very confusing area to navigate when it comes to your supplement plan.
Is Tier-1 right for you? Here is my honest, unbiased overview…
(Please note that I’m NOT affiliated with Citadel Nutrition in any way and it makes no difference to me whether you do or don’t use the product – these are my objective thoughts on it and nothing else)
Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Review
I’ll be breaking this review up into 4 main categories by discussing the ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, and my personal recommendation on whether it’s worth purchasing or not.
Citadel has been clear in stating that their products are formulated based purely on hard science and on what has been objectively demonstrated in reliable research studies, and the ingredient label for Tier 1 definitely reflects that.
The Tier 1 Pre-Workout is made up of 4 individual ingredients, each of which are clearly backed by sufficient data showing significant positive effects on muscular performance…
Creatine Monohydrate (5g) – Creatine is hands down the single most effective compound available for producing measurable increases in muscular size and strength over a relatively short period of time.
Creatine supplementation increases the levels of phosphocreatine in your muscle cells which improves performance during short, explosive activities like weight training. It does this by allowing your body to produce ATP at a more efficient rate, which is the usable form of energy within your muscles.
On top of helping you build new lean muscle tissue at an improved rate, creatine also draws additional water inside of the muscle cells, giving them a slightly fuller appearance.
Tier-1 provides the correct 5 gram research-studied dose of creatine monohydrate, and delivers it as “Creapure”, which is the highest quality form available.
Beta Alanine (3.2g) – This non-essential amino acid increases intramuscular levels of a substance called “carnosine” which is found primarily in fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Carnosine works by buffering hydrogen ions, which are a by-product of muscular contractions that increase muscle acidity and overall fatigue.
So, by increasing carnosine levels through beta alanine supplementation, you’ll be able to prolong the point of muscular failure and improve overall endurance, strength and power. Beta alanine has also been shown to have synergistic effects when combined with creatine.
Tier-1 provides the correct 3.2 gram research-studied dose of beta alanine, and delivers it in the form of “CarnoSyn”, which is the highest quality form available.
Caffeine Anhydrous (200mg) – Most people are already aware of the basic effects that caffeine has in the body. This compound stimulates the central nervous system for increased energy, mental focus and alertness. It also delays the onset of muscle fatigue and can reduce the perception of muscular discomfort during workouts.
Tier-1 provides a standard dose of 200mg of caffeine anhydrous per serving, which is a good middle-ground amount that will work well for most people. They also offer their “Tier 1 +” blend which includes 300mg of caffeine.
L-Tyrosine (3g) – This amino acid is one of the primary building blocks for important catecholamines involved in neuromuscular performance, alertness and focus: dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline.
L-tyrosine has been shown to have a synergistic effect when combined with caffeine since it increases catecholamine production while caffeine increases their release.
Tier-1 provides 3 grams of l-tyrosine per serving, which is at the top-end of the standard 1-3 gram recommended dose.
All in all I really have nothing but positive things to say about the individual ingredients, forms and dosages that have been included here. They’re all backed by solid research, they all work, and they’re all present in the correct amounts and most absorbable forms.
I’m not big on basing pre-workout supplement reviews off of first-hand anecdotal reports, since the individual effects you experience after taking these products is such a subjective thing and can also be very heavily skewed due to personal bias and the placebo effect.
Based on the ingredient profile and dosages alone we already know that this is a well-formulated and effective supplement, and the blend itself is also quite basic, so there shouldn’t be any surprises there.
For the record though, I personally have found through my own use that this pre-workout blend does work well for increasing overall energy levels and performance. I actually knew that before even trying Tier-1, since this is the exact same combination I’ve personally been using for a few years now before my workouts.
So, if you’re looking for something that provides that extra kick for to perform at your best without going overboard and without feeling like your eyes are about to pop out of their sockets, Tier-1 does give you that.
Taste & Mixability
I don’t really consider taste to be a big issue, as most companies have basically figured out how to formulate their pre-workout supplements with reasonable flavor these days anyway.
Tier-1 is no exception, and the lemonade flavor tastes fine and mixes well. Not much else to say on that.
The REAL Question: Is It Worth Buying?
This is where things get a bit more complicated.
Based on all of the positive things I’ve had to say so far you might think that this is a supplement I would automatically recommend, but it’s not quite that simple.
First off, although this is marketed as a “pre-workout”, only 2 of the 4 ingredients (caffeine and l-tyrosine) actually have immediate, direct effects on performance when take before workouts.
Creatine and beta alanine do NOT have any acute effects, and the benefits that you obtain from those 2 compounds are a result of daily supplementation over the long term.
So, even if you’re using Tier 1 as a pre-workout supplement, you’re still going to have to purchase creatine monohydrate and beta alanine as separate stand-alone products anyway to take on your off days.
And given that fact, it kinda makes more sense in my view to just buy all 4 ingredients separately in bulk right from the get go, since it really just involves purchasing 4 different bottles as opposed to 3 (caffeine + l-tyrosine + creatine + beta alanine as opposed to a caffeine/l-tyrosine/creatine/beta alanine mixture + creatine + beta alanine separately) and actually provides two main benefits this way…
First off, it will be more cost-effective. Tier 1 is reasonably priced for what you’re getting, but it’s still going to be less expensive to purchase each ingredient separately and in higher amounts. The difference here will not be too significant, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Secondly, and more importantly, having each ingredient separately will allow you to modulate the dosage to your exact individual needs.
The dosages used in Tier 1 are very well structured for a pre-made blend, but even their website admits that “it is impossible to formulate a pre-workout dosed perfectly for every individual.”
But given that the blend is very basic, you actually CAN dose the ingredients perfectly for yourself by just buying them separately.
If you prefer more or less caffeine combined with more or less l-tyrosine, you can very easily adjust that up and down when you have a bottle of 200mg caffeine tabs and 500mg l-tyrosine capsules handy.
I especially find this approach useful since I don’t always like taking the exact same amounts for every single workout. Instead, I’ll often adjust things depending on the difficulty of the upcoming session (I.E. a higher dosage for leg training versus, say, an arm workout) as well as how I’m feeling on any given day.
Yes, you could just consume an extra half scoop more or less of Tier 1, but you’re still going to be stuck at the same caffeine/l-tyrosine ratio no matter what, and you’ll also end up taking more or less creatine/beta alanine than you actually need.
My Final Thoughts On The Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Pre-Workout
Let me first make it clear that I absolutely applaud Citadel Nutriton for what they do. In an industry that is so overrun with gimmicks and outright fraud, they truly are a standout company in my eyes for their honest and science-based approach. It’s VERY rare (actually, it’s practically impossible) to find a supplement company this transparent and real with their customers.
In my view, whether or not you should purchase Tier-1 really just comes down to your individual preference.
If you like the idea of having a pre-made and pre-flavored blend that you can take with you on the go, and you’re happy with the dosages as they are and are willing to pay a bit extra for it, then by all means go for it.
It’s a very high quality product, the ingredients and dosages are solid, and it does what it says it does when it comes to improving workout performance.
However, even Citadel admits that Tier 1 is not for everyone, and in my personal opinion, given that creatine and beta alanine are not actual “pre workout” ingredients themselves and will need to be purchased separately anyway, it just makes more sense to also purchase the caffeine and l-tyrosine on their own as well.
It saves a bit on cost, and it allows for more flexibility by letting you adjust the dosage up and down depending on your individual preference and on the conditions of any given workout.
Flavoring is not an issue since creatine and beta alanine are tasteless anyway, and caffeine and l-tyrosine can simply be purchased in basic pill form.
That’s just my opinion though, and I’d encourage you to check out what Citadel Nutrition has to offer and see what you think for yourself.
Also keep in mind that Tier-1 is not their only product, and they also currently offer an Athlete Multivitamin and Fish Oil product that I personally do think are well worth purchasing and that I would recommend. I’ll make sure to post a review on those in the near future as well.