AFTERBURN FUEL REVIEW: A REAL, UNBIASED OVERVIEW
If you’re reading this review right now, then chances are that I don’t have to tell you who Mike Chang is.
You’ve seen his ads plastered in every corner of the web, many of which promote his “Magic Red Drink” pre-workout, claimed on his official website to be the “only solution for gaining muscle and burning fat”.
Sure, the ads are obnoxious and over-the-top… and yes, Mike is in desperate need of a decent haircut… but all that aside, what’s the real truth behind this stuff?
Does Afterburn Fuel work? Is Afterburn Fuel safe… effective… and worth the money?
Well, if you’re searching for the real, science-based truth about this product and whether or not it’s a worthwhile supplement to include in your plan, you’re in the right place.
Sure, there are hundreds of other reviews you’ll find online by running a simple Google or YouTube search, but what most people don’t realize is this…
The vast majority of the Afterburn Fuel Reviews and write-ups you find online are NOT written by knowledgeable, credible fitness experts. They’re written by affiliate marketers who are promoting the product in order to earn commissions through their referral link.
This is why virtually every single Afterburn Fuel review out there portrays it in such a positive light, and why the link that sends you to Mike Chang’s website almost always contains an affiliate ID. In most cases, it’s nothing more than a sales pitch. (This is true for a large percentage of supplement reviews out there and is certainly not limited to this product only)
Luckily, you’ve finally found an objective, unbiased review of this supplement without all the regular marketing hype and B.S attached to it.
I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over a decade now… I study this stuff for a living… and I have zero vested interest in this product or any other specific supplement brands.
Whether or not you buy it makes no difference whatsoever to me – all I’m offering you here is my dead-honest opinion based on the available evidence.
(Disclaimer: This review is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim any of the following to be absolute fact regarding Mike Chang, his haircut or the product in question)
Mike Chang’s “Afterburn Fuel”: An Honest, Objective Review
Right off the bat, there is a basic, fundamental problem with “Mike’s Magic Red Drink”: there’s no way for you to know what’s actually in it.
This is because, like many other popular bodybuilding and fitness supplements on the market, all of the ingredients are hidden behind a proprietary blend.
In other words, the scientists at the “Afterburn Fuel Research Center” (yes, the sales page over on Mike Chang’s website claims that this is actually a real place) are willing to tell you which individual ingredients are included in the product, but NOT the specific dosages for each. Instead, all you get is the total amount of all the ingredients combined.
It makes no difference whatsoever how great the specific ingredients included are unless you’re receiving a proper study-validated amount of each one.
On that basis alone I would personally never purchase this supplement or recommend it to anyone. There’s just no good, viable reason for ingredient dosages to be hidden behind a proprietary blend, ever.
It doesn’t actually prevent other companies from finding out what’s in the product (this is the basic principle behind what a proprietary blend is supposed to be for) as a simple lab analysis can easily tell you that.
So, what do supplement companies actually use proprietary blends for?
Well, I’m not saying that this is the reason why Afterburn Fuel specifically uses a proprietary blend… but in almost all OTHER cases, it’s simply done to cut down production costs by allowing the company to intentionally under-dose a certain percentage of the ingredients with the understanding that the average supplement-buyer won’t know the difference.
Most people simply see a list of recognizable ingredients on the label and assume that the product must be good if so many things are included.
Little do they know that the company has simply “pixie dusted” a portion of the ingredients by including an amount of each so miniscule that it won’t exert any positive effects whatsoever, but large enough that they can still list it on the label to hype up the product.
In any case, if I’m going to be ingesting a combination of 17 different ingredients into my body (the amount included in Afterburn Fuel) I sure as hell want to know how much of each I’m getting.
Anyway, moving on…
Afterburn Fuel is separated into 2 different proprietary blends: the “Get Jacked Matrix” (no, I’m not kidding; they really thought that was a good name) and the “Cognitive Energy Matrix”.
As I said, there are 17 different ingredients included here, so I’m not going to go into detail on every single one.
Instead, I’ll just point out some of the main things that I think you should know about each of these two individual blends.
Ingredients In Afterburn Fuel
The “Get Jacked” Matrix
Always keep in mind that the ingredients in a proprietary blend are listed on the label from the most prominent to least prominent.
With that in mind, we know that Creatinol O-Phosphate is the primary compound in this blend.
Most of the research on this compound is a few decades old (note that creatinol o-phosphate and creatine are NOT the same thing) and primarily examined its effects as a cardio-protective drug.
In addition, the studies were conducted using direct injections into the muscle rather than oral consumption. It’s not even known at this point whether Creatinol O-Phosphate is bio-available in humans when consumed orally and what its specific effects would be.
Why they would use this as the main ingredient, I seriously have no idea.
The second most prominent Afterburn Fuel ingredient is L-Arginine AKG.
This compound is usually consumed for its supposed effects on raising nitric oxide levels in the body, leading to improvements in endurance, work output and recovery.
Unfortunately, the research on L-Arginine AKG for this purpose is very weak, with many studies showing no benefits at all. This is likely because l-arginine is poorly absorbed by the intestines and a large portion doesn’t even make it into the bloodstream in the first place.
On top of this, l-arginine is not the limiting factor in nitric oxide production, and a typical healthy adult will already have high enough levels to max out its effects in this area. (I covered this in a previous post a few months back: “L-Arginine Benefits For Bodybuilders”)
Again, for a supposedly “scientifically supported” supplement, including L-Arginine AKG as a core ingredient really doesn’t make any sense based on the available data.
After that we have Agmatine Sulfate.
This another “nitric oxide booster” with very little available data on its effects in humans. For the small number of studies that have been conducted, most used direct injections rather than oral consumption.
It may or may not be a useful pre-workout ingredient, but there’s really no good evidence at this point to suggest that it’s worth spending money on.
Three ingredients included in the “Get Jacked” blend that are scientifically supported and that I do stand behind and recommend are creatine, beta alanine and citrulline malate.
Creatine and beta alanine supplements have both been very reliably demonstrated in the research to increase muscular strength and endurance, while citrulline malate has been shown to improve ATP production and blood flow to working muscles.
However, there are still two issues here…
First off, creatine and beta alanine do NOT have immediate, acute effects on strength and performance and aren’t actually “pre workout” ingredients at all.
The benefits you’ll achieve from these two compounds is a result of consistent daily supplementation over the long term, and taking them immediately before a workout is not going to give you any direct effects.
This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as mixing these two ingredients into your pre-workout is still fine as a matter of convenience.
The other, and much more serious problem, however, is this…
The “Get Jacked Matrix” only provides 7.5 grams of total active ingredients per serving.
If you simply take a look at the research studied dosages for each of the compounds that are included, it’s clear to see that this blend doesn’t provide NEARLY enough in order for all, or even a reasonable portion of the ingredients to be properly dosed.
(Remember what I said earlier about why most supplement companies use proprietary blends? Hmmm…)
Here are the study-validated doses for just a half of the ingredients included…
Creatinol O-Phosphate: 3g
L-Arginine AKG: 3-6g
Beta Alanine: 2.4g-6.4g
Citrulline Malate: 6-8g
That means the “Get Jacked Matrix” would have to provide you with around 17g – 22g of total ingredients in order to deliver the actual doses of these compounds used in the research.
And even that’s not true – it would be even higher than this, because I didn’t even include the other ingredients (agmatine sulfate, histidine AKG, glycerol, norvaline or vanadyl sulfate) in those totals!
So all in all, this blend gets a huge thumbs down. It consists primarily of ingredients with no reliable research to support them, and it’s clearly under-dosed in a big way.
The “Cognitive Energy” Matrix
This blend consists of 7 different ingredients designed to increase energy levels and mental focus during the workout.
In terms of ingredient selection, it actually starts off really well with three compounds that I’m a big fan of and that do work effectively for the intended purpose: Caffeine (stimulates the central nervous system and increases energy and mental alertness), L-Tyrosine (works downstream from caffeine to amplify its effects further without additional “jitters”) and Acetyl L-Carnitine (also improves overall focus and alertness).
Sounds good, right?
Unfortunately, all positive hope is dashed yet again when you simply look at the total gram amount of the blend: 1.6 grams.
The study dosage for acetyl l-carnitine is about 0.5g-2.5g…
l-tyrosine is typically used at around 0.5g up to 3g or more… and caffeine lands anywhere between 100mg-400mg.
When you consider that the total gram amount you’re being given here is 1.6g (and that there are still four other ingredients included beyond the 3 I just mentioned), it’s clear to see that in the very BEST case scenario you’d still only be getting the absolute bare minimum dosage here.
Based on that, I don’t see any real need to go further on this portion of Afterburn Fuel.
You are getting a few decent ingredients, but based on the total amount included in the blend, it’s just not possible that they’d be present in significantly usable dosages. (The exception here is caffeine, which I’ll address shortly)
Now, you could bump the dosages higher by consuming the maximum serving size of 1 ½ scoops as opposed to 1 (though they only recommended this to people who are 200 pounds or heavier), but nonetheless, you still run into a few problems…
First off, even at 1 ½ scoops, the blends would still be under-dosed based on the total gram amount you’d be getting.
Secondly, you still won’t have a damn clue what you’re actually putting into your body since all the ingredient dosages are hidden all the same.
Thirdly, consuming 1 ½ scoops at a time means you’re only getting 13 servings per bottle, which brings me to the last point…
Not only is it clear to see by ANYONE with a half-reasonable clue about proper pre-workout supplementation that “Mike’s Magic Red Drink” just generally sucks all around…
But it’s also one of the most expensive pre-workouts on the market at an absolutely unthinkable, downright offensive price of $67 per bottle.
I don’t say this for effect: I literally wouldn’t spend $10 on this stuff…
But to think that people are actually shelling out the insane Afterburn Fuel price of $67 a month on such a poorly designed pre-workout is hard to fathom, especially considering that you can easily make your own (and far more potent) blend for a tiny fraction of that cost.
Not only that, but unless you read the tiny fine-print on the Afterburn Fuel website when you make your purchase, you might not realize that you’re actually signing up for a monthly subscription program that automatically bills your credit card every month unless you call the 1-800 number to cancel.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking…
“But Sean, I used Afterburn Fuel, and it worked really for me!”
Well, aside from the basic placebo effect you experience when you have the positive expectation that a given product is going to work for you (and trust me, this is WAY more powerful than you might think), there’s a far simpler reason why you may have used Afterburn Fuel and felt good about the results it gave you…
It’s because, just like virtually every other pre-workout supplement and energy drink out there, it contains caffeine.
Not only is caffeine dirt-cheap, but it’s also the single best pre-workout supplement available by far and will have the most dramatic effect of ANY ingredient included in ANY pre-workout product that you purchase.
So, as long as there’s caffeine in there, then yes, the product will “work”.
That does NOT, however, mean that the product as a whole is well-formulated… or that the other ingredients are contributing to the overall effect in a significant way… or that it’s worth spending $67 a month on.
Afterburn Fuel Review: The Bottom Line
To sum it all up…
Not only is this product laughably over-hyped in classic Mike Chang style…
(Direct quote from the website: “Be careful not to lose fat or build muscle too rapidly with Afterburn Fuel. Afterburn Fuel is an extremely powerful supplement, and it can be tempting to attempt to use it to transform your body very quickly. However, you must agree to use Afterburn Fuel responsibly, and to build muscle and lose fat at a safe, reasonable rate”)
… but it’s also poorly formulated, under-dosed and obscenely over-priced.
So, who should buy this product?
Well, if for some reason you’re a Mike Chang fan who feels the desire to contribute a personal donation to his bank account and support the proliferation of his cringe-worthy ads and YouTube videos, by all means, grab your own supply of Afterburn Fuel right away.
However, if you’re actually looking for an effective, scientifically supported pre-workout that will safely enhance your training performance and muscle growth/fat loss (and for a reasonable price) leave this stuff on the shelf at the “Afterburn Fuel Research Center” and just make your own homemade blend instead.
For a dead-simple but effective blend that will deliver the strength and energy boosting effects you’re after for less than $5 a month, make sure to check out my previous post that outlines my #1 recommended basic pre-workout supplement.
Or, if you want something a little more comprehensive (yet still simple and inexpensive), check out my Free Fitness Supplementation Guide and scroll to the “Pre-Workout” section for more information.
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