Optimum Nutrition's AmiNO Energy
A Modest Boost
by Jesse Seal

Are you looking for a simple, yet effective amino acid supplement?

AmiNO Energy may be what you're looking for.

One of the most important ingredients in any before or after training supplement is amino acids, as they are the building blocks for muscular growth. There are plenty of BCAA and other amino acid supplements on the market, and it can be overwhelming at times to decide which one will be best for your training program.

Optimum Nutrition (ON) offers a variety of supplements, most of them very popular in the weighting training community; my favorite is their Amino (AmiN.O.) Energy. This product aims to provide the best amino acids while providing a boost of energy.

ON states that this supplement can be taken any time you need a kick, including when you wake up, before or after a workout, or as your energy levels drop in the afternoon. This is great, because amino acids can be taken throughout the day to promote muscle growth, and the caffein can replace your morning coffee, your afternoon coffee, and your mid-afternoon coffee (seriously, if you drink this much coffee I suggest cutting back for obvious reasons).

The point is, this is a great supplement to take whenever you need it, but watch the caffein. While each serving contains less caffein than a cup of coffee, you should still be conscious of other caffein sources you intake throughout the day. Personally, I keep AmiNO Energy around for extended training days (two-a-days, or days were I lift and have additional training afterwards).

On non-training days, it's a great alternative to coffee if you're in a cutting phase.

Micronized Amino Blend

Micronization allows the amino acids to be more concentrated; the idea is that you absorb more per dose. Amino Energy offers a variety of important amino acids, including your BCAAs. Arganine is included to offer better oxygen delivery to the muscles through the blood stream (known as nitric oxide levels), and has also been shown to increase absorption rates of other nutrients.

Beta alanine, another amino acid present, is great for increasing endurance during high intensity strength workouts. This amino delays the time it takes for lactic acid to build up, the leading cause of muscle failure. These two supplements alone are included in most pre-workout supplements.

For description on the other amino acids found in the ingredients, refer to the amino acid index.

Energy Blend

I'm always on the lookout for pre-workout supplements without stimulants such as caffein, but the truth is that it's hard to come by. Caffein basically "tricks" our bodies into believing there is more ATP than there actually is. Once the caffein wears off, our body "realizes" that ATP levels are low and we experience a crash. Each person has their own tolerance levels, however, and as mentioned earlier the caffein content is actually quite low in AmiNO Energy (compared to a cup of coffee).

The green coffee bean extract, as featured on Dr. Oz, is growing more popular in the weight loss industry. Studies have shown that green coffee extract helps you loose weight, and actually includes very little caffein compared to a regular cup of coffee. Caffein has also been the subject of recent studies, and is suggested to help your body burn 30-40% more fat if taken 1-2 hours before training.

Overall Impression

I would never consider this a staple in my diet, however the additional amino acids and energy boost are welcome on long training days. The benefits are there for people looking to gain muscle or lose weight, as the increased energy I experienced did help me get through a couple days where my "cutting" diet left me drained.

The ingredients included are very good, and I would consider this a top amino acid supplement. While marketed primarily as a pre-workout, this supplement doesn't hold up against products such as Muscle Pharm's Assault. With that said, I think this is one of the top products out there for people looking to increase their amino acid intake.

Score: 7/10

Value: $0.54/full serving (65 serving bottle)

Pros

  • Nice blend of amino acids
  • Contains green coffee extract (shown to improve body composition)
  • Caffein is less than a cup of coffee
  • Noticeable increase in energy and alertness
  • Price per serving

Cons

  • Taste is average, although not bad. Mixes good with Gaterade
  • Caffein may result in crash (depending on personal tolerance)
Amino Energy Ingredients

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About the Author

Jesse Seal is the assistance Combatives Instructor, and has been training in Combative Sciences since 2008. He has also been training and learning through Bullock's Irondom Performance Systems since 2010.

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