BY STEVE BORN
About four years ago, I handed Brian Frank a product formula I had been working on for many weeks. He didn’t know I had been pursuing this project, as I had spent many hours in research at night and on the weekends, but I could see his eyes light up as he reviewed the ingredient list. And he even liked the name I had assigned to this potential new product. “Fully Charged?” he asked. “I like that. I like that a lot. And I like the formula. I think this is going to be a winner.”
After several weeks of slight formula tweaks, especially with the flavor (more on that later), and after lots of personal testing, we came up with something truly amazing. The only thing left was to rename the headline that depicted what the product did. I had come up with something pretty blasé, but Brian asked, “How about ‘Pre-Exercise Ignitor’?” BOOM!
And thus, a bit over 3½ years ago—August 2016 to be exact—the first bottles of Fully Charged became available. And people loved it, both for what it did and for what it didn’t do. The reason I came up with the idea for Fully Charged in the first place was because I wanted something to give me a little kick start before my workouts. What I didn’t want was a product that was loaded with stimulants disguised as beneficial nutrients and/or an excessive amount of caffeine. I’ve tried those types of products before, and the only thing I experienced was a serious case of the jitters and the feeling that my heart was going to expand through my rib cage. Not performance-enhancing in my book, for sure.
I thought there had to be a way to help initiate, via a pre-workout supplement, benefits for exercise performance that could also be beneficial for general health. And that’s when I started immersing myself in some serious research. In the end, while I had a number of ingredients I could have easily included in the formula, I was truly satisfied with the ones that made the cut. And here they are:
TAURINE – This amino acid has gotten somewhat of a bad rap because it’s commonly found in many of the stimulant-loaded energy drinks you can find just about anywhere. But I’ll tell you what, taurine is about the ONLY good thing in those drinks. It is a truly remarkable nutrient. Taurine is found throughout the body, especially in muscle and nerve tissue, and it assists in regulating heartbeats and muscle contractions, as well as neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Taurine is also essential for your body’s proper usage of electrolytic minerals—calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium—and ensures proper muscle function. It also increases alertness, concentration, and focus without stimulating the nervous system. Perhaps most important to athletes, taurine supplementation is correlated with increases in maximal oxygen uptake and time to exhaustion due to its ability to buffer lactic acid and promote healthy pH levels.
BETA-ALANINE – Alleviating fatigue is always a beneficial effect for endurance athletes, and I wanted something to go along with the fatigue-fighting nutrients found in Anti-Fatigue Caps, as well as the taurine included in Fully Charged. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that increases concentrations of the dipeptide carnosine, a multi-beneficial compound, in muscles. Carnosine helps alleviate fatigue by acting as a buffer against increased acidity. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, and it’s been garnering a lot of press as a potential anti-aging nutrient, via its anti-glycation properties and effects. NOTE: When first ingested, beta-alanine may (key word “may”) cause a tingling sensation on the face. This is completely normal and entirely harmless. If it happens at all, the effect lasts for a minute or two, and with continued intake of beta-alanine, the effect often goes away for good.
L-CARNITINE FUMARATE – I’ve always been a fan of L-carnitine in all its forms. Like all carnitines, L-carnitine fumarate is responsible for transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria for conversion of cellular energy. Without sufficient supplies of this amino acid, the body simply cannot use fat as an energy source. Fumaric acid (fumarate) is a most-useful chelator of L-carnitine, being a Krebs Cycle Intermediate that plays a vital role in energy production.
SPECTRA™ – I’ve been researching nutrients and nutrient compounds for over 30 years, and this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever come across. Elevating nitric oxide (NO) levels is a necessity for endurance athletes because it increases blood flow to muscles, enhancing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to working muscles, thus supporting increases in endurance and strength. A proprietary blend of 29 nitrate-rich vegetable, fruit, and herbal ingredients, Spectra™ has been shown to increase nitric oxide (NO) levels by 64%, as well as inhibit free radical production and optimize cellular metabolic activity.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT (standardized to 50% polyphenols) – I knew that Fully Charged needed a little bit of a kick, something that would provide a quick-acting burst of mental and physical energy and give the user the distinct feeling that “something’s happening here.” A little caffeine would do the trick, but just adding “X” amount of synthetic caffeine wasn’t something I was interested in. Too many manufacturers just dump lots of caffeine in their product, I thought to myself, and that’s not what the Fully Charged formula is going to be about. That’s why I selected green tea extract. It fulfills the “pick-me-up” component via a small amount of caffeine (about 15 mg per serving), but more importantly, it provides benefits far exceeding that. You see, green tea contains polyphenols such as catechins—including an especially important one known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)—which provide antioxidant and cardiovascular health support. ElevATP™ – One of the more interesting nutrient/nutrient compound samples I’ve ever received, elevATP™ is a proprietary, clinically-researched blend of plant-derived trace minerals and polyphenol-rich apple extracts. Sounds pretty unusual, doesn’t it? It certainly did to me, and I admit to having a healthy dose of skepticism about this stuff. That is until a few of us put it to the test for several days, on its own, and without any other nutrient support. Our increased energy over those several days convinced me that I needed to include elevATP™ in the mix. It works with the body's natural energy-producing mechanisms to stimulate production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the body. HOT TIP: Take 1-2 Energy Surge tablets along with Fully Charged. I think you’ll really enjoy the beneficial effects of this ATP-producing combination.
BEET ROOT JUICE POWDER – A no-brainer for inclusion in the formula as it’s arguably the most popular nitric oxide-booster of all. With Beet Root Juice Powder and Spectra™, Fully Charged has a truly potent one-two NO-boosting combination.
L-TYROSINE – Helping to increase focus, alertness, and concentration—all very important things for athletes, especially ultra-endurance athletes who do races that involve some sleep deprivation—was a major goal of mine in creating Fully Charged. As mentioned earlier, stimulants and excess caffeine were not an option, which is why this amino acid—the precursor to several important neurotransmitters involved in alleviating stress and fatigue and promoting alertness—was a natural fit. HOT TIP: Take 2 capsules of Endurance BCAA+ along with Fully Charged. One of the benefits of BCAA supplementation is a decrease in the perception of fatigue on both a mental and physiological basis.
TART CHERRY EXTRACT (standardized to 6.5% anthocyanins)– Why not help protect against soreness before it starts? Tart cherry extract was the last nutrient to make the cut, and that was the idea behind including it. Cherries contain naturally occurring compounds (anthocyanins) shown to reduce aches and soreness, which in turn helps maintain normal muscle function during exercise and accelerates recovery afterward. NOTE: Tart cherry extract possesses a super-strong taste, one that can’t be fully covered up or disguised. When you put tart cherry extract in a product, THAT’S your flavor option… unless you add a bunch of artificial sweeteners or sugar to the mix, which we at Hammer Nutrition will never do. This is the reason there will never be an orange or lemon-lime flavor of Fully Charged. We added tapioca maltodextrin and natural cherry flavor to soften and “round out” the flavor so that it would not only take down the extremely tart taste but also mask the not-so-great taste of most of the other nutrients.
I put in a lot of work designing Fully Charged because I wanted to provide athletes a safe yet highly effective pre-workout supplement. Unlike some other products, you won’t find a warning on Fully Charged that recommends you “start with a half-serving to assess your tolerance,” or cautions that “improper use may be hazardous to your health.” Quite the contrary: all of these nutrients have general health benefits as well as athletic performance ones. No other pre-exercise product provides the wide ranging benefits that Fully Charged does, and without subjecting you to the unpleasant, overly wired effect associated with those other products. This extraordinary product can be used prior to any workout or race, with additional doses every 3-4 hours during long-duration workouts and races not only being acceptable but highly recommended. So if you’re ready to lift ALL of your workouts and races to another level of excellence, you’re ready for Fully Charged.