Mark Verstegen's Core Performance first introduced me to the concept of a pre-workout "shooter" before strength training. I knew it was a bad idea to go for a long run without a little something in the tank, but it never occurred to me that strength training could be enhanced with a little extra something before a workout.
Typically my pre-workout shooter would include a half scoop of protein with some juice or All Pro Science Recovery or PreCharge. So when EAS sent me a canister of Phos Force to try, I was eager to compare the results.
Phos Force wasn't necessarily created for endurance athletes, but for cross-training purposes it is helpful. It's "designed to provide improved training capacity, increased energy and focus and pre-workout explosive power." Phos Force is based on the former EAS Pro Science Push formula and includes carbohydrates, creatine, taurine, beta-alanine and 100 mg of caffeine. I was a little surprised that it didn't include much in the way of protein except in the few amino acids mentioned. Studies have shown that when training for strength (not endurance), consuming protein pre-workout will give better results than working out alone.
It's a little disappointing that Phos Force comes only in two flavors: fruit punch and orange. I'm not really a fan of either - maybe I've just had too much of those old-school Gatorade flavors (fruit punch, orange and lemon-lime) to find them especially tasty. The canister that I got was fruit punch flavored, and I've heard the phrase "tastes like cough syrup" used in many contexts, but this is the thing that tastes most like cough syrup that I've ever had (besides cough syrup). Fortunately, I don't find cough syrup to be terrible but compared to other energy products (such as Zipfizz), Phos Force definitely lags in the flavor category.
EAS recommends using Phos Force 30-60 minutes before working out. Unfortunately, since I often workout in the early morning I was not able to strictly adhere to this schedule, but I did use it 10-15 minutes prior to my workout. What I found was that the claims it made were true - even without giving it a full 30 minutes to be absorbed. I had good focus and the early morning "blahs" did not hold their grip nearly as long as it did without Phos Force (which was often the entire workout!).
Whether or not to use EAS Phos Force for you will depend on several factors: if you don't do weight training, it's probably not going to be worth pursuing, since it's aimed at strength training and many of the nutrients (like creatine) that drive up the price are not helpful for endurance training. If however, you do your strength training in the early morning (like me) you will undoubtedly benefit from it, if you can get past the syrupy flavor. As an alternative you can use All Pro Science PreCharge, which tastes better and uses all-natural ingredients, but has a retail price nearly twice that of Phos Force.