Redcon1 Total War Pre-Workout Review


Total War is one of two pre-workouts from Redcon1 (the other is Big Noise).

This product claims to promote:

  • Focus
  • Wakefulness
  • Endurance

Total War has a lot of good reviews, while Redcon1 was named “Trusted Brand of the Month” by for August 2017. With this in mind, we can’t wait to start this Total War Pre-Workout review.

About the Company

Recon1 was founded by Aaron Singerman, a self-described “supplement industry entrepreneur.”

In addition to pre-workouts, Redcon1 products include meal replacement bars, BCAA, post-workouts, protein powders, and fat burners, among a number of other supplements.

The website declares today’s supplement landscape “a wasteland’ filled with a mix of “failing giants of the past” and “small, bathtub brands” who leave “the consumer with less than efficacious products.”

To that end, we agree with the guys at Redcon1. We hope it delivers…

The Ingredients and How They Work

Total War contains 10 ingredients – which is a good number. In our experience, supplements with more than 10 or 11 ingredients tend to be underdosed.

And of course, it’s also great to see this pre-workout doesn’t contain any proprietary blends. A transparent formula with no hidden dosage info is something you have a right to expect – so don’t settle for less.

However, we can also see at least one ingredient that can cause side effects, and two or three that remain unproven as pre-workout ingredients.

See for yourself:

Total War pre-workout ingredients

L-Citrulline DL-Malate 

Along with Caffeine and Creatine, L-Citrulline DL-Malate is one of our three favorite pre-workout ingredients. It’s a blend of an awesome dietary amino acid called L-Citrulline and the organic compound Malic Acid.

L-Citrulline helps the body produce more nitric oxide, which widens the blood vessels for awesome pumps, improved strength and greater endurance in the gym.

Adding Malic Acid to the mix reduces the buildup of ammonia and helps the body produce ATP to reduce fatigue (even more than Citrulline on its own).

The ideal dose of L-Citrulline DL-Malate is 6000mg – the guys at Redcon1 got the dose spot on!


We’re less pleased to Beta-Alanine in Total War.

It’s true this ingredient can induce a modest improvement in gym performance, especially during high-intensity strength training or cardio.

When the body ingests Beta-Alanine, it turns the amino acid into Carnosine, which helps slow the buildup of acid in the muscles.

However, we don’t like Beta-Alanine because it can cause itching, flushing and tingling sensations (a condition known as paresthesia). While harmless, we – and many gym goers we speak to – find this side effect can ruin a good workout.

Agmatine Sulfate

Discovered in 1910, Agmatine is a compound derived from the amino acid L-Arginine.

A small amount of research suggests Agmatine regulates the body’s production of eNOS enzymes to help increase nitric oxide, which (in theory) induces stronger muscle pumps.

But other than one or two animal studies, there isn’t a great deal of evidence for these claims. So while Agmatine shows promise as a pre-workout ingredient, we can’t yet recommend it.


Wrongly thought to be a stimulant due to its presence in a lot of energy drinks, Taurine is actually used as a calming agent to prevent jittery feelings caused by too much Caffeine.

A lot of pre-workouts also contain Taurine for its supposed ability to boost exercise performance. However, research shows the organic acid has no effect on running capacity, or muscle soreness/damage.

The only study that showed an improvement in exercise capacity focused on subjects with heart conditions – and that only improved walking distance.

By contrast, Taurine does not improve gym performance in otherwise healthy people.

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Caffeine Anhydrous

Caffeine is a safe and powerful stimulant – which is no doubt why 90% of Americans use it in one form or another.

At the right dose (150-200mg), the stimulant is proven to help increase your strength in the weight room, boost running capacity, improve reaction time and slow down the rate of perceived exertion.

All of this makes Caffeine a perfect pre-workout ingredient. It works by blocking the sleep-inducing chemical adenosine in the brain to help you feel more alert.

However, Total War contains two forms of this ingredient – Caffeine Anhydrous (250mg) and Di-Caffeine Malate (100mg). So in total, this pre-workout uses 350mg of Caffeine, which may cause anxiety and jittery feelings, especially in those who are sensitive to stimulants.

AMPiberry (Juniperus Communis)

AMPiberry is a patented form of Juniper Berry. It’s said to reduce inflammation, which in turn could help prevent injury and increase endurance.

Some online sources also claim Juniper Berry increases the uptake of Caffeine in the body, thereby making it more potent. But we have two issues with these claims…

One – Total War contains too much caffeine. So if the claim to increase Caffeine uptake is true, then it could enhance the negative effects that come with taking a too high dose of the stimulant.

And two – there’s not enough evidence that Juniper reduces inflammation or joint/muscle pain.

Potential side effects of Juniper Berries

Juniper Berries have been linked with a number of side effects which are yet to undergo extensive clinical trials.

WebMD describes Juniper Berries as possibly unsafe when taken long-term in high doses (although we’re not sure what constitutes a high dose).

Taken long-term, Juniper Berries could cause side effects (see Side Effects below).


Cocoteanol mixes Theobroma Cacao and Camelia Sinensis Extract (Black Tea).

The marketing blurb for Total War says this blend “supports mood and constant energy” to help users “avoid the crash from stronger stimulants.”

We don’t have much info on this mix of ingredients, so let’s look at them individually…


Cacao is said to improve performance and boost. This idea comes from the fact Cacao contains epicatechins, which improve blood flow.

However, Cacao does not reduce fatigue, boost focus, or improve aerobic running capacity.


And what about Black Tea? While some gym goers swear by drinking a cup of tea before their workout, there’s no evidence to show it boosts workout performance.

Naringin 98%

Naringin is a flavonoid derived from citrus fruit, especially grapefruit. It’s said to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol, while some claim it also reduces muscle fatigue, but there is insufficient evidence to support these claims.


Bioperine is a trademarked name for Piperine (Black Pepper Extract). Its job is to boost the absorption rates of other ingredients for enhanced performance.

Total War Pre-Workout BOTTLE

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Side Effects

On the whole, the Total War pre-workout is safe to take. However, you may experience the following side effects:

  • Itching, flushing and tingling sensations (Beta-Alanine)
  • Anxiety and/or jittery feelings (Caffeine – over 200mg)
  • High or low blood pressure (Juniperus Communis)
  • Kidney problems (Juniperus Communis – with long-term use)
  • Seizures (Juniperus Communis – with long-term use)

Despite the annoying side effects which could ruin your workouts, Beta-Alanine is harmless. However, WebMD lists Juniperus Communis as “LIKELY UNSAFE” in high doses over an extended period.

We can’t tell you what constitutes a high dose because there isn’t enough scientific information to judge the appropriate dose.

Pros and Cons


  • Citrulline Malate perfectly dosed for awesome muscle pumps and increased endurance
  • Caffeine boosts strength, focus, and endurance in the gym
  • Transparent formula (no proprietary blends)


  • Beta-Alanine can cause paresthesia (itching, flushing, and tingling)
  • Research on Agmatine restricted to less than a handful of animal studies
  • Taurine does not improve performance in the gym
  • Contains too much Caffeine – may cause jitters
  • Juniper Communis described as “LIKELY UNSAFE” with long-term use
  • Contains artificial sweetener – Sucralose linked with a bunch of side effects

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Total War Pre-Workout Review Conclusion

As we said earlier, we had big hopes when we started this Total War pre-workout review – but the product doesn’t live up to those expectations.

What we like about Total War

Total War gets right into battle with 6g of L-Citrulline DL-Malate – the optimal dose for awesome muscle pumps. This supp also contains Caffeine, which is a staple of the best pre-workouts you’ll ever see on the market.

And we also have to give plaudits to Total War for the transparent formula.

What we DON’T like about Total War

The problems lie in the use of Beta-Alanine which can cause paresthesia and Juniper Communis, which is linked to a number of unpleasant side effects.

Overall, this pre-workouts uses too many ingredients that are undertested (Juniper, Agmatine) or disproven (Taurine, Cacao). It also contains Sucralose, an artificial sweetener which may have an adverse effect on blood sugar.

Our verdict

Despite being made by a growing and respected brand, the Total War pre-workout doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It’s not awful, but it ain’t that good either.

So we recommend side-stepping Total War. Instead, look for a pre-workout with natural ingredients that are well-tested and proven to do the job you’re paying for.

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