Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout Review (2023)

June 10, 2023

I’ve tried and studied many pre-workout formulations. Most fall short with small serving sizes limiting the number of ingredients and dosages within the formulation leading to a pre-workout being carried by caffeine.

Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout has turned this on its head. With a whopping 30 g serving size, they have fit almost every proven performance-enhancing ingredient at efficacious doses and included speculative ingredients for the potential performance boost without side effects.

I broke down the main ingredients within the Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout to show you why this is the best pre-workout on the market.

  • Large serving size of 30 g so multiple ingredients can be maximally dosed.
  • Not overly sweet or overpowering.
  • Mixes easily so you don't have clumps.
  • Evidence based formulation.


  • High caffeine dose not suitable for caffeine sensitive individuals.
  • More expensive than other pre-workouts but you're paying for proper dosing.

Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout

Who Are Shifted?

Shifted is a new supplement company taking the space by storm. Launched in 2022, their supplements are scientifically formulated by Dr. Adam Gonzalez, Chief Scientific Officer of Shifted Supplements.

He holds a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and has contributed to the scientific literature in this field. His goal was to create the best fitness supplement products available.

Shifted Supplements also gives back to the community, supporting organizations dedicated to the fitness and well-being of disadvantaged and disabled children.

Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout Review


In my opinion, 95% of judging a pre-workout comes down to the ingredients. Let’s start with the main efficacious ingredients:




8 g

Creatine Monohydrate

5 g


3 g


2.5 g

Betaine Anhydrous

2.5 g


2 g

Red Spinach Leaf Extract

1 g

Beetroot Extract

1 g


300 mg

Caffeine Blend

300 mg


150 mg


150 mg

Rhodiola Rosea

100 mg

What sets this pre-workout apart is the efficacious dosing of every ingredient, reflected in the enormous 30 g serving size. You won’t find this in any other pre-workout.


A pre-workout rarely has the maximum dose of L-citrulline, and it is often paired with malate.

While malate works synergistically with L-citrulline, pure L-citrulline is where you benefit most [1]. Doses should be between 6 – 8 g to have a positive effect within pre-workout, with the higher end being better for acute performance benefits [1][2].

8 g of L-citrulline reduced muscle soreness after working out, increased the number of reps to failure, and improved grip strength when taken 60 minutes prior [1]. Even lower doses of 6 g taken over seven days increase the time to exhaustion during moderate-intensity cycling [2].

Further, subjects feel less muscle fatigue after exercise than a placebo [3]. But how does L-citrulline work to enhance your endurance and give you crazy pumps in the gym?

It’s a nitric oxide booster acting as a vasodilator (expanding the blood vessels). But there are more nitric oxide ingredients than this, so why choose L-citrulline? The other major ingredient is L-arginine, but you haven’t seen that used since the NO Explode days.

For a good reason, L-arginine has poor gut absorption, meaning you lose many nitric oxide benefits, like reducing the need for oxygen and ATP during exercise and improving the efficiency of the muscle's energy factories (mitochondria) to produce energy [1].

L-citrulline is a precursor to L-arginine and solves this problem by converting to L-arginine in the kidneys bypassing the gut. From this, L-arginine concentration increases, converting to nitric oxide and improving blood flow for vicious pumps and endurance.

Nitric Oxide

While you can get L-citrulline from natural sources like watermelon, you’d need a lot of it to reach an 8 g dose since there’s anywhere from 0.7 to 3.6 mg of L-citrulline per gram of fresh weight.

Creatine Monohydrate

While creatine doesn't provide acute performance benefits, it does with long-term use. This means you don't need to take additional creatine on days you take Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout. However, you can take 5 g of creatine separately when you aren't working out.

How long is long-term creatine use? The recommended dose ranges between 3 – 5 g per day to maintain creatine muscle saturation, and it takes up to 28 days to maximally saturate the muscle [4].

You can use a loading strategy of 20 g a day for 6 days, but it's unnecessary, in my opinion, and you're better off forming the habit of taking it daily.

But how effective is creatine, and why is it included in pre-workouts? With long-term creatine ingestion combined with lifting weights, we see an 8% increase in strength and a 14% greater number of reps performed at a given load than placebo [5].

Further, you can sustain higher intensities for longer, as shown by enhanced anaerobic power during a 30-second maximal cycling sprint [6].

The American College of Sports Medicine supports this stating, "Exercise performance involving short periods of extremely powerful activity can be enhanced, especially during repeated bouts by creatine supplementation [7].

How does creatine work? Creatine is a molecule stored within the muscle. Hence why it’s about saturating the muscle with creatine. These creatine molecules bind with in-organic phosphate to create phosphocreatine (PCr).

PCr is quick energy for the muscles as it doesn’t need to be created through various metabolic processes. Your muscles use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as energy to contract, but when ATP is used, it loses a phosphate, becoming ADP.

To replenish ADP to ATP quickly for fast energy, PCr improves high-intensity performance. Further, PCr consumes hydrogen ions, potentially delaying the time to fatigue [7].

However, whether the acidification of the muscle is the primary reason for muscular fatigue is up for debate since much of the research was performed in vitro under extremely cold environments.

Lastly, creatine can enhance the ability to replenish glycogen for energy, making it a potent performance ingredient [8].


Shifted Maximum Pre Workout Ingredients

This is the highest dose of taurine I have seen in a pre-workout or energy drink. Taurine doses typically reach 1 – 1.5 g per serving, whereas Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout has a whopping 3 g per serving.

Does this mean better performance during your next workout? Most probably. Research suggests performance increases with increasing doses of taurine (up to 3.1 g) regardless of caffeine dose [9].


The itchy skin feeling after taking pre-workout that makes you feel like it’s working is from beta-alanine. It’s a harmless side effect when taking more than 800 mg as it stimulates the formation of carnosine [10].

The recommended dose is between 2.4 – 6.4 g, with Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout sitting at the bottom of this range. But why am I not worried about having such a low dose? Two reasons:

  • Higher doses = more skin tingling
  • It's not about the single acute dose; it's about accumulating doses.

Like creatine, it makes sense to supplement with pure beta-alanine when you're not taking this pre-workout.

How much do you need to accumulate? Research shows a 2.85% increase in endurance performance with 179 g of beta-alanine accumulated over 3 – 10 weeks. The most effective improvements come during high-intensity exercise in the 1-4 minute range [11].

Beta-alanine works by increasing carnosine levels improving the ability to remove waste products from energy metabolism during high-intensity exercises.

Betaine Anhydrous

Betaine anhydrous is a relatively new ingredient used in pre-workouts. There's not much research backing it, but it may potentially reduce AMPK involvement improving the anabolic environment after exercise [12].

The AMPK pathway is the endurance pathway heavily influenced by the duration and intensity of endurance exercises but downregulates the muscle-building pathway known as mTOR.

Therefore, by downregulating AMPK, we can increase mTOR. The recommended dose ranges between 1 – 6 g, with Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout providing 2.5 g.


L-tyrosine is a common brain-enhancing ingredient used in pre-workouts. It's a precursor to dopamine which can be depleted under stressful conditions [13]. However, you need huge doses for L-tyrosine to be effective, ranging between 100 – 150 mg/kg of body weight (7-10 g for a 150 lb person).

For example, 50 mg/kg of body weight reduced headache, distress, fatigue, muscular discomfort, and sleepiness when U.S Army personnel were placed in cold conditions and simulated altitude for 4.5 hours a day [13].

150 mg/kg of body weight protects against memory deficit, improves mood with cold exposure, and improves working memory under mild stress [14][15]. While L-tyrosine is under-dosed, fitting the full 10+ g people need into a serving would be impossible.

Further, no other pre-workout has doses this large.

Red Spinach Leaf Extract

Shifted Premium vs Maximum Pre Workout

This is another ingredient with little research behind it but looks promising. Taking 1 g for 7 days and 1 hour before a 4 km cycling time trial improved time to complete power output and average speed compared to placebo [16].

I like using ingredients like this that cause no harm but may have a significant upside!

Beetroot Extract

Want more nitric oxide for sick pumps? How about the addition of beetroot extract to improve endurance performance because of the nitric oxide content of beets [17][18].


Alpha-GPC is another brain supplement increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain. It promotes cognitive improvements without being a stimulant [19].

Caffeine & L-Theanine

Why have I grouped these together? Because there's a synergistic effect between caffeine and l-theanine, making it the most effective nootropic blend. Caffeine is a stimulant enhancing attention and alertness, raising mental function.

L-theanine reduces stress and anxiety, having a relaxing effect [20]. But when used together, we see improvements in reaction time, visual processing, working memory, increased alertness, decreased tiredness, and reduced mental fatigue [21].

Another benefit you’ll notice is it takes the edge off caffeine reducing jitters and anxiety from high caffeine doses. Caffeine is the leading performance enhancer in all pre-workouts.

It has been shown to improve power and sprint performance by 6.5%, increase the number of reps lifted by 9.4%, enhance endurance by 2.22%, and power output by 2.9% [22][23].

Maximizing performance with caffeine involves a 3 – 6 mg/kg of body weight dose. This can be a lot of caffeine hence Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout has a whopping 300 mg dose per serving. If you are caffeine sensitive, this isn’t the pre-workout for you.


This is another ingredient with little scientific backing but may have upside for acute performance enhancements. It has been shown to increase blood ATP levels with a single dose in healthy, fasting subjects [24].

150 mg of ElevATP (same dose as Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout) taken daily for 12 weeks increased muscle thickness compared to placebo [25]. Further, a single 1.5 g dose had subjects take more steps during a resisted step test, traveled further, and burned more calories than placebo [26].

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a herb that may reduce fatigue and improve cognition. 170 mg taken for two weeks reduces fatigue under the stress of the night shift [27]. Mental benefits tend to come from 150 – 300 mg doses, making this slightly underdosed.


With a scoop and serving size like a serving of protein powder, you'd expect an overpowering flavor with so much powder. However, it's not the case. The berry flavor doesn’t have an artificial taste other pre-workouts have.

I have yet to try crushed grape or gummy blast flavors, but if the berry flavor is anything to go by, the other flavors will also be great.

The other issue with other pre-workouts is how sweet they are. While there is a sweet flavor, it’s not overpowering.


Even with the large serving size, it mixes easily. You don't need to worry about the clumping that happens with some pre-workouts. You can mix it in your shaker by shaking it or with a milk frother.

Shifted Pre Workout

I tested it with a 2/3rd glass of water, which mixed well. Shifted recommends using 8 – 12 oz of water to mix, which is a good recommendation based on my testing.


Each tub has 20 servings costing $49.95. That equates to $2.49 per serving. This is much more expensive per serving than other formulations. However, no other formulation has a 30 g serving size and over 10 ingredients dosed for maximum performance.

Most pre-workouts have serving sizes up to 15 g. In the case of Shifted, you’d only fit the first three ingredients in a serving size that small. The value is not needing to buy all these ingredients separately and becoming a bathtub chemist.

What’s The Difference Between Shifted Premium & Maximum Pre-Workout?

The Shifted Premium Pre-Workout is a formulation with lower doses of the main ingredients. Mainly, 2 g less of L-citrulline, which is still an efficacious dose, 3 g less creatine, 2 g less taurine, 500 mg less beta-alanine, and 50 mg less caffeine.

Why would you purchase the Premium over Maximum Pre-Workout? If 300 mg of caffeine is too much, the 250 mg dose may sit better with you. While you could half scoop the Maximum Pre-Workout, you get half the dose of other ingredients.

The Shifted Premium Pre-Workout still gives you proper doses with a slightly lower caffeine dose.


Most pre-workouts are glorified energy drinks. Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout combines large efficacious doses of many performance-enhancing ingredients, including caffeine, to maximize your workouts.

Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout


1. Gonzalez, A. M., & Trexler, E. T. (2020). Effects of citrulline supplementation on exercise performance in humans: A review of the current literature. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 34(5), 1480-1495.

2. Bailey, S. J., Blackwell, J. R., Lord, T., Vanhatalo, A., Winyard, P. G., & Jones, A. M. (2015). l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology.

3. Suzuki, T., Morita, M., Kobayashi, Y., & Kamimura, A. (2016). Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1), 1-8.

4. Hultman, E., Soderlund, K., Timmons, J. A., Cederblad, G., & Greenhaff, P. L. (1996). Muscle creatine loading in men. Journal of applied physiology, 81(1), 232-237.

5. Rawson, E. S., & Volek, J. S. (2003). Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 17(4), 822-831.

6. Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Calleja-Gonzalez, J., Marqués-Jiménez, D., Caballero-García, A., Córdova, A., & Fernández-Lázaro, D. (2019). Effects of creatine supplementation on athletic performance in soccer players: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients, 11(4), 757.

7. Terjung, R. L., Clarkson, P., Eichner, E. R., Greenhaff, P. L., Hespel, P. J., Israel, R. G., ... & Williams, M. H. (2000). American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 32(3), 706-717.

8. LOON, L. J. V., Murphy, R., Oosterlaar, A. M., Cameron-Smith, D., Hargreaves, M., Wagenmakers, A. J., & Snow, R. (2004). Creatine supplementation increases glycogen storage but not GLUT-4 expression in human skeletal muscle. Clinical science, 106(1), 99-106.

9. Souza, D. B., Del Coso, J., Casonatto, J., & Polito, M. D. (2017). Acute effects of caffeine-containing energy drinks on physical performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Nutrition, 56(1), 13-27.

10. Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Stout, J. R., Hoffman, J. R., Wilborn, C. D., Sale, C., … & Antonio, J. (2015). International Society of sports nutrition position stand Beta-Alanine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 1-14.

11. Saunders, B., Elliott-Sale, K., Artioli, G. G., Swinton, P. A., Dolan, E., Roschel, H., ... & Gualano, B. (2017). β-alanine supplementation to improve exercise capacity and performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(8), 658-669.

12. Apicella, J. M., Lee, E. C., Bailey, B. L., Saenz, C., Anderson, J. M., Craig, S. A., ... & Maresh, C. M. (2013). Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise. European Journal of applied physiology, 113(3), 793-802.

13. Banderet, L. E., & Lieberman, H. R. (1989). Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. Brain research bulletin, 22(4), 759-762.

14. Shurtleff, D., Thomas, J. R., Schrot, J., Kowalski, K., & Harford, R. (1994). Tyrosine reverses a cold-induced working memory deficit in humans. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 47(4), 935-941.

15. Thomas, J. R., Lockwood, P. A., Singh, A., & Deuster, P. A. (1999). Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 64(3), 495-500.

16. Gonzalez, A. M., Accetta, M. R., Spitz, R. W., Mangine, G. T., Ghigiarelli, J. J., & Sell, K. M. (2021). Red spinach extract supplementation improves cycle time trial performance in recreationally active men and women. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35(9), 2541-2545.

17. Bailey, S. J., Winyard, P., Vanhatalo, A., Blackwell, J. R., DiMenna, F. J., Wilkerson, D. P., ... & Jones, A. M. (2009). Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. Journal of applied physiology.

18. Babarykin, D., Smirnova, G., Pundinsh, I., Vasiljeva, S., Krumina, G., & Agejchenko, V. (2019). Red beet (Beta vulgaris) impacts on human health. Journal of biosciences and medicines, 7(3), 61-79.

19. Parker, A. G., Byars, A., Purpura, M., & Jäger, R. (2015). The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine, or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(sup1), P41.

20. Lu, K., Gray, M. A., Oliver, C., Liley, D. T., Harrison, B. J., Bartholomeusz, C. F., … & Nathan, P. J. (2004). The acute effects of L‐theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 19(7), 457-465

21. Haskell, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Milne, A. L., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2008). The effects of L-theanine, caffeine, and their combination on cognition and mood. Biological psychology, 77(2), 113-122.

22. Astorino, T. A., & Roberson, D. W. (2010). Efficacy of acute caffeine ingestion for short-term high-intensity exercise performance: a systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(1), 257-265.

23. Southward, K., Rutherfurd-Markwick, K. J., & Ali, A. (2018). The effect of acute caffeine ingestion on endurance performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(8), 1913-1928.

24. Reyes-Izquierdo, T., Shu, C., Argumedo, R., Nemzer, B., & Pietrzkowski, Z. (2014). The effect of elevATP™ on whole blood ATP levels: a single dose, crossover clinical study. J Aging Res Clin Practice, 3, 56-60.

25. Joy, J. M., Falcone, P. H., Vogel, R. M., Mosman, M. M., Kim, M. P., & Moon, J. R. (2015). Supplementation with a proprietary blend of ancient peat and apple extract may improve body composition without affecting hematology in resistance-trained men. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 40(11), 1171-1177.

26. Reyes-Izquierdo, T., Nemzer, B., Argumedo, R., Cervantes, M., & Pietrzkowski, Z. (2016). The Effect of ElevATP on Exercise Output: A Single Dose, Blinded, Three-Way Cross-Over Study. Current Trends in Nutraceuticals.

27. Darbinyan, V., Kteyan, A., Panossian, A., Gabrielian, E., Wikman, G., & Wagner, H. (2000). Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double-blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine, 7(5), 365-371.

About the Author

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your training.

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