If CT Fletcher designed a preworkout, you’d expect it to blow your head off with as much subtlety as an angry oompa-loompa with a sawn-off shotgun.
Well, now he has.
But does the appropriately named Sidewalk Kraka deliver?
Today, it becomes the latest product to go through my deliberately harsh supplement rating system. As a guide, most preworkouts finish with 2 or 3 stars, and no supplement has ever achieved the golden 5 star review (yet). Let’s see how good Sidewalk Kraka really is.
Cometh The Hour
Not all preworkouts are created equal.
It’s an industry packed with below-par products, and dominated by manufacturers who hide their ingredients behind proprietary formulas.
I have always maintained that if a company has a strong preworkout formula, they will not hide it behind a proprietary blend. Because in an overcrowded industry, a strong formula is the best possible marketing tool a company can posses.
And cometh the hour, cometh the man.
CT Fletcher has arrived on the supplement scene with a bang, his Iron Addicts supplement line landing in the USA this month and better still, it taking a very open and transparent route regarding ingredient disclosure.
This means when reviewing a supplement, I can tell you absolutely everything you need to know.
Props has to be given to Iron Addicts for this, because even though we’ve seen some positive changes in the last few years thanks to the likes of Jim Stoppani, Adapt Nutrition and Grenade taking a more direct “full disclosure” approach to their marketing, it still goes against the grain in the supplement world.
So not only are you getting a product which has quite possibly the coolest name I’ve ever heard, but you’ll know exactly what is inside the tub, including the dosages. This is great news. Now, let’s see how effective it is…
Sidewalk Kraka Review
If you were one of the people who tried CT Fletcher’s ISYMFS preworkout (released through iSatori last year), you’ll know that CT likes his preworkouts to have as much punch as his motivational speeches.
With it’s 2.4g beta-alanine, ISYMFS was designed to send you into the gym like Rambo in a field of Vietcong.
One look at the formula for his new product, however, and something becomes clear – Sidewalk Kraka is stronger.
And not just in terms of the beta-alanine. It is stronger all round.
In fact, if we were to pit Sidewalk Kraka vs ISYMFS, we’d have a no contest on our hands.
Here is a rundown of all the key ingredients and what you can expect from each of them.
- 3.2g beta-alanine
This is without a doubt the key player in Sidewalk Kraka.
Beta-alanine is best-known for the tingly, skin-crawling sensation it creates when used before exercise. It is one of the few ingredients you can actually feel working once ingested, and it is included in most preworkout supplements these days.
The main benefit of beta-alanine supplementation is that it can help to buffer your muscle cells against lactic acid build-up (a.k.a. “the burn”), helping you to train harder as you reach the normal point of muscle failure.
A 2007 study from researchers at the University of Oklahoma discovered that supplementing with beta-alanine for a four week period was associated with lower fatigue and a greater workout at peak exhaustion, while a 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology confirmed that using beta-alanine led to a 2.5% improvement in muscular endurance levels for a trial group of elite rowers. (1, 2)
Interestingly enough, it was also shown to boost the performance of boxers in the later stages of 3 minute rounds, adding more fuel to the fire that beta-alanine is a great substance for boosting performance against the insane burn of a tough workout. (3)
Taking those ideas into a gym context, researchers from the College of New Jersey discovered that using beta-alanine before workouts resulted in subjects being able to perform 25% more reps with a given weight during a barbell squat workout. (4)
So, it’s easy to see why it’s often included in preworkouts, right?
The problem with most preworkouts is that the tingling sensation of beta-alanine (a harmless yet fascinating side effect known as parasthesia) is largely subjective to the individual’s tolerance level, meaning someone who regularly uses beta-alanine can’t feel it as much as a newcomer, despite still seeing the positive training benefits.
However, with it’s sky-high dosage of 3.2 grams per serving, even those who are usually exempt from the fire ants should expect to feel this one.
- 1g agmatine
Agmatine is typically used to increase nitric oxide levels, but it has also been shown to boost pain tolerance. (5)
While the research on agmatine sulfate is promising, more is needed before it can be considered a truly great preworkout ingredient. Also, most of the available body of research uses agmatine via injection, as opposed to oral ingestion.
Given these factors, the inclusion of agmatine is a puzzling choice because, by using agmatine, we are unable to use citrulline malate. Citrulline malate is a great substance for boosting endurance, but the two substances don’t combine well.
- 500mg choline bitrate
Choline can be used to boost the nerve signals to muscles, which many believe can lead to greater muscle contractions when training with weights.
Is it going to make or break your workout? Hell no, but it’s a useful substance and it certainly doesn’t harm your training.
An interesting study from the University of Granada also found that supplementing with choline can also lead to greater brain function. (6)
- 125mg DMHA
Remember the “I want to headbutt a wall!” feeling you used to get from any supplement containing DMAA?
Well, DMHA is the supplement industries current answer to the ban on DMAA.
It’s a similar ingredient, albeit a watered-down version, and acts as a very strong stimulant (seriously, don’t use this if you’re also using prescription drugs) designed to power you through a tough training session.
- 300mg caffeine
Other than happiness, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug.
It’s ability to give us a wake up call is second-to-none, and it has been used by athletes for decades to boost mental focus and energy before a grueling workout.
300mg is quite high, putting Sidewalk Kraka at the top end of preworkouts in terms of stimulants, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend you take this product after 6pm unless you want to lie in bed doing an impression of a pneumatic drill.
- 100mg theacrine
The biggest problem with caffeine is that the effects depend largely on the individual’s tolerance levels. (7)
Meaning if you are someone who drinks 10 cups of black per day, you’re not going to feel that “kick” as easily as someone who only ever uses caffeine in their preworkout supplement.
And once your body adapts to the effects of caffeine, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to experience them again no matter how big the dose may be.
This is why we typically adapt to a preworkout supplement within 2-3 weeks.
Why am I telling you this in the theacrine segment? Well, theacrine (a.k.a. teacrine) is an altered form of caffeine and one interesting study (more are needed) suggested that it was basically caffeine supplementation without the body’s adaptations taking place. (8)
In many ways, theacrine is potentially superior to caffeine, given that it can also reduce inflammation, too. (9)
- 200mg N-phenethyl dimethylamine citrate
This substance is often referred to as eria jarensis, and is currently hyped as “the next big thing” in the supplement industry.
By mimicking the brain’s neurotransmitters, eria jarensis is a stimulant which sees an increase in dopamine, creating a euphoric-like effect.
Again it’s going to draw comparisons to DMAA, as this was one of the main features of DMAA before it was banned, but before supplement companies throw a ton of hype at you about the new kid on the block, allow me to save you some trouble by confirming that eria jarensis is not as strong.
That doesn’t mean it’s useless as a stimulant, by any means. After all, there was a reason DMAA got fucking banned.
Sidewalk Kraka – The Final Verdict
For many gym goers, the worry would have possibly been that Iron Addicts may produce a regular, run-of-the-mill supplement to cash in on the CT Fletcher name.
Instead, they have produced a supplement which is based on CT Fletcher’s reputation.
Make no mistake, Sidewalk Kraka is as hard as they come.
It’s heavy on stimulants, loud, angry and everything else you’d want from CT Fletcher.
From the transparency of the label, to the potency of the ingredients contained within the tub, Sidewalk Kraka is a resounding triumph and I gladly award it 4 stars.
It’ll power you through your workout like very few other supplements on the market can, and it delivers on all the promises you’d expect if you have ever uttered the line “If CT Fletcher could bottle one of his motivational speeches as a preworkout, I’d buy that.”
An update from the big guy himself:
@RussHowePTI I JUST SHOT A VIDEO ENTITLED “I’M NOT THAT GUY” DEALING WITH THE SCIENCE BEHIND MY PRODUCTS. RUSS YOU “ARE” THAT GUY, THANK YOU
— C.T. Fletcher (@CTFletcherISYMF) December 15, 2016
- Stout, J. R., et al. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. 2007;32(3):381-6. Epub 2006 Nov 30.
- Baguet, A., et al. Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Oct;109(4):1096-101. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00141.2010. Epub 2010 Jul 29.
- Donovan, T., et al. Beta-alanine improves punch force and frequency in amateur boxers during a simulated contest. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Oct;22(5):331-7.
- Hoffman, J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. 2008 Dec;29(12):952-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1038678.
- Keynan, O., et al. Safety and Efficacy of Dietary Agmatine Sulfate in Lumbar Disc-associated Radiculopathy. An Open-label, Dose-escalating Study Followed by a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial. Pain Med. 2010 Mar;11(3):356-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.00808.x.
- Moreno, H., et al. Chronic dietary choline supplementation modulates attentional change in adult rats. Behavioral Brain Research 243:278-285, 2013.
- Beaven, C. M., et al. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008 Apr;18(2):131-41.
- Ball, K. T., et al. Low-dose oral caffeine induces a specific form of behavioral sensitization in rats. Pharmacol Rep. 2011 Nov;63(6):1560-3. PubMed PMID: 22358105.
- Wang, Y., et al. Theacrine, a purine alkaloid with anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. Fitoterapia. (2010)