Carbon Prep by Layne Norton Review


1.About the Product

2.Ingredients Explained

3.Side Effects




  • Optimal amount of Citrulline Malate
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-Carnitine
  • Rhodiola Rosea


  • Astragalus Membranaceus (a diuretic) can cause severe dehydration taken alongside Creatine Monohydrate
  • Alpha-GPC comes with little benefits and many side effects.
  • Cocoa Seed Powder is ineffective in a pre-workout supplement.


About the Product

Carbon Prep is a pre-workout supplement marketed by a Layne Nortons company BioLayne. Its priced at $34.97 for 20 servings containers.

This pre-workouts one of the products in the Carbon series, also containing a protein powder called Carbon Build and a post-workout supplement called Carbon Recover.

Carbon Prep Ingredients Explained 

Carbon Prep contains 9 ingredients overall, which is a good number to have in a pre-workout; from personal experience, we usually find that supplements containing over 10 nutrients are under-dosed.

Were very happy to see that Carbon Prep contains the optimal 6g (6,000mg) of Citrulline Malate, which is quite rare to see. And for the most part, its definitely able to compete with the highest rated pre-workouts on the market.

But personally, we prefer pre-workouts that contain Caffeine, as this gives you that kick that helps you take your training to the next level.

Anyway, well expand on this and more as we take you through each ingredient in Carbon Prep. By the end of this review, youll have a good idea of how safe and effective this pre-workout really is.

Heres Everything You Need To Know:


Citrulline Malate

This is a great addition to any pre-workout supplement, and is argubably the best in Carbon Prep. Its a combination of L-Citrulline and Malic Acid, providing benefits of both nutrients - great muscle pumps and increased endurance.

This is how it works: Citrulline Malate turns into L-Arginine in your kidneys, increasing your nitric oxide levels. This leads to your blood vessels dilating (vasodilation), resulting in intense muscle pumps while you lift weights.

BioLayne have clearly done their research, as theyve added an optimal amount of Citrulline Malate in Prep by Carbon (6,000mg). If youre wondering what this ingredients optimal dose is, consume 6,000mg-8,000mg to get the best results.

To get the best value for money, you should choose a pre-workout containing Citrulline Malate - this will ensure you pick an effective pre-workout supplement.

Ingredient rating: 5-stars

  • Key ingredient in a pre-workout.
  • Citrulline ->L-Arginine->Dilated Blood Vessels + blood flow = Intense Muscle Pumps.
  • Optimal dose is between 6,000mg-8,000mg.

Creatine Monoydrate

Theres a reason why Creatine Monohydrates been used since the 1990s. It works.

This ingredient is proven to boost both strength and endurance during your gym session - ultimately, leading to increased muscle gains and results.

Heres how it works: Creatine Monohdrates a molecule that rapidly releases energy called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate, which is considered the energy currency of life) when your body is put under stress, like when youre lifting weights in the gym.

Its one of the most reliable ingredients out there, and youll definitely feel the benefits of having this in a pre-workout supplement.

Ingredient rating: 5-stars 

  • Key Ingredient in a pre-workout supplement.
  • Boosts strength and endurance during gym session.
  • Works by rapidly releases energy during periods of stress (eg. lifting weights).

Betaine Anhydrous

Also known as Trimethylglycine (TMG), its a molecule found in Beetroot thats believed to increase endurance during your training session - this is why its been added into Prep by Carbon.

However, Betaine never proven to deliver these benefits in any studies. In fact, its been no more effective than placebos in studies conducted.

But the negatives dont stop there - its known to cause fishy odors in your breath and body secretions, which is something you really dont want.

Its not worth suffering from this side effect when Creatine Monohydrate offers the same benefit and is free from any negative effects.

Its up to you, but wed rather consume another ingredient that provides the same benefit, without having to smell like fish.

Ingredient rating: 1-star

  • Not proven to deliver any benefits in studies.
  • Side effect warning: fishy odors from your breath and body secretions.
  • Many other ingredients offer improved endurance, without side effects.

Astragalus Membranaceus

This is a traditional Chinese medicine thats believed to increase lifespan and reduce inflammation.

But dont get too excited, this isnt the fountain of youth. No studies have shown Astragalus Membranaceus to be effective in extending your lifespan.

The only thing its beneficial for, is promoting kidney health - but this isnt exactly a key feature of a pre-workout supplement.

BioLayne shouldve replaced this ingredient with something more beneficial - such as Beetroot Extract, which is shown to promote great muscle pumps.

Ingredient rating: 1-star 

  • Only has 1 benefit - promotes kidney health.
  • There are more beneficial ingredients for a pre-workout supplement.


L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

A key compound used by your body to generate energy from nutrients, L-Carnitines known to boost mental function (memory, focus, and reaction time), as well as alertness, and even fat loss.

Numerous studies back-up these benefits, and some have shown L-Carnitine to even improve strength, endurance, and blood flow - which are all helpful advantages to your gym session.

BioLayne has dosed this ingredient perfectly at 1,000mg - its optimal dose is between 500mg-2,000mg, so youll be sure to experience L-Carnitines full benefits.

Ingredient rating: 5-stars  

  • Proven to boost mental function, alertness, fat loss, strength, endurance, and blood flow.
  • Optimal dose is between 500mg-2,000mg.

Cocoa Seed Powder

Known for being used in chocolate, its believed to improve blood flow, sporting performance, while reducing fatugue.

However, no studies have shown that Cocoa Seed Powder actually delivers these benefits.

The only benefit that this ingredient offers, is being an effective anti-oxidant - but anti-oxidants arent key in a pre-workout supplement.

Ingredient rating: 2-stars

  • Doesnt offer any benefits to improve your training session.
  • Its a great anti-oxidant, but its not key to a pre-workout supplement.
  • You can easily consume enough by eating dark chocolate.

Alpha Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (Alpha-GPC)

In theory, this is a great ingredient for a pre-workout supplement - its believed to enhance strength and growth hormone levels.

However, theres only been one study thats shown Alpha GPC to deliver these benefits, making it unreliable.

Not only that, Alpha GPCs known to cause side effects, such as heartburn, headache, dizziness, and insomnia.

Ultimately, we recommend that you avoid Alpha-GPC to stay away from these side effects - its important to choose supplements containing side-effects-free ingredients to stay safe.

Ingredient rating: 2-stars

  • Its improved strength and growth hormone levels in one study.
  • But no other studies have replicated this result.
  • Comes with numerous side effects - heartburn, headache, dizziness, and insomnia.

Rhodiola Rosea

BioLayne has impressed by including this ingredient here - Rhodiola Roseas a herb thats proven to significantly reduce fatigue and exhaustion during gym sessions.

Not only that, its shown to enhance mental function (memory, focus, and reaction time).

You cant argue with the studies conducted on this ingredient - theyve all shown Rhodiola Rosea to be very beneficial in a pre-workout supplement.

Ingredient rating: 5-stars   

  • Proven to reduce fatigue and physical exhaustion.
  • Boosts mental function (memory, focus, and reaction time).
  • Key ingredient in a pre-workout supplement.

Huperzine A

A compound that enhances mental function, Huperzine A works by reducing the effects of Acetylcholine (the neurotransmitter that negatively affects your brain).

However, theres not been many studies conducted on this ingredient, and no-one knows what dose can be fatal.

This is very worrying, as no-one knows what dose of Huperzine A is safe to use - but its known to cause nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, and loss of appetite when taken for long periods of time (more than a month).

This is a serious problem, as you intend to use a supplement for more than a month after buying it - you dont want it sitting around, leading to a waste of money.

We recommend choosing a product that only contains reliable and safe ingredients - avoid side effects.

Ingredient rating: 3-stars

  • Shown to improve mental function.
  • But can cause numerous side effects - nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, and loss of appetite.
  • Not recommended to take for more than 1 month).


See Your Best Options In Our
- Top 3 Pre-Workouts Page

Side Effects 

Although there are some key pre-workout ingredients in Carbon Prep, its frustrating that BioLayne filled the rest with unproven ingredients that can cause numerous side effects.

Heres the list of potential side effects from using Carbon Prep: 

  • Fishy odors from your breath and body secretions (Betaine Anhydrous)
  • Heartburn (Alpha GPC)
  • Headache (Alpha GPC)
  • Dizziness (Alpha GPC)
  • Insomnia (Alpha GPC)
  • Nausea (Huperzine A)
  • Diarrhea (Huperzine A)
  • Blurred vision (Huperzine A)
  • Loss of appetite (Huperzine A)

We recommend looking for a pre-workout supplement thats free from side effects - so you experience benefits without any negatives.

Check out the products with less side effects on our
- Top 3 Pre-Workout Supplements page -

Carbon Prep Review Conclusion

Were giving this a 4 star rating - its not the best pre-workout weve seen, but it contains some key ingredients to boost your gym session, such as Citrulline Malate, Creatine Monohydrate, L-Carnitine, and Rhodiola Rosea.

However, Carbon Prep is let down by its other ingredients, which are unproven to deliver benefits, or known to cause numerous side effects - especially Alpha-GPC and Huperzine A).

Bottom Line: You should look for a product that contains more key pre-workout ingredients, such as L-Theanine and Beetroot Extract (if you want to know more about these, read our free guide).

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