Total War is a pre-workout sold by a brand called REDCON1. The brand claims that this product “packs a powerful combination of endurance, pump, energy and focus factors” and that it contains clinically researched ingredients at efficacious doses.
But does Total War actually contain research-backed ingredient doses or are these just marketing claims? Does the supplement contain any questionable additives? Why was the founder of the manufacturer of Total War recently arrested? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Total War?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Total War based on medical studies to give our take on whether the supplement is likely to be effective or if it’s a waste of money.
We’ll also provide a cost comparison featuring the retailer selling Total War for the best price, and share real, unsponsored Total War user reviews.
We'll also explain why the founders of REDCON1 were recently arrested.
The ingredients in Total War are shown above, and the product does contain some research-backed ingredients.
Citrulline malate is a “pump” ingredient because it can improve blood flow, which has downstream effects on exercise endurance. A 2021 meta-study found that citrulline malate supplementation at a similar dose to that in Total War increased energy production (measured by ATP synthesis) by 34%.
Beta-alanine is clinically shown to increase power, as we documented in our review of another supplement containing this ingredient called Bucked Up Pre-Workout. The minimum effective dose appears to be 1 gram (g), while Total War contains 3.2 g.
Caffeine is included at a dose of 320 milligrams (mg) total. A medical review published in the Sports Medicine journal found that caffeine supplementation improves physical and mental performance during exercise.
We’re unable to identify any other active ingredients in this formulation proven to enhance exercise performance, nor does the brand cite any on their product page.
While there are three ingredients in Total War that we consider effectively dosed ergogenics (exercise-enhancers), there are also several questionable additive ingredients.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener which was shown in a clinical trial published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to decrease insulin sensitivity in otherwise healthy adults, which suggests it may harm metabolism.
Artificial flavors have no nutritional value, and animal studies have shown them to be toxic.
Natural flavors are a healthier option than artificial flavors in our opinion, but a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests that some natural flavoring ingredients and their metabolites may be toxic.
Overall, we consider Total War likely to improve workout performance and reduce fatigue, but we do not recommend this product due to the inclusion of the additive ingredients.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Total War? We’ll review in the next section.
Real, Unsponsored Total War User Reviews
A popular fitness influencer named “Garage Gym Homie” reviewed the “Black Ops” version of Total War unfavorably:
Another popular fitness influencer named Derek with a channel called “More Plates More Dates” has a video “scientifically dismantling” the top five pre-workouts on Amazon, of which Total War is one. We’ve timestamped the below video to his analysis of Total War:
REDCON1 Founders Arrested on Conspiracy Charges
REDCON1 is the manufacturer of Total War, as referenced in the intro to this article.
Two men by the name of Phillip Braun and Aaron Singerman, who founded REDCON1, were arrested on federal conspiracy charges and face up to 13 years in prison, according to Natural Products Insider.
The above-linked article details that the founders of the company were charged by the Department of Justice with introduction of unapproved new drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.
This suggests that the founders were planning to implement drug ingredients into their supplements, which is a major red flag about the brand as a whole in our opinion.
Will Total War Cause Side Effects?
Since pre-workouts as a supplement category tend to be more likely to cause side effects than the average supplement (given their stimulatory nature), consumers are often curious about whether Total War will cause side effects.
This supplement doesn’t appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, so it’s impossible to say for certain whether or not it causes side effects. However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.
The caffeine dose is relatively high (more than three standard cups of coffee). This suggests that Total War may cause anxiety and jitters in those who are sensitive to stimulants.
This is a high enough caffeine dose to raise blood pressure, so we’d recommend that anyone with high blood pressure speak with their doctor prior to taking this supplement.
Beta-alanine is clinically shown to cause an uncomfortable tingling sensation in some individuals, as we documented in our review of Hyde Pre Workout.
Overall, we do not consider Total War likely to cause side effects in the average, healthy adult, but it may cause side effects in stimulant-sensitive individuals.
Where to Buy Total War for the Best Price
Total War is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown at the time of publishing this article:
The Vitamin Shoppe: $44.99 (free shipping)
Brand website: $42.99 (plus shipping)
Walmart: $39.99 (free shipping)
Amazon: $34.99 (free shipping depending on plan – link to official Amazon listing)
Total War is currently 22% cheaper on Amazon than on the brand’s website.
Real Customers Review Total War
Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.
Total War has been reviewed over 22,000 times on Amazon with an average review rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Luis c.” who claims that the supplement is a good option for the price:
“Very good taste . Solid formula , all in all good base pre workout . Dollar and change per serving can’t beat that with the quality . Always look to try new preworkouts but always find myself coming back to this one”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Angelina” who claims the product tastes bad and caused side effects:
“When i first tried it i was like Okayy.. not that bad.. i can get used to this. WRONG a week later i was absolutely sick of how this taste! Even thinking about it gets me nauseous. I tried to thug it out because i need prework out but MAN this taste SO BAD and i still have a whole tub left. It does give you energy though but i don’t feel as if though it’s a lot”
REDCON1 has an average rating of 2.89 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, which is actually a positive score for that site.
The brand responds to the majority of customer complaints offering resolution, which is a good sign.
Our Clean Pre-Workout Picks
The pre-workout supplement we recommend is Naked Energy by Naked Nutrition.
Like Bucked Up, it provides an effective dose of beta alanine and caffeine for power and stamina improvements.
The main difference is that it’s entirely free of questionable additive ingredients like artificial sweeteners and artificial colors. There are no inactive ingredients in this formulation at all, which makes it the healthiest pre-workout formulation on the market in our opinion.
Interested consumers can check out Naked Energy at this link to its product page on the official brand website.
Panax ginseng is clinically shown to reduce mental fatigue (source) and reduce physical fatigue (source). It’s one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world.
Illuminate Labs sells a Panax Ginseng extract supplement for only $15 on a subscription basis which is highly potent (minimum 8% ginsenosides) and is third-party tested to ensure label accuracy and purity. Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link to the product page on our website.
Pros and Cons of Total War
Here are the pros and cons of Total War Preworkout in our opinion:
- Effective dose of stimulant ingredients
- Should improve power
- Should reduce fatigue
- Cheap on Amazon
- Founder of manufacturer arrested on unapproved drug charges
- High caffeine dose may cause anxiety in some individuals
- Contains artificial sweetener
- Contains artificial flavors
- Contains natural flavors