John Martin shares the following extremely detailed results from his workouts using Spartan Formula and not using it.
What he found was an amazing difference in results. In his own words:
“I’m a professional level kettlebell sport-lifter and have been using the Spartan Formula with excellent results. I record my heart rate and perceived exertion every set of every workout as well both of them with respect to my power output (i.e reps or pounds lifter per minute, pacing etc.) and this formula has a pretty profound impact on all of these factors. Heart rate and effort are both lower at a specific work output (10-14 BPM in interval sets and something that would feel like a 60% effort feels about 40-50% instead).
I’ve actually just stopped taking it briefly and there’s a marked increase in heart rate, effort, and set difficulty this past week of training. This is not due to any other factors, as sleep, diet, and programming are on point. All of my other pre-workout supplementations is the same (shilajit, creatine, beta-alanine, b-complex, natural caffeine) so essentially, its safe to say Spartan Works, it works exceptionally well, it’s a massive advantage in performance.
There is a problem with Spartan Formula though and is one of the reasons I wanted to see how training was without it, and that is on an empty stomach these herbs make me very nauseous. It doesn’t last too long usually about 20-30 min but its pretty unpleasant and akin to a bad hangover in which you are struggling to not throw up everyplace. Sometimes I take it and literally lie down for a while waiting for it to pass. Once my stomach settles, I feel like I’ve obtained godlike powers! Power at a price haha! I can deal with it but let’s just say my mornings would be better all around and more time efficient without violent nausea.”
We’re working with John on a couple of things that may help with nausea. Will likely update this post with what works in the future after some testing.
What comes next is a more detailed breakdown of the workouts. John is a kettlebell athlete, competing in GS (Girevoy Sport). If you’ve never done that it involves swinging moderately heavy kettlebells around for many, many reps. It is extremely brutal strength-endurance and mental toughness.
The below information has a comparison of data from my training spreadsheets. It shows the prescribed training values, heart rates, and exertion throughout two similar interval sessions 9 days apart. I was taking the Spartan formula for about 3 weeks leading up to and including that first workout. I stopped taking the formula the next day or the day after, so I was off approximately 5-6 days leading up to that second workout.
The two workouts are not identical, however, I can tell you from a metabolic standpoint they are extremely similar for me. In fact, I designed them to be that way based on several years of training experience and prior data. They are the same corresponding workout in a sequential training cycle.
I also have more data if you’d like for other corresponding workouts if you really want to see it, but I thought the intervals would show the difference best. I also do a lot of running and can tell you there was a difference there as well, however my evidence would be purely anecdotal there as I don’t closely record pacing, heart rate, etc while I run.
Comparison of 2 Workouts:
First, on Spartan Formula, second after I had stopped taking the formula
Below are two workouts in a series of 20 (4 macrocycles of 5 sessions spanning 33 days). The selected workouts were from cycles 3 and 4. Both are double kettlebell jerk intervals and to spite slight differences in specific weights, interval time, etc. these workouts are essentially identical in overall metabolic demand for me. The pacing using 28kg kettlebells for both workouts is identical. Below I’ve grouped the intervals into “zones” and made some observations of the data for each.
Please Note the Following:
RPE is an indicator of my perceived MECHANICAL EFFORT (not cardio related that’s why listed separately) and can best be described as a marker of MUSCLE ENDURANCE/SPECIAL ENDURANCE attributes. It is calculated on a 1-5 scale: (1) no measurable effort/fatigue (2) Low effort with slight fatigue (3) Moderate working set with noticeable fatigue (4) Hard Working set with high fatigue (5) Maximal or near maximal nightmare of a set with high fatigue, not repeatable
COMPARING ZONE A:
- Note over the first three intervals in both workouts the rise in heart rate is similar, with the first two intervals of workout 18 having Identical heart rate to the 2nd interval of workout 13 which uses the same weight and pacing. This should be expected.
- Higher RPE of workout 13 by 3rd interval is normal and is expected due to 32kg bells vs 28kg bells used in workout 18.
COMPARING ZONE B:
- Big difference between first intervals in Zone B, this difference is most important. While in workout 13 I’d essentially already entered a “steady state” heart rate, in workout 18 heart rate climbed into the 180s.
- If you compare total work time in both workouts, in workout 13 a steady state of 172-176
BPM was achieved after approx 3 min 45 sec of work. In workout 18 a steady state of 180-184
BPM was achieved similarly after 4 min of work.
- Steady-state HR in workout 13 is consistently 8-10 BPM lower than workout 18. between minutes 8-9 steady state is left in workout 18 as HR increases to 188 BPM, during this period steady state is maintained in workout 13.
- RPE is consistent throughout workout 13 but steadily increases in workout 18.
COMPARING ZONE C:
- Note that the last 90 seconds of workout 13 was a programmed maximal effort sprint set. My true maximal heart rate is between 208-212, depending on my level of conditioning. This set essentially took me to my HR max. Until that point, steady state was maintained.
- To spite the programmed workload being consistent in workout 18, within the last 90 seconds of total work HR elevated out of steady state and then continued to climb to 192.
- Looking at RPE overall in the second half of both workouts, workout 13’s second half starts and stays at a moderate working level, workout 18 starts moderately but rapidly becomes
difficult reaching an RPE of 4.
- I have been through these sort of training cycles before, I have not seen such a dramatic increase in heart rate in back to back cycles like this. If anything there is usually a decrease due
to training adaptation. Typically the heart rates will remain the same unless there is some dramatic change in training.
While we tend to recommend Hercules Pre-Workout Formula specifically for workouts, the fact is, like Spartan, many of our others work very well too. We have customer reports from people using Phoenix Formula, Thor’s Hammer and Athena Women’s Formula all for this same purpose too.
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