The Rock’s original ZOA energy drink was one of the more disappointing beverages we’ve tried in the last few years, mostly due to how much hype there was behind it and, of course, how prominent its supporters were. This month the brand launched its second beverage in the ZOA Plus Pre-Workout, and much like that first time, we’ve gone ahead and picked up a case to see how it compares to the competition.
As per the name, ZOA Plus Pre-Workout is a drink designed for before your workout as opposed to anytime you need a bit of an energy lift like the first ZOA product. It comes with a variety of pre-workout style ingredients such as 3g of pure citrulline for pumps, a light 1.25g of betaine, and the ever-reliable caffeine at a reasonable 200mg. The drink has three flavors to choose from, all with just 20 calories a can.
The benefits of the ZOA Plus Pre-Workout are about what you’d expect with similar support to a straightforward pre-workout. There isn’t any overly noticeable enhancement in pumps or performance, with the caffeine-driven increase in energy being the most prominent effect. It doesn’t compare to your typical powder pre-workout, but it’s a better solution than a basic energy drink before training.
The flavor of ZOA Plus Pre-Workout is the part we were most interested in trying, as the original wasn’t even remotely enjoyable. While this product is a lot more complex with many other active ingredients, ZOA has managed to come through with a much-improved taste. It is nothing like the brand’s first drink, without any of that off-putting tartness or unbearable bite.
The ZOA Plus Pre-Workout manages to communicate its multiple-part flavors quite seamlessly right from your initial sip, and while they do slightly fade shortly after, they leave behind enough to make it enjoyable. There isn’t a lot of carbonation to the beverage, making for a smoother experience, although again, those flavors do fade after each sip but with that lower carbonation, they are able to stand out and last a little longer.
The trouble with today’s energy drink category is there are several incredibly impressive competitors on the market, from giants like Monster Ultra and Bang Energy through to 3D Energy and RAZE Energy. While ZOA Plus Pre-Workout does pack a much-improved taste compared to the regular ZOA energy drink, it’s not enough to put it at the front of the pack and leaves it somewhere in the middle with most other energy drinks.
ZOA Plus Pre-Workout does have that more advanced, pre-workout style formula, although in that specialized area of the category if you’re after great taste, the brand still has some tough competition. There aren’t many pre-workout or performance type energy drinks out there, but even next to the big entries in that space like C4 Energy and LIT On-The-Go, ZOA needs more to match up.