Carbon by Layne Norton

Prep, 20 Servings Cranberry Grape

Advanced Stimulant Free Pre Workout Formula*
Designed to Support the Increase of Lean Body Mass and Support Recovery*
8.5 out of 10 (146 Reviews)
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Product Overview

Carbon by Layne Norton Carbon by Layne Norton PREP. PREP. Advanced Pre Workout Formula.
Layne Norton

As a scientist, champion natural bodybuilder, raw elite powerlifter, and physique architect, I saw a need for well-formulated supplements that smart lifters could trust. CARBON supplements are tools for those who train hard, eat smart, and care about what they put in their bodies.

Many pre-workouts are long on promises, ingredients, and claims but short on results. Carbon Prep is the opposite. It's not a proprietary blend. It's not sprinkled with unfamiliar ingredients or walled behind bogus claims. There is no product "dusting." Everything is scientifically dosed to bring you results based on clinical research.*

Carbon Prep doesn't have any "throwaway" ingredients that seem trendy, but are backed by very little research--and included only to make a product appear novel. Novelty for the sake of novelty is nonsense. Novelty is only valuable if an ingredient is also effective.

Carbon Prep contains only nine ingredients, but each is included for a specific purpose in the proper dose.* Carbon Prep is also formulated to work synergistically with Carbon Post. Both work well as standalone products, but they work even better together because of their complementary ingredients.


Layne Norton
  • Scientist, pro natural bodybuilder, raw elite  powerlifter, physique coach
  • BS in biochemistry
  • PhD in nutritional sciences
  • Current IPF and USAPL world and national  record-holder in squat: 668lb. at 93kg
  • USAPL national record-holder in deadlift: 711lb. at 93kg
  • Increase lean body mass*
  • Reduce excessive muscle damage*
  • Increase blood flow and nitric oxide production, leading to a better pump and more nutrients to your muscles*
  • Modestly increase fat oxidation*
  • Improve subjective feelings of well-being, potentially allowing you to train harder*

The number one goal of Carbon Prep is to help you have more effective workouts--not just once, but every day. Increased consistent performance translates to more PRs, more reps, and more volume, so you can build more muscle over time. Carbon Prep contains ingredients that have been demonstrated to decrease fatigue during anaerobic and aerobic exercise as well as increase power output and strength.

In addition to physical performance, Carbon Prep enhances your mental performance. It improves your focus and cognitive function without the use of added stimulants so you can take it day in, day out without relying on large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants to perform optimally.* This also makes Carbon Prep great for people who work out in the evening, want to use a pre-workout to enhance their performance, but want to be able to sleep well afterwards.


Citrulline malate is found in many pre-workouts in low doses. Carbon Prep contains a full dose of 6 g, because that's what the research demonstrating improvements in performance and fatigue-resistance calls for.1,2
L-citrulline is an amino acid that, when metabolized, turns into L-arginine. However, supplementing with citrulline is actually more effective than supplementing with arginine itself because, when ingested, citrulline does not undergo the same rate of liver metabolism that arginine does, making it more available in the body.3 This means it delivers a stronger performance result. The bottom line: Not only does citrulline malate improve fatigue resistance during aerobic and anaerobic exercise, it can also decrease soreness, increase muscle protein synthesis, and lean body mass.4-8


The benefits of creatine are well-documented. It increases lean body mass, strength, performance, and phosphocreatine--an energy source--stores in muscle.9-11 The debate is what form of creatine is best. While many companies attempt to reinvent the wheel with new forms of creatine so they can charge you a premium, the overwhelming majority of research showing the benefits of creatine supplementation has been performed with creatine monohydrate. While some other forms may be as effective as creatine monohydrate, no other form has been demonstrated to be more effective than creatine monohydrate. Since creatine monohydrate is also less expensive than all other forms, Carbon Prep uses it to ensure you don't spend an unnecessary amount of money.


Betaine is a new and exciting supplement. Betaine supplementation has been demonstrated to improve performance and power output, and it may increase lean body mass.12,13 Carbon Prep delivers a full 2.5 g dose of betaine to ensure optimal results at a research-supported dose. Beyond that, the trademarked BetaPower Betaine Anhydrous is the only betaine patented for exercise performance. It is also backed by peer-reviewed publications demonstrating sports-performance benefits.


This herbal extract has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Today, studies suggest that when combined with exercise, astragalus membranaceus may result in enhanced endurance capacity and reduced negative byproducts associated with strenuous exercise such as blood lactate and ammonia. It has also been shown to have beneficial effects on inflammation and the immune system.14, 15

Carnipure® L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) is the form of carnitine typically used in research studies that demonstrate benefits from carnitine supplementation. Carnitine has been shown to improve workout performance by decreasing fatigue and blood lactate and slightly increasing power output.16, 17 LCLT may also decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and increase androgen receptor density in muscle cells.18, 19 More androgen receptors in muscle cells may mean that your current levels of anabolic hormones like testosterone may work more efficiently and your body can respond more appropriately to these hormones. Androgens like testosterone contribute to muscle growth by stimulating myogenesis, the formulation of muscular tissue. Further, LCLT may also increase blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to hard-working muscles.20

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa is one of the more reliable supplements on the market for increasing blood flow, even in healthy people.21, 22 Many supplements note an effect in populations with compromised blood flow by using other ingredients, but few show difference in healthy individuals. 23 Although the benefits of cocoa are well known, the mechanism by which the cocoa flavanols work is still being researched. Currently, it is believed to work in multiple ways, including activation of nitric oxide as an antioxidant and supports a healthy inflammation response.

Alpha-GlycerolPhosphoryl Choline

Alpha-GPC is a choline-containing phospholipid, used to make acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) and phosphatidylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is vital for cognitive function and the communication between neurons.

Rhodiola RoseaExtract

Rhodiola Rosea may be one of the most underrated pre-workout ingredients. There is very strong evidence that it decreases fatigue even at a relatively low dose.25 It also improves cognition and decreases the rate of perceived exertion.26 Finally, it has been demonstrated to decrease muscle damage.* 27 This means you can train harder, longer, and recover faster. Carbon Prep delivers a full dose to bring you all the benefits.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A has been demonstrated in research studies to improve cognition, memory, and task learning.28-30 Its activity leads to acetylcholine accumulation and hyperstimulation of the receptors. As a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine transmits signals from one cell to another, allowing communication. This provides many benefits to the autonomic, peripheral and central nervous systems, which control the body and communication of its parts.

Carbon Prep

When I founded Carbon, my goal was to provide high quality supplements that were clinically dosed with effective ingredients*. I also insisted that they were not ‘over marketed.’ I am not willing to bend the truth to sell more supplements, I simply will not do it. In line with this mission was to ensure that not only were the ingredients in Carbon products properly dosed, but they used manufacturers that could ensure quality and actually back up their ingredients by contributing to clinical research*. Many times manufacturers will use cheaper versions of ingredients that aren’t backed by research in order to increase their profit margins at the expense of effectiveness.

A great example of this is using Carnipure as the source of l-carnitine. Other forms of carnitine are very popular in supplements, but usually that is because they are less expensive to incorporate. L-Carnitine L-Tartrate found in carnipure however is the only form of carnitine demonstrated to support recovery, decrease muscle soreness, support performance, and increase androgen receptor density in muscle cells*. Is it more expensive than some other forms of Carnitine? Yes. Could we ‘get by’ on some of our claims using other forms of carnitine that were not used in clinical research? Absolutely. Would we feel good about it? Absolutely not. That’s why in every Carbon product you will only find the highest quality, clinically backed ingredients, so that you can be sure that you are getting the most effective, science based, products on the market*.


Carbon Prep is designed to give you better workouts that are consistently repeatable. Most pre-workouts rely on a hefty dose of stimulants to mask under-dosed ingredients. While your performance may improve in the short-term with these weak blends, the long-term viability of maintaining workouts at that level is very low.

With Carbon Prep, I have created a performance enhancing pre-workout that works independently of added stimulants to help deliver optimal workout performance and focus that is maintainable and replicable*. Train harder, train longer, train more effectively, and recover faster.* That's the promise of Carbon Prep, but it only works if you do.

Carbon Prep
  1. Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR, Lord T, Vanhatalo A, Winyard PG, Jones AM. l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015 Aug 15;119(4):385-95
  2. Nagaya N, Uematsu M, Oya H, Sato N, Sakamaki F, Kyotani S, Ueno K, Nakanishi N, Yamagishi M, Miyatake K. Short-term oral administration of L-arginine improves hemodynamics and exercise capacity in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Mar;163(4):887-91.
  3. Osowska S, Moinard C, Neveux N, Loï C, and Cynober L. Citrulline increases arginine pools and restores nitrogen balance after massive intestinal resection. Gut 53: 1781–1786, 2004.
  4. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22.
  5. Osowska S, Duchemann T, Walrand S, Paillard A, Boirie Y, Cynober L, Moinard C. Citrulline modulates muscle protein metabolism in old malnourished rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;291(3):E582-6.
  6. Le Plénier S, Walrand S, Noirt R, Cynober L, Moinard C. Effects of leucine and citrulline versus non-essential amino acids on muscle protein synthesis in fasted rat: a common activation pathway? Amino Acids. 2012 Sep;43(3):1171-8.
  7. Moinard C, Le Plenier S, Noirez P, Morio B, Bonnefont-Rousselot D, Kharchi C, Ferry A, Neveux N, Cynober L, Raynaud-Simon A. Citrulline Supplementation Induces Changes in Body Composition and Limits Age-Related Metabolic Changes in Healthy Male Rats. J Nutr. 2015 Jul;145(7):1429-37
  8. Ventura G, Noirez P, Breuillé D, Godin JP, Pinaud S, Cleroux M, Choisy C, Le Plénier S, Bastic V, Neveux N, Cynober L, Moinard C. Effect of citrulline on muscle functions during moderate dietary restriction in healthy adult rats. Amino Acids. 2013 Nov;45(5):1123-31.
  9. Candow DG, Vogt E, Johannsmeyer S, Forbes SC, Farthing JP. Strategic creatine supplementation and resistance training in healthy older adults. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Jul;40(7):689-94.
  10. Stone MH1, Sanborn K, Smith LL, O'Bryant HS, Hoke T, Utter AC, Johnson RL, Boros R, Hruby J, Pierce KC, Stone ME, Garner B. Effects of in-season (5 weeks) creatine and pyruvate supplementation on anaerobic performance and bodycomposition in American football players. Int J Sport Nutr. 1999 Jun;9(2):146-65.
  11. Francaux M1, Demeure R, Goudemant JF, Poortmans JR. Effect of exogenous creatine supplementation on muscle PCr metabolism. Int J Sports Med. 2000 Feb;21(2):139-45.
  12. Cholewa JM1, Guimarães-Ferreira L, Zanchi NE. Amino Acids. Effects of betaine on performance and body composition: a review of recent findings and potential mechanisms. 2014 Aug;46(8):1785-93.
  13. Cholewa JM, Guimarães-Ferreira L, Zanchi NE. Effects of betaine on performance and body composition: a review of recent findings and potential mechanisms. Amino Acids. 2014 Aug;46(8):1785-93.
  14. Yeh TS, Chuang HL, Huang WC, Chen YM, Huang CC, Hsu MC. Astragalus membranaceus improves exercise performance and ameliorates exercise-induced fatigue in trained mice. Molecules. 2014 Mar 3;19(3):2793-807.
  15. Sugiura H, Nishida H, Inaba R, Iwata H. Effects of exercise in the growing stage in mice and of Astragalus membranaceus on immune functions. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 1993 Feb;47(6):1021-31
  16. Pandareesh MD, Anand T. Ergogenic effect of dietary L-carnitine and fat supplementation against exercise induced physical fatigue in Wistar rats. J Physiol Biochem. 2013 Dec;69(4):799-809
  17. Jacobs PL, Goldstein ER. Long-term glycine propionyl-l-carnitine supplemention and paradoxical effects on repeated anaerobic sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Oct 28;7:35.
  18. Kraemer WJ, Spiering BA, Volek JS, Ratamess NA, Sharman MJ, Rubin MR, French DN, Silvestre R, Hatfield DL, Van Heest JL, Vingren JL, Judelson DA, Deschenes MR, Maresh CM. Androgenic responses to resistance exercise: effects of feeding and L-carnitine. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Jul;38(7):1288-96.
  19. Parandak K, Arazi H, Khoshkhahesh F, Nakhostin-Roohi B. The effect of two-week L-carnitine supplementation on exercise -induced oxidative stress and muscle damage. Asian J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;5(2):123-8.
  20. Volek JS, Judelson DA, Silvestre R, Yamamoto LM, Spiering BA, Hatfield DL, Vingren JL, Quann EE, Anderson JM, Maresh CM, Kraemer WJ. Effects of carnitine supplementation on flow-mediated dilation and vascular inflammatory responses to a high-fat meal in healthy young adults. Am J Cardiol. 2008 Nov 15;102(10):1413-7.
  21. Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, Alexopoulos N, Economou E, Andreadou I, Stefanadis C Am J Hypertens. Effect of dark chocolate on arterial function in healthy individuals. Am J Hypertension 2005 Jun;18(6):785-91.
  22. Monahan KD, Feehan RP, Kunselman AR, Preston AG, Miller DL, Lott ME. Dose-dependent increases in flow-mediated dilation following acute cocoa ingestion in healthy older adults. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Dec;111(6):1568-74.
  23. Grassi D, Lippi C, Necozione S, Desideri G, Ferri C. Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;81(3):611-4.
  24. Hung SK, Perry R, Ernst E. Phytomedicine. The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):235-44.
  25. Parisi A, Tranchita E, Duranti G, Ciminelli E, Quaranta F, Ceci R, Cerulli C, Borrione P, Sabatini S. Effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Mar;50(1):57-63.
  26. Parisi A, Tranchita E, Duranti G, Ciminelli E, Quaranta F, Ceci R, Cerulli C, Borrione P, Sabatini S. Effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Mar;50(1):57-63.
  27. Zhao Q, Tang XC. Effects of huperzine A on acetylcholinesterase isoforms in vitro: comparison with tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine and physostigmine. Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov 29;455(2-3):101-7.
  28. Xu ZQ, Liang XM, Juan-Wu, Zhang YF, Zhu CX, Jiang XJ.Treatment with Huperzine A improves cognition in vascular dementia patients. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2012 Jan;62(1):55-8.
  29. Zhang HY, Tang XC. Neuroprotective effects of huperzine A: new therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative disease. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2006 Dec;27(12):619-25. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Rating
146 Ratings
Verified Buyer Rating
113 Ratings
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Cranberry Grape
By clicking the button above, you agree to entering the Reviews section. Products in the Store are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Verified Buyer
  • 1 Cranberry Grape

was really hopefully of this pre workout drink, sadly it failed to provide any pump that i was looking for. wanted a zero caffeine pump. Taste was really bad, very medicine tasting. If your looking for zero pump and bad tasting pre-workout, this is it.

Verified Buyer
  • 9 Cranberry Grape

The taste is great for both flavor. I was able to get a good pump at the gym. It worked well for me as I got to the gym late and being non-stim pre-workout.

Verified Buyer
  • 1 Cranberry Grape

I honestly don't know if it works or not because the taste was so overwhelmingly bad that I threw it away within 2 sips. Complete waste of money. I can see why this stuff is being discontinued.

Verified Buyer
  • 5 Cranberry Grape

Did not even bother to try the product, received three tubs of this product nearing 3 month expiry. Was told it was intended for IMMEDIATE consumption, loss for words.

Verified Buyer
  • 9 Cranberry Grape

This product does not contain caffeine, however that makes this product extremely versatile since I am able to use it later at night. Plus caffeine in high doses leads to vasoconstriction which can diminish blood flow and hence a decreased pump. Therefore, if I feel the need for caffeine I can add it in the quantity that I want, and thus I am not forced to consume 200-350 mgs of caffeine which is the normal range. As for taste, the cranberry grape is really good and I look forward to drinking it everyday. Furthermore, if this product tasted like crap I would still use it since it is so effective. Now, if I had to rate the pump I would say it is a solid 8 out of 10. The focus is a 10 out of 10, and the endurance is a 9 out of 10. Overall, this is by far the best non stim pre workout out there, and I cannot believe it is being discontinued since it is so good. Honesty, this product makes everything else seem like complete junk and a waste of money. I don't know what pre workout I am going to use after this is gone since nothing else is stim free with this kind of ingredient profile. Hopefully, can use this same formula and market it as their own brand. The Carbon brand didnt bring in enough profits, but I think with some marketing and awareness a product similar to this has a ton of potential. I have tried them all, and this product stands above them all.

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20 Servings
20 Servings
$1.35 Per Serving
Cranberry Grape

What's in Carbon by Layne Norton Prep

20 Servings Cranberry Grape
Serving Size: 1 scoop (17.3g)
Servings Per Container: 20
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 10       
Total Carbohydrate 3 g 1%*
Calcium 65 mg 7%
Sodium 80 mg 3%
Citrulline Malate 6 g
Creatine Monohydrate 3 g
BetaPower® Betaine Anhydrous 2.5 g
Astragalus membranaceus (root) 2 g
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (as Carnipure®) 1 g
Cocoa seed powder (std. 6% theobromine [27 mg]) 450 mg
Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 300 mg
Rhodiola rosea root extract (std. 5% rosavins [9 mg]) 180 mg
Huperzine A (toothed clubmoss, whole plant) 200 mcg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily value not established
Other Ingredients:
Natural & artificial flavors, Citric acid, Calcium silicate, Sucralose, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #2, and soy lecithin.
ALLERGEN WARNING: Contains Soy. Produced in a facility that also processes Peanuts, Eggs, Wheat, and Milk.

Directions For Prep: Mix 1 scoop with 10-12 ounces of water and consume 30 minutes before training.

Warnings: Check with a qualified healthcare professional before taking this product. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, under 18 years of age, have any known or suspected medical conditions, and/or if you are taking any prescription or OTC medications. This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or reproductive harm. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.