My Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Review: Sometimes Simple is Best

Posted on June 19th, 2015 By Allie Lewis in Pre Workout Reviews Read Time: 12 mins.

Recently updated on September 26th, 2022 at 09:53 pm

Today I’m going to review the Tier One, or ‘Tier 1’ pre workout from Citadel Nutrition. The Blue and black (or is it gold and white?) company will go under the microscope today in it’s first ever BPW review. I’ve tried their flagship product- the Tier 1 pre workout, and will tell you all about my experience with the product. I had the pleasure of trying it twice today, as I’m starting to get back on my ‘two-a-day’ schedule of awesomeness. I’m going to tell you how Tier One performed for both types of workout. I’m going to tell you how it tastes. I’m going to tell you what’s in it (that part won’t take long LOL). I’ll also do a thorough packaging review, and as usual tie everything up with a bow in the review summary. So without further ado I’m going to dive right into it: our Official BPW Citadel Tier 1 Pre Workout Review!


You might wonder where I find the material for all my reviews. You also might not at all. But in case you do I’m going to tell you because I like to spend at least one paragraph at the beginning of each review babbling about myself. That’s what blogging is all about anyways, right? Er not really, Allie. Get it together. 

Ok. But. I learned about Tier One and Citadel Nutrition from one of you, my adoring fans. You shot me a note over on my google plus, and guess WHAT. I listened as I always do. This is actually how most of the product reviews on this site get started. Someone wants to know how a product works before they go ahead and buy it. So they say, ‘hey I know, let’s have Allie try it! Maybe she’ll save me some money if it stinks!’. Hey that’s what I’m here for. But seriously I do love doing it, so please if you need a product reviewed- hit me UP! I’m always looking for new products to try and together we’ve found some pretty awesome diamonds in the rough. Ok. Enough babble for one review. Let’s talk about Citadel Nutrition and their blackly-clad (sp? grammar?) pre workout, Tier 1

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Flavor Grade: 8.6

I’m kicking things off with a good old-fashioned flavor breakdown. I mean it’s one of the most important elements of any good supplement, and it’s always what makes the first impression on you too. Hmm. Actually that’s wrong because you actually see the packaging first, so that is what technically makes the first initial impression on you. But we’ll get to packaging just you wait. 

So Tier 1 tastes pretty average. I woke up hella early today and I have to preface my taste review with the fact that I had JUST brushed my pearly whites. Point being that my toothpaste may have compromised the authenticity of the taste I got from this pre workout drink. But remember I took this again later in the afternoon, and that time I did NOT brush my teeth before. So this is a legit readout on the taste:

I think the official flavor of Tier One is lemon. I’m not sure because it doesn’t say anywhere on the packaging what the official flavor is! Minus one in the label department. But let’s focus on the taste. Honestly the taste is pretty good. It’s SUPER basic, but that is sort of what Citadel was going for I think. The entire product is quite minimalist (you’ll see what I mean in the formula section), and so I think having something that is essentially a basic lemonade flavor makes a lot of sense for Tier 1. The taste is light, semi-sweet, and has a nice tartness to balance things out. I’m giving a B plus because it doesn’t blow me away like some do- but it’s well done. After I chugged down my scoop and a half of Tier 1, it was time to hit the treadmill for my morning cardio. So. How did it perform? 

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Performance Grade: 9.0

Whew! I actually had a fantastic run with Tier 1. Hey that rhymes. So usually my morning cardio is a quick burst of incline treadmill intervals. I put the treadmill up to a 6 incline, set the speed up over 7.5, and run for a minute and a half. Then I step off for :30 to rest a little. Then back and forth like that until it’s over. Sometimes I’ll do two or three minutes in a row to ‘sell out’ at the end and get that last good final sweat in. So when I started out on my session this morning (after about 20 minutes to let the pre workout sink in), I felt super good. I got some of the tingles from the beta-alanine, and felt the 200mg of caffeine do their thing. My first part of the workout went down without a fight as I surged ahead, powered by the Tier 1 pre workout. By the second half I was sweating bullets (it was so hot in there today!). But I powered on. I ended up doing FOUR straight minutes to finish which was a struggle, but I lived. So far so good with this pre workout from Citadel Nutrition. 

My second workout of the day was a very very basic resistance session where I did a sequence of abdominal crunches paired with bicep curls paired with tricep cable pushdowns (very basic). Again I took a scoop and a half of Tier 1 preceding the session. I initially set out to do six rounds through this circuit- and ended up doing eight! I was fatigued- don’t get me wrong. But I totally felt the positive effects of this supplement as it helped me exceed my goals. I felt strong, energized, and had a boost in stamina as well. Not bad considering that this was my SECOND workout of the day! Let’s pop the hood on this pre and see what’s in here that gives the results. 

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Formula Grade: 8.8

I’m giving Citadel a very well-deserved B+ (my old go-to was an 88 in school) for one main reason. They went outside the box. Today’s pre workout is all about stuffing as many ingredients as possible into the product so that they can claim that ingredient X, Y, Z is so unique and makes our product so different and great. Blah blah blah. No. What Citadel has taught me today is that the pre workout is much more simple than people think. The pre workout derives its effects from a very small subset of the ingredients. And those are the ‘big three’- 

  1. Caffeine
  2. Creatine
  3. Beta-Alanine

Citadel has shown that by including just the bare bones in a non-proprietary blend, you can produce about 90% of the positive benefits of the ‘big-blend’ pre workouts like Pre Jym, or Assault, or one of the other mainstream products out there today. I totally dig the minimalist approach that Citadel took when they set out and put pen to paper and drew out the formula for Tier 1. It’s a basic product, and it works. Now. Above I said that it gives about 90% of the results of the others. And that’s why I didn’t give Tier 1 an A on the formula. I think they could’ve kept this thing ‘minimalist’ while still adding a ‘goodie’ or two such as rhodiola or theanine for some focus, and maybe some citrulline for a pump. Are those going to dramatically improve the performance of this product? No. But might they improve the workout experience that you get just a little bit? I think so. Just something to consider! Alright let’s talk packaging now. 

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Packaging Grade: 7.0

I think this is where Citadel kind of show their youth in the business. And you know what? They’d probably say ‘we don’t care’. And I dig that. But. This packaging is quite frankly medieval. It does match the bare-bones approach don’t get me wrong. But it’s just, well, ugly. It’s too plain. It lacks color. It lacks personality. The only none-text graphic is a white circle around the ‘1’. And you want to know the funny part? They hired a real designer to make this. (Insert crying emoji here). I mean. Guys. I hope y’all didn’t spend TOO much on this designer. Because I think you could have made it yourself with the drawing app that we all used to mess around with on those dinosaur computers we grew up with! I only know this because, (and this is pretty cool) they made a blog post with there design process for this product label. Sigh. Sorry, Citadel. I’ll end the roast here. But seriously. Let’s jazz this thing up just a little. That’s a wrap. 

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Review Summary: 

  • Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Flavor Grade: 8.6
  • Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Performance Grade: 9.0
  • Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Formula Grade: 8.8
  • Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Packaging Grade: 7.0
  • Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Value Grade: 9.0

Citadel gets a hugely respectable A from me because they’ve made a pre workout that works, and they’ve done it like gentleman. Everything is clean and transparent. They are clearly the ‘little guy’ in the supplement world. And you bet your bottom dollar I’m pullin’ for them. They product tastes good, works great, and is priced very fairly. Go get some of this stuff and support the Citadel!*

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Final Review Score: 9.0

Allie Lewis

By Allie Lewis

Hi, my name is Allie and reviewing products is my hobby. I am passionate about being fit and active, so making a blog about my experience with different products that help me stay healthy made sense to me. Please contact me at any time if you would like to guest post or advertise on-site.