Admittedly, the energy drink market is a bit saturated. There are a ton of manufacturers out there and the competition has gotten a bit stale. Setting aside the overall marketing and exterior design, a ton of energy drinks are the same dang thing.
They all seem to be overly reliant on absurd levels of caffeine mixed with various other compounds (Taurine, Beta-alanine, etc.) to basically trick your body into producing a quick boost of energy.
Not ideal, but useful.
For the most part, any differences in the over saturated world of energy drinks come in the form of calorie count per serving, sugars vs synthetic sweeteners, and (obviously) flavor.
Naturally, GNC saw the market for *another* energy beverage and seized the opportunity, releasing their Mad Pony Energy line late last year.
Admittedly, I was wary of picking up any of these for various reasons. They are newer, after all, and I haven’t heard too many people talking about them, unlike the Bang, Monster, Red Bull, or Rockstar lines. I picked one up while I was in the store as a freebie , however, and here is my honest review.
Flavor and Texture
I picked up a solo Cherry Berry. Overall, it isn’t bad. If you are familiar with Rockstar, it was very similar to their Punched flavor. It actually tasted pretty good, but the drink was obviously made with artificial sweeteners. It’s blatantly obvious when you sip into it.
While that isn’t a deal breaker, it is just something to be aware of if you don’t particularly enjoy the flavor of sucralose.
This beverage has the usual carbonation, but it isn’t too heavy. Some energy drinks have far too many bubbles for my liking (looking at you Red Bull and Monster), but this line has a refreshingly light carbonation to it.
The line comes in Cherry Berry, Orange Mango, and Watermelon currently.
Overall, the ingredient list is surprisingly light. For only 10 calories, it should be. Not many people like to consume low calorie foods or beverages packed with more chemicals than you can count.
There is the usual water, flavorings, and sweeteners (duh), but the rest of the ingredient list is pretty short.
- Caffeine: 200mg
- Vitamin B-6: 3.4mg
- Vitaming B-12: 4.8mcg
- Neurofactor Mix
- Sodium Benzoate / Potassium Sorbate (preservative)
- Gamma Aminobutyric Acid
- Choline Bitartrate
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
There are 200mg of caffeine in Mad Pony, which works out to about 12.5mg per ounce. This level is somewhere in the middle of most energy beverages. Red Bull has about 9.25mg for every ounce of their beverage, while Rockstar Punched has about 12mg per ounce of theirs.
For reference, the 200mg found in Mad Pony Energy beverages is slightly more than the Cellucor Original line of pre-workout powder, but less than other pre-workouts, such as the Muscletech Shatter line. It is, of course, lacking all of the other things that make you want to go lift heavy objects, but provides a good reference for gauging how much caffeine is in a can.
It isn’t overwhelming, won’t generally make your heart beat out of your chest, and (with the can I had) seems be on par with other beverages in terms of energy levels.
Additionally, the flavor profile is pretty decent. I am not complaining about the Cherry Berry flavor in the slightest. A good tasting beverage is always a plus, especially if it has low calories (helps with those tracking macros or calorie intake).
From the single can that I purchased, I don’t have too many complaints. The major issue I have is, unsurprisingly, with the price. I am not a fan of paying as much for an energy drink as the majority of them cost.
Otherwise, there were no jitters, it tasted pretty good, had low calories, and a short ingredient list.
You can buy 12 cans from GNC today (February 2020) for $25.99. Works out to $2.16 per can, but singles are going to run you a bit more (if you can find them). The price is on par with most other energy drinks you can find.
If you can find this drink on sale, Mad Pony Energy is worth a pickup while you are standing there.