Anyone who is interested in maximizing their workout, before they even go to the gym, should read the material below to find out how a pre-workout can help boost your performance during a workout, so you can get the absolute most out of the session. There are quite a few supplements on the market that will provide extra energy so that you can really nail your workout, and recover faster also. A pre-workout can actually be your personal secret weapon for achieving the most from every single session you undertake.
On the other side of the coin, there are those who maintain that pre-workout supplements are all hype, and that they do very little to improve athletic performance. To learn the facts about pre-workout supplements, continue reading below, so you can make an informed decision about whether they’re right for you. You’ll undoubtedly encounter a number of individuals who swear by the results they achieve with pre-workout supplements, but then again, you’ll probably also meet some people who think they deliver little actual value.
What are pre-workout supplements?
Generally speaking, pre-workout supplements will deliver a major boost of energy prior to your workout, so that you’re able to perform at your very best during the actual session. It usually comes in the form of a powdered material which can be easily mixed with water. These supplements include a number of healthful ingredients all in one mix, so that you won’t have to ingest several different supplements before starting your workout. There are all kinds of different formulas for pre-workout supplements, because some of them have different objectives, so you should choose one which aligns most closely with your own objectives.
What a pre-workout supplement does
Even though all pre-workout supplements have their own formula and their own list of ingredients, most of them will consist of at least some kinds of vitamins, caffeine, creatine, and a number of other ingredients which are all designed to enhance energy, strength, and stamina. The major benefit to this is that it delivers a significant increase in performance, whether you’re doing a cardio workout, or one which is more like weightlifting. Your pre-workout supplement will also delay the effects of fatigue, so that you can get a longer-lasting workout which is more effective. Many pre-workout supplements also help you recover faster from a strenuous workout, so that you’re ready to hit the gym again at an earlier opportunity.
Why a pre-workout is so effective
The way that a pre-workout actually provides the boost of energy is by delivering a number of different nutrients that your body needs for better performance. By making your body feel energized and well-fueled, you will feel much more like going all out and achieving everything possible in a given workout. That’s why it’s important to ingest the supplement before a workout, so that your body actually has time to assimilate all those ingredients and benefit from the boost they deliver. A number of studies have shown that taking pre-workout supplements regularly leads to leaner body mass and greater body strength. The combination of ingredients included in a typical pre-supplement is usually much more effective than taking any single ingredient by itself.
Ingredients in pre-workout supplements
Most pre-workout supplements will contain some proprietary blend of various ingredients which are all intended to deliver a boost of energy. A great many manufacturers will claim that it’s their unique blend of ingredients which is responsible for the energy boost. However, the plain truth is that there is really one particular ingredient which is responsible for that extra boost of energy, and that’s caffeine. Most pre-workout supplements include a heavy dose of caffeine, even as much as 400 mg per dose or more. That’s roughly equivalent to consuming 4 cups of coffee. Of course, there are a number of other ingredients which are typically included, and these contribute in their own way. Some of these are beta-alanine, L-Arginine, creatine, taurine, betaine, and guarana, which is a plant-based stimulant that usually contains approximately twice the total amount of caffeine per gram that coffee beans do. Continue reading below to find out more about how each ingredient contributes to the success of your workout.
Caffeine is an ingredient which is known to elevate the metabolism, reduce fatigue, and improve endurance. It also delivers a stimulus to the central nervous system, and enhances brain functionality so that a more effective workout can be accomplished. The ideal dosage of caffeine should be a low to moderate dosage, in the neighborhood of 3 grams per kilogram of body weight. That means someone weighing about 150 pounds should consume 200 mg of caffeine in their pre-workout supplement, and this is roughly equivalent to 2 cups of coffee.
This substance has become one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements, and has the backing of science to support it. It is material synthesized from amino acids, and it delivers a quick burst of energy to muscle tissues, which makes it especially valuable to sprinters or weightlifters. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition declares that the creatine supplement is highly effective in promoting strength, performance, and muscle growth during any intense training session. The recommended dosage of creatine is 5 grams, and this should be taken incrementally over a period of a week. Then you should pause somewhere between seven and 14 days before starting up again. Some experts recommend taking creatine all by itself rather than in a pre-workout supplement, because this allows you to control your intake much better.
This is a naturally occurring amino acid which actually gets produced in your liver, and it functions by enhancing nerve signal processes. Some studies have shown that ingesting beta-alanine in a supplement delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue, and contributes to better athletic performance. There is a downside however, and this happens when beta-alanine over-stimulates some nerve cells, which leads to a tingling sensation known as paresthesia. It’s hard to predict exactly what dosage can trigger paresthesia, so it’s sometimes better to take the beta-alanine by itself rather than as part of a supplement.
One of the branched-chain amino acids which is necessary for the synthesis of protein, L-arginine is a main component for the creation of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a compound that helps to relax blood vessels, allowing for better flow and circulation, and increased exchange of oxygen. While these metabolic functions are well supported by science, there is not quite as much scientific evidence to support claims that the ingredient will contribute to better athletic performance.
Taurine is one of the amino acids found most abundantly in the brain, organ tissues, and muscles. It serves the role of a neurotransmitter, stabilizing cell membranes and managing the movement of nutrients all throughout the body. Taurine is extremely important for maintaining your metabolism, but there is conflicting evidence as to whether or not it can help improve athletic performance. Research that has recently been published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning has provided evidence that the combined effect of taurine and caffeine might actually hasten muscle fatigue, rather than delay or postponement.
This is an amino acid which helps to maintain good liver function, and also processes fat. A study conducted recently showed evidence that ingesting betaine could improve muscle size, work capacity, and body composition. However this study was a small sized study conducted over six weeks, and there hasn’t been a great deal of additional research conducted since then. Results from the study concluded that the substance was capable of improving power, but did not appear to have any effect on increasing strength.
How effective are pre-workout supplements?
The consensus of opinion seems to be that pre-workout supplements can definitely have an impact on workout performance, even if that impact is primarily attributable to the ingestion of a significant amount of caffeine. There is not as much evidence showing that the combination of other ingredients has any kind of major impact on physical enhancement or health outcomes. Some research suggests that the combination of pre-workout supplement ingredients could pose health risks, especially for people who are predisposed to high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, or diabetes.
With regard to exercise performance, the body of research evidence shows that pre-workout supplements can definitely increase blood flow to the muscles, although this is generally limited to high intensity workouts, i.e. those with greater than 80% exercise load. Those pre-workout supplements which contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) very likely do help to improve recovery time, and that alone can make the supplement worth taking before a workout. However, it is still not clear whether consuming them as a pre-workout supplement will contribute to the building of muscle, or to any better workout performance.
The bottom line on pre-workout supplements is that they can definitely help you to perform better during a workout. However, the most solid evidence shows that caffeine is the major reason for that improved performance, and when stacked up against all other ingredients combined, it is still the most effective at providing a boost for energy levels, and thus better performance during a workout.
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