If you’re serious about achieving your fitness goals, you’ve probably heard about the significant benefits that pre-workout supplements can provide. From increased energy to enhanced workout endurance and focus, pre-workouts can sound like a miracle supplement that will resolve all of your fitness needs. Amidst all of this hype, it’s essential that you get all of your pre-workout questions answered before you decide if pre-workouts are for you and, if so, which one. So, let’s get started!
What is a Pre-workout Supplement?
As you probably could’ve guessed, pre-workouts are supplements that are engineered to prime you for an intense gym session. They usually come in the form of water-soluble powders and are packed with ingredients that are known to boost energy, increase endurance, increase focus, and catalyze recovery.
What ingredients go into a Pre-workout?
The ingredients that go into a pre-workout can vary dramatically depending on the brand and variant you look at. Some brands like to keep it simple while others formulate complex proprietary blends with a more specific function in mind. However, there are three ingredients that form a common denominator amongst typical pre-workouts: Caffeine, Beta-alanine, and Citrulline.
Caffeine: Since most of you are probably already pretty familiar caffeine, we’ll keep it short. Caffeine is a common central nervous system stimulant that can be found in, among other things, coffees, teas, many types of sodas, and energy drinks. It has been shown to improve physical strength, increase endurance, and provide mental stimulation.
Beta-alanine: Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that the body naturally produces it at a rate commensurate with its demand. However, many fitness fanatics like to take it as a supplement or add it to their diet in the form of meat or fish, because it has been shown to increase endurance for high-intensity exercises like weight-lifting and sprints. The increased endurance is a result of the bodies enhanced ability to regulate the accumulation of acid in muscles, which is one of the many causes of muscle fatigue. This is because beta-alanine is a primary ingredient of carnosine, the regulator of acid levels in muscles.
- Citrulline: L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate are both amino acids that are precursors for the production of arginine. Arginine stimulates the production of nitric oxide (NO), a vasodilator, which expands blood vessels resulting in improved blood and nutrient circulation to muscles. Surprisingly, citrulline supplements are actually more effective than arginine supplements at increasing arginine levels because citrulline is more readily absorbed in the gut. Citrulline can be added to your natural diet in the form of watermelons, squash, melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins. The consumption of citrulline supplements have been scientifically proven to increase endurance in both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, catalyze the production of growth hormone, and reduce soreness.
Should I take Pre-workout?
It’s important to keep in mind that most, if not all, of the active ingredients in pre-workout can be obtained through your diet. Drink some coffee before you hit the gym for an energy boost. Eat watermelon as a snack and add some cucumbers to your salad. Make sure your diet contains plenty of meat and fish. The same could be said about protein shakes and practically any other supplement.
That being said, we all have lives outside of the gym, and many of us are too busy to invest even more time towards our fitness goals. A tub packed with the ideal nutrients for a workout can save time, allow you to focus on your other goals, and make you more explosive in the gym. If you think pre-workout is right for you, it’s time to decide which one.
Which Pre-workout should I buy?
The first ingredient that many fitness fanatics look at when choosing a pre-workout is the caffeine content. For those that really crave an energy boost to keep them fueled and focused throughout a workout, a high caffeine content is a big plus. If you identify with this crowd, you might want to take a look at:
- SuperHuman Supreme (400mg Caffeine) by Alpha Lion
- Smoked 2.0 (400mg Caffeine) by Alchemy Labs
- Psychotic: Hellboy (5.3g Psychotic Blend) by Insane Labz
- Super BioFREAK OMG (350mg Caffeine) by Global Formulas
- PRE (350mg Caffeine) by NutraBio Labs
- Total War (350mg Caffeine) by Redcon1
- Woke AF (333mg Caffeine) by DAS Labs
If you workout in the evening and want to avoid consuming too much caffeine late in the day, the following pre-workouts could provide a good balance:
- Duality (300mg Caffeine) by Alchemy Labs
- Bulk (300mg Caffeine) by BlackMarket Labs
- Bucked Up (200mg Caffeine) by DAS Labs
- SuperHuman (200mg Caffeine) by Alpha Lion
For others, the stimulation from caffeine produces a variety of side effects such as restlessness or nervousness that outweigh its positive benefits. The following pre-workouts contain relatively little to no caffeine:
- Ignition Switch (162.5 mg Caffeine) by Axe & Sledge
- Pre Stim Free (No Caffeine) by NutraBio Labs
- Bucked Up: Non-Stim (No Caffeine) by DAS Labs
If you’re focusing on lifting heavy weight, vasodilators are also a great option that contain no caffeine, fight off fatigue, and pump your muscles with necessary nutrients. Here’s a list of the best vasodilators that we carry:
- Pump365 by Alchemy Labs
- Big Noise by Redcon1
- Hydraulic by Axe & Sledge
- BioPUMP’D by Global Formulas
- Insane Veinz by Insane Labz
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