Everything you need to know about pre-workout drinks!
The last thing on your mind after a long day at work is blasting out a gym session. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Everyone needs that ‘kick’ to get themselves into gear at some point – and a quality pre-workout supplement can do just that.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
- What To Avoid
- Best Pre-Workout Ingredients
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
These products are pretty self-explanatory. Pre-Workouts are supplements that you consume 20-30 minutes before your gym session – to help you reach your fitness goals.
Simply put, pre-workouts provide benefits such as:
- Skin-Splitting Muscle Pumps – Feel great, and look even better.
- Enhanced focus – Stronger mind-muscle-connection helps you make the most of every rep.
- Elevated Energy – Never feel tired before or during a workout ever again.
- Increased Strength – Train at peak levels throughout your gym session.
However, it’s hard to pick the best product available – especially when there are countless pre-workouts on the market.
What To Avoid…
This might surprise you: many companies include potentially harmful or ineffective ingredients in their products.
Answer: To make their supplement the ‘strongest’ on the market. The other reason is to cut costs while raising the price of their product as much as possible. For this reason, it’s important to know what to avoid in pre-workout supplements. We’ll take you through the worst ingredients seen in these products – so you never waste your money again.
Here’s what to avoid in pre-workout supplements…
#1 Proprietary Blends
These are the biggest gimmicks in the supplements industry. Basically, these blends are mixtures of numerous ingredients that are only shown to you an overall quantity.
Here’s what proprietary blends look like on nutrient profiles:
As you can see above, the overall quantity of the proprietary blend is 4,145mg. But no-one knows the exact dosages of each ingredient inside.
Proprietary blends become potentially harmful when stimulants, such as caffeine are included. Basically, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for caffeine is 400mg – if you consume a dosage higher than 200mg per serving, then you can suffer from jitters or energy crashes .
As a result, these blends increase your risk of suffering from side effects. But the worst thing is, companies often fill these blends with cheaper, ineffective ingredients to cut costs (while making their product look better than it really is).
#2 Large Dosages of Stimulants
We briefly mentioned that dosages over 200mg caffeine per serving can cause side effects. This leads us onto the topic of stimulants in pre-workouts supplements.
When dosed sensibly, caffeine is one of the best ingredients you can find in a pre-workout. It takes effect very quickly, and has shown to improve your strength, endurance, focus, and energy levels while you lift weights .
However, as we’ve mentioned, companies often try and make their pre-workouts the ‘strongest’ on the market. The easiest way they can do this is to add an overload of stimulants – to fool you into thinking their product is great.
But here’s the truth: you’ll experience more benefits by drinking a strong cup of coffee, than taking pre-workouts that contain large dosages of stimulants (and avoid side effects such as jitters and energy crashes too).
Also, avoid pre-workouts that contain numerous stimulants. Other stimulants found in these products are:
- Dicaffeine Malate
- Yerba Maté
- Green Tea Extract
Caffeine is the safest and most reliable stimulant available, so we recommend consuming a dosage between 150-200mg before your gym session – to experience benefits while avoiding side effects.
Best Pre-Workout Ingredients…
Now you know what to avoid, let us show you what to look for. Simply put, a supplement’s effectiveness is determined by it’s ingredients.
For this reason, it’s just as important to know which pre-workout ingredients are the most beneficial to improve your workout.
Take a look:
#1 Citrulline Malate
This is our favourite ingredient inside any pre-workout supplement. What does it do?
Answer: it turns into L-Arginine in your kidneys, which promotes vasodilation (widening of your blood vessels) – resulting in increased blood flow, and skin-splitting muscle pumps.
But muscle pumps don’t just make you look and feel good; muscle pumps are proven to improve your muscular endurance in the gym, as well as reduce muscle soreness .
At this point, you might be wondering “why not take L-Arginine directly?”. Good question.
This is why – L-Arginine has a poor absorption rate when orally supplemented (meaning it’s ineffective in pre-workout supplements) .
As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: “The greatest feeling you can get in a gym is… The Pump”.
#2 ‘Smart Caffeine Combo’ – L-Theanine & Caffeine
We mentioned that high dosages of caffeine can cause jitters and side effects in pre-workouts. Well, this is where l-theanine comes in.
L-Theanine is a relaxing agent naturally found in green tea. It’s shown to enhance the benefits of caffeine (improved strength, endurance, focus, and energy), making the stimulant more effective in smaller dosages .
As a result, it’s the perfect ingredient to include in a pre-workout alongside caffeine – ultimately, it allows companies to reduce the dosage of caffeine, which reduces the risk of side effects.
A quality pre-workout supplement can give you that ‘push’ when you need it the most. They’ve seen a rise in popularity over the years, with some even making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
However, as long as you avoid the things listed in this article – you’ll stay safe while enjoying the benefits that these supplements can offer.
The best pre-workouts contain ingredients that will:
- Improve Strength
- Enhance Endurance
- Increase Focus
- Promtote Intense Muscle Pumps
Ultimately, you’ll take away invaluable information about what to avoid, and also what to look for. This will save you both money and time on your search for the best product.
See How Nick Can…
– Kickstart Your Fitness Journey Here –
- Sara M. S. Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Pediatrics. 2011 Mar; 127(3): 511–528.
- Warren G. L. Effect of caffeine ingestion on muscular strength and endurance: a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1375-87. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cabbd8.
- Pérez-Guisado J. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
- Fahs C. A. Hemodynamic and vascular response to resistance exercise with L-arginine. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Apr;41(4):773-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181909d9d.
- Giesbrecht T. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283-90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840.