Pre-Workout Supplement: Your Secret Weapon to Success
Are you struggling to stay awake for your morning gym session? Or maybe after a long workday, you’re starting to think you should skip your evening workout and just go home. You need something, anything, to get you ready for that workout! You need a secret weapon, so you never skip the gym again and can maximize your time to achieve your workout goals. We have the answer for you: take a pre-workout supplement.
What Does a Pre-Workout Supplement Do?
Taking a pre-workout supplement can be a game-changer, but many don’t know what the supplement does. Most of the time, we are sluggishly entering the gym, and it takes our whole warmup to get the blood flowing and endorphins pumping so we can have an enjoyable and productive workout. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Taking a pre-workout supplement helps you skip the sluggish phase of your warmup because pre-workout gets your blood pumping — literally. You blood flow increases, your heart rate rises, and you focus in. Pre-workout can also bring blood to the surface of your skin, which aids in thermodynamics and literally heats up your body!
How Does a Pre-Workout Supplement Affect My Workout Session?
Instead of entering a workout already exhausted, you begin with the energy and focus you need. This leads to:
- More intense training
- Increased endurance
- More reps
- Less recovery time needed between sets
How Does a Pre-Workout Supplement Work?
In a nutshell, pre-workout supplements stimulate your nervous system. It provides energy, focus, and increases strength and muscle size. But you might be wondering how a supplement can provide all of that. We’ll break down exactly how the main benefits of a pre-workout work with your body for the best workout possible!
Most pre-workout supplements contain a stimulant, such as caffeine, to provide your body with energy. Energy is the number one reason athletes and bodybuilders reach for a pre-workout supplement. Caffeine inhibits receptors that cause you to be calm and drowsy. Caffeine also stimulates the release of catecholamine, which comes from your adrenal glands and produces neural stimulation. This process has a double effect — since catecholamine also reduces pain and discomfort during your workout, you can push through tougher and longer sessions without fatigue or pain standing in your way.
While the other effects of pre-workout can allow you to perform better, which leads to increases in strength, pre-workout itself can also help increase your strength on its own. Many pre-workout supplements, such as Mammoth Pump, contain creatine. Creatine is one of the most studied and clinically-tested compounds on the market because of its energy production. Creatine increases levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) into your muscles. This means while you are lifting, energy is being delivered directly to your muscles when they need it most – during your workout. With more energy to your muscles, you can worker harder, longer, and stronger.
Increase Muscle Size
One of the most important ingredients that’s often overlooked by athletes is citrulline malate. Citrulline malate is an amino acid that causes vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels. Why do we want wider blood vessels during a workout? Vasodilation is the only way to get more blood to your muscles. Citrulline malate increases nitric oxide, which causes vasodilation, and therefore, more blood pumps through your system to your muscles. When your muscles have more blood, more nutrients are being delivered as well. If your pre-workout contains citrulline malate, that means cells can split, energy can be delivered to your muscles, and your muscles pump up for an intense workout!
Pre-workout is the perfect partner in your weight loss journey. Of course, the increased energy helps you elevate your workouts to see more calories burned and better results. But choosing a pre-workout carefully can actually oxidize the fat in your body. Caffeine increases epinephrine levels, which means it turns your body into a fat-burning machine. Caffeine tells your body to use fatty acids for energy and increases your metabolic rate!
Have you ever had so much energy that you couldn’t focus? You just bounce off the walls and can’t actually get anything done. Choosing a pre-workout that will give you useful energy is important, which is why caffeine alone isn’t enough. Choosing a pre-workout supplement with L-theanine allows the energy caffeine gives you to create a focused, productive workout. L-theanine is a nootropic, which makes sure caffeine meets the correct receptors for an engaged mind, not a jittery one. L-theanine paired with caffeine is sometimes called “smart caffeine,” and supplements like PEScience Prolific will deliver the energy, along with the focus.
Who Should Use Pre-Workout?
Any serious athlete or bodybuilder should use pre-workout. If you want to achieve any of the following goals, then you should seriously consider introducing a pre-workout supplement into your regimen:
- You want to take your training to the next level
- You want to lose weight
- You want to gain muscle
- You want denser muscle
- You want to focus during your workout
- You want to see better results
- You want to improve your performance
If you have big body goals and want to step up your game in the gym, then a pre-workout supplement is exactly what you need to start your workout.
The Pre-Workout Solution
Pre-workout supplements are two things: time savers and problem solvers. They shorten your warmup time (we recommend always warming up to prevent injury, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes), so you can jump right into the meat of your workout with your already-warm muscles. Have you ever wondered how long you spend warming up? Some warmups take 20, 30, 40 minutes! That time could be spent lifting things up and putting them back down for maximum gains, but only if pre-workout is in your system to warm up your muscles. As for problem-solving, if you’re experiencing any of these obstacles during your workout, it might be time to reach for a pre-workout supplement:
- Fatigue early on in your workout
- Can’t seem to finish all your reps
- Mentally too tired to execute
- Not reaching your goals in timed workouts like HIIT
- Missing your PR for timed distance or rep workouts
- Feel like you don’t have the energy to add anything extra to the end of your workout, or even extend you gym time by 15 more minutes
What Is the Best Time to Take Pre-Workout?
Whether it’s your first time taking pre-workout, or you’re a seasoned muscle pumper, it’s always important to be mindful of the time you take your pre-workout supplement. Obviously, you should take a pre-workout supplement before your workout. How much time before your workout depends on the product. On average, most pre-workout supplements take around 45 to 60 minutes to be in full effect for athletic performance. That means you want to be starting your workout around 45-60 minutes after taking it. For a morning workout, you can take your supplement when you wake up and have a decent amount of time to eat a pre-workout snack, get to the gym, change, a little warmup, and you’re good to go! If the supplement you chose focuses on fast-acting release, like Allmax Impact Igniter, then experiment and see if you feel peak energy closer to 30 minutes after taking it.
How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?
The effects of a pre-workout supplement will depend on your tolerance to stimulants such as caffeine. After taking pre-workout, you should feel the supplement working within 45 minutes. Once in effect, your pre-workout supplement will give you energy for three to six hours. Remember, how fast your pre-workout supplement begins working and when it wears off all depends on the product you choose and the individual way your body processes it!
Stimulant vs. Non-Stimulant
We truly believe two of the most game-changing ingredients in a pre-workout supplement are caffeine and creatine. But here at Supplement Superstore, we know our athletes are individuals, and one formula won’t work for everyone. If you are trying to cut down on the caffeine and creatine, or simply want to try a different pre-workout option, there are non-stimulant pre-workout supplements out there. However, a lot of them are not effective! We carry a few; however, that can give you that boost you need without the stimulant. Take Allmax Impact Pump as a pre-workout supplement if you want energy and focus that comes from Lion’s Mane, taurine, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine.
What Ingredients Should I Look for in a Pre-Workout?
When it comes to choosing a pre-workout supplement, the ingredients are the most important factor. Here are some of the best ingredients you should look for in your pre-workout supplement:
- Creatine nitrate
- Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate
- N-acetyl L-tyrosine
We’ve explained the multiple uses of caffeine in a pre-workout supplement, but you might not recognize some of the other ingredients, so we’ll briefly break down their importance to your body and your workout. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that stops fatigue, so you can work harder, longer. Creatine nitrate builds lean muscle and enlarges your muscles to execute your workout. Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate increases the production of the nitric oxide, which aids in that process of vasodilation we discussed earlier in this post – the widening of the blood vessels throughout the body. Theacrine is similar to caffeine, but is non-stimulant, which makes it more difficult for your body to reach a tolerance point with the energy-providing theacrine. It can also help you focus! N-acetyl L-tyrosine enables you to stay mentally sharp during prolonged physical exercise. It can be substituted for L-Tyrosine, but N-acetyl L-tyrosine is a more soluble form of L-Tyrosine, so your body will absorb it easier and quicker!
Goal-Setting with Pre-Workout
Your workout will transform when you begin using a pre-workout supplement. Because of that, your fitness goals will change. Remember that when using a pre-workout supplement, your current workouts will feel: easier, lighter, shorter, and less mentally draining. That is all due to the benefits of your pre-workout supplement. In turn, your workouts need to adapt to become more intense, longer, and heavier. We suggest looking at your number of reps first, especially if you want to continue to build lean muscle. Try adding two to four more reps per workouts and see how it feels. If you are looking for less lean muscle and bulkier muscle, then keep your original rep amount, and adapt your weights. If you work off of percentages in weekly or monthly cycles of training, then move all of your percentages up for more time at 60%, 70%, whatever it may be, of your max. If we’re talking cardio, then all you have to do is extend your time or distance. With a pre-workout supplement, it will take longer to enter the anaerobic threshold of your workout, but you have the energy and focus to keep pushing, so extend that finish line – because you can get there.
Can You Combine Pre-Workout with Other Supplements?
You can absolutely combine your pre-workout with other supplements. All you have to remember is that pre-workout needs to be taken well before your workout! Any additional supplements that will also benefit you in that time frame will work well with your pre-workout. Just remember to be mindful of your personal tolerance to stimulants, so you do not take too many at once. The one product we recommend to pair with pre-workout is an amino acid supplement —specifically, a supplement of BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids. Branched-chain amino acid supplements, like Allmax Aminocore, stimulate muscle growth, are easily absorbed, and maintain glycogen stores in your muscles. BCAAs can be taken at any time, but before and during your workout are the prime times for your body to utilize those amino acids!
Which Pre-Workout Should I Take?
At Supplement Superstore, we take pride in carrying the products and brand you need to enhance your workout. That includes high-quality, potent pre-workout supplements! We recommend Mammoth Pump, which contains all of those ingredients we listed earlier. Mammoth Pump brings your energy up, but you won’t crash like with some formulas, which makes it great for anyone trying a pre-workout supplement for the first time! Another Supplement Superstore favorite is ANS Performance Prophecy. Prophecy boosts the levels of nitric oxide, which pumps up your muscles and extends your workout and endurance. It also contains all the nutrients you need for peak physical and mental performance, such as citrulline malate, beta-alanine, taurine, L-tyrosine, and, of course, caffeine. Prophecy pairs these ingredients with the mental-focus nutrient Lion’s Mane, and coconut water to deliver electrolytes for extra support during your workout.