If you have been going to the gym for a while or just starting out you have probably heard of or maybe even tried a pre-workout. Learning about pre-workouts may seem daunting at first but once you get past the flashy labels and intense verbiage on the package you will find that there is a lot of though and science that goes into these products. That being said not all pre-workouts are made the same, by the end of this article you should have a better understanding of the main components to look for in a pre-workout and why you would want certain ingredients.
When looking for a pre-workout supplement there are a few things you want to keep in mind. The first and most important questions; why do you want to take a pre-workout? Are you looking for some extra energy because you feel tired before the gym, do you need more focus while you are working out, do you want increased endurance so you can keep working out longer, or maybe all the above? It is important to know what you are looking for when trying a pre-workout, this way you can find the ingredients that will help you reach your goal (when in doubt, go for a pre-workout that has a bit of everything). Secondly, you want to make sure you are getting enough of the good ingredients so that the pre-workout works just right! Just like many things in life you can have too little or too much of one ingredient. Having to little may not get you the benefits of the ingredient and having too much may cause adverse effects so it is important to follow the guidelines set on any pre-workout that you choose to try.
So, when looking for your first ever pre-workout or next awesome experience make sure to look past the flashy labels and the catchy phrases like “Pump Matrix”, “Explosive Energy”, and “Intense Focus” and look for the following ingredients to make sure you are getting the best workout possible!
One of the most studied supplements on the market, it can be found in almost every pre-workout. Caffeine will help give you an extra push in the gym by increasing mental alertness and overall energy. It also helps increase your metabolism, meaning that you will burn more calories during your workout. Also, caffeine is shown to help with fat loss, it helps the fat cells get released into the blood stream so that they can be burnt off during and after your workout.
When looking for a supplement, you want to look for about 100-200mg of caffeine per serving, this works out to about two 8oz coffees. It is important to remember that caffeine is a supplement that you can build a tolerance too, meaning that if you take it over a long period of time you may not feel the effects as strongly anymore.
Also, it is not always necessary to have caffeine in a pre-workout and in some cases, may prove to be unfavorable. If you find yourself working out late at night it may be beneficial to grab a pre-workout that is free of caffeine (and all other stimulates).
Citrulline Malate is an awesome supplement that is built up of two compounds; L-Citrulline and Malic Acid. When these two are combined they help with two major processes in the body; increase blood flow (vasodilation) and increase creatine phosphate regeneration, which means it helps reduce fatigue during exercise. It will also help with your recovery as well by helping you get all the waste (Lactic Acid) out of your muscles during exercise, which will lead to less soreness and faster recover in the days following the workout.
When looking at Citrulline Malate dosage it is important that you look for 6-8g at a 2:1 ratio. What this means is there is 2 L-Citrulline molecules for every 1 Malic Acid molecule, this has been found to be the best ratio and gives the best results for both blood flow and reducing fatigue.
Creatine, just like caffeine is very heavily studied for its performance benefits. It is something that we make in our bodies and something that we also get it from foods we eat like eggs, meat, and fish. Although we get creatine in our diet our bodies can hold much more then we would ever be able to get from diet alone. For example, to get the recommended 5g of creatine a day you would have to eat 2.5 pounds of beef every day. Not only is that unrealistic from a diet stand point but will cost you a small fortune, where as creatine supplementation is very inexpensive and we can achieve the same results.
Creatine acts as a binder in the muscle to hold more energy, this means that creatine aids in the increase of energy capacity in the muscles. This means that there will be more immediate energy stored in the muscle and can help you in the gym and when you need to squeeze out that last rep.
Creatine monohydrate is the most common creatine that is being used. There are many other forms of creatine but creatine monohydrate is usually the most effective and cost-efficient option. Again, the recommended dose for creatine is 5g per day, usually taken with some sort of sugar to help it get into the body easier.
Beta Alanine is very popular in pre-workouts because it is something that you will feel working in the body. What I mean by that is that is creates a tingling feeling on the skin when it starts to breakdown in the body, this is a normal response and may alarm people if they were not informed before hand. But what does it actually do in the body?
Beta Alanine’s main function is to counter act the negative effects of lactic acid (the waste material our bodies make during exercise). Lactic acid is a product that our body makes when we use our stored sugars for energy and can cause a burning sensation on the muscle. The burning feeling is a build up of the acid around the muscle and limits how well our muscles contract. Beta Alanine goes in and buffers the acid so that is can be taken away from the muscle faster. This increases endurance and can keep you stronger through your whole workout!
Beta Alanine is recommended at 3.2g for the best result. Most pre-workouts will have a bit less then 3.2g in their mixture because of the tingling feeling. For someone who has never tried Beta Alaine before it would be wise to try 1.6g (half dose, which is found in most pre-workouts) and build up from their once you are comfortable with the tingling feeling.
Be sure to always ask the question “why do you want to take a pre-workout?” when trying to choose a new product. Now that you are armed with this new information you should be able to find a pre-workout that is dosed well and able help you achieve your goals in the gym. If you are looking to pick up a pre-workout and don’t know where to start, look no further! Here at Supplement Superstore we carry a wide variety of pre-workouts to fit everyone’s needs!
By Patrick Sherwood
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