It’s cold and dark at five in the morning.
It seems even colder and gloomier when you have to get up and train.
At that hour, it’s like gravity has tripled. Your eyes droop, your limbs drag, and your nervous system is running on fumes.
It’s times like these that you thank the gods you have a pre-workout supplement.
You fumble the top off, mix a (heaping) scoop in water, gulp it down, and the magic begins.
Fifteen minutes later you feel like a movie star, ready to push, pull, and squat against unimaginable forces.
There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.
Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.
Others are downright dangerous, containing banned stimulant substances, such as DMAA.
The reality is, it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.
There’s a simple reason why so many pre-workout supplements are so poorly formulated… Economics.
The Best Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients
If you’re looking for a quality, solid, pre-workout, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices.
Between the shelves of your local GNC, and virtual retailers like Amazon, there are literally 100s of products to choose from… where do you begin?
Millions of people can’t shake the morning cobwebs off without their first cup of coffee, but this powerful compound has a lot more going for it.
Caffeine helps you lose weight by increasing the amount of energy your body burns throughout the day. It also improves strength, promotes muscle endurance, and enhances anaerobic performance.
For best results, research has shown that caffeine is best delivered in a pill or powder format.
Theanine is an amino acid found primarily in tea, and research shows it confers several health benefits including…
The bottom line is, if you like caffeine, you’re going to love theanine. It adds a whole new dimension to the world’s most popular drug.
Pre-workout supplements often include several B vitamins, such as B3, B5, and B12, usually to promote higher energy levels.
The importance of B Vitamins, which are involved in hundreds of biological processes, including many related to metabolism and the nervous system, cannot be doubted.
The nitric oxide production encouraged by citrulline has been shown to boost muscle endurance, minimize muscle soreness, and enhance aerobic performance.
If you take enough Citrulline every day, it can noticeably improve your workouts.
Beta-Alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been shown to regulate the amount of carnosine that can be stored in the muscles.
When you supplement with beta-alanine, intramuscular carnosine levels rise, and you benefit in several ways:
Creatine is one of the only supplements on the market that is proven to directly accelerate muscle growth.
Decades of scientific research has conclusively proven that supplementation with creatine…
If there was ever a “must-have” supplement, it’s creatine. It’s cheap, safe, and it works… Period!
The Bottom Line on Pre-Workout Supplements
Like all supplements, you don’t need a pre-workout supplement to build the body you want.
No amount of pills and powders can trump the need for proper diet and training.
That said, once you have those fundamentals in place, supplementation can make sense. And a well-designed pre-workout supplement can help you get more out of your workouts.
If you want to make sure you’re getting real benefits for your pre-workout money, you need to choose wisely.
Interested in hearing which pre-workouts we recommend? Hit us up and chat with a coach today!