These days, pre-workout supplements have become almost as popular as protein among athletes, gym, and workout enthusiasts. However, just like proteins, not all of these pre-workout supplements are created equal nor is each product ideal to every athlete. Each brand has unique ingredients in various doses with different projected effects. It could be ideal for various types of athletes with a different set of goals.
Whether you want to get the most out of your routine exercises or just to set a new milestone in your health, a good pre-workout supplement could be your great ally. In this guide, we will share the important things that you should know about pre-workout supplements and how to choose the one that is best for you.
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements contain all the components that people take with the ultimate goal of improving their workouts and making them more effective. The term suggests that it has something to do before a workout or a game. Experts say that during training it is important that you focus on preparing your internal for the tough mental and physical work ahead. That is why pre-workout supplements should help optimize your mind and body so you can be at your optimum performance.
Pre-workouts can be classified into two categories: those without stimulants and those with stimulants. The stimulants include caffeine in different doses. Some brands incorporate other stimulants like guarana, yohimbine, and theacrine among others. Some companies produce pre-workouts that are free of stimulants. This is ideal for those who exercise before going to bed and those who are sensitive to caffeine.
When To Take A Pre-Workout Supplements?
Often, you see people taking their pre-workouts on their way to the gym or in the locker room. If you want your pre-workouts to be effective, do not do this. It is important that you understand the proper time to take your pre-workout to get the best results. According to an expert, most of the active ingredients in this type of supplement take between 30 and 60 minutes to reach their peak in your blood. If you take your pre-workouts when you get to the gym, you will most likely be at your third set of exercise before the effects of the supplement totally start.
Your body needs at least 3 to 5 hours to cut the caffeine concentration by 50 per cent in your blood. It is for this reason that you should also be wary of taking the supplements too late. Since most of the pre-workouts contain caffeine taking them super late may give you trouble sleeping.
Who Should Take It?
Anyone who requires an extra boost in the gym or would like to take their workouts to the next level can take pre-workout supplements. The best opportunities to take this type of supplement is if
- You require mental and physical energy to enhance your exercise motivation
- You want to change your mood when working out
- You want to accelerate your intra-workout recovery
- You are a beginner
- You are a competitive and promising athlete
Which Pre-Workout Ingredients Are The Best?
You can find below the five major proven and most effective ingredients used in pre-workout supplements.
Caffeine is known to increase anaerobic capacity, increase muscle endurance, and improve strength output by 1 rep max. The effective dose of caffeine ranges between 3 and 6 milligrams per kilogram or at least 2.2 pounds of the body weight. When talking about caffeine, if you drink caffeine pre-workout supplements between 60 to 90 minutes earlier, you will still have sufficient energy to last even a long workout.
Beta-alanine is responsible for the tingling sensation you feel after you take your pre-workout supplement. Aside from being harmless, it subsides by the time the workout is done. According to research, beta-alanine enhances endurance and cardiovascular fitness. It is also responsible for reducing muscle fatigue. The effective dosage of this ingredient ranges between 2.6 and 6.4 grams a day.
Several studies on betaine reveal that it causes a moderate rise in total volume load and repetitions in some compound routines. Betaine enhances muscle endurance and the quality of repetitions when doing squats. It also helps increase power, protein synthesis, and force. The effective dose of this ingredient ranges between 1.25 and 2.5 grams.
This is the amino acid citrulline bound with malic acid. Some brands use L-arginine instead of citrulline malate. However, citrulline malate is more rapidly absorbed by the body compared to L-arginine. According to studies, citrulline malate relieves soreness of the muscles, enhances anaerobic performance, and foster energy production. Its effective dose ranges between 4 and 10 grams a day.
Pre-workouts that contain theanine are proven to reduce physiological and psychological stress. This ingredient is also responsible for improving attention and mental alertness. Theanine offers numerous cognitive rewards when paired with caffeine. This includes improvement in mood, memory, and focus.
Aside from these effective ingredients, it is equally important that you know what ingredients you should stay away from. This includes products that contain proprietary blends, under-dosed ingredients, and misrepresented clinical research. Additionally, avoid pre-workout supplements filled with artificial sweeteners and food dyes, fillers, and unnecessary ingredients.