Pre-workout supplements have experienced a rapid growth in popularity over the last decade.
Supplement manufacturers are constantly releasing new pre-workout supplements to the market, each one claiming to trump the rest, but what is it that makes these products so attractive?
What are pre-workout supplements?
The simple answer is in the name. Pre-workout supplements are designed to be taken prior to exercise with the aim of improving workout performance. Stimulant-based products to enhance energy and focus during workout are the most popular type of pre-workout product, although several non-stimulant options exist for those who prefer to avoid the “stimmed-up” feeling. Alongside stimulants, ingredients tend to include performance enhancers such as creatine, beta-alanine, and citrulline malate, so on.
When choosing a pre-workout product, it is important to base your decision around the ingredients contained. Such as:
- Caffeine: A stimulant found which if dosed correctly, can promote increased attention, physical performance and increased muscular recovery. I do not recommend more than 200mg of caffeine per serving, a study done on military showed that 200mg of caffeine pre training was best beneficial. Daily caffeine intake should be taken according to individual body weight. A dose 3mg/kg for females 5mg/kg for males.
- Creatine: Creatine is the world's most popular ergogenic aid and a staple inclusion in many athletes' supplement regime. Creatine works by replenishing ATP and helping to maintain power output during exercise. A person can see improved strength and increases in muscle mass from a dose of around 2 - 5g/day.
- L-Citrulline: Citrulline is an increasingly popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements. The compound has been clinically shown to enhance aerobic performance and is also a precursor to arginine.
- Beta-Alinine: Beta-alanine is commonly used by mouth for improving athletic performance and building lean muscle mass in younger adults, and improving physical performance in elderly adults. A dose of 3-5 g/day showed great effect.
- Agmatine: Agmatine works through stimulating the release of pituitary hormones, including Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Growth Hormone (GH). Agmatine also increases Nitric Oxide (N.O) through two pathways - by stimulating the release of Nitric Oxide, while also inhibiting types of Nitric Oxide Synthase (enzymes that break down N.O.).
- Taurine: Taurine is often included in pre-workout formulas to improve physical performance. It is involved in reducing muscle fatigue and acts as a cell volumizer, drawing water into the muscle.
- Arginine: Arginine can be beneficial for athletes as it portant pathways include its conversion to nitric oxide (NO) via nitric oxide synthase and its stimulation of growth hormone.
- Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine (GPLC): Glycocarn has been proven to increase nitric oxide levels increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle and the heart, leading to greater oxygen and nutrient delivery both during and after exercise. Glycocarn also controls lactic acid levels, thus enhancing endurance, making it popular with athletes of all disciplines.
How to choose the right pre-workout
Choosing what is the best pre-workout supplement very much depends on the individual looking to use them. Many would look first at the price before the ingredients and then they regret it. Others like more stimulant per serving regardless of the price. The 3rd type of people is the ones looking for purity of ingredients and how they are listed on the label.
For those of you not used to stimulants, I would suggest using a product that gives you more pump aka Nitric oxide. Always use on empty stomach for best results.
If you are a person who does not feel well with caffeine, yet you still want some energy start with half a scoop of the product and as you get used to it you can increase to full serving.
A good product that contains most ingredients, with doses that fit most is Vyotech Nutritionals' B4UTRAIN®. Check it out click here.