Whether you’re new to the gym or a pro at lifting weights, you’ll have seen the long lists of supplements recommended to get lean and build muscle.
What about a supplement for before you step onto the gym floor? Why take a pre-workout supplement, how does it work, and how can you make the best choice?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to help you optimize the results of every workout, every time you show up. We all have good and bad days, but using a pre-workout mix can help you get over the bad and make the good, outstanding.
Here is why you should use pre-workout supplements, how they work, and our top 5 factors to consider when choosing one.
Why pre-workout powder can be your secret weapon
When you work out regularly, you need to ensure you give your body the best resources to help it not just recover after exercise, but also work its best when you’re pushing it in the gym. That means ensuring you’re well-nourished and hydrated, and that you have the energy levels to sustain yourself through a 1-rep max effort, for example.
Realistically, however, we often fail to get ourselves to a workout in the best possible shape. Either you won’t have fueled properly, or you may be tired from a day at work. Regardless, a boost of beneficial ingredients can help you perform your best during your session.
Most pre-workout will contain creatine, a supplement that’s been scientifically proven to directly improve sports performance and training adaptations. Additionally, you’ll be taking in caffeine, which gives you an instant energy boost and added focus.
Finally, taking a pre-workout dose can help level up your weight loss benefits and give you the stamina you need to finish your weightlifting program for the day.
How do pre-workout supplements work?
Through an optimal mix of energy-boosting and nutritional ingredients, a good pre-workout will supply you with the focus, stamina, and strength to perform well during your session. This is thanks to the following common ingredients:
- Vitamin C
All these are scientifically proven to yield benefits in several areas, improving overall performance. Therefore, taking a pre-workout mix will help you out of a slumber when you’ve had a long day, but it can also be your ticket to personal bests on those days you want to push yourself.
Here’s how pre-workout influences your performance in the gym:
- For best results, a pre-workout drink is mixed and taken about 30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout. This ensures that the glucose in the mix raises your blood sugar levels, to supply you with more energy in the session to come.
- Powerful ingredients like creatine boost your muscle power and your ability to max out the weight you lift during your session.
- Alongside caffeine and creatine, other ingredients like L-Theanine and TeaCrine can help you to avoid mental fatigue and be more focused on your workout.
- Your pre-workout will also improve your mood and get you amped up for exercising.
What is a good pre-workout and how do you choose yours?
In order to choose the best pre-workout for you, there are several factors to consider, from the obvious list of ingredients to your end goal from your workout. In short, not all pre-workouts are created equal.
Here are the top 5 factors to help you make an informed decision.
Aim of your workout
Just like not all supplements are the same, not all workouts are the same. You’ll have sessions where you want to build your endurance, your VO2 max, or where you’re just doing a light cardio workout. And there are those times when you want to reach your 1-rep max goal.
Depending on the workout you’re planning, you’ll need to choose a pre-workout that has caffeine in it or not (HYDE Max Pump is ideal if you’re staying away from caffeine). Additionally, if you’re in a cutting cycle of your muscle-building program, you may want to avoid too many carbs or sugars. Finally, if you’re building mass, you’ll want a pre-workout that supports muscle growth and optimizes your testosterone levels.
Ingredients and transparency
It’s important that a good pre-workout supplement is transparent about ingredients and that you can trace the benefits of each component.
Many supplement manufacturers use fillers or refer to mysterious “proprietary blends” without listing what they’re made of on their ingredients list. This can be dangerous for your health and could even put you at risk of consuming banned substances (which is even more important if you’re preparing to compete in a sport where you will be drug tested).
Look for pre-workout supplements that include the top ingredients listed above and which are third-party tested, helping you feel confident that strict quality assurance has been adhered to in the making of your supplement.
Many popular pre-workout supplements have added sugar to make them taste good. That’s fine if you’re not watching your sugar intake, but the calories do add up quickly. You want to be watching what you put in your body, especially after investing time and effort into it at the gym.
If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure that your pre-workout doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary calories and sugar. Equally, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, check that your supplement doesn’t clash with that. For those looking to lose weight and keep their calorie count low, HYDE Pre Workout is sugar-free, calorie-free, and even gluten-free.
Proof of results
Marketing messages are great, but what are the results of the pre-workout powders you’re being sold? To make sure that you’re taking an effective supplement, check the label and look for ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost muscle growth, fat burning, and overall workout performance.
Keep an eye out for creatine, L-carnitine, caffeine for added on-the-spot energy, and a testosterone boost if needed.
Components to avoid
The final consideration when choosing your pre-workout needs to be avoiding harmful or unknown components. Stay away from proprietary blends and supplements with too many complicated chemical substances that you can’t trace back to a scientific study proving that they’re both not harmful and effective for your goals.
Finally, make sure that you check with your doctor before taking pre-workout if you have any concerns or a history of heart problems. You may be sensitive to certain ingredients, which is why we suggest gradually getting your body used to pre-workout and adhering to the suggested serving sizes.
Get ready to smash your next workout
Is pre-workout the right choice for you? If you’re ready to give your next workout 100% of your effort and focus but are concerned about your energy levels, then you can count on pre-workout to give you that added boost of stamina and power. You’ll also benefit from targeted ingredients like creatine to ensure you hit your muscle-building and fat-loss targets.
Choosing the right pre-workout is easy with this 5-factor guide, so head over to our range of pre-workout drinks to pick yours up and smash your next workout.