Are you confused by all the different pre workouts out there? Are you unsure of whether a stimulant or non-stimulant pre workout is better for you?
If you need help choosing between stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout supplements, keep reading. Explained below are some pros and cons of each one so you can choose the best option to power your next training session.
Stimulant vs Non-Stimulant Pre Workout: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout powders is caffeine.
In the case of most stimulant-containing pre workouts, caffeine is the ingredient responsible for giving you energy.
Caffeine provides energy because it blocks the brain’s adenosine receptors. This keeps levels of the neurotransmitter adenosine low. Since high levels of adenosine are responsible for feelings of sleepiness, blocking those receptors keeps you feeling energized and alert.
Non-stimulant pre workout products can still give you energy, but they don’t contain any caffeine. Instead, they increase alertness and focus with the help of other ingredients that improve blood flow, such as Beta-Alanine, TeaCrine, and Nitrosigine.
Who Should Use Stimulant-Containing Pre Workout?
For some people, a stimulant-containing pre workout supplement is the right choice. If you fall into one of the following groups, you might see better results when you use a pre workout that contains caffeine:
You Love Early Morning Workouts
Do you have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed and getting to the gym in the morning? Do you regularly exercise in the morning but feel that you’re not as alert as you’d like to be during those sessions?
If this is the case for you, caffeine, thanks to its adenosine-blocking effects, will help you to combat this and feel ready to conquer your workouts.
You Metabolize Caffeine Quickly
Generally speaking, stimulant pre workouts are best for those who exercise in the morning.
Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, which means you’ll have about 50 percent of it still in your system 5 hours after you consume it. Because of this, most people find that they can’t drink a stimulant-containing pre workout later in the afternoon or evening without having sleep issues when bedtime rolls around.
That being said, some people are fast caffeine metabolizers. Their bodies process caffeine faster than others, which means they can consume it later in the day or consume it in large quantities (or both) without any side effects.
You Have Fat Loss Goals
Do you have fat loss goals? If so, a stimulant-containing pre workout may help you to see results faster. This is because caffeine has some fat-burning and metabolism-boosting effects.
Some stimulant-containing pre workouts also contain other fat-burning ingredients, such as Yohimbine, which can block certain receptors in the fat cells to help you burn fat and lose weight more efficiently.
Who Should Use Non-Stimulant Pre Workout?
At the same time, some people fare better when they use a non-stimulant pre workout to get in the zone. Here are some situations in which a stimulant-free pre workout is a more appropriate pick:
You Love Afternoon or Evening Workouts
If you exercise in the afternoon or evening, you’ll probably be better off using a stimulant-free pre workout supplement. Remember, caffeine stays in your system for a while after you consume it, so it can impact your sleep and keep you feeling wired long after you’ve finished your workout.
You Metabolize Caffeine Slowly
Some people are also slow caffeine metabolizers or are extra sensitive to caffeine. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might find that you experience the following side effects when you consume it (especially in large quantities):
Of course, not everyone experiences these issues. They can happen, though, and it’s good to be aware of them so that, if they show up, you can trace them back to their potential source (if you experience any of these effects, you should always consult your doctor to be sure of what’s causing them).
You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Even if you’re not particularly sensitive to caffeine, you might also choose a stimulant-free pre workout if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s generally recommended not to consume more than about 200 milligrams (0.007 ounces) of caffeine per day.
If you’re in the habit of taking in more caffeine than this each day, you might have to make some cuts and skip out on your pre workout or reduce the amount you use in your pre workout drink.
Note that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend you check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
Can You Stack Stimulant and Non-Stimulant Pre Workout?
Are you still having a hard time choosing between stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout?
The good news is that you don’t have to exclusively use one or the other. Lots of people prefer to stack the two and mix them together in their pre workout drink.
Why do they do this? Here are some benefits of stacking stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout powders:
Fewer Effects from Caffeine
When you mix stimulant and non-stimulant pre workout drinks, you get to experience a bit of an energy boost from the caffeine, but it’s not so overwhelming that it causes side effects like headaches or shakiness. By reducing the caffeine, you can also minimize the likelihood that you’ll have trouble sleeping after an afternoon or evening workout.
Non-stimulant pre workouts often contain ingredients like Beta-Alanine and Nitrosigine that increase blood flow. This improved blood flow produces more noticeable intra- and post-workout pumps, which allows for more energy and faster recovery since more nutrients and oxygen can reach your muscles.
If you want better pumps than what your stimulant-containing pre workout has to offer, stacking it with a stimulant-free product is a good option.
Longer Product Lifespan
Stacking your stimulant and non-stimulant pre workouts helps you to extend the products’ lifespans, too. When you split your serving of each pre workout in half, you’ll be able to keep them longer and won’t have to replace them as often.
Pre Workout Essentials
Whether you’re shopping for a stimulant or non-stimulant pre workout, there are certain things to always look for when comparing different products. The following are some of the most important factors to consider, no matter what kind of pre workout you want to buy:
Calories and Carbs
How many calories and grams or ounces of carbohydrates does your pre workout contain? Many pre workout drinks, both stimulant and non-stimulant, are carb and calorie-free, but it’s a good idea to check before you buy them, especially if you’re trying to lose fat and are on a strict diet.
It’s important to consider the quality of your supplements so you can avoid taking in ingredients that may be banned in competitions or could potentially be harmful.
What kind of testing process does it go through before it hits the shelves? It’s important to note that products with certifications, such as Informed Choice, are certified but don’t guarantee a level of quality.
What do previous customers have to say about the pre workout you’re thinking about buying? Do they seem to be satisfied with it? Do they have any complaints? Would they buy it again?
Take note of what customers say in their reviews so you can avoid buying something that people aren’t happy using.
Which Pre Workout Is Better for You?
Now that you know more about the differences between stimulant and non-stimulant pre workouts, which one seems like a better fit for you?
If you exercise early in the day or aren’t sensitive to caffeine, a stimulant-containing pre workout might be a great choice. For those who are sensitive or who exercise in the afternoon or evening, though, a non-stimulant pre workout could be a better fit.
Whether you want to shop for stimulant or non-stimulant pre workout, we’ve got lots of options that will help you get pumped up and earn your results. Check out our HYDE pre workout line today to compare and start shopping!