Of all the different supplements on the market today, pre workout is arguably and understandably one of the most popular. Not only does it boost your energy and get you fired up for your training sessions, but it can also provide additional benefits, such as improved muscle endurance and faster weight loss.
There are plenty of reasons to consider using a pre workout drink. However, it’s not a good idea to just grab the first product you see at your local supplement store and hope for the best.
Outlined below are six tips that can help you choose a great pre workout product and use it in a way that helps you see the best results.
Tip #1: Read the Ingredient List
When shopping for pre workout supplements (or any type of supplement, for that matter), start by reading the ingredient list. The following are some of the most effective ingredients your pre workout drink ought to contain:
- Creatine Monohydrate: A naturally occurring compound that’s best-known for its strength-inducing and endurance-boosting qualities
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs): Essential amino acids that increase endurance, support muscle protein synthesis, and prevent muscle breakdown
- Taurine: A sulfonic acid that supports the breakdown of fat and helps to minimize oxidative stress during exercise
- B Vitamins: Vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6 support energy production; B12 plays a key role in blood regeneration and a healthy metabolism; B3 is necessary for DNA reconstruction
- Nitric Oxide Boosters: Amino acids like Arginine and L-Citrulline increase nitric oxide levels; this dilates the blood vessels for better blood circulation, which leads to more noticeable pumps and more efficient oxygen and nutrient delivery
Tip #2: Check the Caffeine Content
Caffeine is another common (and beneficial) ingredient found in pre workout supplements. Most supplements, unless they’re specifically labeled “stimulant-free,” will contain caffeine.
There’s nothing wrong with taking some caffeine before a workout. The key, though, is to consider how much you get in each scoop of pre workout powder.
Research shows that the safe daily caffeine limit for an average adult is 400mg (or 0.014 ounces). For reference, a regular cup of instant coffee roughly contains 60-80mg (or 0.0021-0.0028 ounces) of caffeine.
When taking pre workout supplements, it’s important to take note of their caffeine content. This helps you to ensure you’re not exceeding the safe daily limit, which could cause issues like poor sleep or increased anxiety.
If you’re particularly worried about your daily caffeine consumption, keep in mind that you can also buy stimulant free pre workouts. These are designed to give you the full effect of traditional pre workout drinks without any caffeine.
Tip #3: Time Your Pre Workout Right
Pre workout supplements are meant to maximize your training experience. If you want to utilize them to their fullest potential, though, you need to make sure you’re taking them at the right time.
As the name suggests, pre workout supplements should be taken before your exercise. If you take them too early, though, you might run out of steam before the workout is over. Taking them too late, on the other hand, may cause you to not feel the supplement’s effects while you’re training.
Most people see the best results when they take them between 15 and 30 minutes prior to starting their workout.
What about longer or more intense workouts?
If you have a long training session scheduled, you can also take your pre workout supplement about one hour into the workout. This can help to prolong your endurance, but it’s still a good idea to check the directions on the packaging to ensure you’re not overdoing it.
Keep in mind, it’s also beneficial to alternate the days on which you take pre workout. You can also create a fixed schedule, so you take it before some workouts and not before others. This helps you to avoid building up a tolerance to the stimulants in your pre workout supplement. On days when you’re not using a stimulant-containing pre workout, you can use a stimulant-free product instead to enjoy an energy boost without any caffeine.
Tip #4: Know the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pre Workout Supplements
As with any supplement, there are some benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind when you start using pre workout powder.
Being aware of the pros and cons will help you to set realistic expectations. It’ll also save you from making mistakes that could jeopardize your workout performance or results.
The following are some of the most important advantages and disadvantages of pre workout to keep in mind:
- Enhanced Workout Performance: Sports nutrition research shows that pre workout can enhance gym performance, especially in athletes who have reached maximum training capacity.
- Increased Muscle Endurance: Another study showed that L-Citrulline, an amino acid found in some pre workout supplements, can help athletes achieve up to a 53 percent increase in the number of bench press reps they could do in one session.
- Improved Focus and Concentration: Pre workouts, especially those that contain stimulants like caffeine, are known to improve energy levels and, in turn, enhance your ability to focus and concentrate.
- Potential Side Effects: Overdoing it on stimulants like caffeine could cause anxiety and insomnia, especially in those who are extra sensitive.
- Possible Tolerance Build-Up: Overconsumption of stimulants can cause your body to build up a tolerance and may minimize the effects of your pre workout.
- Possible Digestive Issues: Certain ingredients, like sodium bicarbonate and caffeine, can cause digestive problems for some people, especially in large amounts.
Tip #5: Buy Safe, Science-Backed Products
There are tons of pre workout supplements on the market, but not all of them will deliver the kind of results you’re looking for. If you’re on the hunt for a high-quality pre workout made with science-backed ingredients, ProSupps has several options in our pre workout line.
Here are some of our top picks for 2021:
- HYDE Pre Workout: Formulated with Creatine and Beta Alanine, this pre workout supplement is ideal for fitness enthusiasts who are looking for an extra energy boost, as well as improvements in endurance, muscle strength and focus
- HYDE Test Surge: Great for both male and female athletes and gym-goers, this pre workout supplement is made with a testosterone-boosting mix that helps to maximize one’s energy, drive, and power
- HYDE Xtreme: HYDE Xtreme contains two times the caffeine of HYDE Pre Workout and contains Yohimbe to reduce body fat and increase metabolism
Complement Your Pre Workout with the Right Foods
In addition to a scoop of pre workout, there are other foods you can consume before training to increase your energy, stamina, and performance. The following are some of our top recommendations:
Consuming carbohydrates before exercising provides you with additional energy and helps to combat hunger. Bananas are a great choice because they’re naturally rich in carbohydrates. They also contain potassium and magnesium, which are electrolytes that help to prevent muscle fatigue and cramps.
Oatmeal is another healthy carbohydrate source that will fuel your workout without being too heavy in your stomach. You can enjoy oats plain or add a few berries, sliced bananas, or honey for extra carbs and nutrients.
Rice cakes are low in calories, high in carbohydrates, and easy to enjoy on the go. Top them with some berries, a little peanut butter (remember, too much fat can cause you to feel sluggish during a workout), or honey to add extra flavor to your pre workout snack.
An imbalance of electrolytes in your system may cause headache, fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps, and stiffness. Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, and it doesn’t contain a ton of extra sugar like most sports drinks.
Get the Most Out of Your Pre Workout Supplement
Now that you know more about how to choose and use pre workout supplements, are you ready to give them a try? Is it time to start enhancing your training?
If so, check out our range of pre workout supplements today. We’ll help you find an option that meets your needs and fits with your training goals.