Do pre workout supplements work for everyone? What kinds of ingredients should I look for in my pre workout drink? How do I choose the right pre workout for my needs and goals?
If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, you’re in the right place.
Read on to learn some of the most important things to know and consider when you’re shopping for pre workout and feeling overwhelmed by all the options on the market. You’ll also find some tips that will help you to maximize the results you get from your pre workout drink.
Pre Workout Ingredients Matter
To find a pre workout that’s safe and effective, it’s important to start by reading the ingredient list. Here are some of the most important ingredients to search for when you start flipping products over and looking at their labels:
Caffeine is, by far, the most commonly included ingredient in pre workout drinks. This is because it increases your energy levels, fights fatigue, and helps you feel pumped up for your training session.
Caffeine can increase your endurance and stamina, too, and it may have some fat-burning benefits as well.
L-Citrulline is an amino acid that helps to increase nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels and improves blood flow throughout the body. This, in turn, can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. It also provides you with better intra- and post-workout pumps.
Creatine is an organic compound that’s similar to an amino acid. It’s naturally found in the muscle cells and provides them with additional energy during high-intensity workouts. Many supplement makers also include it in their pre workout drinks.
Why take Creatine when your body already makes it? Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle endurance, which helps you to push through during tough training sessions. It also supports faster muscle recovery and minimizes muscle breakdown.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids are non-essential, which means the body can make them by itself. Others (nine of them, to be specific) are essential, which means you need to get them from food or supplements.
Of the nine essential amino acids, three (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) are known as Branched-Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs). Branched-Chain Amino Acids have a unique structure and play key roles in muscle building and the prevention of muscle breakdown.
Some muscle damage from exercise is inevitable. However, pre workouts that contain BCAAs can help to minimize the damage and so you continue to see results from your training sessions.
Prioritize Transparency and Testing
A recent report revealed that many pre workout supplement makers fail to disclose accurate information regarding their products’ ingredient content.
Steer clear of products that just contain a proprietary blend and don’t provide any specific ingredient information on the label. This is a big red flag and makes it almost impossible for you to know what you’re consuming.
It’s also helpful to buy products for supplement makers that have their products tested by third-party labs. When a company invests in additional testing, it’s easier for you to feel confident that they’re using high-quality ingredients and aren’t taking any shortcuts.
How to Make Your Pre Workout More Effective
Some people complain about pre workout supplements because they notice that their effects diminish over time.
There is some truth to this claim. When you consistently use a stimulant-containing pre workout, specifically, your body will eventually become used to the dosage of caffeine. This, in turn, can cause you to experience less significant effects and results.
If you are experiencing diminishing returns, the good news is that there are steps you can take to combat the problem.
Before we dive into what you can do, let’s quickly cover what you shouldn’t do. Don’t double, triple, or quadruple your pre workout dosage. Over-consuming many of the ingredients contained in pre workouts, including caffeine, can cause less-than-ideal side effects.
What you can do instead is take your pre workout supplement in cycles. When you start feeling the effects less intensely than when you first started taking your pre workout, take a couple of weeks off.
This will give your body a chance to reset itself. That way, when you go back to your pre workout drink of choice, you’ll feel the full effects once again.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to completely ditch pre workout altogether during these off-periods. You can switch to a stimulant-free pre workout instead. A stimulant-free product will help you to feel energized during your workouts, but you’ll still be reaping the benefits of taking a break from caffeine and other stimulants.
Be Aware of Potential Side Effects
If you overdo it on pre workout (specifically, pre workout that contains stimulants), you might be prone to certain side effects. The following are some of the most common ones associated with excessive stimulant intake:
- Upset stomach/Digestive issues
Most of the side effects associated with pre workout come from caffeine. However, other ingredients can cause issues as well.
For example, Creatine can cause water retention and bloating. This is especially common when you first start taking it and your body is adjusting.
Some people experience headaches when they overdo it on L-Citrulline, too. L-Citrulline increases blood flow to the brain as well as the muscles. When pressure changes in the blood vessels of the brain, headaches may occur.
Many of these side effects can be avoided by following the “low and slow” approach when using a new pre workout. Start with the minimum recommended dose (typically one scoop). You can also cut this in half if you’re sensitive to stimulants or want to be extra cautious.
Make Your Pre Workout More Effective Today
Before consuming any kind of supplement, including pre workout, do some basic research and learn the pros and cons. Everyone’s body works and reacts differently after all. The more you know, though, the easier it is to find supplements that can support your fitness journey and help you earn the best results.
We offer an extensive range of high-quality pre workout products at ProSupps, all made with scientifically backed ingredients that provide you with the optimal blend for your training goals.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a gym rat looking to maximize your gains or a fitness enthusiast looking to maintain your figure. Either way, we have a pre workout supplement that will work for you. Check out our selection today to find yours!