What you put on your plate matters if it’s muscle gains you're after. Pre-workout nutrition – as in what you eat before you work out – is essential for long-term muscle-building goals.
But if you’ve got your eye on gains in rock-solid muscle, the solution to take your progress up a level is pre-workout supplements.
Pre-workout supplements are crucial because they are supercharged with nutrients you simply can't consume enough of through your regular diet. What is a good pre-workout for muscle gain? One that lists its entire ingredients is an excellent place to start.
Why are pre-workout supplements held up as the answer to significant gains in muscle size and strength? The impact of pre-workout on anabolic muscle growth starts from the moment you chug it down. Here’s why they’re the answer to getting you closer to your muscle mass goals.
How Your Body Builds Muscle
What happens when you dish out an intense triceps and biceps workout? The reps stimulate your muscle fibers to a point where they tear. To repair themselves, they knit together. Because the renewed strands are stronger and thicker, the muscles grow in strength and size.
The end game is you packing on more rock-solid muscle, but to get out of your plateau, you need to support this 'damage, repair, and growth' cycle, also known as ‘muscle hypertrophy’. The best pre-workout supplement for muscle building has compounds that support the body through this entire cycle.
The Function of Pre-Workouts
To make gains, you have to increase weight or resistance to challenge your muscles.
When you’re working hard out on the floor and exhausting your muscles, it can be hard to push through your last few reps. If this is the moment you start to feel flaky, a pre-workout is designed to save you from the fade.
The more stimulus your muscles receive, the more efficient your muscle growth and gains will be over time. Pre-workouts can allow you to work at those higher intensities for more extended periods because you can tap into the best version of yourself in terms of energy and focus. You can stick with your program – training and lifting at a more extreme level before fatigue sets in.
Your Muscles On: Stimulants like Caffeine
Caffeine-heavy energy drinks offer a buzz and rush of energy. But they’re not designed like a pre-workout supplement, which is formulated to support ultimate muscle growth thanks to ingredients that come into play before, during, and after your workout.
We’ve already touched on how stimulants like caffeine can actively contribute towards your goal for muscle building. Taken as part of a supplement formula that you chug down 30 to 60 minutes before your workout, it fires you up for a better workout by increasing your metabolic rate.
This sets off a chain of events that results in that energy surge you experience to help you push through. This is why pre-workout is important – but timing also matters. You want your body primed with energy before you start stressing those muscles.
Once in your system, caffeine lasts for about three hours, which is why it's able to take on another role that factors into your ability to build more muscle. In a long workout, it stimulates the body to use fat stores rather than muscle glycogen. Your muscles can therefore stay in the game for longer and continue working at consistent levels.
Stimulants like caffeine really are the kingmakers for muscle making when you look at the rest of their benefits when used in a pre-workout. Check out some of the key benefits below.
- They have a positive effect on the part of the brain responsible for concentration
- They keep you sharp and focussed in your workout which translates into more productive sessions
- Caffeine has been shown to reduce post-workout muscle soreness, freeing you up to get back in the gym sooner
The best pre-workout supplement for muscle building should have a stimulant on its ingredients list. If you are sensitive to caffeine, what is a good pre-workout alternative? HYDE Max Pump offers a similar energy surge, but without the jittery side effects.
Your Muscles On: Creatine
Creatine is one of the most popular and effective ingredients in pre-workout for increasing muscle mass and strength and wins bragging rights because it can improve both short-term and long-term muscle mass growth.
The more energy you have, the more you can lift. Creatine helps muscle cells produce more energy that you can draw on as you perform your weightlifting exercises.
But long after you've put down your weights, hit the shower, and have headed home, creatine works its magic on your muscles too. It triggers several cellular processes that lead to muscle growth.
Your Muscles On: Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids (you'll see them on the label of your pre-workout as BCAAs) are found in proteins like eggs and meat that are commonly on our plates. Take a closer look at them, and they are made up of three critical amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Your muscles need this threesome of amino acids as part of the muscle repair process. They help muscle growth while also reducing muscle soreness.
Your Muscles On: L-Citrulline & L-Arginine
L-citrulline and L-arginine (both amino acids) are needed to boost the nitric oxide levels of the system. Nitric oxide is a winner all the way for muscles. It improves blood flow, increasing the delivery of important nutrients to working muscles.
The combination is also known to increase growth hormone levels in the blood. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has a part to play in increasing muscle mass, so if these levels are boosted, your body makes those gains in muscle mass sooner.
Your Muscles On: Carnitine
It’s a popular fat burner, but it also doubles up as a powerful anabolic steroid. Research has shown that taking carnitine leads to better recovery from weight training, and subjects in the study had higher levels of androgen receptors in their muscle cells. These are what testosterone binds with to trigger muscle growth – so the more, the better.
Why pre-workout is important for muscle gain is clear. Arm yourself with everything your system needs before your workout and see the gains stack up.
Get Set To Build Muscle Mass
Are you ready to up those gains? If so, adding a pre-workout supplement to your regimen will help you take your progress up a level.