Pre-workout supplements have grown in popularity over the past few years as professional and casual athletes seek ways to improve their overall performance in the gym. A true pre-workout supplement should be backed by scientific research to ensure that the blend that you're consuming has the desired effect.
To know which pre-workout supplements will be most beneficial to your body and your workouts, it's important to first understand what exactly pre-workout supplements are all about.
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workouts are supplements designed to help boost energy before your workouts so you can train harder. Depending on how the pre-workout is formulated, it can also help to improve your endurance, promote muscle growth, and aid recovery.
Pre-workouts generally contain one or more of the following “building blocks”:
Caffeine - The Energy Booster
The main ingredient when it comes to boosting energy is caffeine. Caffeine is the most common component of pre-workouts because of its ability to improve alertness and energy levels. However, it's not the only ingredient that can help boost energy. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps to improve energy levels by reducing the build-up of lactic acid and helps to improve muscle endurance. For people who are looking to get that energy hit without loading up on caffeine, beta-alanine is now seen as the natural alternative.
Creatine - The Strength Booster
If you are also looking for your pre-workout to help you build strength, look no further than creatine. Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that enhances the “work” capacity of your muscles and thus helps to boost strength. Creatine can be taken as a standalone supplement, but it's common to see creatine as part of the ingredient mix for pre-workouts, such as the Dr. Jekyll pre-workout.
Nitric Oxide - The Circulation Booster
Nitric oxides are naturally occurring compounds that help to improve blood circulation. Improved blood circulation helps move nutrients and oxygen through the body at a faster rate, which provides the necessary ingredients for your muscles. Ingredients such as Nitrosigine and L-Citrulline have both been proven to increase nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow.
Yohimbe - The Fat Reducer
Pre-workouts can also contain ingredients that promote fat reduction by increasing your metabolism. Yohimbe, is common in pre-workouts. It is from the bark of the Yohimbe tree, which contains a chemical that puts your body in a “fight or flight” mode. As a result, your heart rate and blood flow increase, which helps to increase your metabolism. The ProSupps HYDE Xtreme contains a safe and effective dose of Yohimbe to help you reach your desired goals.
The main challenge in selecting the supplement that works best for you is that there is a wide variety of choices on the market today, and it can be difficult to know which ones will be effective for you. In order to help you differentiate between the facts and myths, here are some of the ingredients that you should look out for.
Finding the Ingredients You Need
It's important to take supplements tailored to your specific needs, which you can do by combining different ingredients to achieve a variety of goals. For example, if you're looking for lean muscle growth, the HYDE Thermo is for you. However, if you're looking to add serious volume, HYDE Max Pump is what you should be looking at.
Stimulants, like caffeine, are also something that should be considered. Do you already get enough caffeine from your day to day routine? If so, then choosing a pre-workout that's high in caffeine may not be beneficial due to the negative effects of excessive caffeine consumption. The alternative is to use a stimulant-free pre-workout, which would usually replace caffeine with beta-alanine.
If you're looking for the extra push in strength, you can consider ingredients such as creatine monohydrate and taurine, which help create energy for your muscles before high-intensity exercises and buffer them against stress-related muscle damage. However, if your goal is to build muscle, it's a good idea to look for pre-workouts that contain BCAAs. These amino acids help start the muscle protein synthesis process and lower the breakdown of muscle tissues.
Those looking to enhance energy and focus levels can opt for L-Tyrosine and L-Theanine, as these ingredients help increase mental and physical performance as well motivation and focus. For endurance, you can select ingredients such as beta-alanine and L-Citrulline. They help increase carnosine levels, which act as a buffer against lactic acid build-up in your muscles and reduce muscle soreness.
Other ingredients include beta anhydrous for cellular hydration, and beetroot extract to help with blood circulation.
Choosing Your Pre-Workout
As you can see, pre-workouts come in a variety of formulas that have been designed to meet various types of training goals. As a result, it's imperative that your pre-workout uses the highest quality ingredients to give you confidence that what you're buying will actually provide you with the desired effect. It’s not uncommon for pre-workout manufacturers such as ProSupps to get their pre-workouts third-party tested to reassure their users that the quality standards of their products are as high as possible.
Another factor to consider is how you want to consume your pre-workout. Some prefer pills, but, it's most common to use a powder form or a premade drink. Although pills are easy to carry and great on-the-go, the effects usually take longer to materialize, as it takes time for the pills to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Conversely, powders are absorbed quickly and easy to consume, especially in large doses.
Do’s and Don'ts of Selecting a Pre-Workout
As you start your pre-workout journey, here are some things to be mindful of.
Regulating your pre-workout supplement is advisable as you may start to become immune to its effects over time. Thus, regulating your consumption can help your body remain sensitive to the effects. You may want to “load” your pre-workout for 6-8 weeks before taking a couple of weeks off to start a new cycle.
It's also important to note that if you're using a pre-workout that has caffeine in it, mixing caffeinated pre-workout supplements with other caffeinated products such as energy drinks, sodas, and coffee may cause negative side effects. Additionally, mixing pre-workouts, or even taking more than the recommended dosage of pre-workout, can be dangerous and cause damage to your body. If in doubt, always seek medical guidance.
If you're using pre-workouts for the first time, you should first start by taking between ¼ and ½ the recommended amount just to test the effects on your body before exercise. This is good practice as it allows you to judge if the pre-workout is right for you. If you have any sort of adverse reaction, you should stop taking the pre-workout.
If you're still unsure what type of pre-workout you need, we created a quiz that will select the best HYDE pre-workout for your needs.
When Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements
Technically, you can take pre-workouts whenever you want. However, to achieve the full energy boost effect before a workout, you should take your supplements 15-30 minutes before your workout. This gives your body plenty of time to digest the powder or premade drink. If you're taking pills, you may need to extend the time by another 15 minutes just to give your body sufficient time to digest the pill.
It's almost important to keep in mind that not all ingredients will absorb into your body at the same rate. Caffeine, for example, is absorbed very quickly by your body, and you'll tend to feel the effects of the caffeine boost first. The additional ingredients that are in your pre-workout may take a little longer.
Diet is also extremely important when working out. You should make sure that you're eating foods that help you best reach your goals. Carbohydrates help by providing the fuel your body needs, which is useful for high-intensity exercises. Lean protein is also important for amino acids, and healthy fats help give you the energy you need for longer workouts.
Some general guides suggest eating three to five meals throughout the day and opting for complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. You should also limit your fat intake (preferably unsaturated) in order to keep your metabolism high. A combination of a healthy, balanced diet and a good pre-workout supplement is essential to optimize your overall performance — be it at the gym or in sports.
A good diet and a high-quality pre-workout supplement work hand in hand to improve your power, strength, and stamina.
Where to Get Your Pre-Workout
Here at ProSupps, we have an extensive range of pre-workouts that can help you achieve your goals. All of our blends are backed by extensive scientific research, and because we third party test our products, the highest quality standards are always guaranteed.