pre-workout supplementsHave you ever wished to be more efficient whilst at the gym? Do you desire in increasing your performance, endurance, and energy levels? What you are looking for is called a pre-workout supplement. Designed specifically to aid your body during workouts by providing it with the nutrients it needs. Each supplement is different from another, and choosing the right one is as important as choosing the right workout routine.

Many people find themselves having trouble staying active for long durations of time. The cause of this is malnourishment of the muscles. In order to satisfy this deficiency, athletes carefully select the best and most effective pre-workout supplements. Different supplements are designed for different workouts. It is crucial to plan the kind of workouts you wish to do, and track the goals you wish to achieve, while at the same time picking out which supplements to use.

Each of the ingredients in the pre-workout supplements enhance specific aspects of your exercise, and effect the result of the workout differently. Some ingredients are effective in purely increasing strength, while other ingredients are used to extend endurance level.

8 best Pre-workout supplements

Ingredients to be on the lookout for Being knowledged in the ingredients, and the types of exercises they are helpful in, is beneficial when choosing the appropriate pre-workout supplement that will fit you personally. In this article, we will discuss 8 core ingredients commonly found in supplements that you should look for. Choosing with which ingredient to buy supplements should be done with keeping in mind the types of exercises you are doing:
  • For a long-lasting endurance, look for caffeine, nitrate, and BCAA’s.
  • For strength oriented and intense workouts; beta-alanine, sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, and citrulline all prove to be of excellent help.
  • An effective mix for performing exceptionally during strength and power workouts (such as weight-lifting); a mix of caffeine, creatine, and citrulline can be useful in pushing to the limits of your body.
  1. Creatine

Creatine is a supplement well known for its ability to dictate strength and enhance energy levels. Found naturally in cells, it plays a vital role in providing tissue with energy in the human body. When muscular strength is the primary goal, Creatine proves to be the most helpful pre-workout supplement. According to the findings of multiple research papers focus on the effects of Creatine on the human body;
  • Creatine was proven to increase muscle mass,
  • Increase strength, and
  • Overall enhance performance of impulsive workouts
Several studies show that if you are taking creatine as a pre-workout supplement for a weight training program, your strength gains will be about 5-10% higher than those who do not take creatine. The reason behind this is the fact that if your muscle cells have more energy, you are more likely to perform exceptionally well and show higher levels of improvement. When you start taking the supplement, the initial dose begins with approximately 20 grams every day and then is reduced to an amount of 3-5 grams each day. Several studies have demonstrated that Creatine, when taken as a pre-workout supplement for weight exercise programs, can help increase gains for users by up to 10% more than non-users. Some people naturally do not produce sufficient amounts of Creatine, due to their rather energy efficient body types. When muscle cells are provided with an adequate amount of Creatine, they are able to use more energy, which in turn shows improvement and exceptional performance. The common Creatine intake dose for exercise purposes is initially 20 g daily. After the body adapts to the supplement, the dose is reduced to 3-5 g daily.
  1. Caffeine

As far as pre-workout supplements go, Caffeine is an extremely popular ingredient.  It improves various aspects of your exercise. Naturally, caffeine is present in: For workout supplementation purposes, Caffeine is a popular choice. It improves multiple aspects of physical capability during exercise. Caffeine is commonly ingested as:
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Other foods and beverages
Caffeine stimulates special parts of the brain. It keeps the user alert, active, and less prone to long term fatigue. It increases the short-term energy use limit of the body, giving it the ability to perform sets of workouts for longer periods. Here’s a general list of exercises which can be abetted by the use of caffeine:
  • Sprinting
  • Weight training
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
The recommended dosage of Caffeine is approximately 1.4–2.7 mg per pound of body weight. Ingesting higher doses of caffeine can be toxic to humans, and can cause the following side effects:
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • A short-term increase in blood pressure
  • Restlessness
Health and wellness professionals recommend users to take caffeine at low doses to analyze its effects on the body. Users should keep in mind the fact that caffeine alerts the mind, resisting its ability to show exhaust, which can be counterproductive if taken 6 hours before sleep.
  1. Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine, an amino acid responsible for recovering muscles from fatigue, does so by neutralizing the lactic acid which accumulates after intense workouts. For this reason, taking Beta-Alanine as pre-workout supplements can be highly beneficial, especially for workouts lasting longer than 1 consecutive minute.

The general dosage for Beta-Alanine, when taken prior to working out, is 4-6 g daily. There are no harmful effects of taking a higher than recommended dose of Beta-Alanine, however users with allergies or other deficiencies should be informed by healthcare professionals first. If this is not a concern, the only side effects a person overusing Beta-Alanine will experience phantom pain on their skin.

  1. Citrulline

Another element already naturally present in the human body is an amino acid called Citrulline. Although it is naturally made in the human body, taking it as pre-workout supplements can be very helpful in increasing performance and boosting muscle growth. The amino acid widens blood flow to muscle tissue in the body. This gives muscles access to higher quantities of oxygen and caloric nutrients to be used as energy.

Studies performed on athletes who focused on aerobic exercises; reveal that their performance ability were enhanced by 12%. Other studies focused on athletes practicing non-aerobic weight lifting exercises, particularly in the upper body, were able to verify that athletes experienced a 53% increase in performance ability. In addition to this, athletes reported that muscle soreness had been reduced thanks to the Citrulline.

L-Citrulline is taken to aid endurance exercises. The recommended dosage is 6 g per workout session. Citrulline Malate, a similar substance, is profiled to be focused on strength-oriented exercises. The recommended dosage is 15 g, with no harmful side effects if larger doses are taken.

Along with the many benefits, there are some side effects, which include skin rashes, restlessness, and nausea.

  1. Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)

You will be surprised to hear that this very common household product, commonly known as “baking soda,” is also used as a powerful pre-workout supplement. Chemically a buffer agent, it fights the buildup of lactic acid within muscle tissue. This largely reduces the lack of responsiveness and unpleasant sensation of the muscles, in other words fatigue, caused by intense workouts. Studies showed a notable increase in physical ability in the following sports when using sodium bicarbonate as a pre-workout supplement:
  • Sprinting (anaerobic running)
  • Cycling
  • Repeated sprints
The recommended dosage for Sodium Bicarbonate is approximately 0.15 g per pound of body weight. Sodium Bicarbonate can be taken in the form of a supplement or simply by consuming baking soda mixed in water or a flavored drink. Besides minor gastric events, there are no serious side effects of overusing sodium bicarbonate, in fact it is sometimes taken in excess amounts in order to clean the digestive tract. In order to avoid an upset stomach during workout periods, the powder should be taken in small but frequent doses rather than larger in quantity and less frequent doses. Persons sensitive to sodium should be cautious before taking sodium bicarbonate, as it contains large concentrations of salt. In such scenarios, users should consult healthcare professionals.
  1. Branched-Chain Amino Acids – BCAAs

BCAAs are taken by individuals seeking to build up muscle mass. The following are three distinct and important molecules included in Branched-chain amino acids:
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine
Food containing protein, especially that obtained from animals, contain large quantities of BCAAs. The most common ways to obtain such nutrients is through the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Although consuming BCAAs in the form of food can help, taking them as supplements can have even greater benefits. BCAA supplements almost instantly increase endurance levels, allowing users to run for longer periods of times. Some studies show that BCAAs even water down muscle fatigue, and help focus the mind. Post-workout, the studies showed that BCAAs drastically reduce muscle soreness, from both endurance and weight lifting exercise periods. The recommended dosage for BCAAs is approximately 5-20 g daily. The standard ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine is 2:1:1 respectively. Since BCAAs are safely consumed by humans as a part of healthy natural diets daily, it is safe for us to say that there are no harmful effects of BCAAs when taken in the form of pre-workout supplements.
  1. Nitrate

When ingested, nitrate gets metabolized into nitrous oxide, a molecule capable of increasing blood flow within the entire body, making it a convenient supplement to take prior to long periods of exercise. The substance reduces the intake of excess oxygen by the body during physical activities, making it more efficient. Nitrate is naturally present in the human body, and can be ingested alongside the following foods:
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Other vegetables
If you take Nitrate in your pre-workout supplement, it has been proven to:
  • Increase the running time before you are exhausted,
  • Increase your speed during the run, and
  • Reduction in the feeling of difficulty and tiredness as you run.
If you are planning to perform endurance-dependant activities such as running, cycling, etc., then you should take Nitrate as a part of your pre-workout supplement. The recommended dosage of Nitrate is approximately 2.7–5.9 mg per pound of body weight. Food sources with heavy amounts of Nitrate are favorable to consume, and safe from overdose.
  1. Beetroot juice

Beetroot juice works miracles for fitness. Whether you consume it as a pre-workout supplement, or just drinking it at any time of the day, studies have shown that it improves overall performance in physical activities. Much like celery juice, beetroot juice is rich in Nitrate, widening the blood vessels. Studies have shown that daily consumption of beetroot juice show signs of accelerated muscle growth after just 15 days.

Should You Buy or Make Your Pre-Workout Supplement?

There are two ways to get your hands on a pre-workout supplement. You can either buy a pre-workout supplement from the market, or you can make a pre-workout on your own at home. Choosing the right approach as well as quality of produce is essential! The two choices, their similarities and differences; have been explained in detail below:

Buying Pre-Made supplements

Pre-Workout SupplementIf you prefer to buy a pre-made supplement, we suggest visiting Amazon.ca. The online store has a large selection of pre-workout supplements, coupled with customer reviews which help in making finalizing choices. Different supplements are made for different body types, weight, and fitness experience.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to do conclusive research regarding which supplement and dosage to decide on!

Sometimes, the stated dosage and the combinations of ingredients present in the supplements do not have a firm scientific basis. There are some supplements which contain blends of different ingredients so that you are unable to determine the exact amount of ingredients. It is best to refrain from buying these supplements.

If a particular supplement advertises itself as a product tested by a laboratory, further research is necessary to seek credibility of such claims. Below is a small list of trusted research centers:

  • Informed-Choice.org
  • NSF International
  • Banned Substances Control Group

The bottom line comes down to the fact that prior to purchasing a pre-workout supplement, you should research the ingredients, concentration, recommended dosage for oneself, and choose the right product according to the type of exercise done.

Making Your Own Pre-Workout Supplement

The other option for you is to mix the ingredients to make a supplement that works out for you perfectly. This might seem like a daunting task, but this is a very safe way to ensure that you are only eating the necessary ingredients in the exact amount and nothing too harmful is finding its way in your body. If you know which ingredients are best for exactly which type of exercise, you will be able to choose or make the perfect pre-workout supplement on your own.

You should buy the ingredients that you want individually. If you are feeling confused, give this article another read and choose the ingredients according to the exercises you will be doing. This gives you the liberty to experiment with dosages and ingredients and figuring out which one works perfectly for you. The ingredients mentioned in this article are relatively easy to buy, and if you buy them in a bulky amount, you will end up saving a lot of money by the end of it.

If you are still not comfortable with the idea of making your own pre-workout supplement, there is still no need to be worried. Just do your research, and take a careful look at the ingredients of the pre-workout supplement that you are going to buy. Compare the ingredients, dosages and the type of exercise you are going to do, and you will have the perfect pre-workout supplement.

Conclusion

pre-workout supplementsThus far, we have established that pre-workout supplements enhance your exercise performance and have an overall significant effect on your exercise routine. You can either purchase a pre-workout supplement, or you can make your own supplement using the ingredients listed above. Getting them in the right quality and quantity is very important for your fitness. If you make your own supplement, you have the benefit of complete control over what you are going to ingest, however; it takes more time and effort. In this article, individual supplements have not been studied; however, after reading this, you should have an idea about what to look for in a safe and cheap pre-workout supplement. We hope this has motivated you enough to design a healthier, more productive lifestyle!