In an ideal world we should go to the gym and train after a good night sleep, fully rested, energized and ready to work out at the top of our abilities. Unfortunately, we all know reality could not be further from this.
Pre-Workout is a supplement drink intended to give a sudden boost of energy prior to resistance training aimed to stimulate muscle growth (Bodybuilding).
There are hundreds of Pre-Workout supplements available on the market these days, all claiming to have the best blend of ingredients to help you make the most of your training. Even though there are numerous supplements available to improve your gym performance, there are only 4 essentials ingredients you need in your Pre-Workout.
Supplementation with Beta-alanine has been shown to increase the concentration of carnosine in muscles, decreasing the lactic acid build up during intense exercise. Beta-Alanine has been proven to decrease fatigue in athletes and increase total number of repetitions executed with a given weight.
Recommended serving: 3g
Ingestion of Beta-Alanine can cause a tingling sensation around the ears, lips and fingers. Nothing to be concerned about as this is perfectly normal. No others side effects.
2. BCAA: Leucine, Isolucine and Valine
BCAA are 3 of the 9 essential amino acids for humans, representing 35% of essential amino acids in muscle protein.
BCAA can provide three great benefits when consumed before training:
It provides energy; it can boost the production of GH (human growth hormone), and the production of testosterone.
Valine is the main amino acid of the three fighting fatigue during training. The one providing the most energy is Iso-leucine.
Recommended serving: 1g of each BCAA per 10kg of body weight. 1:1:1
Most Pre-Workout brands offer a much higher ratio of Leucine (2:1:1 or 3:1:1).
Since Leucine is the main promoter of protein synthesis, it is more beneficial to consume Leucine or BCAA at 2:1:1 / 3:1:1 ratio post-workout.
3. Arginine or Citruline
These two amino acids increase the synthesis of NO (Nitric Oxide) thus resulting
in vasodilation, increasing blood flow and vascularization of the muscle.
In the body, citrulline is readily converted to arginine, and then to nitric oxide (NO). Research suggests that citrulline increases arginine and NO levels in the body better than arginine itself. Arginine undergoes excessive breakdown by the intestines and liver. Studies have shown that citrulline does not, so whatever you consume is readily absorbed and put to use. Therefore, you may prefer to choose a pre-workout with citrulline.
Recommended serving when consumed individually:
Recommend serving when consuming a blend:
There are no know side effects of consuming Arginine nor Citruline.
Caffeine increases the endurance capacity and may help to increase alertness and concentration. Caffeine reduces fatigue, increase strength and can promote the use of fat for energy.
Recommended serving: The effect of caffeinecan vary on different individuals but try not to exceed a daily intake of 300mg. The beneficial effect is obtained with caffeine consumption at doses of 3mg/ kg of body weight at least 40mins to one hour prior to exercise.
Caffeine used to be considered as a doping drug and was banned for years in sport for its great performance enhancing abilities.
This supplement is not to be taken daily as it can cause addiction. Caffeine is also contraindicated for individuals with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and particularly nervous.
There are countless pre-workout supplements available on the market; some recommended by health gurus, influencers and big fitness brands. Do not fall for the marketing scam and save your money!
A large number of supplements only contain very little amount of the essential ingredients to do what the product promotes and advertises. Research shows that if the above ingredients are not present in the sufficient amount, the product is completely ineffective.
It’s crucial to read the label and ingredients per serving. As long as your pre-workout contains the above listed ingredients in the corresponding serving amount, it is worth consuming to make the best of your training program.
Buying these 4 ingredients separately and making your own homemade pre-workout blend might be the best way to get a very effective drink and save some money too.