Preworkout supplements are designed to give you an edge in the gym. They come in a multitude of blends, profiles and flavors from tons of supplement companies. Most are powder mixes that you scoop into water and a shaker cup. Taking it can make you feel like you’re ready to squat it all. Some pre workouts will make you feel as if you can PR on every lift.
They haven’t been on the market very long. The first pre workout I ever tried was Jack3d. The performance, strength and focus increase was definitely there, and so was the insomnia and other side effects. This was because my caffeine tolerance was very low then. I could get a caffeine buzz from a large cola back then, and I don’t know how to half-scoop, but I quickly learned. My tolerance is much higher today and I can take Hyde, Mesomorph and the likes.
How do pre workouts help you workout?
The ingredient profile used in most formulas contain extracts that are known to illicit pumps and anti-fatigue. A good preworkout will have an adequate dose of stimulants, pump ingredients and anti-fatigue or endurance extracts. The stimulant effect keeps you mentally and physically focused. When focused, you make gains through mind-muscle connection and training hard. Stimulants provide acute benefits that occur 15-20 minutes after ingesting. Other ingredients like Beta Alanine and Creatine are used for endurance and need time to build up in your system to get the benefits.
Natural Preworkout Ingredients
1. Caffeine is the main stimulant used in most formulas and range anywhere from 125 mg to 450 mg. I have seen some edgy pre workouts push the limits with 500 grams of caffeine along with other stimulants. These pre workouts are called stim bombs and have a horrible “crash” side effect. Caffeine gives you energy to push you through your workouts and is also a nice neuro supplement. A safe intake range for beginners is 175 mg – 200 mg. It also depends on what other stims are in the mix.
2. Citrulline is a nitric oxide that gives you the pumps that everyone chases in the gym. It gives your body better blow flood and vasodilation. The nitric oxide allows for better oxygen flow in your blood and the result is dilation of the blood cells. Thus the pump!! I personally like to have 6-8 grams of L-Citrulline with 1 gram of Agmatine. Recent studies have shown that malate or malic acid combined with Citrulline will give better pumps than L-Citrulline alone.
3. Creatine and Beta Alanine are also widely popular ingredients that supplement companies use in their pre workout drinks. Both are effective ingredients for endurance. Creatine is the most proven natural bodybuilding supplement. Some who use it complain about the “bloat”. The fuller look comes from water being drawn into your blood cells. This helps increase your ATP levels and give you more energy and endurance to hit those PR’s.
Best Pre Workout
There really is no “best”, but there are some top pre workout products on the market that people have been using for years. Some gym ratts like the “stim bombs” and some like non-stim pump formulas like High Volume and old Hemavol. I personally make my own homemade pre workout shake. It ensures I’m not getting an under-dosed product. Many supplement companies hide behind prop blends.
1. Pre Jym is one of the most popular pre workouts on the market because it’s fully dosed. A little pricey, but you get what you pay for.
2. Cellucor C4 has a huge following and is a solid low stim pre if you 1 scoop it.
3. Hyde is the go to for those who like “stim bombs”.
When taking pre workout shakes be aware that they do have some drawbacks. When abused there are very negative side effects. Watch your tolerance and only use on workout days. You should also take a stim break periodically. There is a huge debate in the fitness industry on if stim breaks are necessary. Personally, I know people who have been drinking coffee for 50-60 years – everyday. I guess it all depends on your tolerance other caffeine sources. If you can’t feel two scoops of Mesomorph with DMAA in it, you need a stim break. Be Safe.