There’s so many supplements on the market today that aim to assist your workouts, performance and development. One highly popular supplement are pre-workouts. Aimed at increasing your energy levels, pre-workouts can come in many forms, with many different ingredients. Here we cover, what they are, what they can help with and whether you should use them or not.
What is a pre-workout?
Pre-workout is a supplement (usually in powder form or tablets that can be added to a drink) that is designed to be taken around 30-60 minutes before exercising to boost your energy, endurance and increase your overall performance during a workout.
Different types of pre-workout
Just looking at the marketing and ingredient list on any given pre-workout will show you the vastness of the supplement industry these days. From pre-workouts that boost energy, to ones that also aim to boost your strength and even muscle building abilities. Here’s some common ingredients you may find in different pre’s.
This one is a given, most pre-workouts are loaded with caffeine, which is their main energy source. Always be wary of the amount of scoops you’re having though as the amount of caffeine you’re ingesting can greatly increase.
Here at Gym Plan we call these ‘fire ants’, as it literally feels like little fire ants are crawling on your skin (i.e. the tingling sensation you feel when taking this). Beta alanine can help to reduce lactic acid build up which can greatly enhance your muscular endurance.
Sometimes your pre-workout may contain creatine monohydrate, which is one of the most tried and tested supplements on the market and one that is great for enhancing your strength during a workout.
Carbohydrates & BCAA’s
Other notable ingredients in some pre’s are carbs (again for using as an energy source during workouts) and/or branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s). Aminos are often marketed as ‘muscle building’ however they can also assist in energy production and reducing muscle breakdown.
Should I take a pre-workout?
Due to so much variety in the pre-workout supplement industry, you can’t really compare any two together. They all have different ingredients, differing amounts of those ingredients (especially caffeine) and some supplements use ‘proprietary blends’, basically meaning they don’t have to always state the full amount of each ingredient…annoying huh!
There’s also the issue of how you’ll individually react to any one of the ingredients…are you hyper sensitive to caffeine, do you turn all red and flushed when taking beta-alanine? These things can sway many people, but like with any supplement you’ll never really know until you try it. Pre-workouts can be a great source of energy if you’re really struggling for gym energy (i.e say you hit the gym super early in the morning or dead late at night after a long busy day). They can also help you to push harder for longer, getting more out of your workouts.
But our best advice is this…if you’re going to try a pre-workout…take note of the ingredients on the back, try to stay away from proprietary blends so you know how much of each ingredient is in the product (especially caffeine). From there try half the amount of the recommended dosage to asses your tolerance first.
If you’re still unsure what specific product to use, try looking on forums or ask a friend who has used one before, but still…start small…build up slowly until you know your own tolerance.
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