Every time you hit the gym for a workout, you want to get the most out of your training and exercise...
Because working out, moving your body, and exercising all play a role in your results ... no matter what you want to achieve!
But what do you do to make sure that you're able to push yourself and improve your performance while you’re at the gym or working out?
Well, that’s where pre-workout supplements can come in handy.
What are Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements - often shortened to just "pre-workouts" - are a combination of ingredients intended to help your body operate at it's best during physical activity. The ingredients in most pre-workout supplements give your body the fuel, energy, and endurance you need to go harder and longer at the gym - plus, they often come in a variety of flavors that taste great.
The reason pre-workout supplements are so popular is because they not only taste great in most cases, but some of them have ingredients to increase energy levels and performance quite a bit!
But let's get one thing straight. Pre-workout supplements are not magic powders or capsules that give you superpowers. Nor do they allow you to neglect other important things like your nutrition, rest, and recovery. Without these things, you can't expect to perform at your best, even after taking a pre-workout.
But will pre-workouts help you improve your performance? Yes! But it seems that all too often, people think of pre-workouts as the easy way to reach your goals ... but the truth is, they are not a shortcut or cheat code.
Using a pre-workout supplement AND focusing on your nutrition and recovery is the best way for you to see the real progress that you're training so hard for.
TYPES OF PRE-WORKOUT
The type of pre-workout you want to use varies depending on the type of activity you are doing, or the goal of your workout ... so, the ingredients you will want to look for will vary as well.
There are 2 main categories that pre-workouts can be broken down into ... pre-workouts with stimulants, like caffeine ... and pre-workouts without stimulants.
When most people hear pre-workout, they automatically think ENERGY and CAFFEINE! They think about "getting jacked up" on pre-workout ... and for some, they crave that.
For others though, they don't want that buzzed feeling ... so they assume pre-workout is not for them.
But that's not necessarily true ... because while energy is a benefit that many seek from pre-workout, it's far from the only benefit of taking a high-quality pre-workout.
Potential Benefits of Pre-workout:
- Boost energy — More energy, thanks to pre-workout supplements, means you will feel like working out longer or harder. Which can help you do more reps and more sets, leading to better results. Once again, this is also dependent on if you are recovering properly and have a good nutrition plan, or quite honestly, just need help getting to the gym.
- Increase focus — Exercise takes as much willpower and mental focus as it does physical strength, and that extra brain-boost can help you push through when things get tough.
- Supply amino acids — Amino acids, found in protein, work to repair and build muscle, and during training can help prevent muscle tissue breakdown. This can help with improving your endurance and helping you push a little further in your training.
- Fuel your body— Carbohydrates are your body's primary fuel source. This is one reason why having a meal with protein and carbs before your workout can help with performance. It's also why having carbohydrates as part of your pre-workout can be beneficial.
Enhance pump — Some pre-workout ingredients are vasodilators. These types of ingredients can help your vascular system increase blood flow, oxygen, and nutrient delivery to the working muscle.
- Increase overall performance — Most pre-workouts will contain different proven ingredients that offer better performance in the gym. Whether it be improving ATP (energy our body uses for explosive movements), or buffering lactic acid ... the right pre-workout can help you work harder and longer during your training sessions.
How Do I Take Pre-workout Supplements?
As their name suggests, pre-workout supplements should be taken prior to the start of your workout.
Typically, you want to take this about 15-30 minutes before you wish to start your workout.
Pre-workouts are usually taken as drinks, but can also be found in capsules to take with water.
The instructions for each specific supplement - like when and how much you should take - will always be found on the container.
You should only take as much as is directed on the container: taking extra servings doesn’t mean an extra effective workout, and in some cases can be dangerous.
What Ingredients Should I Look For In Pre-Workout Supplements?
Because not everyone works out the same way or has the same goals for their workouts, and not every pre-workout supplement is the same...
There are some ingredients, like Creatine or Beta-Alanine, that are commonly found in most pre-workouts because they have a variety of benefits and can improve many types of workouts. But other ingredients can vary widely between pre-workout supplements.
Here’s a look at a few ingredients commonly found in pre-workout products:
- Caffeine Anhydrous — A concentrated form of caffeine, a stimulant that gives a distinct energy boost.
- Theacrine — A stimulant that works to improve energy, mental clarity, motivation, and mood.
- Betaine Anhydrous — An amino acid that helps balance hydration in and around muscle cells, giving muscles extra endurance during a workout.
- Creatine Monohydrate — helps your body recycle ATP more quickly while training. ATP is used for quick, explosive energy during intervals or lifting weights. Creatine can help you recover more quickly between sets so you can push yourself with each one.
- Beta-Alanine — An amino acid that helps in the production of carnosine, a compound that impacts muscular endurance during high-intensity exercise by helping to regulate acid buildup. Note: It's also responsible for the "tingling" feeling you may get when you drink certain pre-workouts. If you don't like this feeling, look for a pre-workout that doesn't have beta-alanine listed in the ingredients.
Are Pre-Workout Supplements Safe to Use?
In general, pre-workout supplements are safe to take if you follow the directions and warning labels listed on the packaging. Just like all supplements, you need to be careful about what you put into your body, and make sure you understand what you're taking in.
Always use pre-workout products as directed.
Pre-workout supplements are intended for adults, ages 18 and older, who do not have a pre-existing medical condition.
Always make sure to read the warning labels ... and if you have any concerns, consult your doctor, because some ingredients in pre-workout supplements may interact negatively with some medications.
Pre-workout supplements are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also, you should never exceed the recommended dosage or serving size of any pre-workout product.
You will also want to be mindful of your caffeine or stimulant intake if you are taking a pre-workout with stimulants.
For example, drinking coffee might not make you jittery ... and drinking a pre-workout that contains caffeine might not make you jittery ... but if you were to drink your coffee, and shortly after drink your pre-workout, it could make you jittery!
The same is true for other supplements, such as a weight-loss product, that may have caffeine or stimulants in it.
So be careful, and make sure you're aware of how much caffeine you are consuming.
Finding the right Pre-Workout For You
If you shop around, you'll notice that prices, flavors, ingredients, and number of servings in pre-workouts differs between brands and products from brand to brand and from product to product ... as well as the number of servings in the container, flavors, and ingredients.
With all the choices, be sure to remember the purpose of a pre-workout is to help improve your body's performance during your workouts and training.
Keep in mind that, before you worry too much about improving performance, you want to make sure you are ready to recover post-workout and have your nutrition plan in order, because that is where the majority of your results are earned.
When you have those things in place, then adding in pre-workout to help you push your body even more during training can be effective, since you will be able to recover better and earn real results.
We Have Great Pre-Workouts For You To Try
Here at 1st Phorm, we have several different high-quality pre-workouts to help you find the best option(s) for you ... no matter your goal, preference in workouts, or lifestyle.
That said, if you have questions or want help finding the right pre-workout for you, give us a call at 1-800-409-9732! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers that are here to help you for free with whatever it is you need!