Ultimate Pre-Workout Guide: Boost Your Gym Game
Here's What Beginners Should Know Before Trying Pre-Workout Supplements
If you're an experienced lifter, you know that your workout results depend on what you bring to the table. That means having the right attitude, focus, AND fuel for maximum domination in the gym. And that's where pre-workout supplements come in. Typically consumed 15 to 30 minutes before your workout, they give you the energy to crush your glute goals and reach new levels of strength, power, and pump.
But hold up - you can't just choose any old supplement without knowing what's in it and how it affects your performance. That's why it's important to educate yourself on the different ingredients in pre-workouts so you can choose one that works best for YOU. Don't just take any old thing and hope for the best - do your research, sis!
The Most Common Ingredients in Pre-Workout Supplements
Some of the names you'll frequently see on the label of a pre-workout supplement include:
Arginine is an amino acid that is involved in the formulation of nitric oxide, an important compound that helps increase blood flow and nutrient delivery to cells. That means Arginine could potentially work synergistically with the other ingredients in your pre-workout to get them to working muscles.
Almost everyone is familiar with caffeine, one of the most common stimulants known to man. Studies have linked it to increased focus and alertness. Caffeine can also temporarily reduce the effects of fatigue. Remember to keep a careful eye on the caffeine quantity in your pre-workout, especially if you also consume coffee or sodas frequently. You should not exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day.
Commonly taken either in mixed pre-workout drinks or on its own, creatine is one of the most popular supplements for lifters because of its impact on the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is sometimes called the "currency of energy" because it's used in almost everything the body does. By enhancing the body's production and maintenance of ATP, creatine supports muscle strength, size, and recovery.
This ingredient is naturally found in our muscle cells, as part of the compound Carnosine. At least 3.2g of beta-alanine should be taken per day to increase Carnosine levels, which is a key compound for athletes and bodybuilders. Higher levels of muscle carnosine have been linked to helping to boost muscle performance when lifting, which is why it is an important pre-workout supplement.
Vitamin B is one of the most important compounds in the body's production of red blood cells. It is also very important for energy metabolism – by helping convert nutrients including amino acids into energy.
Other ingredients sometimes found in pre-workout drinks are proteins, carbohydrates, and betaines.
Choosing Your Pre-Workout Supplement
Alright, listen up, sis! If you wanna get your workout game strong, you gotta know what's in your pre-workout, okay? That's the first step to picking the right one for you. But, it's not just about the ingredients, there are other factors you need to consider too. Let's break it down for you.
- Alignment with goals for body composition: Avoid picking a pre-workout that is very high in sweets or carbohydrates if you're on a cutting cycle. If you don't keep track of the additional calories from your supplement stack, they could pile up. Similarly, if you want to gain mass, search for a pre-workout that provides the proper nutrients to support your goals.
- Exclusion of harmful substances: Unfortunately, some producers add harmful stimulants to their pre-workout products to give users a powerful energy boost. Before it was outlawed in 2012, dimethylamylamine, popularly known as DMAA, was a common ingredient in various pre-workout drinks. According to the FDA, DMAA-containing supplements may result in heart attacks, high blood pressure, and chest tightness.
- Presence of wholesome ingredients: Last but not least, keep it wholesome. Look for pre-workouts with simple, easy-to-understand ingredients. If you're seeing a bunch of long, hard-to-pronounce words on the label, it's time to either get some clarification or find a new option. Got it? Good. Now go slay that workout!
The Bottom Line
Listen up, ladies! These pre-workout supplements contain all kinds of ingredients that can give you energy and help you crush your workouts. But here's the tea: the FDA doesn't regulate them for how safe or effective they are. So you might end up with some crazy side effects if you're not careful.
Pre-workout supplements provide some benefits. But for most people, they're not really necessary. So, the bottom line is, be cautious and do your research before you start taking any pre-workout supplements.