Interest in pre-workout supplements has increased the more people learn about the benefits they can provide. Even if you’ve heard of them, you may not know exactly how important pre-workout supplements are for enhancing your training efforts.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about pre-workout supplements from what they are and how they work to the advantages and disadvantages of taking them and how to get the most from them.
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance athletic performance and give you more energy so you can build more muscle. The best time to take these supplements is before exercise, training, or sports to boost energy levels and improve strength and endurance.
Essentially, pre-workout supplements combine amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients with caffeine and some sugar to enhance your workout regimen and training. From building muscle to giving an extra burst of energy, pre-workout supplements provide you with the essential ingredients science has shown can improve your workouts and support your athletic goals.
These supplements are popular among athletes and bodybuilders and come in various forms such as powder, liquids, and pills. While the ingredients can vary between supplement brands, they are generally effective and beneficial for enhancing training gains.
How Do Pre-Workout Supplements Work?
Pre-workout supplements combine scientifically-proven ingredients that provide physiological effects that help enhance your training.
Amino acids included in pre-workout supplements provide the vital building blocks for increasing muscle protein synthesis and fat reduction and reducing muscle fatigue and soreness.
Some ingredients help stimulate the nervous system, which enhances motivation and increases energy levels.
Other components increase blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients, giving your muscles what they need to sustain high-intensity training. Improved blood flow allows your body to work through workouts, oxygen increases stamina, and nutrients increase metabolism and build muscle.
When Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
It’s crucial to take pre-workout supplements when they can provide the most benefit.
Taking them too far in advance of a workout can cause them to metabolize before doing you any good. While taking them too close to training time can stop you from getting optimal benefits during your workout.
Most trainers suggest taking pre-workout supplements 30-60 minutes before you plan to work out. This window gives the caffeine time to energize you and the other nutrients to enter your bloodstream.
What’s in Pre-Workout Supplements?
The specific components in pre-workout supplements vary by brand, but some key ingredients are common in many of the best products.
Some or all of the following ingredients can be found in any effective pre-workout supplement:
- Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium, calcium)
- Glucose (sugar)
Pre-workout supplements may contain other ingredients proven to enhance training efforts or ingredients that increase the effectiveness of the supplement as a whole. For example, Bioperine (Black Pepper) is often included to increase the absorption rate of the other ingredients in the formula.
Benefits of Taking Pre-Workout Supplements
Taking pre-workout supplements can benefit you in many ways, depending on the type of training you do. Pre-workout supplements can be used to increase strength and muscle gains or enhance stamina and endurance. Next, we’ll detail the various benefits associated with pre-workout supplements.
Pre-workout supplements contain high levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and citrulline. BCAAs are essential amino acids that go directly into muscle protein synthesis, bypassing the digestive process and making them immediately available for muscle building.
Citrulline helps increase blood flow to muscles, boosting oxygen levels and carrying extra nutrients to muscles during the strength training process. Essentially, citrulline allows muscles to work longer and harder for more intense and productive workouts.
In addition to muscle gains, pre-workout supplements provide increased strength for longer by fortifying your metabolism. Creatine, a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements, enhances muscle mass, strength, and energy in your body.
Nitrate is another ingredient in pre-workout supplements that helps carry amino acids and other nutrients to your muscles. Nitrate feeds your muscles the necessary nutrients needed to enhance your strength during training.
Pre-workout supplements help you push harder and longer during your workouts by addressing two types of fatigue that get in the way of endurance – muscle and mental.
Muscle fatigue from soreness can hinder your endurance during training. The beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate in pre-workout supplements reduces acid accumulation in your muscles. Acid buildup in muscles is responsible for the burning sensation during intense workouts.
The caffeine included in pre-workout supplements combats mental fatigue by boosting your motivation and endurance so you can get through more intense workouts. Similar to a strong cup of coffee, pre-workout supplements recharge you so you can keep going.
By including L-theanine, some supplements reduce the negative effects of caffeine that cause anxiety so you can benefit from increased energy levels. The combination of these ingredients allows you to workout harder and longer with less muscle soreness.
Quicker Post-Workout Recovery
Muscle soreness is a sign that your body is repairing itself and your muscles are rebuilding to increase strength. While you don’t want to prevent soreness entirely, the amino acids in pre-workout supplements help your body remove waste and repair cells faster so you can safely get back to training sooner.
Taking pre-workout supplements helps your body recover quicker after a challenging workout. Although muscle soreness can indicate progress, it can also delay your training program. The ingredients in the best pre-workout supplements support your body through the recovery process.
Drawbacks to Using Pre-Workout Supplements
Like any supplement, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking pre-workout supplements. While they are a great addition during training, they aren’t recommended for everyday use.
Overuse can cause your body to adapt to high levels of caffeine reducing the effects of supplements. In some cases, users opt to take a product with higher caffeine content to get the same effects. If you find yourself in this position, it’s time to cut back.
Addiction or dependence, over-stimulation, adrenal fatigue, insomnia, and increased blood pressure can occur when you take pre-workout supplements too often or consume more than is recommended.
Pre-workout supplements can be a good tool for getting the most out of your high-intensity training, but they should not be heavily relied on. As long as none of the ingredients are deemed illegal by your sport, pre-workout supplements can be an excellent way to safely push a little harder during training.
Are Pre-Workout Supplements Safe?
Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements are generally safe for individuals over 18.
While the FDA does not approve the safety and efficacy of supplements, trusted brands manufacture their products in US facilities that are cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) regulated or certified.
Manufacturing facilities that are cGMP-certified follow regulations enforced by the FDA. These facilities provide systems that ensure accurate design, monitoring, and control of processes. CGMPs assure that each batch of products is safe and effective, and meets the quality standards of the FDA.
As with any supplement, you should consult a doctor before trying a new product – especially if you have existing health conditions or take medications. They can let you know if pre-workout supplements are safe for you to try.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Some pre-workout supplements contain high doses of caffeine, which may cause adverse side effects in certain individuals.
Common side effects caused by too much caffeine include the following:
- High Blood Pressure
Since our bodies metabolize caffeine and sugar differently, people who are sensitive to caffeine and other stimulants should take caution when taking pre-workout supplements.
It is vital to thoroughly check the label for ingredients you may be allergic to or those banned by sports organizations.
What’s the Best Way to Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
Now that you know more about what pre-workout supplements can do to enhance your training Here are a few tips to help you experience optimal benefits from pre-workout supplements:
- Use consistently, but not indefinitely
- Don’t take more than recommended
- Take it 30-60 minutes before training to give it time to kick in
In addition to the supplement, consuming bananas, oatmeal, rice cakes, or coconut water before training can give you added energy, stamina, and performance boost.
Best Pre-Workout Supplement: Pre-Workout+
The market is filled with hundreds (or more) of pre-workout supplements, which can make it difficult to know which to choose. If you are thinking of taking a pre-workout supplement, take the time to research any products you are considering.
As you do your due diligence, keep the following tips in mind to help separate the winners from the duds:
- Read the label before you buy
- Avoid supplements with filler ingredients and extra sugar or caffeine
- Stay away from products with ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t find information about online
- Choose a reputable brand with more positive user reviews than negative
- Buy a supplement made in the USA
Pre-Workout+ by PrimeGENIX® is one of the best on the market. It contains the best ingredients like beta-alanine, citrulline, and creatine that take your workout to the next level, and none of the unnecessary fillers.