Pre-workout supplements have become big news in recent years as an increasing number of people have sought to maximize the benefits of their physical activities.
Knowing which products to use is no easy task, so with the help of the excellent PreWorkout.org website, we have attempted to unravel the mystery by assessing some of the key ingredients. The core categories are as follows:
- Energy ingredients
- Pump ingredients
- Strength ingredients
- Endurance ingredients
- Focus ingredients
- Mood-boosting ingredients
- Electrolyte ingredients
- Thermogenic ingredients
- Proprietary ingredients
Now we have identified the key ingredient groups, let’s take a closer look at the most commonly used components in pre-workout products.
Caffeine is one of the most commonly used stimulants on the planet, with around 80 percent of the global population consuming at least one caffeinated product each day.
It features in many pre-workout supplements and is used to improve exercise performance, focus, and the body’s fat-burning properties.
To maximize caffeine’s effectiveness as a pre-workout supplement, it is advisable to consume it one to two hours before you undertake physical activity.
This ensures that there will be optimum levels of caffeine in your bloodstream when you start your strength or cardiovascular exercises.
L-Citrulline is amongst the most popular pre-workout ingredients due to its ability to increase nitric oxide production and improve exercise capacity.
It is generally included in pre-workout formulas as either isolated L-Citrulline or citrulline malate – a combination of citrulline and malate.
Several scientific studies have discovered that citrulline supplementation can enhance exercise performance and recovery.
It is often marketed been marketed to enhance ‘the pump’ during weight training and can deliver tangible results in muscle endurance if consumed in the correct quantities.
Creatine was popularised as a performance-enhancing supplement by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during the 1990s.
Supplementing with creatine to increase muscle creatine stores can enhance high-intensity workout capacity and the ability to perform repeated exercises.
Many respected academic institutions have reported that creatine is the most effective pre-workout supplement for increasing high-intensity exercise capacity.
It is also the most beneficial supplement for increasing muscle size and strength when combined with a structured resistance training program.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid most commonly understood to be an endurance-boosting or anti-fatigue ingredient in pre-workout supplements.
After supplementing with beta-alanine, it can be taken up by the muscle where it binds to another amino acid – histidine – to produce the dipeptide known as carnosine.
Increasing the concentration of carnosine in the muscle helps regulate hydrogen ions and low intramuscular pH during exercise.
This helps alleviate fatigue and allow for more work to be completed. High doses of beta-alanine can cause a tingling sensation on the skin.
L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is present in all tissues of the human body and in most of its fluids.
It helps the body build proteins in your body, and produce enzymes, thyroid hormones and the skin pigment melanin.
It also helps the body produce neurotransmitters that help nerve cells communicate and is important in the production of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine.
Supplementing with L-Tyrosine assists in the formation of important brain chemicals that affect mood and sleep, and can be extremely useful in improving focus.
L-Theanine is an amino acid naturally present in several edible mushroom varieties and tea leaves which has a positive influence on cognitive functions.
It is essential in the brain for boosting the stress relief centres of your body, making you feel less stressed out or anxious.
L-Theanine is a key contributor to endurance throughout exercise and can create greater attention and concentration without causing sleepiness.
When combined with caffeine, L-Theanine boosts feelings of enjoyment while also increasing attention, alertness and response times.
Magnesium provides many health benefits higher metabolism, blood pressure regulation, muscular development and improved nervous system function.
It is essential for energy generation and the structural growth of bones, along with the proper transportation of potassium and calcium ions through cellular membranes
Magnesium is amongst the numerous electrolytes lost through sweating, so it is critical to ensure your levels are sufficient to cope with your workout.
Inadequate magnesium levels can cause lactic acid accumulation, making your muscles feel tired and uncomfortable after exercising.
8. Green tea extract
Extracts of green tea provide numerous health advantages and have resulted in its use in a wide variety of dietary supplements.
It has powerful antioxidant properties, can improve liver function, reduce blood pressure and contribute to a lower total blood fat level.
Green tea extracts also improve cognitive performance, boost your chances of weight loss and is beneficial in improving skin health.
When used as a pre-workout supplement ingredient, green tea extract assists users in gaining energy and improves their ability to concentrate.
9. Spectra Total ORAC Blend
Spectra Total ORAC Blend is a plant-based ingredient that enhances the cellular metabolic activity and reduces the creation of harmful free radicals inside the body.
It boosts nitric oxide levels, increases oxygen uptake and assists in preserving the proper amounts of beneficial antioxidants in the body.
Spectra Total ORAC Blend also reduces muscle soreness, lowers blood pressure, boosts exercise performance and improves the immune system.
It has also been shown to promote better sleep, which can play a crucial role in supporting the rest and recovery process after working out.
The final word
If you are planning on using pre-workout supplements, always seek advice from a health professional before heading down this route.
Make sure that you purchase pre-workout products from reputable manufacturers and always stick to the recommended doses.
Used in conjunction with a nutritious diet, pre-workout supplements are a great way to enhance your physical training activities.
Remember not to think of them as a complete solution for your fitness goals – they are a support mechanism towards you achieving your aims.