Pre Workout Supplement Basics

Many people are now discovering the benefits of using a pre workout supplement. Let me give you a little background on why I have just recently hopped on the wagon with this movement. I wake up at 4:30 am, read, answer your emails, and then by 5:00-5:30am…its workout time. When you are up that early in the morning it can be very difficult to get motivated enough to press play rather than setting your head back down on the pillow for another 2 hours of sleep. Also, by waking up and working out at such an early hour, you dont exactly have the energy to want to push yourself as hard as you possibly could. I decided that I would change up my supplementation to include a pre workout supplement in order to combat these factor that were hindering the full potential of my results. So now you know why I use them, but how do you know if you should use it and what exactly is the purpose of a pre workout?

Purpose:

Pre workout supplements have 3 primary purposes: Energy, Endurance, and Focus. Each of these are essential during your workout in order to maximize the effectiveness of your session. You want to be focused, driven, and energized when you press play. Whenever you start your workouts fatigued and unmotivated, its going to make it very difficult to muster up the mental and physical capacity to push out those last few reps. In fact, you might even give up a few reps short. If you are just going through the motions of the workout, then you are just wasting your time. You want to be in BEAST MODE!

Effect:

There are a wide range of affects with different brands of pre workout supplements, but here is a list of just a few effects that can be expected.

  • Sharp mental alertness and focus
  • Maximized energy levels
  • Circulating oxygen flow in the muscle tissue
  • Muscular energy
  • Increased vascular pump (more blood flow to the muscles)

All of these effects are going to allow you to push yourself to your maximum capabilities. When you can get that heart rate up and keep it up for longer, your cardiovascular performance will increase over time. When you get that “pump” as it is commonly referred to as, you can bust out more reps since the increased blood flow helps your muscles to fatigue slower. When you have sharp mental focus, you are going to be lollygagging around with the pause button on – you cant wait for the next move so that you can demolish it! The task at hand of pushing your body to its limits is the only thing on your mind. Not only do all these factor play a giant role in your workout performance, but they play a huge role in your results. The harder you push, the better results you will get – plain and simple.

Ingredients:

There are many ingredients that you will find common in many pre workout supplements.

One of the key ingredients in most pre workout supplements is caffeine. Caffeine is found naturally in many of the things we eat and drink: coffee, soda-pop, tea, chocolate and more. But as a supplement, caffeine also can serve you up a serious punch in the face to get you going. Whether it’s in a capsule or combined in a pre-workout formula with other ingredients, caffeine as a supplement is often more convenient compared to drinking a source of caffeine. On a side note, caffeine may also support a faster metabolism, focus, mental clarity, fat loss, focus and strength.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. You will see some common amino acids in pre workout products such as; essential amino acids which help to repair muscle. Beta-alanine is another common amino acid seen in these supplements that promotes endurance. When you are able to feed your muscles before, during, and continue that repair after your workout; you will see significant gains. To aid in that repair process, you will see a lot of pre workouts that have creatine. You can learn more about creatine in my article called “Creatine FAQ“.

And for the “pump” effect you hear so much about with pre workout supplements, that is caused by l-arginine which supports nitric oxide production. You will often see Nitric Oxide simply referred to as “NO”, like the products: NO-Explode, or AmiNO Energy. Nitric oxide then opens up the blood vessels and allows increased blood flow to the muscles. You will also see citruline which will aid in nitric oxide production throughout your workout.

How to Choose a Pre-Workout Supplement:

I will be the first to confess that I was very intimidated and confused when selecting the proper pre-workout supplement since there are so many to choose from. So I have a few thing to consider to help you in choosing the proper pre workout supplement.

#1) Do a search for “top rated pre workout supplements”. That probably could have gone without saying, but many times the simplest solution gets overlooked. If you visit www.bodybuilding.com, you will find an incredible system that rates every single supplement to help you choose the supplement that is right for you, with criteria such as: your goal, main ingredient, servings per container, price per serving, and a user review rating system. More often than not, the top rated supplements are at the top for a reason.

#2) Consider your schedule. Many pre workout supplements come in capsule form and in most cases these are not quick releasing. If you have seen my “USP Labs Yok3d Review“, then you will know that although this is a phenomenal pre workout supplement, it simply didnt work with my schedule. Again I wake up at 4:30 to start my routine and Yok3d requires you to take the required dosage 2-3 prior to exercise. I got up a few nights at 2:00am to take my pre workout, but it just wasnt sensible. I now take Optimum Nutrition’s AmiNO Energy which comes in powder form that I can mix with water 15 minutes prior to my workouts. So make sure you check out WHEN you need to take the required dosage.

#3) Are you sensitive to caffeine? Much of the energy enhancement with these pre workouts comes from caffeine and green tea extract. If you are sensetive to caffiene, then there are options out there for pre workouts that do not have caffeine. A lot of companies will suggest you simply alter your dosage from say 4 scoops, down to 2 if you get that jittery feeling. I am personally not a coffee drinker and do not have a high tolerance for caffeine. If I take a pre workout that has caffeine, I usually take the minimum dosage and still get some serious energy boost.

#4) Does a pre workout support your goal? If your goal is not to get the BEST results possible, then I would not recommend you take a pre workout supplement. These are really more for those who are serious and focused on the task at hand during their workouts. This isnt for the person who enjoys social time at the gym or who isnt interested in pushing your body to its limits once you hit that play button. If you want intensity, use it. If you want focus, use it. If you want crazy energy, use it. If you want to maximize your results, then use a pre workout supplement. If this isnt the type of workout session you want, then stick to your current routine that works for you. Im not saying you cant give it a try, but you might as well save the cash if you can.

I hope this will serve as a useful tool for you if you are looking into purchasing a pre workout supplement.

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