We all know about the power that pre-workout supplements have to help you go the extra mile in the gym. We also know that it is surprisingly easy to lose one's way in the plethora of names, as well as trying to figure out all the different packaging. Fortunately for you, we have a wonderful solution!
Are you looking for a way to last longer in the gym? Believe it or not, one of the best ways of doing so is by taking pre-workout supplements, which will give you the adequate quality and quantity of extra energy you need. The only problem here is that, if you're a novice in the world of supplements, sorting through and choosing the best one among the wide range of labels, choices, and ingredients can be difficult.
Once you start searching for good ingredients on the internet, you may be confused as to the number of names and varieties and would go something like “citrulline-that,” “creatine-this,” and “beta-ala-what?” And if that wasn't enough, you'll also get all the ingredients blended into a single combination and labeled with flashy names, such as “Explosive Blood-Rush Blend,” or “Ultra-Nasty Uber Pump.”
Needless to say, when you're flooded with that many difficult-to-pronounce words and some pretty ruthless marketing, you may get the feeling that you are drowning. All you ever wanted was to get some extra energy to go that extra mile when you worked out, and there you are trying to decide between all of that! You surely were not looking for this!
Luckily, you have this article, which will help you get started on creating a pre-workout routine that includes the required ingredients.
After a thorough search for the best ingredients for building my pre-workout, I managed to decide four main ingredients, which I love to call “The Big Four.” Each of these has several health benefits to offer, and has a very specific positive effect on how your body sustains your workout session.
While there are several supporting ingredients that can be used for pre-workouts, it is the “Big Four” that have the largest amount of scientific research that back their use and effectiveness. It is best, therefore, that you start with these before adding or even moving on to other ingredients.
Needless to say, the main purpose of using caffeine is to provide you with the required energy that you need during your workout.
You can take about 200-500 mg of caffeine; alternatively one can take it at a rate of 1.8 to 2.7 mg for every kg body weight.
Benefits Of Caffeine
Like it or hate it, you just can't ignore it. That's how much we know about caffeine.
This wonder ingredient has been proved time and again to be an efficient ergogenic-aid (aka a performance booster) both for high-intensity endurance exercises and for short bursts of maximal exercise (such as sprints).
While there aren't too many studies which prove this, it is an irrefutable fact that caffeine has been nonetheless observed to decrease the stress and burden of a heavy workload by lessening the amount of fatigue and decreasing the feeling of effort, even among people who are sleep-deprived! Now that's a really big advantage! After all, more work brings more gains!
Ideal caffeine dosage varies from one person to another. For instance, if you use caffeine habitually, you may have a caffeine tolerance built up and may require more caffeine to experience the same results over and over. Similarly, if you're not a caffeine user, a very small amount of it would be enough for you. You will, therefore, have to keep playing within the ranges to figure out a dosage that works for you.
A little warning for you: If you're among the many who workout during the nighttime, you must take your caffeine carefully. This is because of the fact that the energizing effect of caffeine takes time to wear off, and if taken in the wrong proportion, it can end up keeping you awake at night long after your workout. Remember, a lack of sleep makes an unhealthy person!
Why Is It Important?
Now this one's a true no-brainer. The number one thing that you will need to survive your intense workout session is energy, and caffeine is the best and quickest source to obtain it, so that you can get on and stay on your workout without pausing.
2. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
The main purpose behind consuming Branched-Chain Amino Acids is to encourage an anabolic atmosphere within the body.
Not more than 5 gm of BCAAs should be taken as a pre-workout, and not more than 20 gm of it should be consumed in a day.
Benefits Of Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-Chain Amino Acids such as valine, isoleucine, and leucine are important for many bodily processes, such as increasing synthesis of protein, regulating metabolism of protein, and suppressing the breakdown of protein. You must achieve the correct ratio of valine to isoleucine to leucine, namely 1:1:2, respectively.
Why Is It Important?
As a very essential pre-workout ingredient, Branched-Chain Amino Acids help you gain immediate and outright protection against an exercised-induced catabolic environment. Additionally, taking BCAAs can help reduce Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS in short) that generally take place the day after you exercise, thereby allowing you to return to rigorous training faster than you would without taking a pre-workout supplement.
One can take anywhere between 1.5 gm to 5 gm of Beta Alanine.
Benefits Of Beta-Alanine
Beta-Alanine is yet another ingredient that will allow you to improve upon your total training volume, and functions by buffering all the hydrogen (H+) ions in your body to give you the capacity to maintain your body's intensity for longer stretches of time. Simply put, extra volume is equivalent to more gains.
Needless to say, Beta-Alanine is ideal if you need to pump-out some extra reps and get as much in during your workout as possible.
Upon taking a larger quantity of beta alanine, you may find yourself experiencing a sort of tingling sensation. It is not a cause of worry (your skin surely isn't melting), but you are going through a phase called “paresthesia,” which is absolutely normal when you take such ingredients at such a high dosage initially.
In the event that you do not like to experience this feeling, you can try splitting the dose into smaller portions, which you can take in the entire duration of the day.
Why Is It Important?
Beta-Alanine is indeed the best ingredient out there to help you pump out those extra reps and get the best out of your workout sessions. The ingredient takes up the number three spot on the list, mainly due to the fact that it does not need to be taken just before the workout session.
As you take it at some point during the day, it is possible to be able to create and increase your bodily stores and propel your body's ability to create more H+.
4. Creatine Monohydrate
The main purpose of Creatine Monohydrate is to give you that extra strength so you get through your workout easier, and be able to have the energy to keep great form for a better workout.
Not more than 5 gm of Creatine should be taken before workout, and not more than 20 gm of it should be taken daily.
Benefits Of Creatine
This is the fantastic ingredient that will allow you to get the best out of your lower-rep exercises. Creatine allows your muscles to become saturated with an energy source, which will help you do those massively big lifts you've always wanted to try out with ease.
Creatine has a very specific dosage range. It may seem big, which is on account of the fact that manufacturers generally suggest a “loading” period, which will help speed-up the process of saturation. This “period” first begins with a week, and thereafter decelerates to a “maintenance” period of 5 gm a day.
In the event that you are not comfortable with the super-quick bulk loading phase, you can forego the heavy 20 g loading dose, and simply follow the simple 5 gm-per-day dose, which is equivalent to a teaspoonful each day.
Why Is It Important?
Creatine is one of the best pre-workout ingredients out there. Frankly, it's something that should be recommended to anyone and everyone who works out. The main reason why it is at number four is due to the fact that it, just like beta-alanine, can be taken at any point of time during the day.
As of today, only a single study has successfully proved that Creatine does have a benefit (even though it is very small one) if taken post-workout. All the remaining literature on the topic does not suggest anything regarding the effect of the time when creatine was taken with the amount of strength.
As of right now, scientific studies show that it is best to take the ingredient whenever you want and pay attention to the others in “The Big Four” for your pre-workout.
Bonus Ingredient: Vasodilators
Yes, folks. That's the surprise we've got for you. Adding this fifth element to your pre-workout diet will help you feel the difference!
The main purpose of vasodilators is to increase the circulation and flow of blood in your body.
Exactly as the name suggests, vasodilators, which includes things such as L-arginine, L-citrulline, and beetroot, among others, increase the level of nitric oxide present in the blood, which in turn helps in increasing the blood flow and level of blood circulation. They basically act as a much-needed “pump” to the circulatory system to give the body a boost of energy while exercising.
As with practically everything else, there are several different kinds of vasodilators available on the market, containing a wide variety of ingredients and coming in several dosing recommendations, thereby giving you the chance to choose whatever you prefer and whatever suits your needs the best.
One of the best and most recommended vasodilators are pomegranate extracts, a dietary and natural nitrate source which has proved the ability to increase the flow of blood, as well as lessen the amount and duration of fatigue among individuals who lead highly active lifestyles.
Top Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients Final Words
Needless to say, the desired course you should take is to focus on incorporating the above ingredients within your pre-workout routine in the exact order in which it has been mentioned.
Given the fact that every ingredient has multiple and different benefits in various scenarios, you must always remember to take the ingredients in EXACTLY the same order in which they have been placed on the list so that you can get the best out of each and the best in totality as well.
Next, whenever you go out to buy the products for your pre-workout routine, you must ensure that the product you buy has an adequate amount of the ingredients mentioned above. If the quantity is off-the-mark, it can prove to be ineffective for your purposes.
It may so happen that instead of separate products containing separate ingredients, you have (or have found) a singular pre-workout product which contains a single proprietary blend, where the ingredients, instead of being separately listed, are listed in its total amount.
In such products, the ingredients' individual doses are pre-fixed, which makes it very difficult to find out the exact quantity of each ingredient. That said, you can supplement your pre-workout routine with some extra amount of the required ingredient in case any one (or more) of them are present in your mix is a lesser quantity.
Last but not least, you must take care of the timing. You must make sure to take your pre-workout products at least thirty minutes prior to beginning your actual workout. For instance, you can drink your product when you're driving your car to your gym or are getting ready in your locker room.
By taking your blend on time, you can make sure that all of the ingredients begin metabolizing at the right time and get into action when you are about to complete the final set of your first lift – the time when you will actually require it.
Now that you know all about “The Big Four” (plus a bonus), all you need to do is go ahead and hit the gym to experience your most energetic lifting session to date.
it the gym to get experience your most energetic lifting session to date!