Anyone who has an active lifestyle or is a gym freak knows that the main problem while working out is the drop in energy levels. However, some supplements can help you maintain energy throughout the workout, thus leading to better athletic performance. These supplements, called pre-workouts, have various benefits on your performance and body composition.
Let’s discuss everything you need to know about the best pre-workout supplement below –
What is a Pre-Workout Powder?
Let’s start with the basics of pre-workouts. Pre-workout supplements are energy-enhancing powders that contain a mixture of ingredients, like caffeine and amino acids, that can maximize your aerobic and anaerobic performance. These products delay the onset of fatigue and help you train longer, with better endurance. By consuming a pre-workout powder regularly, you can reach your fitness goals, like muscle-mass building, in a better and faster way!
Some Common Ingredients Found in Pre-Workout Products
Pre-workouts usually contain a mixture of many ingredients that can be very effective when combined. Some of the common ingredients you can find in pre-workout products include –
Caffeine, being a key ingredient in the majority of pre-workout powders, is responsible for performance-enhancing effects. This stimulant can help with cognition and performance during your workout sessions. Here’s how caffeine works – delivers more blood and oxygen to the muscles. This leads to better endurance and can also increase alertness in skill and accuracy while playing sports like golf.
This amino acid found in a pre-workout powder is a precursor for carnosine, which is an intracellular pH buffer. Usually, while working out, hydrogen ions accumulate in the muscles and make them acidic. Carnosine prevents muscle acidosis and allows them to work for a longer time without fatigue, which makes beta-alanine the perfect ingredient in a pre-workout.
This amino acid boosts nitric oxide production in the body and reduces blood pressure. Just like caffeine, L-citrulline also widens the blood vessels to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery. This provides more energy to the muscles, which eventually leads to a better workout performance.
Supplements include creatine to increase stores of phosphocreatine within muscles. This can act as a major energy source for sudden bursts of high-intensity exercise and can help you perform intense training sessions more effectively. It also leads to better post-workout recovery and can help you achieve lean body mass gains during resistance training.
Your body needs a greater level of glutamine in situations like physical stress and excessive exercise. That is why pre-workouts include glutamine as one of the ingredients to make the supplement more effective. Glutamine reduces muscle damage and inflammation while working out and helps you prepare for the next workout session in a better way.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are building blocks to proteins that are usually included in pre-workouts to boost the muscle-building rate. These amino acids reduce muscle breakdown and lead to a faster recovery and a leaner body.
- Other Ingredients –
You can also find some other ingredients in pre-workout products, including nitrate and tri-methyl glycine. These supplements also include vitamins, like vitamin B, to provide that additional kick of energy.
The best pre-workout supplement combines all these ingredients in the right proportions to help you get maximum benefit out of a pre-workout serving. For example – Eligator explosive pre-workout contains a mixture of all these effective ingredients to increase energy and endurance and see a difference in your workout performance.
What are the Main Benefits of Consuming the Best Pre-Workout Supplement?
Now that we know what a pre-workout contains, let’s learn how the combination of these ingredients in the form of a pre-workout powder can be beneficial –
1. Delays Muscle Fatigue –
While performing resistance training or other high-intensity workouts, you might notice that the energy levels gradually drop, and it becomes difficult to perform the last few sets. With pre-workouts, you can delay muscle fatigue, which can allow you to do more reps, leading to a better athletic performance.
2. Increases Endurance –
According to a recent study, participants who consumed pre-workout were able to run 12.5% longer on the treadmill. This happens because these supplements increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles. So, pre-workouts can be very beneficial in increasing endurance levels and help make long & tough workouts easier.
3. Boosts Energy & Power –
Another benefit of consuming pre-workouts before your workout session is better energy. We all know how important it is to feel energized while doing interval training or other activities, like sprinting. Lack of energy can make the session less effective and more difficult. Pre-workouts are shown to increase the amount of distance covered in 25 seconds of maximal effort sprinting, thus leading to better efforts.
4. Improves Body Composition
Consuming pre-workouts regularly with a healthy diet and regular exercise can lead to a better body composition and leaner muscle mass. If you are new to training, pre-workouts can help you lose fat mass in a better way.
Remember, they alone are not sufficient to reach the fitness goals; you have to combine them with a nutritious diet and proper training.
5. Enhanced Cognitive Functions
Apart from the many physical benefits, pre-workouts also impact our cognitive processes. They have been shown to increase alertness, focus, and reaction time among individuals taking them regularly. This means consuming a pre-workout powder can help your body and mind prepare for your gym sessions more effectively.
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What Factors to Consider While Choosing Pre-Workout Products?
With so many supplements in the market, it becomes confusing and overwhelming to choose the best pre-workout supplement as per your needs and with the right ingredients. Here are some factors you can consider while opting for pre-workouts –
1. Firstly, be clear about your workout goals. Different supplements work on different workouts; for instance – if you are in the cutting cycle of your muscle-building program, you should avoid pre-workouts with too much carbs or sugar. If you are building muscle mass, go for pre-workouts that support muscle growth and regulate testosterone levels.
2. While choosing a pre-workout, go for the one that has all the ingredients mentioned in detail, and the manufacturer is transparent about them. Eligator explosive pre-workout contains no banned substances, and the product label contains all the details you need to know to make an informed decision.
Some manufacturers might mention “proprietary blends” while using banned substances, and here are some such ingredients –
Prohibited Ingredients that Shouldn’t Be Included in Pre-Workouts –
- Androstenedione, dimethylamylamine, and ephedra are deemed unsafe by the FDA in dietary supplements and should not be consumed in the form of pre-workouts.
- Ingredients like stimulants, steroids, opioids, depressants, and unapproved drugs should not be included beyond prescribed medications and are inappropriate to be added as a pre-workout ingredient.
Hence, you should go for ingredients that are proven to show benefits, like creatine and l-carnitine, and avoid mysterious ingredients while choosing the right workout powder.
3. Know the dietary impact of the supplement, as it should not contain unnecessary calories and sugar if you aim to lose weight. Similarly, if you are vegan, you might want to go for a product that doesn’t clash with your eating lifestyle.
Are Pre-Workouts Effective?
There has been a debate about the effectiveness of pre-workouts. Truth be told, the effectiveness of pre-workout supplements is subjective. The results depend on the supplement taken and the ingredients it contains. For instance, pre-workouts consisting of caffeine are shown to depict better energy and workout results. Also, different ingredients might work better on different workouts, like a multi-ingredient supplement is more effective for muscle endurance. Therefore, no two supplements can offer the same results for different people, and pre-workouts are effective, but their effects can vary.
When and How to Consume Pre-Workouts?
If you plan on taking pre-workout supplements, you can take them before your workout session for maximum results. Most supplements advise taking the powder 15 to 30 minutes before the workout, and studies have also found it to be the most effective time interval. However, the exact duration for which the pre-workout might last depends on the product and kind of supplement.
For example – if you are taking a supplement loaded with creatine, it only lasts for a few minutes and is not effective for long-duration workouts. On the other hand, a supplement containing the majority of the key ingredients can work best when taken at least 15 minutes before the session.
For best results, you can consume the pre-workout tablets and capsules directly with water, and for the powdered versions, you can mix one serving with 250 ml of water or milk to form a shake.
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Are Pre-Workout Supplements Safe?
A lot of studies have concluded that pre-workouts are safe to consume regularly, but excessive servings are not recommended. Make sure to always resort to the dosage mentioned in the supplement and not go overboard. Moreover, these supplements are not recommended for kids and should be consumed by adults who are into intense training and workout sessions.
Also, individuals with underlying health conditions, like heart problems or thyroid disorders, are advised to consult their physician before taking these supplements.
What are the Side Effects of Pre-Workouts?
Talking about the safety concerns when taking pre-workout powders, you should be aware of the side effects, which can vary depending on the product and the ingredients involved. Some of the common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, insomnia, and water retention.
Pre-workouts can be a great way to support your fitness goals and build endurance for tough exercises. Remember not to consume them as a substitute for essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and protein that you get from food.
Thus, choosing the right supplement and consuming it in optimum quantities, along with the right diet and exercise regime, can show a difference in how your body feels and reacts throughout a workout session. So, what are you waiting for; smash your next workout by picking the best pre-workout supplement!