The supplement world can be confusing. Should I take protein after a workout? What about creatine? What about a pre-workout? So many questions!
Today, we deal with pre-workout supplements.
What is a Pre-Workout Supplement
Pre-workout supplements are designed to give you an edge in your workouts. They allow you to workout with more intensity by increasing your energy, strength, and stamina. They are able to do this via a few specific ingredients that have been shown to have these performance benefits.
Creatine – Creatine is a common component in pre-workout supplements, but is sometimes also taken separately AFTER workouts. It is considered a strength increaser.
Caffeine – The effects of caffeine are well-known to most people. However, in a preworkout, the concentration is often enough that significant mental clarity, energy, endurance, and reduced perceived effort can be realized. This can be beneficial for many types of training.
Beta-Alanine – If you have ever taken a pre-workout and felt tingly or even itchy, then it probably had Beta-alanine in it. It basically combats lactic acid in your muscles and helps you maintain optimal conditions for muscle growth for longer.
You may also find BCAAs, quercetin and a few other main ingredients in pre-workouts.
Should you take a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Taking a pre-workout supplement is highly dependent on goals and preferences.
I am normally one that likes to stay away from anything that has chemicals and questionable ingredients in it. If you look at MOST pre-workout supplements on the market, you will find fillers, preservatives, chemicals, and artificial junk in them. There are very few that I can recommend with a good conscience.
However, I have personally seen the performance benefits from taking pre-workout supplements in my own training, and I believe that anyone that wants to get an extra edge and take their workouts to a new level could benefit from a pre-workout. My general rule of thumb is only to take a pre-workout if you are working toward a very specific goal (a strength goal, a racing goal, a competition goal) and a pre-workout may give you that edge to get there. If you are working out to stay in general health, I would skip it.
Energize is the one that I prefer. The performance benefits I see are greater than any other I have tried and the ingredients are the cleanest of any that I have tried. I don’t see anything on the market better than this one. Disclaimer: I do represent Beachbody and am paid commission on any sales through the link above.
This one is made from Yerba Mate and is very clean as well. I do not get the same performance benefit from it that I do from the Beachbody supplement though.
Those are the only two on the market that I know of that are clean enough for me to recommend.