Since you are already going to the gym, the track, or the court to push your body to be better and stronger, you could be getting that extra strength and energy advantage that comes with a pre workout supplement so you can push yourself harder.
Pre workouts have been around for several years now, and they are a must for many athletes as well as weekend warriors. Some even use them for recreational sports with the kids or for just a pick me up.
Myself on the other hand, mainly use them on my hardest workout days and any day that I’m feeling a little sluggish. Pre workout supplements are convenient, kick in quickly and have the ability to energize and motivate.
In this article, I’m going to discuss what a pre workout supplement is and the difference a pre workout can make for any exercise routine.
What is in a pre workout that gives it these kind of results, as well as the different kinds of pre workouts available. Because there are so many choices when it comes to this supplement, we will talk about how to choose the best pre workout supplement for you.
What Is The Pre Workout Supplement
A pre workout is a very simple concept that uses complex processes in the body to get results. The simple part is that it is basically Caffeine, Amino Acids (proteins) and some vitamins and minerals. Pre workout supplements are the safest way every developed to maximize exercise results.
The complex part of a pre workout is the scientifically engineered way that the ingredients are all put together in the correct quantities to give the maximum desired results. The goal is for both instant and lasting energy, while at the same time producing added muscle strength and endurance.
Caffeine is a basic natural stimulant that many of us thrive on, on a daily basis. Most pre workouts contain between 150-400mg of Caffeine. This can be looked at as drinking 2-4 cups of coffee at one time.
If you happen to be Caffeine intolerant, some companies have managed to get around this with Caffeine Free Pre Workout selections that you may want to try.
One of the most amazing Amino Acid ingredients is Nitric Oxide which is synthesized from L-Citrulline (may be labeled as either one of these). This Amino serves to vascularize your cardiovascular system.
This can be felt and seen as the blood is allowed to flow more freely through the body. The reward is that this brings much more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles during exercise. This allows you to go both longer and stronger throughout your workout.
As the muscles are worked, a by-product from this is a harmful chemical called Lactic Acid that will build up in the muscle tissue. Pre Workouts contain an Amino Acid called Beta Alanine which quickly removes this acid as it accumulates.
This process with relieve any muscle discomfort, but most importantly it will help keep the muscles from fatiguing, which enables you to continue a workout at 100% capacity.
Creatine is probably the most popular and most studied Amino Acid supplement. Creatine does not agree with some of us, so once again pre workout companies have found their way around this with Creatine Free Pre Workout Supplements.
How To Choose With So Many Choices
The first time looking for pre workout supplements at any nutrition store or website can be quite confusing. The crazy names such as Mr Hyde Nitro X, B-Nox Ripped, NO Xplode or C4 Ultimate Ripped! There are also tons of price points, quantities, and claims written on the labels.
As for the price, this is not usually a huge consideration since most pre workout range between $20 and $40 per container. This averages around only $1 per serving. At 4 workouts per week, a container could last you 2 months.
Always read the Nutritional Facts label for the quantity of Caffeine. This is the primary ingredient that is felt in a pre workout. Start with one that contains around 150mg of Caffeine. If you really want to start out by getting jacked, go ahead with 400mg.
Keep in mind that the high dosages of Caffeine can give the jitters and keep you up at night. It is important to start out slow with your serving size, and workout your way up. If you are Caffeine intolerant, you will want to try one of the Caffeine Free Pre Workout Supplements.
Try as many pre workout powders as you like since nutritional supplements come with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. Since our bodies all react differently to individual products, be sure to find on that feels the best for you.
If you have your own solution on how to sort your way through the pre workout jungle of options, please let me know in the comment box below.
Choose The Best Pre Workout Category For You
There are a couple of specific types of pre workout supplement categories that I talk quite a bit about on this website. Besides the different amounts of Caffeine and Amino Acid quantities from one to the next, it is important to know how they are made if you want to also look at them from a nutritional standpoint.
First, there is the largest and most popular category of pre workouts. Let’s just call this one the “traditional” pre workout category. These usually have the crazy names, logos and graphics. They are almost always on the top or most prominent shelf, and they come in a large range of sizes and prices.
However, these products for this largest category will contain artificial colors, artificial flavors and artificial sugars. The Caffeine in these pre workouts is not sourced naturally either. The ingredients are not grown naturally or chemically free.
This is still a nutritional supplement, so these pre workouts are good for you. The “traditional” category is the industry norm at the moment, and even though they have some artificial ingredients, one small scoop of this won’t impact your body in a negative way.
In fact, this category usually contains the highest quantities of Caffeine and Amino Acids if your looking for the most “bang for the buck”.
You can learn more about these “traditional” pre workout supplements Here.
Next is the All Natural Supplement category. These brands take a little more care in the health conscious direction. These are very similar to the pre workouts we just talked about, except that All Natural Pre Workout Supplements do not have any artificial colors, flavors or sugars.
However, the Caffeine is not naturally sourced and the sweeteners come from a zero calorie source that is derived from sugar. All Natural is generally packed with Caffeine and Amino Acids. I feel that this is a good, middle of the road pre workout category, and it is quickly becoming very popular.
Because of the recent popularity of whole foods, the fastest growing pre workout category is Organic Pre Workout Supplements. To be labeled Organic, the ingredients have to be approved by USDA Organic.
This means not only that there are no artificial ingredients, but also cannot be produced with any chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. The proteins can come from either animal or plant sources.
Because these pre workouts are so pure, they are not usually overwhelmingly sweet or flavored. They are usually manufactured with real sugar and the flavors come from using real fruit extracts. The Caffeine is naturally sourced from tea leaves and other natural forms or this stimulant.
This fastest growing category is expanding with more selections all of the time, and the pricing is in line with other pre workout supplements.
The final category called Vegan pre workouts is slowly gaining steam. This is the ultra clean and healthy alternative in the nutritional supplement world.
For the most part, Vegan Pre Workout Supplements have all the extreme requirements of the organic category, except that there are no animal or dairy products used. In other words, all “plant based”.
Plant Based Pre Workouts and other Vegan products are still developed having all of the essential Amino Acids necessary to get the same muscle building benefits in a pre workout. There is still a small selection for this category (Thus Far), but I have listed the best options in my post, Vegan Pre Workout – Veganize Your Workout.
Is Pre Workout Safe
The short answer is “Yes”. Pre workouts are designed as a nutritional supplement, and are a healthy way to get your pre workout proteins and nutrients. Although across the boards, most exercise supplements are not FDA regulated, there are no harmful ingredients in them.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant and most Amino Acids are found naturally in the body. Healthy Vitamin B supplements and additional nutrients are usually added to pre workouts as well.
The only cases where pre workout bad for you is by taking too much. Always use the recommended serving size, at least until you get used to a new product.
For more information on this, see my post entitled Is Pre Workout Safe.
A pre workout supplement is by far the most powerful product available to generate the energy, focus, increased strength and endurance for an intense workout.
With a pre workout, your body will take longer to fatigue, it will bring focus and help you motivate throughout, and to the end of your exercise routine.
There are many different categories and choices of pre workout supplements that may be right for your body. You can purchase according to the Caffeine level that you feel best at all the way to Caffeine Free. If your body has an aversion to Creatine, there is a Creatine Free Pre Workout for you.
You have choices between the Traditional, All Natural, Organic, or Vegan Pre Workout categories. Either way, all of these choices work to help you meet your exercise goal with less of a struggle.
One more thing for a complete workout energizer and recovery is adding an Intra Workout that works throughout your exercise routine to recharge and hydrate, and a Post Workout Protein Powder to rebuild your muscles to recover stronger for next time.
If you have any questions or concerns about pre workout supplements, please leave a comment below and I will respond.
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