Performance, Strength, Results: Benefits of a Pre-Workout
Once made up of a banana, an aspirin, and a cup of coffee, the pre-workout supplement has come a long way since its primitive (and questionable) humble origin. Today, there are literally hundreds of products to choose from, all cast with bright colors and incredible flavors. Is it all for show? Do you really need a pre-workout supplement or is it just another way to waste money?
Pre-workout supplements can be the difference between crushing your workouts and burning out half way. Let’s take a look at the proven benefits of a pre-workout, and how it can help you.
What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?
As the name implies, a pre-workout supplement is a powder or capsule that you drink or take before you begin to exercise. How long before exercising should you take a pre-workout? Generally, you want to drink your pre-workout supplement around 30 minutes before you hit the weights. If you are drinking it on an empty stomach, 15 to 20 minutes might be better since it’ll kick in much faster.
Now, the important question: Why bother with a pre-workout? The main reason behind using a pre-workout supplement is to kickstart your energy levels to ensure you have enough to get through your planned exercise program. Some people also use pre-workout supplements to replace their morning coffee or if they need an extra boost at work or school. Energy is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reasons why you should use a pre-workout.
Benefits of Common Pre-Workout Ingredients
Pre-workout supplements are nothing without their ingredients. You can have all of the flashy labeling in the world, but if you’re using unproven ingredients with weak dosages, you won’t get far. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used pre-workout ingredients, and the scientifically proven benefits behind them.
Caffeine: The quintessential pre-workout ingredient, caffeine is the foundation of nearly every pre-workout, nootropic, and fat burner supplement on the market. Why? Caffeine has been shown to elevate physical and mental energy, especially for those who have been deprived of sleep. Caffeine has also been demonstrated to improve athletic performance during workouts. What’s more, as a nootropic, caffeine can increase your focus and attention.
L-Tyrosine: This amino acid plays an important role in cognitive health. As a nootropic ingredient, it’s a precursor to important neurotransmitters in the brain. It also supports the working memory process. So how can this help you during your workouts? Taken pre-workout, L-tyrosine can keep focus levels high while ensuring that your mental performance levels don’t fall. If you’ve ever exercised for a while, or if you’ve ever stepped into the gym on a half tank of energy, you know only too well that feeling of mental fog and fatigue. L-tyrosine can help you avoid this crash and keep you going strong during your toughest workouts.
Yohimbine: A pre-workout, nootropic, and fat burner…is there anything that this herbal extract can’t do? Not for the faint of heart or those sensitive to stimulants, yohimbine skyrockets energy levels and supports your athletic performance. Studies show that yohimbine can boost intra-workout performance, increase energy levels, and kickstart fat oxidation. Probably best to test the waters at half a dose to judge your tolerance of this energy booster.
Huperzine A: The original nootropic, or brain boosting ingredient, huperzine A is a long-time favorite among bodybuilders and college students alike. Why? Huperzine A has been shown to improve your concentration, alertness, and focus. All necessary things during intense lifting, study, or work sessions. What’s more, huperzine A supports the working memory process, allowing for faster recall of learned information. As a newbie in the gym, this is going to be a huge help as you’ll avoid making amateur mistakes twice.
Agmatine Sulfate: A true pre-workout supplement doesn’t just amp up your focus and alertness; it also prepares your body for the physical workout to follow. Agmatine sulfate is derived from the amino acid, L-Arginine, and it’s been shown to promote two key things for your workouts: blood flow and nitric oxide production. Better blood flow can help you in a few ways: better oxygen delivery, better nutrient uptake, and better removal of waste products caused by the workout itself. When it comes to nitric oxide production, this is where those blood-pooling, vein-bursting pumps come from, and agmatine sulfate can help you achieve those.
Beta Alanine: One of the best things to pair with agmatine sulfate is beta alanine. Famous for that tingling and flushing feeling in the back of your neck once you take it, beta alanine can significantly help with your workout performance and strength out-put. Studies show that supplementing with beta alanine before a workout can boost strength levels, muscular hypertrophy, and overall performance. It might also be a great way to kickstart your recovery, especially when paired with agmatine sulfate.
Creatine Monohydrate: Your brain is good to go and your blood flow is ramped up; now what about your actual muscle tissue? Glad you asked. No pre-workout would be complete without a way to deliver fuel to the actual muscle tissue. The best way to do this is creatine monohydrate. Once ingested, creatine monohydrate is converted into adenosine triphosphate, the preferred fuel source of muscle tissue. Creatine supplementation has been proven to boost endurance, muscle size, and overall performance.
How to Use a Pre-Workout Supplement
Here’s a quick breakdown on how to perfectly time your pre-workout nutrition:
1 Hour Before: Take a protein blend that ideally contains plant-based sources as well as concentrate and isolate. This will provide amino acids for your workout.
20 Minutes Before: Consume your pre-workout supplement of choice. Ideally, no other food should be consumed before the protein shake for maximum effect.
Which Pre-Workout Do You Use?
Do you have a favorite go-to supplement that ensures you make it through every workout? Have you tried any pre-workouts from Insane Labz? What did you think about them? Let us know in the comments below!