It’s the holy grail of gym life, when you find the perfect pre-workout for you gym sessions. You take it, get to the gym and you feel like a beast! You are pumped up and ready to rumble! Your lifting away and you have the greatest feeling in the world! Forget about the weights in the gym, this pre-workout makes you want to pick up the entire gym and start shoulder pressing it, and you feel like you actually could!
So what are the ingredients in pre-workouts and what do they do? Lets look at some of the main ingredients found in pre-workouts these days so you can see what will suit you best for your current goal.
Anyone who has had a pre-workout should know this one. Most people know this by the tingly feeling you get in your face and over your body and it’s how gym rats know their pre-workout has kicked in and is working! If part of your training includes some intense cardio then Beta Alanine is also for you! In a 12 week study by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it found that soccer players that were using it increased sprinting performance by 20%, while those taking the placebo actually decreased. If you’re try to get shredded but don’t want to lose muscle mass, beta-alanine can help you keep your hard earned muscle while you go about getting ripped. Just like it helped the soccer boys out, it also helps you get a few more reps and sets out in the gym when you’re upping your weights, so it’s a must have for those serious about adding muscle! It also helps your creatine work better in the body.
Caffeine is found naturally in leaves, seeds and fruits of more than 60 types of tree’s from around the world. The scientific version of what it does for athletic performance is that is it decreases perceptions of pain and fatigue in your muscles and promotes excitability in your spinal cord and muscle fibers. It can improve performance in everything from wheel chair rugby to badminton to weightlifting, so perfect for any goal, along with making you more alert and reactive. The amount you should be having will depend on your tolerance to caffeine. If you guzzle down coffee all day then start by kicking that habit so you can actually get the performance benefits of taking it. The range of what you might need can range between 20mg up to 200mg. Once you have more than this you may experience jitters, heart palpitations, anxiety and nervousness.
This one you may not have heard much about. Citrulline is found in melons and Malate is found in apples but none of us have the time or the stomach size to eat enough of either to get the performance benefits. The nuts and bolts of this one is that it increases blood flow while supporting ATP production and enhances amino acid utilization in skeletal muscle. The more blood flow we get to the muscle groups we’re working the greater flow into the muscle fibers which can mean more energy and endurance as well as bigger muscle pumps during your workout similar to what NO supplements do. This is a supplement that people are becoming more aware of the benefits and you’ll be seeing this appear in any pre-workout worth taking.
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid and is used by the cells to synthesize protein. Your body can actually make Tyrosine from another amino acid called Phenylalanie but Tyrosine can’t make Phenylalanie. Some people bodies can’t process phenylalanie which is why this ingredient is so important. Tyrosine is naturally found in foods like meats, eggs, fish, nuts, wheat, oats, beans and dairy products. Some of the effects of Tyrosine include relief from stress (both from life and also exercise), improving alertness, enhancing cognitive performance and improving workout intensity, increasing recuperation and also preventing over training which are all majorly important when striving hard to achieve your goal!
Arginine is one of the amino acid building blocks for our body. In the body it’s converted into nitric oxide (NO). NO causes your blood vessels to open further which increases blood flow and gives you a bigger pump during your workout and also is one of the key elements in muscle protein synthesis. It will also stimulate the release of growth hormone which for those in bulking season is a must have! This is also a gem for those with weaker immune systems as it stimulates the thymus gland which is great for anyone in a less than optimal health condition, such as those recovering from an injury. Boys it’s also been linked to better those struggling a little in the sexual health department with erectile dis function. It’ll also improve the health of your skin, liver and connective tissue while facilitating mass muscle gain and limiting fat storage. Be careful not to stack this with Lysine though as they will end up competing for absorption.
This is a biogenic amine that is derived from the amino acid previously talked about, L-Arginine. What all that means is that is the carboxylic acid group is removed from the amino acid and then we get Agmatine Sulfate. It will help boost your nitric oxide (NO) levels and also the release of insulin. NO and the insulin help increase muscle growth and dilate blood vessels which further boosts blood flow. Agmatine has been known to increase your training intensity and strength which results in stronger muscle contractions and will stunt your pain which will help you squeeze out those extra reps! This little beauty will also improve mental clarity, lower stress levels as well as increasing your focus and well-being. For those hard gainers out there or those struggling with eating the mountains of food needed to pack on the size, Agmatine can help improve your appetite so you’ll be able to eat that next meal even when you feel full. This ingredient will benefit those who are bulking, trying to add strength or looking to increase energy levels during their workout.
The difference between a good workout and a great workout can be the difference between good results and great results! If you are going to put in the gym time, the small things can sometimes make a big difference. When you're ready for a new pre-workout make sure you get it right with what's fuelling your workout. Find the right ingredients that are going to complement your goal so you give yourself the best chance of getting the best results you can!