It seems everywhere you turn these days there are new pre-workout formulas flooding the shelves. And without a basic understanding of pre-workout supplements, and their vast variety of ingredients, it can be difficult to know just what you should use. Pre-workouts are designed to increase your performance in the gym through some combination of added strength, longer endurance, enhanced muscle growth, and increased fat burning. Depending on the ingredients, different products will be stronger or weaker in these areas. Here are some of the most common ingredients explained…
Caffeine: This is probably the most well-known stimulant. Caffeine binds to receptors in the brain to increase nerve activity and lower fatigue. It has been shown to add endurance to extend workouts as well as aid in short-term bursts of energy.
BCAAs: Branched-Chain Amino Acids are considered the building blocks of muscle. BCAAs help regulate protein metabolism and increase protein synthesis. Pre-workouts containing animo acids will enhance your muscle growth. Leucine is the most important amino acid in these regards.
Beta-Alanine: This is the ingredient responsible for that tingly itch you sometimes feel after downing your pre-workout. Beta-alanine increases your strength by acting as a buffer to protect muscles from lactic acid that builds up during exercise.
Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is another strength enhancer that works by aiding in the production of ATP, a key player in muscle contraction. It is shown to not only increase muscle capacity but also elevate aerobic capacity.
Nitric Oxide: When you see a “pump matrix” listed on pre-workout ingredients, that is nitric oxide. It is a vascular dilator which allows more oxygen and nourishment to flow to the muscles for increased strength and endurance.
Based on which ingredients are included, pre-workouts are classified as either pump-based, stimulant free, thermogenic fat burners, or all-in-one pre-workouts. People will always react differently to different pre-workouts so always remember to start slow and assess your tolerance. Our bodies can also adjust to these ingredients so when you start to feel that the pre-workouts are not having a strong effect, give yourself a month off to reset your adrenal glands.
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