Give yourself a big advantage with a pre-workout boost!
Working out can be daunting and if there was a supplement that could help us get through it easier, then everyone would be using it… oh wait, it’s called a pre-workout!
Possibly one of the greatest training aids we have available to us; pre-workout supplements can make a significant difference. Now, sometimes we just feel drained and the thought of going to the gym is just that… a thought.
But why let your low energy levels cause you to miss your workouts? After all, gains come when we’re consistent. Well, the good thing is that there are some amazing pre-workout supplements that will give you the edge and motivation to get up and be active when you don’t feel like it.
Pre-workouts can help you to push a little more weight and allow you to keep training when you’d otherwise call it a day! And a good pre-workout contains a minimum of a few important ingredients like caffeine, Beta-Alanine, BCAAs, and L-Arginine as a base and all other ingredients are optional.
But, we’ll get into that shortly…
What Does a Pre-Workout Do?
We’re always trying to get every advantage we can when it comes to training and performance of any sort. Well, a pre-workout gives you a big boost of energy during your activities.
So, if you’re an active individual who is willing to push yourself a little, quality pre-workout ingredients will increase your heart rate, blood flow, and focus, to get you hyped for that big session!
The common ingredients include:
- Caffeine (Nervous system stimulant)
- Beta-Alanine (Non-essential amino acid, which aids in carnosine production)
- L-Arginine (Amino acid which converts into nitric oxide for blood vessel vasodilation)
- BCAAs (Essential branched-chain amino acids and building blocks of protein)
- Creatine (Helps make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which fuels muscle energy)
- Betaine (Beneficial for muscle growth, power and helps produce carnitine)
- Taurine (Amino acid which provides endurance benefits)
- L- Citrulline (Boosts nitric oxide by converting into L-Arginine)
And there are studies to shows the effectiveness for performance especially with caffeine consumption. Like one study which showed it to have a positive effect on resistance training to failure and psychophysiological factors which contribute to physical exertion.
There are some pretty obvious benefits of pre-workout supplementation…
- More focus
- Longer training sessions
- Increased cardio
- Strength and muscle gains
- Fat loss
- Increased blood flow
- Better recovery
According to a study, multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements do have promise as an ergogenic aid for people who are physically active. (1)
Another study showed a pre-workout mix which includes creatine, Betaine (trimethyglycine: TMG), dendrobium extract (Dendrobex™), and caffeine to have a better effect on energy, focus and fatigue than just caffeine alone. (2)
But, all you have to do is look at user experience to know that the benefits are real.
Are Pre-Workouts Safe?
Although these products are not monitored by the FDA, most are safe for consumption by the general public. However, you must use caution before using a product which contains caffeine, and other substances which could potentially cause adverse effects.
It’s always recommended to have a full health check before using such supplements, but if you don’t, always start with the absolute lowest does possible and only buy from reputable companies which test their products.
The recommended safe daily caffeine intake amount is 400mg per day. But, people who have built up a tolerance may be able to consume more. And if you’re training, you may be able to get away with extra caffeine consumption. (3)
But it’s imperative you build up your tolerance very slowly. Taking too much caffeine at once, especially if you’re sensitive, can be very dangerous and result in health consequences.
Possible Side Effects with pre-workout ingredients:
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
List of 10 Pre-Workout Supplements
Keep in mind, there are different sizes and flavors for each product. We’ve listed information based on one size and flavor so be sure to check when ordering to ensure you get the desired product.
- Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Plus Pre-workout + Performance
Every serving contains 5g of Creapure creatine which is essential for creating energy (ATP) within the muscle cells. Studies show creatine to be effective for increasing strength, power, fat-free mass, sports performance, and neurological function. (4)
Now, creatine must be taken every day for long term benefits so it may not have specific pre-workout benefits. “You can take creatine monohydrate pre-workout, post-workout, or at 8:49 P.M.,” said Georgie Fear, R.D., C.S.S.D, a board-certified sports dietitian with One by One Nutrition.
So, the energy benefits are sort of always available for when you train.
Then, the Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that produces carnosine which plays a big role in muscle endurance during high-intensity exercise. (5)
And there’s 300mg of caffeine which provides healthy and clean energy.
$30 for 30 servings
- Bare Performance Nutrition “Embrace the Suck”
The mix includes several beneficial ingredients which include cognizin, Teacrine, Dynamine, and caffeine. Cognizin is a substance used for cognitive health, which may promote focus. Then you have Teacrine which is an alkaloid and a study showed it to be effective for endurance and it’s even more powerful when combined with caffeine for cognitive function. (6, 7)
This effect is even more pronounced when combined than either substance on its own due to the synergistic effect.
Now, Dynamine is also an alkaloid so it has energy and focus benefits as well but there’s no affects on your heart rate. But, we can’t forget the 280 grams of caffeine from three different sources which provides clean energy and no crash.
$45 for 28 servings
- Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy
And there’s 100mg of caffeine from green tea and/or green coffee for energy during your training sessions. But, there’s only 5 calories per servings so it’s fine for those trying to lose weight. There’s no sugar with only 1g of carbs and more than 10 flavors to choose from.
You can’t go wrong with ON products as they’re all made with high-quality ingredients.
$29 for 65 servings
- Jacked Factory Nitro Surge Pre-workout
Since we haven’t discussed L-Theanine, it’s an amino acid which has proven benefits for mental alertness and arousal. Many people take it for anxiety and it’s added in a lot of green tea products for a calming effect. (8)
Manufactured in a cGMP certified facility, Nitro Surge is made with only quality in mind.
$20 for 30 servings
- Old School Labs Vintage Blast Pre-workout
A clean energy pre-workout; Vintage Blast has a good serving of vitamin C and B-vitamins for immune health and cell energy production. Plus, of course, it has the standard ingredients which make up a good pre-workout. Then, D-aspartic acid is included which may increase testosterone and provide performance benefits. (9, 10, 11)
Vintage Blast is sweetened with Stevia so you don’t get a chemical taste either and their products are third-party tested for purity and quality.
$38 for 20 servings or 306 grams
- Nutrex Research Outlift
Outlift has the essential pre-workout ingredients you’d find in any product but there’s also creatine which a lot of pre-workouts don’t have do not have. And since creatine is one of the few studied and proven supplements, there is an advantage here for muscle growth and strength gains.
The 8g of L-citrulline will give you lasting pumps, plus you’ll get a serving of BCAAs, 350mg of energy-promoting caffeine and Bioperine which has shown from research to increase the absorption of important nutrients.
There are also plenty of great flavors to choose from.
$35 for 20 servings
- DBA Performance All Natural Pre-workout
Each serving contains 2g of Beta-Alanine, 2g of Betaine, 3g of L-citrulline, 500mg beet root powder, 200mg organic coffee, and 2g of coconut water powder for optimal hydration. Beet root powder can increase nitric oxide levels in the body which is an added benefit alongside the L-citrulline.
$40 for 25 servings
- Legion Pulse Pre-workout
Pulse is creatine-free and the main ingredients include Beta-Alanine, Citrulline, Ornithine, Betaine, Theanine, and Anhydrous caffeine. The ingredients will give you sufficient energy at optimal doses and increase nitric oxide, giving you better blood flow.
There are natural flavors and sweeteners as well so if that’s your thing then you’ll be pleased. But the flavors are awesome, and there’s little to not like about Pulse!
$40 for 21 servings
- MuscleTech Vapor 1 Pre-Workout
Now, besides the creatine (3g), Beta-Alanine (3.2g), and L-citrulline (5g), there’s Nitrosigine and Vasodrive-AP which promote big pumps during your workouts.
Plus, you’ll get a nice dose of L-theanine (125mg) and caffeine (350mg) for some serious focus and energy. There’s no sugar or fillers whatsoever, so you can be sure you’re getting great results with no side effects.
$25 for 20 servings
10. Controlled Labs White Warped Pre-workout
There’s also a Spectra blend which includes many beneficial ingredients like grape seed extract and resveratrol to name a few. Grape seed extract is good for blood flow and had antioxidant properties. And resveratrol also has antioxidant properties along with being anti-inflammatory. (12, 13)
Antioxidants are very important for protecting the body’s cells from disease-causing free-radicals.
So, you’re not only getting a pre-workout with White Warped but there’s a lot more included for health benefits as well.
$30 for 30 servings
Wrapping It Up
Pre-workout supplements are an incredible tool and aid for training or any physical activity.
They definitely give you a boost (There’s no doubt about it) and the options are limitless. But, that means you’ll need to decide which is best for you. Pre-workouts contain a lot more than just caffeine though; they can supply your body with even more effective nutrients for reaching your fitness goals.
BCAAs, creatine, and ingredients which increase nitric oxide make for a potent stack before you head to the gym. Now, some products have all ingredients, and others have only a select few, but it just comes down to choosing a quality product that works!
So, you can’t go wrong with any of these 10 totally awesome pre-workout supplements!
1- “Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review”.
2- “Effects of a Pre-workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety”.
3- “Caffeine: How much is too much?”. Mayo Clinic.
4- “Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update”. 2012 Jul 20.
5- “Beta-alanine: Uses and Risks”. WebMD.
6- “The effects of TeaCrine® and caffeine on endurance and cognitive performance during a simulated match in high-level soccer players”.
7- “Citicoline: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.
8- “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state”.
9- “Aspartic Acid: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning”. www.webmd.com.
10- “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C”. ods.od.nih.gov.
11- (September 18, 2012). “B Vitamins”. The Nutrition Source
12- “Grape Seed Extract”. NCCIH. April 1, 2007.
13- “Resveratrol: A Double-Edged Sword in Health Benefits”.