Written by Tim Rigby
You train with a purpose. The goal is not to slog through the motions of any old ordinary workout – you’re here today at the gym or the track to crush your workout. To that end, a specific basket of supplements has been extensively researched and developed over the last 20 years in order to stimulate your body and mind before you begin each training session – ultimately helping you to fully optimize your long-term results.
Whether you train for muscle-building, strength and power or endurance, pre-workout ingredients can be your greatest ally in procuring the results you seek over time. So, let’s take a look at some of the most effective supplement ingredients contained in the best pre-workout blends on the market today:
We don’t know any other way to put it – creatine is simply one of the top supplements you can take. Period. It’s been investigated extensively for over 25 years and each time it’s shown to be safe and effective. In a pre-workout blend, creatine can help produce strength as it draws water into your muscle cells, inducing great pumps which set your muscles up for growth. It also helps your muscles circulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which optimizes muscle contractions. Creatine is particularly effective as applied to strength athletes performing one-rep maximum lifts like powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters.
Standard Pre-Workout Dosage: 2 to 4 grams per serving
The same caffeine which is the number one ingredient for weight loss can play a huge role in prolonging the intensity of your workouts. Caffeine will enhance your power if you’re weightlifting, and augment your endurance if you’re doing cardio. In addition to releasing fat for energy, caffeine will also give you a large mental boost, since you’ll experience the feeling of being more focused and alert. One way to maximize the pre-workout effect of caffeine is to avoid consuming it regularly (for example, through additional cups of coffee on your rest days). You don’t want to develop a tolerance, but rather use it strategically.
Standard Pre-Workout Dosage: 200-300 milligrams per serving
“Perception of fatigue” is a very important training principle, meaning precisely how you feel as your workout carries on. You may perform the same training volume two workouts in a row, but you may feel great and relentless one time, while slogging through exhaustion the next. Beta-alanine combats fatigue so you don’t throw in the towel; so, you extend and capitalize from your training better. This ingredient increases carnosine in your muscles and buffers their pH levels so you don’t fall victim to excessive lactic acid buildup.
Standard Pre-Workout Dosage: 1,500-3,000 milligrams per serving
L-CITRULLINE / CITRULLINE MALATE
Watermelons for muscle pumps… say what? One more beneficial and highly effective pre-workout supplement is l-citrulline, an amino acid which is found at greater proportion in watermelons than any other food. Citrulline has come into vogue over the last two decades as a preferred tool for inducing wicked muscle pumps. The main reason for this is because citrulline is closely associated with the well-known amino acid l-arginine, which is universally proven to be a powerful nitric oxide (NO) booster. Look for blends that contain citrulline and witness amazing pumps that turn into impressive muscle size.
Standard Dosage: 3-6 grams per serving