Preworkout is a popular supplement, in tablet or powder form, that can help maximise your potential in the gym or your workout! ...Preworkout is a popular supplement, in tablet or powder form, that can help maximise your potential in the gym or your workout! It is typically complete with caffeine, beta-alanine, amino acids and creatine.
Preworkout is a widely popular supplement that combines some of the most proven ergogenic performance aids including caffeine, beta-alanine and creatine into one powerful formula!
For some, one or two of these do not suit, for example, caffeine, and so they choose to only use one of the compounds in isolation e.g. creatine. In this way, you can think of pre-workout as any formula or food that could provide a performance benefit or enhanced adaptation to your training. You know what I mean?
What is Pre-Workout good for?
That is a great question! Obviously, if you are heading to the gym for a light recovery cycle on the stationary bike, you likely won't need pre-workout. However, if you are preparing for a resistance training session with reasonably heavy weight, a HIIT circuit or CrossFit training, pre-workout can be beneficial here!
Preworkout can, depending on the quality, delay the onset of fatigue, improve mental focus and clarity as well as boost your overall energy. These will combine to help you lift heavier weight, reduce the time to completion (e.g. AMRAP) and more!
But let's dive into some of the unique ingredients...
When does Pre-Workout kick in?
This depends on the content of caffeine and the number of other ingredients, but typically anywhere from 10-30 minutes after consuming your pre-workout, you should begin to feel the stimulatory effects.
Which Pre-Workout is best?
This is also an important question because there is a lot of different products available. If you are just starting out and this will be the first time using pre-workout, you should opt for one with moderate amounts of caffeine. Some products are exceptionally high in this compound, and it can result in anxiety and jitters, or even palpitations during training.
A cup of coffee contains anywhere from 120 - 180mg of caffeine, so in and around this amount is ok. If you are exceeding this amount, then do so with caution, make sure you don't experience the negative impacts of caffeine too harshly and perhaps consult a physician before.
Caffeine aside, some products on the market will try and pack in 100 different "performance" ingredients to really oversell it, but in our opinion you don't need to go overboard.
What is in Pre-Workout?
Caffeine is a stimulant that is often used as an ergogenic aid for exercise, sports, or cognitive tasks. In fact, caffeine is one of only five supplements that is unanimously accepted to provide positive impacts on exercise and cognitive tasks.
It can enhance focus and alertness, while some studies have shown that it may increase the fat burning rate during exercise.
However, some people do not react positively to higher doses of caffeine. Matcha contains approximately half the caffeine content of a cup of coffee and is a perfect low-dose alternative.
Creatine is a natural compound naturally produced in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Contrary to popular belief, creatine is not a steroid or harmful, but rather one of the most researched, effective, and safe supplements on the market! (Source: NCBI)
Creatine is the most well-studied sport supplement on the market today. There have been over 600 well-controlled studies examining the ergogenic potential of the compound. Based on these studies, we have compiled a list of the most commonly reported benefits of creatine. Many of these have been adapted from the Journal of the Society of Sports Nutrition position stand on creatine (Source: JSSN.org)
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid. What does this mean? It simply means that when we are in a nutritionally-fed state (we are meeting our needs regularly) we can produce it ourselves in the body. It is paired up with histidine to form a compound known as carnosine (Source: Examine.com). This is important because it helps reduce the buildup of byproducts during exercise. These byproducts, mostly hydrogen, directly cause muscle fatigue and are one of the reasons for muscle pain and soreness!
Amino acids (BCAA's)
Branched-chain amino acids are the three amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that are responsible for "flicking on" the anabolic switch for muscle protein synthesis, the protein building response. When we exercise our muscle breakdown is increased. By providing a constant source of amino acids in the blood, we can meet this breakdown with a buildup response.