One thing that many wonder about when they start getting serious about their training, it’s supplements. Pre-workout, post-workout, metabolism boosters, lean muscle builders, etc., etc., etc. It can quickly become overwhelming, and although I don’t use supplements to help with training, I thought I’d clarify some of the misinformation out there about them to help you decide if they’re right for you. Here the rundown on what you need to know about pre-workout supplements.
What is a “Pre-Workout Supplement”?
Simply, a pre-workout supplement is a supplement you take before a workout, training practice, or sports competition that is designed to increase your performance. A pre-workout supplement is compromised of various key ingredients that have a range of mental and physical-enhancing effects.
Do You Need a Pre-Workout Supplement?
A common question asked by most is “Do I need a pre-workout supplement?”. The fact is that a pre-workout supplement can be essential to achieving your fitness and training goals. A pre-workout supplement can help you train at your max. After all, it’s purpose is to assist your mind and body push past its limits that it usually wouldn’t cross.
The extreme focus and intensity that a pre-workout gives you will allow you to train hard enough to make real progress in the gym and break through plateaus. A pre-workout allows your body to function at a higher level so that it can live up to the intensity that your mind demands of it. In the highly competitive arenas of sport and fitness, a quality pre-workout supplement is essential to success.
Key Elements of a Pre-Workout
One of the most important things a pre-workout should do is provide you with the energy you need to push past your limits. Look for a pre-workout that contains caffeine to provide you with an energy boost. Caffeine will help provide mental focus and intensity making it easier for you to train hard.
Other ingredients like L-tyrosine and choline bitartrate help contribute to the overall sensory effect of your pre-workout.
A good pre-workout will contain ingredients shown in research to help people gain lean muscle and increase strength. Look for a pre-workout supplement containing creatine monohydrate; the most studied ingredient in sports nutrition. This ingredient has been shown in multiple clinical studies to help increase lean muscle as well as strength and muscle endurance. Make sure you get a formula with a minimum of 3 grams of this ingredient.
Another key ingredient your pre-workout should contain is beta-alanine. Often recognized by its signature “tingling” sensation, beta-alanine works to boost muscle carnosine levels, which in turn helps to prevent muscle fatigue as well as enhance the muscle-and-strength-building process.
A crucial part of any training session is to achieve what is commonly referred to as “pump.” A pump happens when the body sends more blood to the muscles that are being trained. Working muscles need blood to supply them with oxygen and nutrients and remove waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Because of this, a pre-workout should contain ingredients that enhance blood flow and nitric oxide production.
Look for ingredients like L-arginine and L-citrulline to help you get explosive muscle pumps to make sure your muscles are performing optimally.
How To Use a Pre-Workout
To get the most out of a pre-workout, make sure to consume it about 30-45 minutes before your training session. Make sure to take a supplement that has the above key elements, to stay properly hydrated, and get enough rest and recovery between sessions to allow your mind and body to take full advantage of your training sessions.
If you have any other questions about pre-workout supplements this infographic from my friends over at Supplementmart.com.au should help you out!
Thank you lovelies for reading, and comment down below your thoughts on pre-workout supplements.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.