Pre workout supplements are often on the mind of personal trainers, bodybuilders, and gym-junkies. Are you considering taking supplements, but wondering about alternatives? If you want to get the most out of your session, you need to consider what you need to do to have the best pre workout plan - and what you do afterward too. Taking pre-workout energy supplements can give you greater focus, and increase your energy and endurance levels. But they aren't the only option. Many people reach for an energy drink for that quick boost, or go the natural route, and focus on diet and pre-workout snacks instead. So what's best for you? Here are some details about both to help you decide.
Why Take Pre Workout Supplements?
Supplements are exactly what they call themselves. They supplement your workout - i.e. they allow you to do a bit more, to achieve a bit more. But what are pre workout supplements, and why take them?
You may find that when you are working out that fatigue sets in sooner than you'd like, or that after a long day of work you just don't have the energy or the drive to do your best at the gym. Pre-workout supplements can help provide you with a pre-workout energy boost that can continue on into your workout so you get the most out of them.
Many of the ingredients in pre-workout supplements are intended to give athletes the perception that their workout is supercharged as they increase blood flow, heart rate, focus and more. The ingredients themselves do not make people bigger and/or stronger - they allow the person who's taking them to reach their goals.
The pre-workout market is huge, yet we can divide the whole industry into three fields. On the left, we have pure stimulant based pre-workout supplements, in the middle, we have the full-spectrum highly effective pre-workouts, and on the right, we have the stimulant free pre workouts that kick some butt too.
How Do Pre Workout Supplements Build Muscle?
As mentioned above, pre-workouts don't necessarily build muscle. No matter what the big guy at the gym says. How they work is that they can lead you to increase the amount of muscle you build by increasing the amount of work that you do. If you have increased strength, then you will lift heavier weights, do extra cardio and more. Thus, leading to bigger muscle growth. You will have more energy, you will work harder and for longer. Pre-workout supplements aren't a magic powder or pill. But they could be a gateway to your best performance.
Are There Different Kinds of Pre Workout Supplements?
Yes, there are. And sometimes it can be difficult to choose or even find out what is better for you.
High stimulant pre-workouts are where it all started. Something about taking a huge dose of energy before lifting some weights creates a euphoric feeling that nothing else can match. Based on this, companies are more than happy to give you pure energy (especially because it’s cheap).
In the middle, we have the full-spectrum pre workout supplements. These pre workouts have energy like in our far left category, however, they also have performance enhancing ingredients like BCAA, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and more… All in real-world clinically tested proper dosages. Something those high stimulant pre-workouts can’t match.
When taken, these full spectrum pre workouts are amazing. They deliver energy, focus, power, endurance, and most importantly – results.
The far right category holds the stimulant free pre-workout options. These contain straight non-stimulant performance enhancers like those full-spectrum additions we mentioned. Many, many people opt for stimulant-free pre workout supplements over their counterparts for these reasons: they don't interfere with their sleep, they allow more muscle pump, and they don't dehydrate you as quickly as caffeine supplements do.
Common Ingredients In the Best Pre Workouts
Generally, pre-workout supplements contain some or all of the following: Protein, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, PB2, Arginine, and more. These ingredients are known to optimise your workouts by promoting muscle growth, enhancing endurance, heightening focus, boosting performance, and they can even aid in immune function and physical recovery.
Pre-workout supplements also often contain caffeine, which is what gives users a boost before their workout. Usually, they contain much more caffeine than energy drinks, so it's always best to check the label to understand just how strong they are and how it might affect you. Certain supplements may also contain additional vitamins, and, depending on the vitamins, these additions can more specifically help you achieve your fitness goals.
Amino Acids are a kind of protein or building block of your body. And are what your muscle tissue is made of. But beyond acting as simple building components, a few amino acids have all-star roles in building muscle. Primarily, L-leucine is an effective muscle growth ‘trigger’. Additional amino acids have additional muscle building properties, but all-in-all, if your pre-workout has amino acids then it is promoting muscle growth when you work out. Some pre-workouts contain a testosterone booster component. This results in both an increase in muscle growth affinity as well as increased aggression and better focus in the gym.
Creatine is one of the most prevalent ingredients in pre-workout supplements. And is perhaps the most most-known strength enhancer. It helps build more muscle and provide you with more energy across your workout. Creatine helps to give energy to the cells, especially to the muscles, so getting in some extra creatine before your workout effectively aims to give your body (and specifically your muscles) more energy for your workout.
Beta-alanine helps to protect your body from damage caused by lactic acid build-up that comes about due to exercising. Beta-alanine increases the levels of carnosine in your body, which effectively rectifies your pH levels so that you aren’t so acidic. Beta-alanine must be taken before working out to have this protective effect. Beta-alanine is also known as CarnoSyn. Newbies to beta-alanine should expect a strange warm tingling sensation after taking it - It’s nothing to be scared of and you will get used to it!
Caffeine is one of the primary ingredients in energy drinks, supplements, and a good old cup of joe, that gives you an energy boost. And, in moderation, caffeine can be a helpful addition to your daily routine. In most cases, caffeine makes you crash once the effects wear off. This often leads to increased consumption of caffeine, and as it is a diuretic, it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle soreness, and even nausea. For this reason, you need to get to know your body and your limits. If caffeine doesn't sit well with your body look for a low dosage or caffeine-free supplement. Look for energy drinks with lower levels of caffeine and/or adjustable levels like REIZE.
Caffeine is great in small doses. It is linked to increased metabolism, drive and concentration, better recovery time, increased strength and endurance, and lots more. Save yourself some money and get some caffeine pills, and take one 200 mg pill 15 min before you workout. And always drink lots of water.
Several studies have shown that taking caffeine can provide a physical boost before a workout. For instance, a 2012 study in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Resistance found that men who took caffeine supplements could deadlift, bench press and do another heavy lifting at greater weights compared with men who took a placebo. Other studies have suggested that runners and rowers can increase their aerobic capacity with a dose of caffeine, although the studies noted that the benefits of caffeine tend to wane as people develop a tolerance to it.
Caffeine Risks and Side Effects
However, too much caffeine can pose a health risk, and supplements can contain much more than is found in food or drinks. A person could guzzle gallons of coffee and not suffer from a true caffeine overdose. But even at much lower levels, caffeine can worsen underlying conditions such as a heart arrhythmia, leading to cardiac arrest.
In recent testing, the supplement testing company LabDoor looked at 45 popular pre-workout supplements and found that many contained extremely high doses of caffeine. One supplement contained 435 milligrammes of caffeine — almost as much as four cups of coffee. (The research has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, meaning it has not gone through the standard process used to vet scientific findings. LabDoor also links to sites such as Amazon and The Vitamin Shoppe, where consumers can purchase the supplements, and receives a commission on those sales.)
Getting an extra boost before you start your workout can certainly enhance your time at the gym. And there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your hard-earned results. But all the best results in the world can be taken away in a round of bad side effects.
It's important to note that all bodies are different. Even among brothers and sisters. While most of the info in this article is broad, get to know your body and figure out what works for you. Check the ingredients to find the pre-workout supplement that meets your supplement needs, as no two athlete’s fitness levels and fitness goals are ever identical.
Energy Drinks As Pre Workout Supplements
Most of us are familiar with energy drinks - obviously if you are on this website. They boost our alertness, help with physical recovery, and give a little extra energy jolt during the day. So might they act as a good alternative to pre workout supplements?
Honestly, it can depend on the energy drink you tend to go for. Some energy drinks on the market today are full of sugar and insane levels of caffeine. The sugar alone could mess up your diet and the caffeine can mess you up in a psychological and physiological way. There are better alternatives to caffeine packed and sugar stuffed drinks when preparing for a workout, but what else do they offer?
Some energy drinks add in some extra ingredients which may look good, like Citrulline (or citrulline malate), Ginseng, Taurine, Guarana, Gingko Biloba to name a few. Each of these ingredients has their own unique benefits and side effects. From increased stamina to increased focus and more. With numerous brands on the market, you will never be short of an option - for more info read here. However, we here at REIZE have our own favourite.
REIZE Supplement Alternative?
We know we are biased, but that doesn't mean we don't have a point.
What makes REIZE and its ingredients so different compared to other energy drinks found on the market is its versatility as a pre workout powder drink option. You can mix REIZE Energy Drinks any way you want. Combine our powdered energy drink mix with water, soda water or brewed hot from the kettle. Or experiment with your favourite juice, cocktail and other drinks. You can adjust the strength, add it to protein powders, pre-workout yoghurt and more. Be sure to check out Marty and Steve's experimental 'Will it Mix?' YouTube series for more ideas.
Another plus for our side is the value. Pre workout supplements and protein powders can cause quite a dip in your bank account and wallets. No other energy drink is as good a value as ours. We even save you the trip to the store to pick it up with our home delivery. We challenge you to find a discount drink, or energy drinks on sale, that are a better value than our regular prices - in fact, we beat you to it and found some on our own here.
For more info on what is included in our drink, check out our more info page. REIZE is packed with Taurine, Ginseng and contains a sensible amount of Caffeine to give you a great boost for your workout, without a sugar crash as it is sugar-free!
So What Are You Having Before Your Workout?
Are you playing it safe and staying natural? Planning on sampling some pre-workout supplements? Or giving energy drinks a go? If so, check out our website for more info on our drink and maybe even join the member club! Select how many drinks you want each month, pay a low monthly fee and they get delivered straight to your door. Cancel anytime - no risk, no worries.
Whatever you decide is right for you, make sure it's your decision. Like we said above, everyone's body is different - so you may need to experiment to find the best pre workout supplement for you. And if you are trying to reach your fitness goals, focus on you and your body and quit worrying about what your friends and fellow gym goers are doing. Find your pre-workout supplements routine and don't forget leg day!