The DIY Pre Workout
The thought of 'making your own supplement' sounds overwhelming for many gym-goers, and instead of giving it a try they continue to deposit excessive amounts of cash into their local supplement stores' bank account in exchange for a underdosed, overpriced pre-workout supplement.
There's only a few active (effective) ingredients in pre-workout supplements,and by purchasing them individually and supplementing them at a proven dosage before your workout you'll feel better, train harder and save cash.
You can check out my entire guide on how to make your own pre-workout supplement at home here, but as a quick refresher here's what you'll be needing:
Pre Workout Ingredients...
Caffeine 200 – 350mg
Beta Alanine - 5g
Creatine - 5g
Citrulline Malate - 8g
This comes down to personal preference, add in some calorie free flavouring or mix your pre workout supplement ingredients in a calorie free beverage.
Mix it all together, gulp it down, laugh at the savings you made and go and smash your workout!
Combine all ingredients and smash it down 20 minutes before your workout!
5 Common Mistakes When Making Your Own Pre Workout Supplement
The DIY pre workout is extremely effective when made correctly, however after receiving a number of emails from guys struggling to dose or time their pre workout correctly before their workout these are the 5 most common mistakes I see being made that'll affect your DIY pre workout during your workout:
Eating Before Taking Your Pre Workout Supplement
Pre workout supplements (or any stimulant for that matter) are best absorbed on an empty stomach.
Some gym-goers find they're more productive in the gym when training fasted, others prefer to eat a small meal of protein and carbohydrates to help them blast through their workout.
Whatever works best for you.
However, if you're eating a large meal within an hour of your workout you'll find two things in regards to your pre workout supplementation...
- Your pre workout supplement won't feel as potent
- Your pre workout supplement will take longer to kick in
When I'm looking for the best focus and energy from my DIY pre workout supplement I'll either train fasted or eat a single banana an hour before my workout.
If I eat proats or anything more substantial I don't get the benefits of my pre workout supplement.
Caffeine is the primary stimulant found in your DIY or over the counter pre workout supplement.
The focus, the energy and the motivation to kill the weights is largely due to the caffeine content of your pre workout supplement.
If you drink multiple strong coffees per day you've probably got a higher caffeine tolerance than most, and as a result you won't feel much when supplementing with the lower end of the recommend caffeine dose in your pre workout supplement...
Caffeine tolerance is different for everyone.
I recommend experimenting until you find the optimal dosage for you.
Start at 200mg and maintain, reduce or increase based on how you feel in future workouts.
The law of diminishing returns is apparent everywhere, including caffeine supplementation.
"250mg of caffeine had me training harder than ever, I bet I'll train twice as hard with 500mg!!"
The best pre workout dosage and the best workout is the result of optimal arousal.
This is when you're focused and killing it.
If you're dosages are too low you won't quite get into this 'flow state'.
If the dosage is too high (the most common mistake guys make) you go beyond this state, you end up overstimulated which results in sub-par performance.
Anxiety from the large dosage of caffeine, irritability and the inability to focus.
More is not necessarily better.
Sipping Your Pre Workout Supplement During Your Workout
When you start your workout you want your pre workout to be in full affect.
Brain chain amino acids are designed to be sipped on throughout a workout.
Water is to be sipped on during a workout.
Your pre workout supplement should be done and dusted before you get to the gym, allowing 15 - 20 minutes for it to kick in as you prepare to demolish your workout.
I've made this mistake several times myself, when taking my pre workout supplement too late I get through half of my workout before I feel any benefits from my pre workout supplement, and as the workout comes to a close the pre workout supplement kicks in.
It sucks, this is why timing is key.
The ingredients in pre workout supplements have been studied and tested, they're in there for a reason and as such you shouldn't be swapping out or substituting any ingredients in your DIY pre workout supplement.
Dextrose or testosterone booster pills aren't useful as a pre workout ingredient, nor is protein powder.
Here's the science when it comes to why we're putting these specific ingredients in our DIY pre workout drink.
Increases muscle endurance:
Reduces exercise induced fatigue
5 grams appears to be the sweet spot for Beta Alanine supplementation
Strength and size gains as a result of creatine supplementation
Increases Nitric Oxide production