Pre Workout Supplement Ingredients
Pre workout supplements are the most popular, over-priced and heavily marketed supplements in the bodybuilding and fitness industry.
Take a look at the tub of any pre workout supplement on the shelves today and you'll see a large list of ingredients, the majority of which probably don't make much sense to you.
Nah, they don't list those.
Proprietary blends often given names such as the 'blast strength matrix' and 'fat melting matrix' are used to disguise the dosages and ingredients they've placed in the supplement - do these supplement companies have a list of new and under the radar ingredients that they don't want anyone else to know about?
When it comes to pre workout powders, potions, drinks and drops there's 3 main ingredients that form a good pre workout powder, these ingredients, when dosed at the recommended level (many supplements are either under-dosed or over-dosed in key ingredients) you'll find that it's a great pre-workout.
It's not the marketing, the color of the tub or the long, long list of ingredients and matrixes that make a pre workout supplement effective.
From my experience and research it essentially comes down to 3 key ingredients.
Next time you're buying a pre workout supplement or making your own pre workout supplement be sure to check for the following 3 ingredients (and their respective dosages).
The 3 Key Ingredients In All Pre Workout Supplements..
Caffeine, the most utilized drug and stimulant in the world.
Not only is caffeine useful for waking you up in the morning, but studies have also proven that caffeine increases mental focus when it comes to physical tasks as well as increases in muscle endurance.
Caffeine even when taking by itself in pill form works as a great subtle pre-workout too.
200mg of caffeine consumed in pill form before a workout on an empty stomach will have you more focused, taking reduced rest time between sets and grinding out those heavy reps all the way 'till the end of your workout.
There's no such thing as the best dosage of caffeine for your pre workout as the dosage differs between everyone, some gym-goers who have a very low stimulant tolerance will feel jittery at 100mg, while regular coffee drinkers and stimulant junkies require upward of 500mg to feel the same effects.
When it comes to caffeine though more is not necessarily better, the law of diminishing returns comes into play...
As the chart above shows, finding the optimal arousal point (via caffeine supplementation) is a matter of trial and error - too little a dose and you won't reap the benefits, too much and you'll find yourself distracted, unproductive and will probably have an average workout.
I recommend starting caffeine supplementation at the 200mg mark, and increasing or decreasing your dosage in 50mg increments until you find what works best for you.
Recommended caffeine supplementation range:
200 – 400mg
Studies on caffeine:
Caffeine increases muscle endurance
If you're inclined to perform high volume, lengthy workouts the Beta Alanine is a must for you.
Beta Alanine is is a naturally occurring amino acid that reduces fatigue and induces a ‘tinging’ feeling.
Some guys like to take beta alanine by itself before their workout, but I personally always stack it with caffeine for increased focus as well as the endurance benefits of both pre workout ingredients.
When you're taking beta alanine the first few times you'll find an odd tingling/prickling sensation apparent, best described as if you were covered in ants, some people like it, others considering it a distraction...
When you're training in the early hours of the AM it'll certainly wake you up though!
After you've used beta alanine for a week or two you'll still get the tingles however they'll be far less apparent.
Recommended beta alanine supplementation range:
3 grams - 8 grams
Studies on beta alanine:
Beta Alanine reduces exercise induced fatigue
5 grams appears to be the sweet spot for Beta Alanine supplementation
Citrulline is an amino acid used to stimulate the production of Nitric Oxide which increases blood flow to the muscles resulting in that full, pumped feeling when lifting.
Citrulline also has been proven to relieve muscular soreness and increase endurance.
Recommended citrulline malate supplementation range:
Studies on citrulline malate:
Citrulline increasing Nitric Oxide production