There are a million and one pre-workouts available in the market ? choosing one can almost feel as tricky as picking a life-long partner for yourself. While I can?t help you find the right person to date, I certainly can provide you with a few ingredients you need to look out for in a pre-workout, so you don?t end up with an ineffective supplement. Or worse, one that harms your health.
Ready? Here we go:
What it should contain
?What?s creatine,? you ask? It?s a molecule that?s produced in your body from amino acids. It?s primarily made in the liver, and to a lesser extent, in your kidneys and pancreas. Creatine is responsible for regenerating ATP ? the primary energy carrier in your body.
But so what if it regenerates ATP?
Well, have you ever struggled with finishing your last set of heavy squats because you were just too tired? Creatine can help extend the time you take to get exhausted by providing you with more energy. Therefore, the molecule plays a critical role under conditions of high energy demand, such as intense physical or mental activity.
If you consume creatine before your weight-lifting sessions, you?ll experience improvements in both strength and power output. Also, if you?re concerned about packing on muscles, it doesn?t hurt that creatine is able to increase lean mass modestly.
So ? enhancement in strength, power, and building of lean muscle mass just from creatine? Please, count me in.
If you?ve never been able to finish the 15th rep of your working sets successfully, another compound that you want to look at, other than creatine, is beta-alanine ? a modified version of the amino acid alanine.
Well, because beta-alanine is capable of improving muscle endurance. It does so by combating against exercise-induced lactic acid production. This is why it?ll take a more extended period of exertion before you experience the regular, often-painful burning sensation in your muscles than you would have if you hadn?t taken beta-alanine.
In fact, many gym-goers frequently find that they are suddenly capable of pushing their bodies through an additional rep or two in the gym even when training in the high-rep range (12?15 repetitions).
Turns out: caffeine is more than a way for you to stay awake during that Monday morning team meeting that always takes place too early in the day. This powerful stimulant is effective at improving several aspects of exercise performance.
Which ones? Let?s take a look:
Power output ? there appears to be a reliable and significant enhancement in power output in both trained and sedentary persons.
Training volume ? caffeine ingestion, relative to placebo, has been shown to increase the overall work performed during a workout; this extends to both weight-lifting and anaerobic cardiovascular exercise.
Anaerobic running capacity ? the compound has been shown to benefit anaerobic cardiovascular exercise; and this is believed to be due to both caffeine?s antifatigue effects and enhancements in power output.
What it should not contain
You should be aware that supplements just aren?t regulated with the same kind of stringency as food products are. As such, there?s always a risk that you?re putting your health at risk when you opt for pre-workouts that contain controversial supplements like the following:
Let?s just start our discussion off by saying that Yohimbe supplements are banned in many countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Now, alarm bells should be ringing in your mind: why would this supplement be banned if it wasn?t dangerous? And dangerous, it is.
Yohimbe is a highly stimulatory compound that causes several potentially dangerous side effects ? gastrointestinal distress, increased heart rate, anxiety, and high blood pressure ? even when taken at recommended dosages.
In my opinion, the fat-burning benefit of Yohimbe just does not outweigh its severe risks. You should definitely steer clear of any pre-workouts that list Yohimbe as one of its ingredients.
It would be ridiculous for you to eat something that has not been tested for safety now, wouldn?t it? And yet that?s what you?ll be doing if you take any pre-workout that contains Acacia rigidula ? an untested stimulant supplement.
No research means no warning labels: you won?t even know if the amount that you?re taking is safe. Scarily enough, despite the lack of evidence for Acacia rigidula?s effects and the nonexistence of safety testing, it?s still routinely found in supplements.
Supplement manufacturers are often only concerned about bolstering their profit margins, not your lean muscle mass; which often leads to questionable compounds still ending up on store shelves.
So ? this is where a discerning and educated consumer such as yourself, comes in. You need to scan the ingredient list thoroughly before buying that new bottle of pre-workout.
Did you know that companies don?t have to disclose what?s in their ?proprietary blends?? You?ll never know what these mixes contain, nor the quantities that they?re in. I don?t know about you, but this just unsettles me.
I would want to know what I?m putting in my body every single time I take a scoop out of my pre-workout bottle. Especially if you?re a fitness enthusiast, who heads to the gym 6 times a week. Over time, that could add up to a significant amount of questionable powder you?re getting into your system.
You should always opt for companies that are 100 percent transparent with their ingredient list ? don?t spend money on ?filler? or ineffective ingredients.
3 Best pre-workout supplements
Alright, after all that information, I know you?re concerned about one thing:
What are the best pre-workout supplements available on the market?
1. Gnarly Nutrition Pump
Quality ingredients ? these pre-workouts feature all-natural, quality ingredients that have been scientifically-backed and tested to help with muscle endurance (nitric oxide boosters, creatine, and caffeine).
Transparency ? Gnarly prides themselves for being a 100 percent transparent with their consumers: you will not find any proprietary blends on the ingredient list.
Naturally flavored ? these pre-workouts are naturally sweetened with plant-derived stevia extract.
2. Vega Sport Energizer
High carb content ? this pre-workout packs 16 grams of carbohydrates; perfect for those long workout sessions you have planned in the gym.
Natural boosters ? features 100 mg of caffeine from coffeeberry and green tea.
Vegan and gluten-free ? one of the only few supplements that have been certified to be both vegan and gluten-free.
3. SAN Nutrition CM2 Supreme
Does not contain caffeine ? sensitive to caffeine, or already getting too much of it in your everyday life? Get this caffeine-free pre-workout.
Science-based ingredients ? features ingredients that have demonstrated their efficacy (nitric oxide booster, creatine, and beta-alanine).
Hopefully, this post has equipped you with the knowledge you need to pick a scientifically-backed pre-workout for yourself. You?ll want to choose a pre-workout that contains as many proven ingredients as possible while staying clear of dubious, filler content.
But of course, all that knowledge on how to pick an excellent pre-workout supplement is wasted if you do not actually spend time in the gym. Know that you?re effectively building yourself a better body by tracking your progress with GymStreak?s easy-to-use and clean interface. What are you waiting for? Download GymStreak now!
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