What’s Lurking Inside Pre-Workout Supplements?
Wondering about all the pre-workout supplements that you see on the market?
All it takes is one walk through any supplement store to see that there are literally hundreds of different options available.
But, which will work best in your favour? And, which will just burn a hole in your wallet or worst, lead to health problems?
You do need to be careful with pre-workout supplements because some can be very powerful and contain high stimulatory ingredients that make it hard to sleep, that cause heart rate increases, and that may cause anxiety and jitteriness.
Let’s go over some of the key ingredients you might find in pre-workout supplements so you can better understand what you’re getting.
Make sure that you always take a good long look at the ingredient line-up when selecting your product so that you can be prepared for any potential side effects – as well as benefits – it has to offer.
The first most common ingredient you’ll find is good old caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most under-rated pre-workout supplements, used by many people daily for other purposes.
You already know the mental and energy boost it gives you, so not much to say here.
Caffeine can help to improve your focus in the gym, give you more energy, improve endurance, and it may also help to increase fatty acid oxidation during the workout, leading to improved fat burning as well.
The big thing with caffeine in your pre-workout is to monitor how much you are taking in over the course of the day.
If you also consume a few cups of coffee daily, you’ll want to ensure that you are staying within safe limits to your total daily consumption (400mg or less for most people).
Also keep in mind that taking these caffeine containing pre-workouts for an evening session may hinder your ability to get to sleep as well.
Green Tea Extract
Another ingredient you may find popping up into pre-workout products is green tea extract.
This is also going to give you a slight energy boost but isn’t as stimulative as caffeine is. Therefore, it’s a better bet to have before you go to bed.
Green tea extract will also help enhance the total rate of fat burning taking place in your body as green tea has proven helpful for increasing the speed of body fat loss.
Yohimbe is another ingredient you might come across in your pre-workout supplement.
This one is going to help increase the burning of fat from stubborn regions specifically, such as the thighs, lower stomach, and back.
Yohimbe works by improving blood flow to these stubborn areas of the body, which can then speed up fat oxidation rates.
It’s often best to take this one on an empty stomach prior to exercise, so if it’s in your product, try it with early morning cardio training.
Bitter orange is another ingredient you need to be very careful about.
It’s a herbal form of ephedrine, more or less, which can cause increased heart rates, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
Bitter orange will stimulate the central nervous system considerably, which is why it will also increase the metabolic rate, promoting fat burning.
If you are going to use a product containing this, be sure to start with the lowest dose possible and increase from there.
You want to see how your body is going to react to this first before taking it any higher.
If you currently are suffering from any heart-health issues, it would also be smart to speak with your treating doctor before considering using any product containing this as well.
Vitamin B12 is next up on the list of ingredients. This is a natural vitamin that you will take in through your normal food, only in most pre-workout products, you’ll find it in extra high amounts.
This vitamin is great for boosting natural energy as well as improving mental focus and drive, so is a great ingredient to have in a pre-workout product.
It poses little risks of side effects, so is a good one for those who are sensitive to caffeine and choose to stay away from products containing it.
Another ingredient that you might find in your pre workout supplement is beta-alanine.
This is a non-essential amino acid and can help to increase the levels of muscle carnitine in the body, which helps you perform at high intensity levels.
Those who use this in pre-workout products may notice that they feel a slight ‘tingle’ feel and that’s due to this supplement.
This tingling feeling is safe and won’t cause any harm, so not to worry. It simply means that the product is working.
By using this ingredient, you can help to defend against lactic acid accumulation in the muscle tissue, which produces that burning sensation that usually leads you to stop the exercise entirely.
With less of this going on, you can exercise longer and harder, seeing better results.
The next ingredient that comes with a great number of pre-workout products is Citrulline.
This product is designed to help increase blood flow to the muscle tissues, giving you that muscle pump that can help increase muscle size gains.
This will also help ensure that there’s adequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle cells, which in turn can mean better overall performance and endurance.
Those who use this ingredient typically report having higher energy levels during the workout session and may also experience an improved capacity to generate maximal power.
With little no side effects to report from this one, it’s another great natural energy booster for those who wish to avoid supplements containing caffeine.
Finally, the last ingredient you might find in your pre-workout product is Creatine.
Creatine is the precursor to the high energy compound ATP, which is what will fuel each and every muscular contraction that occurs during your intense workout session.
If your natural levels of Creatine are quite low in the body, this means that eventually the body will stop producing ATP as it should and when this happens, the intensity of your workout will decline considerably.
By adding Creatine before the session, you go in with full stores, ensuring that you can put in as much work as possible.
Note that the inclusion of this ingredient may cause you to retain some water, so be prepared for that as well.
You’ll want to focus on drinking a little more water when you first start as this will help to limit the amount of retention experienced.
So there you have a closer look at the main ingredients you might find in a pre-workout supplement.
While these supplements are definitely not necessary to see excellent results from your exercise program, they can certainly help take your performance up a notch, which will then lead to improved results.
It really is trial and error to figure out which one works best for you, however by knowing which ingredients it contain and matching those with what you hope to see from the product, you can get a jumpstart for selecting the product that’s right for you.