What is the Best Supplement for Your Pre-Workout?
If you’ve just started getting serious about exercise and getting ripped, then you’ve probably started looking into taking supplements. Supplements are great at giving you that extra boost of energy and nutrients that are required to further maximize your weight training or fitness regimen.
There’s an overwhelming amount of pills and powders for a plethora of different purposes so it can get very difficult to decide which is right for your fitness goal. So how do you know what is the best stack for pre-workout supplements? How do you know which is right for our intended purpose?
First off, you should know that like with any substance, there’s a lot that can go wrong if these are taken lightly. While there is a lot of controversy regarding supplements, these aren’t generally bad for you. Like with vitamins or medicine, if misused, can cause adverse effects. If you’re taking proper doses and living a healthy lifestyle, these are actually good for building muscle mass or cutting fat.
Another thing is, these are supplements. Relying solely on powders, weight loss pills, and dietary supplements don’t actually get you the results you want. If you plan on taking these, you should also be committed to a rigorous and consistent workout routine.
With that being said, here’s what you need to know about muscle-building supplements.
What you really need in your supplements
Since there’s always gonna be different opinions on what works best or which brand is the best, it’s best to look at the ingredients of what you’re going to take.
One of the most important aspects of pre-workout supplements is that it should give you the necessary boost of energy you need for intense or prolonged workouts.
These stimulants can help you go the extra mile and help you commit to your workout regimen and produce positive results.
One of the best and most basic sources of energy is caffeine. In most energy boosting products, you’ll find a significant amount of caffeine as it stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) by blocking Adenosine.
Taking supplements with caffeine increase your adrenaline which helps you with high-intensity activities. The recommended dosage would be around 200mg for your pre-workout. Be warned though that too much caffeine intake would lower the effects as well as cause your body to crash.
It’s no secret that the way to build muscle mass is to load up on your protein. A good pre-workout shake or supplement should contain about 25-50 grams of protein or 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Protein is important because it’s rich in amino acids which are your building blocks for muscle tissue.
It also helps with nitrogen balance and it helps facilitate weight loss. Without the necessary nutrients, you won’t be building muscle mass no matter how hard you train. Your intake of protein is also largely based on your fitness goal.
Aside from building muscle mass, it also helps facilitate the healing process of your muscle tissue making it one of the most important factors of your physical well-being. While you can get protein from most meat-based products, you can use supplements to enhance its effects or cover for any gaps in your diet.
Protein supplements are especially important when if you’re vegan. Meat gives nutrients and proteins that our body can’t produce naturally so supplementing it with an alternative option is very important.
3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Leucine, Isoleucine and valine are BCAAs that are more readily absorbed by the body. This is especially true for working muscles during workouts and other physical activities. While both BCAA and protein contain amino acids, the biggest difference is that BCAA is that it’s primarily metabolized by your muscles. It’s also only a specific subset of amino acids which our bodies can’t produce naturally.
Supplementation of your BCAA is highly recommended as during intensive workouts or weight lifting, you oxidize BCAA at an increased rate. Taking these before your workout can help you maintain intensity as well as provide substrates that are necessary for energy production and protein synthesis.
BCAAs are also helpful in promoting an anabolic state which aids in the repair process, preventing degradation, and promoting muscle growth of your body. The optimum dose for BCAA supplements would 5-20 grams every day.
4. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is derived from amino acids methionine. This is possibly one of the most popular options for muscle-building supplements and with good reason.
It’s credited as one of the most helpful supplements when it comes to building muscle mass and cutting fat as it’s known to produce rapid results. What this does is it helps by saturating your skeletal muscles with the substrate to produce a huge energy boost for intensive workouts.
Other benefits of creatine include:
- Muscle volume
Creatine has shown that it can help “inflate” muscle cells to promote bigger, bulkier muscles. This is done by enhancing the protein synthesis of the body to provide more muscle definition. This is one of the biggest reasons why most people who join bodybuilding contests recommend creatine use.
- Increased recovery rate
Studies have shown that creatine can also help your muscles recover more rapidly from the wear and tear of strenuous exercise. Regular use has shown to increase muscle regeneration and a significant reduction in tissue damage and inflammation.
- Reduces degradation
In some cases, creatine has shown to help reduce the risks of catabolism. Creatine has shown to help the production of IGF-1 which helps muscle production and strengthen muscle fibers.
- Enhanced brain function
While some may argue that this isn’t directly related to physical training, brain function plays an important part in weight training and fitness as well as it boosts your focus. It aids the central nervous system as a neuroprotectant that helps reduce the risks of possible neurological damage from metabolism of energy and other oxidation.
The recommended dosage of creatine would usually be around 5-20g per day. You usually have to take a higher dosage during your loading phase and gradually decrease it for maintenance. Creatine’s also great when paired with a caffeine supplement for an intense burst of energy.
This is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplement today. There are a lot of branded supplements that have BA included in their formula and with good reason. Aside from energy and muscle growth, you’ll also want to load up on supplements that improve your overall endurance.
Beta-Alanine is classified as a non-essential amino acid which helps in maintaining your blood’s PH level. Maintaining a certain level of intensity or prolonged hours of exercise are important when it comes bodybuilding. Beta-Alanine helps by increasing carnosine production and boosting your Hydrogen ions.
Carnosine is an antioxidant as well as an inhibitor for glycation and muscle acidity. Producing this peptide has helped prevent fatigue and damaged tissue.
It’s important to note however that you can’t actually take carnosine supplements as it tends to degrade before providing any beneficial value.The recommended dosage of Beta-Alanine would be anywhere between 1.5-5g every day. These can be taken at any time of the day as well and still produce benefits for your exercise routine.
To start you off with your pre-workout supplements, here are some suggestions of products that would be a great help during high-intensity workouts or heavy lifts. These supplements have proven to show positive results with regular use without possible health risks.
1. Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout - Maximized Energy
The Gx7 provides massive bursts of energy without the wear and tear on your muscles. It contains citrulline and beta-alanine which helps prevent muscle fatigue during long workouts and boosting your endurance to maximize your workout.
It also promotes the production of nitric oxide in your body which helps relax your muscles and reduce inflammation. This supplement gives you an immediate boost in strength, focus and resilience, allowing you to operate at 100% during your workouts.
What’s great about the Gx7 is it doesn’t come with fillers that could have adverse or counterproductive effects. Probably the best feature of this supplement is that t doesn’t taste horrible like other similar products.
It comes in watermelon which most have said is a pleasant change in the world of bodybuilding supplements. This is a great starting supplement for new bodybuilders as it’s fairly basic and straightforward and only contains the necessary active ingredients to achieve its purpose.
- Provides a huge burst of energy for your workout
- Prevents fatigue
- Reduces muscle pain and tissue damage
- Great taste
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts your endurance
- Great for beginners
- There’s a risk of crashing after your workout
- May be ineffective for people who are used to taking supplements
2. Legion Pulse Pre Workout Supplement
Legion Pulse is an amazing pre-workout supplement as it helps with muscle growth, cognitive processes, enhanced focus, endurance, and blood flow. It’s an all-around edge to helping you get the most out of your workout routine.
It’s formulated with citrulline malate and Beta-Alanine which helps muscle performance. It also contains caffeine combined with L-theanine giving you that much-needed energy for your workouts without the risk of crashing.
This supplement contains no artificial sweeteners but it doesn’t taste that awful. It also boasts that it contains no junk or useless fillers in the mix which makes for a cleaner formula of clinically effective active ingredients.
The container lists a very clear dosage which is per scoop which helps most beginners decide on their daily intake.
- Provides a continuous burst of energy throughout your workout
- Enhances focus, muscle performance and blood flow
- Science-backed ingredients
- Gives a huge burst of energy
- Formulation prevents crashing
- No artificial sweeteners
- No proprietary blends
- Clear instructions on recommended intake
- Excellent muscle endurance
- Very expensive
- May cause overexertion, due to its high-intensity formulation
- Not recommended for beginners
3. BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre-Workout Supplement
This supplement is labelled as a “pre-igniter” which means that it helps stimulate muscle growth and promote energy for your upcoming workout. It contains beta-alanine to help promote muscle endurance and reduce the risk of damaged tissue.
It also contains the combination of creatine and caffeine to give you that massive burst of energy you need for your rigorous workout regimen. The creatine also helps promote good muscle growth while enhancing your focus and brain function.
N.O.-XPLODE can guarantee huge pumps for maximizing muscle growth and burning fat. The powder itself doesn’t taste awful and it has generally good mixability. It also comes in assorted flavors although most people would recommend the grape-flavored variant.
- Gives plenty of focus
- Provides a massive burst of energy
- Stimulates muscle growth
- Greatly enhances muscle endurance
- Prevents muscle tissue damage
- Huge pump
- Assorted flavors
- Ineffective for experienced weightlifters
- Contains massive amounts of caffeine
- May cause you to crash after your workout
4. G Fuel Tropical Rain Tub (40 Servings) Elite Energy and Endurance Formula
One of the main benefits of this supplement is that most people would attest that it actually tastes good so downing your pre-workout dosage won’t be such a burden.
The formula contains plenty of antioxidants which help your workout by reducing inflammation and tissue damage by blocking free radicals. It’s also great as it gives you a huge burst of clean energy all throughout your workout.
It’s a great alternative to conventional energy drinks as it’s completely sugar-free and it has plenty of nutritional value which is derived from 19 different fruits. It’s also low-calorie making it great for weight-loss.
- Healthier alternative to energy drinks
- Provides a lot of clean energy
- Assorted flavors
- Highly affordable
- Increases focus
- Doesn’t give a lot of pump
- Generally ineffective for experienced weightlifters
- Contains dyes
- Plenty of proprietary blends
5. Pre JYM Supplement Science
Pre JYM comes with a lot of awesome active ingredients that help promote muscle growth, enhanced focus and blood flow. It’s an all-in-one formula that contains beta-alanine, BCAAs, and creatine that promotes an anabolic state to maximize muscle volume and give you the boost of energy you need to get massive gains.
It also helps reduce muscle tearing and inflammation as well as boost your muscle endurance for longer workouts.
While it’s jam-packed with active ingredients, it contains no proprietary ingredients or concentrates, which means you get exactly what you pay for.
- All-in-one pre-workout supplement
- No proprietary blends
- Massive energy boost
- Contains a lot of clinically proven active ingredients and stimulants
- Prevents tissue damage and inflammation
- Extended endurance
- Promotes muscle volumization
- No concentrates
- Limited availability
- Expensive servings
- Contains dyes
- Small-risk of crashing post-workout
- Not beginner-friendly
With so many options for bodybuilding supplements, choosing the best fit for your diet can be very difficult. Generally, however, most people would agree that Beta-Alanine brings about a lot of benefits with very minimal risk. You’ll also notice that it’s a very common ingredient in most bodybuilding supplements.
As consistency and prolonged, high-intensity workouts are the best solution to gaining muscle mass and cutting fat, Beta-Alanine would be your best bet to achieving your fitness goal. It also works for both bulky and lean muscle making it incredibly versatile.
While most supplements offer that much needed “pump”, BA shows very little to no side effects aside from a tingling sensation.
Since the body already naturally produces BA, you won’t have to take large doses which means you don’t have to spend too much on daily supplements. Most people would argue that creatine provides the best results, however, there have been cases where it shows very little