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What Do Pre-workout Supplements Do?

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So you’ve decided to try a pre-workout supplement, have you?

That’s great news! Pre-workouts can help take your workouts to the next level, given that you know what to look for and what they do.

But like with anything else in the supplement industry, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices at your disposal.

So, let’s take a quick look into the world of Pre-workout Supplements and what they do.

Categories of Pre-workout Supplements

Before deciding to purchase a Pre workout supplement, it’s important that you establish what you would like to achieve.

To that end, the most common categories of pre-workouts available are:

1) Stimulants

Stimulant-based supplements are one of the most popular categories of pre-workouts on the planet, helping increase energy levels and workout capacity.

These supplements are usually caffeine heavy, but also handsomely improve focus and motivation.

This category is best for if you lack the drive or energy to exercise, but should not be used by anyone with a stimulant sensitivity since they can cause dangerous changes to blood pressure or irregular heart rhythm.

2) Fat Burners

As the name implied, these are the ones that lend themselves to the goal of weight loss.

They typically contain metabolism-boosting ingredients such as capsimax or green tea extract, which also double as mild stimulants.

3) Performance Enhancers

Performance-enhancing pre-workouts are very effective at increasing workout capacity-that is the capacity to get work done in a timely manner.

Supplements from this category include creatine and Beta-alanine, which function to buffer chemicals that accumulate in muscles and cause failure.

4) Nutrition

Pre-workout nutrition is also a mandatory part of a good exercise plan, with it being important to supply the body with carbohydrates and protein beforehand.

A solid meal taken one and a half to two hours before is also acceptable, but a protein or mixed amino acid and carb combo possess the advantage of speed of absorption.

5) Nitric Oxide Boosters

Nitric oxide boosters are one of the most used types of pre-workout supplements by athletes of all experience levels and are believed to be one of those things that help to take a beginner to intermediate level.

This is because nitric oxide boosters enhance blood flow and circulation to working muscles. This equates to improved nutrient and oxygen delivery, as well as more timely removal of waste materials produced by cells.

When using nitric oxide boosters, it is common to experience a sensation referred to as “the pump”. Which is engorgement of the muscle group being trained with subsequent blood occlusion.

Supplements containing nitric oxide often have the amino acid arginine or citrulline as one of their primary competence, since these amino acids are involved in the production of the nitric oxide molecule.

Putting Together An Effective Pre-Workout Stack

Many supplements that are available on the market, while making promises according to marketing claims, fall flat on their face when put up to scrutiny.

The actual dosage of the ingredients contained in a product is just as important as it being included altogether.

This is one of the reasons why patented formulas are so misleading.

They simply are obligated to list the ingredients contained within, but not the actual amounts for fear that another company might steal their secret recipe.

But no worries, we’re going to spill the secret sauce for you.

Here are the most useful ingredients to look out for in any product that is worth its mettle

1) Caffeine

One of the most effective and common ingredients in pre-workout products across the world, regardless of what they are generally geared towards.

For instance, caffeine improves alertness and focus, enhances the process of fat burning, increases power output, and can potentiate the effect of nitric oxide boosters.

This is exactly why you should choose caffeine forced and foremost if you’re interested in testing the waters.

Of course, consumption of caffeine depends on individual tolerance. So if it’s not suitable for you please do not force yourself to take it.

Daily dosages in the vicinity of 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight can be used. Although most people will restrict consumption to just around the workouts time.

2) Citrulline

Citrulline is an amino acid that is converted to arginine. And subsequently used for the production of the nitric oxide molecule.

20 years or so ago, arginine was the prototypical nitric oxide booster, but was subsequently surpassed by citrulline which is known to do a better job of being converted into arginine and subsequently nitric oxide, than even pure arginine can.

Daily dosages of citrulline in the vicinity of 6 g are common. But this can be increased to as high as 10 g daily in divided doses.

3) Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine works primarily to delay fatigue and supports improved workout capacity, being used best to support short-duration intense exercises usually lasting under four minutes in duration.

4-6g daily is the recommended amount for this supplement.

4) BCAAs

BCAAs, otherwise known as branched-chain amino acids, are three amino acids that possess great anabolic utility, helping to preserve muscle and also increasing hypertrophy.

BCAAs can also be consumed during and after the workout as well when nutrition requirements are much higher.

5) Creatine

The most studied bodybuilding supplement of all time, creatine can help with strength and subsequent size gains.

Creatine assists with the rapid production of ATP; your body’s energy currency, so that you are able to achieve those one or two extra reps during grueling sets.

When Should Pre-workouts Be Taken?

Your pre-workout should be taken approximately 30-60 minutes before your workout session. And they are generally not combined with food to restrict issues with absorption.

This time also ensures that the ingredients get to work before you actually step foot in the gym.

Final Words

Pre-workout supplements can definitely elevate your workout, and allow you to make more progress in a shorter period of time.

However, it is very important to realize that they are not to be used as a crutch- consumption of a pre-workout meal, for instance, is still recommended with or without the use of a supplement

Always remember to read labels, and enjoy the effect they have on your workout session.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.