Pre-workout supplements give fitness freaks an extra jolt of energy during training sessions. It allows people to maximize their gym time by giving them energy and endurance to power through longer workouts with more reps and intensity. As the name suggests, pre-workouts are consumed 30-40 minutes before the exercise; they often come in powder form and can be taken by mixing with water.
There is minimal research to prove the effectiveness of pre-workout supplements, but studies suggest that certain ingredients may benefit athletic performance. The ingredients in each product vary, and it can be challenging to choose the best one. Here is a list of ingredients you should look for while choosing the best pre workout supplements.
The primary and most recognizable ingredient in any pre-workout supplement is caffeine. It boosts energy levels and focus and reduces body fat, improving mental alertness, memory, and exercise performance. The amount of caffeine in each serving differs in every product, so it is essential to read the label and know. Some supplements have natural caffeine, but others have significantly more than that. It stimulates the body’s central nervous system, improves reaction time, and reduces fatigue. Having too much caffeine may cause side effects, and if you are sensitive to caffeine, you might want to seek out a supplement without caffeine.
Nitric oxide precursors
Nitric oxide is a compound naturally present in your body that helps dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow. It provides a clear pathway for oxygen and nutrients to get into the blood vessels, giving you an extra boost during lifting exercises. Pre-workout supplements often include some common compounds that your body uses to make nitric oxide. Those compounds include L-arginine, L-citrulline, and other sources of dietary nitrates like beetroot juice. Research suggests that supplementing these combinations can boost oxygen and nutrient transport to your muscles, potentially enhancing your athletic performance.
Creatine is another chemical compound naturally generated in the body’s muscle cells. It helps build muscles, crushes fatigue, and speeds up recovery time. It is often included in pre-workouts to accelerate the products of muscle cells. Creatine is popular among bodybuilders, weightlifters, and power athletes; most use creatine as a standalone supplement. Stronger muscles allow you to work harder during high-intensity workouts. The addition of creatine in your pre-workout is an easy way to ensure regular consumption, and it saves you from the trouble of intaking multiple supplements.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid included in many pre-workout formulas which prevents acid buildup in your muscle tissue, allowing you to work harder and longer. It helps you optimize your strength, push through intense workouts and do more reps. While beta-alanine is safe to consume as per studies, it has one side effect. It can cause an odd tingling sensation in your body. While it is entirely harmless, it would be best to take it in small amounts and test it to check whether it is suitable for your body type or not.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
When taken before a workout, branched-chain amino acids increase muscle growth and decrease muscle soreness. It helps to lower the levels of enzymes responsible for damaging muscle which helps in reducing the severity and duration of delayed onset muscle soreness. BCAAs play an essential role in the effectiveness of pre-workout because they control the use of protein throughout your body. They maximize protein production while minimizing protein breakdown with the combination of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs represent about 35-40% of all essential amino acids present in your body, so they are vital in your pre-workout supplement.
Pre-workouts have made a name for themselves, but there has been widespread debate about their safety and effectiveness. They are generally safe to consume but ensure to consider their potential downsides first. Avoid using products that contain artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, or excess caffeine. Always check the label to ensure that a third party has tested the product.
If you have been analyzing, you must have come across a few more compounds other than the ones mentioned above. While they might sound like harsh artificial ingredients, they are just scientific names for natural elements in the human body. Whether you use a pre-workout or not, make sure you follow a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep.