What are pre-workout supplements?
If you are the kind who love to remain updated about the latest fitness trends, you sure must have heard about pre-workout supplements.
But in case you haven’t, this article might turn into a very useful piece of information today.
Pre-workout supplements: What are they?
Usually referred to as pre-workout, they are specially made powder drink mixes that claim to boost stamina while working out. They are taken before exercise and have become pretty popular today. You can find them from any store that also sells protein powders.
They are supposed to be mixed with water and taste like flavored sports drinks. Almost every supplement and exercise nutrition brand available in the market has its own formula. No two brands will have the same ingredients.
Now, coming to the ingredients, since pre-workouts are products intended to improve energy levels, endurance, strength, and recovery, it is mostly the combination of B vitamins, carbs, and antioxidants that do the trick for you.
Also, read: What is DASH diet and what are its benefits?
Do pre-workout supplements really work?
We want to get the most out of our gym sessions (Looking for the best gym in Jaipur? Try Fit O’Clock) and pre-workout supplements claim to help you achieve precisely that.
With such claims doing the rounds, most of us are tempted to try them before heading out to the gym in hopes of increasing our energy levels, muscle power or endurance during heading.
As mentioned above, supplements come with mysterious blend of ingredients like caffeine, guarana, and creatine. But do they actually work? Are they safe?
Pre-workout supplements can change the way you feel during the workout. It is a mood changer that motivates you to hit the gym more often.
Caffeine is one of the primary ingredients that help you get going. And no, we are not talking about the regular coffee, but the good stuff! Purified and concentrated caffeine anhydrous.
This form of caffeine is a double-edged sword in the supplements industry. It is incredible, hits harder and will not cause headaches easily. It is like when you had your first energy drink. Boom!
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Pre-workout supplements: Basic ingredients and its benefits
There are a few primary ingredients that almost all pre-workout supplements are composed of, and you should be familiar with. Some have smaller doses while some have a more significant quantity of these ingredients.
Caffeine is the core ingredient that keeps you in the loop and ready to crush some weight. Though its quantity varies drastically from product to product, this one keeps you in highest spirits.
- Primary purpose: To increase energy levels
- Optimal dose: 200-500 mg or 1.8-2.7 mg/kg of body weight
Benefits of Caffeine
- It helps boost performance in both endurance exercises and short bouts like sprints.
- It decreases fatigue and increases workload. It helps lower your perception of effort even when sleep deprived.
However, note that the doses vary from person to person. If you are new to caffeine, you won’t be needing much, but you are a habitual caffeine user, you will need a lot more to keep you going. You need to experiment with the ranges to figure out what works best for you.
If you believe in night work out session, you shall again have to pay attention to how much caffeine you take. High doses can keep you up at night. And your sleep should be your priority so that you can grow.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acid supplements have made a grand comeback in the fitness industry. Researchers support the use of BCAAs for gaining skeletal muscle, especially while on a calorie-deficit diet.
- Primary purpose: To increase protein synthesis
- Optimal dose: g (in pre-workout), 20g total throughout the day
Benefits of Branched-Chain Amino Acids
- It increases protein synthesis while suppressing protein breakdown.
- It offers protection against muscle soreness that motivate you to work harder and gain more.
Branched-chain amino acids when in supplement form remain in free-form and require no digestion. They are absorbed into the bloodstream thus rapidly increasing blood amino acid levels. They also produce a large portion of blood sugar, much needed during workouts.
BCAAs bypass the liver and gut to get directly infused into your blood plasma. It acts as an immediate energy source while performing high-intensity workouts.
Beta-alanine is one of the few proven ingredients out there. Most athletes, sports person or gym-goers swear by this one that it has helped them push themselves past their threshold.
Primary purpose: To increase muscular endurance
Optimal dose: 1.5g – 5g
Benefits of Beta-alanine
- It helps you keep up your intensity level for longer periods of time.
- It helps build muscle and increases endurance.
- It delays muscular fatigue thus improving your output in the process.
However, taking a larger dose of beta-alanine might make you feel a tingling sensation. If this happens, there is nothing to worry. The phenomenon is called paresthesia and is completely normal. If you are not comfortable with the feeling, split your intake into smaller portions.
Beta-alanine is perfect for getting those extra reps during a workout. Have it either before the workout or sip it throughout the day. Works both ways!
Creatine is the primary source of energy substrate (ATP) in our body. It is one of the popular supplements useful for building lean muscle mass and increasing performance.
- Primary purpose: For short-term, high-intensity activities
- Optimal dose: 5 g (in pre-workout), up to 20 g per day
Benefits of Creatine
- It helps muscle cells to produce more ATP energy during high-intensity exercises.
- It sends a signal to the body to build muscle mass and improve factors like sprint ability, resistance to fatigue, brain performance, and muscle endurance.
Creatine is considered as one of the safer supplements if you are into bodybuilding or strength training. It helps an athlete perform more reps and allow muscles to store high-energy molecule. It also helps to recover completely from intense exercises.
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Other Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements
- Increases physical performance
- Increases strength and muscle growth
- Prevents premature fatigue
- Reduces protein breakdown
- Builds better and stronger libido
Didn’t these benefits interest you? If they did, then you surely must be thinking to start taking pre-workout supplements. You can get your fitness instructor to help you in this regard. Hope, this article motivates you to opt for a good fitness routine. We at Velillum promote fitness and would love our readers and everyone to stay fit and healthy throughout the seasons.