My Thoughts on Pre-Workout
We all know that pre-workout is a big deal. To get that edge in the weight room, a lot of lifters invest a lot of money in big-name supplements that promise to help improve performance.
The list of supposed benefits is a mile long, from better blood flow to the muscles to added energy and less fatigue.
I get frequently asked about pre-workout supplements, and that’s the reason as to why I’m writing this article. I don’t want you to get fooled by marketing scams designed to prey on your emotions.
For the most part, you’re wasting your money on these pre-workout products that are nothing more than stimulants and poorly designed ones at that.
Many contain proprietary blends, compounds and fail heavy metals tests. The powders have many potential side effects. USP labs were in news for a long time after the death of a user because of a compound called DMAA in their pre-workout Jack3d.
The main ingredient in these supplements that do seem to give a jolt to the pre-workout crowd is caffeine.
Huge amounts of caffeine. There’s more to it than that. If your supplement tastes like an energy sports drink, there’s a good reason for that. Added sugar, colors, and other ‘fluff’ are mixed in as well.
Short list of supplements to look for that do help pre-workout:
- Citrulline Malate
Here’s the problem: Stimulants often have less and less impact on your body the more you take them. The caffeine is in such high doses that it sometimes is accompanied by health warnings about its use. That doesn’t mean a little caffeine doesn’t do the trick if you need a burst of energy. Any powder with 200mg caffeine would suffice.
You might be thinking to yourself, “If these ingredients found in the supplements are good and caffeine can be beneficial, why are the powders bad for me?”
The answer is simple: You don’t have to spend a fortune on ingredients your don’t really need.
My advice today would be take each supplement separately so you have full control over the dosage you put in your body.
I like to keep things simple. When I started training my primary aim was to lose fat and I used to take L-Carnitine with black coffee. I still take it ahead of my cardio session, only I have increased the dosage of L-Carnitine (here’s the product I’m using) from 500mg to 1500mg.
When I am chasing muscle pump, I prefer to take compounds best suited for my need.
Here are two compounds that I like: Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine, both are non-essential amino acids.
As we continue to learn more about nutrition and what it takes to feed our muscles and obtain new gains, there’s no doubt new products will come to light that offers the results you’re looking for.
Creatine was the last major product that sought to change the bodybuilding world forever. A few others have tried to replace creatine as the king of supplements, but nothing has had the same impact as Citrulline Malate.
L-Citrulline is another amino acid that boosts sports performance. Mostly known in Europe and used to treat muscle fatigue, dementia, and increase energy, Citrulline Malate is a compound derived from melons and apples.
Because it helps conquer muscle fatigue, it’s the perfect supplement to add to your pre-workout routine.
“Citrulline is a precursor for arginine and arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide”
Increased NO (nitric oxide) promotes vascular expansion which improves blood circulation throughout the body. Improved blood flow will shuttle more oxygen and nutrients throughout your body thereby improving your performance and enhancing muscle protein synthesis.
Citrulline Malate is a superior alternative to arginine as it is better absorbed in the intestines. It has also been shown to significantly increase ATP production by around 30% and decrease muscle fatigue significantly at doses of 6 gm before a workout.
Citrulline is an indirect precursor to nitric oxide which signals vasodilation that results in better muscle pumps. Muscle pumps act as a great motivation, it helps you push more.
And the more effective time you spend in the gym, the better gains you make.
The Benefits of Citrulline Malate
- Helps increase levels of nitric oxide, which promotes blood flow
- Boosts immunity
- Increased growth hormones
- Lowers the level of lactic acid and ammonia that builds while working out.
- Improves the levels of ATP AND Phosphocreatine in the muscles, promoting growth.
- Improves energy.
- Helps rebuild and grow muscle tissue at the cellular level.
Citrulline Malate Dose: 6gm
Take 2gm as you start and work your way up to 6gm.
Another pre-workout supplement you can take is Beta-Alanine, which is a non-essential beta-amino acid that dramatically cut muscle fatigue. It does so by raising the levels of muscle carnosine, which helps your body cut the increase of hydrogen ions in the muscle itself.
It’s the hydrogen ions that build during those high-intensity workouts which lower the function of the muscle.
Improved levels muscle carnosine is quite dramatic. After only a month, the concentration levels are up to about 58%! In 10 weeks, it’s roaring at 80% higher than normal! That’s quite an amazing feat for a simple compound. It will help you stave off muscle exhaustion and allow you to work out even longer.
Beta-Alanine Dose: 3-4 gm
Whenever you put a new salt into your body, you feel its effects before your bodies get used to it. Beta-alanine causes an intense tingling sensation. Take a small dose of 1gm to check your tolerance. And increase the dose to 2gm before your workout.
Take multiple doses spread throughout the day to achieve the 3-4 gm total.
For better results, be mindful of what you’re putting in your body to cut out as much of the crap as possible.
As I’ve stated before, each of us are like well-oiled machines. Taking care of our bodies while weight training is essential.
It takes a bit of blood, sweat, and tears to get to peak performance, but completely worth it.
Get those gains!!