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Healthy Pre-workout: What Ingredients Make Up a Good Pre-Workout

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A workout can help you achieve multiple goals. The right set of exercises can increase muscle mass, and build strength or stamina. You will also burn calories and improve your shape. Pre-workout supplements will help you achieve these goals faster and make the results sustainable.

The market has so many products to offer that you are probably finding it difficult to select the best pre-workout supplements. Knowing what they are, how they function, and what goals can be achieved through their usage will help you determine whether you need supplements and which ones are most appropriate for your needs.

What are Pre-Workout Supplements?

As the name suggests, these supplements are designed for usage before a workout session. They are preferred mainly by bodybuilders and professional athletes who want to maximize their muscle gain. Such supplements are usually taken before intense workout sessions.

Pre-workout supplements increase stamina, maximize the results of the exercise and minimize muscle damage that can be caused by exceptionally tough sessions. Naturally, variations exist and some supplements are created to achieve one specific goal solely.

Most such supplements contain proteins, caffeine and creatine. Each of these elements plays a specific role. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and everyone who is interested in working out is familiar with this fact. Some pre-workout supplements may also contain fat-burning substances that have an easy-to-understand function.

A big number of pre-workout supplements come in the form of powder. These are usually mixed with water or milk to produce a delicious and highly nutritional drink.

Benefits of Using Pre-Workout Supplements

The first and most obvious benefit of using a pre-workout supplement is the maximization of workout results. Proteins contained in the formula allow for muscle building in a quick and highly efficient way.

Some pre-workout supplements contain nitric oxide. It is a substance known to build stamina and increase the level of energy. Its intake shortly before a workout session can help you extend the duration of your exercise routine and increase the number of repetitions. This will ultimately signify better results.

Pre-workout supplements will also speed up the recovery process after exceptionally harsh workouts. The body needs specific nutrients after exercise. These are provided in an easily digestible form. A workout session can deplete the body’s resources of minerals and nutrients. Pre-workout supplements provide precisely the ingredients needed without adding anything needless or harmful.

Enhanced Circulation

As you workout, the body does require a greater amount of blood circulation in order for it to function properly. Proper blood circulation can ensure that oxygen and other important nutrients are delivered to all parts of the body for optimal health. Since the body can produce insufficient amounts of nitric oxide, pre-workout supplements can play a key role in ensuring you receive all of the nitric oxides you need.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

L-Arginine is a substance that can be found in many pre-workout supplements. It is known to stimulate the body to help it produce nitric oxide. Pre-workout supplements that contain L-arginine can strengthen the body by providing more endurance so that you can maximize the time that you spend at the gym. One of the most recognized benefits of nitric oxide supplements with L-arginine is the improvement of cardiovascular health.

 Helps To Boost The Immune System

Another important health benefit of nitric oxide as a pre-workout supplement is its ability to boost the immune system. As a person matures, the body produces lower quantities of nitric oxide. Pre-workout supplements can assist the body by helping it produce more nitric oxide. Also, the presence of nitric oxide in the body can help eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This is an added advantage of the use of nitric oxide supplements.

Pre-workout Side Effects

With the proper use as a pre-workout supplement, it can offer some great benefits; however, if taken inappropriately it can cause health issues.

How choose the best pre-workout?

How to choose which supplements to use:

When looking for better workout results, you need to understand how to choose the best pre-workout supplements for your needs.

The first step towards success is deciding on your goals. Do you want to build muscle or are you looking for a way to burn calories? The results that you expect to get out of a workout session will determine the best supplement for your needs.

Once you determine your goal, you should look for the ingredient that will help you achieve it. Protein is something that all bodybuilders need. Caffeine, on the other hand, is the perfect ingredient that will help you lose some weight and achieve the best shape.

Difficulties start when you take a simple look at the availability of pre-workout supplements. The market has dozens of different brands and varieties to offer. Which ones are of high quality and which ones contain inferior ingredients?

Look at the list of ingredients before making a purchase. As already mentioned, you should be seeking a combination of proteins, nitric oxide, creatine, caffeine, green tea, white willow bark and ginseng. Organic or 100 percent natural extracts are the best option for the needs of your body.

Pre-workout supplements should also come with warnings. Certain medical conditions will make those inappropriate. Make sure that you are safe and that you are not allergic to some of the ingredients.

Go for a good price-per-quality ratio. The most inexpensive pre-workout supplements can be dangerous and you should try to avoid those. To calculate your expense, try to figure out the price per serving. You will be getting some important information out of this ratio.

Avoid pre-workout supplements that are produced by some companies of questionable origin. Numerous items are available online but some of them may be dangerous. Go for a well-known brand that has a good reputation in the sector of supplement production.

Do Pre Workout Supplements Work?

A final question needs to be answered – do pre-workout supplements work? The experience of bodybuilders and some scientific studies confirm that such nutritional supplements can produce all of the results already mentioned in this article.

The results of an interesting study were published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN). The study involved 24 recreational athletes. They will split into two groups. One group received a placebo and the second group was given a pre-workout supplement that contained creatine, proteins, and caffeine.

Both groups of athletes had to participate in high-intensity workouts three times a week. The experiment continued for a period of three weeks. Both groups registered an increase in anaerobic running capacity. The figure for the placebo group was 10.6 percent and the athletes that received a supplement registered a 22 percent increase.

In addition, the group that received pre-workout supplements had a significant increase of 10.9 percent in VO2 max, the capacity of the body to transport oxygen from the lungs to tissues during exercise sessions. VO2 max is seen as an indication of fitness. The control group had an increase of solely 2.3 percent.

This is just one study connected to the manner in which pre-workout supplements work. Its results confirm the fact that the ingredients of bodybuilding supplements are really efficient and the result is far from purely psychological.

 Pre-workout supplements are something that every fitness enthusiast and bodybuilder requires. The selection of the best supplement for personal needs is exceptionally important for satisfactory results. Each ingredient and combination can be used to achieve a goal and enhance the results of the workout. This is why you need to determine your workout preferences and you need to be aware of the manner in which such supplements act.

If you are going to invest your time and sweat working out, then it is important your body is primed to get the full benefit of your workout. For this reason, the best pre-workout supplement can offer you a huge push toward achieving your desired results. There are however so many products on the market making it sometimes very difficult to differentiate what can help us, what can harm us, and what is simply a waste of money. We will be examining closely the top pre-workout formulas available for general health and performance, as well as for bodybuilding purposes.

I’m personally a huge believer in keeping it simple and being very precise about what goes into my body. That being said, sometimes you need to try different things before finding what really works for you. In my list, you’ll find certain supplements there because I believe them to be staples that can have a tremendous impact on the way you train and feel. Others are simply there because I’ve found they have worked for me, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for you.

BioSteel High-Performance Sports Drink

BioSteel High-Performance sports drink offers a complex blend of highly bioavailable and scientifically researched ingredients, perfect for any level of activity. Don’t expect the same boost with this drink as you would with some other stimulant-based pre-workout formulas; BioSteel doesn’t contain any stimulants whatsoever. Instead, its formula makes sure that the body maintains an anabolic state while you’re exercising or playing your favorite sport, and ensures the best possible recovery afterward. You may choose to drink it before or during exercise.

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) play an anti-catabolic role, meaning that they will help prevent the breakdown of lean muscle tissue during exercise. BCAA’s are also one of the only ingredients that have been shown to reduce the effects of post-exercise delayed onset muscle soreness. BioSteel also contains a quality electrolyte blend, which plays a huge role in the prevention of muscle cramps and making sure the body stays properly hydrated.

If you’re involved in an activity where you’re sweating profusely, whether it is hot yoga or a midday sun game of football, you will be losing water and electrolytes through your sweat. These need to be replaced to maintain the body’s proper function. This is in fact the reason why a lot of people turn to sports drinks such as Gatorade (or Lucozade for our U.K. readers). The electrolytes in BioSteel are however from an organic source, and as opposed to drinks like Gatorade, they contain no sugar, which is an added plus unless you are doing some serious long-distance running or cycling.

BioSteel HPSD is currently used with many professional N.H.L. hockey players and has been cleared for any traces of banned substances, making it a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels. A container of 60 servings or so is offered at a price of approximately $60 US, and can be purchased online or in stores in North America, but currently only through the website for the U.K. It also tastes great, which is a rarity for any BCAA-based drink.

Black Coffee (Espresso / Americano)

Ok, I know what you’re thinking; they don’t sell coffee at my local GNC (although they do sell caffeine pills). Granted, it’s not seen as a conventional pre-workout and you’re probably surprised to see it on this list, but it is simply too good to avoid talking about in this article. So why is coffee such an effective pre-workout tool? First of all, it’s one of the most potent natural lipolytic agents we have, meaning it’s very effective at breaking down stored body fat to be used as an energy substrate during physical effort. It has a catch though; the enhanced fat-burning effect caffeine provides is almost completely annulled if the body’s production of insulin is raised.

This means that if you are to have coffee before a workout and you want to benefit from its fat-burning potency, you must not put sugar in it, you must not put milk in it, you must not have it with a donut or a piece of fruit, you must have it black. It is however acceptable to add a little bit of cream, and in this case, the heavier the better. Caffeine also has the benefits of stimulating your sympathetic nervous system and blocking your pain receptors, meaning you can push harder and increase endurance during exercise.

Although pre-workout coffee is an excellent choice for most healthy individuals, do not make the common mistake of making it your favorite post-workout drink. Stimulants can increase a hormone called cortisol, known also as the stress hormone, and, to make a long story short, increased post-exercise cortisol will impair your body’s ability to recover from the workout. If anything, after a workout is a time when you ideally want to bring down the amount of cortisol you are producing, not increase it. I’ll assume we all know where one can purchase coffee and not go into great detail about this.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

Vega has become an incredibly popular line of supplements for health and wellness enthusiasts everywhere; largely due to the fact that they favor natural ingredients over anything produced in a laboratory. People seem to like “natural”, and I’ll admit it, Vega produces some quality supplements. They’re however somewhat comparable to the “Buckley’s” of sports nutrition: it doesn’t always taste so good, but then again it’s not meant to.

Vega’s Pre-Workout energizer also contains its own electrolyte blend where the sodium-to-potassium ratio is nearly 1:1, while the comparable products have electrolyte blends averaging a 4:1 sodium-to-potassium ratio. The drink also contains several other quality natural ingredients including but not limited to ginseng, rhodiola, turmeric, and ginger.

A very interesting addition to their product is the fact that the drink contains yerba maté, a very popular drink in South American countries. The beverage is a stimulant made from a plant but differentiates itself from other caffeine-based beverages because of the presence of three xanthines: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. The cumulative effect makes it so that its effects are less stimulatory on the central nervous itself, resulting in an excitatory effect of the heart, but a relaxation of smooth muscle tissue, making it less likely to make you jittery than coffee would. A 30-serving container is advertised on the Vega website for $50.

BCAA’s Optimum Nutrition

The importance of BCAA’s was mentioned in the BioSteel description, but I’ve included another product where the BCAA’s are the single ingredient. In fact, I think most people who exercise should be taking some form of BCAA’s. A wide variety of BCAA products exists, I chose Optimum Nutrition here because they happen to be a manufacturer that consistently puts out good products, wasting no money at all on flashy packaging. Once again, this is a great choice as a pre-workout supplement, but don’t expect a boost or a kick, it works by helping prevent fatigue and maintaining an anabolic state. The amino acids in question here are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and the content is at a 2:1:1 ratio. Many studies have been done on which ratio is the most beneficial and so far the results aren’t so clear. Some lines of BCAA’s have a 6:1:1 ratio but are offered to you at double the price.

Ultimately, the main reason you want to be taking BCAA’s is to help you prevent the loss of lean muscle tissue by maintaining that anabolic state. This is especially true for all the cardio enthusiasts out there who like to spend hours at a time on a treadmill or a stationary bike. Long bouts of cardio can lead to loss of lean muscle, amongst other catabolic consequences.

Catabolism, the degradation of lean muscle tissue, leads to decreased lean muscle mass, which in turn negatively affects your overall metabolism. You want to be increasing or at least conserving your lean mass, not losing it. Secondly, as I mentioned briefly before, BCAA supplementation is one of the few things we know we can do to effectively decrease the soreness felt in the few days following a grueling training session. They’ve also shown potential at increasing the output of growth hormone, which usually scares off the ladies, but definitely shouldn’t. Contrary to what the name will have you imagining, GH is a hormone that helps increase lipolysis, helping your body burn fat more effectively. Optimum Nutrition’s BCAA’s can be found in stores and online, in powder and capsule form.


Is the nootropic drink safe for everyone?

While nootropic drinks are generally safe for most people, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating them into your routine, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are pregnant or nursing.

Shουld I check wіth mу doctor or healthcare provider before using a supplement?

Thіѕ іѕ a gοοd іdеа, especially fοr сеrtаіn population groups. Dietary supplements mау nοt bе risk-free under сеrtаіn circumstances. If уου аrе pregnant, nursing a baby, οr hаνе a chronic medical condition, such аѕ, diabetes, hypertension οr heart disease, bе sure tο consult уουr doctor οr pharmacist before purchasing οr taking аnу supplement. Whіlе vitamin аnd mineral supplements аrе widely used аnd generally considered safe, уου mау wish tο check wіth уουr doctor οr pharmacist before taking thеѕе οr аnу οthеr dietary supplements. 

Who should take pre-workout supplements?

The natural form of these supplements is basically inviting to any athlete or sportsman. In order to completely rule out the possibility of any side effects, the dosage of these supplements needs to be supervised. The same shall ensure a side-effect-free enhancement in the physical capability of the individual.


Be smart about what you put in your body, be smart about your supplementation, and realize that the word “supplement” in its very essence and meaning describes an addition of some sort to something already fundamentally there. The bottom line is that if you’re not eating well, training smartly, and sleeping adequately, don’t look for a miracle supplement to give you the gym results you’ve always dreamed of, until you’ve taken care of those fundamental building blocks.

Pre-Workout supplements have never been as popular as they are today. As the work schedules for most people have become more hectic, those who love to exercise are finding it difficult to find the extra energy necessary to achieve a great workout after exhausting all of their energy at their respective job. Instead, people are lagging in the gym, going through the motions, or simply going home and hoping they will have more energy tomorrow. Many people try to combat this issue by waking up earlier in the morning to get their exercise completed. However, many of us who have tried an earlier wake-up call know how hard it is to get out of bed, especially if you have the option to hit the snooze button and continue sleeping. Fortunately, as it pertains to the male population, there exist pre-workout drinks for men that can provide the boost you need to work out at any time, whether it be in the morning, during the day, or at night.

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