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Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2017: Comparison and Reviews

By Tory Reiss / August 3, 2014
Best Pre-Workout Supplements

Best Pre-Workout Supplements

You’ve been working out for months, yet you seem to have hit a peak. Looking around the gym, other athletes are sporting massive muscles and blowing past you on the track. What are you doing wrong?

Quite simply, attaining peak athletic performance makes pre-workout supplementation important in addition to maintaining dietary discipline throughout the day during regular meals, before the workout, and after completion. For working out, the food and supplements digested before the workout will help fight exhaustion, replenish muscles, and help them recover properly after the workout. While other meals are important, the supplements taken-in right before the workout can have a dramatic impact on your workout performance. Eating the wrong foods or supplements could trigger indigestion, fatigue, and improperly provide the muscles with the nutrients they need to grow immediately after the workout. Since food can takes several hours to get into the body’s system, the timing of pre-workout supplement intake is critical as well. To help athletes get the most out of their workout, this guide will provide a comprehensive overview to help athletes get maximum performance and choose the best pre-workout supplement to fit their needs.

Comparison Chart: Top 10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2016

Pre-Workout SupplementFull ReviewServings & Size (grams)Vitamins/ElectrolytesCreatinePrimary IngredientsCalories per servingCarbs per serving (g)PriceRating
Arnold Iron Pump
Arnold Iron Pump

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6g / 30 Per ContainerVit C, Niacin, Vit B6, Vit B12, CalciumNoArginine, Glycine, Beet Root, Ornithine HCL, Choline, Tyrosine, Caffeine, Vinpocetine5 cals1g$4.0 / 5
BPI Pump-HD
BPI Pump-HD

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11g / 30 Per ContainerNiacin, Calcium, Magnesuim, Manganese, PotassiumYes (Monohydrate)Aspartic Acid, Beet Root, Beta-Alanine, Glycerol, Glycine, Leucine, Taurine, Carnitine, Caffeine, Ornithine0 cals0g$4.1 / 5
BPI Sports 1.M.R. Vortex
BPI Sports 1.M.R. Vortex

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3g / 50 Per ContainerNoNoGlycerol, Indigofera pulchra, Caffeine, White leadwort, Securinega, Yohimbe0 cals0 cals$3.9/ 5
BSN N.O. XPLODE 2.0
BSN N.O. XPLODE 2.0

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22.5g / 50 Per ContainerVit B6, Folic Acid, Vit B12, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, PotassiumYes (Sodium Phosphate, Malic Acid, Ethyl Ester)Maltodextrin, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, Tyrosine, Taurine, Arginine, Citrulline25 cals6g$$4.2 / 5
Cellucor C4 Extreme
Cellucor C4 Extreme

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5.7g / 60 Per ContainerVit C, Calcium, Niacin, Folic Acid, Vit B12Yes (Nitrate)Beta-Alanine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Caffeine, Dopa5 cals1g$$4.7/ 5
Gaspari Super Pump Max
Gaspari Super Pump Max

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16g / 40 Per ContainerVit C, Niacin, Vit B6, Vit B12, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, SodiumYes (Monohydrate, Chelate)Taurine, Citrulline, Carnitine, Tartrate, Ornithine, Aspartate, Beet Root, Tyrosine, Caffeine, Adenosine10 cals3g$$4.3/ 5
LEGION Pulse
LEGION Pulse

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23g / 21 Per ContainerSodium, PotassiumNoCitrulline, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, Ornithine, Stevia Extract, Caffeine, Theanine12 cals4g$$$4.8/ 5
MusclePharm Assault
MusclePharm Assault

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14.5g / 30 Per ContainerVit C, Vit E, Niacin, Vit B6, Vit B12, Calcium, Sodium, PotassiumYes (Nitrate)Beta-Alanine, Tyrosine, Aspartic Acid, Beet Root, Dextrose, Glycine, Ribose, Leucine, Valine, Choline, Caffeine, Huperzine, Taurine, Coconut Water, Glutamine10 cals2g$3.8 / 5
Prosupps Mr. Hyde
Prosupps Mr. Hyde

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6.1g / 40 Per ContainerNoYes (HCL)Beta-Alanine, Leucine, Agmatine, Citrulline, Cafeine, Picamilon, Tyramine, Hordenine, Yohimbe, Caffeine0 cals0g$$4.4 / 5
USPlabs Jack3D Advanced
USPlabs Jack3D Advanced

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5.1g / 45 Per ContainerVit CYes (Monohydrate, Anhydrous)Arginine, Betaine, Pinus Pinaster, Beta-Alanine, Norcoclaurine, Yohimbe, Swertia Chirayita, Caffeine0 cals0 cals$3.9 / 5

Top Rated Pre Workout Reviews

Cellucor C4 Extreme

Cellucor C4 ReviewPros: Well-reputed and recommended by many workout professionals. Quite simply, this is designed to boost performance quickly before a workout at a low cost. It is designed to both improve muscle function, facilitate protein synthesis, and boost mental faculties. It is rich and ingredients like vitamin B12, calcium, beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, and stimulants such as caffeine.

Cons: While the C4 product has most of the supplements that work out professionals need, it is not supposed to be any special proprietary blend designed for specific activities. As a one-size-fits-all product, it might not be appropriate for dedicated athletes focused specifically on either aerobic or anaerobic activities.

Verdict: For new users, this product is a great place to start. It’s cost-effective and get the job done with a simple pre-workout formula.

Read our Full Cellucor C4 Extreme Review

MusclePharm Assault

MusclePharm Assault ReviewPros: Features a patented, proprietary blend of supplements to reduce fatigue, improve recovery, activate muscles, and delay crashing. The product markets itself primarily as an anti-fatigue compound designed to help athletes perform longer. It includes compounds designed to increase strength, build muscle mass, and get more out of athletic training.

Cons: Since the product is primarily designed for bodybuilders, aerobic exercisers might want to look elsewhere. However, it has the ingredients that allow it to continue to work effectively for these functions even despite its alleged specialty.

Verdict: For bodybuilders, this product is one of the best available on the market to enhance performance in the gym. It can be taken with pre-workout drinks and helps athletes stay motivated during long workouts. The product is also available in plenty of different flavors for athletes looking to find a product that tastes good.

Read our Full MusclePharm Assault Review

Prosupps Mr Hyde

Prosupps Mr. Hyde ReviewPros: Bodybuilders looking to get ripped will love Prosupps. It helps to facilitate protein synthesis by transporting nutrients to cells when they need them during a workout. Prosupps is explicitly a thermogenic pre-workout formula, designed to help athletes pump up their muscles.

Cons: Since Prosupps is designed to build muscle, it is completely inappropriate for individuals looking to lose weight or run faster on the track. Some users have also complained that the product might not taste as good as some competitors, though taste factors are subjective.

Verdict: Bodybuilders looking to increase their muscle capacity can use Prosupps to provide them with all the supplements they need to get there. As a product explicitly designed to help bodybuilders, it is one of the best on the market for athletes only interested in bodybuilding activities.

Read our Full Prosupps Mr. Hyde Review

BPI Sports 1.M.R. Vortex

BPI Sports 1MR Vortex ReviewPros: Designed for a wide variety of athletes, this product is well-rounded as a workout supplement. Key ingredients like caffeine are designed to improve mental functioning and focus during a workout. This delivers better power for athletes exercising that is delivered throughout the workout.

Cons: Since the main active ingredient in this product is caffeine, it might be inappropriate for individuals concerned about developing a caffeine addiction. Users with a history of these problems should look to a different supplement.

Verdict: BPI Sports is an excellent supplement for well-rounded athletes. It can help to improve performance on the track, performance during sports, and help build muscle during bodybuilding activities.

Read our Full BPI Sports 1MR Vortex Review

USP Labs Jack 3D Advanced

USPlabs Jack3D ReviewPros: Jack 3D is designed to improve brain and nerve function while working out. Since this is important for getting better results from exercise, Jack 3D can help athletes keep going even after an extended workout. Further, athletes with their problems can see benefits from using this product as well.

Cons: The downside of this product is that it is not recommended for individuals trying to lose weight. Based primarily in caffeine, users of this product can develop dependence due to the caffeine content.

Verdict: As a well-rounded supplement, Jack 3D is appropriate for a wide range of athletes today. Whether in the gym or doing physical activity outside, this product can help to prepare a body to perform at maximum capacity.

Read our Full USPlabs Jack3d Review

Conclusion

When looking to workout effectively, pre-workout supplements are an absolute necessity to perform well. In order to prevent fatigue as the body loses important nutrients, pre-workout supplements are an important addition to any nutrition program. With a wide range of pre-workout supplements available in the marketplace today, it is important that consumers understand the benefits and disadvantages of each one. By doing this effectively, athletes will stay healthier and get more out of each workout.

Why Take A Pre-Workout Supplement?

Specifically, pre-workout supplements help with both physical functioning and mental capacity during a workout. Since just about anything a person does is driven by motivation and other mental factors, these play an important role in getting the best performance out of a workout. When a workout session gets intense, having the mental fortitude to keep going will help athletes push through. Most of all, pre-workout supplements will help athletes maintain their endurance throughout the workout and activate muscles for maximum strength output. Further, workout supplements will get muscles prepared for an intense workout by providing them with certain key ingredients needed to perform for extended periods. With many athletes working out for well over an hour, the food intake before this extended period is of the utmost importance.

By using workout supplements, athletes can expect to run further and do more repetitions while working out. Since food intake is so important, the differences in performance can be astounding for athletes who don’t normally take workout supplements. Additionally, athletes will be able to lift much more per repetition. To make this even better, the supplements will help improve athletic focus and energy levels throughout the workout. Combined together, this makes for a much more successful workout routine than trying to perform well without any supplements. Regardless of the type of workout being performed, these supplements can make a very significant difference in performance due to both motivation and physical abilities.

Strength Boosters and Endurance

Strength and EnduranceAs the first major category of pre-workout supplements, these help athletes get more physical strength and abilities during the workout. In many cases, workout supplements in the real-world contain ingredients from several different categories of pre-workout performance enhancement. Therefore, athletes should keep in mind that finding the right blend for their specific needs is important and should be considered carefully when starting or optimizing a workout routine. The sections below provide an overview of all of the ingredients that will be seen in most major workout supplements found in the market today.

Betaine

Pronounced “beet-uheen”, this supplement should not be confused with its beta amino acid counterpart, beta-aline, which is described next. The two are entirely different both in terms of chemical composition and performance enhancement. Betaine is an amino acid, but it helps primarily by improving protein synthesis while working out. As a facilitator of muscle growth, it helps to ensure that muscles are able to perform at their maximum capabilities and helps to build strength and power during a workout. It also helps athletes to reduce the amount of muscle fat composition in their body to stay lean and trim. This ingredient works throughout the body to improve muscle mass and give athletes better athletic performance. Due to these advantages, betaine is one of the most important supplements that athletes should look for when searching for the right pre-workout supplement.

Beta-alanine

As mentioned above, beta-alanine is very different from betaine despite its similar-sounding name. Beta-alanine is a supplement that helps to raise the level of carnosine found in muscles during workouts to limit the effects of fatigue. Athletes who intake supplements that contain this ingredient can expect to perform longer because the activation of muscle fatigue will take longer. This means that athletes will be able to get in more repetitions or go for longer runs. As a result, workout improvement will be accelerated as athletes will be able to stress their muscles longer to encourage them to grow additional strength. Combined with other workout supplements, beta-alanine taken before a workout can make a very significant difference in the outcome of a workout. Further, studies have shown that beta-alanine can be capable of helping athletes recover after a workout. While not its primary advantage, this extra boost can make supplements containing beta-alanine almost essential for effective athletes today.

As an amino acid, beta-alanine will help muscles to grow more effectively by providing them with the nutrition they need to synthesize proteins correctly during the workout. In natural foods, beta-alanine is rare and difficult to find. Further, it is important that this supplement is absorbed directly before the workout, since food that contains the supplement might not be effective because it takes too long to digest. It is important that this supplement has actually reached the muscles by the time the workout has started so that athletes can enjoy its beneficial effects.

Creatine

Athletes in the market for workout supplements have probably seen creatine at just about every store alongside popular whey protein. Creatine has been universally adopted by workout professionals because it helps to make a substantial difference in fatigue reduction and strength delivered to muscles during the workout. Creatine works to activate muscles in the body before a workout to improve performance. The supplement is especially helpful during short-term periods of intense physical activity, where runners might be sprinting or lifters might be doing a few reps on the bench press. Creatine helps to pull water into muscles when they’re stressed in order to encourage the process of protein synthesis to occur. By doing this, athletes can expect to gain more muscle mass from their workouts as a result.

 

Studies have widely shown that creatine is very helpful for building muscle mass. Some studies have even shown that muscle fibers can actually grow as a direct effect of taking in creatine. However, studies have also shown that if creatine intake is not directly followed by a workout, it can actually lead to decreased performance. This means that athletes who are uncertain about their future workout schedules should avoid taking creatine unless their plans are set in stone. Therefore, discipline is key when taking creatine. To avoid building up excess fat, it is important that athletes always work out after taking creatine. Further, it is important that water intake is increased alongside creatine because it can add several pounds of water to muscles. Depending on body size, creatine can add anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds of water onto a person’s muscle mass before a workout. While beneficial, athletes should keep in mind that it is important to make use of their creatine every time that it is taken.

Carnitine

Also known as L-carnitine, this supplement is an amino acid that helps produce the energy that muscles need for long workouts. The supplement is also able to transport toxic compounds away from cells to ensure that they grow correctly. The benefits of carnitine even go beyond working out, with benefits provided to a wide variety of protein synthesis processes throughout the body. This includes cells related to the skeletal system and variety of organs throughout the body. Carnitine works by helping to move the fatty acid chains into the mitochondria of cells so that they can be burned to produce energy. Since muscle burn is important for an effective workout, carnitine can therefore work to facilitate successful workout routines by doing these activities more effectively.

For regular people, the body naturally produces enough carnitine to synthesize regular muscle tissue. However, when working out an excessive demand is created for carnitine in the muscles, and this can take these important amino acids away from other cells that need it. Further, this scarcity can cause muscle growth to be slowed and energy production to be reduced. Therefore, taking in carnitine helps to improve energy levels both during the workout and after it is been finished. Athletes looking to maximize their stamina should therefore make sure that plenty of carnitine is included with a prospective workout supplement before making a purchase. Since carnitine helps in this way, it is usually included with almost all workout supplements for both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

Energy Boosters

Energy BoostAs one of the major benefits of pre-workout supplements, energy boosters can work to help athletes get additional energy that they need during a workout. Since these can help muscles get less tired, they can also help to improve stamina and reduce soreness after a workout. Most athletes take energy boosters for their mental effects as well, since they can improve a person’s motivation during a workout. Energy boosters are generally divided into five categories, which are explained thoroughly below:

Tyrosine

As a pre-workout supplement, tyrosine is an amino acid that creates catecholamine, which helps to produce specific hormones that are needed during the workout. Well-known facilitators of performance such as dopamine or epinephrine are produced as a result of tyrosine. The supplement mostly works to help with motivation, providing the brain with supplements that it needs to stay focused during the workout. In order to stay motivated, tyrosine can be very helpful because it reduces stress and mental function. As a result of its benefits, many individuals with cognitive disorders take tyrosine to help them with their conditions. Further, some people with behavioral defects or problems coping with stress can take tyrosine to improve their performance throughout the day.

Tyrosine can be especially helpful for athletes looking for aerobic exercise. Studies have shown a correlation between tyrosine intake and the length of time that a person can do an aerobic exercise. While these benefits are somewhat minor, they can provide athletes with the edge they need to overcome the competition in the athletic field.

Taurine

Commonly recognized by most individuals as an advertised ingredient in energy drinks, taurine is also widely included with pre-workout supplements. Taurine is an important nutritional supplement for an effective workout, and is therefore often sold separately to help users get the right amount that they need. As an amino acid, taurine helps to improve protein synthesis, though throughout the body and not specifically in the muscles. When trying to reduce fatigue, it is also important to ensure that other tissues in the body have the supplements that they need when the muscles are taking large volumes of these compounds from other areas of the body. Taurine is needed by the brain, heart, liver, and other organs in the body to synthesize healthy tissues. When working out, muscles will begin to take in a large amount of taurine, at the natural cost to other cells in the body.

Since taurine is in importance amino acid, it is important that athletes take in extra taurine before a long workout. This reduces fatigue by ensuring that all tissues in the body have adequate volumes of amino acids to successfully synthesize the tissues necessary for proper functioning. In many cases, athletes experience fatigue after a workout because the body has a limited amount of taurine to work with. These benefits can also be realized during the workout, where taurine may begin to run out and the body can start to ration it. When this happens, exhaustion can be experienced. For this reason, it is important that taurine is included with pre-workout supplements for competitive athletes. Further, taurine has an antioxidant effect that can protect the body from sickness and harmful disease.

Rhodiola Rosea

Originally studied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War era, Rhodiola Rosea has an widely recognized for its ability to help with workout performance and to improve general health. Rhodiola Rosea is often prescribed by doctors to help patients overcome cancer, leukemia, and other life-threatening health conditions. The supplement can help to reduce fatigue and improve heart functioning. The supplement also provides antioxidants that can improve health and streamline recovery. Rhodiola Rosea works to minimize damage to muscle tissue during the workout by protecting the actual elements in muscle tissue itself. This helps not only to reduce soreness, but also to help athletes go longer during a workout. As a result of its benefits, it can help athletes who are doing both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

Schisandra Chinensis

As another naturally occurring herb, Schisandra Berries contain Schisandra Chinensis, which has been recognized for its abilities to improve health and help with athletic performance. It has been known to help with high cholesterol, liver problems, heart problems, and motivation. When working out, its primary benefit is assisting athletes with improving motivation. It helps to facilitate the production of dopamine, which improves mental functioning for people taking it. Specifically, it helps athletes maintain their focus during a difficult workout. This can help athletes get that extra 5 or 10 percent that they need to go the extra mile. When it comes to overcoming close competition, every bit can make a difference. Athletes should look for Schisandra Chinensis when attempting to find the right pre-workout supplement for them.

B Vitamins

These are range of vitamins that can assist with helping to make pre-workout preparation more effective. These have been well-documented to improve athletic performance because they can help to convert food into the energy that athletes need. These vitamins can help to ingest protein, carbohydrates, and other important supplements into the body during a workout. They can also help with mental functioning to improve motivation to keep athletes going at their peak levels. In addition to benefits from working out, B vitamins help with general function and improving mental toughness throughout the day. This can help athletes get through tasks or other stressful activities when they might be worn out after a difficult workout. For some people, B vitamins can also be useful because they can help to overcome deficiencies that might have debilitating effects.

When adding B vitamins into a pre-workout diet, it is important to find a workout supplement that has a full range of the vitamins the body needs. There is not a specific B vitamin that will provide all of these supplements that a person needs. These vitamins include B-6, B-12, riboflavin, and thiamine. Athletes should look for these ingredients when shopping for the right workout supplement to take before a workout. The benefits of these supplements can make a major difference both in recovery and performance during a workout, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Stimulants

Although well-known outside the workout field, stimulants can make a significant difference for workout activities. In addition to assisting with motivation, these compounds can help athletes perform longer and stay at peak levels during intense physical activity. The three major types of stimulants are described thoroughly below:

Caffeine

No, the benefits of caffeine aren’t that athletes can work out all through the night. Rather, caffeine taken before workout can activate a person’s physical and mental faculties to prepare for the workout. When taken in the long-term, studies have shown that caffeine can trigger the body to go into a pre-workout mode before exercise starts. This works by increasing the number of fatty acids within a person’s bloodstream before the workout starts. Since these are essential for protein synthesis, they can work in conjunction with amino acids to produce muscle tissue. Caffeine is widely used by athletes as a result of its benefits, even by Olympic athletes.

Whether a professional or just a casual person trying to stay healthy, pure caffeine can make a significant difference in athletic performance. They can also help to get carbohydrates to muscles to provide athletes with more energy. By using caffeine, athletes can expect to be able to expends more energy on each workout. They can also expect to be able to go longer, especially due to motivational factors. However, there are some physical benefits to using caffeine, and it therefore shouldn’t be overlooked when working as a supplement for workout programs.

Yerba Mate

Specifically, Yerba Mate is a natural herbal supplement that contains a high amount of caffeine. Instead of sipping a latte before a workout, athletes can get a more pure form of caffeine that will not make them jittery throughout the day. As a pre-workout supplement, Yerba Mate helps to increase energy levels and encourage antioxidant production. The supplement can be especially helpful for individuals looking to lose weight because it increases the body’s functioning during a workout. Since more energy will be extended, athletes can expect to get more out of each workout by using Yerba Mate. The supplement comes in many forms, with some available as pills, others included with pre-workout formulas, and even in specific teas. Since the substance itself is naturally found in a form of tea leaf, many athletes prefer to take the supplement in this way before their workout.

L-Theanine

This supplement is naturally found in green tea and is able to assist with physical regeneration after a workout. During intense physical exercise, glycogen stores can get depleted and need to be replenished. This supplement can assist with this to improve brain activity and relaxation after a workout. When taken ahead of time, it can increase output by reducing the exhaustion levels experienced by athletes. The benefits will also be experienced throughout the day, as both physical and mental functioning will be improved after the workout. However, it is important that this supplement is taken at the right time in order to reap the benefits of it. Athletes should ensure that L-Theanine is taken at least 30 minutes before a workout to get the maximum effect possible. The supplement is included with many workout formulas, as well as individually in teas and pills that are widely available.

Muscle Builders

Glutamine

Muscle BuildingWhen taken before a workout, glutamine can assist with protein synthesis after the workout session. Glutamine has a wide range of benefits, especially for building muscles. Glutamine can assist the immune system with replenishing its strength after an intense workout by helping the body to produce additional white blood cells. Additionally, it can improve the health of the central nervous system both in the brain and throughout the body. Specifically for working out, glutamine assists with glycogen resynthesis, an important factor for building muscle. Athletes looking to do this should make sure that they intake glutamine at least twice a day, and once before a workout. Since glutamine is so important for muscle synthesis, it is widely included in workout supplements and shakes available on the market. By getting an adequate supply of the supplement, bodybuilders can expect to be able to build bigger muscles and perform better in the gym.

Carnitine

Also known as L-Carnitine, this supplement is considered to be what is called a metabolite, or a substance that causes metabolism to occur. This supplement works to deliver fatty acid to the mitochondria in cells to facilitate growth. As the main facilitator this process, it is critical that carnitine is taken in conjunction with other amino acids to encourage cell growth during a workout. However, it is also important that bodybuilders are careful to work out after it is taken to prevent it from being stored as fat. If taken improperly, it can actually substantially reduce the effects of working out for individuals. Therefore, it is important that athletes are disciplined in their workout schedule when taking carnitine.

If taken correctly, Carnitine can help both to improve muscle function and encourage cell regeneration. This means that the benefits of taking carnitine before workout offer advantages in many ways. Carnitine helps to build more muscle mass, reduces fatigue, and helps restrict recovery after a workout. As one of the most importance supplements for working out, athletes should be careful not to neglect carnitine is an important element of their pre-workout diet.

BCAA

Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAA’s, work to facilitate protein synthesis after a workout. While the body can naturally produce most of the amino acids that it needs, the high demands created after an intense workout can exceed what the body can offer. Since amino acids are the agents of protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth, it is important that plenty of them are included in a pre-workout diet. Without these supplements, athletes will experience muscle breakdown and therefore greater fatigue. However, if they are taken correctly they can build muscle mass by ensuring that the maximum amount of cell growth is experienced after each workout. Many nutrition experts consider BCAA’s as the most important supplement needed for an effective workout. Due to their advantages, BCAA’s are widely found in most pre-workout formulas available on the marketplace today.

Vascularity & Pump Providers

Arginine

VascularityThis is a building block necessary to create amino acids. These help to get important ingredients to the muscles more effectively through the vascular system. In effect, arginine is important because it helps to reduce the oxygen levels necessary for proper muscle function. This means that users of this supplement can expect to perform longer, even as the cardiovascular system becomes exhausted. Since demand for oxygen is reduced, oxygen intake will also be reduced and athletes will therefore save energy for when it is needed. Arginine is especially important for aerobic athletes, were cardiovascular performance is critical to getting good results.

Citrulline

This helps to improve blood flow to muscles during a workout to help amino acids do their job. When blood flow is improved, athletes will be able to get the necessary amino acids to their muscle tissues so that the protein synthesis process can occur. This can also help with distributing carbohydrates to muscle tissues that need it during the recovery phase. Since it can take several hours to get these nutrients to the muscles, it is important that citrulline is taken as a pre-workout supplement. Like many other important supplements, this one is widely seen in various athletic formulas found today. It is important both for aerobic and anaerobic athletes, working to improve mental function and reduce physical fatigue.

GPLC

Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine, or GPLC, helps athletes increase their performance while also shedding unnecessary body fat. During the protein synthesis process, GPLC can help to get fatty acids to the mitochondria in order to synthesize proteins. This helps to reduce the amount of proteins that is stored as fat when combined with exercise. Therefore, this supplement is especially important for individuals trying to lose weight. Additionally, athletes who want a refined body shape can use GPLC to improve their muscle tone. GPLC should be considered as essential to all athletes, regardless of the type of exercise they are doing.

Pycnogenol

This compound helps to improve blood flow in order to assist with the protein synthesis process. As part of this, it can help to improve the immune system, which often is affected by intense physical activity. As an extra benefit, pycnogenol can even help to reduce the levels of free radicals in the body, reducing aging and helping to remove carcinogens. Due to its wide range of benefits, pycnogenol is even used outside the workout field to improve health in a variety of ways. Athletes should look for a protein supplement that contains pycnogenol in order to reap the benefits provided by the supplement. When blood flow is improved, proteins are better-able to perform and athletes are able to get the more refined muscles that they often seek by working out.

Nitrates

Nitric Oxide is an essential element that is needed during the protein synthesis process. If there is a limited amount of this compound available in the body, synthesis will not be able to occur. Therefore, many athletes take nitrates in order to ensure that this process can occur correctly. Especially if a diet is not monitored carefully, these compounds can help to ensure that adequate levels of nitrogen will be available to encourage protein synthesis. After a workout, this can leave athletes feeling strong and make a tangible difference in protein synthesis for many people. As an electrolyte, it can also help to reduce cramping that might be experienced by some athletes who don’t take-in enough water.

Glycerol

Since glycerine is an important element in the protein synthesis process, many athletes take glycerol to ensure that they can build muscle mass correctly. Although commonly used by runners, glycerol can help to spread out the time in which amino acids are released during the workout. This means that extended physical activity performance can see a significant benefit by using this compound to spread out the time in which amino acids are released. Since these are needed throughout the workout, glycerol can make a significant difference for long-term workouts. This makes this compound appropriate for athletes who are looking to improve their stamina during an extensive workout regimen.

Focus Enhancers

Choline

This compound is used to supplement nerve activity. During intense workouts, this substance can be used up as the body’s demands for it increases. This can lead to fatigue and causing the body to “break down”, especially during an extended workout. To prevent these problems and stay focused during intense physical activity, athletes should be sure to intake choline as part of their pre-workout regimen. This is especially important for marathon runners, who can run out of this important nerve agent after several hours of physically strenuous activity.

DMAE

This helps athletes maintain a more balanced life after working out. DMAE can work to replenish the body’s supply of certain nerve agents needed to calm down for sleeping, focus on certain activities, and feel good. During a strenuous workout, DMAE can become reduced and cause severe mood issues later in the day. Therefore, it is important that athletes take this supplement before a workout to prevent DMAE levels from getting depleted and creating problems later in the day. Athletes who are experiencing mood problems or sleeping difficulties should try taking DMAE to see if it makes a difference.

Huperzine A

Naturally occurring in a Chinese plant called selagine, Huperzine A protects the nerves again substances that can cause damage to them. During intensive physical workouts, the nerve endings in muscle tissue can become damaged as proteins are burned during a regular workout routine. To prevent this from causing a problem in the long-run to the nerves, it is important to take Huperzine A as a preventative measure. Further, athletes suffering from muscle-related issues might be prescribed Huperzine A by a doctor to help solve some of these problems.

Fat Burners

Synephrine

Fat BurningThis substance is naturally found in a plant called Citrus Aurantium, which is used in a variety of medicines and weight loss supplements. For example, allergy medications and common cold medications use this substance as to help individuals recover. Likewise, it can be taken for nonmedicinal purposes by athletes looking to get a boost in energy caused by increasing metabolic rates. By doing this, food intake will be increased and cardiovascular side effects of working out can be reduced. Due to its advantages, it can make a significant difference in helping to burn off fat. This can be helpful for both athletes and overweight individuals, since when combined with physical activity it will help to burn off harmful fat that accumulates.

Yohimbe

As a herbal substance, it has been used by thousands of years in Western Africa to promote metabolism. In athletic applications, it can be helpful to reduce fat content within a body. Further they can be used by people looking to lose weight to improve the speed of this process. If taken in excessive amounts, Yohimbe can actually be toxic to humans. However, it has been widely recognized for its ability to naturally improve weight loss for people who work out. Of course, this can also be useful for bodybuilders looking to get that lean muscle mass that they generally desire.

Green Tea Extract

This helps athletes by giving them a large dose of vitamins C and E into the body, which are needed after a workout. As a natural way of doing this, it offers substantial benefits over artificial alternatives. Although these vitamins can be found in fruits and vegetables, athletes can use green tea extract as a quick way of getting these essential vitamins. In addition, the extract contains other compounds that can improve digestion after taking workout supplements. For athletes struggling with indigestion due to their pre-workout regimen, adding green tea can help to mitigate some of these problems.

Types

Thermogenic

Quite simply, these focus on the metabolic aspects of a pre-workout regimen by helping to propagate fat burners throughout the body. These are recommended for individuals looking to lose weight or get more toned muscles.

Pump Based

For bodybuilders looking to maximize their muscle mass, pump-based pre-workout supplements can help to build the size of muscles. These are generally free of stimulants in order to maximize the amounts of muscle that can be “pumped” from a workout.

Stimulant-Free

Many athletes are worried about the effects of stimulants on their body. To get the benefits of them without having to take them, these can help build muscles in a variety of ways without having to intake potentially harmful and addictive substances such as caffeine.

Best Way to Take Your Pre Workout

Generally, athletes should look to take their pre-workout supplements about 30 minutes before working out. In some cases, certain specialized workout substances might differ, though 30 minutes is generally seen as the “Holy Grail” for workout supplement timing. Of course, it is most important that these supplements are taken before a workout, and not during it. Many athletes make the mistake of forgetting to take their supplements and instead take them in the locker room. This is inappropriate and should generally be avoided if they can’t be taken on time.

For athletes who find themselves forgetting to take their supplements frequently, certain pre-workout workout supplements are designed to be taken immediately before a workout session. However, athletes should not do this unless this is explicitly recommended by the product’s manufacturer.

Check our Top list : The Best Pre Workout Supplements

Cycling On and Off

It is generally seen as healthy for athletes to cycle the pre-workout supplements that they take. If this is not done, athletes could experience health problems or experience a declining effect. For example, creatine users should periodically take a two-week break from using the supplements every two months. Without doing this, athletes can develop a tolerance to the workout supplement. If this happens, performance could be significantly inhibited by these negative effects. In most cases, athletes should take at least a week off from any supplement every two months to prevent a tolerance for building up.

How to Choose

Read Reviews

Read ReviewsThese days, a great wealth of information is available online for athletes to learn about pre-workout supplements. Since many of these products are used by millions of athletes around the world, they often have thousands of reviews that can be very helpful. Hidden within these reviews is often additional information that can be used to help athletes decide how best to make use of a pre-workout supplement. Therefore, reviews should always be consulted before making a purchase online.

Look at Top Sellers

The bestsellers are successful because athletes keep coming back and buying more. Since they wouldn’t do this unless they were satisfied, users can be more likely to find a more satisfactory product by sorting them in this way. While some subjective factors should still be used, new athletes can benefit substantially by merely browsing through the top sellers. As part of this, athletes can also look around in the locker room to see what other athletes as stocking in their bags.

Look at Cost-Per-Serving

Like anything else in life, cost can be a significant issue when trying to decide between workout supplements. Just because one is more expensive does not necessarily mean that it will provide better results. Now possessed with a full understanding of all the ingredients that were listed above, athletes are in a position to compare supplements based on their chemical composition. Price-sensitive athletes should consider factoring in the total cost per serving of the specific compound that they need. Especially for experienced athletes, this could be an excellent basis of comparison.

Taste and Mixability

When taking these supplements, practical concerns like taste and mixability are also important. Since few athletes want to take the supplements alone, the ability to stir them in with other drinks can be very helpful. However, in some cases this can reduce the body’s ability to quickly digest these compounds. Therefore, truly dedicated athletes will often drink their pre-workout supplements alone to prevent these problems. Athletes who plan to do this should ensure that a product tastes good before making a purchase. This information can often be learned by simply evaluating online reviews.

Dangers/Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

While pre workout supplements can be very beneficial to most athletes, they also have a few potential dangers that users should be aware of. First, some users have been known to generate a dependency on certain compounds found within the supplements. Items like caffeine are well-known for their addictive properties and should be monitored carefully. Second, some users might have an allergy to some components within a workout supplement. Athletes with certain health conditions, known allergies, or problems like lactose intolerance should slowly step-up the amounts consumed to prevent a problem. Finally, certain compounds can actually be poisonous if taken in excessive quantities. Therefore, it is important to never exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations without the assistance of the medical professional.

Pre Workout FAQ

Can I Take It With Food?

In most cases, yes. However, athletes should keep in mind that their workout formula can take longer to ingest if taken with food. Therefore, athletes should carefully note any additional time factors recommended by a product’s manufacturer if it is taken with food.

Can I Take Multiple Pre-Workout Supplements Together?

Some pre-workout supplements can be taken together, but this should only be done with care. Since excessive amounts of certain compounds could be potentially harmful to a body, individuals should carefully study and compare ingredients before doing this.

Can I Take It If I am Trying to Lose Weight?

Certainly! In fact, this is almost always recommended to get the best results. Users concerned about losing weight should look for thermogenic fat-burning products to do this more effectively. Additionally, it is generally recommended that people trying to lose weight take other supplements throughout the day to get better results.

Should I Take A Pre Workout on Off-Days?

Generally, no. For individuals concerned about dieting, many many manufacturers offer specific products designed for off-days. Since many pre-workout supplements can be stored as fat if taken on off-days, they should almost always be avoided. However, due to the wide range of ingredients found in pre-workout supplements this can sometimes vary. Therefore, users should exercise careful judgment or ask for professional advice before taking workout supplements on off-days.

If I Train at Night Should I Still Take it??

In addition to not taking pre-workout supplements before sleeping, it is generally recommended that athletes avoid working out at night altogether. Quite simply, the heart rate builds up due to physical activity and this can severely inhibit sleeping for up to four hours. Since nighttime is a time when the body is trying to relax, the body may also be resistant to strenuous activity during this time. While some people might be busy with their work schedules, pushing workout times earlier into the day can lead to better results.

Can These Supplements Be Combined with Post-Workout Protein Shakes?

Certainly, and this is generally recommended. Whey protein should be taken-in several times throughout the day and should be used as a supplement to pre-workout products. In addition to being acceptable, this is generally recommended by both product manufacturers and professional athletes.
Check out our list: The Best Whey Protein Powder

About the author

Tory Reiss

Hi! I'm Tory Reiss. I built this blog to share my fitness quest and provide informative reviews of fitness equipment, gadgets, and supplements that you can use to help reach your health goals. Hope you enjoy it!