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Depending on the time of day, you’ve either had a long day at work already, or you’re about to.
Your energy levels are feeling critically underwhelming. The Lambo needs fuel.
You know you should get that workout in, you even know what you’re supposed to be training. But often, it’s a lack of energy rather than the lack of a plan that prevents you from getting to the gym.
Pre-workout supplementation might be the answer to getting that extra boost you need to get moving.
However, there’s a ton of supplements out there with a bunch of different ingredients. Today, we’re going to look at the most effective pre-workout ingredients that you should be looking out for.
Caffeine - naturally found in coffee and tea, it has been found to stimulate the brain, increasing alertness and reducing fatigue. It has also been shown to increase power output and muscular endurance at a dose of 3-6mg/kg of body weight(1).
Citrulline malate - while citrulline is an amino acid found in the body, supplementation increases those levels and has been shown to increase blood flow to muscle tissues, providing them with additional oxygen and nutrients that increase work capacity. One study found that athletes could perform a whopping 53% more repetitions on the bench press after citrulline malate supplementation when compared with a placebo(2). Dose 8g
Beta-alanine - another amino acid that fights fatigue in the body. A study on Judo athletes found that supplementation increased the number of sets and reps and reduced lactic acid buildup(3). Another found performance to be increased on sets lasting between 1 and 4 minutes(4). Dose 4-6g
Creatine - the god of strength and power supplementation. See our previous post on creatine for more of the juicy details. Dose 5g
Many pre-made supplements include these ingredients, but often not at scientifically proven doses. My recommendation would be to make your own pre-workout cocktail and experiment to find the dosing that works best for your body. Or at the very least pick a pre-made supplement that is dosed effectively.
So, next time you’re feeling low on energy and need a boost, try pre-workout supplementation.
Remember, don’t use it as a crutch replacement for good routine and discipline, but do use it as a powerful aid when you need it.
de Andrade Kratz, C., de Salles Painelli, V., de Andrade Nemezio, K., da Silva, R., Franchini, E., Zagatto, A., Gualano, B. and Artioli, G., 2017. Beta-alanine supplementation enhances judo-related performance in highly-trained athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20(4), pp.403-408.
Del Coso, J., Salinero, J., González-Millán, C., Abián-Vicén, J. and Pérez-González, B., 2012. Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1).
Hobson, R., Saunders, B., Ball, G., Harris, R. and Sale, C., 2012. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids, 43(1), pp.25-37.
Pérez-Guisado, J. and Jakeman, P., 2010. Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), pp.1215-1222.