Why Take a Pre-Workout Product?
Pre-workout products are amongst the most popular category of supplements available. Their ingredients vary greatly, however most pre-workout supplements are designed to give the user an added energy boost in training, as well as assisting with increasing stamina, delaying muscle fatigue and soreness, increasing strength levels, and boosting nutrition.
What is in Pre-Workout Products?
Pre-workout products are made up of a variety of ingredients, and vary between manufacturers and products. Here are some of the more popular ingredients, and their roles in pre-workout supplementation:
Arginine & Arginine Alpha-Keto Glutarate (AAKG)
Arginine is an amino acid manufactured within the body, but also contained in various food sources such as meats, dairy, nuts and seeds. AAKG is a form of another amino acid (a glutamine precursor), which may have a glutamine-sparing effect in muscle tissue, leading to more available glutamine. It is one of the most common ingredients in pre-workout supplements due to its role in forming Nitric Oxide (N.O.). N.O. is a vasodilator. When produced in the body, Nitric Oxide dilates the blood vessels, increasing bloodflow throughout. When bloodflow is increased, more nutrients are delivered to the body's cells, and stressed muscles grow larger. This is what is commonly referred to as 'the pump'.
Caffeine is a popular stimulant to the central nervous system, found in many foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. Caffeine has a host of benefits to those undergoing strength or cardiovascular training, including: increased energy levels, increased mental alertness and delaying of muscle fatigue and soreness.
Creatine is naturally manufactured in the body, and is found in many foods, especially meats and fish. Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market, due to the great benefits it provides weight trainers and endurance athletes. Creatine is well-known at speeding recovery rates, increasing muscle strength and size, and accelerating fat loss.
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid which is widely used in pre-workout products. It is highly researched, and is widely believed to be important in increasing energy levels and power output, especially when combined with creatine.
Carbohydrates are the body's most efficient energy source and are used by the body for fuelling activity, especially aerobic and anaerobic activity. When taken pre-workout, carbohydrates such as dextrose, will increase the body's energy levels, allowing a more intense and longer workout.
Electrolytes are salts, found throughout the body's cells which maintain and carry electrical impulses to other cells. An electrolyte balance within the body is important for nerve and muscle function. In athletes, having insufficient levels of some electrolytes will cause muscle weakness and failure. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium are vital for muscle function, and pre-workout products containing these salts are designed to replace what is lost through sweat during intense exercise.
Taurine is an amino acid which provides a number of benefits to resistance trainers and cardiovascular athletes. Taurine is believed to act similarly to creatine, filling up muscle cells with water, making them appear larger and absorb more protein and other nutrients. Taurine is also believed to increase strength levels, especially in combination with creatine.
When Should I Take a Pre-Workout Supplement, and What are the Dosage Sizes?
Directions on the products label should ALWAYS be followed, but as a guide, pre-workout supplements should be taken within an hour before a workout for maximum benefit. This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients contained in the product, and allow processes such as nitric oxide production to take place. Dosage sizes vary greatly, depending on the ingredients of the product, but are always detailed on the label.
If your after the Best Pre-Workout Supplements, Protein King Recommends...
One of the most popular supplements in the world, Gaspari Super Pump Max is the benchmark for pre-workout supplements. It is clinically researched, and contains creatine, caffeine and arginine, as well as a number of ingredients designed to increase power, endurance and strength during workouts.
2) USPlabs Jacked
A close second to Gaspari SuperPump Max, and again, one of the most popular products in the world, USPlabs Jack3d is designed to increase training intensity and endurance.
A great pre-workout product containing one of the highest amounts of essential ingredients on the market. Musclepharm Assault focusses on three separate processes - nitric oxide production, strength and recovery support, and mental focus.
4) Nutrex Hemo-Rage Black
One of the more 'hardcore' supplements, Nutrex Hemo-Rage contains 56 ingredients, and promises to deliver the most intense workouts possible.
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