What Is Pre-workout And Why Does It Work?

· 6 min read
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Do you drink any type of pre-workout beverage before you exercise? Some people find it makes such a difference, they can’t go back once they try pre-workout.

After the pandemic, 59% of adults say they are now more conscious of their overall health. And that’s not surprising because as the famous adage goes: health is wealth! This philosophy has been further amplified by social media, with new fitness and health dedicated pages launching to promote proper workout regimens and good nutrition.

Today, taking pre-workout has become trendy because pre-workout can supposedly amplify your training and help you achieve peak performance, while also making you less likely to feel faint during a workout.

Pre-workouts live up to their name. They are supplements, often in powder form, meant to be consumed as a drink or shake. You consume it before workouts to amplify your performance, boost your energy level, and improve results. Pre-workouts are not new to professional athletes. But now, they are readily accessible for anyone looking to improve their workout performance, push themselves to last longer in a workout class, and feel more energetic during their routines. Learn more about pre-workout below:

What Can Pre-workout Do For You?

A study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition posits that pre-workout supplements can improve training volume and increase lean body mass when consumed before a HIIT workout. These supplements were also discovered to increase the rate of body fat loss for low to moderately trained individuals who participate in athletics for recreation instead of competition.

Pre-workouts are specially formulated to supply you with sufficient energy to give you endurance to last even through the toughest routines. These powders or pre-made drinks are designed to boost energy, increase focus, and replenish your body’s energy sources. Often, these are taken in drink form for quick digestion and processing. They are designed to supply your body with the right blend of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins needed to sustain your workouts.

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Common Pre-workout Ingredients and How They Work

Check out the below list of common pre-workout ingredients and what they can do for your body:

1. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is an ingredient that mitigates muscle fatigue. It works by increasing the levels of carnosine in your muscles, which builds muscle endurance. The carnosine then regulates the pH levels of your muscles, controlling the build-up of lactic acid. The latter is what gives the achy feeling in your muscles as you progress with your reps for strength training or steps with your cardio workout. Thus, taking a pre-workout increases endurance and prevents fatigue.

2. Caffeine

Everyone knows what this ingredient can do because taking a cup of early morning coffee contains this powerful stimulant that helps jump-start your day. And as expected, caffeine is a primary component of pre-workout supplements because it boosts energy levels. Caffeine also helps improve focus, reaction times, and alertness, thereby amplifying your overall workout performance. Most supplements have a caffeine equivalent of one to three cups of regular coffee.

3. Creatine

Creatine improves strength by helping your muscles circulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound that releases the energy your muscles use up during contractions. ATP is a source of high-level energy, however, it only provides such in short bursts. By taking creatine, your ATP or energy supply is sustained all throughout the duration of your routine and will help improve your overall performance and endurance.

4. BCAA

Most pre-workouts have l-leucine and l-valine, which are branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) that reduce or slow down the breakdown of protein occuring during workouts. This kind of amino acid is not produced by your body, so it would help to fortify with a supplement. BCAA will help you with muscle endurance, helping you finish your routine well and strong.

5. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays a fundamental role in the energy production of your body. In particular, it helps with breaking down glycogen which will benefit your metabolism during the workout. This is also great for those working on their weight loss journey because it revs up the metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories as you move and work.

It’s also common for pre-workout powders to contain electrolytes, which we’ll discuss more below.

How to Use Pre-workout Supplements

For the best results, check and follow the instructions of your chosen pre-workout supplement. After all, there are many different brands with varying formulations. The easiest to consume are the ready-to-drink pre-workout bottles which have been pre-blended for your convenience. For those in powder form that come in cans or drink sachets, follow the mixing instructions. The packaging will include the water to pre-workout powder ratio.

Other supplements can be taken in pill form. Simply follow the dosage recommendations stipulated in the instructions. Pre-workout supplements may also come in gummy candies, chewable candies, or pre-workout power bars.

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Curious to try a pre-workout? The below brands are good ones to try:

Nakedade from Naked Nutrition

Nakedade is a popular powdered drink produced by Naked Nutrition. It is loaded with electrolytes and potassium. It has a low-glycemic index, so it keeps your blood sugar levels stable and prevents cravings. Overall, the drink provides electrolyte replenishment and a steady energy supply from the palatinose. It is also easy to use and bring on the go as it comes in individual packets. These also come in palatable flavors like blueberry lemonade, making it seem less like a supplement and more like a pre-workout treat.

Testo Prime

This is a convenient pre-workout because it comes in capsule form. It’s a brand that proudly markets how they usen all all-natural testosterone booster and other natural ingredients for protein synthesis. However, it only specifically targets men who are looking to get results in the gym.

Powher

Ignite your fire from within with Powher. As the name suggests, it is a powerful supplement geared towards women. It contains EnXtra, an energy booster from an all natural plant which is said to prolong the positive effects of caffeine without the jittery side effects. It aids in mental clarity, amplifies performance, and decreases fatigue.

What to Take Post-Workout

Now that you’ve taken pre-workout and completed your exercise, don’t forget to stretch and cool down your muscles to avoid injury. You may also wish to consider a post-workout supplement. The focus of post-workout is re-hydration to make up for the lost water when you sweat during your routine. Furthermore, post-workout must provide your tired body with the needed nutrients to aid recovery. These are some of the best post-workout drinks, apart from water:

1. Electrolyte Beverages

Electrolyte drinks are recommended to be taken before, during, and after the workout to keep you hydrated while balancing neural activity and muscle contraction. Because of this, the body becomes capable of performing at a higher level than usual. It is highly recommended that you consume this post-workout as these electrolyte drinks replenish electrolytes lost during your workout. These drinks will help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores as well, therefore improving recovery. Electrolytes are present in items like chocolate milk, coconut juice, and other electrolyte-infused drink items.

2. Carbohydrates

For years, carbohydrates have been peddled as the number one enemy of any fitness routine, especially weight loss and muscle toning routines. However, carbohydrates are essential to one’s diet, as they get converted into the glycogen stores which fuel your muscles and provide energy during workouts. Avoiding carbs after workouts can deplete your body’s supply of energy, which will cause the release of stress hormones, like cortisol, and may cause a loss of muscle tissue or fatigue. By taking carbs after workouts, whether in a drink or solid food form, you minimize the chances of acquiring these issues, allowing you to go through with the rest of your day with ease. Moreover, consuming carbs post-workout helps improve your muscle building and recovery.

3. Fruit Juices

After working out, you will find that your muscles will feel sore as a result of numerous contractions. Tart fruit juices, like cherry juice or tomato juice, which are high in antioxidants can reduce the inflammation and soreness of the muscles after working out. However, it is important to note that it is best to avoid processed versions of these drinks and opt for the less sugary counterparts.

Before you embark on a new workout regimen, it is advisable to always consult your doctor. Engaging in a new routine may pose health issues, especially if you’ve been remiss with your annual exam and are unsure about your health status. Additionally, you can take a CircleDNA test as further reinforcement on your path to physical fitness. The results will help you plan the exercise and nutrition program that’s right for your body based on your genetics.