Considering that better health through fitness and exercise requires committed investments of time and energy, everyone is looking for the best deals. One option that has shown high-potential for improving the capacity for physical output is a pre-workout supplement.
These performance enhancers are not exactly drugs and are gaining a fervent following within the fitness community. As the name implies, these supplements are taken right before an intense physical activity to increase energy and enhance energy, strength, and power in a variety of different ways.
As you may imagine, the markets are currently flooded with pre-workout supplements, or simply pre-workouts, and it can be difficult to discern the most expedient from the plethora of options.
But it is the ingredients within the pre-workout that will determine the overall effects. The best way to know what to expect from a pre-workout is by carefully reading the ingredient list. In our reading, we will look at some of the most common and popular ingredients in today’s pre-workouts, what the scientific community had to say about their effects, and who would benefit from supplementation.
Here are 5 ingredients commonly featured in the best pre-workout supplements:
Caffeine is a natural stimulant taken from the coffee bean and tea leaves. In a pre-workout, caffeine has been found to improve various aspects of physical exercise such as increasing endurance and power output in a wide range of fitness exercises. Studies have found that low to moderate quantities of caffeine are all that is needed to increase maximal muscle output.1
Who needs Caffeine?
A small amount of caffeine can increase power in both high-intensity workouts and long-duration endurance training as well. Activities that involve intermittent output, like soccer, have also been improved with this ingredient.2
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that exists within the muscles and plays a vital role in the energy production process that powers physical efforts. Scientific observation has established that creatine supplementation can play a role in improving the performance of fitness enthusiast engaging in physical activities. On average, supplementation has increased strength gains anywhere between 5% – 10% in test subjects.3
Who Needs Creatine?
Those looking to maximize their performance in grueling high-intensity workouts stand the most to gain. Even then, the best effects will probably be experienced after a well-established strength building routine has been hammered out.
Citrulline is an amino acid that can improve the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscle groups effectively increasing reps by as much as 52% with most of the benefits evident in the final set, according to one test.4 Another study showed that supplementation increased performance in resistance training and also lowered ratings for perceived exertion (i.e. heart rate).5
Who Needs Citrulline?
According to the study, those athletes undergoing intensive training for upcoming competitions will stand the most to gain from Citrulline. This is due to its capacity increase athletic performance in high-intensity activities with very short rest periods.
Beetroot extracts and essences have been extolled by athletic experts for ages and for a good reason too: nitrate. Nitrate is converted into nitric oxide in the body and this improves muscular efficiency by enhancing oxygen supplies in the blood. Studies have found that nitrate supplementation could potentially improve oxygen efficiency in running and walking exercise.
Who Needs Nitrate?
Just about every exercise could benefit from improved oxygen levels, but supplementation with nitrate has great promise for improving endurance. Studies have shown that runners consuming whole beets can improve their performance dramatically. A beetroot salad or juice is one of the best time-tested pre-workout among health experts and Olympic athletes alike, and its benefits have been well-established.6
Beta-alanine is sold as an ergogenic supplement, but what it really does is counteract the effects of fatigue by combating the buildup of acids, called muscle buffering. This has produced some improvement in exercise and physical performance.7
Who Needs Beta-Alanine?
Studies have shown that small doses over longer time frames are needed to improve performance. The effects are most pronounced in sort time trail activities lasting no more than 4 minutes. As such, strength trainers and those seeking to increase muscle mass could see improvements through supplementation.
Final Notes on the Best Pre-workout Supplements
Will pre-workout supplements improve your performance in fitness activities? That really depends on the intensity of your routine and your fitness conditions. In addition to buying readymade pre-workout stacks, you can try out some ingredients and compare the results to your fitness record.
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You will undoubtedly find that some of these ingredients will have a more profound effect on your exercises and effort investments. By taking notes and measuring output, you may have a better frame of reference for choosing the best pre-workouts for you.
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