"The greatest feeling in the world...is the muscle pump" - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Almost everyone who's interested in fitness knows what pre-workouts are. But not everyone knows what benefits the best products should deliver.
Basically, most people believe that pre-workouts are simply designed to offer energy boosts to help motivate you to smash your gym session. While this is 1 benefit, the best pre-workouts deliver at least 3 more benefits - ensuring that you get the most for your cash.
In this article, you'll learn:
- What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
- Things To Avoid In Pre-Workouts
- Best Pre-Workout Ingredients
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
These products are pretty self-explanatory. Pre-Workouts are supplements that you consume 20-30 minutes before your gym session; ultimately, they should provide benefits to help you perform better in the gym.
Here's the benefits that the pre-workouts deliver:
- Intense Muscle Pumps - Feel great, and look even better.
- Increased Energy Levels - Stronger mind-muscle-connection helps you make the most of every rep.
- Improved Focus - Never feel tired again, before or during a workout.
- Elevated Strength - Perform at your best throughout your gym session.
But it's important to know; not every pre-workout on the market will deliver all of the above.
If you pick the right product, then you'll be sure to experience these benefits. But it's not as easy as that...as we've mentioned, many pre-workouts only focus on delivering energy boosts.
For this reason, if you don't have a vast knowledge of supplements, it can be hard to choose the best option - especially when there's countless pre-workouts on the market.
Below, we'll explain things that you should avoid when picking a pre-workout supplement; this will help you get the best deal for your money.
Things To Avoid In Pre-Workouts
Many companies include potentially harmful or ineffective ingredients in their products. It might shock you, but sadly it's the truth.
Why? Simply put, they want to make their pre-workout supplement the 'strongest' on the market; they believe if it contains large dosages of stimulants that deliver immediate boosts in energy, you'll believe that it 'works'.
But the problem with large dosages of stimulants, is that it causes side effects such as jitters or energy crashes. Anyway, the other reason is to cut costs while raising the price of their product as much as possible - meaning you're wasting your cash on useless products.
As a result, it's important to know what to avoid in pre-workout supplements. Here at LeanBulking.com, we want you to get the best deal possible - without providing these bad companies your money.
For this reason, we'll explain the worst things you can find in ineffective pre-workout ingredients - so you never waste your money again. Thank us later, just read and remember what we've written below.
These are the biggest gimmicks in the supplements industry. Basically, these blends are mixtures of numerous ingredients that're only shown to you an overall quantity.
We've posted a picture of what proprietary blends look like on ingredient lists; so you know exactly what to look out for.
Basically, the quantity of the proprietary blend is 15, 782mg.
So what's the problem?
Well, no-one knows the exact dosages of each ingredient inside. Simply put, companies use these blends to add ineffective, smaller dosages of ingredients without you knowing...this makes their product seem better than it really is.
So don't be fooled by proprietary blends.
As you can imagine, this increases your risk of side effects - especially when potentially harmful stimulants, such as caffeine & guarana are included.
Basically, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for caffeine is 400mg - if you consume a dosage higher than 200mg per serving, then you're likely suffer from jitters or energy crashes .
Ask yourself this question - Did you know about proprietary blends before you read this? Most of you will answer 'no'.
If you did, and you still tried products containing these blends in the past, well now you know why you suffered from those side effects...
Large Dosages of Stimulants
We briefly mentioned that dosages over 200mg caffeine per serving can cause side effects above. So we'll expand on why large dosages of stimulants in pre-workouts supplements are bad.
So we'll start by explaining why companies add stimulants into their supplements.
Why stimulants are used
When dosed sensibly, caffeine can be one of the best ingredients you can find in a pre-workout. It takes effect very quickly, and has shown to improve your strength, endurance, focus, and energy levels while you lift weights .
However, as we've mentioned, companies often try and make their pre-workouts the 'strongest' on the market. The easiest way they can do this, is to add an overload of stimulants - to fool you into thinking their product is great.
Don't be fooled; large dosages of caffeine (over 200mg per serving) will only result in side effects such as jitters or energy crashes. For this reason, it's important to choose a pre-workout containing less than 200mg Caffeineper serving.
Different forms of stimulants
Also, avoid pre-workouts that contain numerous stimualants. Other stimulants found in these products are:
- Yerba Maté
- Dicaffeine Malate
- Bitter Orange Extract
So which one is your best option? Answer: Caffeine.
Caffeine is the safest and most reliable stimulant available. So don't be afraid to choose a pre-workout containing this stimulant.
In fact, Caffeine will help boost your strength, energy, endurance and focus in the gym. Just make sure to consume less than 200mg per serving - to experience benefits while avoiding side effects.
Best Pre-Workout Ingredients
Now you know what to avoid, let us show you what to look for. Simply put, a supplement's effectiveness is determined by it's ingredients.
For this reason, it's just as important to know which pre-workout ingredients are the most beneficial to improve your workout.
Take a look:
This is our favorite ingredient inside any pre-workout supplement; Citrulline Malate has proven to promote muscle pumps in the gym that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of.
Here's how it works: Citrulline Malate converts into L-Arginine in your kidneys. This promotes vasodilation (widening of your blood vessels) - resulting in increased blood flow, which encourages more blood to rush into your muscles.
The result? Answer: skin-splitting muscle pumps. Just make sure to consume an optimal dosage of 6,000mg per serving, or it studies have shown it won't work.
In fact, this is a great example of how checking for effective dosages is. Many companies under-dose ingredients as it cuts production costs, while still taking money from you.
But muscle pumps don't just make you look and feel good; they're proven to improve your muscular endurance in the gym, as well as reduce muscle soreness .
Citrulline Malate is better than L-Arginine
If you're wondering "why not take L-Arginine directly?"...then here's why: L-Arginine has a poor absorption rate when orally supplemented (meaning it's ineffective in pre-workout supplements) .
As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: "The greatest feeling you can get in a gym is... The Pump". And Citrulline Malate is your ticket there.
'Smart Caffeine Combo' - L-Theanine & Caffeine
We mentioned that high dosages of caffeine can cause jitters and side effects in pre-workouts. Well, this is where L-Theanine comes in.
But first, we'll explain what this is.
Simply put, L-Theanine is a relaxing agent naturally found in green tea. It's shown to enhance the benefits of caffeine (improved strength, endurance, focus, and energy), making the stimulant more effective in smaller dosages .
As a result, it's the perfect ingredient to include in a pre-workout alongside caffeine; it allows companies to reduce the dosage of caffeine, which reduces the risk of side effects.
If you've suffered jitters and energy crashes before, and want to avoid these side effects - then looking for a pre-workout containing this 'smart-caffeine combo' is your best option.
A quality pre-workout supplement can give you that 'push' when you need it the most. However, many people have reported side effects such as jitters, energy crashes and itchy skin after taking these products.
This is because they chose the wrong products containing harmful ingredients. This is why checking which ingredients are inside, and carefully looking at a pre-workout's ingredient list is important.
So how do you choose the best product available?
Well, as long as you avoid the things listed in this article, you'll stay safe while enjoying the benefits that pre-workout supplements can offer.
Let's recap the benefits that the best pre-workouts will deliver:
- Enhanced Strength
- Elevated Energy
- Improved Muscle Pumps
- Boost In Strength
We hope that you carefully read this article. Our advice will help you choose the best product on the market, and help you save time and money too.
We had bad experiences with pre-workouts in the past (we won't name any, as we don't want to get in trouble...). But just know that we'll never recommend you to try any potentially harmful supplements on LeanBulking.com.
In our Top 3 Pre-Workout Supplements Article - we've made sure to choose the most effective product that doesn't cause any side effects as our #1 pre-workout.
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- Pérez-Guisado J. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
- Fahs C. A. Hemodynamic and vascular response to resistance exercise with L-arginine. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Apr;41(4):773-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181909d9d.
- Giesbrecht T. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283-90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840.