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Pre-Workout Supplements

What are pre-workout supplements for?


Taking a Pre-Workout supplement can make the difference between a mediocre or a muscle pumping, PB beating epic workout. These formulas can boost performance whether you’re lifting weights, running or playing general sports. Pre-workout supplements are designed to provide both immediate short-term energy and also to increase stamina and endurance for longer workouts. They also help to support faster recovery, which may lead to greater gains and recovery for your next workout. By fuelling your body pre-workout you prevent catabolism of muscle and you ensure that your glycogen and fluid levels in the body are at an optimal level for the length of your workout.

This category covers pre-workout supplements for both weight training and endurance athletes. Some products supply immediate energy to intensify your training, such as Caffeine and Caffeine Formulas. On the other hand, others are designed specifically to replenish glycogen stores so you can train for longer - for example Energy products like Bars, Gels and Powders. Often these include Electrolyte Replacement technologies, so you’ll be properly hydrated. This is particularly important for endurance sports, like long-distance cycling. Creatine based pre-workout supplements help to increase cell volumisation and provide you with more power, which is particularly important for weight-trainers. Another group of pre-workout supplements contain Nitric Oxide formulas. These formulas also work on increasing muscle pump capacity and are often used by bodybuilders to enhance their muscle size and strength. Some supplements even include ingredients like L-Glutamine which acts as a strong anti-catabolic and can improve the immune system’s functionality.

What are the benefits of taking pre-workout supplements?

While many of them are specified above, here is a more comprehensive list of the benefits of taking these supplements:

  • Increased performance capacity (greater power leading to stronger lifts).
  • Can reach a greater number of repetitions.
  • Energy sustained for much longer.
  • Can help push through plateaus.
  • Improved focus.
  • Increased nutrient delivery.
  • Decreased muscle breakdown.

Are there any problems with taking pre-workout supplements?

  • May lead to dehydration.
  • May make it harder to sleep.
  • If taken more than recommended amounts may lead to kidney damage (always follow dosage recommendations on packs).
  • May lead to a raised blood pressure.

Are there any common ingredients found in Pre-Workout Supplements?

Some of the most common ingredients in these supplements are:

  • Creatine
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Caffeine
  • Tyrosine
  • Phenylalamine
  • Arginine
  • Guarana

How long before my workout should I have a shake?

The answer varies from different products, it could be anything from 5 minutes to 2 hours. If you read the packaging it will tell you for that specific product. The general rule of thumb is to take one approximately 30-40 minutes before your workout in order for it to take full effect, however you should start to notice it kicking in after about 15 minutes.

Should I cycle my pre-workout shakes?

For best results, it is recommended you cycle your pre-workout schedule. This is in order to keep your body from adapting and becoming resistant to the positive changes that the supplement is helping you to achieve. Essentially, you need to have a pre-workout supplement off period every so often where you allow your body to naturally raise its tolerance to the supplements that you have been regularly taking. The recommended cycle for these supplements are 6-8 weeks of use followed by 2-3 weeks off. It is worth noting that you may find that when you return to the PWSs they may feel extremely potent.

Should I take my pre-workout supplement with food?

We strongly recommend taking your pre-workout supplement while on an empty stomach as if you consume food at the same time, this can prevent the supplement from taking full effect. If you are sensitive to caffeine and the pre workout shake contains a significant amount then we would recommend lowering your dosage to test your tolerance. If you are planning on taking a pre-workout at any point in the day it is recommended that you do not take caffeine in any form prior to the supplement.

Should I take my pre-workout supplement on off days?

The short answer is no, it is not recommended. The purpose of these supplements is to increase your intensity and focus during your workout, which is clearly not needed when you aren’t exercising. If you are taking one every day, you are probably increasing your tolerance to the supplement at a much greater rate, so it is worth avoiding on days off. Sleep is also incredibly important as this is when you repair the muscle fibres that have been broken down during your workout to increase muscle mass, therefore on rest days you should focus on recovery.

Can I take pre-workout supplements at any other time?

While no harm will be done if you take one at any other time, it is not recommended. When these supplements should be taken is dependent on what kind of supplement it is. For example, an energising pre-workout supplement containing a large amount of caffeine, it is not ideal to take within five hours of going to bed. On the other hand, it would be fine to take a Casein Protein, which can also be taken pre-workout.

Can I take a pre-workout supplement if I am cutting?

Yes you can as most of these shakes don’t have major amounts of fat or sugar, yet still provide energy and focus to help you reach and surpass your aims and previous achievements. As you will undoubtedly be on a decreased amount of carbohydrates, you might require a pre-workout shake to ensure you still reach the same level of intensity in the gym.

Can I have a protein shake after a workout if I’ve already had a pre-workout supplement?

Yes it is a great idea to combine the benefits of both a pre-workout supplement and a post-workout supplement. A combination of both supplements will often not just lead to greater muscle synthesis, but a reduction in your muscle breakdown rate and a much greater extended period of time in which you receive the benefits of the supplements.

What are the main stimulants found in these shakes?

The main stimulants found in Pre Shakes are Caffeine, Guarana extracts, Niacin, a number of teas (for example green tea extract) or Synephrine. Their shared common characteristics are that they increase blood pressure and heart rate, open up breathing passages, increase glucose and enhance the effects of certain chemicals in the brain, for example the ones that produce dopamine (an important hormone in the body).

Is it more important to have a pre-workout supplement, or a post-workout supplement?

At the end of the day it is very hard to make the claim that one is more important than the other, as both are extremely important. In order to get the most out of your workout your muscles need fuel for strain and rebuilding both before, during and after your workout. This is why we recommend you take supplements both before and after for optimal results. If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, what you take beforehand can help enhance your results, while post workout nutrition is incredibly important to replenish depleted levels.

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