If you’ve never purchased pre-workout supplements before, we understand that it can be overwhelming, and in an industry where you have influencers that push products just because they’re getting paid to do so, it’s easy to get scammed or pushed in the wrong direction.
Pre Workout Supplements: 5 Things to Include and 5 Things to Avoid
Here at 1and1, it’s really important we educate our readers so that you can make the best possible decision for your health. So below are the 5 things to look for in a good pre-workout and 5 things to avoid, and why.
5 Ingredients You Do Want in Your Pre-Workout
Caffeine is a natural stimulant, derived from plants. You will usually see it in the form of coffee or green tea extract. Studies show that caffeine not only boosts energy, but it also helps you push more in the gym which in turn helps you burn calories. You don’t need more than 250mg per serving if you’re just starting out or sensitive to caffeine, but you can also work up to higher amounts for more energy.
Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are the essential amino acids used by the body to help with protein synthesis. This helps reduce muscle break down and increase recovery. Supplementing with BCAAs may help this process, and get you back to the gym faster.
L-Citrulline is an amino acid that helps increase the level of nitric acid to promote vasodilation (increased blood flow to your muscles). By making sure this is an ingredient in your pre-workout, you may be able to increase the “pump” to your muscles, increase your energy in the gym, and speed up recovery time.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid shown to increase strength, stamina, and blood flow to your muscles. Please note: this is the ingredient in pre-workouts that causes a slight tingling sensation. This is normal, but may be uncomfortable to some new users.
5. Creatine HCL
Creatine is usually sold as a monohydrate, which doesn’t absorb well and tends to make users hold onto a substantial amount of water weight. But Creatine HCL is pure and more soluble in fluids (which means no bloat or water retention). It improves stamina and increases muscle mass. Make sure it is dosed around 750mgs; anything less than that is underdosed.
5 Ingredients You Don’t Want in Your Pre Workout
- Proprietary Blends
- D-Aspartic Acid
- Creatine “Alternatives”
- Artificial Food Coloring
1. Proprietary Blends
The key to finding a good pre-workout supplement is finding a brand that isn’t scared to show you exactly what’s inside and how it’s dosed. When you see a proprietary blend, you don’t know what you’re putting into your body. This goes for any supplement.
2. D-Aspartic Acid
Supplementing with DAA was supposed to increase the luteinizing hormone, but studies show there is no benefit for this. What studies do show are the side effects: uneasiness, anxiety, and depression.
1,3-DMAA is a heavy-duty stimulant that can be related to ephedrine. It used to be sold as a fat-loss ingredient before it was banned by the FDA over 10 years ago. It is very bad for your heart, as it pushes it into overdrive which, if you workout intensely, you won’t need. Many studies prove that it can send you into cardiac arrest.
4. Creatine “Alternatives”
The best creatine sources tend to be pricey, so companies are starting to use creatine alternatives that are a bi-product, or substrate of creatine itself. In reality, these products don’t actually do anything but make you pee out creatinine.
5. Artificial Food Coloring
You’ll notice on the ingredient lists of many food products these days ‘red-40”, or “blue-2” which is your sign to put that item down. Synthetic food coloring is linked to cancer, ADHD, GI issues, asthma, and hypersensitivities.
More Pre-Workout Supplements
If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to read the 1AND1 LIFE review on Cellucor C4 Pre-workout powder. It’s just one more choice that we’ve vetted, so you don’t have to.