A pre-workout supplement is what it says… it’s a supplement you take prior to working out to help you get more out of your workouts. There are TONS of preworkouts out there, so it can get confusing on what to get. You might be thinking “do I even need one at all?” Let’s get into what to look for in a pre-workout!
Do You Need a Pre-Workout
Right away, the answer to “do I need a preworkout” is NO. That’s right, you don’t need one. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you really don’t need any supplements to get results. Tracking your nutrition to specific goals and being consistent will give you great results.
While I believe all that, you should know that supplements do have their place and can help you maximize your results. And a PWO can help do just that, maximize your results.
Are PWOs safe?
Great question! In many cases, yes. Whenever in doubt, I would strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor before using any supplement you are worried about. If you are worried that is a good sign you want to be a little cautious.
In my experience, the main PWOs seem to be safe for most people. Most preworkouts have stimulants like caffeine in them. So if you are very sensitive to caffeine, be careful. It’s always wise to start with a 1/2 dose to assess your tolerence when trying a new PWO.
3 common ingredients in PWOs
What I look for and what you look for in a PWO may vary, but here is a good list of popular and proven supplements found in a lot of preworkouts. I will like each supplement to a great page with tons of info!
CAFFEINE – Most of us know what this is LOL Caffeine is actually a really solid, proven, and effective supplement. It provides a boost of energy and even has been shown to increase power output, anaerobic capacity, and even aerobic capacity. Doses range in PWOs from a low of 100mg to up to 300mg. Definitely assess your tolerance!
CREATINE – Many PWOS also have creatine in the mix. Creatine is one of the most researched and most proven supplements out there. It is safe and effective for almost everyone too. Creatine boosts power output and helps draw water to your muscles. It can help you gain weight too, but you need to be eating for mass for that to happen well. Look for 5g of creatine mono for a full dose. Some PWOs don’t have creatine, in that case you can supplement plain creatine monohydrate very cheaply.
BETA ALANINE – I didn’t mention above, but like creatine, BA works by building up in your body. You take these daily to reach a saturation level. Some people confuse the “tingle” feeling with BA working. That is not the case. BA works by giving you some added muscular endurance, some anaerobic capacity, and even reduces fatigue. Right around 2g is a widely studied dose.
There is a huge host of other ingredients, but for bang for the buck, these 3 are at the top of most PWOs.
I really recommend trying some PWOs for yourself if you are interested. I am always amazed at how many people have such different experiences with PWOs. I look for something with a good boost of energy without feeling jittery or making my crash. I tend to stay away from higher stimulants for that reason. If you can try a PWO with a money back guarantee, like Beachbody offers on Energize, that is best in my mind. Then you can try it. See how YOU respond and you don’t have to take Joe Blow’s word for it.
For some of my old experiments with pre-workouts, check out this post!
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