If you have just started going to the gym, you may have heard about pre-workout supplements and all the crazy claims that are made about them. They give you focus, endurance, and so on, as the claims say! Can there really be a miracle powder that helps get you up off the couch and into the gym, or are all these claims just BS to sell more products? Well, read on to find out.
So should you take a pre-workout? There are a lot of different supplements being sold on the market today, and even more are popping up from brand new companies that people have never heard of. Before you decide to give them a try, let’s look at what makes them up.
First and foremost, pre-workouts typically contain stimulants (legal, that is), and the biggest dose is usually going to be caffeine. Before you decide to try one out, you need to have a good understanding of what your tolerance is to caffeine. Picking up a powder and taking the maximum dose might give you some jitters and make you feel absolutely awful. There is also the option to make your own pre-workout with bulk powders, so you can tailor it to your personal preference. That, however, should be left for people who are experienced.
What do they do? Are they beneficial?
These supplements are made to give you two things. They allow you to work out longer with higher intensity, and they also give you more mental focus to get past some of those mental blocks you may have when working out.
Getting that little bit out of a workout is important, and a pre-workout can actually help you get through it with the use of the stimulants inside.
So yes, they do work! They are also relatively cheap for what you are getting. Many of the blends that you get on the market will contain caffeine, beta-alanine (which causes tingles if you have heard about that), and sometimes creatine, which will give you extra strength.
What time should I take it?
If you want to get the most out of your supplements, you have to time them correctly. Read the label and see what it says. A lot of them are going to contain ingredients that kick into effect about half an hour after you ingest them. For this reason, I usually recommend taking it at least 15-20 minutes before you get to the gym.
If you have to drive to the gym and it is further away, wait until you get there to take it! Nothing is worse than sitting in traffic, getting all tingly and ready to lift, but having nowhere to move.
Where should I buy pre-workout powders?
Almost any health and fitness store is going to sell this. However, I would recommend that you do your shopping online and pick them up from online retailers such as Amazon, as most physical stores mark up prices way too much.
It is also going to be important to pick a powder based on your gender. Hold on a minute here, though; this is not sexist. Like I said above, many supplements have creatine in them. If you are a man, you can take more creatine than a woman can. For this reason, make sure to read the labels. Women typically use more cardio in their workouts, and because of this, they usually suit themselves best to different workout powders. You can take a look at Fit Clarity for powders for women and go from there. If you are a man, I am a big fan of C4, which has a healthy amount of beta-alanine, caffeine, and just enough creatine to be effective, but not too much so that it will pass through your body without being absorbed.
A Final Word of Advice
You should never take more than the recommended maximum dose. You will over time build up a tolerance to these workout powders, and I would suggest that instead of increasing your dose, you start to just taper off and use less.
If you have never taken one before, never go for the maximum serving the first time you do. Trust me on this one. I once did this, and I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. It was a very intense experience.
Also, if you build up a tolerance, you can try what some people do and cycle your pre-workout supplements. Since each one is built differently, this can give you the same effect without stopping taking them completely.
Take it easy out there, and make sure to hit the gym with extra strength each and every time you go!