Quick Links to Info on this Page
- 1 Background Information on Pre Workout Supplements
- 2 How To Take Pre Workout Supplements
- 3 My Top 3 Pre Workout Supplements for Beginners
- 4 Bonus Workout Motivation to Get you Going
Working out can be hard, especially for those who are not used to it. For someone that is relatively new to working out, taking a pre workout supplement can be a good way to ease the entry into the world of the gym and the sometime severe soreness that can be associated with it. As well as providing a bit of extra motivation and energy, the right supplement can also help to speed up recovery time, reduce soreness and maximize the benefits you get from working out. So what is the best pre workout supplement for beginners to try? Without assessing an individual’s circumstances and specific health situation it is hard to give a definitive answer to this. However, there are some general guidelines that can be adhered to in order to help choose the best pre workout supplement for someone who is just beginning to work out. In this post we will explore this by first explaining a bit about pre workouts – what they are, how they work and why you would use one. Armed with this information, you can then decide which supplement may be the most useful to assist you in achieving your fitness goals in 2016 and beyond.
Background Information on Pre Workout Supplements
If you are reading this post you may be new to working out, new to pre/intra/post workout supplementation or new to all of the above. You may have heard about pre workout supplements at the gym, at work on site or maybe around the water cooler in the office. One of your buddies may have told you how they tried such and such product and had the best workout of their life, resulting in instant gains that they never before thought possible. You may have seen memes on the net of people jacked up on pre workout having ridiculous amounts of energy and an intense need to work out. In this section we will present a simple explanation of what pre workout supplements really are, how they work, common misconceptions, and why you may want to use one.
What Are They?
Pre workout supplements are dietary supplements designed to maximize one’s performance while training. This is not the sole purpose though, they are also intended to help enhance muscle growth and recovery, boost fat burning by the body and provide extra energy and motivation. Some are also very effective appetite suppressants, and these supplements that combine the functions of a pre workout and fat burner are very popular with women looking to lose weight. Typical pre workout supplements are mainly designed to be used for resistance training (weights) but there are also supplements that can be effective for other forms of exercise such as cardio like running and cycling or supplements that are good for HIIT (high intensity interval training) type workouts such as Crossfit.
How Do They Work?
The majority of pre workout supplements mainly work to enhance the performance of the body by speeding up or enhancing the anabolic and metabolic processes that naturally occur in the body. They will usually contain ingredients for increasing energy, focus, motivation, performance, pump, strength, stamina and endurance.
What’s In Them?
Nearly all pre workouts contain caffeine. There are a host of benefits that caffeine brings such as increasing the amount of fat metabolized by the body for energy, reducing the perceived difficulty of exercise and stimulating the central nervous system which can help to provide extra motivation and energy. If you don’t tolerate caffeine well then never fear, there are also an increasing number of pre workout supplements without caffeine available.
Pump or Nitrous Oxide (N.O) boosters
Any product worth its salt will have a significant pump or Nitrous oxide boosting component. This basically increases blood flow which is really helpful in getting the most from your muscles. More nutrients and oxygen carried to your muscles and more waste carried away from them makes it far easier to work them harder. This is such an important part of pre workout supplements that there are many products available purely designed to increase pump. If you’re interested you can read some more detailed explanations of pump and nitrous oxide supplementation.
Beta-Alanine is a staple for pre workout supplements. This is the stuff that is responsible for the tingly feeling you may get for a short while after consuming it. Do not be alarmed – it is normal and does not cause you any harm. Beta-Alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid and by getting more of it in your body you can effectively increase the amount of work your muscles can do before becoming fatigued. Basically, Beta-Alanine levels are proportional to Carnosine levels and Carnosine indirectly governs how much work your muscles can do before tiring. Many supplements contain the patented Carnosyn which is a form of Beta-Alanine that is said to be more effectively utilized by the body however standard Beta-Alanine is fine and not many people would notice the difference.
This is another fundamental part of pre workout supplementation. Creatine plays an important role in protein synthesis, muscle contractions and muscle recovery. If you’re interested you may like to read further details of how Creatine works.
Vitamin B complex
B group vitamins can be depleted during a vigorous workout so it is important to keep levels topped up, hence most pre workouts will contain many B group vitamins. These vitamins play a very important role in turning fats, proteins and carbs to energy. Vitamin B6 is also particularly important as BCAAs depend on it to help muscles repair and grow. Have a look at the label of any product you are considering and if you can’t see these important vitamins then you may want to consider a separate source of them. Vitamin B complex – Amazon.com
A pre workout supplement will make me stronger, leaner or fitter. Unfortunately this is not the case. You still have to train and push yourself to achieve these things.
Pre workouts are like steroids. Absolutely not. Steroids basically trick the body into growing more muscle and mess with many of the body’s systems. Pre workout supplements support the body to enable it to work harder and longer and repair quicker by providing extra amounts of the things it needs to do it naturally.
Why Use One?
It makes sense to use a pre workout supplement in the following cases:
- You need a bit of extra motivation to get moving (ie you want to work out but when it comes down to it you never seem to end up following through)
- You need a bit of extra energy to get through a workout
- You want your muscles to recover faster after working out
- You are a high performing athlete that wants to get that bit of extra performance
How To Take Pre Workout Supplements
Now that you know what a pre workout is, how it works and why people use them, it’s time to talk about how to take them. Most products will have their own specific instructions. You should always follow these.
When To Take Them
Once again, follow the instructions on the label though in time you will get a feel for how long it takes for you. The label may suggest taking it 30 minutes prior to working out but you may find you are ready to hit the gym in 20 minutes or maybe 40 minutes. If you work out in the morning there is no issue but if you work out later in the day you may want to be careful as many products contain significant amounts of caffeine and other stimulants that may make it hard for you to sleep straight after your workout.
How Much To Take
Most products will recommend starting off taking half a serve on your first time to assess your tolerance. If this is not written on the label I would suggest doing it anyway
My Top 3 Pre Workout Supplements for Beginners
#3 – Naturo Nitro Decimus
This is a great product that delivers great value in my opinion. It is pretty strong so if you have not taken pre workout supplements before then you can probably get away with half to three quarters of a serve each time. I have written a detailed Naturo Nitro Decimus Pre Workout review that contains more information.
#2 – Magnum Opus
If you are sensitive to stimulants then I think this product is perfect for you. It is stimulant free so you can take it late at night and not have to worry about being kept awake. Many body builders will use this because it contains a host of performance enhancing ingredients and add their own separate stimulant mixture. My review of Magnum Opus Pre Workout contains more information.
#1 – Cellucor C4
In my humble opinion, this is one of the best pre workout supplements available, especially for beginners. It has a solid mix of proven ingredients and a very effective stimulant component. This informative review of Cellucor C4 Pre Workout will hopefully answer any questions you have.
Bonus Workout Motivation to Get you Going