So, you’re building that body you dream of through a healthy lifestyle and regular exercises. Congrats! You’re a champ. Now, eating the right food when embarking upon a bodybuilding journey is as important as the exercise itself. You can’t have one without the other. What you eat before and after your workouts is of prime importance for getting those shapes you want.
Pre-workout supplements are great if you want an added edge in the gym and the market bursts with all kinds of such products. Picking the ones you need might be a bit of challenge. Not if you know the key ingredients that will give you a push in the gym. That’s what we focus on today.
Pre-workout supplements come in a rich variety of mixes and blends. That’s what might give you a “errr…which one to choose?” moment. There are 4 main ingredients you want your pre-workout blend to include: caffeine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate. These 4 come with a solid scientific research that places them in the must-have list when it comes to pre-workout blends.
You can buy such products or you can combine these ingredients in your own blend. Each of them has a specific role and the doses you are going to use depend on your needs.
Or the energy booster. It’s no news that caffeine is primarily used to get your energy levels higher. Just what you need before a pre-workout. Moreover, caffeine is a performance booster in maximal exercises like sprints as well as in endurance workouts. Studies have shown that caffeine decreases fatigue and lowers the perception of effort which leads to an increase in the workloads.
As for caffeine doses recommended, this one will be the topic of your next visit to your doctor or physician. Keep in mind that people with health issues should pay utmost attention to what they eat and how much they exercise. Furthermore, the caffeine doses to be taken vary from one person to another depending on weight, diet and health conditions. Don’t go for caffeine just because you know it’s a great performance booster. Check it out with your doctor before taking it.
Plus, if your workouts are at night, too great a dose might keep you awake long after the exercises are done. And sleep is so important in order to grow.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
Next on our list of pre-workout ingredients are the branched-chain amino acids also known as BCAAs or leucine, isoleucine, and valine. This mix reduces protein metabolism, increases protein synthesis, suppresses protein breakdown, offers protection against catabolic effects and reduces the DOMS or the delayed onset muscle soreness. Make sure the supplement you get includes leucine as the highest amino acid since this one is responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
If you’re interested in keeping up your intensity for longer, then beta-alanine should not miss from your workout blends. You can take it before your workout or throughout the day. This one will increase your muscular endurance during workouts which can only lead to more gains.
Consult your health care specialist about the dose to take. Large doses of beta-alanine will give you a tingling sensation known as paresthesia. They say it’s normal but if you’re not ok with that, make sure you go for smaller doses.
Just like with beta-alanine, this ingredient can be taken whenever you want. Still, if you want to get all of them at the same time, make sure you also include this one in your pre-workout blend. What does creatine monohydrate do? It will saturate your muscles with the energy source you need to produce a fast energy pump. So, if big lifts are what you’re interested in, then this one is a must-have. As we’ve said, creatine can be taken at any time. But it’s better to make it part of your pre-workout as this way you will take anything you need to help you with your bodybuilding once and you’ll avoid forgetting an ingredient.
If a fast-bulk phase is what you have in mind, you will have to take a larger dose at first and decrease it after. In order for you to get the best of your workouts, make sure you see your doctor about this.
You might also want to go for vasodilators when creating your pre-workout blend. Vasodilators like beetroot, L-citrulline and L-arginine increase the blood flow by fostering the nitric oxide levels in the blood and that will help you with achieving those pumps.
Getting them together
All of the ingredients mentioned above can be found in various mixes available on the market. The thing with these blends is that they come with fixed doses of the key ingredients. Since pre-workout requirements differ from one person to another, it is best to go for a custom-made blend and use the doses you’re interested in. You can also add more of the ingredients we’ve talked about to a pre-workout supplement you buy. Pre-workout supplements should be taken half an hour before the exercise session starts in order for the ingredients to do their job.
Final thoughts about workouts and supplements
Before starting any bodybuilding or workout program, make sure you check it with your doctor and nutritionist. Exercise sessions should be adjusted to your needs. If you have a medical condition, intense workouts might not be a good option. Exercises are part of a healthy lifestyle but make sure you do them safely and remember that workouts go hand in hand with what you eat.