While most of who workout know the value of the post workout shake, many neglect to use pre workout supplements. The same way a post workout protein shake gets nutrients and energy to muscles immediately so they can begin healing and growing stronger, a good mix that works can give us that boost we need to hit new personal records, more focused training, or maybe just that edge for losing weight.
Here are the 6 most popular types of supplements and how they can help you reach your peak physical potential.
#1 Strength Booster
A strength booster is designed to provide your muscles with more nutrients so you have more energy and power during your workout. The best ingredients for a strength booster are usually a combination of betaine, beta-alanine, and creatine. Betaine is a modified amino acid, also called trimethylglycine. Usually created from beets, this amino acid has been shown to improve strength levels by as much as 25%.
Beta-alanine is another amino acid that improves your muscle function and the amount of force they can contract with. Along with a raw power increase, beta-alanine is known for improving muscle endurance. Usually when taking beta-alanine will notice a slight tingling sensation around your lips. This is an indicator of a high quality supplement with a correct dosage level.
Creatine is well known and famous for being an effective strength and performance booster. While many prefer to take creatine post workout or separately, combining this powerful supplement can make the best pre workout mix.
#2 Energy Booster
Energy boosters are designed to give your body more endurance, but are unique in that they don’t have a major effect on your brain or central nervous system making them different from stimulants. Some of the most effective energy boosters are tyrosine, taurine, b vitamins, and a variety of herbs. Tyrosine is an amino acid that has proven itself to provide additional energy without the jittery effects common to stimulants. Studies also indicate that tyrosine can improve overall stamina and focus.
Taurine is a popular energy booster that has been shown to increase energy levels by as much as 50%. Taurine helps the heart pump more blood throughout the body and into your muscles. This results in increased endurance, not just cardio, but muscular output. B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, are extremely important for overall energy production.
Adding B6 and B12, not an entire B vitamin complex pack, are great supplements.
A variety of plant, herb, and berry based supplements have been tested and suggest strong energy boosting effects. Rhodiola rosea is an herb that helps the body resist a number of stressors. It also works to increase testosterone production, growth hormone production, dopamine levels, and thyroid levels. This herb also helps control cortisol which actually breaks down muscles.
When you’re fatigued from a hard week of training, plus a long day at work, stimulants can help get your mind refocused so you can train more effectively. Instead of worry about getting a buzz, look for supplements that will provide you with significant muscle and energy levels. Top stimulants include caffeine and yerba mate.
Caffeine will give you that shot of energy and focus, just like your morning cup of coffee. Caffeine has also been shown to help reduce muscle pain so you can work through soreness from earlier in the week and get today’s workout done right. Caffeine comes in a variety of forms, anhydrous or pill form is popular and effective, but guarana or coffee and green tea are also excellent ways to get caffeine.
Yerba mate is a plant whose leaves contain a powerful mix of alkaloids and caffeine that work together to provide you strength, endurance, and a focused mind. Many people note that yerba mate does give them a slight buzz, but does not have any jittery side effects. Those who are sensitive to stimulants should consider using yerba mate in their pre workouts for an energy boost.
That pump or fullness feeling you get from a hard workout can also be achieved with supplements. Nitrix oxide is a popular supplement used to get that pump, but there are also stimulants that can do the same job. The pump makes you feel and look great, as well as stretches muscle fibers and allows for long-term growth.
Citrulline is an excellent pump provider which the body converts into arginine then later to nitric oxide. Citrulline is more effective than pure arginine as the body will often digest a large portion of arginine before its final conversion, losing potency. Arginine, in the form of L-arginine, is actually poorly absorbed by the body. When looking for arginine supplements look for arginine-AKG or arginine-HCL which provide higher nitric oxide levels.
GPLC, short for glycine propionyl-L-carnitine is a combination of amino acids and a modified form of carnitine. This combo boosts the level of carnitine that the body can absorb and can improve NO levels by as much as 30%. Nitrates are converted by the bacteria on your tongue into nitrites which are digested into NO. Vegetables such as beets are excellent sources of nitrates.
#5 Brain Booster
Mental focus is one of the key elements of getting a proper workout completed. You need a pre workout that works to be able to push through pain and difficulty to reach your physical peak. Brain boosters not only give you that focus, but have been shown to improve your mind and muscle connection which leads to increased muscle growth.
Choline is an effective brain-boosting supplement as it is vital to the creation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter allows your muscle to contract for extends periods of time. DMAE, dimethylaminoethanol, was originally produced to help with learning and memory, particularly with individuals with attention disorders. DMAE works to increase choline levels beyond supplementation with just choline. DMAE also helps improve mood as well as muscle strength.
#6 Fat Burning
The last set of pre workout supplements are slightly different from the previous group focus on muscle strength and mental focus. Fat burning is a goal for many and there are specific supplements that will help you burn fat while keeping your lean muscle mass.
Green tea is a great stimulant, but also provides numerous health benefits. EGCG, short for epigallocatechin gallate, blocks the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine and helps increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Synephrine is similar to epinephrine and also provides increased fat burning. Synephrine can be found in bitter oranges or citrus aurantium.
Yohimbe, found in the bark of west African trees, has become popular and has been shown to double the fat loss as it increases the amount of fat released from cells. Burning fat as a source of energy helps increase muscle endurance as well as helps you lose weight.
While training, make sure not to ignore a formula that will help you train harder and recover more quickly with less wasted effort in the gym. Whether your goals are to build muscle, lose fat, or just have more focus a pre workout that works can be customized to give you exactly what you need.