What's in Pre-Workout Powder, Anyway?
What's Really Amplifying Your Performance?
Some days, you’ll roll up for your workout session with just as much pep in your step as the day you decided to make your fitness commitment to yourself. If however, you don’t feel jazzed up and ready to tackle the beast everyday, that doesn’t make you lazy or unmotivated - Just human. Of course, riding the wave of energy and motivation is a reality of life, with natural peaks and troughs. Luckily, there are some ways you can hijack your lethargy and help yourself along.
Because this is an all too common dilemma among fitness enthusiasts like yourself, remedies abound have been created to fix this very problem, many of which manifest in the form of consumable substances. If you’re feeling tired, lethargic and unmotivated, and your routine coffee or OJ just isn’t cutting it, you may find the boost you need in a pre-workout supplement.
While different pre-workout powders have various formulations depending on the manufacturer, they’re all based on ingredients thought to help you workout longer, faster, and harder. Packed with muscle-building amino acids and energy-enhancing stimulants, they claim to have worked the magic of supplements out to a science.
There are fitness buffs who swear by pre-workouts drinks, and others who report that their bodies don’t respond well to the ingredient combos - so if you want to try them out for yourself, be sure to study the label to know what you’re putting in your body.
Whether you’re already well-acquainted with pre-workout powder or you’re fresh on the phenomenon, we’ve broken down some ingredients commonly found in various brands so you can make an informed choice about whether they’re right for you.
Buckle up… When combined, these common pre-workout ingredients can take you on a wild ride:
8 Common Pre-Workout Ingredients
for Energy and Alertness
The most widely consumed drug in the world, there’s a reason this common stimulant is so popular. Occurring naturally in coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, guarana, yerba mate, and more, caffeine is coveted for its stimulating effects all over the body, from the central nervous system, heart, muscles, and blood pressure.
for Mid-Workout Energy Bursts
A popular supplement among the body-building community, creatine is a nitrogen-containing compound attributed with helping the body make ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This supplies energy to the muscles in quick bursts during your workout so you can keep pushing through till the last set.
for Elevated Endurance
This amino acid acts as a thermogenic to increase endurance and enhance exercise performance, as well as assists in speeding up the metabolism and increasing energy levels.
for Heightened Strength
Taurine is a prevalent amino acid catered to athletes as it’s thought to increase strength and decrease muscle soreness, although more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
for Lifting Heavy
Another amino acid naturally produced in the body, citrulline is a popular ingredient for its circulation benefits that boost blood vessel function. This is a key component to properly prepare your muscles when you’re about to lift heavier loads, and achieve the much sought-after “pumped up” feeling while lifting.
to Reduce Lactic Acid Burn
Known for sparking a tingling sensation in your extremities, beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps control muscle fatigue. It does so by boosting your body’s carnosine levels, which in turn balances your overall pH and reduces lactic acid buildup. This cuts down on muscle fatigue from that lactic acid burn during your workout, as well as post-workout muscle aches.
for Better Blood Flow
While research is still limited on this new kid on the body-building block, beetroot extract is becoming an increasingly popular supplement for its ability to improve cardiorespiratory performance and circulation.
for Increased Focus
Hailed for its cognitive boosting functions, this nootropic mushroom has been popping up in pre-workouts recently for the purpose of increasing focus and performance during technical regimens or sports.
One Last Thing…
This round-up is simply a guide to the basics found in most pre-workout powders and generally accepted as research-backed supplements to improve performance. As always, however, it’s important to do your own research and possibly consult an expert about what you’re putting into your body.
Maggie Johnson | MME Lifestyle Contributor
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