What pre-workout is right for me?
Pre-workouts are great for those who want to take their training and performance to the next level, whether that's to get off the couch and get to the gym or to achieve a new PB on the bench press!Pre-workouts are very popular amongst the fitness community and are regularly utilised by many gym-goers and athletes. Pre-workouts help you have the best and most productive workout you possibly can, by optimising your body for exercise. The main way it does this is by increasing energy levels, blood flow, focus, hydration whilst buffering lactic acid. Pre-workouts are ideal for the days you feel tired and unmotivated but want to stick to your workout routine. However, with thousands of pre-workouts out there with different qualities and strengths, how do you know which one is right for you?
Types of pre-workoutDifferent pre-workouts have unique qualities, many focus on giving you high energy levels through high doses of stimulants, such as caffeine and DMHA. These types of pre-workouts are the most popular as the effects are very noticeable and arguably the most beneficial, depending on the strength of the product and the user’s tolerance. These types of pre-workouts will likely get you working harder and for longer, with increased focus. The most common negative side effects of stimulant based pre-workouts is the crash afterward, where the stimulant effect have worn off and you feel drained, but also some pre-workouts have the potential to make you feel overwhelmed, sick and out of sorts depending on your tolerance.
Other pre-workouts focus on the pump element, which is designed to increase blood flow quality around the body, naturally improving performance and recovery, as well as providing increased vascularity whilst training. Pump-based pre-workouts are favoured by many due to its non-stimulant nature, as it will not cause jitteriness, affect sleep quality, and has no crash. The most beneficial pre-workouts contain effective dosages of both pump and stimulatory ingredients.
Know your stimulant toleranceSimilar to fat burners, one of the main reasons why people opt for different pre-workouts, is due to their caffeine tolerance. A good indication of your caffeine tolerance is assessing how you feel after a standard cup of coffee; some people can be energised for hours, whereas others can down a cup and go straight to sleep afterward. There’s generally just under 100mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee, and some pre-workouts are in excess of 300mg. Some people who are unaware of their low tolerance, purchase strong pre-workouts with the expectation of increased energy and a better workout, however, this is not the case. It is common for people to experience increased anxiety, digestive issues, and jitteriness when taking pre-workouts that are too strong for them. These unfavourable effects will not benefit your exercise performance and may give you a false perception of the safety and effectiveness of pre-workouts.
If you have assessed or know your caffeine tolerance, you can choose pre-workouts with more confidence. If you feel jittery after a cup of coffee, you will be best opting for a pre-workout that contains lower amounts of caffeine, whereas if you regularly consume coffee or energy drinks and still feel comfortable then you will be able to benefit from stronger pre-workouts.
Be mindful of other stimulants in pre-workoutsBe aware of other stimulants used in pre-workouts as these work in the same way as caffeine. Keep an eye out for DMHA, yohimbine, citrus aurantium and orange peel extract when looking at the ingredients panels on your pre-workout. These ingredients are safe and beneficial when dosed appropriately.
What time do you train?You may train late due to work commitments or by preference, and this factor will affect what pre-workout is suitable for you. The stimulants in pre-workouts are there to stimulate your central nervous system and boost adrenaline, consequently enhancing exercise performance by boosting energy. However, depending on the time taken, dosage and tolerance, it may affect your sleep. Caffeine is regularly taken to prevent drowsiness and make people feel more awake, therefore a strong pre-workout after 6pm is not advisable. If you do train in the evening, a pump based pre is recommended.
PICK ONE!If you are new to pre-workouts and don’t want anything too strong to start off but want a significant boost of energy, or have a low tolerance or train late then Applied Nutrition ABE would be suitable. This one will give you enough energy to fuel a great workout with no crash afterward. If you train before 6 pm and know you can handle stimulants, and want a pre-workout to give you a massive boost of energy, Wazz Sports - Twisted is a great option. Although the buzz you receive from Wazz Sports - Twisted is powerful, many people favour this pre-workout because it doesn’t make them feel out of sorts or make the crash when it begins to wear off. Once you know you’re a pre-workout warrior and want something stronger, there’s Black Magic - BZRK, this pre-workout not only gives a massive boost of energy and pump, but also gives you a sense of determination and focus. Bring the Chaos by Chaos Crew is another strong pre-workout that provides you with a long lasting energetic buzz.
If you want a non-stim pre-workout due to low tolerance to stimulants or training late in the evening, Neutra labs - Nitro-pump and Pure Labs - Vasopump are very popular and effective choices. These will give you notiable gym pump which will make you feel amazing. They will also give you greater muscular endurance due to optimised blood flow and electrolytes.