Guide to Pre-Workout Supplements
Experienced lifters know the results of a workout depend on what you bring to it.
Besides the right attitude and sufficient focus, you also need to give your body the fuel to dominate in the gym. Typically consumed 15 to 60 minutes before your lift, pre-workout supplements provide the energy to smash your Goals and help you maximize strength, power & pump.
But you shouldn’t choose any supplement without understanding what’s in it and what those ingredients mean for your performance. Before you decide on a pre-workout, it’s best to learn about the functions of their different ingredients to select one that works for you.
The Most Common Ingredients in Pre-Workout Supplements
Some of the names you’ll frequently see on the label of a pre-workout supplement include:
- L-Arginine – Arginine is an amino acid that is involved in the formulation of nitric oxide, an important compound that helps increase blood flow and nutrient delivery to cells.* That means Arginine could potentially work synergistically with the other ingredients in your pre-workout to get them to working muscles.
- Caffeine – Almost everyone is familiar with caffeine, one of the most common stimulants known to man. Studies have linked it to increased focus and alertness.* Caffeine can also temporarily reduce the effects of fatigue.* Remember to keep a careful eye on the caffeine quantity in your pre-workout, especially if you also consume coffee or sodas frequently. You should not exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day.
- Creatine – Commonly taken either in mixed pre-workout drinks or on its own, creatine is one of the most popular supplements for lifters because of its impact on the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.* ATP is sometimes called the “currency of energy” because it’s used in almost everything the body does. By enhancing the body’s production and maintenance of ATP, creatine supports muscle strength, size, and recovery.*
- Beta-alanine – This ingredient is naturally found in our muscle cells, as part of the compound Carnosine. At least 3.2g of beta-alanine should be taken per day to increase Carnosine levels, which is a key compound for athletes and bodybuilders. Higher levels of muscle carnosine have been linked to helping to boost muscle performance when lifting, which is why it is an important pre-workout supplement.*
- Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B is one of the most important compounds in the body’s production of red blood cells.* It is also very important for energy metabolism – by helping convert nutrients including amino acids into energy.*
Other ingredients sometimes found in pre-workout drinks are proteins,carbohydrates, and betaines.
Choosing Your Pre-Workout Supplement
Understanding what’s in a pre-workout is the first step in deciding on which one is best for you. From there, consider factors like:
- Alignment with body composition Goals. If you’re in a cutting cycle, be careful not to choose a pre-workout that is packed with excessive carbohydrates or sugars. Extra calories from your supplement stack can add up if you don’t monitor them. Similarly, if you are trying to add mass, look for a pre-workout that supports those Goals with the right nutrients.
- Exclusion of harmful substances. Unfortunately, some manufacturers put dangerous stimulants into their pre-workouts to give users a serious jolt of energy. Dimethylamylamine, also known as DMAA, was a popular additive in some pre-workout drinks until it was banned in 2012. The FDA reports that supplements containing DMAA can cause chest tightness, elevated blood pressure, and even heart attacks.
- Presence of wholesome ingredients. Look for pre-workouts that keep it simple, with clear ingredients that you can understand quickly. If you’re finding lots of long, difficult-to-pronounce words on the label of your pre-workout, it might be time to seek some clarification on what you’re consuming – or switch to a new option.
About NOS Blast
Body Fortress’ NOS Blast pre-workout was recently reformulated with key ingredients shown to deliver enhanced focus, increased strength, and explosive energy to help you smash your Goals.* Once your lift is over, our proprietary Strength ATP Matrix helps improve recovery so your muscles can come back stronger for the next workout.* With zero aspartame, gluten, or lactose, NOS Blast has everything you need for peak performance, setting you up for success before you even set foot in the weight room.