Pre-workouts supplements are getting increasingly popular and no doubt they have been proven very effective in providing great benefits.
When you decide to use a pre-workout supplement, you expect them to elevate your strength, muscle pump and overall mind-muscle connection.
Pre-workout strikes everyone differently, some people get the insane pump and focus while others won’t feel anything.
Let’s get into detail.
Pre-workout supplement market share is increasing at a rapid pace, reason? Their ability to drastically improve athletic performance to achieve greater hypertrophy and strength.
Some of the people are soo much in love with these supplements that they cant get the workout motivation without them.
What’s in your Pre-workout supplements and how does it help you achieve superior performance?
- Stimulants: Caffeine is the most common stimulant present in most of the supplements. Stimulants serve the general purpose of increasing performance through the heightening of multiple mental and physiological factors. Improved alertness, heart rate, muscle contraction, blood flow, etc are some of the output of these stimulants.
- Vasodilators: Vasodilation happens because of the nitric oxide present in your pre-workout. Vasodilators such as L-arginine, Citrulline malate, etc helps you achieve greater pump through the dilation of blood vessels.
- Beta-alanine: responsible for reducing the fatigue through boosting muscle endurance.
- Creatine: an extremely popular supplement known for increasing energy output through increasing ATP generation. Creatine is very safe to supplement guys and thousands of studies (short-term and long-term) have marked it safe.
- BCAA and other amino acids: Some of the pre-workout supplements are also loaded with few grams of BCAA’s to support the muscle health and hypertrophy.
Is pre-workout worth it?
Yes, they are. How do you decide if something is worth investing in? It’s by the number of reasons it can probably affect you.
Here is a list of reason to take pre-workouts:
- Better mental focus
- Feel more motivated for a workout
- Experiences that workout madness to push harder
- Feel better pump through vasodilation
- Clear lactic buildup and increase muscle endurance.
- Muscle support with improved supply of nutrient-rich blood.
I guess these are enough reasons to make a supplement “worth it”.
Is pre-workout necessary
No, not at all.
A big percentage of the population is still training without the support of pre-workout drinks.
Pre-workouts are meant to improve performance but they are not the most essential supplement for a good workout. Before focusing on the pre-workout supplements, you should probably focus on fixing your macronutrient requirements.
I personally love to drink a shot of espresso before my workout and take a pre-workout supplement only on heavy training days.
Why supplement companies recomend them empty stomach?
Your body is more sensitive while being empty stomach or in a fasted state, more sensitivity leads to the faster absorption of supplement and far better response.
Sometimes the food you eat before a workout also reduces the impact of ingredients present in the supplement.
Every pre-workout supplement company aspires to give you the greatest boost in the workout, that’s the reason they advise you to take it empty stomach.
Should you take your pre-workout empty stomach?
It depends on person to person and it depends on your tolerance towards the ingredients.
If you are taking a pre-workout for the first time, then it might make you feel sick and nauseated (if taken empty stomach).
Lifters who have developed greater tolerance for pre-workouts supplements (because of the frequent consumption) won’t really see any prominent side-effects by taking it empty stomach.
Here are a few things to remember:
- If you are taking the pre-workout supplement for the first time then you should not be taking it empty stomach.
- First-timers should not take a pre-workout containing a high quantity of caffeine and other stimulants. Start with a low or moderate dose.
- Always take pre-workouts 30-45 minutes before the workouts.
- It’s okay to take a pre-workout empty stomach if you already have good experience with these supplements.
- When taken in the fasted state, your pre-workout will show the effects quite quickly (within 15-mins in most cases). You don’t need to wait for 45-minutes to let your pre-workout kick in.
Basically, it’s okay to take pre-workout empty stomach if you have prior experience but first-timers should not take it empty stomach.
If you prefer early-morning workout and believe in a fasted workout then start with half a scoop of pre-workout to see your tolerance and its effects.
Best time to take pre-workout?
The best time to consume your pre-workout supplement is about 45-minutes before your workout session.
I personally recomend a pre-workout meal about a 60-90 minutes before the workout session, that meal should include some lean protein, carbs and BCAA’s.
One of the biggest mistake people do is they take their pre-workout supplement just before stepping on the gym floor. Stimulants and another ingredient present in the pre-workout will take at least 30 minutes to kick in, which means you get the pump and mental focus after finishing half of the workout.
Can you have Pre-workout while fasting?
Commonly, pre-workout supplements are low in calories, but they will still break your fast.
Anyone doing intermittent fasting should be very conscious about the ingredients present in your pre-workout. Even BCAA’s are not allowed while fasting, it breaks your fast, choose a supplement that does not contain BCAA.
Solution? Opt for pre-workout that is made with zero carbs, there are keto-friendly pre-workouts that contain no carbs to break the fast. Keto-friendly pre-workout will contain some MCT oil or other fat sources but that’s okay, it won’t break your fast.
some of my favorite pre-workouts for intermittent fasting.
Why did your pre-workout stop working?
One of the questions I get very often.
“coach, my pre-workout supplement have stopped working like it used to before”.
The reason is the development of tolerance.
After daily use of pre-workouts, your body starts to develop a tolerance towards the stimulants like caffeine. Your body stops to respond like it used to.
Changing a brand or taking a few days of break can surely help. Taking your supplement empty stomach is also a practical way to get a crazy kick.
Should pre-workout be cycled
Pre-workouts contains stimulants and other ingredients that your body develops resistance after prolonged usage.
That’s the reason your body stops responding to the pre-workout that used to energize you before.
While small serving of caffeine might not cause the development of tolerance but the cocktail of multiple stimulants can push your body to develop tolerance.
Changing your pre-workout strategy after every 6-8 weeks is the best practical way. Taking a break of 1-2 weeks works great to avoid resistance.
If the use of pre-workout has become an absolute necessity then you can choose to replace your favorite pre-workout with “stimulant-free” pre-workout options.
Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always.