Gym rats and fitness freaks have been on the hunt for the best pre-workout supplement to boost energy levels, endurance, muscle pump and essentially, to take their workout session to an entirely new level. In case you didn’t know, pre-workouts have actually climbed their way up to being the best sellers in the world of supplements. While certain types of pre-workouts truly can make a difference to your performance at the gym, others seem appealing thanks to the manufacturers’ deceitful (but very clever) marketing practices. We’re not saying you should trash pre-workouts completely, but it’s important to know how to differentiate between the good and bad ones.
For those of you who are new to the game, pre-workouts are essentially supplements that you take prior to training to increase energy, boost strength, pump up endurance and more than anything, help you reach your fullest potential while lifting those weights. They come in many different forms – some prefer pre-workout bars while others enjoy mixing water with powders.
Now, for the million-dollar question – are pre-workouts worth it? Or would downing a cup of Joe or munching on a banana do the trick? Unfortunately, the answer is: it depends.
Supplement companies are coming up with these eye-catching, neon-colored massive buckets of powder form pre-workouts. You take a look at the supplement facts sheet and your jaw drops as you read what seems to be an endless list of ingredients that you can’t quite pronounce. This is the biggest challenge to picking the right kind of pre-workout – how are you meant to choose what’s good for you if you’re not even aware what the ingredients in the formula are? Are you meant to simply believe the claims and promises plastered across the bottles? Well, not necessarily. It really helps to do some research and read a few reviews before deciding to purchase that striking-looking bottle you can’t wait to add to your kitchen pantry.
The main thing to remember is that most pre-workout supplements rely heavily on stimulants. The problem with this is that even though it may work to boost energy levels in the short-term, it’s not actually providing your muscles with necessary nutrients. Another thing to keep in mind is that formulas containing amino acids and NO’s (nitric oxide) may not work for everyone, and that can be attributed to the following potential reasons:
- The ingredients are included in such low doses, meaning the formula has low potency and won’t actually do anything.
- The ingredients are benefiting your muscles but aren’t providing you with the motivation you need to really pump it.
Let’s take a moment to discuss potential reason #2. People take pre-workouts in attempt to gain an incentive and to get that burst of inspiration before confidently running on that treadmill. Your body has what it takes (most of the time), but your mind is playing tricks on you and making you feel more lazy or tired than you actually are. This is why we believe strongly in the inclusion of nootropics in pre-workouts.
Nootropics are cognitive enhancing supplements that not only can boost mental performance but can also increase mood and reduce anxiety, both of which lead to increased motivation. They mostly function by affecting the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Dopamine, for instance, is known as the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. An increased release of dopamine leads to an improvement of overall mood, which makes you feel more eager and driven to reach your goals – whether it be finishing that paper or getting your ass to the gym. Ninety percent of energy comes from the mind, which is why you should always look for nootropics during your search for the perfect pre-workout supplement. The best nootropics that we highly recommend looking for are noopept, caffeine, ALCAR (Acetyl L-Carnitine), NALT (N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine) and L-Theanine. If you don’t know where to start then take a look at some of our reviews to get a better idea. Good luck!