Should You Take a Pre Workout Supplement?
Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or you’ve been around the block a time or two, you have likely heard of pre workout supplements. With the sheer variety available on the market, it can be hard to know where to begin. However, before you run out and buy your first pre workout supplement, stop to evaluate if you even need one in the first place.
What is Pre Workout?
Most pre workout pills or blends include one or more stimulants, so you should be aware of your caffeine tolerance before taking 2+ scoops of something like C4. Always read the label of any pre workout mix to avoid any unwanted jitters or side effects. You can also opt to buy individual bulk powders if you know how to make your own pre workout mix rather than relying on premixed blends, many of which are overpriced.
Pre Workout Powder Benefits
Pre workout supplements typically achieve one of two goals: boost strength and power to muscle through harder and longer workouts or improve mental and physical energy to overcome mental road blocks and improve the mind/muscle connection.
Whether you are looking for lean muscle gains, better pumps, and improved power output or you need the cognitive agility and energy to make it through a grueling workout, there is a pre workout that will get the job done.
In fact, this is why many individuals turn to premixed blends as they contain a variety of synergistic supplements to achieve multiple benefits. When using a pre workout blend, be sure it contains quality ingredients that synergize well together or make your own with proven supplements.
When to Take Pre Workout Supplements
Timing is key for pre workout effectiveness, so be sure to thoroughly read the labels. Some pre workouts, like Hemavol, contain L-Norvaline and Glycerol Monostearate, which work best when taken 30-45 minutes before working out.
That being said, don’t take your pre workout supplements before leaving the house for the gym if you live more than 15 minutes away. Traffic has ruined better workout plans than yours.
So what do you do if you live more than a quarter of an hour from the gym and can’t mix your pre workout powders in the car or locker room? Consider taking pre workout pills or encapsulate your own pre workout supplement.
Pre Workout Pills
If you worry about getting the right dosage or having time to mix your supplements, then buy pre workout pills.
Buying pre workout pills saves you from mixing powders or encapsulating them yourself. Pre workout pills are easy to store and eliminate the need for scoops or scales, and you get the right dose every time.
How to Make Your Own Pre-Workout Drink Mix
30 Day Supply
Items you will need
- Digital Scale
- Supplement powders
- Container to hold finished product
Each supplement label states a recommended dosage. Take the recommended daily dosage and multiply this by 30; this will give you the amount needed for 30 servings. Once you figure out the 30 day dosage, weigh the powder on your digital scale for accurate dosing.
You will need to follow this procedure for each supplement powder. Once all powders are measured, combine them and mix them thoroughly. Once you combine everything, pour the blended powders into an airtight container.
Pre-Workout Powder Ingredients
Customize your Pre Workout Drink and Save
Purchasing supplements in bulk and mixing you own supplement powder is more cost effective than purchasing premixed supplements. Plus, you have the ability to choose which supplements you would like to use as well as the dosage when you make your own pre workout.
Add Stevia and Citric Acid to mask the taste.
How Not to Take Pre Workout Supplements
If you find your are short on time to make your own pre workout blends, you may start looking for short cuts or get lazy with your dosing accuracy. Resist these time saving temptations as they will yield poor results. This is another reason to consider encapsulating your own pre workout pills. Capsules will help you avoid these complications and ensure the proper dosage.
Snorting Pre Workout Powders
You would think this one would be obvious to avoid, but it never fails that someone out there thinks, “I know how to get my pre workout powder to kick in immediately, snort it!” This is made clear by the countless videos of people snorting pre workout supplements on YouTube.
Yes, your pre workout powder might kick in a little faster, but it will not be any more effective. Plus, you will look like a coke head.
Do Not Take More than the Recommended Max
Exceeding the max by a little bit or every now and then will not be the end of the world. However, if you find you have to take more and more of your pre workout to get the same results, this likely means you have built a tolerance.
You may want to look into cycling your pre workout supplements rather than consuming an entire canister of your pre workout (plus, that is not very cost effective).
Some pre workout supplements should actually be cycled from the start to prevent tolerance in the first place, such as Agmatine powder.
Pre Workout Side Effects
As mentioned above, most pre workout mixes contain caffeine already. Be wary of adding your pre workout mix to already caffeinated beverages (such as your morning coffee or energy drink).
Energy drinks are chock full of stimulants in general and you really do not need an additional boost if your pre workout already contains caffeine. Plus, energy drinks are a waste of your money with the added drawback of useless calories and sugar.
Cycling Pre Workout Supplements
Once you figure out a pre workout regimen that works for you, don’t plan on taking it every single day. Many pre workout powders need to be cycled to maintain their effectiveness. Otherwise, you will build up a tolerance. This is especially true for stimulants. When you feel your pre workouts are no longer giving you the same benefits, take a break from them or swap out certain ingredients to reset your tolerance.
Don’t Forget Your Post Workout Powder
Your post workout nutrition is just as important as your pre workout nutrition. Protein shakes are great options for post workout because they can help with muscle recovery, protein synthesis (muscle building) and more.
You should also consider adding some BCAAs to your supplement routine. BCAAs can be taken before, during, and after a workout. BCAAs are great because your muscles break them down rather than your liver. This way your body can get quick energy right when it needs it.
Another great post workout supplement is glutamine; glutamine will help further protein synthesis as well as speed up muscle recovery time.