You’re getting geared up for what will be, you hope, the most intense workout you’ve ever done.
You’re focused. You’re well fueled. You’re more motivated than you’ve ever been.
All you need now is your pre-workout supplement to really turn your training up a notch.
Pre-workout supplements have been used for many years, helping give gym-goers and athletes everywhere that extra edge.
Some may even ‘pump’ you up, inflating your muscles as you get massive blood flow to and from your hard working tissues.
But some? Some are good at only one thing.
Burning a hole in your wallet.
Make no mistake about it, not all pre-workout products are created the same, and unless you happen to have a Ph.D. in detective work, hyped up products may slip past you.
Remember, not everyone has your best interests in mind.
When it comes to many supplement manufacturers, their primary interest is simply generating revenue no matter the expense. Sadly, many users will take the supplement and receive the powerful ‘placebo’ effect.
Basically, because they mentally believe the supplement is helping them, it actually does. But, it’s not the supplement at work: it’s just that their own efforts have been increased.
Always remember, no supplement will help you achieve real results unless your diet and nutrition is on point.
Use this as your guiding rule no matter what supplement you happen to be utilizing.
Fortunately, there are some clever clues you can use to help spot a supplement scam from one that works.
Artificial Dyes Combined With Artificial Claims
The first factor to look into with any pre-workout product is whether there are artificial dyes or colors. Ever have a pre-workout that’s sky blue in color? Or perhaps radioactive green was more how you would describe yours.
Is it really necessary for a pre-workout to look like a glass of radioactive jungle juice?
No, it isn’t.
As cool as that color may look, it isn’t doing your body any favors, and it isn’t putting any pounds on the bar either.
Putting The Hammer Down On Proprietary Blends
Finally, the last key warning sign that it’s time to run as fast and far away from a supplement as possible is the term ‘proprietary blend’.
If you see this, put that product back. It is not for you.
What this essentially means is that the company isn’t sharing how much of each ingredient they have used to create the product.
They simply rattle off a list of 5-15 different ingredients in brackets and state that there’s X amount of these altogether.
How much of each ingredient are you really getting? That’s the question of the day. It’s very likely that you’re not getting much!
When a supplement company hides behind this term, they could be giving you very little of the active ingredient you really want and a whole lot of filler: ingredients that do very little for you.
This keeps their total manufacturing costs down, while still allowing them to still charge normal amounts for their product.
The result? A higher gross profit for them and very few noticeable benefits for you.
Hardly fair, is it? But yet, when you purchase a product that contains a proprietary blend, you are supporting such atrocity.
Choose a product that lists each and every ingredient and its respective dosage on the label. Then, do your research.
Are you getting an adequate dosage to reap full benefits?
Make sure you are, or that product is really only giving you a fraction of the level of results you’ll be hoping for.
So which ingredients should you be looking for in a quality product? Let’s give you a brief run-down of the main players that will help you succeed with having the most intense workout of your life.
The Best Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients
1. Citrulline Malate (2:1 Ratio)
A natural amino acid, citrulline malate is produced in the body from other amino acids you consume.
This means you likely have small amounts as you walk around every single day.
But this level simply isn’t sufficient for the benefits it could provide. This is where supplementation comes into play.
By boosting the level of citrulline malate in your body, you can help to increase your energy level and performance, while speeding up the recovery rate that you see.
If you often wake up sore from a hard workout the next day, this ingredient will definitely help.
Citrulline also helps to remove the byproduct of lactic acid from your muscles during a set, which would otherwise create that intense burning sensation, causing you to stop early.
Finally, citrulline malate also enhances the release of L-arginine in the body, while also increasing the use of amino acids present in your system during exercise.
This benefit will lead to faster strength and size gains, while also helping you achieve unreal muscle pumps that are typically associated with L-arginine supplementation. When you use citrulline malate pre-workout, you can skip right over using L-arginine entirely.
- Improved energy level
- Reduced lactic acid formation
- Enhanced muscle pumps
- Greater growth hormone release
- Better utilization of branched chain amino acids
Recommended dosage: 6+ grams per serving
2. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is the next well-proven ingredient you’ll want in any pre-workout product.
Used by bodybuilders for decades, creatine works by boosting the level of ATP generation in the muscles, allowing you to perform more work total in each and every workout you do, before hitting the point of fatigue.
- Improved muscular fatigue resistance
- Enhanced energy during exercise
- Increased strength level
- Improved lean body composition
- Enhanced sprint capability
Recommended dosage: 3 grams per serving
Another non-essential amino acid, beta-alanine will be converted into carnosine in the body, which then helps to diminish the sensation of fatigue you are experiencing during each session by maintaining a favorable pH level in the body.
Using beta-alanine during a workout will improve exercise performance and capacity on any exercise lasting over 60 seconds in total duration.
- Helps to reduce the level of fatigue
- Improves anaerobic output
Recommended dosage: 1.6+ grams per serving
4. Betaine Anhydrous
Betaine is another amino acid that works by increasing the rate in which the muscles can utilize oxygen being provided, thus increasing the total load in which you can lift. More sets and reps mean greater growth and strength gains.
Use of betaine pre-workout also helps to increase your total level of strength and power, which can then mean lifting more weight than normal. Now not only are you doing more volume, but you’re lifting more weight as well.
In fact, one study illustrated that with just 1.25 grams of betaine supplementation, in 6 weeks subjects were able to gain more lean muscle mass, increase their work capacity, and lower their overall body fat percentage compared to the control group.
- Improved protein synthesis
- Enhanced utilization of energy by the muscle cells
- Improved strength and power output
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Reduced body fat percentage
- Improved work capacity
Recommended dosage: 1.25+ grams per serving
5. Alpha GPC
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the body responsible for cognitive function, memory, learning, and focus.
When levels are higher in your body, your focus will be enhanced. Alpha GPC is the precursor to acetylcholine, therefore by boosting its concentration in your tissues, you can increase acetylcholine as well.
In addition to this, it can also boost HGH (human growth hormone) release, which is a plus for muscle growth and recovery.
- Improved mental drive and focus during your workout session
- Increased release of growth hormone
Recommended dosage: 150 mg per serving
We’ve all had those sleepy, low energy days that were saved by a cup of coffee to help us get out the door. The same ingredient that’s in that morning cup can also help boost exercise performance, increase muscular endurance, enhance the rate of fat oxidation, and improve mental focus and drive.
- Improved mental focus
- Increased resistance to fatigue
- Improved endurance performance
- Enhanced strength output
- Increased fat oxidation rates (improved fat burning)
Recommended dosage: 200+ milligrams per serving
7. Vitamin B12
A natural vitamin for the body, vitamin B12 is needed for proper metabolism function and for forming red blood cells while maintaining your nervous system. In the athletic arena, however, vitamin B12 has other purposes.
When high enough doses are taken, doses you would rarely achieve through food intake alone, you will also experience increased energy levels, lowered fatigue response, enhanced recovery due to improved immune response, and improved cognitive function. All of these factors go into a great workout performance.
Note that vitamin B12 can come in two forms. There’s cyanocobalamin, which contains a cyanide molecule and is much more cost effective (and usually the form used in most pre-workout supplements), and then there’s methylcobalamin, a more powerful version that will exert stronger effects.
Always try and choose a product that contains the latter, not the former.
- Increased muscular endurance through greater red blood cell production
- Improved cognitive function
- Enhanced recovery rates due to improved immune response
- Improved energy levels.
Recommended dosage: 500 mcg per serving
Finally, Bioperine® is a patented ingredient by Sabinsa that doesn’t exert its own performance benefits, but rather, makes all the other ingredients in a product that much more effective. Derived from black pepper, it works by enhancing the absorption rates of whatever it’s taken with.
Basically, if you see this ingredient in a product, you can rest assured that you’ll be reaping the promised benefits of all other ingredients provided they are given at appropriate dosages.
- Increased absorption rates of other ingredients
- Stronger benefits from the supplement
Recommended dosage: 5 mg per serving
The Best Pre-Workout Supplement: ALTIUS
ALTIUS contains all of the ingredients mentioned above in the correct clinically validated doses.
More importantly, the benefits that you will experience in your training are truly game-changing.
If you decide not to try ALTIUS, at least you now have a better idea of the key ingredients that you should be on the hunt for when seeking out a pre-workout product.
If your pre-workout doesn’t contain all of these ingredients and contains any of the warning signs mentioned above such as proprietary blends, it’s time to find a new product to use.