8 of the Best Pre-Workout Supplements
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You might have heard people talking about the best pre-workout supplements. Can taking certain substances before you hit the gym increase your performance while there?
The answer, according to some research, is yes. However, it’s hard to know where to spend your money with all the products on the market. Here are eight of the best pre-workout supplements.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fat found in meat and dairy products. However, many commercial supplements come from safflowers, so you can still use them if you follow a vegan lifestyle.
The beauty part of CLA is that you don’t have to alter your current diet and exercise habits to see results. One study found that women lost 9% of their body fat over a year by adding this supplement, making no other changes.
However, you can up your fat-burning power by taking it with your pre-workout snack. A healthy one contains a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Those trying to lose weight should aim for 3,000 milligrams daily.
Do you head to the gym after work? If so, the afternoon doldrums can strike and derail your best intentions. If you find yourself getting sleepy around 2 to 3 p.m., this pre-workout supplement can help.
The trick with caffeine is to avoid using it too late in the afternoon. Most experts recommend laying off the coffee and other caffeinated beverages by 3 p.m. Fortunately, half of this substance remains in your body six hours after consuming it.
It might be time to shift your morning coffee shop habit to slightly after midday. You can also take tablets, but use caution. Some OTC pills contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee, putting your cardiovascular health at risk, particularly if you have certain heart conditions. Watch out for products containing guarana, yerba mate, kola nut and green tea extract, as the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to include caffeine content on their labels.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that helps draw water into your muscles, accelerating growth. If you’re looking to bulk up or sculpt, this substance deserves a place in your pre-workout routine.
This supplement requires you to load to get the maximum benefits. You might see some weight gain during this period. As the substance draws water into muscle tissue, you may experience bloating. However, many people swear by the results for improving long-term muscle mass and strength.
The best pre-workout supplement is the fuel your body needs to perform in the gym. That means you should eat — but what you choose matters.
How close you eat to your workout time determines what type of protein is best. If you have two to three hours before hitting the gym, enjoy a lean protein like chicken or fish. As you approach your fitness time, switch to easy-to-digest options such as protein powders or bars.
Your body burns carbohydrates before any other type of fuel. If you want a ready supply of energy for your workout, snacking on some quality carbs before hitting the gym can increase your power while there.
The trick is choosing complex carbohydrates that provide your body with essential nutrients. For example, whole grain bread, crackers and cereals are good options.
Stay away from those made with all-purpose flour. The manufacturing process strips away essential nutrients, leaving behind rapidly-absorbing empty calories that spike your blood sugar. You then suffer a debilitating crash when your glucose plummets.
Furthermore, manufacturing this product produces a chemical byproduct called alloxan, used to induce diabetes in laboratory animals. When you combine this substance with the blood sugar fluctuations all-purpose flour causes, you have a recipe for disaster.
According to some fitness experts, beta-alanine is a game-changer in the gym. It may work even more effectively when combined with creatine as a pre-workout supplement.
This amino acid raises muscle carnosine levels, ramping up the amount of high-intensity work you can perform. It works by preventing the buildup of hydrogen atoms that drop muscle pH and produce fatigue.
Why overlook the obvious? Your body needs to be fully hydrated to perform at its best. One of your best pre-workout supplements consists of sipping up.
Carry a reusable water bottle with you so that you never delay slaking your thirst when it hits. If you already carry one but forget to sip, try setting an alert on your phone to go off once every 30 minutes, reminding you to take a drink.
8. Green Tea
Green tea might be the best pre-workout supplement you can find. It’s also affordable. Check out these impressive benefits:
- It hydrates you: If you can’t stand sipping on plain water, green tea offers a tastier alternative.
- It contains a moderate amount of caffeine: Green tea contains caffeine, but considerably less than a cup of coffee. You won’t get so much that it increases urination, dehydrating you. Furthermore, it’s less likely to keep you tossing and turning at night.
- It possesses EGCG: Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has gained a reputation for helping you burn fat faster. This antioxidant also helps slash your cancer risk.
The Best Pre-Workout Supplements
Do you want to increase your effectiveness and time spent in the gym? Try one of these eight best pre-workout supplements and watch your fitness gains multiply.