It contains 1 g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine that transforms into carnosine and increases muscle endurance greatly.
The powder may dry out with time.
Cellucor is a great pre-workout supplement that is pretty high in caffeine. It boosts your energy level and endurance greatly hence ensuring you an effective workout. Plus, it has a wide range of flavors, so you can be sure to find your favorite taste.
Caffeine - 150mg; Creatine - 1g Nitrate; CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine - 1.6g; Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate - 1g
Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid), Niacin (as Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin), Calcium, Beta Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, Arginine AKG, Explosive Energy Blend, N-Acetyl-L-tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous (150mg), Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) seed extract, (standardized for L-Dopa), TeaCor Tetramethyluric Acid
Icy Blue Razz, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Cherry Limeade, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Margarita, Orange Burst and Green Apple
Thanks to 1.5 grams of creatine in the formula, you get the maximal energy level that lets you train with the maximum output and reach new heights every day.
Aftertaste may feel like pills.
This pre-workout supplement can meet the requirements of any athlete. It not only adds energy and power to your training but also helps you build-up muscles thanks to 1.1 grams of L-arginine in the formula. It is free of calories, harmless, and gives you maximum efficiency in a gym.
Caffeine - 135 mg; Creatine - 1.5g Monohydrate; L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate - 1.1g
Citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, silicon dioxide, malic acid, sucralose, calcium silicate acesulfame-potassium, maltodextrin, fd&c red no. 40 lake; processed in a facility that processes milk, egg, soybean, wheat, shellfish, fish oil, tree nut and peanut ingredients
Fruit Punch, Icy Rocket Freeze, Pink Lemonade, Watermelon Ripped
The ON Amino Energy is available in several sizes with the maximal volume of 65 servings per container. Indeed, this is quite a large volume for a very reasonable price.
Advanced athletes may need to double one serving.
This product is ideal for novice users and those who wish to get the maximum energy without health damage. Its formula contains caffeine from green tea and green coffee beans that have a safe warming-up effect.
Energy Blend (Caffeine, Green Tea Extract, Green Coffee Extract) - 160 mg; Amino Blend (L-Arginine, Micronized Taurine, Beta Alanine, etc.) - 5 g
Amino Blend (Micronized Taurine, Micronized L-Glutamine, Micronized L-Arginine, Micronized L-Leucine, CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, Micronized Citrulline, Micronized L-Isoleucine, Micronized L-Valine, Micronized L-Tyrosine, Micronized L-Histidine, Micronized L-Lysine, Micronized L-Phenylalanine, Micronized L-Threonine, Micronized L-Methionine), Malic Acid, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Energy Blend (Caffeine, Green Tea Extract, Green Coffee Extract), Sucralose, Gum Blend (Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan), Lecithin, FD&C Blue #2, FD&C Red #40, Inulin
33 Flavors: Concord Grape, Green Apple, Peach Lemonade and other
Thanks to an innovative double-phase effect, you will feel energized for much longer during your workout and even afterwards.
It could dissolve in water better.
The VINTAGE BLAST is a high-quality pre-workout meal that includes essential electrolytes and micronutrients that improve the recovery process greatly after training. It is GMO and gluten-free and has a very low habitual effect that is ideal for regular gym-goers.
Caffeine - 125mg, L-Arginine AKG - 1g, L-Citrulline Malate - 5g, Beta-Alanine -1g, L-Carnitine - 250 mg
Caffeine (250 mg from 2 sources), D-Aspartic Acid (2000 mg), and N-Acetyl Tyrisine (250 mg), L-Citrulline Malate (5000 mg), Arginine (1000 mg), Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, B12, B5, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, L-Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine, L-Arginine AKG, L-Carnitine Tartrate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Stevia, Natural Pineapple Juice powder, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Natural Flavors, Natural Fruite and Vegetable Juice (Color), DiCalcium Phosphate (from Vitamin B12)
With the goBHB™ complex in the formula, you can benefit from the ketosis effect without starving and still have enough energy to achieve new goals in a gym.
The number of calories is a bit much.
The Keto pre-workout meal is ideal for Keto-dieters. It increases their energy and focus levels and helps lose weight effortlessly. Plus, it can be dissolved not only in water but also in protein cocktails for better effect.
Zenwise goBHB Performance Complex (Calcium beta-hydroxybutyrate, Sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate, magnesium beta-hydroxybutyrate) - 11.7g
Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Beta-Hydroxybutyrates, Natural Raspberry Lemonade Flavor, Citric Acid, Stevia Leaf
Raspberry Lemonade, Wild Limeade
Cellucor 810390028405 C4 Original
Endurance, Focus, and Pumps
Are you looking for your first pre-workout meal and wish to start with an effective one? Well, the C4 original is definitely worth your attention.
This product is a well-known and bestselling supplement both worldwide and in the USA. The main reason for such a popularity is accounted for by its specially designed formula that not only guarantees you explosive energy during your training session but helps you build up muscles.
Let’s look closer at the list of ingredients. As many other pre-workouts, this one contains some essential vitamins (B6, B12, C, Niacin, and Folic Acid), but they are more like a pleasant bonus than active components. The key ingredients here are beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, and arginine. The first two components boost your strength, power, and endurance to the maximum, and the last one increases the muscle growth.
As for the explosive energy blend, the C4 contains N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine that makes you focused; Caffeine (150mg) that gives you energy; Theacrine is a natural component that has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is useful for weightlifters when the risk of trauma is high. Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) is the last component. This is a seed extract that increases the production of testosterone and growth hormone.
Positively this pre-workout supplement for muscle gain is a good choice for those users whose main goal is to take their performance in a gym to a new level and get muscle growth as a good bonus. Ideal for novices, this product can meet the taste of some experienced athletes with ease.
The Best Time to Take Your Supplement
As well as many other meals that either boost your productivity in a gym, help you lose weight, or gain muscles, pre-workouts have the recommended time for taking them. As it is obvious from the name, this meal should be taken before your training session (30 - 60 minutes). However, this is not the only recommendation, as it might seem.
These products contain active components that load you with energy and power to the fullest, and this effect can last for hours. Plus, your nervous system is also stimulated during an intensive workout. So if you usually train in the evening, you should take into account that you won’t get much sleep for at least 8 hours after you drink your cocktail.
For this reason, both the manufacturers and professional athletes advise novices to either take their supplement a few hours before the expected workout or to exercise before noon. For some of us, this might seem unusual at first, but you can opt for a morning gym card, which is often more affordable, or get a home gym that will be paid back in a few months and give you an unlimited and free access to sports.
Six Star SS518 Explosion
The Best Pre Workout Meal
The Explosion Ripped by SixStar is an excellent supplement produced to meet the needs and requirements of almost any athlete. It will be useful for both men and women regardless of their shape and goals.
Would you like to stay focused and energized during your workout? Easy! Is your goal to get pumped up or lose that annoying fat that your diet can’t burn? This product will give you both. And the best part is, you will be losing fat while building-up those desired muscles.
In order to help you improve your results greatly, the manufacturer has created their own formula of the best pre-workout supplement. It includes caffeine, beta-alanine (3g), and creatine, which, actually, are not all that extraordinary the components for such a supplement. But, the Explosion Ripped contains an exclusive component - C. canephora robusta. These are premium coffee beans with a very high level of chlorogenic acid which produce excellent results in weight loss. And there is more!
The Six Star pre-workout meal also contains 2.2g of arginine for muscle pump which is a bit more than some other products offer. Plus, it contains L-citrulline — a natural form of citrulline, the compound that increases nitric-oxide levels thus dilating blood vessels. This, in turn, means your muscles get more oxygen and nutrients during your workout and afterwards. This component also helps remove ammonia from your blood. Ammonia causes fatigue, so you will tire more slowly in a gym. By the way, in combination with beta-alanine, L-citrulline makes the recovery process faster and more effective.
Pre-workout meals are considered to be harmless products. Still, they are not recommended for all athletes. Since some of the ingredients they contain increase blood pressure and heart rate, people with various heart conditions and hypertension should avoid taking these supplements.
Also, they are not allowed for people who suffer from the Avoidant personality disorder/anxiety, since, in order to boost productivity and energy level some of the components in these supplements stimulate your central nervous system. Therefore, the chance of having a panic attack or other similar conditions after taking such a supplement is very high.
In case you have some of these health issues but still wish to try a pre-workout, we highly recommend you to read the list of ingredients and manufacturer’s precautions very carefully and take half of a service at a time to test your tolerance to a product. You should also be ready for possible side effects such as a sick headache or hyper erethism. These symptoms may occur if you have some of the aforementioned ailments.
Optimum Nutrition 1043712 Amino Energy, Concord Grape,
Optimum Nutrition is rightly considered to be one of the most successful companies in the production of sports supplements. Their systems of vitamins and nutrients for active sportsmen and sportswomen are exceptionally popular among novices and more advanced athletes alike. The same goes for their Amino Energy complex.
This supplement is not a conventional one since it contains specially compounded BCAAs. The interesting part is that you can use the ON Amino Energy not only as a pre-workout meal. It can help wake you up in the morning, boost your energy before and during your training, and improve your recovery after intensive sessions. Sounds fantastic, isn’t it?
Well, the amino blend of this meal is pretty extended and includes 14 ingredients (essential and non-essential amino acids) among which are Taurine, L-Arginine, L-Leucine, L-Tyrosine, and Beta-Alanine.
As for the explosive energy blend, caffeine is the only component. Suchwise, one serving (2 scoops) contains about only 100 g of caffeine. It is derived from green coffee bean extract, EGCG standardized green tea extract, and green tea leaves. Obviously, you won’t experience the extreme energy level from one serving unless you have just started your fitness journey. So the manufacturer offers a user to take larger doses depending on their requirements.
The smallest serving of 2 scoops contains only 100g of caffeine and 5g of amino acids. This is quite a light supplement, so it is ideal for waking up or for novice athletes who want to start with a small dosage. In case you need to boost your energy level, you can either double (4 scoops) or triple (6 scoops) a serving. On this account, the ON Amino Energy is available in several sizes: 10, 30, 65 servings. Plus, you can select from 33 flavors. Indeed, everyone can find their special taste.
Too Much of Anything Is Good for Nothing
Positively, a pre-workout supplement can be an irreplaceable product to increase the performance of an athlete. It gives a user a lot of energy, power, and endurance. These meals can also improve your mood and take creativity to the higher level which is hard to overestimate especially when you need to brainstorm some new ideas.
However, despite all the benefits that pre-workouts have, and all the opportunities they offer, it is always a good idea to make short breaks from them. The reason for this is that such a pre-workout complex puts a considerable load on your CNS (central nervous system), same as intensive training does on your muscles. So as much as your body needs to rest after the gym, your CNS needs to rest from excessive stimulation by a pre-workout meal. Without a doubt, all of us want to get a quick result. Unfortunately, overusing different stimulants will cause you more trouble than it's worth.
Old School Labs VINTAGE BLAST
Two-Phase Effect for Lengthy Workouts
Old School Labs is a pretty new company on the market of pre-workout meals, yet it grows fast, and same does its popularity. According to the manufacturer, producing their Vintage Blast they have tried to create an effective supplement based on the Golden Era principles of weightlifting and bodybuilding. At the same time, their product is suitable not only for those two groups of athletes but for anyone from a novice to a professional gym-goer.
So what is so special about their Vintage Blast pre-workout? Well, it has a special double-stage formula that not just gives you ample energy to stay productive during your training but also helps you finish strong. How does it work? Quite simple! This supplement includes two groups of ingredients that have different digestion time.
Thus, the first group of components (caffeine, l-arginine, beta alanine, l-citrulline malate, l-carnitine tartrate) gives you the maximal energy boost at the beginning and increases your endurance and power during the workout.
The second group includes micro-encapsulated caffeine, n-acetyl, l-tyrosine, and d-aspartic acid. Micro-encapsulated caffeine releases more slowly than regular caffeine, which means you get stimulated even when the effect from the conventional caffeine is over. Indeed, this is quite an interesting approach to a workout.
We have also liked GMO- and gluten-free formulation of this product, but the best thing, aside from the double-stage formula, is that it is less habit-forming than some other pre-workout supplements.
One Supplement at a Time
Another important question that many gym-goers ask when starting to take their first pre-workout supplements is: “Can I mix them with fat burner supplements?” Well, our answer is negative.
As a rule, those supplements contain active components very similar to those that are included in pre-workout meals. So, when you take both products at the same day the chance that the stimulation will be too intense is very high. As a result, instead of having a productive workout with a fat loss effect, you may get a completely opposite outcome: feeling unwell.
You also shouldn't drink coffee with pre-workouts. The effect will be the same as with fat burners. The maximal optimal dose of caffeine at a time is about 200 grams, the same amount of caffeine is in about 2 cups of espresso. It is better for your health to not consume caffeine and pre-workouts when you are going to a gym.
Zenwise Health 856521007543
Keto Pre-Workout Supplement for Keto Dieters
The Zenwise Keto-Lift BHB is a supplement that not just gives you enough energy and endurance to start a new, more complex workout program with ease but also allows you to benefit from a ketogenic diet with no need to fast. Sounds tempting, isn’t it?
The main principle of a ketogenic diet is to create the lack of carbohydrates because when they are absent, our body uses fatty acids as fuel. In other words, you lose a lot of weight when on such a diet because of an intensified burning of fats.
As well as any other diet, the ketogenic one is most effective in combination with intensive workouts and a proper supplement. And this is exactly what the Zenwise Keto-Lift BHB is made for.
That is to say, this product contains ketone bodies that we usually get from food; the main difference here, however, is that you get ketones constantly. This is beneficial when you are not in a state of ketosis. Also, such an enhanced ketone level not only helps you lose weight but also improves your physical and mental performance, helps recover after a workout thanks to an improved protein synthesis, and keeps you focused for quite a long time.
This product is not for Keto-dieters only, though; it will be helpful for advanced gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts alike. Since the Zenwise Keto-Lift BHB doesn’t contain any components derived from animals, it can also be used by vegetarians. All in all, if you are looking for a safe and reliable product to stay focused and energized in a gym, and at the same time, wish to burn fat with ease, this pre-workout supplement is the best choice.
A Special Regimen
It is a well-known fact that our bodies can adapt to almost anything. Pre-workout meals are not an exception. If you have been taking them before, you have probably noticed that during the first few weeks, you have quite an impressive energy boost, but after a while, the effect becomes less intense. In order to avoid such a habitual effect from a pre-workout supplement, most of the athletes recommend novices to take breaks and alternate between several products.
So, to get a maximal and constant effect from your supplements, you can follow a pretty simple regimen:
- Training day 1 – supplement A;
- Training day 2 – supplement B;
- Training day 3 – no supplement;
- Training day 4 – supplement C;
- Training day 5 – supplement A;
- Training day 6 – no supplement.
It is also advised to start taking a new pre-workout with half a serving at a time and increase the amount if the need be. This will help you avoid possible undesired effects. At the same time, if you feel like half a serving gives you enough energy, you will be able to double the number of servings from one package.
What Is a Pre-workout Supplement?
We all know that feeling when you walk into the gym and understand that today, your workout won’t be a typical one. You feel so energized as if you could “move mountains”. You are on the top of your performance; you are focused, strong, and energized. Unfortunately, these days, when we are in “The Zone”, are not so regular as we would like them to be. But with a properly selected pre-workout supplement, such energized workouts can become a common thing.
A pre-workout meal is a specially designed supplement for professional athletes and regular gym-goers. It helps take their performance to a completely new level. Being more specific, the main purpose of these products is to increase strength and endurance and to boost energy level greatly. Depending on the list of ingredients, some products can even speed up fat burning by increasing metabolic rate or decrease catabolism to save your muscle. Positively, these factors are quite beneficial for any regular gym-goer. Yet, this kind of supplement is mostly recommended to bodybuilders and weightlifters who need something more than just pre-workout eats to energize them.
For a novice, it is always a better idea to start with their diet first, and then, go to more complex meals with their progress. However, every beginner athlete can have post-workout meals in their arsenal of sports nutrition to boost recovery process after a good exercise.
What Features to Compare
The first question for you to answer when selecting a pre-workout meal is: what result are you aiming for? The thing is that about 80% of all pre-workouts available on the market today can only raise your energy level, focus, and endurance. If you want something more than that, you will need to look among the other 20% of products. Depending on your individual goals, you can choose a pre-workout supplement from one of several categories: for an energy boost, fat loss, or muscle building.
For example, caffeine based supplements are considered to be the best products for energy level increase. L-Carnitine improves fat loss. As for muscle growth, pay attention to the availability of isolated amino acids or creatine in the formula. They stimulate muscle protein synthesis and reduce catabolism hence they are vital for muscle growth.
The list of ingredients of a pre-workout meal can be quite long. It may contain vitamins, micronutrients, and other components that are certainly quite useful, but, the truth is that their part is more complementary than active. Of course, during very intensive workouts, the loss of useful micronutrients increases greatly, so filling the nutritional deficit in advance is a pretty good idea.
But, since we are talking about supplements to increase our productivity in a gym, we should pay attention to active components the most. There are tons of pre-workout supplements and every one of them has their own special formula, especially of the explosive energy blend. Still, some active components are added to the formula of mоst pre-workouts:
- Beta-alanine increases muscular endurance. Its optimal dose is 1.5–5g per serving. This ingredient increases the level of carnosine in muscles that in turn contribute to better muscle fatigue control. As a result, you can do more sets or lift more weight than you could before.
- Caffeine is a very effective and quick source of energy. It boosts productivity greatly thus making any type of exercise easier. The optimal dose of caffeine is 200-500 mg. or 1.8–2.7 mg per kg of body weight.
- L-Arginine is an amino acid that can be either found in food (red meat, fish, poultry) or produced in a laboratory. It is used for protein biosynthesis, an increase of growth hormone, and relaxation of blood vessels. Take note though, this supplement is not recommended for people with heart conditions.
- Creatine is a well-known substance that is quite popular among bodybuilders. Its main purpose is to deliver explosive strength and increase muscle mass of an athlete. Our bodies produce creatine naturally, but when it comes to high force training (deadlift, squat, bench press, etc.) this component is irreplaceable. The optimal dose is 5g per serving, up to 20g per day.
- Nitric Oxide dilates your blood vessels during a workout thus increasing the circulation of oxygen and other nutrients in your blood. It is not recommended for a prolonged use, though, since it may increase oxidative stress.
- L-Carnitine is a B-vitamin related, biologically active compound. It helps transport fat (long-chain fatty acids) into the mitochondria of cells which is then burned as fuel. This component works both when you rest and exercise, but according to most studies, L-Carnitine has the maximal impact during intense workouts.
Pills or Powder
The form of a pre-workout supplement is mostly a matter of your taste. Pills are simpler to take, so they are more expensive than powder supplements. Yet, the latter is metabolized by the body faster.
How to Select Sport Nutrition?
There are too many workout supplements crowding the market today that an athlete, especially a novice one, starts wondering which product is the best one.
All the supplements can be divided into categories depending on their effect on our body. Such an approach simplifies the selection process greatly. So basically, you need to ask yourself: “what is your sports goal?”, and then select among the supplements in a corresponding category.
Supplements for muscle building
This is probably the most popular category of supplements. So, if your main goal is muscle building, your options of sports nutrition are great. You can pick:
The protein that is so needed for our bodies. This is the major building component for muscles. Unfortunately, not always can we piece out its shortage in our daily meals, especially after excessive workouts. Gainers are very similar to protein. The difference between them is in the number of carbs (carbohydrates) they contain. Protein carries a bit more.
BCAAs increase your productivity during a workout, boost muscle growth, stamina, and strength.
Testosterone boosters and growth hormone boosters are effective remedies mostly used by bodybuilders who are getting prepared for the competition and want to get on a new professional level.
Supplements for fat burning
Fat burner is the main supplement that you will need in order to reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat greatly. Thermogenics are the best ones since their effect is achieved by the body temperature rise.
BCAAs won’t burn fat, but they will help protect you from muscle wasting that is an unwanted part of fat loss.
Laxogenin (5a-Hydroxy) is a plant compound that increases the protein synthesis. It creates an anabolic environment in our body thus giving the effect of increased muscle strength. It also boosts endurance and helps gain lean muscle growth. It is not toxic and has no influence on the reproductive system, so it is safe for both men and women.
Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids (Omega-3) are crucial during fat loss process because they help us fill the nutritional deficit caused by a strict diet and intense workout.
Supplements for energy, endurance, and strength
Creatine is the most popular choice when it comes to a strength workout. You can either take it during the loading phase or a daily maintenance. When you take creatine to load, you should spread 20g out with 4 servings 5g each throughout the day. For daily maintenance, drop the dose to 5g a day.
Pre-workout meals are specifically designed to boost your energy, endurance, and strength during a workout. So if you are looking for a massive energy boost, such a supplement is your best pick.
Advice for a novice athlete
If you are a beginner athlete, you don’t need to start taking everything right away. For starters, it is enough to adjust your diet so that you could get all the necessary nutrients. Then, during your progress, you can consider taking some supplements.
We can distinguish protein, gainers, BCAA, vitamins, and minerals among the whole list that will be helpful for a novice athlete. This is a sufficient list to start exercising. Take note though, that gainers are mostly needed for ectomorphs since they build-up muscle very slowly. As for the others, protein is the best solution.
In case you are on a budget and wish to start with one or two supplements, we would recommend you opt for BCAA and multivitamins. They can provide enough support for your health and progress at the beginning of your fitness journey.