What's in a Good Preworkout?
I love preworkout! I could easily be called a junkie. My fascination with the effects of preworkout started with my first scoop of N.O. XPLODE. I still remember that day 15 years ago. I remember I hated doing legs just as much as I do today but I felt the rush and the energy. I felt superhuman and my obsession with the benefits of preworkout began.
Preworkout has changed over the years with components being banned for both good and bad reasons. A common reason is the use of components by consumers not physically prepared for the stresses of the exercise they are performing under the effects of the preworkout. I know that personally I used preworkouts for years without the slightest understanding of what was in them and how they benefited me. As someone who cares about my health and fitness, I knew I had to change that. I have since tried an obscene amount of preworkouts on the market and studied the components in them over the last 15 years.
What is important in a preworkout? The diversification of goals in preworkouts makes this question a complex one. Years ago when I first started it was all about nitric oxide pumps and caffeine, but now the options can be overwhelming. There's creatine vs no creatine, high stim vs no stim, and does it have mental focus or is it a pump product.
I wrote this article as a general overview of preworkout options, not an in-depth article as to amount of what components just as to helping people decide what product might be right for them.
- Creatine vs No Creatine- Creatine is the most widely research supplement available, other than caffeine, and has been shown to provide benefits that far outweigh the side effects. In fact, unless you have liver disease or allow yourself to get dehydrated there are no side-effects. The only question that arises for me as to whether you want creatine in a preworkout is what is your goal. For instance, if you have a goal to drop water weight prior to a bodybuilding competition or weight based sport creatine may not be the right preworkout to take 1-2 weeks before your weigh in due to water retention in the muscles. It is important to note, especially for the ladies, that this water retention is not the same as abdominal bloating during “that time of the month”. If your goals do not involve dropping water weight then I would recommend a creatine preworkout as creatine has a laundry list of benefits including anti-depression, strength and performance increase, decreased recovery time between workout, decreased soreness and increased caloric burn inside of workouts.
- High stim vs No Stim- This part is a bit alarming for me personally. Some preworkouts have gone to a high stim version because this has been sought after by uneducated consumers and also is a very very cheap way to add another product. The average preworkout has around 250 mgs of caffeine in a serving, while 8 oz of coffee has 180 mgs. High stim products have been seen with over 400 mgs of caffeine! That can only be considered overkill. Besides the potential health impact of such high caffeine intake, consumers also don’t realize that caffeine is one of the worst tasting ingredients inside most preworkouts making the preworkout a lot less palatable.
- Mental Focus vs Pump Products - Mental Focus products such as l-theanine, noopept, taurine, caffeine, are becoming more and more popular inside preworkouts as they help you mentally focus on achieving the desired outcome of the workout, and they do help. Pump products are designed to increase nitric oxide production, increasing circulation and allowing your body to uptake more of the product. Many preworkouts have varying degrees of mental focus components and pump components. Sometimes manufacturers will add a pump-specific product to expand product lines but that’s really just to sell another product or appeal to someone looking for that specific product.
In conclusion, the products on the market are many and varied. While there are a lot of great products on the market there are also a lot of bad products on the market. I encourage some due diligence before taking products as there is very little regulation on the supplement market.
I really like Smoke preworkout check it out. https://performancefuelandnutrition.com/products/smoke-pre-workout
Thank you for your time and I’d love to hear your thought or comments below.