Training for maximum results in the gym requires every ounce of effort, strength and power.
Having the focus, energy and drive to push out those critical extra few reps every session can soon add up to considerable gains.
Getting 100% out of every rep during that hour in the gym is why so many gym-goers take pre-workout supplements to give them the edge to get better results, faster.
What do pre-workouts do?
When you’re looking to take a pre-workout supplement it’s important to think about what you are trying to achieve and what outcomes you want.
The benefits of pre-workout supplements normally fall into two categories – neurological and physiological benefits.
Some pre-workouts can give neurological benefits in that they help enhance the chemistry of the brain to affect mood, create heightened levels of focus, alertness and aggression you need to maximise every workout.
Pre-workouts can also give physiological benefits. Some can delay the onset of lactic acid threshold so you can do more anaerobic work, or others also potentially improve the supply of fuel to the working muscle by vasodilation.
In essence, pre-workouts enhance our mental and physical performance in the gym so we can get the maximum benefit and adaptation from every workout.
Caffeine is something that many people use to kickstart their afternoon.
But equally, it’s something people use to give them the feeling of focus and alertness before a workout.
Most people work out after a long day at the office when they’re often tired and low on energy.
These aren’t the mental and physical qualities that are going to fire you up for a great workout.
So many people often rely on caffeine as a pre-workout pick-me-up to improve their focus, motivation and drive to be effective in the gym.
This is why caffeine is used as one of the main ingredients in many pre-workout supplements.
But so many pre-workout supplements are often just packed with caffeine and little else but gimmicks within the ‘proprietary blends’.
The reason is if you give someone 250mg of caffeine, they’re going to feel a stimulant effect – so the expensive supplement feels like it’s working.
This is more often and not down to the effects of caffeine alone and not some secret formula created by the supplement company that is marketed as novel.
Not only is this an expensive waste of money, but relying too much on caffeine has a number of other drawbacks too.
- Some people are very sensitive to caffeine and can’t tolerate the high doses often found in some pre-workout supplements.
- Caffeine tolerance can also quickly become a problem where you need a higher and higher dose to get the same stimulant effect.
- Sleep quality can be affected by too much caffeine. It stays in your system for 6-8 hours so if you have it in the afternoon or evening it can leave you restless and stimulated when it comes time to sleep – something which can harm the quality of your sleep which is vital for optimal rest and recovery from training.
What’s the solution?
Using caffeine more sparingly is better for many people as you’re less likely to build up a tolerance to it and it will retain its effectiveness far better.
Try limiting your coffee intake to one or two per day, and have them earlier on in the day to avoid wakefulness at night.
There are also supplements that can give you the same effects as caffeine but without the negative drawbacks that many people experience.
Three of the key supplement ingredients you need to know about are here…
This is a plant extract most commonly found in cocoa.
It’s structurally similar to caffeine, but it does not have the same powerful stimulatory effects as caffeine, acting much more gently on adenosine receptors in the central nervous system.
What this means is that theobromine won’t cause restlessness or keep you awake at night the same as caffeine.
It activates other systems in the body responsible for stimulation, focus and concentration needed for a quality workout.
Theobromine is significantly associated with better performance on visual-spatial memory, working memory and organisation – three key factors needed for better coordination and mental focus during a workout.
Theobromine also acts as a vasodilator, activating nitric oxide synthase. Vasodilation allows better blood flow and oxygen and nutrient delivery which can improving workout performance.
Forskolin can help boost the body’s natural hormones and increase energy during a workout.
It potentiates the effects of some key hormones and neurotransmitters in the body which are responsible for improving workout performance.
Key hormones forskolin helps to boost are glucagon, ACTG and adrenaline (epinephrine) which is are important fat burning hormones during a workout.
Science is still emerging on norvaline, but there is one key benefit that we know about – it helps improve muscle pump during a workout.
It works in the body to inhibit arginase activity. This prevents the breakdown of arginine – and more arginine means there’s more substrate to produce nitric oxide for enhanced vasodilation during a workout.
We have developed a pre-workout supplement with all the benefits of other pre-workouts, but without the negative side effects of large doses of caffeine.