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6 Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements

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Pre-workout supplements are a type of dietary supplement that gymgoers and athletes use to improve workout and exercise performance. 

Pre-workouts use a blended formula that includes thermogenic aids, stimulants, minerals, BCAAs, vitamins, creatine monohydrate, and other clinically tested ingredients to give you a boost during your workouts. 

The result: Longer, more effective workouts that burn more fat and build more muscle. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at the range of benefits of pre-workout supplements and the key ingredients that make them possible. 

By the end, you will have a deeper appreciation for how much of an impact the right pre-workout can have on your exercise goals. 

Let’s jump in.

The Advantages of Pre-Workout Supplements 

The benefits of using pre-workouts include:

  • Increased energy
  • More focus
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Increased muscular endurance
  • Longer overall endurance
  • Faster recovery

Next, we will look at each key benefit and the ingredients in pre-workouts that make them happen. 

Increased energy

Pre-workouts are primarily used for the energy-boosting ingredients they include. Caffeine is the primary stimulant used in pre-workouts to increase energy and alertness. 

Caffeine is an ergogenic aid that helps gymgoers and athletes exercise with greater power output for longer. 

A meta-analysis published in the medical journal Sports Medicine showed that caffeine has long-lasting effects on increased energy, with the benefits of caffeine supplementation lasting as long as 2 hours. 

Pre-workouts almost universally have 100-200mg of caffeine. More experienced athletes and those with a high tolerance for caffeine can use a high-stim pre-workout, which can include 275-400mg per serving, to get the increased energy and focus from this type of supplement.

The primary benefit of pre-workout supplements is to boost energy, and caffeine and other ingredients like L-tyrosine and B-vitamins have been shown to increase overall energy when exercising for longer and better workouts. 

More focus

Being “in the zone” when working out is a great feeling. There are no distractions, no getting side-tracked—just executing an awesome workout. A benefit of pre-workouts is increasing focus and concentration. 

Pre-workout ingredients like L-theanine, N-acetyl-L-tyrosine, and caffeine have all been clinically studied and shown to increase concentration and alertness. 

One of the perks of pre-workouts is that it allows you to maintain focus as you start to get tired towards the end of a hard set or workout. 

Increased muscle and strength 

Pre-workout supplements frequently include compounds and ingredients that are geared towards helping users build strength and muscle mass. 

Creatine is one of the most widely used and studied supplements on the planet and is safe for a majority of users. 

A position statement by the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that using creatine supplements consistently increases intramuscular growth and stimulation. They also show that short and long-term creatine supplementation to be safe in healthy individuals of all ages.

Better pumps

Lifters of all ages love the feeling of getting a shirt-ripping bulk while lifting weights in the gym. Pre-workout supplements are effective at soliciting this effect, promoting blood flow to working muscles for increased vascularity. 

For lifters and athletes who love this effect, look for a pre-workout supplement that contains nitric oxide agents. Commonly referred to as NO, nitric oxide boosters like arginine and L-citrulline increase blood flow to muscles and give you a bigger pump. 

This added blood flow is also highly functional, with pre-workouts with added nitric oxide agents also delivering more nutrients to the muscles who need it the most. 

Increased muscular strength

Pre-workouts not only give you the sensation of having more energy by way of the ergogenic effects of caffeine, they also give you more muscular endurance. For people who are serious about strength training, a pre-workout can help them lift more weight, for longer.

A study performed by Nova Southeastern University with a group of college athletes found that when they supplemented with a pre-workout, participants could complete more repetitions of 60% of 1RM bench press compared to when they took a placebo. 

Interestingly, the placebo group took a blend that included caffeine, which suggests that the other ingredients in a pre-workout were largely responsible for the increase in muscular endurance. 

Longer endurance

Distance athletes are among the mentally toughest out there, performing extended workouts that can last for hours. But, as the saying goes, fatigue can make cowards of us all. 

Pre-workout supplements include ingredients designed to help increased overall endurance, not just for distance athletes, but for regular gymgoers who simply want to spend more time exercising. 

Pre-workouts with citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and caffeine help to reduce perceived effort and reduce muscle breakdown during longer workouts. Additionally, for the distance and endurance-minded person, seek out pre-workouts that have electrolytes. 

Longer workouts mean more sweating, and electrolytes can help to mitigate the deleterious effects of dehydration. 

Faster recovery

Experienced athletes and gymgoers know that the secret to getting faster results in the gym lays in how effectively they recover between workouts. The faster you recover, the faster you can get back into the gym and compound more training. 

Pre-workouts can help you to recover more quickly after a big lift or long endurance session. Key ingredients like glutamine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) help to facilitate muscle recovery by reducing muscle tissue breakdown. 

BCAAs have also been shown to help limit muscle soreness after hard workouts and boost muscle recovery. 

A study published in the scientific journal Nutrients, titled “Oral Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplementation in Athletes: A Systematic Review” found that muscle soreness was significantly attenuated when participants supplemented with BCAAs.

To enhance recovery between workouts, look for a pre-workout that contains these amino acids so that you can start recovering before your workout is completed.

Wrapping Things Up

Pre-workouts are supplements that are designed to assist athletes and gym-nerds to improve a wide range of aspects of their workouts. 

From increased strength, faster recovery, enhanced energy, and more endurance, the right pre-workout can help you unlock better performance when exercising. 

Fortunately, there is a wide range of types of pre-workouts that can serve the needs of every type of user, so choose the right pre-workout that matches your goals and needs, and take your training to the next level!

About the Author

Reda Elmardi, RD, CSCS, CPT, is a registered dietitian and ISSA certified nutritionist. He frequently writes about supplements and its benefits for athletic performance.

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