• Anatomy Of Fitness

What are the Best PRE-WORKOUT Supplements we should seriously consider taking?

Pre-workout supplements are the supplements that are taken before a workout/ training. Pre-workout supplementation is a vital aspect of our workout regime, especially as we progress in workouts. There are hundreds of different types of pre-workout supplements, and it often becomes confusing to choose among them. While some pre-workout supplements boost mental focus, power and strength, others help increase endurance. Pre-workout supplements are to be selected depending on our goals and what workout we plan to do. For example, if the goal is to lift heavier, we should consider taking creatine for explosive power and caffeine for increased mental focus. Whilst pre-workout supplements are a combination of many ingredients, it is vital to know if the ingredients are beneficial to our fitness goals and type of workout. Let us look at the best pre-workout supplements that we should seriously consider taking.

#1 Arginine:

Some non-essential amino acids can become essential amino acids under particular conditions like illness, stress, injuries, exercise etc. Such amino acids are called conditionally essential amino acids. Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which means at advanced levels, we may have to supplement with arginine to meet the body’s increased demand. Arginine is converted into a chemical called nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels and aids in better transportation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients.

Recommended dosage at advanced level:

  • For fitness and bodybuilding: start with 5 to 6 grams of arginine, pre-workout, per day and gradually increase up to 15 grams of arginine per day.

  • For endurance: take 4 to 8 grams arginine, 30 minutes before the endurance activity.

  • For increased growth hormone production: take 8 to 10 grams of arginine 30 minutes before bed.

#2 Creatine:

Creatine is considered the holy grail for explosive performance. Each cell in our body uses Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy. When our muscles contract while exercising, ATP is rapidly used for energy and converts to Adenosine diphosphate (ADP). ADP is an organic compound containing adenosine and two phosphate groups. Creatine Monohydrate helps with the addition of another phosphate group converting ADP back to ATP. Thus, more ATP becomes available for the body to use. More ATP translates to more energy, intensity, and workload, thereby increasing performance.

Recommended dosage:

Creatine dosage is recommended to be taken in the loading and maintenance phases. In the loading phase, we take 20 to 25 grams of creatine in a day and continue doing this for seven days. Post the 7th day, we can continue to take a maintenance dosage of 5 grams of creatine per day.

Here is a detailed blog on creatine that will help understand creatine, its benefits, how it works, its side effects and dosage: What is Creatine Monohydrate?

#3 Caffeine:

Caffeine stimulates certain parts of the brain, thereby increasing alertness and mental focus. It has been proven to improve performance in workouts or sports like sprinting, boxing, martial arts, weightlifting etc., requiring a rapid generation of explosive force.

Recommended dosage:

The recommended dosage for increasing exercise performance is 3 to 6 grams per kg of body weight.

Note: Taking caffeine before bed may result in severe sleep disruption.

#4 BCAA:

BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids, namely Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. BCAA helps with both - activities that require explosive energy and activities that require endurance. Taking BCAA supplements pre-workout helps lower the release of muscle-damaging enzymes.

Recommended dosage:

BCAA levels in our blood peak 30 minutes post-consumption. Hence, it is recommended to consume BCAA about 30 minutes before a workout. We may start with 5 grams of BCAA pre-workout per day and gradually graduate to up to 20 grams pre-workout per day.

#5 Glutamine:

Like arginine, glutamine is also a conditionally essential amino acid. It means, at advanced levels, we may have to supplement with glutamine to meet the body’s increased demand. Glutamine can be taken pre-workout, during workout or post-workout. Research suggests that supplementing with glutamine enhances fluid and electrolyte uptake and increases levels of growth hormone.

Recommended dosage:

During training days, take 10 grams of glutamine pre-training and 10 grams post-training. On non-training days consume 20 grams of glutamine in 5 grams doses with an interval of 2 to 3 hours between each dose.

#6 Baking Soda:

When we train, lactic acid builds up in the working muscles and gives us a burning sensation. Consuming baking soda helps reduce this burning sensation by acting as a buffering agent and helping train better.

Recommended dosage:

Studies have shown that consuming 300 mg of baking soda per kg of body weight 60 to 90 minutes before training will help reduce muscle burn and increase performance.

Here is a blog on whether baking soda helps in weight loss and fat loss: Does baking soda help lose weight and fat?

#7 Citrulline:

Taking citrulline before a workout may help increase the supply of nutrients, oxygen, and blood to the exercising muscles. It also helps in reducing muscle soreness and works for both endurance and intensity activities.

Recommended dosage:

The suggested dosage for citrulline is 6 to 8 grams pre-training per day.

#8 B-Complex:

Like baking soda, some reports indicate B-complex vitamins also have lactic acid buffering properties which help reduce the muscle burning sensation and enhance training.

Recommended dosage:

The suggested dosage varies for each B-complex vitamin.

Men:

  • B-1: 1.2 mg.

  • B-2: 1.3 mg.

  • B-3: 16 mg.

  • B-5: 5 mg.

  • B-6: 1.3 mg.

  • Biotin: 30 mcg.

  • Folic acid: 400 mcg.

  • B-12: 2.4 mcg.

Women:

  • B-1: 1.1 mg.

  • B-2: 1.1 mg.

  • B-3: 14 mg.

  • B-5: 5 mg.

  • B-6: 1.3 mg.

  • Biotin: 30 mcg.

  • Folic acid: 400 mcg.

  • B-12: 2.4 mcg.

#9 Beta-Alanine:

Like B-complex and baking soda, beta-alanine also helps in lactic acid buffering, reducing the burning sensation and increasing performance during training.

Recommended dosage:

The suggested daily dosage pre-workout is 4 to 6 grams.

#10 Testosterone Boosters:

Testosterone boosters are routinely added to pre-workout mixes to enhance their muscle-building properties. Testosterone boosters may not directly help during training but may help build a robust muscle mass framework that enhances training. These boosters can be derived from fenugreek, ginger, garlic, pine bark, ginseng, yohimbe etc.

Here are a couple of blogs on testosterone: Do testosterone boosting supplements work?, 10 ways to increase testosterone naturally.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the best pre-workout supplements we should seriously consider taking. Let us know in the comments section which pre-workout supplement(s) you intend to take.

#supplements #preworkout #training #performance #nutrition

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