When And Why To Take Pre-workout
By Tyler Woodward
Pre-workouts are all the rage. From giving you the morning boost you need after a poor night’s sleep, to fueling your next workout personal record, pre-workout is here to help you get the most out of your day! Let’s start out with a little game of fact or cap:
All pre-workout is created equally…
Cap, and a big one at that. There are pre-workouts on the market filled with junk and additives your body doesn’t want nor need.
So let’s dive in and see what really makes for a good pre-workout…
Table Of Contents:
- What To Look For In A Pre-Workout Supplement?
- Performance Boosters
- Stress Mitigation
- When Should You Not Take Pre-Workout?
What To Look For In A Pre-Workout Supplement:
Pre-workout ingredients generally fall into one of two categories:
- Performance Boosters - These pre-workout ingredients are designed to enable the body to physically perform better. They support increased blood flow, boosted energy, and improved hydration. When you think of Performance Boosters, think more reps and sets in the gym and improved workout consistency.
- Stress Mitigators - These pre-workout supplements are aimed at minimizing stress on the body. They often include lactic acid buffers and adaptogenic herbs/compounds. When you think of Stress Mitigators, think of a shield for mental and physical stress on the body.
But why can’t your pre-workout do both - boost performance and block stress?
Introducing Zuum. Zuum is UMZU’s premier pre-workout supplement designed to invigorate your workout without the dreaded post-workout crash or mid workout bonk. Zuum leverages both sides of the pre-workout equation optimizing your workout performance and minimizing unnecessary stress. Zuum is guaranteed to fuel you through your most exhausting workouts and leave you with lasting energy to conquer the rest of your day.
Let’s break down the two categories of pre-workout formulas to further understand their impacts on the body and contribute effectiveness to your workouts.
Caffeine - Caffeine is by far the most well-known and well-researched pre-workout supplement in the world. Caffeine has been shown time and time again to:
- Increase aerobic and anaerobic performance
- Increase power output
- Increase cognitive performance
- Increase alertness and decrease perception of fatigue
- Increase total volume of work performed
- Increase 1 rep-max strength
The most commonly thought of source of caffeine is coffee. Coffee, per its caffeine content, is not only a performance booster, but can also be seen as a Stress Mitigator. Many of the compounds found in coffee help to mitigate stress via the potent antioxidants found in the bean. Coffee is even noted to combat exercise-induced leaky gut (more on that later).
Caffeine consumption pre-workout is not the only effective time to seek the boost! Post-workout caffeine consumption has repeatedly been shown to increase glycogen replenishment or the re-synthesis of glycogen stores, helping to increase recovery for the following workout.
Looking for a nutrient-packed coffee that can be enjoyed hot or iced pre or post workout? Give zuBrew a try!
Many of the other compounds in coffee may also help to mitigate stress through the potent amount of antioxidants found in coffee and may be able to combat exercise-induced leaky gut which we’ll come back to later. Lastly, post-workout caffeine consumption has repeatedly been shown to increase glycogen replenishment or the re-synthesis of glycogen stores, helping to increase recovery for the following workout
B - Vitamins - B-vitamins are essential in burning both glucose and fatty acid oxidation enabling us to efficiently turn food into fuel. If we are deficient in any of the b-vitamins (yes, there are many of them!), it can hinder our body’s ability to produce enough red blood cells. It can also limit our body’s ability to burn glucose or fat as fuel.
My favorite B-vitamins for pre-workouts include:
- Vitamin B1 - Thiamine
- Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 - Niacinamide
- Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic Acid*
- Vitamin B6 - Pyroxidine*
- Vitamin B7 - Biotin*
Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 are all involved in the process of converting glucose into energy and can be rate-limiters in energy production if you are deficient in them. By supplementing with these b-vitamins we can potentially increase our ability to utilize glucose as fuel and thereby increase our performance as a result.
*Vitamin B5, B6, and B7 can also be rate-limiting factors in energy production, but they are typically found more abundantly in the diet.
Looking for a complete b-vitamin with all the essentials you need? Give Daily B a try!
Sugar - While sugar is extremely controversial in the health domain, it is well established that sugar, specifically glucose, is the main fuel (substrate) our body and muscles utilize during intense exercise. By supplementing with added sugar in our pre-workouts we can keep our blood glucose levels higher for longer, helping to increase the amount of time it takes for muscles to turn to their glycogen stores. The more energy supplied to our muscles, the more fatigue they are able to endure prior to exhaustion.
Nitric Oxide Boosters - In the body, nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, meaning it helps to widen up your arteries allowing more blood to flow through. More blood flow means an increased delivery of both oxygen and fuel (primarily as glucose) to our muscles enabling them to perform better for longer.
There are a number of nitric oxide boosting supplements on the market including:
- L-Citrulline - An amino acid involved in the synthesis of nitric oxide which is absorbed better than L-arginine
- Astragin - Also known astragalus membranaceus, is a compound derived from panax ginseng and has been shown to significantly increase the absorption of L-citrulline up to 50% helping to increase the effectiveness of L-citrulline
- L-Arginine - Another amino acid involved in the synthesis of nitric oxide, but is poorly absorbed in the body
- Nitrates - These are naturally existing compounds found primarily in plants like beets, celery and lettuce that also act as precursors in nitric oxide synthesis and may increase nitric oxide production
- Nitrosigine - A chemically synthesized compound that has been shown to potently enhance vasodilation (blood flow)
Looking for a complete nitric oxide booster with all the essential ingredients you need to boost blood flow and optimize circulation? Give Redwood a try!
Lactic Acid Buffers - These are a group of compounds that help to mitigate the effects of the lactic acid produced during training by buffering the increase in acidity that occurs as a result. Basically, this allows you to perform longer without becoming fatigued and may also decrease the total amount of stress that you incur in a workout, helping to increase recovery. These include:
- Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- Magnesium Bicarbonate
Electrolytes - Electrolytes are chemically charged minerals that are essential to proper cell functioning, maintaining proper fluid balance and as a result muscle contraction. Making sure to consume adequate electrolytes prior to a workout helps to ensure that you are properly hydrated and that your cells are primed to perform in the workout and ready to recover from the workout.
Your body loses a lot of electrolytes throughout the day, primarily through sweating, so it’s extremely important to consume adequate amounts of electrolytes to allow your body both to perform and recover. Without enough electrolytes, your muscles may fatigue more quickly, cramp, and if severe enough, electrolytes loss can prevent the heart from contracting properly.
Looking for an electrolyte drink for post workout recovery or just a nutritious drink on the go? Give zuumLytes a try!
Read More: 12 Ways To Skyrocket Energy Levels
During a workout, your body experiences different types of stress. There is the stress that you intentionally apply that works to strengthen the body and muscles. But during a workout there’s also unintentional, unwanted stress that doesn’t have any positive effects on the body. An example of unintentional stress is the stress caused when away from the intestines and applied to the working muscle groups. This shift can result in a phenomenon known as exercise-induced leaky gut, which causes inflammation in the gut and body.
There are a number of ways to harness good stress and mitigate unwanted/unintentional stress. A simple solution is making sure your pre-workout contains a couple key ingredients.
When it comes to stress mitigating compounds for this unintentional/undesired stress, there are a number of compounds we can choose from:
- L-Theanine - Theanine is a potent amino acid found predominantly in many tea leaves that is famously known for its calming effect. In addition to working synergistically with caffeine, L-Theanine helps prevent the dreaded post-workout crash and unsettling pre-workout jitters. L-theanine also works with the amino acid, glutamine, to stabilize the gut lining helping to prevent leaky gut.
- Glycine - Glycine, another amino acid, is well known for its role in stabilizing the intestinal gut lining. Glycine is believed to be metabolized by the cells of the mucosal lining to produce the body’s main antioxidant enzyme, glutathione. Glutathione is necessary to combat oxidative stress and it neutralizes the free radicals that result as a bi-product of stress. By supplying the cells of the intestines with glycine prior to working out, the body has a better chance to decrease the amount of “bad bacteria” that is able to cross the intestinal lining (leaky gut) and, as a result decrease the amount of unnecessary stress we endure. As an added bonus, Glycine is also potently anti-inflammatory and can aid in recovery post-workout as well.
Now that we have uncovered the different types of ingredients in pre-workouts and established the benefits of each, you may be asking yourself when is the best time to take your pre-workout to set yourself up for an ideal workout…
When Should You Not Take Pre-Workout?:
Pre-workout supplements are typically designed to be taken 30-60 minutes prior to working out. This lead time allows for the ingredients to effectively absorb into the body for utilization during your workout. Generally due to the caffeine content in most pre-workouts, and the time it takes for caffeine to fully process through the body, it's best to take pre-workouts about 8 hours prior to sleeping.
Pre-workouts are all the rage and we want you to have the best workout possible in route to meeting your health and fitness goals. Whether you are looking to hit a new personal record, are looking to be more consistent in your routines, or are just getting back into fitness, give zuum pre-workout a go!
The ingredients in ZUUM boost energy and power, increase blood flow and muscle pump, and extend stamina and workout capacity. ZUUM does all of this naturally, with no harmful chemicals, additives, or fillers. The result? Smooth energy, focus, power, and results with no crash. With a combination of electrolytes for nervous system function and muscular hydration, L-Citrulline for athletic performance, natural caffeine for a powerful boost, and Astragin for nutrient absorption, you are getting the cleanest, most powerful pre-workout boost on the market.
My goal in writing this article, as always, is to provide you with logically-based principles that you can use to form your own conclusions regarding any information you may come across within this subject. I really hope you found this article interesting and if you have anything to add to this article, or any comments or criticism, feel free to reach out to me on our facebook groups or on Instagram @tylerwoodward_fit. Also, please feel free to share this article with anyone that might be interested.