10 Laws Of Muscle-Building: Law 6, Optimize With A Pre-Workout
How do you ensure a great workout each and every time you train? Learn how to optimize your workouts with the right pre-workout supplements!
Great workouts yield great results. Training with greater volume can lead to faster gains and better results over time. So how do you ensure that you're getting the most out of your workouts every time you set foot in the gym? Certain nutrients can help increase energy and drive, as well as improve circulation to support performance and recovery.
Here are my four go-to pre-workout ingredients that can help take your training to the next level!
Law 6: Optimize With A Pre-Workout 10 Laws Of Muscle-Building
Watch the video - 5:31
Dialing in your energy can make the difference between a good and a great workout. Caffeine and caffeine providers such as guarana, tea extracts, and yerba mate can elevate intensity levels and make you feel more energized.
Typically, pre-workouts will contain 100-200 milligrams of caffeine per serving, whereas others may have as much as 300-400 milligrams in a serving. While both levels of dosing can be effective, it's really up to you to find your sweet spot for caffeine based on tolerance.
Enhanced blood flow both during and after a training session can not only help optimize your workouts, but also deliver awesome pumps and speed up the recovery process. For the past decade, arginine has ruled supreme as the target nutrient to optimize blood flow, but a novel pomegranate extract has shown to be just as powerful an NO precursor as arginine, despite a lower nitrate content.1-3
In several recent studies, pomegranate extract has been shown to enhance vasodilation and blood flow to working muscles, as well as increase performance during high-intensity exercise. The improved delivery of oxygen and other important nutrients to the muscle can also help cut down on recovery time.
The "chronic nutrients," creatine and beta-alanine
Pre-workout products often contain creatine and beta-alanine, which will have little to no immediate effect on your workout, but they are taken up effectively during the workout and contribute to enhanced power and buffering capabilities of your workouts over time.4,5
Plus, getting them in as part of a pre-workout can reduce the number of supplements you take daily. It's important to take these supplements consistently to see the best possible results!
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs are great to have in a pre-workout product because they help jump-start the recovery and repair process. When you take them as part of your pre-workout, they are quickly shuttled into the muscle so that they are ready to go during the post-workout period to aid in muscle protein synthesis (or muscle building).
Sipping on BCAAs throughout the day and during your workout can also speed up the recovery of your muscles and reduce exercise-related soreness.
If you want to get the most out of your workouts, it really comes down to doing everything you can during the pre-workout period to ensure your best performance in the gym. The key supplements are those that support energy levels, focus, blood flow, and recovery.
- Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Melvin, M. N., Roelofs, E. J., & Wingfield, H. L. (2014). Effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion 1. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 39(9), 1038-1042.
- Roelofs, E. J., Hirsch, K. R., Trexler, E. T., Mock, M. G., & Smith-Ryan, A. E. (2015). The effects of pomegranate extract on anaerobic exercise performance & cardiovascular responses. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(Suppl 1), P56.
- Kendall, K. L., Moon, J. R., Fairman, C. M., Spradley, B. D., Tai, C. Y., Falcone, P. H., ... & Serrano, E. R. (2014). Ingesting a preworkout supplement containing caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, amino acids, and B vitamins for 28 days is both safe and efficacious in recreationally active men. Nutrition Research, 34(5), 442-449.
- Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Dudeck, J. E., Oliveira de Souza, E., McCleary, S. A., Wells, S., ... & Wilson, J. M. (2013). Effects of 8 weeks of Xpand® 2X pre workout supplementation on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, lean body mass, and strength in resistance trained males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 44.