How to Push Your Training to the MAX Using Pre Workouts
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How to use pre workout supplements to push your training to the MAXIMUM!
Imagine a life without pre workouts. So you’re about to hit the gym. You have eaten a good breakfast and have a protein shake ready for when you’re done. But maybe you’re lacking a bit of motivation today.
If you’re like a lot of other people, you lack motivation even when you’re in the gym. It’s not just the one day.
If this is you, then you could feel completely different if you are doing just a few things to correct this.
Most people think they already doing all they can in the gym. Never rest on your laurels – push yourself to the maximum and take your training to the next level using pre workouts and a combination of the important practices we will discuss in this article.
Many studies show the benefits of pre workouts, you will get more out of your workout for more gains, and like we always say – no gains, no glory.
If you are looking for something that will help you at the critical moment. When you are pushing out those last reps, or upping the weights. A pre workout will give you the advantages you require.
Let’s face it, there are a few things that every gym enthusiast wants to achieve. Something like the following:
Enhanced Muscle and Strength
You can only get so far alone. Take your whole routing to the next level and make gains like you have never experienced before. Yes you need protein, so make sure you have a post workout plan. But it will only work if you really push the muscles. This is easier said than done. And easier to do with a pre workout.
Increase Your Endurance
You want to hit a peak that only a pre workout can provide. But you don’t want it to wear off after 20 minutes.
You need to working at your highest potential for the longest time possible. More than just caffeine there are some excellent ingredients to give you the energy to push through. Even towards the end of your workout.
Energy For Your Workout
More Than just endurance, you need to feel strong and on top of your game. This will need to be released steadily to avoid a burnout.
The right ingredients can release a steady fuel for your muscles. This will prevent fatigue and stop you from hitting the wall. This can only be achieved through certain ingredients. Some of which are not likely to be part of your everyday diet.
There are many lessons to be learned in these and other areas before we get to how a pre workout can help. It is important to make sure you are doing the basics right.
Diet and Hydration
We all want to improve this part of our lives. It’s different for the various stages of life we are at. Some are looking to lose fat, some gain weight.
But what about athletes who are looking to gain muscle and enhance their overall level or performance in the gym?
A good diet can help you to reach new levels. As well as allow your body to recover more effectively. It is an important thing to consider and can even help you to avoid injury.
Best Pre Workout
Knowledge is Power
Power for your workout that is. Eating the most beneficial foods before your workout can give you the right amount of strength and energy to lift those bigger weights.
Let’s take a look at the foods types needed to optimise your pre workout diet.
They get a bad rep sometimes. Although this is understandable, you don’t want to neglect them.
The glucose from carbs is like fuel for your muscles. Especially in high-intensity training routines.
The amount of glycogen your body can store on its own has a limit. Once drained, your intensity and what you can achieve is significantly affected. That’s why you need to ensure you have a diet that includes carbs.
Many people load up on carbs for a period before exercise to give them the supply of glycogen they feel they need to reach their goals. Your carbs should be the good kind. So still no white bread or pasta etc and try and get wholegrain versions of either if that is your choice of carb.
Before sugar became the general dietary no-no it is today fat was the scorned upon source of food we were all encouraged to avoid.
This isn’t the case anymore and with more research behind it. People are starting to wake up to the fact that some fats are healthy and have some very good benefits.
Glycogen, which we now know is good in the short term for a workout, is complemented by fat. Good for its use as an energy source for longer periods of activity. Most beneficial for a less intense workout routine it will also help with endurance.
A pre workout hit of protein can make a big difference to your performance levels. Taking it before exercise is great for protein synthesis. In short, this is how your body takes damaged proteins. And replaces or repairs them to create new proteins.
These proteins are able to withstand a lot more stress and as a result, your muscles are rebuilt and increase in size depending on how much stress (this can be good as in stress from training) you put them under.
Consuming protein before exercise has been shown to encourage muscle growth. Better recovery of muscles as well as additional strength and who doesn’t need a bit of that?
Timing is Everything
Like much of life, the timing is important. Around 2 hours before your workout you want to consume a balance of the above food groups to give yourself the best chance of a great session.
This isn’t always easy and lifestyle has to come in there somewhere. Many people only get to workout before work or at lunchtime. So if 2 hours before is the optimum then eating a mix of the above at 5am before work or 10 am before your lunch break is a bit excessive!
It doesn’t have to be your main meal though, whatever fuels you. But the closer you get to your workout, the smaller the portion you will want to consume. You might get cramps if you eat too soon to your workout if it is a big meal. Or you might start feeling lethargic later on in the gym.
Ok, we haven’t left this until near the end of this section because it is unimportant, hydration is critical for peak levels of performance. Forget this at your peril.
Good levels of hydration = peak performance for longer, bad levels of hydration = your level of output decreases.
Stay hydrated before, during and after exercise and take on more as the level of intensity increases. Better hydration levels also enhance your ability to focus more – remember that when you’re scrolling through your social media in between sets.
About Diet and Hydration then…
To wrap up this section, remember that a combination of the above will give you the right start to what you are looking to achieve. A workout should be prepared for according to what you want your results to be when you’re done in the gym. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed.
Get a good combination of carbs, fats and proteins into your body a couple of hours before your workout. If you really want to smash your targets and achieve those gains, compliment all this with a natural and proven pre workout supplement.
But more on that later (if you are keen to find out more about these already, check out our top pre workout supplements article).
Best Workout Practices
So you know the types of foods you should be eating and when, but here are a few good habits for you to remember before you workout.
If you are a true casual gym goer then you probably haven’t put a lot of thought into the prep that goes hand in hand with great results. You get out what you put in. If you aren’t thinking about prep then you only have yourself to blame when you realise you have been peaking at the same level for some time.
Not only will you not get the most out of every workout but you risk getting injured and less gains.
We’ve already covered diet, hydration and the timing of when you eat. But what else can help you to maximise your session before you even get started?
Here are Some Tips:
- Pre workout supplements – Enhance your focus and get more energy for additional strength
- Go over your routine – You should be keeping a record of how you are progressing, either through good old pen and paper or an app. This way you can really laser in on where you want to focus and make your workout more efficient
- Nail your playlist – This might be the motivation and boost you need. Something to get the pulse going or something to completely block out your surroundings. Or whatever shocker the gym is playing over the speakers. Also doing this now, stops you from getting distracted and playing around with the music later
- Warm Up – if you are in the gym and ready to go, you risk serious injury if you don’t give your body a chance to warm the muscles up. Don’t shock them into place and go in cold. Get your blood flow going by spending 5 minutes jogging or rowing and your muscles will get the benefits.
- Stretches and movements – This will give your joints and shoulders and knees the preparation the require for optimal performance. Small and steady movements can be exactly what your complete muscle groups require.
Sometimes it is best not to even go to the gym. That’s right we’re not trying to demotivate you today (so don’t go using this as an excuse if the following does not apply to you). But rest days can be more effective than going to the gym itself.
Your muscles need rest to recover as well as grow. Although everyone is different, it is often suggested that you should train for no more than 2-3 days in a row before taking a rest day.
Remember, there is such a thing as overtraining, and this can lead to injury as well as depleted results and even sleepless nights.
The soreness you experience is your body’s way of telling you that a rest is overdue. Everyone is different but listen to what your body is telling you. This is your body’s way of actually recovering muscle which is what makes them look bigger and better. So hard work in the gym = rest = best chance of bigger muscles.
Good quality sleep also enhances recovery. So getting proper rest in between sessions is also what can make a difference.
It is different again for those new to working out. You may require longer rest periods as well as less frequent visits to the gym. Don’t over do it even if your enthusiasm is sky high. Injury can mean your body won’t even be able to train until you have recovered.
It’s not as simple as this though, consider a few other things. How intense are your workouts? If they are super intense and you operating at peak levels and lifting more than ever, rest days are even more important.
Post Workout Recovery
That leads us nicely to recovery. So, rest is obviously important but what other factors come into post-workout recovery?
- Plan for your recovery – Don’t just say Sunday is your rest day. Look at your workout, think about the intensity and pencil in those days when you’re giving your body a chance to regroup
- Hydrate – We can’t emphasize this enough. Essential for all round performance but also a lack of hydration post workout will hinder the recovery process. This is when your body will need it the most remember after losing so much during exercise.
- Protein – Whether you take it through some pre prepared lean chicken, a protein bar or shake it doesn’t matter. Your body will have the best chance of recovery if you give it the nutrients it needs. Take on some protein post workout to rebuild muscle tissue after your workout has broken it down.
- A Massage – Think the other half is up for this after every session? Maybe not. But even if you can get one a week this can relieve muscle soreness and promote recovery.
Best Pre Workout Ingredients
What are the sort of ingredients that you want to get into your body pre workout? This can be through supplementation or otherwise. But keep in mind how difficult it can be to get all of them in one go.
These are a combination of energy boosters, strength enhancers, muscle producers and fatigue busters.
More than your morning cup o joe this does more than wake you up in the morning (and speed up your metabolism!).
It will fight fatigue – almost a given that one, but for a pre workout it is a pretty good all rounder. Your strength will increase which in turn will benefit your muscles. On top of this, you will have a burst of energy. Although other ingredients are better for a longer lasting source of this.
Found in many pre workouts it is often consumed through energy drinks as well as coffee.
A word of caution with caffeine. Everyone’s tolerances are different so keep an eye on your own. Too much caffeine can give you jitters and make you irritable.
Caffeine in a pre workout has its uses sure. But these are complemented if the supplement also includes L-Theanine as it helps the user to remain calm. Even with the boost from the caffeine.
This means the caffeine won’t just rule over the whole supplement and you will feel the benefit of other ingredients as well. Your focus will be enhanced. You won’t feel that erratic side that many people can experience when they consume higher levels of caffeine than usual.
It is also thought to reduce anxiety levels in those who consume more L-Theanine. It has been used as a repellant for stress levels for many years.
Much like caffeine, it doesn’t take a lot for L-Theanine to get to work, around 100-200 mg will be enough.
Anyone unaware of its uses might deem it a strange inclusion but it isn’t far off being a superfood in some people’s eyes. It’s definitely here on merit.
Arguably, its inclusion in a pre workout is mostly because it is great for endurance. Your peak will last for longer and not only is it good for making your energy last. It encourages your body to be more efficient when doing so.
An effective dosage for Beet Extract is around 250 – 500 mg.
We mentioned post workout shakes earlier and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Creatine is a big ingredient in those products.
Therefore it is a sensible inclusion in a pre workout as the recovery process can be beneficial when the body is prepared. Since your body starts to break down muscle for recovery the moment you start lifting it’s a good inclusion in a pre workout.
It is a huge business in the fitness industry and this is no surprise. It gives your body the chance to increase the amount of lean muscle mass it has. As well as encouraging muscle endurance. On top of this, studies have shown that Creatine can also give you more energy.
Because it is so significant in the industry, there have been countless studies to see just how effective it is for muscle recovery and the results just keep backing its uses up.
The key amount of creatine for a pre workout is around 1,000 – 5,000mg. Be mindful though if you are consuming creatine as part of a pre and post workout.
Just add up the numbers to make sure you are on top of your daily intake. You also get a lot of creatine through your regular diet. With a lot of meats, eggs, and fish having a good level.
These ingredients are just a handful of the most effective for a pre workout. It is difficult to get all of these in your diet every time you go to the gym.
However, that is where pre workouts come in. These give you the ability to conveniently consume the optimum amounts of many of these types of ingredients, as well as many others. These ingredients and others are included in our top pre workout ingredients article.
To take your efforts in the gym to the MAXIMUM, read on…
Pre Workout Supplements
This is where you can give yourself an advantage you never thought you would be able to receive. The difference can be what you are looking for if you have hit a wall at the gym.
Advantages of using pre workouts:
- Focus – Anything supplement that contains cognitive enhancers is great for your focus in the gym, distractions mean your workout can take longer, and can mean you end up skipping parts of your workout.
- Energy – For many people this is the most important element of a pre workout. The better pre workouts will have ingredients that give you an effective energy boost with a safe level of ingredients.
- Strength – Stimulate your nerves and you will find they can be more responsive than ever. Without a supplement your normal strength will only get you so far,. But with more power because your brain and muscles are communicating more effectively, you can reach new levels of explosiveness and smash your PB.
- Muscle Pumps – Improve the blood flow to your muscles is the way of getting them to look bigger and feel better.
Pre Workout Proprietary Blends
A word of warning – Look out for proprietary blends!
These are not in any of the products we recommend and therefore you don’t have to worry about them if you stick with our advice.
These are where a company has combined a number of ingredients and made them into one new ingredient. The company will possibly list the ingredients within the blend, but not the dosages.
This means an ingredient can be included, but without the dosage amount, you have no idea how effective it can be. On top of this, stimulants such as caffeine can be in these blends – meaning this and other ingredients could lead to side effects if the dosages are high.
What are the Worst Ingredients for a Pre Workout?
With every excellent and all natural supplement that has zero side effects (like the ones we recommend). You will also find a handful that you will want to stay away from.
This is all down to the selection of ingredients. Just a couple of the particularly bad choices that are often contained in pre workouts are mentoned below.
We would never recommend you use a pre workout with either of these ingredients, especially if the dosages are high.
Its full name is Dimethylamylamine and you know it’s not good when it is banned in various countries from being used in supplements. However, there are plenty that do still use it. So keep your eyes peeled and read our reviews for an in depth analysis of the top pre workouts.
In larger doses, it could cause serious harm to the user so be careful as it can cause side effects such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
Also, be sure to read the label in case it is part of a proprietary blend.
Found in many products on the market. Arguably because the side effects are quite minor compared to others and it is not considered to be too much of a risky ingredient. There are studies that show it is an effective performance enhancer but the risk is there.
It can give you temporary itchiness and tingles on your skin, this is known as paresthesia. It can be distracting to your workout, although the effects aren’t long lasting and do wear off.
Yes, it is effective, but personally we prefer to be able to focus on our workout rather than hands going numb.
So How Will a Pre Workout Work For Me?
So, you can see just how effective a pre workout can be. The advantages are already being used by so many people in the gym. It might just be time to give yourself the personal edge to take your training to the next level.
Even if you get to the gym and you are motivated and you have a great session, there is nothing to say that the next time you go. You don’t have that same enthusiasm. That’s where a pre workout is so good for taking your training to the next level. You will feel super focused and motivated every time you walk into the gym. No matter what time of day you go.
Your performance is enhanced. Making those gains more achievable and the ability to actually train harder to your highest potential is unlocked.
Building muscle mass to the next level is difficult. A good pre workout will help you breeze through your targets through its combination of carefully selected ingredients (if you choose a good supplement).
The energy that a good pre workout gives is probably the main reason many people buy pre workouts. Tthe ability to go further with better endurance allows you to benefit from the other advantages.
Many of the ingredients in pre workouts contain metabolism boosting ingredients. Great for weight loss. So, as you gain muscle mass you could be losing fat to look incredibly shredded. The caffeine in many of the pre workouts on the market is good for this reason. The thermogenesis that caffeine prompts heats up your body, only for it to burn fat cooling down.
We only recommend natural products, it takes a lot to get a high score on our site. Nobody wants negative side effects, and everyone wants value for money. With this in mind, our number one pre workout is 4 Gauge. From the people at Roar Ambition, we can’t speak highly enough of this pre workout and the company that produces it. If you are putting a combination of ingredients in your body, make sure they are all selected on merit, just as 4 Gauge have.
It is packed full of some of the best ingredients for a pre workout including L-Theanine, Red Beet, L-Citrulline and more.
We have reviewed so many pre workouts. It is obvious to us that most products on the market either use at least one proprietary blend or have a string of useless and sometimes dangerous ingredients.
Roar Ambition has made it so 4 Gauge is safe for consumption with incredible benefits. With professional MMA and bodybuilding athletes using their fat burning products, they must be doing something very right.
Professional b-boy (breakdancer) and all-round health, fitness, weightlifting, calisthenics, climbing and movement addict since childhood! Raised by health and nutrition obsessed parents, he’s keen to research and question everything. Oliver absolutely loves learning, optimizing and improving himself and his performance and has a passion for helping others to achieve the same!