We’re going to cover how to use pre-workouts effectively to maximize their benefits. This will include understanding the best timing to take, caffeine content ranges, and what ingredients to look for in a pre-workout.
Checking the caffeine content of pre-workout supplements, you’re considering should be one of the first steps you take. If you’re someone that is new to taking pre-workouts or you rarely consume caffeine from other sources, you’ll likely want to start with a pre-workout that has a low to moderate dose of caffeine. On the opposite end, if you regularly consume coffee, tea, or energy drinks, you may prefer a higher stimulant pre-workout to feel its effects. The FDA has cited 400 mg of caffeine per day as an amount not associated with negative effects in healthy adults.
When it comes to pre-workout formulas, we cover the spectrum so that it’s easy to find a product that’s just right for your needs.
NO3 Chrome Stim-Free Pre-Workout: is caffeine free. For nearly a decade, NO3 Chrome has been raising the bar in nitric oxide support. Whether you're looking to take your performance to the next level, or amplify results with a caffeine-free nitric oxide igniter, NO3 is engineered to make sure that you get the most out of each and every rep.
C4 Sport Pre-Workout: features 135 mg of caffeine in every serving. C4 Sport was formulated with ingredients that support elevated energy, muscular endurance and cellular hydration
C4 Original Pre-Workout: features 150 mg of caffeine in every serving. C4 Original is our O.G pre-workout that started it all - C4 Original is built to take your energy, muscular endurance, and pumps to the next level.
C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout: features 300 mg of caffeine in every serving. C4 Ultimate was formulated to fuel your ultimate workout, providing ingredients to support ultimate energy + alertness, pump + performance and muscular endurance.
In general, it’s recommended that pre-workout be mixed with water 20-30 minutes before your workout for an energy boost. It’s important to give the active ingredients in your pre-workout enough time to get absorbed and metabolized by the body so that they can work. Some of the ingredients in pre-workouts take 30-60 minutes to reach their peak plasma levels, so ideally, you’d want to time your pre-workout intake so that you’re feeling its effects during the toughest parts of your workout.
When selecting a pre-workout powder or drink, it’s important to look at the label to see if it contains common ingredients that have been clinically studied to benefit performance. Clinical studies on ingredients are important because they evaluate these ingredients for their benefits under controlled conditions. Factors to consider when evaluating these ingredients and the clinical studies done on them include the number of clinical trials done, the population being studied, the athletic performance measures evaluated, and the dosages of the ingredients.
Some common clinically studied ingredients you will find in pre-workouts include
Caffeine: This ingredient is included in pre-workouts because of its ability to increase energy levels and alertness. Caffeine is a stimulant, it blocks a central nervous system neuromodulation known as adenosine, which plays a role in our sleep cycle.
Creatine: This is included in pre-workouts because of its ability to help increase muscle mass and strength. Creatine combines with a phosphate group in the body to be stored as phosphocreatine, an energy reserve for our cells. When the body wants to form more Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), a phosphate group from phosphocreatine can be donated to Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) for the formation of more ATP. ATP fuels every cell in our body and is the primary source used for explosive movements and power output.
Beta-Alanine: This is included in pre-workouts because of its ability to help fight muscular fatigue. Beta-alanine combines with the amino acid histidine to form the dipeptide (a compound consisting of two combined amino acids) carnosine. One of the main functions of carnosine is buffering pH levels, high pH levels can contribute to muscular fatigue.
Nitric Oxide Boosters: These ingredients are in pre-workouts because of their ability to support increased muscle pumps. Nitric oxide ingredients work by increasing plasma nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule in the body that can increase vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) this helps support blood flow. Some common nitric oxide booster ingredients include arginine, citrulline, and nitrates.
Some people like to eat a meal and then take a pre-workout before they head to the gym. While other people prefer to take pre-workout on an empty stomach and exercise while fasted. This will come down to individual preference on what works best for you.
Pre-workout supplements can provide an extra boost of energy and focus during exercise. To recap here are some simple tips to make the most out of taking a pre-workout:
Read the label carefully: Make sure you read the label carefully and follow the directions for recommended serving size and timing.
Stay hydrated: While dry scooping pre-workouts has become a popular trend on social media, this isn’t the best strategy if your goal is performance. Physical and mental performance tends to decrease when our hydration levels drop so fuel up with enough liquids before your workout.
Combine pre-workout with a balanced diet and adequate rest: Pre-workout supplements should be used to give you an extra boost before you exercise, but they shouldn’t be a crutch that replaces good lifestyle habits. Fuel your body with the right nutrients and eat enough calories to support your workout goals. And make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night so that you’re recovered and energized before your workouts.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body reacts to your pre-workout. This may involve some trial and error until you find the one that’s just right for your needs.
Optimize your workout routine by having this bundle of supplements to use before, during and after your workout.
Pre-Workout: Pre-workout helps prime your body for workout performance.
During Workout: During workout supplements include amino acids and electrolytes, the purpose of supplementation during this time frame is to support hydration and recovery.
Post-Workout: The most common post-workout supplement is protein powder. Protein can help support muscle recovery and repair.
NSF-Certified for Sport Bundle: This bundle covers your pre, during, and post-workout supplement needs with products that proudly wear the NSF-Certified for Sport badge.
Muscle Building Bundle: With top picks from elite-level athletes and competitors, the Muscle Building Bundle fuels your performance before, during, and after the gym.