It’s the start of a new training cycle! Let's start with a common scenario:
Motivation, enthusiasm, and energy are at an all time high. You’re on your way to the gym to set new PRs and clang around some heavy ass weights. Before you get to the gym, you swing by your local supplement shop to pick up a pre workout to give you that extra edge to really bring it in the gym.
As you stroll up and down the aisles, the endless tubs of pre-workout littering the shelves is mind-numbing. There are thousands of different ingredient possibilities and combinations that can be used in pre workouts. How will you know which ones will have the pre-workout ingredients you need and which ones are utterly useless?!
That’s where this guide comes in.
We’ve got the best pre workout ingredients laid out for you, so that when it’s time to workout, your body has all of the essential nutrients it needs to perform at its maximum capacity. Choose a supplement with these choice ingredients and PRs will fall like never before, but if you choose a pre-workout lacking these ingredients and you’re in store for major disappointment.
Where Pre Workouts Fail
Sadly, not every pre workout will deliver on its hype. The reasons a particular supplement can fall flat are due to a number of reasons including:
Ingredients with poor bioavailability
Lack of focus
Over-stimmed (i.e. feeling “cracked out”)
Under-stimmed (no “getty up” factor)
Clumpy or gritty
Terrible tasting (yes, flavoring does matter these days! There’s too many great tasting products that are effective to waste your money on a bad tasting one!)
There are plenty of other reasons why most pre workouts on the market are terrible, and not worth your money, but you get the idea -- it’s really easy to get duped into buying a product that won’t deliver results.
But, we’re here to help you figure out exactly what you want and need in a pre workout!
So without further adieu, let’s discuss the best pre workout ingredients you NEED before hitting the gym!
Best Pre Workout Ingredients
The backbone of any effective pre-workout is built upon a solid foundation of caffeine. Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount (in the right ratios) to give you the energy you need to unleash seven kinds of holy hell on the weights!
Caffeine has been shown time and again to be a valuable ergogenic (performance-enhancing) compound for all manner of athletic performance including weightlifting, endurance exercise, and short bouts of high-intensity exercise (i.e. sprinting). It increases strength, time to exhaustion, power, and stamina, all while reducing fatigue and rate of perceived exertion during exercise. All of this adds up to longer, more intense workouts with more work done each session making for bigger, better gains!
Ideally, you want a mix of slow and fast-acting caffeine to provide the perfect combination of immediate and sustained, long-lasting energy, so you have everything you need during and after your workouts!
Everyone loves getting a massive muscle pump during their workout. Nothing feels better than seeing your muscles swell with each passing rep and your veins pulsing set after set.
The key to achieving an epic pump is increasing nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide (N.O.) is a powerful cell-signaling compound that enhances vasodilation, blood flow, and nutrient delivery -- resulting in significantly better performance.
When muscles contract, they become filled with blood that carries with it essential nutrients to support performance, muscle growth and recovery. Greater nitric oxide production means more blood is delivered to your muscles (along with more nutrients), blunting fatigue and significantly enhancing your pumps.
The key is in the dosing. Ideally, you want a minimum of 3-4g pure L-Citrulline to send your body’s nitric oxide production into overdrive, setting you up to shatter PRs and obtain a pump that would have Arnold Schwarzenegger jealous!
Primeval Labs has pre workouts that deliver all the L-Citrulline you need for your workouts!
Every athlete knows the sensation of “hitting the wall”. You know what we mean. That burning sensation that creeps into your muscles mid set and ultimately forces you to end your set early. The problem with killing sets early is that work is left incomplete, and gains are left in the gym. This isn’t an ideal situation for any athlete.
So, how do you prevent fatigue and increase endurance?
With Beta Alanine, the most proven endurance-boosting supplement around. Beta Alanine increases your body’s ability to offset the accumulation of hydrogen ions (H+) during high-intensity exercise (like weightlifting) by increasing muscle levels of carnosine, a powerful intracellular buffer.
Increased carnosine levels prevents the burning sensation from setting in prematurely during your lifts which enables you to get in more reps before ending the set, yielding better performance and more gains!
To get the full effects of beta alanine, you want to get a minimum of 3.2g/day. This is the amount needed to reach and maintain saturation, so your body’s levels of carnosine are always topped off and you’re ready to go the distance in your workouts.
Hydration is key to optimal performance during training. Lack of adequate water and electrolytes can severely hamper your ability to sustain effort and ultimately lead to premature fatigue and muscle cramping.
Taurine is an ideal hydration-support ingredient due to its ability to increase the amount of water your muscles can hold. In other words, taurine is a cell volumizer which means it makes your muscle soak up extra water. This translates to superior hydration, and it also gives you a pretty sick “water-fueled” pump during your workout.
Since taurine is also found in vast amounts in the brain, it also serves a role in promoting greater focus and alertness during your workouts, something that always makes for a great workout session!
Few ingredients can enhance a pump like Agmatine. This ingredient serves as an excellent “wingman” alongside L-Citrulline. Agmatine preserves Citrulline’s nitric oxide-boosting abilities by inhibiting arginase, the enzyme that degrades arginine in the body. FYI, arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide production in the body.
With arginase rendered inactive, nitric oxide production is unhindered allowing for optimal levels of N.O. in the blood. The end result of this is incredibly hard, dense pumps, increased vascularity, and superior blood flow to working muscles.
That’s not all, agmatine also serves a number of other roles in the body including pain relief, nutrient partitioning, cognition and focus! Talk about a multi-headed pre workout threat!
Effective doses of agmatine range anywhere from 500-1,500mg, so you want to err on the safe side and ensure you’re getting at least 750mg per serving in your pre workout.
Curious to see what agmatine can do for you?
Try Ape Sh*t Pre-Workout to find out!
The importance of focus is something that can be stated enough when discussing effective training. Without the element of focus in your workouts, you might as well not even show up to the gym! To be truly focused during your training sessions means concentrating on every single rep, ensuring a strong mind-muscle connection thereby fully contracting the working muscle, and making for a more productive, gains-filled training session.
To really improve focus, you need to increase levels of the vital neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a.k.a. the “learning neurotransmitter.” Acetylcholine is great for improving focus, concentration, and the all too important mind-muscle connection. The most effective way to increase acetylcholine is supplementing with choline-based supplements, such as Choline Bitartrate.
Dosing choline before a workout supports increased acetylcholine production in the body, resulting in more pronounced focus and the feeling of “tunnel vision” during your workouts.
This is one ingredient that MUST be in your pre workout, because if you’re not “with it” while training, you’re better off not showing up at all!
All great pre workouts have the same criteria. They increase energy, enhance your performance, and give you one hell of a pump. But, the truly exceptional pre workouts also enhanced the body’s ability to burn fat during training.
To enhance your body’s natural fat burning ability while training, you want ingredients that pull stored fats from around your body to be used for energy, thus sparing glycogen stores for the really heavy lifts. One of the best ingredients to enhance fat burning while working out is Yohimbine.
This potent alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonist ramps up lipolysis (mobilization of fat from adipose tissue) and boosts serum free fatty acid levels during AND after exercise, enabling more fat to be burned off during and after training. This makes yohimbine an incredibly powerful tool for not only increasing performance but also enhancing body composition!
The trick is to not take too much, as it can lead to anxiety, nervousness, and jitters. But when does in the right amount, Yohimbine can transform an ordinary feeling pre workout into a world beater!
While Choline-based supplements serve to directly increase acetylcholine levels in the body, those effects can be short-lived if you don’t have some “focus insurance” included in your pre workout. That’s where huperzine comes into play.
Similar to the role Agmatine performs with L-Citrulline, Huperzine functions the same way in relation to choline -- it preserves the actions of acetylcholine in the body by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine.
Huperzine acts as an indirect booster of acetylcholine by preventing acetylcholinesterase from ever kicking into action. This means more acetylcholine is available in the body to enhance focus, cognition, and the mind-muscle connection, leading to an all-around more alert and productive workout session!
Only the Best!
Next time you’re ready to go ape in the gym, make sure you’ve got the best pre-workout available. One that includes all of the best ingredients for pre workout discussed here. Armed with the properly formulated pre workout, you’ll finally realize what a true pre workout can do for your performance day in and day out of the gym.
Primeval Pre Workouts are your all-in-one pre workout solution! They have essential amino acids and other ingredients to get you through a better, stronger workout. The right pre workout will enhance all aspects of your training and set you on the path to making gains for the long term!