FITNESS

What's The Best Pre-Workout?

Not just powder — why pre-workout supplements are helpful and what to consume

thumb

By Maddy Bond

...

Pre-workout is a substance or food source that provides you with a boost of energy before starting to exercise. There are many different brands of pre-workout supplements, but you don’t have to get your energy from a blend of powders or a caffeine drink. It may surprise you to learn that a lot of weightlifters use food as their pre-workout energy boost. In fact, the beauty of it is that whether you choose a natural food source, a powder, or a drink, pre-workouts all do the same thing. It’s just personal preference. Synthetic energy via those powders and caffeinated drinks will give you more of a boost than natural energy from food, yet all are great options for when you need that boost.

Disclaimer

Remember, consuming pre-workout powders or energy drinks will elevate your heart rate. If you have any pre-existing heart conditions ensure you talk to your doctor before trying synthetic energy sources. Be smart and safe.

Powders

Pre-workout powders will give you the most bang for your buck. When taking for the first time, start with half a scoop and don’t go too hard too quickly. Pre-workout powder usually contains creatine, a chemical that provides your muscles with energy to continue working out for a longer period of time.

It also can give a quick energy boost if you’re trying to perform a heavy lift. There are many different brands, but the most commonly reviewed are C4 or Kaged Muscle. Taking these supplements can cause some side effects such as itchiness, a flushed appearance, water retention, and an upset stomach. To avoid these, start with a smaller dose of just half a scoop and dilute it with plenty of water.

Drinks

Energy drinks such as RedBull, Monster, Bang, or even coffee can be used as a pre-workout boost. These usually contain caffeine and carbohydrates which your body uses as your energy source throughout a workout. Pre-packaged drinks like this are really convenient and a lot easier to carry around than a big tub of protein powder.

Food

If you’d rather go for a non-synthetic pre-workout energy boost, then food is your best bet. But this doesn’t have to mean just fruit and vegetables — a pre-workout food source can include all sorts of products such as a few Oreos, a handful of gummy worms, a banana, a brownie, a cookie, whatever — a small snack will raise your blood sugar levels and boost your energy.

The carbohydrates will fuel your muscles while you lift weights and will use that energy rather than store it as fat in the body. Of course, just don’t eat the whole sleeve of Oreos or the whole bag of gummy worms!

Base the amount you fuel yourself with on your personal goals. If you’re trying to bulk up and build muscle, you might want to consume more calories in order to fuel those muscles, work out for longer, and get them bigger.

Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow.  She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.

Main Photo Credit: Adamov_d/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: progressman/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: ch_ch/shutterstock.com