Scanning the pre-workout section on Tiger Fitness will demonstrate how competitive this category is. Shiny labels, bright colors, and lots of performance-enhancing claims leave people unsure which one to choose.
After all, they seem great, don't they?
With nearly 20 years of experience, I have learned a great deal about nutrition and supplementation, which has been helped by having the world’s best experts around me. To help identify what ingredients should be in the pre-workout of your choice, let's discuss what this supplement needs to do for you.
Pre-workouts should excite mental focus so that you're feeling present, motivated and focused upon arrival at the gym ready to crush every set. Improved blood flow into the trained area is crucial, helping the muscle perform better, flushing out lactic acid and stretching the fascia through expansive swelling of the muscle.
Supporting quicker ATP regeneration becomes pivotal during an intense workout because as fatigue sets in, strength is lost if ATP resynthesis can’t happen fast enough. Ingredients which repel fatigue and support hydration are welcome, these are the cornerstones of any great workout.
What pre-workouts shouldn't do is fry your central nervous system and kill your gut by overloading the body with large amounts of cheap stimulants. The outcome of using a pre-workout is to feel like you're going to a rave; it is to enhance your physical and mental state and euphoria using proven science. With those points clearly illustrated, these are ingredients you should look for and why.
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Must-Have Pre-Workout Ingredients
Patented Creatine HCl
Creatine is one of the most scientifically supported performance enhancing supplements in the world. As time has passed and science evolved it’s become clear that patented Creatine HCl is a premium choice.
Regular creatine supplements can struggle to become effective because of their inability to bypass the acidic environment of the gut. Patented Creatine HCl has been developed to overcome this issue, because it has greater solubility.
One welcome benefit is the lack of adverse side effects, reduced bloating, gas or diarrhea which are common with other types of creatine.
With each rep that passes intra-muscular carnosine levels decrease. Science has proven increasing muscle carnosine levels can buffer fatigue unleashing extra reps in the gym. More reps can increase progressive overload, the holy grail of muscle building.
Patented CarnoSyn has been extensively researched with specific dosages to demonstrate exactly how boosting muscle carnosine levels can help improve performance.
Tender Coconut Water Extract
Tender coconut water extract is abundant in electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, and chloride. Reinforcing electrolyte balance can propel performance upwards because of its positive effect on hydration.
There are very few things which quash performance like dehydration. Electrolytes like calcium and magnesium are also known for supporting better muscle contractions, improving the neural connection each rep gives which play a pivotal role in enhancing muscle stimulation and therefore, growth!
BetaPower which is a patented form of betaine has been extensively researched and shown to support muscle performance. Elevated recovery is something else BetaPower is associated with. It can support muscle protein synthesis which explains how muscle recovery benefits from the inclusion of this amino acid pre-workout.
During training, L-Citrulline has been proven to help combat muscle fatigue and enhance endurance. Part of the explanation for these benefits are because it has a positive influence on the ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide production. When L-Citrulline is taken it is converted into L-Arginine within the kidneys.
Pre-workouts often contain L-Arginine, an amino acid which is thought to help with the “pump” by accelerating blood flow into the muscles. However, it is better to supplement with L-Citrulline and allow its precursory properties to evolve into L-Arginine inside the body.
Studies show that this increase helps L-Arginine plasma levels remain higher for longer opposed to supplementing with L-Arginine directly. In summary, L-Citrulline can help with muscle endurance, fight fatigue and improve the pump through enhanced blood flow.
BCAAs & Extra Leucine
Working out is catabolic, not anabolic. Catabolism eats into muscle tissue, threatening that hard earned mass you have spent years building. This provides the stimulus for growth by “rebounding” after the workout, provided the correct muscle building nutrients are available.
One of the most formidable muscle regenerating supplements is fermented BCAAs. They are highly anti-catabolic, with leucine exciting muscle protein synthesis to occur at a higher rate. This goes a long way to protecting muscle tissue in the gym whilst under intense stress.
The emphasis on fermented BCAAs should not be ignored; many are derived from inferior synthetic sources such as bird feathers and human hair. I only recommend BCAAs that are fermented from natural vegetable sources providing purity.
If the only gauge used to determine if a pre-workout works is how aggressive the “kick” is, then the logic being used is flawed. Pre-workouts should help the body prepare to perform, support recovery without causing dramatic amounts of strain on the CNS and adrenal glands.
For this reason, I will only use Pre-Kaged 30-45 minutes before my workout. The 32g serving provides the ingredients I require, without using cheap stimulants which attack my body.