Rather than just relying on protein powders, many athletes and bodybuilders are now turning to pre-workout supplements to boost their endurance and performance. With a rise in their demand, the market is getting flooded with various types of pre-workout supplements.
Do your research on the brand, the ingredients in the supplement and its user reviews before choosing a suitable supplement. This article will help you make the right choice by understanding what are pre-workout supplements, how they work and what you can do to get the best out of these supplements and effectively reach your bodybuilding goals.
What are Pre Workout Supplements?
Some athletes or bodybuilders use steroids to gain a competitive edge. But the use of steroids can lead to adverse side effects. Steroids are synthetic versions of naturally occurring hormones in our bodies and are considered illegal.
Their use is banned by both medical and sports organizations. Steroids deliver temporary advantages but pose serious health risk in the long run and can create serious side-effects such as reduced testosterone production, hair loss issues, and deterioration of liver and kidney functions.
So, if we explore the best possible legal alternatives to steroids and still need to get the advantage, we can turn to pre-workout supplements as the solution. Pre-workout supplements or multi-ingredient-pre-workout supplements (MIPS) provide good benefits without the fear of side effects.
Pre-workout supplements are usually formulated with natural plant extracts that are capable of increasing the testosterone hormone levels with zero side effects. This also makes it possible for multiple supplements to be stacked and consumed together to enhance efficacy. Though the market is flooded with many pre-workout supplements, only a few are backed by scientific research and have proven benefits.
Read More: Benefits of Stimulant Free Pre Workouts
Pre-Workout Supplements: The Mechanism of Action
Pre-workout supplements work to boost testosterone levels in our body which in turn is responsible to aid protein synthesis for muscle building. During intense workouts, athletes or bodybuilders can end up with microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, which the body tends to repair naturally to build stronger muscles.
Pre-workout supplements prompts the body’s androgen receptors to take it from the blood to the muscle cells. The supplement ingredients then interact with the cell’s DNA to promote protein synthesis and enable enhanced cell growth and lean muscles. Creatine, also a common ingredient in these pre-workout supplements helps to promote endurance and enhance one’s performance.
11 Tips for Using Pre-Workout Supplements Effectively
Just taking pre-workout supplements and doing some weightlifting is not going to build your muscles effectively. Bodybuilding requires planning, execution and dedication. Here are some tips to make sure you get the best from your pre-workout supplements and your workouts.
Incorporate these suggestions into your diet, and workout routine to make them more effective in achieving your bodybuilding goals.
1. The Right Timing:
The answer is obviously- before the workout! But a pre-workout drink is not something to sip while on your way to the gym. The active ingredients in these supplements take a minimum of 30 minutes to reach their peak blood concentration levels.
So, take your supplement 30 to 60 minutes before your workout to ensure you get their effect right from the start, otherwise their full effects may kick in when you are over half way done with your workout.
Cycling refers to taking a supplement for a specified period, which is usually 4 to 12 weeks, and then abstaining from taking them for a specified period of time before starting again. This helps to ensure your body does not adapt to the supplement and become less effective.
It also prevents you from becoming dependent on any particular supplement. One can generally find the on-off cycle listed in each brand’s instructions.
Stacking, as the name suggests, refers to when multiple supplements are taken together to enhance results. Research on the types of supplements that can be stacked together to help achieve your goals.
It’s important to do this research as stacking the wrong supplements can cause harmful drug interactions and adverse side effects. Many pre-workout supplements are already stacked with different testosterone boosting ingredients and other vitamins/herbs for enhancing your stamina and performance.
4. Workout Plans:
Consistent, planned training workouts are more effective to help achieve a fitter and healthier body in a safe manner. Whether you’re bulking or cutting certain exercise plans will help you achieve your goals faster than others.
Knowledge of muscle groups, alternating techniques, and exercises that challenge your physique will assure satisfactory results.
Workout plans are designed to improve one’s fitness level irrespective of whether they use pre-workout supplements or not. But pre-workout supplement obviously up your game. If you’re trying to bulk up, then it is best to do full-body workouts comprising of multi-joint exercises.
If the aim is cutting, then incorporating strength training and additional cardio routines should help achieve the goal.
Additional Information: Designing a Workout Plan
5. A Good Nutrition Plan:
A healthy diet plan always goes hand-in-hand with fitness goals. A balanced diet is based on the right combination of wholesome foods with protein, essential carbs, and healthy fats. One also needs to be aware of the calorie consumption required to build muscle or burn fat.
A good nutrition plan based on calorie calculation, macronutrients, and achievable BMI is essential if your main goal is to build more muscle than just bulk up.
Foods such as eggs, fish, tofu, chickpeas, and quinoa contain less fats and carbs while providing all the protein and fiber your body needs to start building muscle.
6. Eat Carbs:
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel. Without the right amount of carbohydrates, it is difficult for the body to engage in longer periods of training and that too with the right intensity to build good, strong muscles.
See Also: Best Complex Carbs for Bodybuilding
7. Healthy Fats:
Fats are generally assumed to be bad for our health, but the truth is that your body needs healthy fats to give you energy, manufacture hormones and support healthy cell growth. They are also of vital importance to protect our organs from damage and to keep the body warm.
8. Eat Enough Protein:
Lack of enough protein in your diet denies your body the capability to create protein synthesis and build muscle.
One should ideally try getting 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight regularly and more so when there are intense exercises involved on a routine basis.
9. Avoid Refined Sugar:
Refined sugars contain little nutritional value, and these aren’t metabolized like natural sugars found in fruits and grains. Processed foods are often overloaded with refined sugar and these end up being stored as body fat.
It’s best to avoid processed foods while trying to bulk up or cut.
10. Stay Hydrated:
Every cell in the body is made up of water and depends on having the correct amount of hydration to work properly. Regular workouts increase water loss, and this can lead to dehydration. Good hydration ensures the effective replenishment of fluids essential for a healthy body and mind.
Learn More: Hydration for Athletes
11. Get Help:
Hiring a certified personal trainer is a great idea to help get started towards your fitness goals. A personal trainer can help design the right nutrition and ideal fitness plan customized for your lifestyle, body type, and personal goals.
The Final Note on Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements are healthy, naturally available alternatives to anabolic steroids which are synthetic or man-made in nature.
Athletes or bodybuilders should focus more on achieving a stronger, healthier and good physique through natural options instead of risking their health and career by using harmful synthetic steroids.
Nowadays, there are many such supplements available in the market. It is always wise to research the labeled ingredients before purchase to avoid serious side effects like kidney damage, liver disease, and mood-related disorders.
Pre-workout supplements are readily available online without the need for a doctor’s prescription.
Read Next: The Best Pre Workout Ingredients