Almost everyone who is serious about working out is taking pre-workout these days. Pre-workout is a supplement that helps you get the most out of your gym sessions. It is energizing thanks to the caffeine content and helps you get more stamina to get through your workout. Other benefits include better muscle definition and more energy to push yourself to the max.
Many companies are trying to capitalize on the hunt for pre-workout by flooding the market with products. With so many pre-workout supplements out there, it’s hard to sift through the advertisements and find the right one for you, particularly if you are a newcomer to the scene.
Here are some factors to consider that can help you decide which pre-workout is the best one for you.
What Are the Active Ingredients?
There are some ingredients that every good pre-workout supplement should have. One of these is caffeine. Caffeine is the building block of pre-workout powders because it helps improve your energy and stamina. One serving of pre-workout contains several times the amount of caffeine you find in a cup of coffee, so proceed with caution if you are sensitive to caffeine.
Other active ingredients in the pre-workout will depend on the effect that you are trying to get from your supplement. If you want to build strength, look for a supplement that contains creatine. If your priority is improving circulation and recovery, look for nitric oxide boosters, which also help with explosive anaerobic movements.
For example, the Legacy Series Pump from AP Sports Regimen contains several nitric oxide boosters in addition to a base of caffeine. This supplement helps you with explosive pump movements, for example, when lifting heavy weights, by increasing circulation to your muscles. Taking this supplement is ideal if you are looking to improve your HIIT training and max out your reps.
How Transparent Is the Ingredient List?
Besides the active ingredients, look at the other ingredients as well. Does the company list all of its ingredients, or is it hazy about what its products contain? Some pre-workout manufacturers evade being specific about the ingredients in their supplements because they know that the potency of their ingredients doesn’t match the scale of their claims.
You don’t have to worry about Legacy Series Pre-Workout not living up to its claims. This supplement is packed with not just one but four patented active ingredients. These include Dynamine for energy, PEAK ATP for muscular hypertrophy, NO3-T for better circulation, and Astragin for better overall absorption.
Check the other ingredients to make sure you’re not ingesting unwanted compounds along with your pre-workout boost. Pre-workout on its own doesn’t taste that great, which is why many companies pack it with sugar. However, pre-workouts with high sugar content can undermine your workout goals if you are trying to lose weight.
How Busy Is Your Routine?
When choosing pre-workout, you should also think about how well the supplement will fit into your existing workout routine. Most pre-workout supplements require you to measure out a scoop and mix it with water, which is great if you have a home gym or work out first thing in the morning. However, if you’re hitting the gym right after work, you probably don’t have the capacity to lug a giant tub of pre-workout to work and carefully measure it out in the office kitchen.
If you usually hit the gym after a busy day, choose a more convenient pre-workout option such as Pre-Workout Ready-to-Drink. This supplement comes pre-mixed in bottled individual servings, meaning that you can just pop one in your gym bag and get going.
Another option if you’re constantly on the go is AP Sports Regimen’s Pre-Workout, which comes in single serving packets. Just put one packet in your bag, dump it into your water bottle a few minutes before your workout, and you’re ready to go.
Are You Intolerant to Any Ingredients?
Last but certainly not least, you should keep in mind your allergies and food intolerances when choosing pre-workout.
Many of these supplements contain high amounts of caffeine, so choose a caffeine-free alternative if you know that you are sensitive to even a regular cup of coffee.
Double-check the ingredients if you are vegan or following a plant-based diet because sometimes pre-workout supplements use animal-derived compounds.
When incorporating any new supplement into your diet, start by taking a smaller amount and seeing how your body reacts to the supplement, then work up to a normal serving size.
It’s hard to choose from so many great (and not so great) pre-workouts out there. You can figure out which one is best for you by looking at the active ingredients and seeing which ones align with your fitness goals (and which ones speak to a brand’s transparency).
Other factors to think about are your dietary restrictions and how busy your normal routine gets.