Pre workout drinks do a lot more than give you a buzz of energy to boost your training session. These clever sports supplements can actually improve your focus and mental clarity, reduce your perception of effort and fatigue, and might even help you get a PB! Find out how to choose a pre workout, which ingredients to look for, and what to expect.
Pre Workout Ingredients
Caffeine is a popular ingredient in pre workout formulas, and for good reason. There’s a massive amount of peer reviewed, independent research suggesting than even a moderate dose of caffeine can improve athletic performance and endurance, and reduce perceived rate of exertion and fatigue. Caffeine can boost your ability to tolerate intense training, and can make you feel more alert and focused on your goal.
There are several significant mechanisms at play here. Caffeine blocks the binding of adenosine to its receptors, so you can work harder or go for longer, way beyond the point at which you’d usually feel tired. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20164566)
You’ll find caffeine in pre workout drinks, gels, and bars or as simple caffeine tablets. Of course you can also just have a coffee, or an energy drink, but it’s worth noting that caffeine levels are lower than the optimal dose. If you want precise, reliable doses of caffeine then choose a pre workout with clearly labelled amounts per serving listed on the label.
Nitric Oxide (NO)
Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels, widening them to allow better oxygen flow around your body. This can mean better energy and endurance during your training sessions, so you ca work at a higher intensity for lower oxygen demand. Nitric oxide supplementation may help you recover better between training sessions too thanks to its positive effects on the circulatory system. There’s been plenty of research into foods high in natural nitrates (mainly beetroot juice), but it’s easier and more convenient to supplement with a nitric oxide (NO) booster. ViNitrox™ is the most exciting development in nitric oxide supplementation. This unique combination of apple and grape polyphenols has been shown to increase physical training time by 10% and delay fatigue by 13%.
This is a natural amino acid which can buffer lactate and boost your endurance by increase levels of muscle carnosine. This cutting-edge pre workout ingredient is a worthy addition to your pre workout supplement stack, but be sure to look for CarnoSyn®, the only beta-alanine licensed for use as a human dietary supplement.
BCAAs are branch chain amino acids, three fundamental amino acids that can support muscle mass and ward of catabolism. They don’t have a stimulant effect, so they won’t boost energy or offset fatigue. But if you train in the morning, or after a long period without food, they can be a very useful way to get the most important elements of protein into your body before you set off.
What To Expect From A Pre Workout
- Reduced perceived effort
- Work harder or go further before you fatigue
- Increased muscle endurance
- More mental focus and clarity
- Improved blood flow and oxygen transportation
Pre Workout Nutrition Strategies
It’s worth bearing in mind that pre workout supplements are no substitute for a solid approach to nutrition. There’s no point using a pre workout to give you a boost if your pre-training meal is too small, too big, or poorly timed. The meal you eat before training acts to top up liver glycogen stores, which might be depleted (particularly if you are training in the morning after your overnight “fast”). It doesn’t take much to address depleted liver glycogen: a high carb, low fat meal of 250-400 calories will be sufficient. Aim for a serving of protein (25g-30g), minimal fat, and the rest of the calories from carbohydrate. Don’t forget fluids with your pre-training mini meal.
You should eat this pre-training meal 2-3 hour before your training session. And this is where pre workout supplements come into the equation.
Your Pre Workout Fuel Rules
- Eat a pre-race mini meal of 250-400 calories 2-3 hours before you train
- Focus on complex carbohydrate and protein
- Avoid too much fat and fibre in this meal
- Choose a pre workout that includes caffeine, beta alanine, and a nitric oxide booster.
PROJECT E2's PRE has been formulated with 1600mg CarnoSyn®, alongside other high performance ingredients ViNitrox™ (520mg) and 100mg Caffeine to create a truly performace-ready environment.