I remember starting my fitness journey over 15 years ago and pre-workout was the very first supplement I tried.
It's one of the biggest reasons I became curious about supplements in general ... all because of how much these products helped my workouts.
If you do a quick google search, you'll see that this supplement category is still extremely popular.
Every supplement brand on Earth has their version of the latest and greatest pre-workout.
It wasn't until long after my first scoop that I began to understand more about what these products are designed to do.
With it being such a large category and having so many different options ... figuring out which one you should (or shouldn't) be using can be tough.
In this article, I'll explain what pre-workout is, what it can do for your fitness journey ... and how to pick which one will benefit you the most.
What is Pre-Workout?
Pre-workouts are supplements that you take prior to exercise ... usually 15-30 minutes beforehand.
They can provide quite a bit of benefits depending on what specific product you're using.
Some benefits include:
- Providing energy and focus
- Increasing blood flow to your muscles
- Boosting your workout endurance, strength, and power
- Aiding in hydration
Each type of pre-workout is going to be a little different with what it provides ... but you can narrow them down to 2 main categories:
1) Micro-Dosed Pre-Workout - These products contain a smaller amount of ingredients ... and you'll notice they even come in smaller containers. They will be centered around energy and focus ingredients ... with not much else to boost performance.
If you're simply looking for a little pick-me-up to get you into the gym and you're not overly concerned about blood flow, endurance or performance ... this category of pre-workouts is a great option for you.
There's a lot to pick from in this category ... and many of them contain different ingredients that can all provide energy. This is nice if you get used to a certain product and need to switch it up.
2) All-in-One or Fully Dosed Pre-Workout - The name says it all. These pre-workouts give you large dosages of ingredients that not only give you energy ... but can provide extra endurance, blood flow/pump, and even give you a boost in strength.
The amount of energy you'll feel from these will vary. Some can be extremely strong ... and some may give you no caffeine or stimulants at all. These would be considered stimulant-free and are usually centered more around performance-based ingredients.
You're probably wondering which option is best ... and that always depends on multiple different factors.
What's best for me is not necessarily what's best for you.
Ask yourself these questions first before you grab a pre-workout supplement:
- What's my overall fitness goal?
- What do I do for my workouts?
- At what time of day am I working out?
- What's my tolerance like for caffeine and stimulants?
- Do I want a lot of energy and focus, do I want endurance and strength ... or do I want all of the above?
There's a lot of ways you can pick what's best for you ... but I'd say those would be the main questions you should ask yourself before picking out a pre-workout.
I also want you to keep something in mind, so that you don't make the same mistake I made for so many years.
This mistake kept me from seeing the best results possible...
...and that's the fact that pre-workouts don't actually help you burn fat or build muscle.
There was a long time where I thought pre-workout was all I needed to see results, but that's far from the truth.
Pre-workouts shouldn't be the first thing you're grabbing when it comes to supplements ... and that's something I wish I knew at the beginning of my own fitness journey.
Improving your workout performance can definitely help your fitness progress ... but your nutrition, recovery, sleep, and even your water intake play a much bigger role in making sure you see the best results.
You should only be grabbing a pre-workout when you have the rest of those factors taken care of. You'll notice that when you do that ... your pre-workout supplement will provide even more of a benefit.
I know firsthand how hard it can be to find what pre-workout is best for you ... along with what plan is best for you when it comes to seeing results.
Luckily, that's why we're here.
We can take the guess work out of it ... and make sure you have exactly what you need to see the results you want.
Stop into your nearest S2 location and we'll be happy to get you taken care of.
*This post was written by Andrew Lynn, who has a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.