With the flashy marketing and high-pressure sales tactics favored by supplement companies, pre-workout supplements may come off as snake oil. And to be honest, some pre-workout supplements are ineffective, overpriced, and full of nasty filler that will do more harm than good (see: belly fat).
That being said, there are a few supplements that I highly suggest including in your pre-workout blend in addition to caffeine. We all know that caffeine supplements can boost your energy levels, but what other supplements can have an impact on your workout? Let’s take a look at my three favorite pre-workout supplements other than caffeine: L-arginine, creatine, and beta-alanine.
L-arginine is an amino acid that shows significant promise in increasing natural production of growth hormone, boosting testosterone levels, and reducing fatigue. L-arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide, and increased nitric oxide production is a great thing for exercise.Why? Nitric oxide is responsible for vasodilation.
When vasodilation occurs, blood vessels widen. Wider blood vessels equal better blood flow. Better blood flow equals more effective oxygen transportation. More oxygen equals more intense workouts. It is as simple as that! Also, for you men out there, I can report that l-arginine is a big boost in the bedroom!
If you’ve spent any time in the workout community, you’ve heard about creatine. Creatine is an organic acid found in many foods, especially fish. Creatine powder’s main function is to supply energy to the cells, in particularly to muscle.
If you eat meat on a regular basis, your body probably has a standard supply of creatine. If you don’t… well, I hate to tell you, but you’re probably deficient. That being said, even meat eaters can benefit from a creatine supplement regimen because the more creatine your body has, the more energy is supplied to your cells. More energy translates into more intense and productive workouts. Great deal, right?
Beta-alanine is another amino acid, and if you’ve ever taken a pre-workout blend before, then you know EXACTLY what beta-alanine does. You know that tingly, powerful, stimulant feeling you get after taking your pre-workout? That’s beta-alanine doing its job.
Beta-alanine is all-around my favorite supplement other than caffeine because it helps with weight-loss, stamina, and muscle recovery. It is an all-in-one miracle supplement, and I say that with 100 percent sincerity.
So, knowing that these three supplements (plus caffeine) are decent is one thing, but how do you go about introducing them to your workouts? You can do what I do, which is buy the bulk supplement powders and cap my own pre-workout pills, but I recognize that the capping process is labor intensive and some of you may have busy schedules. So what do you do? Simple, check out the nutrition labels on pre-workout blends and keep an eye out for these supplements. Speaking from experience, both MusclePharm Assault and Cellucor C4 are good choices.