Pre Workout Supplements for Women

Equality is a beautiful thing, but not when it comes to pre-workout supplements. When it comes to working out, men and women are very different and their bodies have very different needs. Women don’t usually want something that is going to increase their hair growth, drop their voice, or shrink their bust, which are precisely what some supplements will do. For women there are a range of better pre-workout supplement options that are ideal.

1. Whey Protein

Whey protein is important for everyone, but it is especially useful for a woman’s body pre-workout. It will help increase blood flow and supply unbonded proteins that can be used to build lean muscle.

For a woman’s body, whey protein often takes the place of mass-building supplements like creatine. Creatine can cause severe water-retention as well as bloating, which no woman enjoys, while whey protein just improves energy levels for longer workouts rather than strenuous ones that add bulk.

2. EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) and Caffeine

These two items should be used in conjunction for those that are looking to burn fat. EGCG comes from green tea extract and is one of the best things a woman can put into her body. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that it helps with fat oxidization so as you move you are shedding more weight.

EGCG to Combat the Jitters

The reason to combine EGCG with caffeine is to reduce the amount of caffeine you put in your body without sacrificing energy. When you combine approximately 300mg of EGCG with 200mg of caffeine you get a fat-burning energy boost that doesn’t have the same crash as taking caffeine alone. It also removes the caffeine jitters, so you won’t suddenly find your hands shaking halfway through a set.

3. Beta-Alanine

As you exercise your body produces hydrogen ions which raise the acidity in your muscles. The more acidic they become, the more tired and sore they are later. Taking Beta-Alanine can fight off these hydrogen ions.

The way Beta-Alanine works is through helping the body create more carnosine in your blood stream. Carnosine helps clean out hydrogen ions so by making more of it, your muscles won’t tire as quickly and won’t be nearly as sore down the line. This means longer workouts with higher intensity and less recovery time. Check out the video below for more information.

4. Calcium

Women suffer greatly from exercise-induced calcium loss. The harder you train, the worse this can become, which means taking a calcium supplement is of dire importance both in the short and long terms.

By taking it immediately before a workout your body has more calcium to help rebuild your bones as some is being used to keep your body in action. This will improve your overall bone density so that even over time you won’t suffer nearly as much calcium loss.

The true benefits of this will come up much later in life when the dreaded menopause beast looms large on the horizon and your risk of osteoporosis increases.

5. Iron

iron supplementsThe University of Texas did a study of some of the most impressive female athletes in the world. What they discovered that was even though these women were otherwise in peak physical condition, they were iron deficient.

Iron is imperative in moving oxygen to the muscles and to the brain. Anyone that doesn’t have sufficient iron will suffer from lethargy, moodiness, increased injuries, lower cognitive function, and loss of interest in exercise. These become especially pronounced in women who typically consume less meat and therefore less iron than men.

A study done by the U.S. Army found that female recruits who took iron supplements not only performed better athletically, they also had more energy and improved test scores showing it makes you stronger and smarter. You can’t lose.

What to Avoid

The biggest thing to avoid for most women is creatine. The reason for this is creatine builds muscle partly by working with testosterone. Since women don’t produce as much testosterone as men, they don’t get nearly as many benefits from creatine. However, there’s much debate as to whether or not women should take creatine. See this article for the other side of the debate.

Women should also avoid D-Aspartic Acid, Tribulus Terristris, and anything else that claims it will help increase your testosterone levels. Even if your intent is to gain muscle mass, the effects on mood and hormonal composition can be dangerous.

Word to the Wise

Before you take any supplement or pre-workout protein drink, check the label. Even if they claim to be “correctly balanced for a woman” the company has often just slapped a pink label on a supplement meant for a man.

Pre-Workout Supplements: Do I need anything more than caffeine or am I wasting money?

caffeine is found in coffee

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.



Muscle growth
L-arginine can help with muscle growth

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!


Creatine can be added to protein shakes
Creatine can be added to protein shakes

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 can help increase muscular endurance
Beta-alanine can help increase muscular endurance

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.

How to Survive on a College Student Budget while Still Buying Supplements

supplements on a college budget

If you are a typical broke college student or recent graduate, then you certainly do not have any extra money to throw around. And for those of us concerned about working out and keeping healthy, there is one huge additional expense that eats into our food budget: supplements.

Come on, you are already paying through the nose for tuition, books, and room and board. You do not need to keep paying more than you should for these big name-brand supplements. Do not sacrifice your monthly or weekly food budget any more, forcing yourself to live on ramen noodles and that famous protein pill that you just have to have.

Did you know that most nationally-known big-brand supplements cost a lot more than they need to? A large portion of the product prices are based on the flashy packaging that you see in the stores and the magazine ads which are meant to catch your eye. Well, who do you think pays for all that? You do through higher prices.

Beating the System:

The first step to getting around the seeming monopoly of these big brands is to step back and consider what you really need. It might not be as easy to do as it seems, especially since the big supplement companies have been brainwashing you into thinking that you really NEED their stuff. A solid research tool is the site Spend a little bit of time here and you will have a much clearer idea of what you ultimately “need” in terms of supplementation. It will most likely be a lot less than you thought.

After doing this research, let’s say you have decided to buy beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, and bulk caffeine powder. It should also be pointed out here that the powder versions tend to be the most economical. You not only end up spending less money on a cost per use basis, but you generally get a lot more product as well. Sure, it is a little less convenient to actually take an extra couple seconds and mix this up in a blender or by hand, but the significant savings are certainly worth it.

Your Supplement War Chest:

The first supplement you decided upon was Beta-Alanine. This is a non-essential amino acid which is a hybrid between powerful neurotransmitters L-glycine and GABA. When it is consumed as a dietary supplement, beta-alanine is transported into your skeletal muscles through the use of sodium and chloride. Once it enters into the muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid histidine and forms the dipeptide carnosine. Without getting overly technical, by increasing the muscular concentrations of carnosine, it helps to fight off muscular fatigue. This fight allows you to train harder and longer before getting tired.

The second supplement chosen was bulk creatine monohydrate powder. Creatine is one of most well-researched supplements around and it just plain works. Creatine helps to increase the body’s ability to produce energy. This energy is transported directly into the working muscle cells, which allows you to train harder, longer, and even more often. You will likely find yourself being able to lift an extra rep or two, or add 5 more pounds to the bar.

The third supplement you are using is bulk caffeine powder. Of course everyone knows that coffee and tea have naturally-occurring amounts of caffeine in them. But as a supplement, caffeine powder is actually quite useful and effective. This usefulness includes being able to increase the capacity of a workload someone can handle and building extra muscle fibers. These increases will allow you to have more energy, work out more intensely, have increased alertness and endurance, and improve your concentration. Many people will also see an increased uptake of oxygen and it can help to spare glycogen usage.

Give these a try and we think you will find out very quickly that you can still have some money left over for other things. Things like eating and paying for school!

Energy-Boosting Alternatives to Caffeine

alternatives to caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most effective substances for increasing energy and promoting focus and concentration. These reasons are why caffeine has been used in many of the typical pre-workout supplements. On the other hand, caffeine is also an addictive substance with some significant side effects. Therefore, it would be very helpful if there were an alternative that might be just as effective without the resulting side effects. Here are the


Sulbutiamine is a nootropic that has many excellent benefits. It is designed to help improve your mood, memory, and energy levels. Additionally, there is no resulting crash and you will feel more alive after taking this supplement. The increased focus and endurance is caused by the supplement raising levels of thiamine and thiamine-phosphate esters within the brain. This is now becoming a popular addition to energy drinks with several studies showing significant increases in focus and reaction time performances.

Citrulline Malate:

Citrulline malate is an amino-acid formulation that helps provide energy directly to the muscles. Otherwise known as intramuscular ATP, this fuel is exactly where you want your pre-workout energy boost to go—right to the working muscles. The more ATP you have, the longer your muscles will function at an optimal level. Not only will you benefit from an increased amount of working muscle energy, but you will also see an improvement in endurance and recovery times.


Beta-Alanine is another caffeine alternative to consider adding to your pre-workout stack. This is actually less of an energy enhancer and more of an endurance provider. In the end, it accomplishes pretty much the same thing but the method of action is interestingly different. This supplement works by increasing intramuscular-carnosine levels. Carnosine is a substance that helps to remove lactic acid from your muscles. Lactic acid is what results from working a muscle (too much lactic acid and not enough ATP means that muscle becomes sore and will not perform at an optimal level). This would be a great supplement to stack together with a pure caffeine-replacement energy enhancer (Citrulline Malate, for example).

Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine Stack

creatine supplement and beta alanine combo

Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine have been creating quite the buzz around the web. Recent discoveries have revealed that these two supplements go great together as a stack. Many athletes and bodybuilders are reporting the stack to give them increased endurance and more energy when training.

Citrulline Malate Benefits

Citrulline Malate is an amino acid that contains the combination of both the amino acid citrulline and the acid salt malate. It can be found in foods such as watermelon. A study done in 2010 reported that clinical trials showed that athletes seen a 52.92% increase in repetitions when doing bench press after taking citrulline malate. The report also said that there was a significant decrease of 40% in muscle soreness at 24 hours after the bench press training session.

Citrulline Malate powder is great for increasing performance in high intensity anaerobic exercises, as well as relieving muscle soreness post-exercise. Another study concluded that citrulline malate increased oxidative ATP production by 34% during exercise, and increased phosphocreatine recovery by up to 20% after exercise.

Part of how citrulline malate works is by eliminating toxic ammonium in the body and converting it into a nontoxic urea before eliminating it. When the body is under intense stress or exercise, toxic ammonium production rises. Increases in citrulline in the body help to rid the body of excess toxic ammonium which results in an energy boosting or ergogenic affect.

Beta Alanine for Bodybuilding

Beta-Alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential beta amino acid that contains dipeptides that are often found in protein rich foods, such as beef, chicken, pork, and fish. However, beta-alanine can also be ingested through supplements.

Benefits of taking beta-alanine consist of increased aerobic and anaerobic endurance, increased strength, and increased muscle mass. Clinical research also found that beta-alanine delayed muscle fatigue in older adults between ages 55 and 92. A study done on football players revealed that taking beta-alanine significantly increased one of the team’s performance, which was attributed to increased muscle buffering capacity.

Improve your strength with citrulline malate and beta alanine.

Beta-alanine works by helping to produce carnosine in the body. Carnosine is a molecule that is found in the brain, nervous system, eye, and skeletal muscle tissue that plays a role in muscle fatigue.

Citrulline Malate + Beta Alanine Benefits

With both supplements combined, bodybuilders and athletes have reported superior performance enhancing affects. These two supplements work great together because the increase in endurance and energy during weight training enables bodybuilders to lift heavier weights and for additional reps. It is also a very beneficial stack for endurance athletes because it can help reduce muscle fatigue, increase muscle endurance, and in the post-workout period help increase muscle recovery.

So whether you are a bodybuilder or endurance athlete a citrulline malate and beta-alanine combination could have profound effects on your exercise routine and athletic performance. You can find both of these supplements at this great store here.



Beta Alanine Supplement for Increased Strength

increase strength with beta alanine supplement

You put in extra hours at the gym to meet your goals and you work hard to maintain a healthy diet. You did the research and handpicked what items to include in your workout stacks, but are you getting the most out of these supplements? When selecting what supplements to include as part of your regimen, you need to consider your goals, your approach, and your body’s needs. If you do the work, you expect to see and feel the results. With the right choice of supplement, you can set yourself up for success when considering improvements in muscle function, size, and retention. Including Beta-Alanine in your supplement regimen can help you reach your goals faster and in a more efficient way.

What is Beta-Alanine Supplement?

Beta-Alanine [1, 4] is an amino acid that is derived from the parent amino acid Alanine. Beta-Alanine is a precursor to a number of compounds that are used within the body. Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid, Anserine, and Carnosine are three of the main compounds that are synthesized from beta-Alanine. Carnosine is naturally found in high concentrations in both healthy muscles and brain tissue.

What are Beta-Alanine’s Benefits?

Choosing to supplement with beta-Alanine has been shown [2] to increase the amount of Carnosine present in different muscle groups throughout the human body. The increase of this vital buffer compound helps to increase the elasticity, function, and performance of muscles during aerobic and anaerobic exercise routines. When the level of natural Carnosine falls, the body has an increased chance of improper muscle function and possible muscle gain losses. During intense workout sessions [3], the number one cause of muscle fatigue is an imbalance in the pH levels called intramuscular acidosis. Beta-Alanine acts as a strong acid buffer to help protect against fatigue which subsequently increases both total workout time and overall effectiveness of the workout. Additionally, Beta-Alanine supplement [1] has been reported to protect against stress and exercise induced lactic acid, another form of acidosis in the muscle groups.

Besides acting to increase and prolong muscle functions, Beta-Alanine supplement also provides other benefits to the body during exercise. Possessing strong antioxidant properties [5], Beta-Alanine works to fight free radicals caused by oxidative stress, such as intensive exercise regimens. This action enables muscles to recover faster and more efficiently, to improve pH levels for optimum muscle performance, and to ultimately increase time spent in the gym working towards your fitness goals. Added benefits of its antioxidant action include the protection of healthy and properly functioning cells directly linked to various muscle groups, our central nervous system, and many major organs such as the heart and stomach.



How to Make Your Own Pre Workout Supplement

Pre workout supplements can play a huge role in muscle gains

When it comes to pre-workout supplements, there are plenty of pre-existing, ready to consume workout stacks that come in many different varieties based on multiple types of routines. Despite this, many individuals are opting to create their own unique combinations of supplements that are tailored exactly to their personal goals and their bodies’ needs.

Why Would I Want to Make My Own Pre-Workout Supplement?

Different factors can play a role in the decision of what supplements to include. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are my long term goals concerning my weight, muscle gains, and overall health?
  • Am I creating an exercise and supplement regimen to address serious health concerns, to maintain a healthier state of being, or to improve my athletic abilities? Depending on which situation you happen to find yourself in, the right combination of supplements can boost your workouts’ potential benefits.
  • What has worked for me in the past and was I happy with the results? Likewise, what supplement has not worked for my body?
  • What types of beneficial compounds are found in my diet already? Are there high levels of proteins, vitamins, or other beneficial compounds like antioxidants? Some supplements are only beneficial in adequate amounts as our bodies can only absorb a set amount.
  • How difficult is, and how often do I plan on participating in, my training program? Depending on the duration and intensity of your regimen, different supplements can boost the body’s ability to build muscle, maintain muscle gains, promote weight loss, increase our stamina, and provide sources of energy.
  • What are the short term and long term effects of this supplement on my body? Are there any reported negative side effects.

Of course, these are not the be-all, end-all guidelines for creating your own combination of supplements, as there is no one right answer. Hopefully these questions do give you some idea of what you’re looking for in  your personal stack and possibly help you think of some of your own that will help you decide.

Make Your Own Pre-Workout Supplement:

Out of the hundreds of supplements available on the market, the lists below cite just a few of the beneficial compounds to consider for inclusion in your pre-workout supplement.

 Muscle Growth and Energy Supplements

Make your own preworkout for less
Too many options on the shelves? Check out our suggestions to narrow your search.
  1. Increase and maintain muscle gains with Creatine supplement and Protein. Both help the body to reduce recovery time and generate essential energy. [2,3]
  2. Citrulline Malate can assist in weight maintenance as well as maintaining muscle gains by warding off bacterial toxins in the body. Citrulline Malate powder also appears to have the ability to fight fatigue caused by acidosis from lactic acid. [7]
  3. Glutamine is an amino acid that will increase plasma growth hormone levels and stimulate the pituitary gland during workouts. [4]
  4. Tyrosine can help to improve nerve cell function in the body during exercise as well as produce different stress controlling compounds like dopamine. [6]
  5. To help improve circulation and oxygen delivery during physical activity, the supplement Vinpocetine works to widen the blood vessels to decrease blood pressure and ultimately increase workout performance. [5] 
  6. Caffeine is a popular energy booster that is often combined with various other supplements, but the synergy that it has with L-theanine makes it an ideal pre-workout energy booster. Taken in conjunction, the theanine will help calm the feelings of unease and crash often caused by caffeine alone. [8]

Post-Workout Cool Down and Relaxation Supplements

  1. For enhanced post workout recovery assistance, consider Pure Green Tea Extract and Beta-Alanine Supplement. These supplements can contribute to the decrease of fatigue and recovery time. An additional benefit of Green Tea Extract is it also contains a high number of antioxidants which can fight off free radicals brought on by oxidative stress. [1,2,4]
  2. L-theanine can be taken independent of caffeine to calm the nerves after a particularly heavy workout, though it can also be found naturally occurring in teas, albeit in smaller doses.
  3. For particularly stressful sessions Valerian Root, a stress relieveing herb, can provide strong calming effects and Melatonin, a hormon produced in the pineal gland, can help provide more restful sleep. [9,10]

Remember to Learn and Acknowledge Your Limits

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your own pre-workout supplement is to not overdo it. Some people may be able to take many items from this list at once while others may only be able to take a few. Start slowly while mixing and matching and research the individual supplements that you find appealing as well to see which ones tend to work the best together and how to use them effectively. There are a lot of different pre-workout supplements out there and there’s no better way to find the ones that are right for you but experiencing them first hand.



Best Caffeine Free Pre Workout Supplements

pre-workout supplements without caffeine

Caffeine powder is widely used as a pre-workout stimulant. It’s taken through energy drinks, coffee, or supplement stacks. There are benefits to using caffeine before a workout. In the very least, it gives your muscles the extra energy to keep going and also helps get your blood pumping faster.

However, there are times when using caffeine may not be the best idea. For example, if you train later in the evening, a high dose of caffeine may interfere with your sleep. Or, for anyone particularly sensitive to caffeine, the effects can be over stimulating and become more of a hindrance in the gym. Regardless of your situation, you shouldn’t feel slighted during your workout. There are several alternatives to caffeine in pre-workout supplements that can help you keep your edge and help you reach your goals faster.

Citrulline Malate Powder

Citrulline Malate is a form of the amino acid citrulline and provides energy to the muscles and promotes endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic athletes. Citrulline malate powder works in two main ways. First, it increases intramuscular ATP energy. This is what you use each time you lift a rep or run a lap. The more ATP in your muscles, the longer they will function at optimal levels.

Citrulline malate takes that a step further by helping you function on an even higher level. In a study performed on athletes using the chest press as a test exercise, participants were given citrulline malate or placebo. Then their work output and recovery times were measured. Users given citrulline malate were able to do 52% more repetitions and had a 40% reduction in soreness, so they were stronger during their workout and recovered faster too. [1]

Beta-Alanine Supplement

Beta-alanine is another great caffeine-free pre-workout supplement that also promotes muscular endurance.  Beta-alanine works a bit differently than citrulline malate. Supplementing with beta-alanine helps increase intramuscular carsonine levels [2].

During exercise, carsonine helps remove lactic acid from muscles, which can cause a burning sensation and muscle fatigue. Without acid buildup and muscular fatigue, beta-alanine helps you get stronger and build muscle mass.

Beta-alanine can help improve your overall body composition too. Research performed on athletes has shown that beta-alanine can increase lean muscle mass and decreasing body fat percentage [2]. Since this is a popular reason for using caffeine pre-workout, you can now work toward your fat-burning goals without stimulant supplements.

L-Arginine Supplement

As the two supplements mentioned above, L-Arginine supplement, also simply known as Arginine, is also an alternative to caffeine for increasing endurance, increasing strength and reducing fatigue. Arginine works differently as well. It’s is responsible for boosting nitric oxide flow into the body after exercise. Higher nitric oxide levels relax blood vessels which allows for more blood flow. The increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles more efficiently to prevent muscle fatigue. Arginine also boosts growth hormone production and helps you recover quicker. [3] [4]

Caffeine Free Pre Workout Stacks

You can also try pre-workout stacks which are often available without caffeine. Stacks take the guesswork out of pre-workout supplementation. I found a great pre-workout stack called Muscle Maxx Pro. This pre-workout stack contains L-Arginine, Astragalus, Tongkat Ali (Longjack), Maca, and Tribulus. These ingredients work together synergistically to enhance the body’s muscle building capacity.

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to cut caffeine out of your pre-workout stack, there are alternatives. With muscular endurance and energy being the main benefits, the options for replacement are well represented. A stimulant-free pre-workout stack can help you reach your goals just as fast and without any of the negative side-effects of caffeine use.






Why Beta Alanine is Underrated


Recently I’ve been experimenting with my own pre-workout mixes because I wanted to give myself a break from DS Craze. While DS Craze pre workout supplement is great, and really gets me through my new 2-3 hour workouts, it’s loaded with stimulants and it’s generally a good idea to give oneself a break from stimulants here and there.

There are some ingredients that I’m not completely sold on, but try anyway, but the Beta Alanine supplement I got was amazing. There are a lot of people out there and videos on YouTube saying that beta alanine is worthless and overrated. A lot of people are referring to the face tingling they get that made Jack3d as popular as it was. Beta alanine isn’t beneficial for its stimulatory properties though.

So What is Beta Alanine?

When someone is in the gym and is using the row machine or stair stepper, they might feel their muscles burning. The burning sensation is from a buildup of lactic acid and limits our performance in the gym. Beta alanine supplement buffers the lactic acid buildup allowing for longer, more intense workouts.

Beta alanine is perfect for me because I like to train in the higher repetition range (8-15 repetitions per set in the weight room) and at the higher sets, the muscle burn is generally a limiting factor. I’ve also recently discovered the advantages to using beta alanine in cardio training, such as light jogging or even high-intensity interval training (basically sprinting with short rest periods of walking).

Unfortunately, beta alanine isn’t very beneficial for people who train for strength or in short intervals with long periods of rest in between. I believe it’s most beneficial if you’ve been doing something strenuous for at least 60 seconds (like jogging, but not pushing out a one-rep max).

It comes as a powder, and can be mixed into drinks. It dissolves in water, but the taste by itself isn’t great, so I would suggest adding some sort of flavor in. Also, if you take too much, then you’ll notice those face tingles, but they’re essentially harmless and nothing to worry about.