Pre-Workout Supplements for Weight Loss vs. Muscle Building

supplements for muscle building and weight loss

Pre-workout supplements are a popular choice among weight lifters and among those who are trying to lose weight. The purpose of these supplements is to improve workouts and help attain the best results. There are two main kinds of pre-workout supplements: weight-loss supplements and muscle-building supplements.

The following are some of the benefits from using such supplements:

  • Increased strength and endurance;
  • Faster metabolic rate;
  • Enhanced energy and focus;
  • Overall better performance.

Before one decides to use any pre-workout supplements, pre-workout nutrition ought to be considered. Carbohydrates are essential as they are your body’s fuel source. It is recommended that you eat your carbs before your workout so that they can be utilized as fuel in your body. Protein is another must-have food.

Supplements for Weight Loss

Creatine for Weight Loss

Supplementing with creatine increases the body’s creatine stores which results in an increased level of phosphocreatine that in turn helps regenerate muscles’ energy source, ATP. According to a study conducted on 17 subjects, a dosage of 5g of creatine produced an increase in the total creatine content of the muscles. Recommended dosage is 3g per day.

Caffeine for Weight Loss

Caffeine is one of the most popular pre-workout supplements for weight loss. Caffeine can be obtained from coffee, tea, chocolate, or through energy drinks. This very popular supplement works by inhibiting the enzyme that blocks degradation of cAMP therefore allowing energy levels to remain high for extended periods of time. A study on the efficacy of caffeine in increased exercise performance showed increased performance after an intake of caffeine before workout. Typical dosage rages from 100-200 mg.


As you work-out, the levels of glutamine in the body falls and using this as a pre-workout supplement can help delay fatigue during workout by producing more energy and reducing muscle fatigue.

Supplements for Muscle Building


This is a very popular pre-workout supplement for weight lifters because it allows more blood to flow to the muscles by dilating vessels and thereby allowing more nutrients to be absorbed. Results of a study on the effect arginine as a supplement 10 minutes before work-outs showed enhanced performance during workouts. Recommended dosage before a workout is 2-3g.

Citrulline Malate:

Supplementation with Citrulline Malate can increase the levels of arginine which is necessary after an intense workout. Breakdown of amino acids and increased levels of ammonia cause a reduction in arginine levels. Studies show that aerobic energy production is also promoted because of the muscle metabolism promoted by citrulline malate.


This supplement helps improve perceived level of fatigue and cognitive and physical performance during stressful conditions. It increases mental alertness and the ability to concentrate which can help one perform more strenuous workouts. Doses of 500 to 1000mg per day before workouts are recommended.

Whether or not to take pre-workout supplements will be totally up to you and will greatly depend on how you feel during your workout when you are taking these supplements.

Tyrosine Supplement and Citrulline Malate Powder: A Synergistic Combo

citrulline malate and tyrosine combo to relieve sore muscles

There are numerous different combinations of supplements available that can provide benefits in multiple areas throughout our bodies. Certain combinations, however, can have a more positive influence than others can. When deciding what types of supplements to include in your routine, a variety of factors should be considered. If you are searching for an addition to your existing pre workout stack to help you maintain the benefits of your intensive exercise regimen, Tyrosine supplement and Citrulline Malate powder are two beneficial supplements that work together within the body to perform a number of functions.

What are these supplements?

Tyrosine [1,2] is an amino acid that provides a number of benefits to the body. It is most often utilized as a building component of neurotransmitters, compounds that facilitate proper communication between different nerve cells. These cells can influence and maintain balanced moods and emotions. Additionally, this supplement is one of the 22 amino acids that are used by the body to maintain protein synthesis. Tyrosine supplement is believed [1] to help the body produce Norepinephrine and Epinephrine, two hormones necessary in dealing with mental, emotional, and physical stressors which include the different components that make up your daily exercise routines.

Citrulline Malate [3,4,5] is an amino acid used in the bodybuilding community as an aid in both weight maintenance and muscle gain. Named after the Latin for watermelon, a source that the supplement is derived from, Citrulline Malate powder has been shown to perform functions in the heart and numerous muscle groups, as well as displaying properties akin to anti-fatigue agents.

How do they work?

When we work our bodies and muscles in an effort to reach our fitness goals, we put stress, both oxidative and mental, on our bodies. If these stressors aren’t properly maintained and dealt with, there can be numerous adverse long term effects on our bodies. Tyrosine [1] works to alleviate aspects of this stress by enabling neurotransmitters throughout our body to better communicate and function. With this supplement, the levels of Dopamine in the body increase further improving mental stress and mood. Citrulline Malate has been shown [4] to maintain muscle gains brought on by exercise by fighting off different bacterial toxins that can cause muscle deterioration. Additionally, Citrulline can reduce both recovery time and muscle soreness associated with high intensity regimens. Acidosis is a very common side effect of prolonged physical activity, but Citrulline appears [4] to possess the ability to ward off factors brought on by acidosis such as extreme fatigue and temporary confusion.


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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.



Why Amino Acid Supplementation is Good for You: Part 2: L-Tyrosine


In an earlier discussion, I was talking about why Amino Acids are generally awesome (BCAAs specifically), but I wanted to read more about tyrosine supplements specifically. I’ve personally supplemented plenty of L-tyrosine in the past for my CILTEP stack (chemically induced long-term potentiation) as my precursor to dopamine.

The first step towards learning about tyrosine supplement is learning what it is, and what it’s for. L-tyrosine is actually a precursor of Adrenaline. Put simply, Phenylalanine turns into Tyrosine which turns into L-DOPA which turns into dopamine, and finally the dopamine turns into adrenaline. Secondly, l-tyrosine promotes an amine group called Catechol, which is shown to be anti-oxidant and neuro-protective in the brain. So far, as far as I’m aware, there’s nothing intrinsically negative to be said about l-tyrosine.

According to, there’s a genetic disease known as Phenylketonuria in which “body fails to properly metabolize the amino acid ‘phenylalanine’, and said amino acid can build up to toxic levels”. Remember how earlier I mentioned that phenylalanine converts into tyrosine in the body? Well it’s possible that the genetic disease, Phenylketonuria, could exist via tyrosine deficiency, and supplementing might be the solution (1).

I wanted to learn more specifically about the general problems with amino acids, so I continued reading. After a while of searching, I found something known as “amino acid imbalances”. This is the claim that by supplementing the body with amino acids, the body might not absorb the normal amount of food-derived amino acids in a regular, healthy diet. This sounds bad in theory, but it’s something I need to investigate further.


  1. L-Tyrosine. Kurtis, Frank. 2012.

Why Amino Acid Supplementation is Good for You: Part 1: BCAAs


A couple hours ago, an interesting discussion sparked between me and an acquaintance about amino acid supplementation. I had obtained a 5-hour energy, and one of the ingredients is NALT (N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine). Immediately, she stated that amino acids can be fatal if taken in supplemental form via decreased catabolism of other naturally-occurring essential amino-acids. I had honestly never heard of such a claim, so I decided to do a little research. Note: This might get a little science-heavy, but it’s something worth looking into.

The Importance of BCAAs

The first thing I found is that amino acid supplementation (BCAA’s specifically) were shown to increase the lifespan of mice significantly (mice are used in many studies before in-vivo human clinical trials because of their seemingly similar bodily systems). (Side note: BCAA’s are the combination of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine). Not only just an increase of lifespan, but it “activates mTOR and eNOS signaling pathways”, increases “mitochondrial biogenesis and ROS defense systems in middle-aged mice”, and “improves age-related muscle deficits” (1). In English, this is basically stating that BCAA’s (the amino-acids particularly popular within the exercise community) are known to help cell growth, survival, increase protein synthesis, promotes vasodilation and circulation via nitric oxide, and help overall body/brain signaling and homeostasis (a stable condition) via oxygen metabolism.

Later in the study, the authors write: “The BCAA, besides increasing average life span in normally fed mice, was found to promote several healthy effects in humans, since it reduced sarcopenia* (Solerte et al., 2008b) and decreased inflammatory markers in chronic heart failure patients (Kalantar-Zadeh et al., 2008)”. *Sarcopenia is the weakening of bones and muscles that comes naturally with aging.

So far, it sounds pretty good, but this debate sparked specifically with N-acetyl L-tyrosine, not BCAAs. So what is tyrosine? I think the first step towards learning about this compound is to break the name down (because people talk more about l-tyrosine rather than N-acetyl l-tyrosine. The N-acetyl prefix means that the l-tyrosine is acetylated, meaning it is less likely to be removed in the liver. With the acetyl group attached to the amino group, the liver is less likely to break down the amino acid (therefore making NALT more bioavailable than just regular l-tyrosine). So for all of my intents, I’ll read into l-tyrosine.