Pre workout supplements – what are they and do I need them?

Table of Contents

What are pre workout supplements?

In the world of fitness, there are a lot of different products and strategies that people use in order to get the most out of their workouts. Pre workout supplements are part of a successful athletes´ strategy doing strength training that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

You might be looking for a way to burn fat, chase that lean body mass, improve exercise performance, boost energy levels and muscle power and improve athletic performance or overall muscle endurance?

Best pre workout supplements are targeting a number of benefits for your training session. Muscle strength, power output, and increasing blood flow are the main goals. But the right pre workout supplement will also reduce body fat, help you to lose weight, and enhance recovery after your next training session.

Pre workout sports nutrition come in many different forms. You could buy a pre workout powder, pills, or liquid versions. They could come as single to multi-ingredient versions.

You will find natural pre workout supplements, as well as synthetic ones and more than half of all pre workout products, will use proprietary blends of ingredients.

four essential supplements
Balancing diet for workout header

Balancing Your Diet For Optimal Workout Results

Balancing Your Diet

How pre workouts work

So, what exactly are pre workout supplements and how do pre workout supplements work?

They are essential nutrients that you take before challenging workouts to boost your performance and give you an important energy boost.

It is a proven fact that if you don´t take up the right amount of nutrients before a workout, it will be much harder for you during the workout.

Also in the Journal of the International Society of Sports, the beneficial effects of pre workout supplements on physical performance were investigated. The result was that pre workout supplements have the potential to increase muscle strength, power output, and blood flow during workouts.

The best time to take your pre workout supplement is approximately 30-60 minutes before your workout. This is because it takes some time for the nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream and start working.

Pre workout supplements are part of a whole list of pre workout products that are specially designed to increase muscle growth, improve blood flow, decrease muscle fatigue and avoid muscle breakdown and muscle cramps during short high intensity training sessions as well as during longer cardio workouts.

Experienced gym goers already know that their physical performance and their mental focus during a gym session with intense workouts are improved when they take up the right mix of pre workout supplements before a workout and a balanced meal afterward.

Nowadays, there are many different products on the market with a lot of different ingredients. The most common and effective pre workout ingredients are caffeine, creatine, carbohydrates, beta-alanine, amino acids, nitric oxide, or Citrulline. Let´s talk about these and find out if they are any good for you.

creatine headache header

Does Creatine Cause Headache?

Does Creatine Cause Headache?

1. Caffeine

coffee beans


Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can improve focus and increase energy levels. Starting with an increased level of caffeine in your body will give you the feeling of being more alert and able to push through a difficult workout.

Caffeine is the most common pre workout ingredient and its task is to increase blood flow through your blood vessels.

Athletes have long used caffeine as a way to improve their performance.

Caffeine in pre workout supplements is a stimulant that can help to increase alertness, enhance endurance, focus and concentration, and give you an boost of energy. All of these effects can be beneficial for athletes who are looking to improve their performance.

Studies have shown that caffeine can help to improve athletic performance by increasing aerobic capacity, reducing fatigue, and improving reaction time.

Caffeine can also help to increase power output and make it easier for athletes to tolerate pain during exercise.

While caffeine can be beneficial for athletes, it is important to remember that too much caffeine can have negative effects. Caffeine can cause jitteriness, anxiety, and increased heart rate.

It is important to experiment with caffeine before an event to see how your body responds. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you find the right amount for you.

Side effects:

If you are oversensitive to caffeine, it can upset your stomach. In that case, you might be careful not to take too high amounts of pre-workout supplements that have caffeine on their list.

Recommended dose:

The recommended dose for adults’ daily caffeine intake is 150-200 mg.

2. Creatine

chemical formula of creatine


Creatine is an amino acid that helps to increase muscle mass and strength and is used the best pre workout supplements. It is found naturally in muscle cells and helps your muscles to produce that extra boost during high-intensity workouts and heavy lifting sessions.

Creatine is a natural substance that is produced in the body and stored in the muscles. It is used by the muscles for energy production during exercise. Creatine can also be obtained from dietary sources, such as meat and fish.

Creatine in pre workout supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength, and to be one of the best pre workout ingredients.

It is popular among athletes, bodybuilders and other people who are looking to improve their physical performance.

Creatine is a part of every good pre workout formula and supplementation is generally considered safe, but there are some potential side effects, such as weight gain, cramping and diarrhea. These side effects are most likely to occur when creatine is taken in too high doses or for long periods of time.

Side effects:

Some people might experience bloating or gastrointestinal issues when taking too much creatine.

Recommended dose:

3-5 grams per day.

3. Carbohydrates



Carbohydrates are a great source of energy and can help you perform at your best during workouts. They are especially useful for long and endurance-based workouts. Ever wondered why professional athletes have a nice serving of pasta the evening before their big competition day?

Carbohydrates are also an important part of any good pre workout formula and are so liked by athletes because they are the body’s primary source of energy. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose, which is then used by your cells for energy.

The recommended daily intake of carbohydrates for athletes is 6-10 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 150-pound person would need to consume approximately 900-1,500 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods, including breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Some athletes choose to consume complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal and whole wheat bread, because they are slowly digested and provide a steady supply of energy.

During competition, athletes prefer simple carbohydrates, such as candy or fruit juices, because they are quickly absorbed and provide a quick boost of energy.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing carbohydrates.

First, it is important to eat complex carbohydrates along with some protein and fat to slow down the digestion process and help you feel fuller longer.

Second, be sure to consume enough carbohydrates to meet your energy needs; if you don’t eat enough, your performance will suffer.

Finally, make sure you are getting a variety of carbs – not just simple sugars – to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

The best pre workout supplements will have just the right amount of carbohydrates added to their pre workout formulas.

Side effects:

None – just don´t overdo it! you would pay for that mistake during the workout.

Recommended dose:

Long workout/competition: a meal containing pasta or potatoes the evening before.

Short before your workout/competition: It is advised to take about 50 to 75 grams of carbs about 30 minutes before workouts. You can do this best with bananas, oats, or dried fruit.

4. Beta-Alanine

beta alanine capsules
coffee vs preworkout header

Coffee Vs Pre-Workout

Which Is Best?

Coffee Vs Pre-Workout


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that has been shown to improve performance in high-intensity exercises. It does this by reducing the feeling of fatigue and helping you to push through those last few reps.

Beta-alanine has been gaining popularity in the athletic world due to its performance-enhancing effects. It

increases muscular endurance and decreases fatigue, making it a valuable supplement for athletes who are looking to improve their performance.

So how does beta-alanine work?

Beta-alanine works by increasing the levels of carnosine in the muscles. Carnosine is a molecule that helps to buffer lactic acid, which accumulates in the muscles during exercise and causes fatigue. By increasing carnosine levels, beta-alanine can help to delay the onset of fatigue and improve endurance.

There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the performance-enhancing effects of beta-alanine. A 2012 study conducted by the University of Oklahoma found that beta-alanine supplementation improved cycling performance in a group of collegiate cyclists.

Another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that beta-alanine supplementation improved upper-body strength and power in a group of resistance-trained men.

So if you’re looking for a pre workout supplement that can help you train harder and longer, beta-alanine should be part of your pre workout formula.

Side effects:

Some people might experience a harmless tingling sensation on their skin.

Recommended dose:

2-5 grams per day.

5. Amino Acids

amino acids
Crossfit Coach at work

Crossfit For Beginners

Where To Start

Crossfit For Beginners


Amino acids (AA) are the building blocks of protein and are essential for muscle growth. They can also help to reduce fatigue and increase recovery time after workouts. AAs are often taken in the form of BCAA supplements (branched-chain amino acids) and are included in many pre workout formulas.

There are 20 different AAs that can be found in proteins, and each has a unique role in the body. Some AAs can be produced by the body, while others must be obtained from the diet.

AAs are important for athletes because they help to build muscle, reduce recovery time, and improve performance.

The three most important AAs for athletes are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids are known as the branched-chain AAs (BCAAs).

BCAAs are important for athletes because they help to stimulate muscle growth and reduce recovery time. In fact, studies have shown that BCAAs can increase muscle growth by up to 50%!

So, if you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance, make sure you’re getting enough amino acids in your diet.

Amino acids are an important part of a healthy diet for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Side effects:

None – get a good quality product with all the essential amino acids

Recommended dose:

5-10 grams per day

6. Nitric oxide

blood vessels


Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced in the body and helps to dilate blood vessels. This leads to improved blood flow and increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles.

Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that is produced by the cells in your body. It is a signaling molecule that helps to regulate many important biological processes, including inflammation, and cell proliferation. NO is also involved in wound healing and the development of new blood vessels.

In the body, nitric oxide is produced by enzymes called nitric oxide synthases (NOS). These enzymes convert the amino acid L-arginine into NO. NO then diffuses through the cell membrane and binds to receptors on nearby cells, which leads to a variety of different effects.

One of the most important roles of NO is to regulate blood flow. When blood vessels are injured, they release NO, which causes the smooth muscle cells in the vessel walls to relax. This leads to an increase in blood flow and helps to repair the damage.

NO is also involved in inflammation. When the body is injured or infected, immune cells are sent to the site of the injury or infection. These cells release NO, which helps to kill the invading bacteria or viruses.

NO also plays a role in cell proliferation. When cells are damaged, they release NO, which signals nearby cells to divide and replicate the damaged cell. This is how new blood vessels are formed during wound healing.

In short, NO is an important molecule that plays many different roles in the body. It helps with inflammation and cell proliferation. NO is also important for wound healing and the development of new blood vessels.

Side effects:

There are a number of rare potential side effects associated with taking nitric oxide supplements. These include headaches, nausea, or dizziness.

Recommended dose:

3-6 grams per day

7. Citrulline

citrulline on a spoon


Citrulline is an amino acid that improves blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. This means that your muscles will get the nutrients they need to perform at their best.

Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that plays an important role in the body, particularly for athletes. Citrulline is involved in the urea cycle, which helps to remove waste products from the body, and it also enhances nitric oxide production.

Citrulline has a number of other benefits for athletes, including improved stamina, reduced fatigue, and enhanced recovery from exercise.

Pre workout supplements with citrulline help to improve exercise performance and reduce recovery time. Citrulline is a safe and effective pre workout supplement for athletes and can be found in many pre workout and post workout formulas.

Side effects:

None – just make sure to drink enough water, as citrulline can cause light forms of dehydration.

Recommended dose:

3-6 grams per day.

you´re strong


To sum up, pre workout supplements can be a great addition to your fitness routine if you are looking to boost your performance.

There are many good supplement companies out there and I am sure you will find just the pre workout supplements that you are looking for.

Workout supplements can help you to focus, increase your energy levels, and enhance exercise performance. They can even help to lose weight faster – no diet pills are needed!

Healthy adults with no health conditions can choose from a huge number of supplements on the market. As most pre workout supplements are designed to increase your heart rate and thus also increase blood flow, keep in mind that your blood pressure will also be affected.

If you are already suffering from high blood pressure, consult your doctor first before adding pre workout supplements to your list.

Additionally make sure to stay within the recommended doses, as too much of any nutrient can lead to unwanted side effects.

And last but not least, drink plenty of water! If you are unsure or if you already have some health issues, contact your doctor before taking any workout supplements.

If you liked this article, please like and share and maybe you also want to read my other article on this topic about thermogenic pre-workout supplements here.

Have a great day, Rob K

fat be gone header

Fat Be Gone

The Truth About Weight Loss Supplements

Fat Be Gone

Leave a Reply