Get Your Free Week Trial Today! | 317-407-4512

Benefits of a Pre-Workout Supplement

In general, here at Summit Strength we believe in a whole-food-first approach to fueling for your workouts. However, there are a few supplements which can be extremely beneficial. Among those are fish oil, BCAAs, protein powder, and select pre-workout supplements. Notice I said SELECT pre-workout supplements. Many are full of the same sweetener as is in diet sodas (aspertame) or contain so much caffeine you’re likely to immediately have extreme jitters and a rapid heart rate from one serving. So, that being said, what should you look for in a pre-workout supplement in order to excel in the gym? And why should you even be taking one in the first place?

Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients and Benefits:

Below are four ingredients you can find in quality pre-workout supplements, as well as their benefits. The goal here is simple: to explain why a pre-workout supplement can benefit you with your health and fitness goals.

1. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine can help with a variety of aspects of your exercise routine. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased explosive muscular strength and power

In layman’s terms, what this means is you can train longer, harder, and see more results from doing so. Who wouldn’t like that? The process through which beta-alanine improves your performance doesn’t happen directly from the supplement, but rather through it’s role in increasing your body’s production of carnosine.

When you exercise, your muscles become filled with H+ ions. This drops the pH of your blood, and causes the burning sensation in your muscles often referred to as lactic acid. Carnosine buffers this affect and balances out your pH level, thereby reducing the burning sensation and allowing you to carry on working hard in the gym.

2. BCAAs – Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine

These BCAAs are 3 of the 9 essential BCAAs, meaning your body cannot create them, and they therefore must be ingested via your diet. While there are many reported benefits of BCAAs, here are three which help you achieve your goals with health and fitness:

  • Support increased fat burning and glucose tolerance
  •  Decreased muscle soreness
  • Reduced diabetes risk

Basically, BCAAs can make you reap more benefits from the work you’re already been putting into your health and fitness routine, and let you feel less sore from all the effort.

3. Glutamine

Like the other items on this list, glutamine has a host of benefits you can take away to support your training and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps the most beneficial is its capability to improve muscle retention when you’re eating to lose body fat or weight.

Typically, eating less in an attempt to lose body fat or to simply lose weight causes your body to lose some amount of muscle. In many cases, losing muscle is a thing you want to avoid. Therefore, glutamine can be a big help to you during these times. Glutamine increases your body’s ability to retain muscle mass regardless of caloric intake (aka how much you’re eating). Of course, completely starving yourself and simply taking glutamine is not going to save the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build (nor would we ever recommend doing this). But, it can make your fat loss efforts pay off with much greater dividends in the long run.

4. Caffeine

You know that great feeling you get after your cup of coffee, first thing in the morning? That is caffeine, and it may be the best performance enhancer on the planet. Among other positive effects, caffeine can help:

  • Reduce your perceived level of exertion
  • Improved mental focus during exercise
  • Reduced exercise-induced muscle pain

In summary, caffeine can make you feel like your workouts are easier (score!), help you concentrate better and that tough technique you’re trying to learn (double score!), and help you be less sore later (hat-trick!).

If those aren’t enough reasons to keep a little caffeine in your diet pre-workout, what is?

To summarize everything up, there are legitimate reasons to take a pre-workout supplement. They can help you gain more muscle and lose more fat from your exercise routine, and to be less sore while doing so. However, as always, don’t let easy marketing fool you. You don’t need 300mg of caffeine to have a positive effect. Nor does your bottle need to look like something from the future. Look for a product with the above ingredients in not too high of a dosage, and do your best to stay away from aspartame, which makes your pre-workout barely better than a diet soda.

Other Posts You Might Like

How do You Eat Enough Protein Without Meat

The Midwest is Meat Country The Midwest is commonly referred to as a meat and potatoes type of place. It is very normal to grow up here and have every meal centered on what chunk of animal protein is on the plate. However, as the environmental and health impact of eating meat at every meal … more »

Three Ways to Stay Consistent

What matters more for long term health – intensity or consistency? By the title of this post, you can probably guess that consistency is the answer. Unfortunately, learning how to stay consistent is arguably tougher than being intense. If you go to the gym and do ten 100 yard sprints, squats, and bench press, you … more »

Top Member Tips for Healthy Living

I’m always on our blog talking about the best way to live your healthiest life. How to get in shape, how to eat healthier, how to recover better, and how to improve your mindset. However, I’m not the only person inside of Summit’s community that knows a thing or two about living a healthy life. … more »

Working Out While Pregnant: Part 3

Postpartum is Forever “Oh 💩…I’m a mom.” Six months later, and this thought still creeps into my mind when I look at Addison. In part 1 of this series, I talked about how I navigated my pregnancy, and in part 2, I shared some things to consider as I reintegrated back into working out. The … more »

Top 3 Ways to Exercise for Health

When I was in college, all I cared about was working out for performance purposes. As a Division 1 athlete in the ACC, I was solely concerned with whether my training plan would make me a better athlete. With that goal in mind, my exercise plans were focused on improving explosive speed and pre-habilitation to … more »

Overreaching in Your New Year’s Resolution

Every year it is so tempting. So tempting to say, “This is the year I finally make health and fitness my priority!” Or, “This is the year I give up sweets!” Or, “This is the year I drop all dairy from my diet for all 365 days!” Without getting into the specific benefits/drawbacks to any … more »

Ready to transform your life? View Our Memberships