The Benefits of Natural Pre Workout: A Complete Guide Backed by Science
- Improves Athletic Performance
- Increases Intensity
- Improves Maximum Output
- Boosts Energy Levels
- Improves Focus and Cognitive Functions
- Improves Metabolic Functions
WHAT IS PRE WORKOUT?
A pre-workout supplement is usually taken before exercise to increase energy, improve focus, and provide an extra boost to help power through your workout. Though there are many different types available, it typically comes in a powder, liquid, or pill form.
There are hundreds of companies that have marketed pre-workout supplements with claims to improve stamina and workout performance. Each product may contain similar ingredients, though most all of them will have slightly different compositions.
While it can be overwhelming when searching for the perfect pre-workout supplement, there are many components to look for to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck and allowing your body to perform at its peak.
This guide will help you learn the benefits of pre-workout, the best ingredients to look for depending on your fitness goal, and discuss why third-party testing is so important.
BEST PRE WORKOUT INGREDIENTS
- Natural Caffeine
- Added Adaptogens
- Joint Support
While there is a range of ingredients found in different types of pre-workout that might sound intriguing, there are key ingredients proven to help make every workout your best workout and enhance recovery. Here are several core components that you want to look for in your pre-workout.
Yerba Mate and Green Tea are two of the most popular choices for natural and clean caffeine. Both herbal teas, Yerba Mate and Green Tea have been studied to improve brain functions while improving cardiovascular systems.
Yerba Mate helps to boost energy, improve mental focus, and enhance physical performance.
Green tea improves brain functions, increases metabolism and fat burned, and supports cardiovascular systems.
The best benefits of natural caffeine is the clean, sustained energy that they provide.
Adaptogenic mushrooms can help enhance workouts by reducing the intensity of stress on our body. Adaptogens are particularly helpful for weight lifters or runners. They increase overall fitness performance by helping the body power through exhaustion and promote energy.
Clinically proven to improve oxygen utilization, reduce blood lactate levels and increase time to fatigue, adaptogenic mushrooms can improve your aerobic capacity, increase endurance, and leave you with sustained energy to power through your workouts.
Here are six of the most popular adaptogenic mushrooms:
- King Trumpet
- Lion’s Mane
- Turkey Tail
These six mushrooms combine together to make up the popular supplement Peak 02.
Peak 02 allows its users to adapt to stress and improve performance. It also promotes increased oxygen consumption allowing you to perform at your maximum ability during workouts.
Ingredients such as turmeric, devil's claw, and ginger are important for those who train hard and put stress on their joints during exercise. They help reduce inflammation leading to reduced soreness after workouts so you are properly ready for your next workout.
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. They provide an instant source of energy. Carbohydrates also maximize glycogen stores which allow for energy production to continue through workouts.
Summary: The best pre workouts have effective dosages of caffeine, adaptogens, joint support ingredients, and carbohydrates that work together to boost energy levels, improve oxygen utilization, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall athletic performance.
PRE WORKOUT FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE
If your goal is to increase athletic performance, these are three key ingredients you want to look for to push past that plateau and bring your fitness to the next level.
Caffeine is the one of the first ingredients you want to make sure your pre-workout of choice has in it. Studies have shown time and time again the relationship between caffeine consumption and increased athletic endurance.
Caffeine has been proven to be beneficial for athletes when taken before exercising. According to a recent meta-analysis, when caffeine is consumed in moderation before exercise, it can lead to an increase in overall endurance over those that have not consumed caffeine.
Adaptogens act by helping the body regulate its response to stress caused by exertion. Especially helpful under stress, adaptogenic mushrooms increase athletic performance by helping the body perform through exhaustion.
Look for these adaptogens to improve athletic performance.
- Turkey Tail
Cordyceps help fight inflammation within the body as well as decrease fatigue. A recent study found that consumption of cordyceps among healthy older adults lead to improved exercise endurance by increasing respiratory function.
Reishi helps improve exercise endurance by decreasing fatigue. One study carried out with a group of cyclists showed increased performance endurance and reduced overtraining syndrome in those with consistent reishi supplementation.
Turkey tail improves athletic performance and increases time to fatigue by reducing lactate levels in the bloodstream. Studies have shown that by reducing lactate levels, turkey tail can also help to improve recovery after strenuous training.
Carbohydrates are especially important in athletic performance and endurance because glucogen metabolization plays a crucial role in ATP (energy) production and is used rapidly during intense exercise.
Studies show that the initial ingestion of carbohydrates before exercise increases glycogen stores which may lead to increased endurance during workouts.
Summary: Studies show that caffeine, adaptogens, and carbohydrates can improve your athletic performance, endurance, and output levels.
PRE WORKOUT FOR ENERGY
Most people take pre-workout supplements to improve energy levels. It is important to know what ingredients to look for to provide natural energy without causing jitteriness and anxiety.
Caffeine tops the list for key ingredients in your pre-workout to provide a boost in mood and sustained energy. According to The International Society of Sports Nutrition, pre-workout supplements containing caffeine have shown to improve both anaerobic and aerobic performance by increasing energy levels.
Carbohydrates are another ingredient you want to make sure your pre-workout has. Research shows that high-quality carbohydrate ingestion before exercise allows for a constant energy source during high-intensity exercise regimens.
Adaptogens also play a crucial role in providing energy to fuel workouts. Here are some important adaptogens to look for to increase energy levels.
- Cordyceps can increase oxygen absorption within body cells and help fight fatigue, providing an extra boost of energy during your workout.
- Lion’s Mane helps the body produce additional energy and fight fatigue by promoting increased tissue glycogen content which is used by the body for energy.
- Shiitake mushrooms have an abundance of B vitamins which play a key role in increasing energy production and helping the body convert food into usable energy.
Summary: Studies have proven that caffeine, carbohydrates, and adaptogens from natural sources boost energy levels without causing jitteriness and anxiety.
PRE WORKOUT FOR WEIGHT LOSS
The best pre-workout supplements for individuals looking to lose weight should contain caffeine and other ingredients that will help increase energy, boost metabolism, and support anaerobic capacities.
Remember that losing weight = being in a caloric deficit, but pre-workouts can help aid your training.
Yerba Mate is a plant that has its leaves removed and dried to make tea. Yerba Mate not only contains caffeine that increases alertness, but it also may aid in fat loss through a thermogenic effect. Studies suggest that Yerba mate intake has been associated with decreased appetite, increased metabolism, and increased usage of fat stores for energy that can result in weight loss.
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years. This is for a good reason, too! While more research is needed, many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ginseng for weight loss. One study found that ginseng consumption resulted in an overall weight reduction in addition to slight changes in the gut microbiota.
Green Tea has been used in diets for centuries and has been proven to provide many health benefits including the promotion of weight loss. One study concluded that green tea consumption is most beneficial for weight loss when consumed before exercise due to increased fat oxidation and plasma glycerol levels before and post intermittent sprinting exercises.
Summary: Studies have shown that Yerba Mate, Ginseng, and Green Tea aid in fat loss, increase metabolism, improve fat oxidation, and support metabolic functions.
The best way to ensure the product you are purchasing is of high quality is to choose one that has been certified by a third party.
Third-party testing is not mandatory, but some companies choose to hire an independent party as an extra quality control measure. This ensures there are no potential product safety issues, ingredients are verified, and the product contains no additional components or banned substances.
When choosing a pre-workout, make sure to purchase a supplement with clean ingredients that have effective dosages and are backed by science to maximize your fitness goals.
In addition, stick with natural products that do not contain artificial ingredients in order to avoid the over-stimulated effect that can hinder your workout performance.
COMMON QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Q: WHEN TO TAKE PRE WORKOUT?
A: Pre workout should be taken 20-30 minutes prior to your workout to boost energy levels, increase mental clarity, and improve performance.
Q: HOW LONG DOES PRE WORKOUT LAST?
A: Depending on the amount of caffeine in your pre workout as well as your tolerance to caffeine, you can reap the benefits of pre workout anywhere from 1-3 hours.
Q: IS PRE WORKOUT BAD FOR YOU?
A: Look for natural pre workout supplements that use clean ingredients and are third party tested. Natural pre workouts are typically low stim, meaning they use minimal, yet effective dosages of natural caffeine and adaptogens to boost your energy levels and performance.
Q: DOES PRE WORKOUT MAKE YOU ITCHY?
A: Pre workouts that contain beta-alanine are typically associated with the pre workout "itch" and can last for 30 minutes all the way up to an hour.
If you're looking for a tingle/itch free pre workout, look for supplements that don't use beta-alanine.
Q: HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS IN PRE WORKOUT?
A: Caffeine in pre workout supplements vary by brand as well as type. You can find zero caffeine supplements, while low stimulant pre workouts typically have 100mg, and high stimulant pre workouts have 300mg or more of caffeine.