Should I Take Pre-Workout?
At Grizzly Guardian we recognise the importance of mental grit to push yourself in any aspect of life including but not exclusive to the time you put in to your training to keep fit, strong and active. Personally I have made it my mission to educate myself on the best practices, supplements and regimes to ensure my time spent out running, in a gym or in a competitive environment are effective and conducive to growth.
In this blog post I will talk from personal experience on why I feel pre-workout is such an important supplement to anyone serious about gaining ground in their plights towards becoming a better version of self.
What is pre-workout?
I'm sure if you are reading this you know what I am talking about here but in case you don't...
A pre-workout drink is a solution that is digested around twenty minutes prior to exercise with the sole aim of enabling you to achieve a ready state for activity quicker. It will also allow you to push harder than usual and give you the endurance to squeeze out those last few reps, sprint that bit harder or climb with a little more intensity. From my experience it allows a bit more focus and gives me a level of concentration that is consistent in anything active I decide to do, once the blood starts flowing, the face starts tingling and the muscles start twitching, its game time...
What's in it?
Every manufacturer of pre-workout with hold mystic blends they will call things like 'dynamic energy matrix', or 'enhanced power complex' which are all just made up terms to describe mostly three components caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine. When combined these ingredients will increase blood flow, increase heart rate, increase focus, increase blood flow to the skin and give you a little tingle.
This is a typical ingredients list from a trusted and well known pre-workoiut suppllier...
How does it make you feel?
Well...this one really depends on a few factors:
- Body size
- Tolerance to caffeine
- Amount taken
- Time taken
- If it's been taken on an empty stomach or not
Most people will feel their face tingling, a higher heart rate, a bit more of a pump from increased blood flow and more energy, especially if like me you train in the mornings before 6am.
Obviously if you take too much then all these feelings are amplified proportionate to the amount you overdose, it can get quite extreme and cause nausea if you are not careful. This being said providing you are sensible and follow the guidance given on the packaging you will be fine and after trialing it for a few days you can customise your dosage to better suit your training needs and comfort levels.
WARNING - If you over do it you may end up barking at the barbell or chasing ducks into your local lake on a run; myself and my business partner often train within a careful dosage window but sometimes get it a bit wrong and much to the other persons entertainment end up a bit loopy...
Is it right for me?
This really depends on your goals but I genuinely believe anyone can benefit from this, a few things you need to consider:
- It won't make you stronger
- It won't make you fitter
- It won't give you wings
- You definitely won't turn into a muscle bound magic unicorn
It will however allow you to train at an intensity which if sustained will definitely change your strength and fitness. I have trained for a number a varying events and can honestly say that this stuff has given me a competitive advantage during my training sessions.
How safe is it?
Check out this great article below to ease your concerns and help address your question 'Should I take pre-workout?'...
Mistake 1: Your Timing Is Off (Seriously)
I often see people drinking their pre-workout as they're walking into the gym. Most of the active ingredients in your pre-workout drink take 30-60 minutes to reach peak levels in your blood. If you wait until you reach the gym to take it, you'll be well into your second or third exercise before the full effects kick in.
So if you have it anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, you're getting the full benefit from it. A bigger concern should be whether you're taking it too late, especially if you work out in the late afternoon or early evening, If you do, you may have trouble falling asleep afterward.
So, which one to take?
So many companies are making pre-workout it is difficult to know, I have tried A LOT of them and so feel I can give a pretty good insight on the main ones you should be considering. This is an independent review and I have not taken any money to put any bias into this next part of my blog.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout 330g Details
- Helps To Boost Mental Focus & Endurance
- With Beta Alanine & Acetyl-L-Carnitine
- Contains 175mg of Caffeine & 3g of Creatine
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is an exciting pre workout product.
It contains a range of ingredients to help boost mental focus and endurance from ingredients such as Beta Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate and Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
Each serving provides 175mg of Caffeine, which helps to support mental alertness, 3g of Creatine which increases physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high intensity exercise and 1.5g of Beta Alanine which decreases fatigue in athletes.
Verdict 7/10 - A good choice however for me it lacks punch, it feels a bit too tame and I've found it to need at least two scoops to deliver the same effect as its competitors. It you are after a milder choice then this is a winner but unfortunately it just lacks power for me.
Cellucor C4 Original 195g Details
- For Motivated Muscle Pumps
- With Caffeine & Creatine
- Promotes Pre Workout Energy & Focus
Cellucor C4 Original is a trusted pre-training supplement can be the difference between a mediocre workout and a superb one whereby all cylinders are fired and youre performing at optimum level.
This product is a full-bodied pre-training formula.
Its predecessor, Cellcucor C4, was launched the spring of 2013 and remained a global best-seller for over a year.
Verdict 8/10 - A great choice that is consistent, tasty and easy on the wallet. It seems to sustain a good level of focus, deliver a big drive in energy and enhance motivation for that extra push. It can make the face tingle a bit too much but other than that its golden.
Cobra Labs The Curse! 250g Details
- Effective Pre Workout Formula
- Helps to Promote Mental & Physical Focus
- May Help to Improve Muscle Pump
Cobra Labs The Curse! is an incredibly potent pre workout product.
Get energy & focus with Pre Workout supplement, Cobra Labs The Curse.
Packed with the muscle pumping, focus enhancing ingredients that you would expect from a next generation Pre Workout.
Get big, get strong with Cobra The Curse today!
Verdict 9/10 - This is my favorite by far, it absolutely delivers with minimal tingle in the face, big muscle pumps and a gnarly positive energy sustained for hours after the workout.
I hope this has gone some way in to helping you answer the question 'Should I take pre-workout', thanks for reading.
If you are going to be a bear, might as well be a grizzly!
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