Essential Guide to Pre-Workout Supplements

Essential Guide to Pre-Workout Supplements
December 29, 2023
Viking Beast

Pre-Workouts can be a little confusing when you’re first starting out, but they can so much fun.

Perhaps you've tried plenty and simply want to learn more.

No matter the case, allow me to explain everything you need to know.

Afterward you'll be a Pre-Workout Boss.

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How does Pre-Workout work?

The best Pre-Workouts work in three different ways:

  • They contain ingredients that improve nitric oxide, which expands the blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to go into the muscles. This improves athletic performance, gives you a better pump, and enhances recovery.
  • They contain stimulants that provide energy during your workout and don’t cause a “crash” afterward.
  • They contain nootropics that improve cognitive abilities, alertness, focus, and get you mentally in the zone to workout.

Is Pre-Workout worth it?

A high-quality Pre-Workout is worth it if you need an extra “boost” during your workout, or want to train harder.

They help you get into the zone, boost your energy, and can improve performance.

What are the benefits of Pre-Workout?

A high-quality Pre-Workout can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Give you huge pumps and boost performance by expanding your blood vessels, which allows more oxygen and nutrients rich blood to go into the muscles.
  • Give you more energy from all kinds of stimulants, like caffeine. A good pre-workout doesn’t cause a “crash” afterward.
  • Make you more focused, more alert, and improves your cognitive abilities. This is a result of a blend of useful Nootropics.

Can Pre-Workout help you to lose weight?

Pre-Workout can help you lose weight in several ways:

  • It boosts exercise performance and stimulates movement, which allows you to burn more calories during the day (and possibly help you build muscle mass).
  • Certain ingredients, like caffeine, in pre-workout can stimulate an increase in heart rate and can have a thermogenic effect. This results in higher calorie expenditure throughout the day.

Pre-Workout alone is not a good remedy to lose weight though, it should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine.

What are the side effects of pre-workout?

A high-quality Pre-Workout taken in a responsible dosage should not cause severe side effects in healthy adults.

However, these are the possible side effects of (irresponsible) Pre-Workout usage:

  • Insomnia (when taking Pre-Workout with stimulants too late at night)
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate (a problem if you too many stimulants)
  • Increased blood pressure, known as hypertension (a result of too many stimulants)
  • Drowsiness or headaches
  • Anxiety (too many stimulants)
  • Jitteriness (Beta-Alanine may cause a tingling/ itchy effect for up to 30 minutes)
  • Restlessness (too many stimulants)

Most side effects occur from the (incorrect) usage of stimulants or can simply arise if you’re intolerant to stimulants.

While stimulants, such as caffeine have lots of benefits, you can use a high-quality stim-free Pre-Workout on certain occasions.

Can pre-workout kill you?

Pre-Workout will not kill you in normal/ responsible dosages.

Pre-Workout might kill you if you decide to completely overdose on multiple tubs at once.

Can pre-workout go out of date?

Pre-Workout can go out of date but might be fine to use after expiration if:

  • There is no visible mold.
  • The color looks fine.
  • The consistency of the product is still good (no big clumps).
  • The smell is not weird.
  • It still tastes the same as before.
  • You don’t get an upset stomach after taking it.
  • You still notice the same boost in performance.

Can Pre-Workout make you sick?

Pre-Workout can make you feel sick.

The most common ways this can happen are:

  • Feeling nauseous.
  • Increasing your heart rate, making you feel anxious.
  • Increasing blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Feeling drowsy or getting a headache.
  • Jitteriness/ tingling/ feeling itchy (Usually wears off within 30 minutes).
  • Feeling restless.
  • Upsetting your stomach/ causing digestive issues/ diarrhea.

Can Pre-Workout cause headaches?

Pre-Workout can cause headaches or drowsiness.

In most cases, this will most likely come from dehydration, in which case drinking more fluids will help.

It might also come from too many stimulants, like a high amount of caffeine, that can be found in some Pre-Workout supplements.

In this case, a stim-free Pre-Workout might be a good solution.

Can Pre-Workout cause anxiety?

High amounts of stimulants (like caffeine) in Pre-Workout are a cause of anxiety, an increase in heart rate, and feelings of restlessness.

What Pre-Workout should I use?

There are multiple kinds of Pre-Workout you can use:

  • Pre-Workout high in stimulants: high amounts of stimulants (like caffeine) for a significant increase in energy, with some ingredients/ nootropics that focus on expanding the blood vessels (pump) and improving cognitive abilities.
  • Pre-Workout that is well-rounded: moderate amounts of stimulants (like caffeine) for energy, ingredients that expand the blood vessels (pump products), and nootropics for improved cognitive abilities.
  • No-Stim Pre-Workout: no stimulants (no caffeine), ingredients that are mostly focused on expanding the blood vessels so more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood can go into the muscles. Also nootropics for improved cognitive abilities.

I like the 5% nutrition pre-workouts from Rich Piana. They have all three options available.

You can check out my full reviews of each type:

High stim: 5150 Pre-Workout review

Well-rounded: Kill-It reloaded Pre-Workout review

No-stim Pre-Workout: Full as Fuck Pre-Workout review

Which Pre-Workout is best?

A high-stim Pre-Workout is best for early-in-day workouts that require a lot of energy. A good example is a heavy morning leg day.

You can check out my 5150 Pre-Workout review by clicking here.

A well-rounded pre-workout is best for overall workouts on most days that are not in the middle of the night or very easy.

You can check out my Kill-It reloaded Pre-Workout review by clicking here.

A no-stim Pre-Workout is best for late-night workouts, workouts that are very easy and don’t require extra stimulants (like caffeine), or if you don’t like stimulants (like caffeine) in general.

You can check out my Full as Fuck Pre-Workout review by clicking here.

Which Pre-Workout is best for pumps?

A no-stim Pre-Workout like Rich Piana’s Full as Fuck Pre-Workout from 5% nutrition, is best if you’re solely looking for an insane pump.

Do you get a crash from Pre-Workout?

Getting a crash during or after a workout all depends on the quality of the Pre-Workout product.

If the Pre-Workout contains an ingredient like Infirergy Dicaffeine Malate (a patented ingredient) then this will make sure a crash doesn’t occur.

A great pre-workout that contains this ingredient, so you don’t get a crash during or after a workout is Rich Piana’s 5150 Pre-Workout from 5% nutrition.

You can read my full review on this Pre-Workout by clicking here.

Why does Pre-Workout make me itchy?

Many Pre-Workout supplements contain ingredients like Beta-Alanine.

This can improve performance, but also cause a tingling/ itchy effect on the skin.

It’s not harmful and usually lasts for up to 30 minutes and then it disappears.

Some people like to “feel” their Pre-Workout working, and others don’t like the itchy feeling at all.

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Which Pre-Workout has the most amount of caffeine?

High-stim Pre-Workout supplements contain the most amount of caffeine.

If you’re a stim junky that’s what you’re looking for.

I like Rich Piana’s 5150 Pre-Workout, which contains a whopping 400mg of caffeine and 513mg of total stimulants per scoop.

Read my full review of 5150 Pre-Workout here.

Which ingredients are in Pre-Workout?

Pre-Workout supplements can contain many ingredients, which we can split into three groups:

  • Stimulants, such as caffeine, are used to boost energy.
  • Pump ingredients, such as l-citrulline, are used to expand the blood vessels and allow more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to go into the muscles.
  • Nootropics, such as choline, are used to improve cognitive ability, alertness, and focus.

All of these ingredients can cause a boost in athletic performance and overall better workouts/ recovery.

However, always look for high-quality Pre-Workout supplements that are not filled with underdosed or useless ingredients.

Pre-Workout vs caffeine pills vs coffee

A high-quality Pre-Workout contains many ingredients that improve workout performance, and that reach beyond the energy boost of solely relying on caffeine pills or coffee.

Stimulants in Pre-Workout, like caffeine, boost energy.

However, a good Pre-Workout also contains ingredients that widen the blood vessels allowing more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to go into the muscles.

This will benefit exercise performance, increase your pump and accelerate recovery.

There are also nootropics in Pre-Workout, which enhance cognitive abilities.

Depending on your situation, a Pre-Workout supplement might be a good investment to make.

You have to keep in mind that Pre-Workout supplements are more expensive than simply buying caffeine pills or homemade coffee thought.

Pre-Workout vs creatine

Pre-Workout supplements are different from creatine and can perfectly be used together.

A high-quality Pre-Workout can boost your workouts by increasing energy, better pumps, and improving focus.

Creatine provides your muscles with more ATP, which is the main energy source of your muscles.

Creatine will allow you to do a few more reps, which over time leads to increased strength and muscle gain.

You can combine a scoop of a high-quality Pre-Workout before your training, with 5 grams of creatine a day, for a maximal workout performance boost.

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