Chances are, if you’re like most people, you are under the ball and chain of the daily grind. You wake up early to battle traffic, spend the day spacing out and daydreaming at work, then re-enter the battle to get back home. After your daily obligations of work and family are fulfilled, you can hear the gym calling your name. Problem is, the bed is looking a lot more tempting than the bench. This is where the best rated pre-workout supplement comes in to save the day. A top tier pre-workout supplement can deliver that much needed jolt to put you back in the game and ready to hammer out that routine. Make no mistake about it: Not all pre-workout supplements are created equal. In fact, many are laden with more sugar and marketing than with quality ingredients. Not to mention lacking on the core compound ingredients and often full of artificial sweeteners. Let’s take a look at the top clinically proven ingredients that should be in your pre-workout formula if you are looking to dominant the weight room.
More commonly known to be beneficial in treating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and stroke, this precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is making headlines in the supplement industry. Why all the hype? This cognitive boosting compound is now being used in many premium grade pre-workout supplements to enhance your performance. It’s more than just a simple pill to amplify how alert you feel during workouts. Alpha GPC has been shown to significantly increase maximum performance. It also helps to encourage the recruitment of high-threshold motor units. Recruiting more motor units results in greater hypertrophy, which is exactly what you need when you are building lean muscle tissue. (“Alpha GPC” 2014. Para. 7.)
Beta alanine is called a non-essential amino acid. This means that while it is important to the processes of the body, it is made in sufficient quantities naturally from other ingested vitamins, minerals, and compounds. In other words, the body makes it on its own. However, the body makes only what it needs. When you supplement with a non-essential amino acid, such as beta alanine, you may notice some terrific benefits.
As it turns out, beta alanine is a fantastic pre-workout ingredient. It can dramatically reduce fatigue during training by helping to control the drop in blood PH levels during intense exercise. So how does this work? Once ingested, beta alanine is converted into carnosine. Fast forward thirty minutes, you are working out and the intensity is rising. As you push yourself, ordinarily your blood PH levels would begin to drop and you would soon feel the dreaded crash. Since you took beta alanine; however, your blood PH levels remain stable, allowing you to keep pushing as hard as you can. (“Your Expert Guide to Beta-Alanine” Oct 23, 2012. Para. 9)
Betaine anhydrous is a pre-workout staple, proven to support gains in strength, power, and lean muscle mass. There are a few ways in which betaine can influence your gains: one is by increasing the production of creatine in the body. The other is by supporting protein synthesis.
It’s not just bro-science either. Betaine anhydrous has been the subject of plenty of research studies, all confirming its benefits. The average increase in muscle strength as observed within these studies was a staggering 25% Perhaps, one of the most solidifying studies took place at the College of Springfield. Male subjects were made to follow a 6-week training session while supplementing with 1.25 grams of betaine anhydrous per day. At the end of the 6 weeks, the average arm size had increased 10% while the average lean muscle gain was an astounding four pounds! (“Expert Guide to Betaine” 2014. Para. 2, 3)
Bioperine is just another way of saying black pepper extract. Now before you judge too harshly, take a look at what it offers. Does bioperine influence your performance directly? No; however, it greatly enhances the absorption and utilization of the nutrients taken with it. This makes it one of the most ideal additions to a pre-workout supplement. It essentially amplifies the benefits of all of the other ingredients. No pre-workout is complete without it. Think it’s all talk?
In several studies, bioperine was taken in conjunction with only one other ingredient: beta carotene. The purpose of the study was to evaluate if the body could digest and assimilate the beta carotene to a higher degree with the help of bioperine. After all was said and done, the results clearly showed that the beta carotene had been significantly assimilated and utilized by the body when compared with the placebo group. In other words, bioperine ensured that more of the ingredient was used efficiently and not just thrown away by the body. Convinced? (“Piperine, an alkaloid derived from black pepper, increases response of beta-carotene during 14-days of oral beta-carotene supplementation.” 1999. Para. 1)
Caffeine has been in the supplement industry for a long time and rightly so as it works so well. Why do you think so many people rely on it just to start the day? It may come as no surprise but caffeine’s efficiency as a pre-workout supplement has been well documented. When it comes to boosting alertness, amplifying endurance, and increasing peak performance, caffeine is king. In a review of 21 studies, researchers concluded that athletes showed a dramatic improvement in performance when supplementing with caffeine. (“Is Caffeine Pre-Workout Bad?” Aug 16, 2013. Para. 3.)
Another non-essential amino acid, citrulline has become quite popular after it was discovered to be a valuable ally in amplifying your energy and perform