Do I need a pre-workout? What the heck is Beta alanine? Are pre-workouts safe? What pre-workout is best for me?
Pre-workout supplements are formulated to boost energy and optimise your athletic performance.There is a crazy amount of options available today, so if shopping for a pre-workout has left you with any of these questions in mind… then you are not alone!
The following article contains some insight to help you answer these questions and simplify your decision.
What do I look for when choosing a pre-workout?
Despite the large range, most pre-workouts are consistent in their key ingredients:
- Caffeine – One of the most popular stimulants. Caffeine improves mental alertness, increases energy and may assist fat burning. The amount of caffeine in prework-outs varies greatly. At The Edge, you will find pre workouts with 0mg-365mg Caffeine.
When deciding how much caffeine is right for you, it is important to consider:
a) what other foods and drinks you are already consuming in the day that has caffeine (tea, coffee, coke, energy drinks). Consuming over 400mg per day can lead to muscle tremors, dependency, anxiety, fast or uneven heart beat.
b) what time of the day you train. Caffeine has a half life of 5-6hours. If you have caffeine at 530pm, you may find it difficult to fall asleep until after 11pm…. In saying this, if your pre-workout makes you train super hard, you could be exhausted and sleep like a baby.
- Nitric Oxide precursors.
Nitric oxide is produced naturally by your body. It is a vasodilator; which relaxes/widens your blood vessels. This increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach your muscles. L-arginine and L-Citrillune are 2 common nitric oxide precursors that may enhance athletic performance and your ‘pump’ when weight training.
Creatine is also found naturally in your body. It can also be obtained through many food sources, highly in red-meat. Creatine is stored in muscles aiding your strength, energy production and recovery. If you take too much creatine at once (more than 10grams) and do not drink enough water (helps your kidneys excrete any excess), you may experience stomach cramps.
- Beta Alanine
Beta alanine is put into pre-workouts to delay muscle fatigue. When your muscles contract during exercise, acid is released. This build up of acid (muscle burning sensation) hinders the ability of your muscles to continue to contract and therefore stops your ‘set’. Beta-alanine is synthesised by the body into carnosine, which acts as a buffer, regulates this acidity, delays the muscle burn and therefore increases your endurance.
Too much Beta-alanine? You may have experienced your lips, fingers or even ears itching/‘tingling’ after taking a pre-workout. This varies from person to person and depends on your body’s ability to absorb this amino acid. This itching sensation is harmless and will subside.
What pre workout is best for me?
When deciding what pre-workout is best for you it is important to consider what time of the day you train, how much caffeine you are already consuming from other sources and what type of training you intend to do (strength, cardio, sports). If you are still confused about what pre-workout to choose, please let us know and we will be happy to help.