Don’t get too hung up on a pre-workout supplement in general, because they are only a very small piece of the puzzle.
“Best pre-workout supplement? The workout you did the day before” – Dan John. See interview with Dan John here
However, from time to time, they can be good for an extra kick and can artificially prop you up!
But the important thing to understand is pre-workout supps can be abused and can make you dependant on them to “feel” like you’re having a good workout.
Stay away from any pre-workout supplement that contains big long chemical names that you can’t pronounce. Labs come up with new chemicals that mimic other banned/illegal substances like pseudoephedrine or clenbuterol.
Invariably these new compounds end up getting banned, hence why these pre-workout supplements come up with “new formulas”.
The pre-workout supplement that works, is safe and has some credible science behind them are:
- Beetroot juice (improves stamina – lactic buffering) – See podcast here why Dr Tim Crowe from Thinking Nutrition recommends beetroot juice
- Carbohydrates (supplemental or fast-carb sources)
- L-arginine (precursor to nitric oxide – good for increased blood flow)
- Creatine (increases your muscle creatine phosphate stores)
- Caffeine (increases alertness and decreases perceived exertion)
There are many others, but they don’t have as much credible science like the above mentioned.
Please note with caffeine, varying the doses and delivery forms will keep it acting more effectively on your body. For example, if you have the same shot of espresso everyday it loses effect. Skipping days where you have caffeine, increasing the dosage or way it’s consumed (i.e. pills, coffee styles etc.) is the most effective route.
Whether or not you should take a supplement should be personalised, as one dosage or supplement might be effective for one person but could be detrimental or ineffective for someone else. To see further information on this subject and how to eat for the individual.