What is a Pre-Workout Supplement

What is a Pre-Workout Supplement

What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?

A pre-workout supplement is a dietary supplement that is designed to be taken before physical exercise to improve performance, increase focus and increase energy levels. It’s best to think of pre-workouts as a tool that can be used to help improve you athletic performance. However, one should be only added once a solid foundation of diet, exercise program and positive lifestyle choices are in place.

These supplements typically contain a combination of ingredients such as caffeine, amino acids, herbs, minerals and creatine, which can help to boost energy, endurance, focus and muscle strength. Some pre-workout supplements may also contain ingredients such as beta-alanine and nitric oxide precursors, which can help to improve blood flow and delay fatigue.

A pre-workout supplement may come from a variety of suppliers, companies or individuals so finding a reputable retailer can be important to know what your getting. Canada regulations, through health Canada, are much more strict then what is in the US, which is why you may not see some of the pre-workouts from the states in Canada.

*It's important to note that pre-workout supplements can have side effects, so it's always best to consult with a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before taking them, especially if on medication.

While the specific benefits may vary depending on the ingredients and formulation of the product, here are some common advantages of using pre-workout powders:

  1. Increased energy: Pre-workout powders often contain stimulants like caffeine, which can boost energy levels and help you feel more alert and focused during your workout. This can be particularly beneficial if you're feeling fatigued or lack motivation before exercising.
  2. Improved endurance: Some pre-workout powders contain ingredients like beta-alanine and citrulline malate, which have been shown to enhance endurance by reducing fatigue and delaying the onset of muscle fatigue. This can allow you to push harder and longer during your workout sessions.
  3. Enhanced strength and power: Many pre-workout supplements include creatine, a popular compound known for its ability to improve strength and power output. Creatine works by increasing the body's production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source for muscle contractions.
  4. Increased blood flow and nutrient delivery: Ingredients like citrulline and arginine in pre-workout powders can promote vasodilation, which widens the blood vessels and improves blood flow. This enhanced circulation helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, aiding in performance and recovery.
  5. Heightened mental focus: Pre-workout powders may contain nootropics or cognitive enhancers, such as L-theanine or tyrosine, which can improve mental focus, concentration, and alertness during workouts.
  6. Faster recovery: Some pre-workout supplements contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or other recovery-promoting compounds. These can help reduce muscle damage during exercise and support quicker recovery after your workout.
  7. Reduced muscle soreness: Certain pre-workout ingredients like tart cherry extract or curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties that may help minimize post-workout muscle soreness and inflammation.
  8. Convenience: Pre-workout powders offer a convenient way to consume a combination of performance-enhancing ingredients in a single serving, which is especially useful for those who have busy schedules or don't have access to whole food sources before exercising.

It's important to note that while pre-workout powders can be beneficial for some individuals, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some people may be sensitive to the stimulants or other ingredients in these products, which can lead to adverse effects like jitters, anxiety, or gastrointestinal discomfort. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications. Additionally, it's essential to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the product label and avoid combining multiple sources of caffeine or stimulants to prevent excessive intake.

What are the Best Pre-Workouts in Canada?

It's difficult to say which pre-workout supplements are the "best" in Canada as personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and fitness goals can vary greatly from person to person. What works well for one person may not work well for another. Additionally, the supplement market is constantly changing and what was considered the best in the past may not be considered the best presently.

It is worth considering the industry has lately been flooded with many new pre-workouts that have been hyped up due to social media, advertising techniques, and sales tactics that may not have your best result in mind. From an insider perspective, it’s hard to watch... however you just try and due you best to help guide people in the right direction and stick to our morals.

What to look for in a Pre-Workout Supplement?

Although it can be daunting at first, choosing a pre-workout doesn’t have to be that hard.

Your first step would be to clarify what you are looking for in a pre-workout.

  • Strength and power?
  • Blood flow and pump?
  • Energy and focus?
  • Stamina and endurance?
  • Stimulating, or not? (Caffeine free)
  • Or a combination of all of these

Second, try and understand some of the basic ingredients offered in pre-workouts (see our other article: most common ingredients in pre-workouts), and then trying to understand what the ingredients actually do

From there, look at your options available at your local Optimize Nutrition, or online to decide if the product you are looking at contains these.

Check the nutritional panel! (see below)

Get some feedback from the staff, or read reviews by customers to get a better idea of the feedback of others.

If the price is right, and your ready to make a decision, make it happen.

The most important thing to look at is the nutritional panel:

  • What is actually in this pre-workout?
  • Does it have the ingredients I am looking for?
  • Do the ingredients make sense for my actual goal? (Example: increased focus, or increase blood flow, strength, or endurance)
  • Are the stated ingredients in dosages that are therapeutic levels?
  • How does this compare to other pre-workouts at the same price point?
  • Does it state on the label of the pre-workout, it is banned substance free?
  • Are there extra bonus’s like electrolytes, EAA’s, etc?

**unfortunately after looking into the above questions, you may find that the hyped pre-workout from Instagram, Youtube, or Facebook may actually be overpriced, have limited ingredients, or worse not very effective.

You can also check with your local Optimize Nutrition, and get put in the right direction, or check our website, or other online retailers in Canada to see what are the most popular and highly rated pre-workout supplements among customers. Reading reviews and customer feedback can also give you an idea of the effectiveness and side effects of different products.

Sometimes working with a qualified practitioner, nutritional coach, or nutritional advisor can support you to determine which ingredients and dosages are right for you, and they can also advise you on any potential risks or side effects. Feel free to checkout our own nutritional consulting company, OptimizeCoaching, for dietary programs, support and coaching.

You can check out some of the Pre-Workouts we carry at Optimize Nutrition here:

For the most intense pre-workouts check out our selection of high stim pre-workouts

Or for a more mild experience try our selections of low stim pre-workouts

If your looking for a caffeine free option check out our caffeine-free-pre-workouts

Or, if you prefer a pre-workout that is naturally flavoured check out our naturally-flavoured-pre-workouts

May 05, 2023 Optimize Team

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