Choosing the Best Pre-Workout Shake

Choosing the Best Pre-Workout Shake

A pre-workout is an integral part of an effective workout routine as it gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to power through and make a quick recovery. However, not all pre-workouts are created equal. A delicate blend of ingredients sets them apart, with some designed to help you power through a hard routine and others balanced for a steady stream of energy over a sustained period of time.

If you're looking for the best pre-workout, compare these options.


#1 Creatine

Creatine is already found in your body's cells and it has quickly become one of the most popular dietary supplements. Many sports scientists consider creatine to be the best supplement of its kind for people looking to improve their strength and increase their power during their workouts. It can even lead to more muscle mass and better exercise performance, according to studies.

Creatine itself plays a crucial role in your cells' energy production. Recommended dosage is 20 grams per day for a "loading" phase followed by 3-5 grams per day in your maintenance phase. 


#2 Caffeine

Caffeine is, by far, the most widely used stimulant to date. Being a natural molecule, it's found in coffee, tea, and many other foods. It works to stimulate your brain, which can make you feel less tired (helping to fight fatigue) and even improve your focus and alertness. For these reasons, it's often found in pre-workouts.

Caffeine has the ability to increase your power output and potentially even improve your performance during long exercise routines, including running or cycling. Safe doses of caffeine range from 1.4 to 2.7 mg per pound of body weight.


#3 Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is a type of amino acid that can help you avoid muscle fatigue. Lactic acid will begin building in your muscles whenever you exercise, but beta-alanine will help combat it. Therefore, taking a supplement will help you go for longer before feeling sore. It's most effective when doing intense exercise for 1 to 4 minutes at a time.

The recommended dosage for Beta-Alanine if 4 to 6 grams per day.


#4 Citrulline

Citrulline is another type of amino acid and your body produces it naturally. However, supplementing with it can still be beneficial as it will increase the total amount inside of your body, which could potentially improve your performance when working out. Citrulline's main function is to increase how much blood reaches your body's tissues. This can help get much-needed nutrients and oxygen to your muscles while you work out.

Citrulline supplementation can also have a significant impact on how sore you get after you workout. When it comes to endurance exercise, most use L-Citrulline. Weight training often focuses on Citrulline Malate in studies. The latter has a suggested dose of 8 grams and the former has a suggested dose of 6 grams.


#5 Sodium Bicarbonate

While many people would never consider sodium bicarbonate a supplement, baking soda is actually an extremely useful tool. Inside your body, it can act like a buffering agent, helping to fight the buildup of lactic acid in your muscle tissues. That means it can reduce the fatigue you feel during exercise, including the "burning" sensation you experience in tired muscles.

The best dose for this supplement is around 136 mg for every pound of body weight.


#6 BCAAs

BCAAs, or Branched-Chain Amino Acids, are made of up three molecules: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids can be found in many protein-rich foods, including meat, but taking them as supplements can have many benefits. Certain studies point to supplementation reducing both mental and physical fatigue associated with exercise. It may also reduce muscle soreness.

While the doses of BCAAs vary, you can usually see recommendations for between 5 to 20 grams. Most supplements have a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, but that can vary as well.


#7 Nitrate

Nitrate is another molecule that can prove beneficial as a pre-workout supplement. It's found in many vegetables, including beetroot, spinach, and turnips. The body can also produce small amounts by itself. Taking nitrate as a supplement is useful because your body can convert it into nitric oxide, which could improve blood flow, so taking it can decrease how much oxygen you need during your workout.

Usually, supplements get nitrate from beetroots. The optimal dose is between 2.7 and 5.9 mg per pound of body weight.