Precursors of creatine, caffeine and nitric oxide

Most of us are looking for that added perk in the gym – or at least a major motivation to get into the workout mood. Pre-workout supplements often claim to stimulate you for exercise and give you a performance boost, but what’s the real story?

Let’s be realistic about pre-workout and if it’s worth all the hype.

Even though these supplements are very popular, there isn’t a lot of research on the safety and effectiveness of specific pre-workout formulas. Many companies don’t even disclose their formula is.

A research journal also pointed out that while existing studies look promising, there is still a lot we don’t know about pre-workout, including the long-term effects of these supplements.

So, does that mean pre-workouts are all the rage? Not necessarily. Some of the most popular pre-workout ingredients are backed by some serious science.

Creatine can support muscle power

Creatine is a compound that is mostly found in your skeletal muscle cells. There are evidence that it plays a role in increasing strength, lean muscle mass and muscle recovery. No wonder it’s a popular ingredient in many pre-workouts.

A research journal suggested that taking 30 grams of creatine per day for 5 years is safe and effective for people of all ages. It might even offer additional protection against injury. A small study found that taking 20 grams of creatine per day during strength training helped improve muscle strength and reduce muscle damage compared to a placebo group.

Caffeine helps improve your performance

Research shows that caffeine is able to increase your physical and mental capacity quite steadily. He could also play a role in burn fat faster and speed up your reaction time. Why this? Caffeine increases the flow of adrenaline and cortisol in your body.

But you don’t need to get this goodness from a mystery supplement scoop. A research journal suggested that an equivalent sized cup of coffee could give you the same benefits. The same research review noted that the vast majority of research is conducted on men, so results may vary.

Nitric Oxide Precursors May Increase Blood Flow

Almost every cell in your body produces nitric oxide. This molecule relaxes your blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow where it’s needed (like to your booty during some killer squat reps).

Many pre-workout formulas include nitric oxide precursors (compounds your body uses to make nitric oxide). There are evidence this exercise itself increases the amount of nitric oxide your body produces. Naming certain precursors before you exercise could help boost these effects and benefits.

Just keep in mind that studies are quick to point out that there are many other sources of nitric oxide, such as green leafy vegetables and beet juice.

If you stick to the recommended dosage, most pre-workouts shouldn’t. However, it is up to you to know your own body and assess what is right and wrong for your exercise routine. Here are some important points to keep in mind before using the pre-workout.

Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t That Sweet

Many pre-workout formulas contain artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. It adds extra sweetness and flavor without the added calorie cost, but it might not be the best for your body.

Your body does not treat them the same way it treats regular sugar. It can make you be hungrier and even upset your stomach. If you’re looking to skip these subs, avoid ingredients like:

  • erythritol
  • maltitol
  • sorbitol
  • xylitol

Caffeine overload

Pulling out an all-night study session fueled by coffee can tell you that caffeine isn’t the perfect miracle drug. Too can trigger headaches and interfere with your sleep schedule. It can even trigger other symptoms, such as anxiety and increased blood pressure, in risk groups.

The average pre-workout can contain as much caffeine as 2-3 cups of coffee. If you also drink coffee, soda, or energy drinks throughout the day, adding a supplement may cause you to exceed the recommended daily limit of 400 milligrams.

Not all supplements are created equal

The pre-workout supplement market can be a lot like the Old West. They are not regulated the same way as foods and drugs in the United States, so it is important to do your own research on a brand and its products before buying.

Look for accreditation from third-party testing companies such as NSF International. These organizations review products to make sure they are what they claim to be.

Pre-workout isn’t the only thing that can help you get through a tough workout. Try replacing some of these snacks with your supplement to get a more natural boost (and save money).

The pre-workout usually contains ingredients that science shows can help improve your performance. But these supplements aren’t the only source of things like creatine and nitric oxide.

Sip the latest ‘proprietary blend’, of course, might seem trendy and sexy, but it’s no magic potion. Focus on your fitness goals first and be honest with yourself about the most effective way to achieve them.


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Richard V. Johnson