Some pre-workout supplements have been scientifically proven to assist athletic performance to various degrees.
With some research, you can learn how and when to use specific supplements for your desired outcome.
Here, Built for Athletes lists six of the most effective molecules and amino acids to take before a session.
Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements among weight lifters, and sports scientists have asserted its legitimacy with hundreds of research studies. It’s a naturally occurring compound that assists the production of energy within muscle cells. If the muscles have more energy, heavier weights can be lifted and better performance gains can be made.
Caffeine is one of the most common drugs on earth and it is used across almost every sport. As well as obviously improving focus and alertness, caffeine has been shown to improve power as well as the rate at which athletes can metabolise fat as an energy source.
Citrulline is an amino acid that can increase blood flow by causing blood vessels to expand. In theory, this enables more fuel to be supplied to working muscles. Citrulline supplementation has been shown to improve performance in weight training as well as endurance sports, although much more research is needed to gain a fuller understanding of how it works and what dose should be taken.
Also known as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate has a surprising ability to fight the build-up of acidity in muscles which usually causes the painful sensation associated with intense exercise. Unfortunately, it can often cause stomach problems so it’s best to start with small doses if it’s something you’re interested in trying.
Beetroot juice has become an extremely popular supplement among athletes, largely due to its content of nitrate. The body converts the nitrate into nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to expand so that more blood is available to the working muscles.
Branched-chain amino acids are commonly found in meat and dairy products. The research into their effects are mixed, but some studies suggest supplementing with BCAAs can support muscle growth and in some cases improve endurance performance.