If you often find yourself feeling lethargic or low on energy before a session, pre-workout supplements can offer a much-needed boost.
By helping you feel at your best, they can improve performance which leads to greater improvements.
But with no shortage of powders, capsules and shakes advertised widely it can be confusing to keep track of what ingredients you should be looking for.
To simplify things, Built for Athletes runs you through eight of the top pre-workout supplements below.
Probably the most popular pre-workout supplement around, creatine is a natural compound which assists the energy production system inside cells. Multiple studies have found that creatine can improve strength performance in activities that last up to three minutes.
Almost all of us will have used caffeine to increase our alertness or focus, and this effect translates to the gym too. It’s particularly effective for endurance athletes, with most research indicating that a dose of around 3-6mg per kg of body weight taken about an hour before exercise is optimal.
Branched-chain amino acids are found in many foods that are high in protein - particularly animal products. They are widely used to help build muscle and have been shown to reduce muscle soreness as well as marginally improve endurance running performance.
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda as it’s commonly known, can help the body to process lactic acid during intense bouts of exercise such as fast running or cycling. This can delay feelings of fatigue allowing you to push harder for longer.
Nitrate is popularly taken in the form of beet shots because research shows it can improve running performance and time to exhaustion. This is believed to be because the body converts it into nitric oxide which enhances muscular efficiency.
Citrulline helps improve blood flow to body tissues, thereby helping to supply more fuel to muscles when you exercise. One study
showed that athletes performing an upper-body strength workout could manage 53 per cent more reps when they took citrulline.
A number of B vitamins help to enhance energy production, and vitamin B12 can help to support blood production. Vitamin B deficiencies can lead to poor athletic performance and other health concerns.