The term “pre-workout” is not just a term used by college gym rats or bodybuilders. Pre-workout, meaning before training or exercise, is a classification of supplements that don’t necessarily attract a lot of positive feedback from the public. The majority of supplements that most exercise enthusiasts and athletes think of first are littered with fillers and unnecessary products. Caffeine is a major supplement that hogs the spotlight in most pre-workout products. Although not detrimental in small doses, caffeine has drawbacks (especially in reference to those who take too much). Fortunately, there are a select few supplement ingredients that can be taken independent of the “proprietary blend” that most supplement companies sell in their products. Let’s address just two.
The first and most popular is Creatine. Just like every supplement, Creatine has both good and bad reviews. Without delving too far deep into exercise science and the energy systems in your body, Creatine aids in replenishing your body’s main source of fuel: ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). When executing very short and intense movements at Accelerated Fitness, ATP is utilized as fuel. When ATP is utilized, a phosphate (the P in ATP) is “cleaved” off, forming ADP or Adenosine Diphosphate and energy. When does Creatine become relevant in this equation? PC, or Phosphocreatine, sits on the sidelines and waits until a phosphate is cleaved off. When it does, PC jumps in and replenishes that phosphate in order to continue the process of creating energy off of ATP.
There are many forms of creatine, but the most heavily researched form is Creatine Monohydrate. Other forms include Creatine Nitrate and Creatine Hydrochloride. These other types claim to optimize absorption rates while keeping the ingested amount of the supplement low. Stick with the version with the most current and scientifically conclusive research behind it. Reminder: I am not recommending this supplement as a necessity to exercise. Creatine is naturally found in many foods, especially in red meat. Consult your physician before starting supplementation with any version of Creatine.
The second is an amino acid known as L-Glutamine, or Glutamine. This amino acid is non-essential, meaning your body naturally produces it (as supposed to essential amino acids that you must consume in your diet). The problem is that your body is constantly in a state of stress due to the heavy load of exercise performed week in week out. The constant state of muscle breakdown is quite challenging to keep up with. Here enters Glutamine. By ingesting this amino acid your body is better able counteract the catabolic (muscle breakdown) effects of exercise and overall reduce soreness. We can all agree soreness tells us the session before was effective, but living with it throughout the day isn’t quite enjoyable.
Glutamine is sold mainly as a powder and in a pure form without additives. I recommend taking it with some form of bicarbonate or seltzer water to increase absorption rates.
These are two optional supplements that can be easily taken before an intense workout. If you want an edge besides caffeine before a session at Accelerated Fitness be sure to give these two supplements a consideration!
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietician. Please consult your physician before supplementing with any type of substance.