So you have been hitting the gym lately and have probably been considering stepping up a notch? Perhaps, you are already an advanced lifter and have felt the pre-workout kicking in before? Whatever the case may be, this article will consist of information towards ‘How To Make Your Own Pre-workout With Only 5 Ingredients’, so let’s prepare ourselves and our wallets because you will have an opportunity to find out something fascinating.
What is a pre-workout?
Pre-workout is a supplement, which contains a blend of ingredients, ranging from caffeine to creatine. If you have been into lifting for the past 2-10 years, you have probably noticed how rapidly the supplement industry grows and especially during the recent years. Supplement companies keep coming up with different blends, regarding pre-workouts and with the help of marketing companies and social media ads, the products are being pushed to the people at the highest rate.
Pre-workout supplements usually contain stimulants, in order to help the athlete to increase alertness, reduce muscle fatigue, raise body temperature and stimulate central nervous system. If you have ever held a tub of pre-workout before and looked at the back label, you would see a number of ingredients named after the words that are usually hard to pronounce. Pre-workout blends are becoming more and more advanced, as the science and supplement companies progress, but pre-workout supplement can also be made at home, with basic ingredients.
As long as you can get your hands onto these ingredients, you can differentiate between the ratios and quantities in order to make your own ‘Super-Ultra-Mega-Ultimate Explosive Pre-Workout’ blend. As I have already mentioned, the ingredients are really basic and they can bet purchased easily, it may not taste like the pre-workout you have tried before, but it definitely gets the job done. So if the flavour is not big of an issue, then you can proceed to save some money for your wallet. I’m not implying that it tastes like complete cardboard, you are able to add anything in order to get your desired flavour.
Caffeine is one of the most important ingredients in a pre-workout supplement. It stimulates person’s central nervous system by promoting muscle fibre recruitment, whilst decreasing muscle fatigue and muscle pain. It is one of the strongest stimulants in a pre-workout supplement and it can increase athlete’s performance in terms of endurance, strength and speed. Caffeine can allow athletes to train longer and some evidence suggests that it has helped sprinters to increase their power output.
Some people have higher tolerance for caffeine, therefore in order to feel the effect, they will need to consume caffeine in higher dosages. You really need to be able to identify the effect caffeine has on your body and then be able variate the consumption of caffeine from there.
Sources of caffeine
- Green tea
- Caffeine capsules
- Energy drinks
- Energy shots
- Pre-workout supplements
Make sure you don’t over-consume caffeine which can halt your tolerance to it. Remember, try to avoid having caffeine later in the evening or before bed, because it will literally keep you awake until the effect fades away. You don’t want to miss out on sleep because sleep = gains!
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements in the industry. Studdies suggest that supplementing with creatine, athletes can gain benefits in building lean muscle mass and increased strength. Creatine can also help recovery and aid athletic performance. Most of the creatine is stored within body’s skeletal muscle and creatine works by retaining water inside the muscles, allowing the ATP energy molecules to gain an increased output, therefore helping the athlete to perform the exercises at the higher intensity.
Sources of creatine
- Animal proteins
- Pre-workout supplements
Supplementing with creatine can help you to save money, for not having to eat red meat and fish constantly. Creatine is fairly cheap, probably one of the cheapest and most effective supplements out there, so you just can’t go wrong with it.
Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate (AAKG)
It is a supplement that contains essential amino acid L-arginine, which is important for a bodily function of a human body. AAKG is used in almost every supplement because it works as a blood thinner and allows more blood to reach the muscles. It can help to promote the immune system and plays a key role in a protein synthesis.
AAKG increases Nitric Oxide levels in the body, which allows more blood and oxygen into the skeletal muscle. AAKG improves nutrient delivery to muscles and also boosts athletic performance. AAKG is usually a key player in the muscle ‘pump’, because of its blood thinner properties.
Citrulline malate is another great pre-workout supplement, which contains an amino acid called L-Citrulline. It is a popular supplement amongst various athletes and its primal properties work by reducing muscle fatigue and improving endurance during aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Citrulline malate can help to hasten the recovery of muscle glycogen and ATP molecules, that are formed during exercise. Citrulline malate can allow athlete to exercise longer with a potential of having a greater power output and also increased muscle recovery.
Do you remember, that first time, when you took the pre-workout and it felt like you just wanted to keep scratching you face constantly? Well, that’s the sensation that Beta-alanine is repsonsible for. Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid and it can help your muscles from building up H+ (Hydrogen ions) during high-intensity exercise. When H+ builds up too much, the blood and muscle become acidic, which forces our bodies to slow down in order to allow more oxygen inside the muscle.
Beta-alanine may help to reduce the symptoms of fatigue and also help to enhance the effects of creatine.
After speaking about each of the ingredients, it’s time for a sample pre-workout blend:
- 200mg Caffeine – 1 cup of coffee / 1 caffeine pill.
- 5g Creatine
- 2-3g AAKG
- 2g Citrulline malate
- 3-4g Beta-alanine.
Like I have already outlined before, you need to experiment with the dosages and find out your tolerance for different ingredients. Some of the may result in having more effect on you, than others, so use your own judgement.
What about BCAAs?
Oh, the good old Branched-chain Amino Acids.
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are the simplest form of proteins, consisting of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Studies suggest that supplementing with BCAAs, it can help to prevent muscle-loss during workout and decrease muscle catabolism.
BCAAs can also help to build new muscle tissue, prevent DOMS (Delayed On Muscle Soreness) and preserve glycogen stores within your muscles.
Why did I not include them in the pre-workout?
Personally, I don’t take BCAAs with my pre-workout as it doesn’t mix that well and I don’t really like the taste of it. I take 10g about 1 hour before I take my pre-workout and then I take another 5-10g after my workout. That is just a personal preference. You can include BCAAs into you pre-workout if you will.
Get better effect of your pre-workout blend formula
If you have taken a pre-workout before, you have probably noticed that sometimes it works impeccably and at times, the effect is pretty plain. The reason for that is – the contents in your stomach or food, to be precise.
Pre-workout taken on empty stomach will bring you the best results, since the amino acids and stimulants, such as caffeine will not be metabolised at the same time with food, the effect will become stronger and more intense. I would suggest not eating 1-2 hours before training session in order to achieve a better effect of you pre-workout blend formula!
Become the ‘Breaking Bad’ of pre-workouts
Making your own pre-workout can be fun and I personally do it out of curiosity. It can help you to get to know your body’s tolerance to various ingredients and allow you to determine a perfect dosage of each ingredient to your pre-workout formula.
Buying ingredients separately, can be much cheaper than getting the pre-workout itself, since ingredients will give you more value for money, since the quantities will be much higher than the pre-workout tub you would potentially buy.
However, this is only a question of convenience, whether you want to make your own pre-workout or not, I will leave it up to you. Some people can’t be bothered with mixing-up powders in their shaker and looking like they’re doing something dodgy – they prefer already made pre-workout supplements. Some enjoy experimenting and finding out different blends. The choice is yours, you’re the artist here.
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‘Train Like An Artist’