Do you want to up your game when working out but are skeptical of supplements? Here is a list of healthier pre-workout options you can try out!
It's important to understand that almost every supplement and exercise supplement brand has its pre-workout formulation with both pros and cons. No two supplements are the same.
A pre-workout boost is an additive (and sometimes addictive) to help boost the energy of your workout. These (sometimes in other forms) powders promise to enhance fitness performance if taken before workouts.
I. What are the Healthier Pre-workout Options?
Breakfast is the most important food of the day for certain individuals. Everyone else, who aims to incorporate fitness into their regular activities, can consider that pre-and post-workout food is just as important.
Though everybody’s nutritional demands and desires differ depending on their goals and activities, Bob Seebohar (Sports Dietitian Scientist) pointed out that you don’t need that much food to workout for 60 min or less, but bear that in mind for those prolonged workout hours that go over 60 minutes.
Here are some healthy pre-workout options:
1. Dried Fruit Parfait With Berries and Yogurt
The mixture of Greek yogurt, granola, and berries in this parfait sounds impressive, but this only takes three minutes to make.
2. Toast With a Hard-boiled Egg and Avocado
Avocado on toast is always a winner. If you're starving before your workout, explore this pre-workout option with a hard-boiled (or fried) egg for added nutrients. There are several ways to get creative here, but athletes love this traditional combination before their first daily run.
3. Chia Toast With Peanut Butter and Bananas
This little treat with bananas is an ideal pre-workout. Spread the banana on one piece of the Chia bread and cover with a handful of chia seeds for added nutrition and texture.
II. Supplements for Healthier Pre-workout Options
Creatine, for Starters.
Creatine is a product type in every cell of the human body. It’s also one of the best workout supplements. Most elite athletes know creatine to be a solid addition for complementing your speed and endurance training.
With creatine, you can perform better and see larger improvements over time due to the fact that your muscle fibers have much more energy when you work out.
Caffeine from Coffee
Caffeine is a stimulant substance found in coffee, tea, and several other foods and drinks. It stimulates certain brain areas, allowing you to be more aware and less drousy. Caffeine a common component of pre-workout nutrients.
Caffeine can also improve power output or the ability to generate force instantly.
If acid forms up in the body due to heavy workouts, beta-alanine helps to balance it.
Using beta-alanine as a supplement increases the amount of the amino acid in the blood, which can aid with workout performance.
Nitrate is a molecule found in spinach, turnips, and beets. It can transform into nitric oxide, a chemical that can increase blood flow which can be useful for workout performance. Beetroot or beetroot juice is a common source of nitrate used in sports supplements.
Nitrate can make your workout better by reducing the levels of oxygen you want.
According to some evidence, this remedy appears to be effective for long-term resistance training.
Our friends at Punch'd Energy have created an amazing pre-workout gummy as an alternative to the traditional pre-workout option. From Punch'd themselves, "Because you chew your energy, the effect happens way faster than a drink – anywhere from 10-20X faster in most cases".
The best part about Punch'd gummies is that they are easy to consume since you don't need liquids. They're also a lot healthier for your teeth compared to typical teeth-staining pre-workouts.
III. Benefits of Healthier Pre-workout Options
1. Enhanced Strength & Endurance
For enhancing strength, Healthline has state that caffeine is VERY effective and, in fact, is one of the most effective exercise supplements available.
"Studies have shown that caffeine can benefit endurance performance, high-intensity exercise and power sports. However, it seems to benefit trained/experienced athletes the most."
2. Effectiveness and Regeneration Are Enhanced.
Evidence suggests that high levels of caffeine will help you perform better and recover faster. Caffeine has indeed been linked to improved quality and pace in various studies.
According to one report, participants who consumed caffeine before running 1600 meters on a treadmill finished over 2 minutes quicker than those who did not.
3. Strength Training Can Be More Pleasant.
Beetroot juice, according to a new report, can boost cardiovascular performance. In addition, beetroot juice raises the body’s nitric oxide, which enhances blood circulation.
As a result, the body should have to work less to transfer blood to your heart throughout a workout, as per the principle.
4. Having More Fun When Exercising
Another benefit of coffee is that it will make the exercise more satisfying! It gives you the feeling of boosted energy as well as enhancing your self-confidence.
5. Body Weight Mass Is Increased (Creatine).
Creatine is very well composed, and studies have already shown that those who substitute it into their workout routines gain more strength than those that don’t. According to some reports, those who consume creatine supplements heal from strength training more rapidly. All-in-all it's a huge win.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Pre-workouts?
We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the reality that most pre-workout supplements are not FDA approved is a big deal. Many pre-workout options are safe or effective (see above). However, some supplements contain ingredients that are, at best, counterproductive, and at worst, harmful.
Most pre-workout nutrients provide far more than 100 percent of the recommended daily vitamin or mineral needs. According to Carnes, too much of certain vitamins may be toxic, so it isn’t a case of “more is better.”
Pre-workout nutrients usually contain 150 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per portion. (A coffee produces 95 mg of caffeine, while a 12-ounce can of Red Bull contains 111 mg.)
A quick note - make sure you understand your own body and don't over-consume caffeine.
Beta-alanine, sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, and citrulline can aid with shorter, strenuous activities like those that trigger “muscle burn.” You could use creatine, caffeine, and citrulline to help you perform much better during high-intensity workouts like lifting weights.
You might want to try a range of flavors from various categories and see what works the best for you. You have the choice of adding your pre-workout substitute with a few of the products discussed in the article or getting one off the store.
My personal choice is to shop with Laboor.com. We had the founder, Neil, on our podcast (see the episode here) and they independently test every pre-workout, protein powder, etc. on their website. It's amazing and they even give each supplement a score out of 100 so you can compare.
So...what pre-workout are you going to choose?
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About the Author:
Cory McKane is the CEO/Founder of WeStrive - a platform for personal trainers to manage & grow their personal training business. He enjoys working out and spending time working with trainers on WeStrive on how to manage/grow their business.