When looking at the various ergogenic supplements available to help you reach your goals you might have come across pre-workout supplements and wondered whether they would be useful for you. You might already be taking supplements such as creatine and a eating a high protein diet and you might think that this is sufficient to achieve maximum benefits from your training. However, a good pre-workout supplement can supercharge your exercise routine and significantly improve your muscle gain. The answer is that if you care about getting the maximum effect from your workouts, whether that is an increase in fitness or enhanced muscle gain, then a good pre-workout supplement can really help you achieve your goals. There are a number of amino acids and other natural substances that, when taken right before a workout, can enhance your endurance and maximize the muscle growth afterwards. A good pre-workout supplement, such as Xbrain’s Pre-charged, will contain all these ergogenic compounds in one economic, easy to take drink. So what are these substances, and how do they work?
There are a number of ergogenics that are particularly effective when taken just before a workout. A good pre-workout supplement, like X-Brain’s Pre-Charged will combine them all, so they work synergistically to maximize your performance when training and your muscle gain afterwards. Some of these compounds are very well known, like creatine, probably the world’s most commonly used supplement. Then there are amino acid preparations, especially branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have been proven in numerous clinical studies to improve exercise performance and stimulate protein synthesis. A truly effective pre-workout supplement will, of course, contain these well as less famous ergogenics such as MCT oil and nucleotides.
Creatine in Pre-Workout Supplements
Creatine is probably the most commonly taken ergogenic supplement in the world, and rightly so. It works by providing your muscle cells with an additional source of energy in the form of ATP. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the basic unit of cellular energy, every endothermic reaction in your cells, including muscle contraction, breaks down ATP to ADP and phosphate to release the energy contained in the third phosphate bond. Normally the cell makes ATP by burning glucose. However, when you are working out hard, your muscle cells can’t burn glucose fast enough to provide the energy needed for muscle contractions. This is where creatine achieves its effect, when taken up by cells it is converted into phosphocreatine. When energy is needed phosphocreatine gives up its phosphate group to produce ATP, which can be used to fuel more muscle contractions and increase endurance. The effectiveness of creatine in enhancing muscle gain from training has been shown by hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical studies. It is a must for any pre-workout supplement.
Amino Acids for Pre Workout
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and any athlete or bodybuilder knows their importance for muscle growth. However amino acids also have important signalling roles that stimulate protein synthesis, hormone secretion and put the body in an anabolic state. They can also be used by cells to produce energy when glycogen stores run out during strenuous exercise.
Some people argue that eating a protein-high diet is sufficient and that it is not necessary to take amino acid supplements. However, that is a mistake. It is an advantage to start your exercise routine with high levels of certain specific amino acids. Although these are present in the proteins in your diet, you cannot control their digestion and absorption. In contrast pre-workout supplements contain hydrolysed proteins and free amino acids, which are absorbed very rapidly. Taking a pre-workout supplement drink just before your training session ensures a high level of amino acids in your blood as you exercise.
Highly beneficial amino acids include branched chain amino acids, which not only stimulate protein synthesis, but can also be used by cells directly for energy. Studies have shown that taking a BCAA supplement pre-workout improves endurance, conserves glycogen by providing another source of energy, and improves the recovery period. Another excellent source of amino acids is hydrolysed collagen. Collagen is the main protein found in your connective tissue, which makes up your joints, and contains nine out of the ten essential amino acids. Again, the fact that it is hydrolysed means that the amino acids are present as very short chains, with dipeptides, which have even higher bioavailability than free amino acids predominating. Then there is glutamine. Studies show that strenuous exercise leads to a drastic depletion of glutamine, since the amino acid acts as a nitrogen store in the body. The best pre-workout supplements, such as XBrain’s PreCharged will contain glutamine in an easily absorbed state so that you can charge your body with it before starting exercise.
Energy Sources in Pre-Workout Supplements
During strenuous exercise the glycogen stored in your body becomes used up quickly. Your endurance then depends to a large extent on the availability of other energy sources. As we’ve seen both creatine and branched chain amino acids work by providing alternative sources of ATP. However there are other possibilities that can enhance your exercise further. A good thing to find in your pre-workout supplement is MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil. Because of their shorter chain length, the triglycerides in MCT oil are burned much more readily than normal lipids, providing a very rich source of readily available energy that can supercharge your exercise routine when taken before a workout.
Beta Alanine Pre-Workout to Buffer pH
Finally there is one additional ergogenic that is particularly helpful when taken before training, and that is beta-alanine. Although technically it is an amino acid, it is not found in proteins. Instead it is a rate-limiting constituent of a dipeptide called carnosine which acts as a pH buffer. The high metabolism during an intense workout releases many hydrogen ions into the environment. This makes they cytoplasm acidic to a point at which the muscle cells cannot contract anymore. The buildup of acidic byproducts also causes muscle soreness and damages muscle fibres. Carnosine acts as a buffer slowing down changes in pH. This means that your muscles can work harder, develop less soreness and recover faster. Again beta-alanine is clinically proven to improve endurance and recovery. It will certainly make a difference to your training sessions!
As you can see the best pre-workout supplements, like XBrain’s PreCharged, have a long list of high quality ingredients which work synergistically to supercharge your gym sessions. The many additional energy sources will keep you going after your glycogen stores are depleted, beta alanine will slow down the damaging acidification of muscle cells and the amino acid supplements with stimulate protein synthesis and enhance muscle gain. All in one easy to take and economical drink! It is hard to imagine a situation in which you didn’t benefit hugely from a pre-workout supplement!