As a new lifter, you were likely first introduced to the supplement world when you were shopping for a whey protein supplement. If I placed a bet on the next supplement that will catch your attention, it would be on the pre-workouts. Pre-workouts can be a great supplement to support your training sessions but they can also be a money pit if you get poor quality products. So what do you need to know to decide whether you need a pre-workout and to make sure you are getting the right stuff? Let’s get into it. Why Take Pre-Workout Pre-workouts can do a lot to support your training and help you get more out of your gym sessions. Here are the biggest reasons that people purchase pre-workouts:
The Pump The “pump” refers to the feeling you get when you train your muscles and they swell up as blood flow increases. The feeling of a good pump is hard to beat - your T-shirt starts to feel a little tighter and your muscles pop a little bit more. You start feeling like the Wolf within. Aside from pumps being fun and feeling good, there are performance gains in supporting a pump. Pre-workouts often contain ‘vasodilators' which are a class of ingredient that supports blood flow, thus intensifying your pumps. More blood flow to your muscles means that more nutrient-rich blood is feeding your muscles, supporting their performance and recovery. Common vasodilators in pre-workouts are L-citrulline (as a standalone ingredient or as citrulline malate) and L-arginine, with L-citrulline being favored for its efficacy in more recent studies.
Mental Focus Another common ingredient in pre-workouts are stimulants, generally caffeine. Caffeine acts on the central nervous system to increase alertness and make you feel less tired. This is desirable for those athletes that are staring down the barrel of a hard workout where they need to maintain sustained mental focus to keep their head in the game. You want to make sure that your repetitions are done correctly and effectively from beginning to end and caffeine will help keep you focused as you work through your session.
Endurance The ability to get more done in a training session will increase the overall work you are able to put in. The more work you are able to put in, the more gains you can make. Ingredients like beta-alanine and L-citrulline help to increase your physical endurance by delaying the time to muscle exhaustion. This allows your muscles to work longer and harder before experiencing performance degradation. You are getting the support to work out harder, for longer, which will lead to more gains as you continue to train.
Strength and Size Everyone wants to be big and strong and pre-workouts can help with that, too. Creatine is a common ingredient that is in some pre-workouts because it is a beneficial supplement that benefits strength athletes and bodybuilders. Creatine helps your body to produce ATP, which, in short terms, is energy for your muscles. The more ATP you are able to produce, the more force your muscles will be able to produce, and the more weight you will be able to lift. Creatine also increases muscular volume, so you get a little bump in muscle size along with your strength gains. Creatine does all of this with little to no side effects, and is cost effective. Everyone that lifts weights can benefit from creatine supplementation. You will find all of these high-impact ingredients in our flagship pre-workout Wolf Juice. What to Look For As you shop pre-workouts, there are a couple things to make sure you look out for: Ingredients The ingredients and dosages (discussed further in the next section) are the main drivers of the effectiveness and price of a product. Because we will discuss dosages next, let’s focus on the ingredients here. In the last section we discussed a few different ingredients (L-citrulline, beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine). These ingredients do most of the heavy lifting in any pre-workout. Some pre-workouts contain other ingredients in them; however, the benefits of these ingredients are less known and felt less. If you’re paying for a product, you want to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck, which comes from getting the correct dosages of the ingredients that are going to give you the best results.
Dosages Each ingredient has an ideal dosage. If your supplement provides ingredients below the recommended dosage for optimal effect, you are leaving gains on the table. If your supplement is overdosed (which is rare, more on that in a bit) you’re wasting money because either:
Your body cannot use the additional supply of the ingredient.
Some ingredients have adverse side effects if taken in doses higher than recommended.
You want to find a pre-workout that has the high-value, effective ingredients (those outlined above) in the correct doses to make sure you are getting every bit of value out of the supplement you are taking. You are aiming to optimize the products you use to optimize your performance. You will find that many pre-workouts do not provide the optimal doses of their best, most useful, active ingredients. You will have to further supplement with these ingredients if you want to get the full benefits. Avoid “Proprietary Blends” Some supplement companies put proprietary blends into their pre-workouts. This is generally done as a marketing tool so that they can market their supplement in a specific way. As in “Our proprietary blend will get you these great results”. The real reason that these blends should be avoided is because it makes it impossible to accurately determine the doses of the ingredients you want in your pre-workout. A proprietary blend that mixes even as little as 2 ingredients makes it impossible to know what the specific dosage of each ingredient is. Reactivity With Your Body This criteria may require a little trial and error, but the point is that everyone’s body is different and so different ingredients will interact with each person’s body differently. If you try a pre-workout that makes you feel poorly, then it may not be a good fit for you. The advantage to avoiding the proprietary blends as stated above is that you can better pinpoint what ingredient is giving you adverse effects, or at which dosage that ingredient is not agreeing with you. Our pre-workout, Wolf Juice does not have any proprietary blends and offers you a product with only the most effective ingredients in the optimal doses - we believe so strongly in doing business this way that we put our exact dosing information on the label.
Don’t Forget Remember - even with all the great things a pre-workout can do for you in the gym, your growth is dependent on your efforts, diet, and, most importantly, your recovery. The best supplements in the world cannot overcome poor habits. Make sure that you are building good habits first to ensure you get the best results from your supplements. Wolf Juice Let’s talk a bit about our flagship pre-workout, Wolf Juice. Our company motto is “No Half Measures” and so Wolf Juice was developed to deliver only the most effective ingredients at the optimal doses. We are ensuring that we are providing our customers with the most effective product available at the best value. Our product does not contain any proprietary blends and we have gone so far as to outline exactly what is in our formula complete with the dosages right on the tub. We ensured you have all of the information needed to make an educated decision about what you’re purchasing. Wolf Supplements focuses on the science and quality of our ingredients first and we allow our results to speak for themselves. If you want laser focus, shirt-ripping pumps, and the best support available to push yourself past your limits, Wolf Juice has what you need. You can pick up Wolf Juice in 2 flavors - Hawaiian Punch and Blue Guava at Wolf Supplements, or, if you’re local to Wakefield, come check it out at The Supplement Shop at: 8, Flanshaw Court, Flanshaw Way Trading Estate, Flanshaw Way, Wakefield WF2 9LP, UK Check us out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too. #JOINTHEPACK.