Choosing A Pre-Workout: Everything You Need To Know
Choosing a pre-workout is an important decision before exercising. Here's how to choose a pre-workout that's best for you
A pre-workout is designed to power up your exercise session by increasing energy, stamina, and motivation. You’ll have the fuel you need to work harder for longer, and to achieve the results you want.
But what is a pre-workout? And how do you choose the right one for your needs?
This blog post answers both of those questions, and is based on our guide to choosing a pre-workout. By figuring out your goals, and by looking at your diet, your routine, and your preferences, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the right pre-workout for you.
What are your GOALS?
First up, take a second to think about your workout goals. Are you trying to firm up your muscles a little bit? Are you looking to get ripped? Or are you looking to lose weight?
Your end goal plays a huge role in choosing a pre-workout. People aiming for bigger muscles will usually be drawn to ingredients like creatine, which is regarded as the best supplement for increasing muscle mass and strength. People looking to lose weight might be looking for natural stimulants in order to help boost their metabolism safely.
Are you trying to LOSE WEIGHT?
There is a clear divide in the pre-workout marketplace between products tailored to muscle gain and products tailored to weight loss. Generally we see a trend where males are looking for muscle pre-workouts, while females want weight loss ones. Obviously this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it does explain why so many muscle building supplements have masculine branding, and why many of the best pre-workouts for women place the emphasis on weight loss.
When choosing the pre-workout for you, it’s vital that you land on the right side of this line.
Losing weight is all about maintaining a healthy caloric deficit. In simple terms this means burning more calories than you consume. Keep this up for long enough, and your body will burn through its fat reserves, equating to lost weight.
Exercise is one of the best ways to increase the calories you burn. More exercise, more calories. So taking a pre-workout with ingredients designed to increase your energy levels and stamina becomes especially important, things like:
- Natural caffeine for energy
- Vitamin B5 to reduce fatigue
- L-tyrosine to improve focus and concentration.
What is your DIET?
Once you know what type of pre-workout supplement you should be looking for, the next step is making sure it aligns with your dietary requirements. This covers personal preference, as well as any allergies you may have.
For example, lots of pre-workout supplements aren’t vegan. Sometimes this is obvious – a protein chocolate bar, for instance – but other times it’s much more subtle. If you have special dietary requirements, look closely at the ingredients of any pre-workout you’re planning to take.
To be fully vegan, a pre-workout must be free of egg, dairy, molluscs, fish, crustaceans, and meat.
Many people also like products that contain all-natural ingredients. The supplement world is particularly prone to synthetic blends, especially ones that do the same things as ingredients readily available in nature. If this is important to you, take an extra careful look at those ingredient lists!
WHEN do you work out?
Routine also dictates which pre-workout will be best for you. If your work life balance means that you can only squeeze exercise into your evenings, you’ll probably want to avoid something with lots of caffeine!
On the other hand, if the only time you can work out is very early in the morning, something with a little more caffeine than usual may be preferable!
What TYPE of pre-workout do you want?
Pre-workouts come in capsule form, as well as drinks, powders, bars, and more. Deciding which you like – and which you’re particularly keen to avoid – will help you to make a decision.
For example some people really don’t like swallowing capsules or pills. While at first this may put you off certain products, it’s worth seeing whether they can be dissolved or stirred into water.
In the end, choosing the right pre-workout for you comes down to an understanding of your preferences, the products available on the marketplace, and the intersection between the two.
While it can be daunting shopping for pre-workout supplements, remember that ultimately you’re working out to feel good, and to achieve your goals. A supplement should help you to achieve that (the clue is in the name!), rather than make the experience any more stressful.