The best pre workout ingredients

We've researched the key ingredients you should look for when picking a good pre workout supplement. Here's what we found

pre workout ingredients
Citrulline Malate is an amino acid extracted from watermelon Photo: Flickr / mauwee88

The right pre workout supplement can help take your gym sessions to the next level.

Let’s face it, we all know what those ‘off days’ in the gym feel like. You’re physically present and going through the motions but your head just isn’t in the game. You’re not quite with it. What’s wrong? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Then there are those amazing workouts that don’t seem to happen often enough. You know the ones. Your muscles are pumped, you feel energised and you don’t want to leave. You feel as if you could go heavier and harder. For whatever reason, you just feel ‘in the zone’.

A good pre workout will help you experience those killer sessions on a regular basis. And yes, those ‘off days’ truly can become a thing of the past.

But what should your pre workout contain? Luckily for you, we’ve trawled through the latest research and scientific journal articles to determine the best ingredients for a pre workout.

There are lots of products on sale these days but you should always check the ingredients label carefully before committing. We’ve done the hard work for you and picked the best pre workout ingredients to consider.

First, let’s take a look at why you’d want to add a pre workout to your regimen.

Pre workout benefits

Put simply, a pre workout supplement will help you to push yourself harder in the gym than ever before.

A good pre workout will:

· Boost your energy levels – No more sluggish starts in the gym
· Give you laser focus – You’ll be able to concentrate with 100% dedication
· Improve your stamina – Go for longer and push yourself harder

Of course, there’s no miracle supplement to get you to your fitness goals. You won’t achieve success in the long-term without putting in the hard work and showing dedication. That being said, a good pre workout can make all the difference and is an option too often overlooked.

So, what should you look for in a good pre workout? We’ve picked some of the best ingredients to look out for when choosing your pre workout supplement.

1) Caffeine

Now, this may seem like an obvious and not particularly ground-breaking place to start, but the benefits of Caffeine in helping to boost energy levels and increase stamina can’t be ignored. Caffeine can help to improve your muscle endurance and strength and also encourages your body to use more fat as fuel. You don’t need much Caffeine to feel the benefits while training, around 150mg should be enough.

best pre workout ingredients caffiene

Caffeine is a great natural stimulant which can give you a boost in the gym Photo: Flickr / BiobasedWorld

2) Creatine Monohydrate

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Creatine as a supplement to help you build muscle. While this is certainly its primary use, if can also be extremely effective when taken before your workouts. It has been shown to improve hydration, reduce fatigue and enhance cognition, meaning it can help you feel more focused during your workouts.

3) L-Carnitine

Do you sometimes feel like you hit a brick wall mid-way through your workout? For whatever reason, sometimes our bodies just shut down to leave you fatigued and starved of energy. That’s exactly what L-Carnitine can help to prevent. It’s a widely researched amino acid that can help to fight fatigue. Better still, it also helps to prevent overall muscle damaged during your workouts. Look for L-Carnitine when selecting your pre workout.

4) Citrulline Malate

The name may be hard to say but Citrulline Malate is actually an amino acid extracted from watermelon. Taking it before your workout can help to significantly boost your nitric oxide levels. In plain English, it dilates your blood vessels to allow more blood to pass through them. You’ll feel great during your session and you’ll have more endurance. Oh, and your muscles will look bigger, too. What’s not to love?

5) L-Theanine

This is an amino acid which is most often extracted from tea leaves. On its own, it can help energise you but is also known to have a calming sensation. But things get really interesting when L-Theanine is mixed with Caffeine. Some of the latest research has revealed that using L-Theanine and Caffeine together in the same supplement stack can significantly boost your energy levels, while also keeping you relaxed and focused at the same time. Sounds good to us.

6) Rhodiola Rosea

This is another ingredient often overlooked by some of the most popular pre workout supplements. Too many products are based around physical stimulation while ignoring the all-important mental side of things. Rhodiola Rosea is known a traditional Chinese medicine which has been shown to help fight depression and tiredness. It’s a herb that can help to boost cognition and overall mood. Put simply, it can help you feel ‘on point’ at the gym and should be included in any good pre workout.

7) Beetroot

Beetroot juice has been shown to increase the amount of plasma nitrate in the body and it can contribute to an overall increase in Nitric Oxide. What does that mean? It can help you enjoy amazing pumps and boost your muscle endurance to go heavier and harder in the gym. It can also work alongside Citrulline Malate (see above) to guarantee that you feel totally energised from start to finish.

8) Coconut water

Whether it be oil, water or milk, coconut products seem to be everywhere these days – and for good reason. Shown to play a key role in hydration, coconut water is packed full of nutrients. It’s considered to be a great natural alternative to sports energy drinks because it can help restore electrolyte levels much like some of the popular sugary products on sale these days. What does that mean for your gym sessions? You’ll feel more energised during your session and less fatigued in the hours afterwards.

So there you have it, eight of the best ingredients to look for when you’re choosing your pre-workout supplement. But are there any pre workouts on sale which include all of the above?

The best pre workout supplements

Many of the leading pre workout supplements pack the ingredients above into a convenient product you can consume just before you hit the gym to make sure you’re at your best while training.

We’ve recently tried and tested some of the top pre workout supplements, most of which come in a powder you can mix with water. Click here to read our full guide to choosing a good pre workout. Most of these products contain the above ingredients.

We’re incredibly picky when it comes to trying any fitness supplements and after doing some research, we only found one product which includes all of the ingredients above at the best doses.

It’s called 4 Gauge and is made by a specialist supplement company called Roar Ambition. Not only does it contain every single one of our favourite eight ingredients to look for in a pre workout, but it also comes in at just 5 calories per serving, meaning that it won’t affect your diet plan (even if you train fasted).

Put simply, it is the all-in-one pre workout supplement you’ve been looking for. It contains only natural ingredients and is free from artificial sweeteners.

4 gauge pre workout

It’s a premium-priced product and is currently only available via the official 4 Gauge website but it is definitely the best pre workout we’ve tried, and our gym sessions have never been better.

For more information and to buy:

Wrapping things up – Our final thoughts

We’ve picked out the best pre workout ingredients to look for when selecting your product and have highlighted the various health benefits of each one.

Remember, supplements can’t lift weights for you – there’s no substitute for hard work and dedication. But the right pre workout can definitely make a massive difference.

The Sport Review's product reviews are independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we don't allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are produced through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


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