The supplement industry has flourished in the past few decades and all thanks to the bodybuilding sport, it is now very popular than never before.
The nutrient requirement during training is such that most of the trainees fail to acquire it from a normal diet or even with an enhanced special diet.
This led to the birth of the supplement market that helped millions around the globe to combat deficiency.
A pre-workout supplement1, taken prior to workout focuses on releasing factors or nutrients that will help in giving stamina, energy outburst, faster recovery, vasodilation, and better mental focus.
In this article today we are taking a glance at 5 best pre-workout supplements in the current market.
So let’s jump right into the topic and explore more.
Best supplements to boost your endurance, stamina, and strength
1. 4 Gauge
What is it?
Owned by Roar Ambition Limited based in London, 4 Guage is a golden blend of natural ingredients that gives an energy outburst and mental focus, helping the user finish the training session like a piece of cake.
This pre-workout supplement is sold in powder form so that you can mix it with water or skimmed milk and consume as a shake or even with a smoothie.
It is one among the few pre-workout supplements that have Rhodiola Rosea, and Citrulline in the ingredient list which helps in pumping blood and focus better.
4 Guage is an excellent mental tonic apart from being a physical supplement which will help the user stay fresh and focused.
How does it work?
Three physiological effects are playing an important role in the action of 4 Guage
- Improved brain signaling
- Instant ATP supply
During the workout, the energy levels go significantly down and need to be replenished at a faster rate for which enhanced blood flow created by vasodilation would help.
Most importantly the trainee must need a mental motivation to push his/her limits which is being taken care by ingredients like Rhodiola Rosea which will keep you mentally fit and ready to rock.
The mood toning is taken care of by caffeine which is known stimulant that can increase your alertness levels and attention which alter braining signaling by rising GABA levels.
Creatine will make the ATP ready to release energy at your disposal which plays an important role in muscle contraction.
Pros and cons
- Smart caffeine formulae help in faster action seen within 2-4 hours of use.
- All the ingredients are natural and of herbal origin.
- Contains L-Citrulline which is more effective in NO activity compared to L-Arginine.
- Great money savings with ‘Ultimate Ammo Crate’ package.
- No money back guarantee.
- Only sold through official website.
Discover more: Read full 4 Gauge review here
2. Transparent Labs Lean Pre-Workout
What is it?
Preseries Lean Pre-Workout from Transparent Labs is one of their most successful product that can help you thrive with full physical potential during your workout session.
As in the name, the ingredients are fine-tuned to supplement you in such a way that you will get more ripped and lean muscles rather than bulking up with this product.
And for your surprise, this product has over 15 ingredients making it one of those complete pre-workout supplement that can take care of your entire supplementation needs prior to an arduous workout.
The best thing about this product is that it can contribute to actual muscle growth with its BCAA’s2 , which is something you don’t see in most of the pre-workout supplements.
How does it work?
Preseries Lean Pre-Workout is a complex rather than a blend with over 15 ingredients.
Caffeine in this supplement will stimulate the alertness and mental preparedness to run through a workout session.
Caffeine-Theanine complex stimulates natural synthesis of ATP and gets it ready for muscle contractions which helps in short energy outbursts to push harder.
BCAA and betaine are things that put this product into another league, which are the compounds that contribute to muscle anabolism.
There are several ingredients in this complex that will help in improving the bioavailability of nutrients, improving metabolism, and maintaining homeostasis.
Pros and cons
- No artificial sweeteners or colors added for taste.
- Fast acting formula.
- You can choose from 5 flavors.
- Mechanism of working and formulation is scientifically studied.
- Contains Citrulline instead of L-Arginine.
- Hefty price tag.
- High beta-alanine content.
Discover more: Read full Transparent Labs Lean review here
3. Blackwolf Track Pre-Workout
What is it?
TRACK from Blackwolf is another pre-workout supplement in the modern market that could grant you an unparalleled endurance and energy to stay in your prime during the workouts.
Here also caffeine along with taurine is used to increase the alertness levels giving you the best focus while being in the gym.
The formulation is carefully tailored for the user to exploit the maximum benefit from the ingredients which otherwise wouldn’t be as efficient as when it is in TRACK blend.
TRACK is manufactured by Wolfson Berg Limited based in Cyprus and has a long-standing reputation in the supplement market with their other products.
The ample ingredient composition, their quality and decent efficiency of this product make it a strong contender to be in our top 5 list.
How does it work?
Again the working is simple like all other pre-workout supplements would do, but the superior blend and selection of ingredients makes TRACK different from others.
As per the studies while at the gym the metabolism tends to be higher and therefore the nutrient requirement is enhanced and their supply has to be faster for that matter.
TRACK will load all the necessary nutrients prior to workout and supply them at the required pace, thanks to vasodilation created by L-Citrulline.
Thus when the body is about to get exhausted the nutrient compounds are supplied thus giving muscles more endurance to reach peak performance.
While the nutrient channel is proper, muscles might need another important component known as the energy key ‘ATP’, which TRACK supplements with creatine monohydrate.
The mental preparedness is taken by Caffeine and Taurine, these compounds will fuel you from within.
Also, TRACK has BCAA with special composition to promote lean muscle growth.
Pros and cons
- TRACK can help in lean muscle growth.
- Faster onset with within 2-3 weeks.
- Vitamins in the TRACK delays fatigue.
- Overloaded with 20+ ingredients.
- Free worldwide shipping.
- Price tag.
- Available only on the official website.
Discover more: Read full Blackwolf Track review here
4. NO2 Max
What is it?
It is very well evident from the name that this is a nitric oxide supplement that helps in pumping more blood.
Usually, pre-workout supplements carry a dozen of ingredients targeting other metabolic actions whereas NO2 Max is an exclusive product that will give you enough transportation of blood in required body parts.
Yet another product by Wolfson Berg Limited, this is a real deal and one of the most successful pre-workout supplement in our list.
The working philosophy of this particular product is to create a conduit for naturally acquired metabolites and nutrients to reach muscles and various body parts rather than supplementing it artificially.
How does it work?
Mainly NO2 Max will help in vasodilation that will help in more blood to be circulated, which is very important during a workout.
Vasodilation is created by nitric acid in the blood which will relax the vascular smooth muscles resulting in widening of the circumference thus accommodating more blood volume.
This enhanced flow will ensure timely delivery of nutrients, especially if you are taking another supplement along with NO2 max.
NO2 Max can also release calcium, which is very important for bone mineral density and muscle contraction.
Other ingredients will help in the right expenditure of energy and thereby delaying the fatigue.
With enhanced blood flow and a lot of fatty acids in the ingredient list, the recovery time required during and post workout is significantly reduced.
Pros and cons
- Best for NO activity.
- Supplements calcium.
- Results in 2-3 weeks.
- Efficient absorption of other ingredients.
- Good value for money.
- Greatly reduces the recovery time.
- Lacks muscle anabolites.
Discover more: Read full NO2 Max review here
5. Performance Lab Sport Pre-Workout
What is it?
‘Pre’ is a pre-workout supplement from Performance Lab and it comes under their ‘Sport’ category along with other products like BCAA, T-booster, Whole Food Multi, and Energy.
This is a pure beast and meant for those people who are physically active and require quick rejuvenation prior to a hard training session.
Manufactured by Opti Nutra Nutraceuticals, the market presence of this brand has been long established with another subsidiary concern called MindPro Lab.
The major focus of this product is to improve the nitric oxide level for better blood transportation which helps in enhanced oxygenation and faster muscle growth.
Also, the antioxidant property by some of the ingredients in this product will prevent the free radical-induced damage to the cells.
How does it work?
First and foremost, the nitric oxide activity is boosted by the ingredients L-Citrulline that will widen the blood vessels for enhanced transportation of blood.
Even though when you have taken other supplement, the blood has to reach each and every cell in order to yield results, which is taken care of by dilated blood vessels.
Creatine will increase the availability of ATP molecules to transfer energy for muscle contraction thus helping you push that extra feat.
While these two activities are the major intention of this product, a third one or rather more important one is the antioxidant property of certain ingredients.
During workouts, a lot of free radicals are been created which can damage the mitochondria of the cell leading to cell death.
Cordyceps Super and Maritime Pine Bark Extract in the Pre will stop this from happening and reduce any inflammation after workout assisting faster recovery.
Pros and cons
- One of the most budget-friendly pre-workout supplement out there.
- Results in the very first use.
- Entirely plant-based product.
- 7 days return policy and 60 days money back guarantee.
- Pre is free from caffeine, gluten, soy and allergens.
- Currently sold through the official website only.
Discover more: Read full Performance Lab Pre review here
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are pre-workout supplements?
Let us try to dig a little deeper about pre-workout supplements.
Simply put, they are capsules, tablets, or water-soluble powder made by combining various herbal, and chemical ingredients, which helps in boosting the performance and comes handy during a workout session.
The main focus of a pre-workout supplement is giving that extra outburst of energy required in the middle of a workout, which will help you push the boundaries of human endurance and strength.
This way, you can stay focused and motivated during the exercise, helping you juice the best possible results.
With day by day improving vitals, you will be able to train harder, and this will accelerate the results compared to no-supplement version of training.
They are often consumed 30 ~ 60 minutes before the workout session, mixed with water or milk (powder) or gulped with water (capsules.)
Several studies have made regarding the benefits of a pre-workout supplement, and some of it says that a 20 % ~ 30 % enhancement in performance is seen in regular users.
How do they work?
The majority of the pre-workout supplements work the same way, and mostly there will be an active compound that gives this performance boost.
The most commonly found active compounds in pre-workout supplements are caffeine, amino acids, nitric oxide precursors, creatine3, and beta-alanine.
Some of the pre-workout supplements have only one active compound, but nowadays, manufacturers are trying a mixture of various active compounds to maximize the output.
Caffeine is a wakefulness-promoting agent found in coffee beans that interacts with the adenosine receptor to increase alertness. Cognition and mental activity of the user are drastically improved along with endurance, and power by upregulating the neural activity.
Nitric oxide is another primary active compound which is a vasodilator that widens the blood vessels to carry more blood to the muscles, thus keeping them well-nourished.
Creatine is processed to release ATP molecules, which are the energy currencies used by the muscles to create strength.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that prevents the toxic buildup of lactic acid produced as a result of muscle exertion, thus helping in increasing endurance by delaying fatigue.
When you should use a pre-workout supplement?
All supplements that you take have a sweet spot or a time window during which if you manage to take it, the results will be at its best.
In the case of pre-workout supplements, this is generally 30 ~ 60 minutes before the workout.
However, depending on the active compounds in the supplements, the time can vary.
Some of the compounds need a more extended period to get absorbed into the bloodstream, while some of the blends with a promoter can be easily absorbed in less than 30 minutes.
If your supplement is a caffeine-based one, then it might need at least 45 minutes to get absorbed into the system and to start circulating through the bloodstream.
On the other hand, creatine takes around an hour, and they shouldn’t be taken with caffeinated drinks.
Beta-alanine4 based supplements are often taken at least 45 minutes before the workout; however, the effect can last for up to 2 hours after consumption.
When it comes to blends, they are faster in getting absorbed and needs only 30 minutes to appear on the bloodstream.
Benefits of using a pre-workout supplements
First and foremost, let us wash away one misconception surrounding pre-workout supplements.
Taking pre-workout supplements alone won’t make you muscular or improves your endurance.
It is not a magic potion that could give your Arnold like body.
It is just an aid that can help you stick to your routine with more mental and physical power to last the entire session.
The efficacy and performance of the pre-workout supplement entirely depend on the manufacturer, ingredients, active compounds, or blends used.
Some of the unparalleled benefits using a pre-workout supplement are:
- You will be able to finish entire reps with the same intensity as you have started-off.
- There will be a sudden outburst of energy that will help you push a couple more reps in some high-intensity workouts.
- The exercising capability and flexibility of the individual are improved.
- Your metabolism is increased; as a result, nutrient allocation and energy release are enhanced.
- You will feel motivated and focused on your workout, eliminating the repetitive boredom.
- Muscle recovery post-workout is upgraded, which helps in defining a clear physique especially if you are on a cutting cycle.
- Helps muscle balance in resistance training workouts.
- Reduces the lactic acid build-up, which might result in cortisol release leading to muscle anabolism.
- Muscle damage due to change in the workout is very common, and with a pre-workout supplement, muscle improves its flexibility in handling tensions.
- Enhances the blood flow into various parts of the body, especially into the muscles, and as a result, endurance is increased.
Are there any side effects for pre-workout supplements?
It all boils down to the quality of ingredients, manufacturer, choice of active compounds, presence of steroids or other chemical substances, and finally, user handling which includes the dosage and intake frequency.
If you use a pre-workout supplement as recommended by the manufacturer or your doctor, then chances of adverse health effects are very less.
Still, some mild health effects are usually reported, which are not serious, though.
Some of the supplements are of herbal origin, meaning the ingredients are mostly plant extracts, and using those products is very less likely to turn harmful due to its organic nature.
Heart palpitation and abnormal heartbeats have been reported as a side effect due the stimulatory effect of these supplements.
Drastic weight loss might happen if you are using a pre-workout supplement while keeping the BMI unattended.
A proper diet has to be followed in order to compensate for this weight loss caused by pre-workout sample.
Some of the common side effects include headache, muscle cramps, anxiety, itching, nausea, diarrhea, and flushed skin.
However, the herbal pre-workout supplements are comparatively side-effects free and occasionally might lead to stomach upsets.
To be on a safe side, if you have a previous history of heart diseases, stroke, lung disorder, liver/kidney malfunctions, recently been through some surgery, or if any other complications are there, it is better to consult a doctor before using pre-workout supplements.
Pre-workout supplements are an added advantage, especially if you are graduating from novice to intermediate.
When the workout routine changes, it is usually difficult for the muscles to get adapted to the new exercise, and having a pre-workout supplement on your side will help you bridge this shortcoming.
The choice of the supplement is always the user’s discretion but always look for a well-reputed brand with many customer reviews and testimonials.
A blend is an excellent choice for general-purpose performance enhancement, but professionals go with more sophisticated pre-workout supplements with other additives.
Another thing to keep in mind is the timing of supplement intake, and it is better to have it at least 40 minutes before the gym session.
Avoid overloading of other stimulatory foods like coffee and energy drinks alongside a pre-workout sample.
This will significantly reduce the chances of adverse health effects.
Now that you know all about the pre-workout supplement give it a try and see how it changes your gym performance.
- Spradley, Brandon D., et al. “Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance.” Nutrition & metabolism 9.1 (2012): 28. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-9-28
- Shimomura, Yoshiharu, et al. “Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise.” The Journal of nutrition 134.6 (2004): 1583S-1587S. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/134/6/1583S/4688850
- Harris, Roger C., Karin Söderlund, and Eric Hultman. “Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation.” Clinical science 83.3 (1992): 367-374. https://portlandpress.com/clinsci/article-abstract/83/3/367/75945
- Artioli, Guilherme Giannini, et al. “Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance.” Med Sci Sports Exerc 42.6 (2010): 1162-1173. http://www.academia.edu/download/43844955/The_Role_of_-alanine_Supplementation_on_20160317-20037-pvj2h0.pdf