Ifyou’ve ever taken a good pre-workout supplement (we’re big fans of AthleteOctane, Eight Ball and Maniac) – you know what a difference it canmake in the gym. But what exactly is happening in our bodies that makes us feelso amped? Let’s look at the science behind how these supplements work using allthe super scientific terms, like catecholamine synthesis and then explain it in words that we actuallyunderstand.*
ENERGY: You needsome energy to get up in the morning and go for that run, or some at the end of the day when you wouldrather lay down on the couch than go to the gym. Here are a couple ingredientsto look for in order to get the energy and focus you need to get goin!
Tyrosine isan amino acid that’s a precursor to neurotransmitters and important in proteinsynthesis. It accelerates the catecholamine synthesis and regulates the effectsof acute stress. This process gives you an increase in concentrationwhen stress is placed on your body, such as during an intense workout. Take500-1000 milligrams half an hour before you get into that intense workout.
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Thisstimulant has helped millions of people every day transition from dazed andsleepy eyed to pumped and alert. Chances are you’ve already had at least onecup of coffee or some sort of caffeine today. This widely popularstimulant acts upon the central nervous system to increase energy and pump upour metabolism. It releases fatty acids into the blood stream that will be usedas energy – resulting in some pretty awesome fat burning power. Not only does itincrease our metabolism, it increases your focus and your general bodycoordination. But, be careful, if you take too much of this potent supplementit can disrupt your coordination and lead to headaches. Take a moderate amount,about 200 mg a half hour before you plan to workout and you should be good togo.
Try out: ANS Performance HIT
POWER: Sometimes,you need some extra strength to power through an intense lifting session – somethingthat will give you an edge to do one more rep or go for the heavier weight. Inorder to get the most out of your lifting session look for these ingredients inyour pre-workout supplement.
Sciencelesson y’all. Adenosine Triphosphate, or more commonly known as ATP’s, are theonly source of energy that causes muscles to contract. When your body has usedup all these ATP’s during your reps, the body replaces these ATP’s by breakingdown creatine phosphate (CP’s) and allows for an extra 8-12 seconds of energy.By taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate before you workout, your stocking upon CP’s so you can maximize your workout with power.
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Taurine isanother amazing lil’ amino acids that helps with protein synthesis.This one is naturally found in your body and helps regulate the level of waterand salts in your blood. By controlling the fluid balance in the cell membranesof muscle tissue it helps to control muscle contractions. Since taurine isalready naturally occurring in the body, you only need an extra 1-2 gramsbefore you push those muscles to the max.
Try out: On Go Energy
MUSCLE-BUILDING: Nowthat you have extra energy, intense focus, and a lil extra power behind yougoing through your workout, you need something that will help build thosemuscles. These ingredients will help do just that.
High Glycemic Carbohydrates
Againstpopular belief, not all carbs are bad. These carbs are digested quickly and canhave a huge effect on your muscles. To understand this better lets go back toour science lesson on creatine monohydrates: our bodies use ATP’s to getthe energy needed to drive muscle contractions. When all of those ATP’s are used upthe body uses creatine phosphates (CP’s) for energy, but it only stores enoughfor a maximum effort of 8-12 seconds of muscle contraction. If yourbody has used all of the CP’s, it turns to stored glycogen, orcarbohydrates that are stored in the muscle tissues, and blood sugar to restorethose original ATP’s. This cycle repeats every time you do a rep in the gym. Bytaking 20-60 grams of High Glycemic Carbs you can preserve thosemuscle cells so you can become a lean, mean, fighting machine.
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BCAA’S, orBranched Chained Amino Acids, are a three branched amino acid chain thatreduces breakdown in the muscle tissue by making quick-ready energy availableto your muscle tissues. It prevents the body from taking essential amino acidsfrom the muscles for energy and uses the BCAA in the blood stream instead. Thismeans that all those handy amino acids that are essential to building muscletissues, can stay in your muscles and not be used for energy. A great source ofBCAA’s is Whey Protein (we like Elemntz Vanilla Bean Whey Protein and 100% Whey Gold Standard). Thishigh-quality protein is packed with BCAA’s, can be digested quickly and canincrease protein synthesis so you can build up those muscles.
Try out: Axis Labs N’Gage
ENDURANCE: Nowthat you have all the tools to have a great workout, here are a few supplementsthat can increase your endurance to get you to train harder, better, faster andlonger.
This handyamino acid increases the levels of carnosine in the muscle tissue. Carnosine isa dipeptide made up of beta alanine and histidine, and increases your endurancethrough antioxidant properties and delays neuromuscular fatigue. Soundcomplicated? Just know that if you take 2-2.5 grams before you workout, youcan do more reps without getting tired. Whoop whoop!
Try out: EAS Phos Force
This amino acid is not used during protein synthesis but optimizes bloodflow to reduce the sensation of fatigue. This can lead to an increase in theproduction of Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP’s, and remove endotoxins, likelactic acid, that are produced during training. This means by taking 3-6 gramsbefore a workout, you can efficiently use your energy and prevent sorenessafterwards.
Try out: Source Naturals L-Citrulline Capsules
RECOVERY. Youhave finished that mind blowing workout. You feel fan-frickin-tastic. Now is thetime to think about protecting those muscles you just worked on. Antioxidantsneutralize the free radicals that can damage cellular components such as DNA orthe cell membrane, which causes the cells (like those precious muscle cells) todie. By taking some of these antioxidants after you work out, you can make surethere’s no damage to your muscles.
Vitamin Eis one of the most potent lipid-soluable antioxidants that influences theeffectiveness of other antioxidants. By taking this vitamin, you can increasethe amount of good antioxidants that will keep your muscle cells intact.
Try out: FRS Healthy Slim
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Thisextremely powerful antioxidants protects your red blood cells. Alpha LipoicAcid is similar to insulin in that it increases the glucose uptake by yourmuscle cells and decreases the glucose uptake by fat cells. In plain terms: itallows you to make more muscle and less fat. Boom.
Try out: AI Sports Alpha Lipoic Acid
Note: It’s important to cycle through thesupplements you take to keep your body from adapting to them. It’s a good ruleof thumb to use a product for 6-8 weeks and then stop using it or switch to adifferent product for 2-3 weeks. If you’re really interested in a pre-workoutsupplement, always check with your doctor, find out the ingredients and read product reviews beforeyou purchase.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.