The 411 on Pre Workout (Is It Worth Your Money?)
What’s one of the hottest supplements on the market right now?
So much in fact that it ranks #2 on bodybuiling.com’s product list.
Not surprisingly the price is pretty high up there as well.
To get a decent brand, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30-$50 a bottle.
With a pretty price tag like this it begs the question:
Are pre workouts really worth the money?
And is there a way to make a homemade version for just pennies on the dollar?
Be sure to stay tuned because that’s exactly what today’s article is all about.
Let’s get started.
What’s up With All of the Pre Workout Hype Anyway?
Before we get any farther, it’s important to ask yourself a simple question:
Why is it that you want to take pre workout in the first place?
Did you hear about it from a friend or see an ad and think that it would be cool?
Do you think it’s necessary to have a good workout?
Whatever your reason is, I just want you to know ahead of time that pre workout isn’t required to have amazing workouts or get in shape. It’s also not something that you want to be relying on like a crutch.
If you do come to rely on it, then what’s going to happen if you can’t take it one day? Are you just going to skip your workout entirely, or feel that you can’t have a good workout?
Don’t let a supplement control and dictate your workout habits.
The Makeup of a Pre Workout
So what’s in a pre workout that makes it work the way that it does?
What is it that causes you to get a pump or a boost of energy?
What about the increase in muscular endurance?
As you’ll soon see, many of the common ingredients in pre workout can be found in foods already in your kitchen.
Here are the main ingredients of a pre workout:
Main Benefit: to increase muscular strength and power output
Commonly found in: beef, pork, fish, and chicken
Main Benefit: increase muscle size and strength
Commonly found in: venison, bison, elk, chicken, and types of fish
Note: Getting an adequate amount of creatine from food sources alone is pretty hard to do. Therefore it would be wise to supplement with creatine to gain its benefits.
Main Benefit: removing ammonia and lactate from the blood, which in turn will help to delay fatigue
Commonly found in: vegetables, watermelon, meat, and fish
Main Benefit: stimulant to provide you with a boost in energy
Commonly found in: coffee, tea, green tea, dark chocolate
Main Benefit: stimulant for a boost in energy with a reduced tolerance effect compared to caffeine
Commonly found in: N/A
Arginine AKG (AAKG)
Main Benefit: better blood flow to muscles (i.e. help you get a pump)
Commonly found in: cottage cheese, chicken, and beef
Note: These foods contain the amino acid l-arginine, which is part of the AAKG compound. Also there is a lack of evidence to support the notion that AAKG (an intermediate to nitric oxide) helps to support protein synthesis or improve muscular strength. While achieving a pump may look and feel good, it’s not required for gaining strength or muscle.
Could You Make a Homemade Pre Workout?
Seeing the list of foods above can make it tempting to want to replicate your own pre workout with foods already in your kitchen.
Technically, you could eat the foods that contain the same things in the supplement and achieve the desired effect.
While this may sound good in theory it’s not a very realistic option. The good news is that most of the ingredients can be found in meats such as chicken and beef.
The bad news is that you would have to eat an insane amount of these foods to gain the benefit you’re looking for.
Additionally, it would cost you more money and take more time to prepare and eat these foods than simply mixing and drinking the pre workout.
All hope isn’t lost however.
There’s something you can do that’s just as convenient as the typical pre workout, but it’s only for a fraction of the cost…
A Cheap Pre Workout for Pennies on the Dollar
What if you can’t afford pre workout or just want to save some money?
If this is the case for you, then try taking black coffee or caffeine pills. A single serving of pre workout will cost you around $1 depending on the brand.
You can get a similar boost of energy for around 8¢ a serving with the coffee or caffeine pills. Of course you’ll be missing out on the ingredients that help with muscular endurance and the pump, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Just consider what benefits you’d like to get out of the pre workout. If you only care about the stimulant aspect, then taking caffeine alone is a great option.
On the other hand if you want something more, then consider the supplement for the extra price.
The Best Pre Workout Supplements
So if you’re considering investing in a pre workout supplement, which product should you get?
Unfortunately, I can’t help you out with my own personal experience because I’ve never taken pre workout.
In fact, the only supplements that I’m currently taking are creatine and protein powder.
I wouldn’t endorse something that I’ve never used personally so these are just recommendations based on reviews from other people.
At the end of the day, do your own research, experiment with some different brands, and determine what works best for you.
Anyway, here are the top pre workout supplements that I came across (in no particular order and not affiliate links):
If you have room in your budget and want to try a pre workout supplement, then go for it.
It won’t hurt your progress by any means.
Just be weary if you’re starting to rely on it too much.
Conversely, if you’re on a budget, I’d say skip it and invest in something else or try coffee.
Now I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Have you taken pre workout before?
What has your experience been with it?