I don’t really know too much about pre-workout supplements, but I’ve been using one lately. I was a little conflicted about whether or not I wanted to go down the pre-workout road, but after a couple of after-work workouts through which I just dragged, I thought “a pre-workout might be nice!”
I did a little research to get an idea of what I was looking for. This step alone can be daunting since there are SO many supplements out there, each just slightly different. Variety is good, especially because people react differently to these supplements and want different things out of them. But I’ll be honest, I dove very shallowly into my research just because I was a little overwhelmed with the wealth of info I found. Here is what I focused on when choosing a pre-workout:
-Amino Acids- There is a ton of information on aminos alone that I won’t get into here, but what I find the most important to remember about them is that they are the building blocks of muscle tissue. They are also key in maintaining energy levels, muscle recovery, brain function, etc. Our body produces some of these acids and we get others from food. When you workout, your body uses these amino acids to fuel you, thus depleting your stores. It only makes sense that if you are trying to build muscle, you should replenish your stores so that your muscles have something to draw on as they break down and recover. I looked for a supplement with a diverse amino acid profile just so I could cover all my bases.
-No Creatine- Creatine has some great benefits when it comes to building muscle. But, like amino acids, it also has a lot of information on it out there which I didn’t want to delve into… I learned about aminos and that was all I wanted to handle at one time! I also read that it can cause water retention and bloating, which I’m not particularly interested in. That alone is how I decided I didn’t want creatine in a pre-workout. Vain? Maybe. I will probably revisit the idea of introducing creatine to my supplements at a later time, but for now I’m comfortable without it.
-Energy- I’m tired a lot, especially after work or in the morning, both times when I routinely work out. Who wants to feel tired before they even start to exercising? I definitely wanted a supplement that would give me a bit of a jump start, but without wiring me.
-Taste- I don’t want to drink something that tastes like crap. End of story.
With this criteria in mind, I started searching supplement options. I mostly read about how awesome Jack3D was on a bunch of forums… but that seemed like a rather extreme pre-workout for me. Maybe I’m wrong– like I said, I only did a cursory reading of my research materials.
I did run across some info on Optimum Nutrition’s Essential AmiN.O. Energy that seemed promising. I kept digging and found that it met almost all of my requirements: lots of aminos, a reasonable amount of caffeine, and creatine-free. I just needed to know about the taste…
I contacted Optimum Nutrition to see if I could possibly sample their product… preworkouts ain’t cheap and I didn’t want to invest in one that tasted like chewable baby aspirin. They were gracious enough to send me some packets of their watermelon flavor. I’m happy to report that the taste is AMAZING! It tastes like a Jolly Rancher! It’s not overly sweet and it mixes up well (no grittiness)… problems I had encountered with other kinds of pre-workout samples I had tried.
I went out and bought a cannister of Essential AmiN.O. Energy immediately afterwards and have been using it for the past couple of weeks now. I only take 2 scoops before working out (3 if it’s been a particularly hard day) and I notice a definite increase in my energy levels and focus. It’s enabled me to go harder in my workouts, which I believe will pan out well for my muscle development.
Do you take a pre-workout supplement? If so, what’s your favorite?
Of Possible Interest:
The Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements (Fashion Beans)
8 Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements, 7 Types and When to Use Them (Total Weight Training)
Top 10 Workout Supplements for Women (Weight Loss and Training)