It can be a bit overwhelming when one first strolls into a local supplement store. The sheer multitude of preworkout products on the market makes choosing the best one a daunting task.Here are the five best preworkout ingredients that are backed by science.
Preworkout supplements have taken off in the past decade. This is thanks in part to their ability increase endurance. They also improve focus, boost recovery and enhance nitric oxide production (which improves vasodilation). Some preworkouts contain stimulants to provide energy before a workout. Others are stimulant-free for those who are sensitive to ingredients such as caffeine. Unfortunately, it can be hard to decipher what products work and which are pretty much useless (or even harmful).
Many companies choose to egregiously load up their preworkout products with bunk ingredients. They will put in inefficacious doses. Many even rely on harsh stimulants that can desensitize the body to their effects after continual use. The quality control behind many supplements is near non-existent. All this leaves the consumer with a product that doesn’t meet label claims and is unsafe.
Thankfully, Labrada Nutrition is continually researching for the most efficacious ingredients to provide athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and gym-goers alike with premium products.
Caffeine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It helps to increase focus, energy, and fat burning during exercise.1 Caffeine promotes the release of stored fat to be used as energy, can lead to greater muscle contraction and force production, helps enhance focus and mental function and can increase thermogenesis (the metabolic process where your body burns calories to produce heat).2
Research also suggests that caffeine has synergistic effects with creatine monohydrate. This is especially true when taken before exercise (read more on creatine below).3
2) CREAPURE® CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
Creatine is the most-research proven supplement for strength and muscle growth. Our muscles are constantly using up and restoring ATP levels in order to perform work (i.e. contract). Creatine helps maintain availability of energy (ATP) during high intensity exercise and thus speeds up recovery.
Moreover, creatine allows you to do more work over a series of sets or exercises. This leads to greater gains in strength, muscle mass, and performance over time.4 Many supplement companies use bulk sourced creatine monohydrate. This source is often adulterated and impure. Labrada SuperCharge doesn’t cut corners. They incorporate the gold-standard, patented form of creatine monohydrate called Creapure®. Creapure® is tested and quality-controlled for maximum purity.
3) BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids consist of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. These three key essential amino acids contribute directly to muscle protein synthesis. Research suggests that BCAA supplementation has a variety of benefits by promoting muscle protein synthesis when taken before and/or after exercise.5
Thus, BCAAs are great for decreasing muscle damage and enhancing recovery during and after training. They are also essential for repairing tissue, especially in the muscles, bones, skin and hair.
Glycerol is a fat molecule with unique properties in humans. Research has shown that glycerol is taken up by skeletal muscle and this uptake increases significantly during exercise.6 When glycerol is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed and increases the concentration of fluids in blood and tissues.
Since the body retains a balance in the concentration of these fluids, consuming water with glycerol results in rapid hydration and enhanced absorption of other ingredients taken with it. Furthermore, glycerol promotes faster delivery of nutrients and enhances the “pump” effect during training, making it a superb adjunct to most any preworkout supplement.
SuperCharge contains the purest form of glycerol on the market—HydroMax, a patented high-potency glycerol. It is quite common for other preworkout products to rely on a cheaper form of glycerol called glycerol monostearate, which delivers merely 4 to 10% glycerol (rendering it quite useless for performance enhancement).
5) CARNOSYN® BETA-ALANINE
Beta-alanine is a beta amino acid that is used by the body to synthesise carnosine and is great for delaying fatigue and enhancing muscular endurance. Alpha-alanine is one of the 20 genetically-encoded amino acids and is abundant in many biomolecules, whereas beta-alanine is not used in any major enzyme or protein biosynthetic pathways. Carnosine is an important dipeptide (made up of histidine and beta-alanine) in muscle cells and is limited by the availability of beta-alanine. Thus, beta-alanine supplementation confers benefits to athletes looking to increase anaerobic and aerobic performance by increasing carnosine levels in muscle tissue.
Research has demonstrated that muscle carnosine can be increased by 58% and 80% after four and 10 weeks, respectively, when supplementing with beta-alanine.7 Carnosine is crucial for retaining optimal pH in muscles during exercise. A drop in muscle pH reduces their ability to contract forcibly. By picking up hydrogen ions (H+), carnosine delays the decrease in pH and therefore increases our ability to work harder for longer.8
Some people figure they should just supplement with carnosine instead of beta-alanine, but this is impractical as carnosine is rapidly hydrolysed (broken down) into beta-alanine and histidine after ingestion. However, independent ingestion of beta-alanine and histidine allows them to be transported into skeletal muscle and re-synthesised into carnosine. Thus, beta-alanine is the amino acid that influences intramuscular carnosine levels the most.9The best part is Labrada SuperCharge contains the purest form of beta-alanine available, Carnosyn®.
Supplements are always evolving and it’ s certainly wise to try out new products if you feel that there is a potential benefit for you, but remember that the tried and true ingredients never change. This is why products like Labrada SuperCharge are dependable, since it is based on science and research versus word of mouth and anecdote.
Consider that more ingredients in a preworkout supplement doesn’t always translate to better results. Many companies “ label dress” their products by incorporating many ingredients in minute amounts so the end result is lackluster. Labrada SuperCharge keeps it simple with powerhouse ingredients in research-backed doses. Don’ t sacrifice quality for quantity when it comes to your health and physique.
References 1 Woolf K, Bidwell WK, Carlson AG. (2008). The effect of caffeine as an ergogenic aid in anaerobic exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, Aug;18(4):412-29. 2 Beck TW, Housh TJ, Malek MH, Mielke M, Hendrix R. (2008). The acute effects of a caffeine-containing supplement on bench press strength and time to running exhaustion. J Strength Cond Res. Sep;22(5):1654-8. 3Vanakoski, J., Kosunen, V., Meririnne, E., & Seppälä, T. (1998). Creatine and caffeine in anaerobic and aerobic exercise: effects on physical performance and pharmacokinetic considerations. International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 36(5), 258-262.4 Buford TW, et al. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 5Shimomura, Y., Murakami, T., Nakai, N., Nagasaki, M., & Harris, R. A. (2004). Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise. The Journal of nutrition, 134(6), 1583S-1587S.6Hall, G. V., Sacchetti, M., Rådegran, G., & Saltin, B. (2002). Human skeletal muscle fatty acid and glycerol metabolism during rest, exercise and recovery. The Journal of physiology, 543(3), 1047-1058.7 Hill, C., Harris, R., Kim, H., Harris, B., Sale, C., Boobis, L., Kim, C. and Wise, J. (2007) ‘ Influence of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Carnosine Concentrations and High Intensity Cycling Capacity’ , Amino Acids, 32(2), 225-233. 8 Baguet A, Koppo K, Pottier A, Derave W. Beta-alanine supplementation reduces acidosis but not oxygen uptake response during high-intensity cycling exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Feb;108(3):495-503. 9Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73.