What is the Pre-Workout?
Pre-Workout refers to the time before the workout is started. It constitutes a part of the period known as Peri-training or Peri-workout which is integrated by:
Pre-workout is only done on the most demanding training days or when we are taking part in an event or competition. By taking pre-workout supplements we provide nutrients that will be used by the body during training and which can reduce the degradation of proteins, among other things.
Why take a pre-workout supplement?
The reasons for taking a product of this kind are various, will often be related to our particular pace of life. The majority of people have to do their training session after an exhausting day at work. This is possibly not the best time, especially at the psychological level, since cognitive and concentration capacities, both key aspects of physical training, can be either diminished or already totally saturated.
On the other hand, if the work involves a physical component, there will likely be a great loss of energy during the day, so that when the time comes to train it will be particularly difficult.
In both cases it will be up to the individual to correctly plan how to fit in training sessions during the week, based both on the circumstances and their capacity to tolerate volume and intensity in training while combining it with their work schedule.
In such circumstances, the use of these pre-workout products are available for those lacking the necessary motivation and physical or intellectual capacities needed to get the workout done. In this case one can take a pre-workout product prior to the session which will bring certain benefits, help one take advantage and obtain the best results from the physical actitvity in question.
Benefits of taking a pre-workout supplement
There are three types of benefits when it comes to taking a pre-workout supplement:
- Provision of energy
- Performance improvement
- Delivery of nutrients
The main benefit is the effective provision of energy in order do a great job, whether it is during a training session or in a competition. In this case one should adjust the supplements according to the activity in question. With this nutritional input we can reduce fatigue, at least during a large part of the training, but the overall result will depend on various factors, such as our food consumption pattern, or the times we train at.
If we train first thing in the morning without first having eaten, then some kind of additional energy supplementation will be needed to make up for the nutritional shortage and which will help us maintain a good pace during training sessions without noticeable fatigue or which could otherwise cause us to run out of energy.
Products included in this category have certain ingredients that do offer some improvements in athletic performance, in terms of strength and resistance. These are ergogenic substances or those which provide improvements with physical abilities. With regard to this it should be noted that at no time should one try products that are outside the rule of law and that could lead to possible sanctions from the various sports federations.
These will act in different ways, depending on the product, for example by bringing about better capillary oxygenation as a result of increasing the production of Nitric Oxide to then promote the delivery of nutrients for muscle development and as fuel energy to the muscle tissues.
We would choose one or another of these different products depending on the type of training or activity we are doing. In the following subsection we will cover how our bodies make demands on the different energy substrates:
This source of energy directly obtains ATP (the cellular energy supply) from the body's own deposits. The main problem is that these deposits are very limited and will be emptied after a submaximal exertion. A certain period of time will then be needed in which to resinthesise and recharge the ATP. For this process the best available supplement is Creatine.
When lifting weights, doing sprints, explosive movements or similar activities we will be looking for a pre-workout product containing creatine, or we can consume in its pure form.
The energy that we use for the resynthesis of ATP on this occasion will be carbohydrates from glycogen deposits. If physical activity exceeds a certain intensity threshold, the consequence will be the production of a high-speed metabolic residue, such as lactic acid. This results from the conversion of glucose into ATP and if we are not able to perform this action at a given moment, we would have to cease the activity. The process of training itself however will produce adaptations whenever this situation arises and will increase our capacity to handle this type of demand little by little. Also, certain supplements can be of benefit when it comes to "recycling" lactate, thereby giving us a little extra in our performance. Beta-alanine and creatine may be combined in order to obtain greater benefits from both.
If the activity concerned has this level of energy demand, such as athletics, weightlifting, CrossFit or team sports, we shouldn't miss the opportunity to maximise our performance capacities in this way.
This energy source is obtained from fat deposits, using triglycerides which will ultimately be those that "oxidise". In this case, activities that encourage this type of fuel usage tend to be long-lasting or involving endurance, with an intensity that does not exceed the aerobic threshold. This is because in order to obtain energy from ATP, an optimum oxygen supply is necessary. The supplements of greatest benefit are those which have components that can increase our capacity for concentration while we are involved in activities that continue over a long period of time and which may overcome us not with physical tiredness, but psychologically. With regard to this, stimulant or thermogenic products will be be most appropriate and will also have the added benefit of maximising the use of fatty acids.
How to take a pre-training supplement.
When it comes to taking a pre-workout supplement, we will obtain a greater benefit if we do so on an empty stomach, around 30 minutes prior to the start of the physical activity.
If we train shortly after getting up in the morning, our routine should be to first take the supplement and then to wait a while before commencing training. At other times of the day, the best practice would be to eat first a minimum of 1.5 to 2 hours previously. Depending on the nutrient content, meals may have to be adjusted to avoid any difficulties with digestion.
If the product contains any quantity of stimulants it is more effective to cycle their usage, in order to avoid our bodies becoming accustomed to them and thereby ceasing to provide the same impact. In this way we would only resort to using the product on those days with the heaviest workload, or if that is not doable we could take a break of two days for every five days of usage. Another approach would be to take a break after a heavy usage period of a few consecutive weeks.
In our catalogue we have complete products with special formulas, unique to the manufacturer, which provide all the nutrients we have covered here. You'll have access to products which can be taken in an isolated form, which is the case with the HSN Raw Series and thereby have the option of creating your own combinations using one product or another, depending on your individual needs.
Among the most outstanding products for providing nutrients for use in training are as follows:
Proteins can be included in our pre-workout intake. In this case, the best protein to take before training is one which is able to deliver nutrients to the bloodstream very quickly when we commence the physical activity.
Some recommended options would be:
As we have seen, supplying these nutrients will drastically influence our performance, since they provide energy. We should look for a class of carbohydrates that does not cause any excessive alteration of the GI, in order to prevent hypoglycaemia symtoms.
Some recommended options would be:
Pre-workout with stimulants
Within this category are products that provide an array of ingredients designed to enhance performance, and which may also include stimulants, to improve results still more. We should always check our tolerance to such products first, by taking reduced dosages while observing the effects. Others products, of course, focus on the provision of the stimulating ingredient directly.
Some recommended options would be: