If you are a gym-goer, chances are you have heard the rave about pre-workout. While some swear by it (and often depend on it), others insist that coffee is all you need to improve your workout.
In this blog I wanted to distinguish the differences between coffee and pre-workout, as well as educate you on the ways you can use both drinks to make your workouts more effective.
Pre-workout isn’t just a product over-dosed with caffeine that gives you energy. There are actually a combination of carefully selected ingredients in most pre-workouts that provide increased blood flow to the working muscles, improve stamina, mental focus and of course energy. This can help increase your overall work capacity and intensity at which you train which over-time allows you to physically progress.
The pre-workout I am currently using is called 'LIT' pre workout, a new line by #BEYONDRAW from @gnccanada . This pre-workout combines concentrated, fully dosed, powerful clinically studied ingredients which are designed to support better workouts by providing energy, mental alertness, and nitric oxide production to maximize performance.
Some of my favourite ingredients in this pre-workout, which are common among other popular pre-workouts on the market include:
Beta-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Citruline, Creatine and Caffeine.
If you try this pre-workout or have dabbled in pre-workouts before, you may be familiar with the intense 'tingle' or 'itch' that you get after taking a pre-workout. This sensation is perfectly normal and a result of both Beta-Alanine and niacin that are used in pre-workouts to help buffer lactic acid (associated with the burning sensation in your muscles while working out) in order for you to push harder and longer.
L-Citruiline, an amino acid that is a powerful vasodilator, widening the arteries and veins for increased blood flow to allow more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the muscles #PUMP.
LIT, among other pre-workouts, also contains Creatine which supports cellular energy production, ATP, the energy fuel for quick, intense activity such as weightlifting or sprinting.
You can see how these ingredients, especially in combination are far more beneficial for increasing athletic performance than coffee alone, which the only active ingredient is caffeine.
Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine's primary mechanism in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine, which is responsible for making us feel tired.
But does this make coffee a bad choice for a pre-workout beverage?
Definitely not! Caffeine alone is still incredibly beneficial for increasing athletic performance by reducing feelings of fatigue, improves endurance and strength, and even increases our body's ability to burn fat. The recommended dose of caffeine depends on an individual's body weight, but 200-400 mg 30 minutes before exercise is the standard dose.
SO WHICH IS BETTER?
From a comparison stand-point, the combinations of clinically studied ingredients in most pre-workouts makes it the superior choice over coffee for increasing athletic performance.
Personally, most days I have a coffee over pre-workout before my workouts because my workouts are usually in the morning after I have had breakfast and my daily coffee. I tend to use pre-workouts on days I train in the afternoon, or if I know I have a heavy-lifting day like leg day or back day which are more physically demanding.
HOW TO USE PRE-WORKOUT MOST EFFECTIVELY:
When it comes to pre-workout and training, I recommend cycling its use to reduce dependency and help prevent adrenal fatigue and burnout. Using it occasionally on heavier, more intense days like leg-days and back days will allow you to get the most out of caffeine and your overall experience from the pre-workout.
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