jon-erik kawamoto personal trainer
This is a guest post from the folks at www.examine.com and The Supplement Goals Reference Guide

There are a ton of pre-workout supplements on the market…too many to actually make a solid decision. Me personally, I’ve been hearing great things about the Focus pills that come from AddieUP. With that said, I was wondering the same thing so I recruited the team behind the Supplement Goals Reference Guide to help me answer this question. Let’s get right to it – Take it away guys!

Creatine

 
Do I need to buy a supplement? Yes

How much benefit does it provide? A lot

Is it time dependent? No

Creatine is the most important ergogenic on the market today. It has reliable benefits to exercise, increasing power output in the 1-3 repetition range, and it can increase short term muscular endurance during anaerobic exercise. Creatine can even help with focus and attention if you’re sleep deprived.

In the long term, it increases the rate of muscle growth without influencing fat. Creatine is safe for almost everyone and doesn’t need to be cycled. Taking 5g a day is enough to confer all of its benefits.

Nitrates

 
Do I need to buy a supplement? No

How much benefit does it provide? Potentially, a lot

Is it time dependent? Yes

Nitrates are the most reliable and effective nitric oxide booster to date. Though many preworkouts claim to boost levels of nitric oxide in the body, the majority have been shown to be ineffective. Nitric oxide increases short and long-term endurance, but not maximal power output.

Nitrates are not sold in high enough doses in supplements today. Fortunately, eating beets or leafy greens as a pre-workout meal or snack provides enough nitrates to have a real effect on your workout. Another option is blending the same vegetables into a preworkout shake.

Caffeine

 
Do I need to buy a supplement? No

How much benefit does it provide? A lot, if used properly.

Is it time dependent? Yes, very.

Caffeine is the world’s favorite psychostimulant. There are two faces to caffeine. Most people are very familiar with the first. It’s what they experience every morning as they brew their morning cups of coffee.

The chronic caffeine user only feels caffeine’s antisleep effects, but a new user will also experience a powerful stimulatory effect. You remember your first cup of coffee, right?

For a new user, the stimulated feeling comes with a very large increase in power output, as much as 10-20%. Unfortunately, the more tolerance you have to caffeine, the less effective it will be for you, especially in the weight room. To truly take advantage of caffeine’s effects on power output, very infrequent dosing is required.

Beta-alanine

 
Do I need to buy a supplement? Yes

How much benefit does it provide? Minimal

Is it time dependent? No

Beta-alanine is known to be a performance enhancer, but only for activities in the 60-240 second range. Beta-alanine will be most beneficial for advanced athletes, as it tends to improve physical endurance by about 3%. A new trainee most likely will not see enough of a benefit to take beta-alanine, but 3% for an advanced athlete can be very useful.

Preliminary research on beta-alanine shows that it may also increase muscle hypertrophy. It’s not a wonder-supplement, but it makes an excellent addition to a preworkout stack.

Putting everything together

Protocol 1: Throwing Everything in One Pot

The first option for creating a preworkout supplement is just combining your desired ingredients as efficiently and cheaply as possible, while keeping an eye on your workout and your wallet.

  • 1. Make a preworkout meal 60-90 minutes before a workout. Make sure it contains food high in nitrates, like beets or spinach. You can toast beets in the oven to make chips, or throw everything in the blender and drink it.
  • 2. Prepare a drink of carbohydrates to take with you to the gym. Start sipping on it 15-30 minutes before your workout and continue throughout, as long as it’s not interfering with your performance. This preworkout drink can also contain creatine and beta-alanine. Add protein if your preworkout meal didn’t have any.
  • 3. If you’re taking caffeine, take it 30-45 minutes before your workout, before you start on your carbohydrate drink. Remember, to get the most out of caffeine, take it only once a week.

Protocol 1 is essentially a meal, a drink to take with you to the gym, and maybe a coffee in between.

Protocol 2: If your stomach doesn’t like Protocol 1

Was taking a large dose of creatine and nitrates a bad idea? Luckily, neither creatine or beta-alanine are time dependent. If you’re experiencing some stomach troubles, try the following:

  • 1. Your preworkout meal should be solid. If you’d prefer a shake, make sure it consists primarily of nitrate rich food sources. Add a little bit of protein as well, since your sensitive stomach will not enjoy protein in the middle of a workout.
  • 2. Caffeine can be taken 30-45 minutes before the workout. Again, remember to dose it no more than once a week to continue experiencing its power enhancing benefits.
  • 3. Creatine and beta-alanine can be divided into two daily doses and taken with your two biggest meals. Most likely, this will be your postworkout meal and your last meal of the day.

*****

jon-erik kawamoto fitness writerIf you found this post helpful and want more information on supplements, you may be interested in the Supplement Goals Reference Guide. The team behind this rare resource (almost 800 pages of scientifically backed-up information) is having a 5000 copies sold sale (yes, they have sold 5000 copies!!). It’s filled with hyperlinks so you can zoom from one section to the next depending on what supplement you want to read up on.

I have not found any other resource quite like it. Anywhere. I highly recommend it.

Check it out HERE. It’s on sale!
 
 
 
 
 
photo credit: Noodles and Beef via photopin cc

I had spent a fair bit of time in gyms in my teens and twenties but I turned away from the gym to focus on activities that I enjoyed more. What keeps me at JKC is that I do really enjoy it. I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I leave at the end of my workout. The environment is really positive and focused on challenging yourself whatever your level of comfort and fitness. I’ve also seen results that I’m really happy with; having someone who really knows what they’re talking about to guide your workouts makes them way more effective and focused than just “going to the gym”.

Shortly after I started at JKC, I sustained a fairly major injury that took me off my feet for several months. When I started to get back to activity, it was very difficult. Jon and Thomas worked hard to tailor my workouts to my goals and what I could do. With their help, I’ve been steadily building back strength and function.

Tara Rector-Whelan

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I started at JKC after a good friend recommended it to me. She had been coming for about a year and I was envious of her great results. I felt sluggish after failing to motivate myself with various home workout routines. I love the fun and relaxed atmosphere at JKC. It’s such a comfortable gym space and I enjoy knowing so many of the people I work out with. Jon and Thomas make an effort to introduce everyone to each other and with all the joking around,  it starts to feel like a family. Not to mention the awesome results. I’ve always liked to run on a treadmill but I’ve never had the drive to lift weights on my own. Going to JKC makes me accountable which was what I really needed. I feel so much stronger and healthier than I did 4 years ago when I started.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

Courtney Sharpe

Nutritional Coaching by Julia Howard

For the past two months I have worked with the JKC team and have never felt better! In addition to a personal fitness plan, JKC’s holistic nutritionist, Julia, worked with me and around my busy schedule to educate me on healthier food options and meal planning. I maintain a daily food log which Julia reviews and provides feedback on and we also have weekly chats to discuss my nutritional goals and potential improvement areas. Julia also helped me to identify and work around dietary constraints which have caused digestion issues for years!

Julia and the rest of the JKC family have helped me get my confidence back! I love starting my days with a good sweat and a healthy breakfast. I understand what foods make me feel my best and my body is well on its way to becoming more lean, fit and happy! I would totally recommend Julia and the entire JKC team!

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