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 heard really good things about it from my sister, and I could see the positive results she was getting.  I needed to do something.  I was overweight, depressed, and recovering from a back injury.  I had reached a point where simply getting up out of a chair was becoming difficult.  I knew that if I didn’t do something about it my senior years would be very burdensome to the people close to me.  I’m so glad I did!  After just a few weeks my day-to-day pain was drastically reduced, and my mobility increased. I had the confidence to try sea kayaking, and I now play ice hockey twice a week!

The key difference is the expertise.  The trainers know the gym equipment and the exercises, but they also have degrees in kinesiology, and can apply what they know to your workout.  As someone who was in poor physical condition starting out, I was worried about hurting myself.  Previously I tried an outdoor weekly bootcamp and injured my knee by pushing too hard.  The trainers at JKC constructed a program that started at the right level for me, evolving it as I grew stronger and more fit.  I feel well looked after.

I started strength training at JKC in the Spring of 2021. I am in my 60’s but happy to say I feel much younger since joining this gym. I joined JKC upon the advice of a doctor. I went through some difficult medical issues last year, that’s when one of my doctors recommended strength training at JKC. I have been physically active most of my adult life but mainly running and completed many road races as I am a distance runner. Strength training has definitely benefited me by increasing my stamina and energy. It sure has enhanced my recovery over the past year. I have the added benefit of becoming a stronger runner as well.

I chose JKC because I was looking for something different. I’ve seen and done the trendy workout programs before, I was looking for something that I knew I could see myself still doing a year from now! JKC has a lot of clients that have been going for years. That was a huge motivator for me! The small group coaching sessions are great and I really enjoy the format. It’s nice having 2-4 people working-out with you during your session. The camaraderie is great, everyone is very upbeat and positive – zero gym judgment!

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.

I’m 40 years old & started training at JKC in 2015. The gym I was working out at closed and my husband recommended JKC. JKC meets you where you are in your fitness journey and tailors the work to help achieve your goals. I’ve trained with Jon & Thomas pre pregnancy, while pregnant and now post baby and they have helped me enormously to stay fit through all life phases.

I joke with the guys often that I’ve seen no change in my fitness level since joining the gym, but the reality is I’m in far better shape at 40 than I ever was at 30 thanks to them.

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