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What pre workouts are you currently using? I've been looking at a few to check out...cant seem to make up my mind. Would be great to get some feedback

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Chocolate milk is my favorite...  Honestly, you don't really need a "pre-workout" as they come prepackaged.  The powerlifters and strongmen I know who like something before working out recommend something with a little protein and a lot of carbs.  Chocolate milk is among the first items listed.

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Art   

My pre workout is breakfast, I hit the gym shortly threreafter, so no additional pre workout needed

However not everyone can do that and choco milk is cheap and fits the requirements, so it gets #1 billing, as Berin stated

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AIMTRUE   

I like to use half a scoop Oats and Whey Vanilla protein powder from Optimum Nutrition with a teaspoon of ground coffee mixed with water. Not the freeze dried coffee, just regular ol' ground coffee. 

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Boola   

My pre workout meal is around one hour before my gym session and consists of:

2 dl oats, 2 dl protein powder, 2 teaspoons of creatine and 2 bananas. This is around 700 calories. I also take the same drink directly after my workout.

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I started using BCAA's before and after workouts a couple of weeks ago after reading this article.  Frankly, I can't really tell a difference, but maybe I haven't given it enough time.

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lol why is everybody so against pre workout? If you don't want to take it, cool, but it has its place, just because you know some powerlifters who dont take it doesn't make it useless. My training partner holds the UK bench raw record of 260kg, and he takes pre workout every session! Sure you dont NEED it, but it is a tool and it has it's place. Chocolate milk doesn't have caffeine, beta alenine and other ingredients found in pre workouts which do make a significant difference. Under the same logic you don't need a belt, you don't need straps, you don't need wraps, you don't need a multivitamin, and  you don't need whey protein., these are all tools and not stuff you 'need'. Also from a strictly body composition point of view, pre workout is far superior to chocolate milk lol. If i'm cutting i cannot fit chocolate milk into my diet but pre workout has next to no calories.

To answer your question OP, here's a few suggestions:
- Mesomorph - new formula in 2016, DMAA ban has been lifted so it's very strong, if you're new to pre workouts i'd give it a miss.

- The curse - nice steady flow of energy, what i currently take and i like it a lot.

- Cellucor c4 - similar to the curse

- ON Gold standard pre workout - quite like  this aswell

 

Or you can make your own. Get some gatorade or some juice you like, buy a big bag of caffeine powder and a big bag of beta alenine and whatever other ingredients you need. be VERY careful when dosing caffeine though, as you'll be dosing milligrams...it's very easy to accidentally take a teaspoon which is around 5g and i can tell you taking 5g of caffeine is far from a pleasant experience.

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Believe it or not, I've done some research into the matter.  I'm not against supplements, but as far as timing goes the only thing that really plays a big difference is the timing of your carbs (too a much lesser degree your protein).  Taking Beta-analine does have a minor effect, so I'm not saying it's worthless--just the effects are sometimes overstated, and the timing of the beta-analine doesn't make any difference.  I'm all for doing what you feel is right to get the results you want.  But I'm also all for saving a buck when the marginal benefit is such a low return on investment.  I can get the same impact in my workout using chocolate milk and a caffeine pill.

The only thing in your list of ingredients that does have an impact on timing is that of stimulants like caffiene.  I will say, I try to save the caffeine boost for competition days.  The more you partake, the less your body responds to it.  If you back off for a while, then your body gets re-sensitized and it can make a big difference.

As to body composition, a skim chocolate milk isn't any more detrimental to your diet than pre-workouts are.  Remember they have sugar too.  Just count the calories from your pre-workout toward your daily goal and you'll be fine.

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34 minutes ago, FerrousMaverick said:

Believe it or not, I've done some research into the matter.  I'm not against supplements, but as far as timing goes the only thing that really plays a big difference is the timing of your carbs (too a much lesser degree your protein).  Taking Beta-analine does have a minor effect, so I'm not saying it's worthless--just the effects are sometimes overstated, and the timing of the beta-analine doesn't make any difference.  I'm all for doing what you feel is right to get the results you want.  But I'm also all for saving a buck when the marginal benefit is such a low return on investment.  I can get the same impact in my workout using chocolate milk and a caffeine pill.

The only thing in your list of ingredients that does have an impact on timing is that of stimulants like caffiene.  I will say, I try to save the caffeine boost for competition days.  The more you partake, the less your body responds to it.  If you back off for a while, then your body gets re-sensitized and it can make a big difference.

As to body composition, a skim chocolate milk isn't any more detrimental to your diet than pre-workouts are.  Remember they have sugar too.  Just count the calories from your pre-workout toward your daily goal and you'll be fine.

Chocolate milk and a caffeine pill won't have the same effect, in addition the chocolate milk calories are something many of us can do without if we want to stay lean. Sure that isn't everyones goal, but your post pretty much implied chocolate milk is superior pre workout in all situations because you know some strongmen and powerlifters who choose to drink it instead of pre workout. One thing to note is, strongmen and powerlifters often don't care about being lean. When you're sitting around 10% bodyfat, regularly taking a couple of hundred calories of chocolate milk pre workout vs taking an almost calorieless pre workout can and will make a significant difference. Without doing the maths, i'd also wager there isn't really that much of a cost difference between a 50 serving tub of pre workout + water than enough caffeine pills and chocolate milk for the same volume.

You honestly think chocolate milk isn't more detrimental to your diet than pre workout? My pre workout has 5 calories per scoop (and i take two), chocolate milk probably has 2-300 calories in a glass, and for me that can be enough to push me over my calorific goal. Pre workout probably isn't good for you if abused and taken for long periods, but in terms of body composition i'm sorry but it is certainly superior to chocolate milk lol. i question how much you've really researched pre workout if you think calorifically it's similar to chocolate milk. Most pre workout nowdays has next to 0 calories in it.

I'm all for science and here's ingredients in one of my pre workouts that have proven and well documented beneficial effects on performance:

- caffeine - pretty obvious here, usually need to cycle off if you become too tolerant (which takes 7-14 days), definitely has a very well documented effect. 

- creatine - pretty well proven too, has a compounding effect over time and not immediate.

- Nitric oxide - well documented effect on vascodilation and blood flow

- Arginine - Some evidence to suggest that it helps increase blood flow and pumps, but admittedly the evidence isn't very strong currently.

- beta alenine - again not an 'immediate' effect as you pointed out but how does that make it any more worthless? Strong evidence suggesting increased endurance over time, and has also been shown to stack well with creatine.

- DMAA - well documented effects, if you've taken DMAA and think it does nothing you're insane
There are lots of fillers in pre workouts that may or may not have an effect also, but really pre workout isn't that expensive and the OP asked specifically about which ones people like. I suggested also making your own which can save money and then you know exactly what's going in.

Also, you said only carbs have an effect with nutrient timing, then said 'oh caffeine does too'. There's several ingredients that work very fast in pre workout, and several that don't, but why does it matter? If they have an effect on your performance over time, that is still a positive effect on your performance

Am i saying pre workouts are magic and for everybody? Of course not.. it's definitely not something you need but it's a tool that can be useful to many people myself included. For you to dismiss them immediately and suggest chocolate milk is a superior alternative is simply narrow minded in my opinion.

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We agree on caffeine which has a notable effect on power output and minor effect on most other things.  If you are taking caffeine, shortly pre-workout is the best time.

Creatine is probably the most studied supplement, and it has strong effects on power output and fatigue levels, notably on quite a few other training related effects.  However, timing is not important.  Whether you take the creatine in the morning supplement or directly before workout has no effect.

Nitric Oxide still needs more studies, but according to whats available, Arganine is the standard NO donor, with Citrulline being more bio available.  The effects are still being studied, so no comment on that one other than you'll get it from the other two sources listed.

It appears that Citrulline might be the better pre-workout compared to arganine taken an hour before training.

DMAA is a stimulant, but not nearly as well studied as caffeine.  NOTE: if you deal with high blood pressure, you might want to stay away from DMAA particularly when combining it with caffeine.

That said, many people overstate the effectiveness of the compounds in pre-workout.  Do note that sugar provides energy that is also rapidly able to be converted to ATP which the muscles use during training.  Carbs taken pre-workout or even shortly following are sent to where the body needs them most--your muscles.  As with any supplement, too much can have a negative impact.  At least with sugar we all know pretty much what that impact is and how quickly we can remedy it.

The supplements in most pre-workouts fall into two categories: stimulants and fatigue reduction.  Another well studied supplement that does well with fatigue reduction is sodium bicarbonate.  Like creatine, timing doesn't matter with it as it buffers your blood acidity which can rise during exertion.  It's Achilles heel is that is tastes like salty shite.

You keep bringing up the strongmen and powerlifters.  I also would caution against assuming that because your buddy with the massive 260kg bench swears by it that it must be the reason he can do that.  The reason he can do what he does is a combination of hard work and excellent genetics.  The genetics account for the largest portion of his success.  But some strongmen like Josh Thigpen swear buy it.  He might not be chiseled like a bodybuilder, but I wouldn't necessarily call him chunky either.

Bottom line is that there is no perfect answer, and use what works for you.  Just know what the trade-offs are and don't get mad if people disagree with you.  The only reason I responded with counterpoints is because you essentially called me stupid for suggesting chocolate milk.  That wasn't necessary.

 

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On 2/14/2017 at 2:41 PM, FerrousMaverick said:

We agree on caffeine which has a notable effect on power output and minor effect on most other things.  If you are taking caffeine, shortly pre-workout is the best time.

Creatine is probably the most studied supplement, and it has strong effects on power output and fatigue levels, notably on quite a few other training related effects.  However, timing is not important.  Whether you take the creatine in the morning supplement or directly before workout has no effect.

Nitric Oxide still needs more studies, but according to whats available, Arganine is the standard NO donor, with Citrulline being more bio available.  The effects are still being studied, so no comment on that one other than you'll get it from the other two sources listed.

It appears that Citrulline might be the better pre-workout compared to arganine taken an hour before training.

DMAA is a stimulant, but not nearly as well studied as caffeine.  NOTE: if you deal with high blood pressure, you might want to stay away from DMAA particularly when combining it with caffeine.

That said, many people overstate the effectiveness of the compounds in pre-workout.  Do note that sugar provides energy that is also rapidly able to be converted to ATP which the muscles use during training.  Carbs taken pre-workout or even shortly following are sent to where the body needs them most--your muscles.  As with any supplement, too much can have a negative impact.  At least with sugar we all know pretty much what that impact is and how quickly we can remedy it.

The supplements in most pre-workouts fall into two categories: stimulants and fatigue reduction.  Another well studied supplement that does well with fatigue reduction is sodium bicarbonate.  Like creatine, timing doesn't matter with it as it buffers your blood acidity which can rise during exertion.  It's Achilles heel is that is tastes like salty shite.

You keep bringing up the strongmen and powerlifters.  I also would caution against assuming that because your buddy with the massive 260kg bench swears by it that it must be the reason he can do that.  The reason he can do what he does is a combination of hard work and excellent genetics.  The genetics account for the largest portion of his success.  But some strongmen like Josh Thigpen swear buy it.  He might not be chiseled like a bodybuilder, but I wouldn't necessarily call him chunky either.

Bottom line is that there is no perfect answer, and use what works for you.  Just know what the trade-offs are and don't get mad if people disagree with you.  The only reason I responded with counterpoints is because you essentially called me stupid for suggesting chocolate milk.  That wasn't necessary.

 

I never stated my friend can lift 260kg bench press because he takes pre workouts (and i never said he 'swears by it', i simply said he takes it - im sure he would lift close to the same with or without it), i was pointing out that just because your 'strongmen and powerlifter' buddies dont take it, doesn't mean it's crap and no notable strength athlete takes it. Please try not to put words in my mouth. I brought up strongmen and powerlifters because in your first post here you said that you know strongmen and powerlifters who take chocolate milk instead of pre workout, acting like it's some kind of reason not to take it! It's also amazing that without seeing, or knowing anything about my friend you can make a statement like "genetics account for the largest portion of his success". It may or may not be true, but it's a poor assumption to make with absoloutly 0 knowledge of the individual. 

Again, why do you keep talking about nutrient timing? Why does it matter? You take pre workout before your workout, sure, but if something has a compounding effect, such as beta alanine over time it still has a postitive effect and should be discussed. Or should we ONLY discuss the ingredients in pre workout that have an immediate effect???

If i take a pre workout with beta alenine in it, i might not feel or see the effects from the beta alinine the first time i use it, but if i use it 10 times, then the effects will be there purely because of the pre workout, so why are you dismissing these ingredients because their effects aren't 'immediate'? Also, most pre workouts, at least the ones i come across DO NOT HAVE CALORIES OR CARBS IN THEM (or if they do, a negligible amount, like 4-5 cals a scoop), which is another reason that whilst i am cutting, or if i am trying to stay lean i find pre workout superior to chocolate milk. I don't know if you've ever been very lean, but i can tell you from experience when you are trying to sit at sub 10% bodyfat, the difference between taking something that is 2-300 calories before every workout, and taking something that is 8 calories (2 scoops of pre workout) is quite significant.


Nitric oxide is well documented as a vasodilator, what effects that has are up for question, but remember a lack of research isn't the same as proof something doesn't work. For now we can say the jurys out here.


Regarding DMAA there will hopefully be more research now the ban is lifted in the US, but regardless all you have to do is take it once and the effects on performance are blatantly obvious. Whether it's healthy for you in the long run is a different story and where the lack of proper research comes in, but to ignore it's performance benefits is lunacy.

As for the cost of pre workout, well you pay for the convenience but really is it that much more expensive than using chocolate milk? Let's say i lift 4x a week, and i take 2 scoops. My pre workout is $25 for 50 servings, i take 2 servings per workout which means it's costing me 1 dollar per workout. To get similar effects from chocolate milk, you would at the very minimum have to stack it with caffeine pills (for it to be a 'fair' comparison you should also be taking beta alinine and creatine too really but we'll ignore that for now), is there really going to be a massive difference in cost? There's probably a small amount but i'll take that for the convenience  and other ingredients in the pre workout personally (not everybody will - that's perfectly fine).


Your last sentence is just ridiculous (to me at least), because that's what i've been arguing the whole time. I've said pre workout has it's place for some people/situations but not for everyone, and you pretty much dismissed it and said chocolate milk is a superior alternative. Perhaps YOU don't get much out of pre workout, but it's ignorant to think that just because you don't it's useless. You then went on to ignore all my points about why chocolate milk is inferior for SOME people/situations (no stims, worse effect on body composition than pre workout). I never said  you are stupid for suggesting chocolate milk, i suggested it is narrow minded to suggest chocolate milk is simply superior to pre workout in all situations - again putting more words in my mouth! When people flat out ignore me, and put words in my mouth i tend to get annoyed, and find that equally as insulting as you found my post. Again, let me state my original point as simply as I can:


"For a number of people, pre workout has it's place and is useful.. such as people who are perhaps plateuing and need a boost, and people who have to be mindful of their calorific intake. Chocolate milk has its place, as does any similar sugary drink, or coffee but there will be a number of situations where pre workout will be superior (and a number of situations where it may not be)."

At the end of the day the guy asked about what pre-workouts people take, not why you think pre workouts are shit.

If you want to continue this discussion, i'd very much appreciate it if you respond to what i've actually said rather than shoving words in my mouth.

 

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OK, looks like we're no longer being productive.  I'm bowing out now.

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Boola   

Awesome writeup @Wanderlei!

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If anything actually did work to an appreciable degree, it´d be banned. If WADA is cool with it, it´s probably not worth the money ;)

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On 2/17/2017 at 1:47 PM, Juggerswolik said:

If anything actually did work to an appreciable degree, it´d be banned. If WADA is cool with it, it´s probably not worth the money ;)

That only matters if you're competing ;)

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2 hours ago, Wanderlei said:

That only matters if you're competing ;)

No, it doesn´t. Of course, if you´re competing and get caught with stuff, you´re screwed,

Regardless of whether you compete or not, if you take stuff that is "legal" in the hopes that it works - you´re just losing money. As I´ve said, if it offers any appreciable gains it is either on the list or soon will be. 

I also think that most people can´t get away with drinking chocolate milk all the time ;)

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14 hours ago, Juggerswolik said:

No, it doesn´t. Of course, if you´re competing and get caught with stuff, you´re screwed,

Regardless of whether you compete or not, if you take stuff that is "legal" in the hopes that it works - you´re just losing money. As I´ve said, if it offers any appreciable gains it is either on the list or soon will be. 

I also think that most people can´t get away with drinking chocolate milk all the time ;)

Things like caffeine, and DMAA are legal and offer appreciable effects on workout performance. Beta alenine over time gives appreciable effects too. No idea if this stuff is banned by WADA (I know DMAA is dunno about other stimulants), but i don't compete so don't care :P There's a lot of pre workouts out there simply ripping people off with glorified coffee, but if you shop around there's decent deals to be had.. anyway i think i've exhausted this topic lol
 

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24 minutes ago, Wanderlei said:

Things like caffeine, and DMAA are legal and offer appreciable effects on workout performance. Beta alenine over time gives appreciable effects too. No idea if this stuff is banned by WADA (I know DMAA is dunno about other stimulants), but i don't compete so don't care :P There's a lot of pre workouts out there simply ripping people off with glorified coffee, but if you shop around there's decent deals to be had.. anyway i think i've exhausted this topic lol
 

True that. I think caffeine is most often the main ingredient and that can be had cheaper and more convenient. I´m also not sure about the WADA-status of beta alanine and can´t be arsed to dig it up now.

Another aspect though is the psychological reliance on preworkouts. I often hear people saying that they need substances to get motivated/psyched/whatever for training. This I find worrying. If someone "needs" something to want to train, something is probably wrong with the way they train or their underlying motivation in general.

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30 minutes ago, Juggerswolik said:

True that. I think caffeine is most often the main ingredient and that can be had cheaper and more convenient. I´m also not sure about the WADA-status of beta alanine and can´t be arsed to dig it up now.

Another aspect though is the psychological reliance on preworkouts. I often hear people saying that they need substances to get motivated/psyched/whatever for training. This I find worrying. If someone "needs" something to want to train, something is probably wrong with the way they train or their underlying motivation in general.

I'll agree with this and i touched on it earlier. Pre workout is a great tool, but dependency on them is an issue. I have been there myself and it can be quite hard to get out of as once you're fully addicted workouts are SO hard without it, best thing to do is just cycle on and off to reset caffeine tolerance. I try to only take it when i'm cutting and need the energy, don't really bother with it when bulking.

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Art   

Too much sugar for a dime

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Miked96   

I like them occasionally and never really worried if I took them.   Seem to give you a good boost if you need it.  Thats all I saw them doing.  I would say if your rocking 20% plus bodyfat then a bunch of liquid calories my not be the best idea but I am sure its effective.  I have read that chocolate milk is just as good as a post workout but I think that has been blown out of proportion for most of us.  I have done dextrose, wazy maize, the intra drinks, etc.  No real difference than if I just ate a meal when I was hungry after.  I dont think it matters that much in the big picture but if you think it works for you then go for it.  Theres no use arguing about it.  Who cares.  Do your thing.  People get strong because of hard work, the right environment and training, genetics, and drugs.  I dont think supplements are a big part of it.  Not the over the counter ones.  

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