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Get The Most From Your Training Using Pre-Workout Supplements

Anyone who does bodybuilding knows that it takes a lot of time, effort and commitment and for this reason; it's worth squeezing every last ounce of muscle growth out of every weight lifting session. And whilst making sure you are working out in the most effective way is a large part of this, there's also a lot you can do before you start doing reps to maximize your training.

There are a huge range of supplements on the market and it can be difficult to decide which ones would be of real benefit to your training. Most of them are completely bogus. Here's a guide to some of the most effective supplements you can take before you head to the gym which could quite literally re-energize your whole regime.

The benefits listed on most pills

There are a vast range of different supplements but there are a number of key ingredients which have been robustly tested and scientifically proven to help achieve the desired results. My advice is to skip the supplements which are mostly untested and overpriced gimmicks and go for the ingredients we know work because they're in what the pros use - And oddly enough what the pros use is often naturally occurring things like Whey Protein which is derived from milk and Creatine which is found in red meat.

The kind of benefits you could typically expect to see after taking a pre-workout supplement including the following:
  • Increased muscle growth
  • Increased power
  • Decreased muscle cell breakdown during and post-training
  • Heightened protein synthesis
  • More stamina and endurance
  • Better energy levels
  • Less muscle soreness post-workout
  • Improved mood
  • Sharper concentration
The exact benefits you will see depend on what supplements you choose to take and how you take them; some can be used in different ways to get different results.

Strength and Power

For many bodybuilders, increasing muscle and strength is the only thing they are after. Some of them don't even care about how strong they are, they just want to look beefy.

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements but not everyone understands how it actually works. Muscles can only contract when they can access stores of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) but unfortunately only small amounts can be stored. These means that each contraction can only last for a few seconds, before the ATP store has to be replenished. The body manages this by breaking down Creatine to replace it - but if Creatine levels are low, you might struggle to complete your set.

Thus Creatine helps regulate the flow of ATP to your muscles, giving you an effective energy boost which allows you to do more reps. In other words by taking a Creatine supplement you are effectively providing direct fuel for your muscles, allowing you to complete the reps for each set whilst maximizing the weight.  Experts suggest approximately 5g of Creatine half an hour before you work out will achieve the desired result.

And the best part is that Creatine is found naturally in red meat, so if you lack the supplement just eat some beef before you workout.


Endurance may seem like a quality more suited to a cross country athlete but bodybuilders also need stamina in order to complete each set and finish their planned training. For this reason, adding a supplement which improves endurance can result in better muscle growth as the workout will be far more effective.

Citrulline Malate is a type of amino acid which not only optimizes blood flow, driving power to the muscles, but also enhances the production of ATP, thus it works really well in combination with Creatine. However, it is particularly effective in reducing muscle fatigue during workouts, even during high intensity training. Citrulline works by removing lactic acid and other endotoxins which are produced during exercise, allowing the training to last longer and for the individual to continue to perform at a higher level. The removal of the acids also means that you will suffer less muscle pain after you are done.

Because of its excellent results, many pre-workout supplements include Citrulline in their ingredients but it is also possible to take it during your training session too.

Energy and Concentration

Although workouts need physical strength, mental stamina is just as important in order to get the best results if you need to stay focused and not get distracted.

Therefore, a good dose of caffeine is a great idea as it will help you stay on track. The added benefit is that caffeine is a very effective fat-burner, ramping up metabolism and freeing fatty acids to be used as energy.

However, it's important to get the balance right as too much caffeine can actually impair focus and concentration and reduce performance. It also takes a while to be absorbed into the blood stream so make sure you take it at least 30 minutes before you start training; around 200mg is usually the right dose. You will need to check the label on your coffee or other caffeine source to make sure you don't overdo it.


There are many other useful pre-workout ingredients such as whey protein, tyrosine, anti-oxidants and BCAAs.  You do not need to take pre-workout supplements on days you aren't training but when you do train, they should usually be taken on an empty stomach to maximize and speed up absorption.

Remember that you may also want a post-workout supplement - such as a whey protein shake - afterwards too.

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