Pre-Workout Supps: Do They Actually Work or is it all in the Mind?

Struggling with motivation when it comes to working out?

A growing number of people are turning to pre-workout supplements to give them that extra edge in their workouts.  Most people that I’ve spoken to who have used pre-workout supplements swear by them! So there must be something positive behind them, right? The problem is when you’ve never used a supplement before is deciding which supplement to choose.  There are so many choices; it could leave the best of us somewhat confused.

Research indicates that when searching for an effective pre-workout supplement, there are 3 stock ingredients that must be included in your supplement of choice:

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

I will explain how each of these ingredients is crucial for simply owning your next exercise session. There are plenty of other effective ingredients that can be found in pre-workout supplements, but these 3 have the most research behind them.

So the next time you’re in your local health store looking for a pre-workout supplement, be sure to refer back to this article!


Aim: To provide energy

Recommended Dose: 300-500 mg

Primary Benefits:  Has repeatedly proven to be an effective performance booster in all types of exercise. Caffeine has shown itself to help enhance workloads by delaying fatigue and reducing the perception of effort input. Recommended doses will no doubt vary from person to person…for instance if you’re a habitual caffeine user, you will need more caffeine to get you going. On the other hand, if you hardly have any caffeine in your everyday life, then you won’t need much!

Creatine Monohydrate

Aim: To provide explosive strength

Recommended Dose: 5 g before you work out and up to 20 g daily

Primary Benefits:  Creatine works by saturating the muscle with substrate which is a type of energy source, which is vital in producing surges of explosive energy needed for your really heavy sessions. Most pre-workout supplement manufacturers recommend going through a “loading” phase to help accelerate the muscle saturation.  This phase typically lasts for a week, and then it is recommended to drop the dosage down to what’s known as the “maintenance” phase which is just 5 g daily.

Branched-Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Aim: Create an Anabolic Environment

Recommended Dose: 5 g before you work out and up to 20 g daily

Primary Benefits:  These vital amino acids are vital for helping to regulate the metabolism of protein, enhancing protein synthesis, and slowing down the process of protein breakdown.  It’s crucial to get the right ratio: leucine (2), isoleucine (1) and valine (1). It’s the leucine content that gets the most attention when BCAAs are mentioned. After all, it is leucine that helps to stimulate muscle growth by enhancing protein synthesis.

To Sum Up…

Many top-end pre-workout supplements contain the above listed ingredients. And these ingredients do have the benefit of scientific backing which means that if used correctly, they are extremely effective in preparing your body for a long and hard exercise session. So to answer the question in the title…provided that your chosen pre-workout supplement contains the correct ingredients, IT WILL WORK!

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