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What To Look For In Your Preworkout Supplement

Posted on February 12 2018

IFBB Pro Fakhri Mubarak Contest Prep Specialist

What To Look For In Your Preworkout Supplement

As a coach I have often been asked what the best pre workout is. To me a pre workout is not a stim only based pre-workout. Most Pre-workouts only have 1 or 2 “amphetamines” or very high stim ingredients in there and put together a “secret” formula that has a bunch of things in the ingredient list but not enough of anything to make a difference but that 1 or 2 “amphetamine” or high stim ingredients. That’s not a pre workout. 

A pre workout puts emphasis on promoting ones hyperemia and vasodilation during exercise. Hyperemia is defined as an increase in the quantity of blood flow into body parts and vasodilation promotes this blood flow by widening blood vessels in the body. United they amplify the muscle pump – now that’s a pre workout!  

So for a pre-workout we have a few specific pathways pre-workouts should take. Adrenal stim (not over stim) pathway, the Brain, NO2 (vasodilation) strength and endurance enhancers. 

1) The Adrenal pathway would be your stimulants like Caffeine and Higenamine, These will fire up your Central Nervous System which will benefit the following:

-Enhanced Focus 
-Enhanced Strength 
-Enhanced Motivation / Drive
-Enhanced Fat burning 

One of the most studied and proven supplements to date is Caffeine Anhydrous. This additive increases the release of some of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters and/or chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, epinephrine, and noradrenaline. Caffeine allows for longer endurance in the gym and thus greater fat loss expenditure. 

Higenamine HCl has been studied to show a prompt in lipolysis and energy expenditure. Lipolysis is when the body frees up fat to be used for energy. Higenamine HCL is a stimulant that acts as a thermogenic alone and more so when combined with other supplementation.

2) The NO2 pathway would be Nitric Oxide enhancer’s aka nutrient delivery. Ingredients like Citrulline Malate and Beet Root are commonly used for this pathway. When an adequate dose is consumed, the amino acid Citrulline Malate can aid in the overall strength and performance of your workouts. Citrulline Malate has been proven to be a better vasodilator than arginine. Not only does it endorse greater production of NO (Nitric Oxide) but Citrulline Malate enhances muscle performance where muscle exhaustion is inevitable and/or expected. Beet Root Powder serves as a vasodilator, which improves blood flow and circulation during exercise. Blood flow is very important for the muscle “pump” effect. The more circulation and blood flow a muscle gets, the more you get out of that muscle after the exertion you’ve put it through.

Here are some benefits for this specific goal of enhancing NO2
-Nutrient Delivery / Faster Recovery (via muscular system)
-Improved IGF-1 levels
-Sarcoplasm Hypertrophy(fluid) / expansion of the muscle tissues 

*Fat Burning, since a combination of both Adrenal and Brain, but you have to ask yourself what you will do to combat the larger cortisol response from the Adrenal CNS stimulants. So a couple of effective ways to combat excess cortisol would be simply to take a nap after you work out, 2g of vitamin C 3-5x a day. If you train later during the day or at night, you may have to back off the stimulants so your sleep will not be disturbed or mess with your circadian rhythm which will end up slowing down your recovery / excess cortisol output. Focus and drive (motivation) is what you want ultimately for fat burning pre workout.  

3) Strength/Endurance = Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and Creatine are also very heavy hitters for this specific goal. Beta-Alanine will give you noticeable endurance via lactic acid buffering, go harder and longer! Betaine and Creatine will encourage igf-1 levels, enhance strength, and allow your muscles to hold on to more glycogen which means bigger and stronger muscles immediately. The most preferred form of Betaine is Betaine Anhydrous. It is found in many food sources, and also follows the breakdown of choline (a micronutrient).  When consumed, it is proven to improve muscle mass, energy, and endurance during exercise. In other words, it defends the body in times of stress (i.e.,exercise). This benefit can be noticed almost immediately. Betaine also helps support a better mood and overall feeling of well-being. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body. You can also find it the foods you eat and in supplement form. Creatine HCl supplementation permits muscle volume and growth, in addition to better muscle performance. It allows for a fuller muscle by forcing water into the muscle cell itself and not under the skin. This form of creatine is more soluble than other forms and also non-bloating.

Conclusion – look at what you buy to make sure you it is what you need to reach your goals. 

To contact me, please email me at fakpro@aol.com. You can also reach me on facebook.com/FakhriMubarak , Twitter and on Instagram FakhriMubarak_ceo_ifbbpro.  Have a great month everyone and as always “Champions do what competitors don’t!