Pre-workout supplements are all the craze right now. It seems like every supplement company and fitness influencer has their own. And there’s a good reason for that:
They are very profitable, which begs the question:
How do we, as consumers, know which products out there are worth the money and which are just a waste?
The truth is, there are a few things that go into an effective pre-workout for weight loss and today, we’ll see what they are.
An effective pre-workout increases your energy and optimizes fat loss
Well, duh. But you’d be surprised how many pre-workouts out there can’t achieve that. Either because they aren’t dosing the ingredients optimally or not including them at all.
The main ingredients that have been proven to increase performance and lead to more fat loss are:
This is one of the most effective supplements you can take to increase your energy levels and improve the quality of your workouts.
Research suggests that citrulline malate taken before a workout improves athletic performance, aerobic and anaerobic activity, and can help alleviate muscle soreness (1, 2, 3). The recommended dose is between 6 and 8 grams, and you shouldn’t exceed the daily limit of 10 grams.
Beta-alanine is yet another effective ingredient that should be included in a pre-workout. In one meta-analysis (a study of studies), the researchers dissected 15 studies with a total of 360 participants (4).
Nearly half of the subjects were given beta-alanine, and the rest took a placebo. The researchers found that beta-alanine significantly improved performance for activities that lasted between 60 and 240 seconds.
A dose of 3 grams, taken before working out should be enough.
Caffeine is a well-known substance, and numerous studies have shown its efficacy. In our case, caffeine improves alertness and energy levels, so consuming a dose before working out is a good idea (5).
However, do keep in mind that caffeine can screw with your sleep and you should limit its intake within 7-8 hours of your bedtime (8).
For fat loss itself, carnitine hasn’t been shown to have a direct impact. But, it does improve performance which leads to more productive workouts (9). And this, over time, can lead to improved fat loss.
A dose of 2-4 grams taken before training is a good idea.
5.Green tea extract
Green tea is quite popular and for a good reason: it works. Aside from its numerous health benefits, green tea also increases fat oxidation and can induce thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate (10, 11).
Green tea also contains caffeine which we covered earlier.
What does all of that mean for you?
You might be wondering, “Well, what do I do with this information?”
First, make sure that the pre-workout you choose to buy contains at least some of the ingredients we covered today, and in the appropriate doses (or very close to that) that have been proven to be effective.
And second – avoid products that hide their ingredient dosages behind a proprietary blend (you’ll see it on the label).
Now, most pre-workouts out there will include other ingredients in them such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, creatine, herb extracts and more. But these 5 are the foundation of performance and enhanced fat loss.
And before we wrap this up, I’d like to give you three recommendations:
- Pre JYM – it has 2 grams beta-alanine and 6 grams citrulline malate for each serving. I’ve included it because it doesn’t contain caffeine and is the perfect option for those of you who train in the evening.
- Pulse by Legion – it has 8 grams citrulline malate, 2.5 grams beta-alanine and 350 mg caffeine in each serving.
- Pre-Kaged – it has 6.5 grams citrulline malate, 1.6 grams beta-alanine, and 274 mg caffeine in each serving.
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Of course, always do your research and make informed decisions, based on what you’ve learned today.