Picking the top 4 pre-workout ingredients is a bit like picking out what your favorite chest exercise is. There are so many great ones to choose from that narrowing it down to four is really tough. But we’ve done just that. Our four favorite pre-workout ingredients. All four are backed by clinical studies to deliver results, and not surprisingly are found in our products. There’s compelling evidence for taking any one or even all of these ingredients, and we think you’ll want to try every one of them when you’re done reading.
1. PEAK ATP®
Has any pre-workout ingredient in the last 5 years really come to forefront like PEAK ATP® has? This patented form of Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate (ATP) Disodium is without a doubt one of the most sought-after pre-workout ingredients. Thanks to creatine, ATP is well known to bodybuilders, and most lifters know the intracellular ATP found naturally in your muscles serves as the primary fuel for muscle cells. However extracellular ATP is just as important, and research suggests that elevating levels of ATP in the blood helps increase blood flow, improves muscular strength and endurance and supports anabolic signaling by activating the mTOR pathway! And new research shows that oral supplementation with ATP in combination with high-intensity training can increase muscle performance, muscle mass, and strength.
HOW PEAK ATP® WORKS IN THE BODY
1. Supports vasodilation and increases in blood flow. In fact, researchers have noted that the body has oxygen sensors that release ATP from red blood cells when oxygen is low in the muscle, which in turn may facilitate increased blood flow to deliver the oxygen and energy to help you push through those last few reps. Supplementing with ATP may simulate this natural physiological effect, giving you that extra edge.
2. Improves muscular strength, power and endurance by increasing skeletal muscle calcium influx and release. Under conditions of fatigue, oxygen availability and calcium release may decline in skeletal muscle, negatively affecting overall performance. Calcium is necessary for continued muscular contraction. Therefore, supplementing with ATP may lead to better calcium handling in your muscles for improved performance.
3. Increases anabolic signaling by activating the mTOR pathway to initiate protein synthesis, which leads to lean muscle development. With improved nutrient delivery to your muscles, your body is primed for better anabolic signaling and growth.
The study results are incredible! Hard-training subjects who supplemented with PEAKT ATP in a 12-week human clinical study at The University of Tampa increased their total strength by an average of 121.9 lbs. in 12 weeks! The placebo group only increased their strength by an average of 49.4 lbs. In addition, these same subjects who supplemented with PEAK ATP® not only gained insane amounts of strength, they also made some serious muscle gains! In fact, subjects gained 8.8 lbs. of lean muscle vs. the placebo group, who only gained 4.6 lbs. in 12 weeks – that’s 90% more lean muscle! There are few if any other pre-workout ingredients that can have such a strong effect on your physique, making it a no-brainer to include in our roundup of the top 4 preworkout ingredients.
2. CITRULLINE MALATE
In the past, arginine was a staple in most pre-workout products due to its ability to increase Nitric Oxide (NO). Then a few years ago, research emerged that showed L-Citrulline was extremely effective at increasing blood arginine levels. Citrulline is a precursor of Arginine and it provides a readily available material for Arginine production, which in turn can be used for the production of NO. In fact, compared to a larger dose of arginine, L-citrulline has been scientifically shown to reach superior peak plasma arginine levels, making it a far better choice for NO production in your pre-workout! This is due to arginine itself when consumed as a supplement, excessively breaking down in the body by the enzyme arginase in the intestines and liver and bacteria in the gut. Citrulline on the other hand is less susceptible to these destructive metabolic pathways, making it far more effective and efficient.
From a performance standpoint, in one study during the last set of an exhaustive 16-set chest workout, subjects taking 8,000mg of L-citrulline malate were still able to increase the number of reps on their bench press by 53%.
If you’re looking for a boost in energy, no pre-workout is really complete without caffeine, making it impossible to leave off this list. While it may seem basic or rudimentary, after many years caffeine is still one of the top performance-enhancing pre-workout ingredients available, and as a powerful central nervous system stimulant, it can really jack up your energy and training intensity.
When you ingest caffeine, it acts on two levels: centrally (in the brain) and peripherally (in the body) and the net effect is increased release of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) from sympathetic nerves, elevated adrenaline release and higher dopamine signaling. The result is a boost in energy and an improvement in your ability to perform in the gym.
While the latest and greatest stimulants come and go, caffeine remains an effective and legitimate performance enhancer, and will be a key pre-workout ingredient for years to come.
Beta-alanine is one of the key supplement breakthroughs of the last 10 years. While it’s not technically an essential amino acid, it’s essential for anyone looking to take their workouts to new levels.
Your body can produce its own beta-alanine, either formed during digestion, when intestinal microbes remove a carbon atom from L-aspartate. It can also be formed by releasing both beta-alanine and CO2 by breaking down histidine dipeptides (carnosine or anserine) or as a secondary byproduct of a reaction that converts L-alanine to pyruvate.
However, when consumed in supplement form, it passes directly from the bloodstream into muscle, where it binds to the essential amino acid L-histidine to form carnosine – a dipeptide that is your muscle’s first line of defense against the lowering of pH within your muscle cells during exercise. The lowering of pH is a major factor in muscle fatigue – negatively affecting enzyme function and muscle contraction events. As our muscle’s pH drops, so does their ability to contract forcibly and maintain a high level of performance throughout a workout.
Research backs the effectiveness of this powerful ingredient and the studies are numerous. Research shows that beta-alanine is capable of decreasing fatigue rate and improving performance during training. Therefore adding beta-alanine to your supplement arsenal can enhance the muscle and strength-building process.