Ale's Lifestyle Confessions

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    Is Pre-Workout Just Caffeine?

    Most people who work out regularly or casually have heard of pre-workout and their benefits. For most people, it is expected that you will not be able to turn up to exercise feeling 100%. Sometimes, you might just feel a little off, tired or even unmotivated. This is when some people would drink a little pre-workout to help give you some strength to workout. Since they are usually meant to give you energy, a lot of pre-workouts have caffeine as their main ingredient.

    What is Pre-Workout?

    Pre-workout is known as pre-workout supplements. These are often powdered substance that contains multiple ingredients that is formulated to help boost your energy and exercise performance. Generally, people would mix their pre-workout supplement with water and drink around 30 to 60 minutes before their exercise. 

    For most people, if you do not fuel yourself properly before any exercise, you might find it harder to be energised or feel weaker and hit fatigue quicker than usual. Pre-workout is designed to help prevent that and keep you going strong for longer. This supplement mostly takes shape in the form of powder that you mix with water, but you can see it in other forms such as a pill. Regardless, all of them are designed to boost your energy levels and improve your focus.

    Is Pre-Workout Just Caffeine?

    Pre-workout is created to help you exercise stronger and longer. This is why it is common to find ingredients such as caffeine, sugar and other types of stimulants in pre-workouts. When purchasing pre-workouts, it is essential that you really read the ingredients label before you finalise your purchase. 

    Most pre-workouts have caffeine as their key ingredient. However, this does not mean that pre-workout just only contains caffeine. When shopping for pre-workouts, you should know that any decent pre-workout would have caffeine and other ingredients that might boost performance. While there are many different formulas from different brands, it is common to see ingredients such as amino acids, beta-alanine and creatine in pre-workouts. 

     Ingredients to Look Out For


    Caffeine before workout out can help give you more energy and focus and thereby helping you optimise your exercise performance. Generally, pre-workouts will have around 150mg to 300mg of caffeine for a serving, this is around 3 cups of coffee. This is quite a lot and therefore if you are sensitive to caffeine or just starting out in pre-workout, I would consider using half a serving or less to begin with.

    You should only have a maximum of 400mg of caffeine a day. This 400mg of caffeine a day includes everything that you will be eating or drinking throughout the day. Therefore, it is a bad idea to load up on pre-workout as you might drink a soda or tea (all of which have caffeine) later in the day. If you are starting off with pre-workout, I would suggest you only have 150mg of caffeine at most.

    Amino Acids

    The amino acids in the pre-workout are often called as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These have been shown to help promote muscle growth and reduce the damage your muscles receive after an intensive workout. 

    In addition to reducing muscle soreness, it might also help reduce your exercise fatigue. Studies show that BCAAs help improve people’s mental focus during exercise and also speed up recovery time after exercise. However, while it can help with muscle protein synthesis, if you want to maximise the benefits, you should consider drinking whey protein shakes to include the other amino acids. 


    Creatine is one of the most popular ingredients for pre-workouts. It is a supplement that helps enhance physical performance. It is believed to improve your strength, increase muscle mass and even help it recover quicker after exercise. It is often considered to be one of the most effective supplements for adding muscle mass. Creatine has a direct role in your ATP production, this means that it can improve your high intensity exercise performance. Studies have shown that creatine has been helpful in short periods of exercise, but there is still a lack of evidence of its helpfulness in longer duration exercises. 


    Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps with the production of carnosine. This is a compound that is involved in muscle endurance in high intensity exercise. People ingest beta-alanine because it is believed that higher levels of carnosine might help your muscles perform longer in an exercise and delay the onset of fatigue. This is done through the regulation of acid buildup in your muscles. 

    Although it might seem helpful, studies have been quite inconclusive and suggest that it might or might not be helpful. There is still not enough evidence to suggest what sort of benefits can be gained from taking beta-alanine supplements. 

    Best Pre-workouts to Buy in 2022

    AminoLean Pre-Workout Powder

    This pre-workout has 125mg of caffeine per serving. It is a bit lower than the average 150mg to 300mg of caffeine, which I think is a good thing. I don’t think you need that much caffeine to help boost your workout as sometimes too much is not a good thing. In addition, the slightly lesser amount allows for you to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning without making you too jittery. 

    This pre-workout contains BCAA and EAA amino acids, both of which helps improve your workout performance and build lean muscles. In addition, they also include CLA, L-Carnitine and green tea. These 3 ingredients are popular in supplements that help with weight loss. Therefore, I would suggest this for those who are trying to lose or manage their weight while trying to build muscles. 

    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

    This is one of the most popular brands of pre-workout. It contains 175mg of caffeine, therefore if you are new to taking pre-workout, I would suggest you use a lesser amount. This pre-workout contains caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine and l’citrulline malate. It is a good well rounded product for those who are looking to boost their workout while also trying to gain more lean muscle mass. 

    Nitrosurge Pre-Workout

    Nitrosurge pre-workout contains 180mg of caffeine. In addition to that, they also include L-citrulline, beta-alanine and betaine anhydrous. This pre-workout puts emphasis on increasing your nitric oxide production to increase the blood flow to your skeletal muscles to help for a stronger workout. Both L-citrulline and betaine anhydrous are nitric oxide boosters. 

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