Preworkout Formulas: Definitely Not For Bodybuilders Only
You’d never know it from their over-the-top marketing and packaging, but the popular nitric-oxide pre-workout formulas are highly effective performance enhancers nearly anyone can use to have much better workouts and much better results.
Bodybuilders and serious weight lifters have enthusiastically embraced pre-workout formulas from day one. One of the first and most successful products of this kind, which remains popular to this day, is BSN’s N.O.-Xplode. When you read magazine and web advertising for N.O.-Xplode and the many similar products, most are still plainly aimed at hardcore bodybuilders. But that’s changing fast as all kinds of people are looking past the flashy bodybuilding graphics and realizing that they can get a big boost from these products too. If you’re healthy and you work out, you too can have better workouts than the ones you’re having now, possibly much better.
It may take a little experimentation before you zero in on the product and dose to which you respond best, but once you’ve done so, you’ll see why pre-workout formulas have crossed over and gone mainstream in a big way.
The relationship between energy and exercise is pretty straightforward; our exercise results are a function of how much effort we can put forth, and how much effort we can put forth is a function of our energy levels.
Our energy levels naturally ebb and flow over the course of the day, and in an ideal world, we’d be able to wait until our energy levels were highest to start working out.
But unless you’re a professional athlete, and maybe even if you are, chances are you don’t have the luxury of working out anytime you like or whenever you feel at your most energetic. That would be nice, but that’s not the way it is for most people. Instead, most people have to plan their workouts around work, family or school commitments. The time scheduled for working out may or may not coincide with their energetic peak. On the contrary, many people can only squeeze their workouts into the very early morning before work, or early evening after work, two times when energy and focus are at their least abundant.
Why not just use an energy formula?
Pre-workout formulas give you a big boost in energy, stamina and focus right when you need it most – in the gym. But they’re much more than energy formulas, and your body needs a lot more than raw energy to reach its potential Lots of products can deliver energy, but pre-workout formulas go way beyond that. They’re complex formulas that are equally weighted toward factors like increasing blood flow and helping your body respond to and recover from training. Many also have insulin optimizers, B-vitamins and electrolyte minerals as well. With all of these sub-formulas pulling in the same direction, first time users have been amazed at how much harder and further they can push themselves.
So you’ll feel a big difference between using a plain energy product versus a good pre-workout formula prior to training.
Choosing the best pre-workout formula for you can be a little trickier than with other supplements for a few reasons. More than any other kind of supplement, you really have to try a pre-workout formula to know how well it works for you. You can’t really depend on the experience of others and the ingredient labels aren’t usually very helpful. That’s because because although most pre-workout formulas employ similar ingredients, in similar amounts, for similar functions, each one is a unique proprietary blend for which individual ingredient amounts aren’t explicitly listed. So even if you’re intimately familiar with the ingredients, it’s hard to predict or evaluate what your response will be. But you can (and should) experiment with the dose regardless of which product you try. A half scoop or an additional full scoop can make all the difference, but some experimentation is initially necessary in every case.
Pre-workout formulas always contain stimulant ingredients (caffeine, and usually several others as well) as important parts of the formula. But because an individual’s response to stimulants varies so widely, it’s particularly hard for brands to make specific dose recommendations. You should bear this in mind and, whatever product you decide to try, consider your sensitivity to stimulants and start with an accordingly low dose or even fraction of a dose. Increase the dose on successive workouts (up to the maximum suggested dose) until you start experiencing some energy improvements. This saves you money by letting you quantify and use the lowest effective dose and minimizes the chance of becoming unpleasantly over-stimulated. If that does occur, don’t give up on your formula, or the whole idea of pre-workout formulas, simply decrease the dose on the next workout.