If you want to fully maximize and benefit from your time spent working out, pay close attention to what you take pre-workout. What you eat prior to working out can make or break your performance and affect muscle growth if that is your focus. Did you know that depending on what type of workout you are doing there are different recommended pre-workout supplements? We have put together our top 5 supplements of choice and explain which to use depending on your goal and activity type.
1. Cellucor C4 (Best for Weight Training, Muscle Building)
If your goal is to build muscle and strength you should consider supplementing with creatine. When it comes to intense activities such as weight lifting the body uses creatine to produce energy. Supplementing with 2-5 grams a day provides a sufficient supply for your body to train more intensely. Basically you will be able to lift heavier and do more reps. It also helps draw water to the muscles. The way creatine works, is it provides the energy to complete each muscular contraction.
Our choice for your pre-workout creatine fix is Cellucor C4. Not only will it ignite your muscles but also your mind giving you the boost you need to help push through that extra set or even lift heavier weights. YouTube Stars like Nikki Blackketter, shown in photo below, swear by Cellucor C4 and won’t go a workout without it.
Cellucor C4 Summary:
- Improves workouts
- Main Ingredient: Creatine
- Won the 2014 Exclusive Product of the Year and 2014 Pre-Workout Supplement of the Year awards
- Comes in several flavors: Blue Razz, Fruit Punch, Orange Dreamsicle, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Margarita and Watermelon
2. CLIF SHOT – Energy Gel (Best for Performance Athletes)
<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52e56872e4b0e199271f2976/52f54f8be4b051049f051bbb/5536b38ee4b058292fd9bf90/1488399578046/CLIF-SHOT-Energy+gel.pngCLIF-SHOT-Energy+gel?format=original" alt="Clif Shot Energy Gels Variety Sampler Pack – 8 Gels (1 of Each Flavor)“/>
CLIF SHOT – Energy Gel is best used by performance athletes such as cyclists, mountain bikers, runners and triathletes. That being said, this is my Pre-Workout Supplement of choice and I primarily weight train. I like it because of the delicious flavor and quick response I feel. Just take it 15 min prior to working out and you will definitely feel the buzz.
So how do Energy gels work compared to other energy supplements? Our bodies use two primary sources of fuel to feed our muscles, carbohydrates and fat. Although most of us have plenty of fat, it is a slow energy source which makes it ineffective when we need that quick boost of energy during our intense workouts. For spurts of energy our body relies on source number two, Carbohydrates. This is primarily the case when racing in a marathon. The faster you run or the more intensely that you push yourself the bigger percentage of fuel will come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles, the problem is we typically store enough muscle glycogen to last about 90 minutes – 2 hours of muscle glycogen running at marathon pace. So unless you are an elite athlete you won’t have enough to last an entire race.
CLIF SHOT Energy Gels are an easily digested source of carbohydrates and electrolytes that will quickly give you the energy needed to consistently push yourself through a race at maximum performance. With Energy Shots it is all about timing so get to know your body and know when to take the next energy shot on race day. Typically it takes 15 min for it to kick in and you don’t want to take an energy shot closer than 45 min apart.
CLIF SHOT Energy Gels are great compared to other brands because they are made up of fewer ingredients. Also 90% of the ingredients are organic.
Clif Shot Bloks are a great alternative to the Energy Gel’s. Not as convenient to break open on race day, but a delicious alternative when training. Maybe start out with a shot block before and then take some Energy gel’s with you for during your workout.
Clif Shot Bloks Summary:
- Clif Shot Bloks (Best for performance athletes)
- Quick Release Energy source of Carbohydrates and electrolytes for race day
- Comes in a variety of flavors including some that contain Caffeine
- Take only 15 min prior to workout and then 1-2 packages an hour after that
Clif Shot Gel Summary:
- Quick Release Energy source of Carbohydrates and electrolytes for race day
- 90 % organic ingredients
- Litter Leash® Packaging
- 8 delicious flavors
- Take only 15 min prior to workout and every 45 min after that
3. Scivation Xtend BCAAs, Mango Nectar, 90 Servings
XTEND BCAAs are the best-selling, most advanced BCAA drink mix on the planet. At its heart are 7g of BCAAs in the nature-designed and research-proven 2:1:1 ratio, plus glutamine and citrulline malate. With a proprietary blend of hydration-inducing electrolytes, XTEND is a sugar-free and carb-free way to help anyone grind through a grueling gym session.
World-class athletes, champion fighters, elite bodybuilders, and weight training enthusiasts of varying types all use XTEND during their workouts in order to train longer, harder, and with more intensity. Designed for intra-workout consumption and shown effective in two university studies*, XTEND is the most advanced product of its kind, and helps to facilitate both fat loss and new muscle construction.
By orchestrating optimal protein synthesis and by balancing the intracellular energy economy, XTEND seriously shortens recovery time. You just don’t feel recovered, you are recovered. With unparalleled mixability, delicious flavors, and an array of ingredients in scientifically-proven amounts, XTEND continues to outpace the competition. Build muscle, burn fat, and prolong the intensity of – and recovery from – your next workout with XTEND!
Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink.
These results show that BCAA supplementation in trained individuals performing resistance training while on a hypocaloric diet can maintain lean mass and preserve skeletal muscle performance while losing fat mass.
Clif Shot Gel Summary:
0 CARBS, 0 CALS, 0 SUGAR
7G OF BCAAS – Contains 7g of BCAAs in the nature-designed and research-proven 2:1:1 ratio
12 DELICIOUS FLAVOR: Pink lemonade, Grape, Watermelon, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Pineapple, Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Green Apple, Mango
Supports Muscle Recovery
4. Gnarly Nutrition Slim New Zealand Grass Fed 100% All Natural Protein (Best pre and post-workout for weight training/muscle building)
Gnarly has taken their all natural cauldron of goodness and decided to do everybody a frickin’ favor. We’ve cooked up something extra tasty for anyone that wants a low calorie alternative to a meal replacement. We’re calling it Gnarly Slim and it’s available now in our online store.
Gnarly Slimming Blend
Now, the most unique thing about our new Gnarly Slim, besides delivering our grass fed whey in a low calorie package, is that we’ve decided to add our proprietary, all natural Gnarly Slimming Blend to its arsenal.
The blend consists of:
- Green Coffee Bean–a powerful source of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid; which has been shown in clinical studies to help promote weight loss.
- Green Tea Leaf Extract –which is known as a natural source of caffeine and polyphenols to stimulate fat burning.
- L-carnitine –which is an amino acid that helps to convert fat into energy.
- Irvingia gabonesis seed extract ( African Mango) –Scientific research to suggests that this extract helps support healthy insulin sensitivity levels and healthy cellular leptin levels. Leptin facilitates the breakdown of stored triglycerides in our fat cells via the process of lipolysis.
Gnarly Slim also includes our Full-On Absorption Blend, which is designed to help your body by allowing it to more easily digest the protein, fiber, lipids and other nutrients in Gnarly Slim.
And, of course, you know that if it comes from us, then it’s all natural and has no artificial sweeteners or colors. Gnarly prides itself in delivering the proper supplements to you in the best way we know how. We think Gnarly Slim is a great representation of all of this. Plus it tastes just as good as everything else we put out. So the next time you’re worried about taking in a meal replacement but weary of the calories it provides as well, take a look at Gnarly Slim. It’s low on calories, but not nutrition.
Gnarly Slim Summary:
10 grams of protein from our grass fed whey
Proprietary Gnarly Slimming Blend
Pre and probiotics
100% your daily value of 14 vitamins and minerals
Fiber from whole food sources and our Gnarly Full-On Absorption Blend
Only 80 calories a serving; real nutrition to build with while still keeping your calories low
5. Honey (Best overall pre and post-workout supplement)
Whether you are a performance athlete, a bodybuilder or a yogi, look no further, the best natural pre and post workout supplement out there is probably in your kitchen cabinet this very moment. It is honey.
What is so great about honey is that it is all natural, no scary chemicals or preservatives, and it is a natural source of energy. It fuels your body with the carbohydrates it contains; immediately enhancing your performance and endurance. Honey is great pre-workout to help with energy and post workout to help with recovery time. The organic sugars, glucose and fructose prevent fatigue and provides immediate energy. Also, did you know that honey contains as many antioxidants as strawberries, apples, oranges and spinach? Now the one downside with honey is it can be a bit messy, so we suggest carrying honey sticks. You can buy them online or make them yourself with straws.
- Provides immediate energy boost during workout
- Helps speed along recovery time
- Infused with vitamins & minerals
- Contains Amino Acids
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties