To take your exercise performance to the very next level, it’s essential to use the best pre-workout ingredients, but once you dive headfirst into the realm of pre-workout supplements, you’ll realize the options are endless. From smoothies to powders to energy shots and everything in between, it can be a little daunting if you don’t know where to start.
You see, the challenging part is sifting through the marketing, unwanted opinions of gym-goers, and exaggerated performance claims. The best way to decide is to learn about the common ingredients found in pre-workout drinks and why they do and don’t work.
So, without further ado, if you’ve ever wondered what the best pre-workout drinks are on the market, you’re in luck! This essential guide will dive into the science behind the very best pre-workout ingredients and analyze some of the leading formulas on the market today.
So grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable - let’s dive in!
What is a Pre-Workout Drink?
But first, what exactly is a pre-workout drink, anyway?
If you don’t fuel yourself properly before you exercise, you’ll be less energized, feel weaker, and will fatigue faster than normal -- and that’s a fact. Pre-workout is designed to help fight this, to help you keep going harder and for longer. From powders to shakes to pills and more, pre-workout is designed to boost energy levels and increase focus.
The 3 Most Popular Types of Pre-Workout Drinks
There are a ton of pre-workout drinks available on the market today, but the three that are the most popular are pre-workout powders, pre-workout shots, and energy shots. Let’s do a quick comparison!
Pre-workout powders are simply powders that you can easily mix into a liquid of your choice to instantly turn it into a powerful pre-workout drink. Powders come in a wide variety of different flavors, but the truth is that these usually don’t mix very well and can sometimes taste a little chalky. Not exactly what you want before heading to your next sweat session!
Pre-workout shots are drink mixes packed full of vitamins and other ingredients in a small amount of liquid, making it easy to consume quickly. These supplements are quite popular, but in many cases, they contain unnecessary ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and excessive amounts of B Vitamins, which can do more harm to your health than good.
Energy Shots are a kind of energy drink that contains caffeine in a small amount of liquid. Whereas most energy drinks are sold in bottles or cans, energy shots are usually sold in 50ml mini-bottles, making it easier than ever to get the energy boost you need to tackle the gym. There are many brands of energy shots on the market, but they tend to contain crazy amounts of caffeine, which can give you anxiety rather than an energy jolt.
Stay away from commercial energy drinks and pre-workout powders that contain artificial ingredients and stick with 100% plant-based, clean all-day energy shots, like the ones found right here at Proper Wild.
What’s in My Pre-Workout, and Is It Safe?
As pre-workout is designed to help you coast through a particularly challenging workout, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that they supply your system with caffeine and other energy-boosting stimulants, as well as sugar.
Still, it definitely pays to read the ingredients label before investing in a giant tub or 6-pack of pre-workout. Caffeine is the main ingredient to look out for as the content can vary from mild to way too much, and in extreme cases, high levels of this popular stimulant can cause some pretty serious health issues including restlessness, anxious feelings, and high blood pressure.
For most healthy adults, however, pre-workout is a safe supplement to take, but, even at the safe end of the spectrum, its side effects can still cause itching, interrupted sleep, and the notorious jitters, which are usually harmless but still pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.
What Are the Best Ingredients To Look Out For?
There are literally hundreds of dietary supplement ingredients that all promise to boost workout performance and recovery, but only a handful actually have evidence-backed benefits.
Don’t worry -- we put together a list containing a few of the best pre-workout ingredients, so you know exactly what to look for in your next pre-workout supplement.
L-citrulline is an extremely popular ingredient commonly found in pre-workout supplements due to its ability to raise nitric oxide levels. When nitric oxide production increases, blood flow improves and allows both oxygen and nutrients to travel much faster in your body. This energizes you and allows you to exercise longer.
Studies indicate that 4-8 grams of citrulline malate is the optimal dosage before a workout. However, most products on the market contain around 2 grams due to its cost.
Betaine anhydrous, AKA trimethylglycine, is a popular molecule that comes from beetroot. Betaine increases water retention within the cells, offering cellular protection that, when in normal conditions, the cells would actually be damaged from physical stressors. It also works really well as a methyl donor, supporting vital physiological processes from DNA replication to protein function. Some of the best benefits that come from betaine include:
Betaine has a pretty impressive list of clinical support and is arguably one of the best pre-workout ingredients.
L-Theanine and Caffeine
Okay, so citrulline and betaine are both really great ingredients, but when it comes to the best ingredients for your pre-workout drink, nothing even comes close to the powerful duo of L-theanine and caffeine.
We all know the amazing energizing effects of caffeine supplementation. We can feel it kick seemingly immediately after drinking an energy drink. Yet, many folks aren’t aware that L-theanine -- an amino acid naturally found in green tea -- enhances the beneficial cognitive effects of caffeine.
Therefore, pairing L-theanine with organic caffeine in the evidence-based 2:1 ratio produces results that are nothing short of amazing when compared to caffeine consumption alone. L-theanine and caffeine work together, like yin and yang, to improve your reaction time, focus, cognition, and mental performance.
Although caffeine is pretty unique in the way it kick-starts our energy levels, it’s important to be mindful of the slippery slope of your tolerance. Many individuals tend to fall victim to ever-increasing caffeine dosage in pre-workouts.
We suggest sticking below 400 mg of caffeine per day. Too much of the stuff can cause tremors, heart issues, restlessness, and even anxiety. But pairing this popular stimulant with L-theanine can help immensely to lessen the negative effects of caffeine consumption to leave you feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to tackle your next workout!
A Final Word
When looking for an amazing pre-workout drink, stay away from confusing ingredients that you can’t pronounce, artificial additives, and excessive sugar. Instead, reach for our clean, all-day energy shots to provide you with the performance boost you need to crush your next workout!
Our Proper Wild Energy Shots contain 15x more L-theanine than a cup of green tea for focus and productivity, without the crash or jitters. Stop drinking commercial pre-workout supplements today and grab one of our amazing energy shots -- trust us, you’ll be glad you did!