I do NOT like to be rushed… Not even “just” to go to the gym. I wake up at 4am every weekday to get a 5am workout in at my local gym. Even though I’ve been in this “fitness game” since 2007, I even still struggle & need help to get out of that bed so early on a consistent basis. Preworkout gives me the boost I need at the gym when I’m feeling too tired &/or groggy and just need a lil pep in my step to crush my workout.
I prefer “fasted” workouts, which mean, I workout on an empty stomach. Since I workout so early in the mornings, this is the best option for me as I personally do not enjoy the feeling of working out with food in my stomach. Some people swear by working out on an empty stomach, others can’t workout without eating.
If you workout in the afternoons or evenings though, a preworkout supplement may not really be needed. You could instead be utilizing your food consumption before your workout to give you the energy needed to get through that workout. A light meal can be consumed 30min to 1 hour before your workout.
Eating a banana before your workout is a great way to increase your blood sugar levels & boost your glycogen stores. The typical “bro-meal” of chicken/rice/veggies can work as a light meal. Greek yogurt with fruit, oatmeal, smoothie, apple w/ peanut butter, eggs, protein bars & protein shakes are all good examples of something can be consumed to fuel your workout.
Everything is based on your personal circumstances, but if you’ll just be taking a brisk walk, or doing a light 30min lifting session at the gym, I wouldn’t recommend a supplement for a boost at all. If you’ll be lifting heavy weights at the gym, a preworkout supplement can aide in giving you that additional lift that you need.
Taking a daily fat burner can instead take the place of a preworkout supplement. For example, if you take a fat burner supplement when you wake up at ( 4am ), then you DO NOT then want to consume a preworkout powder before a 5am workout. They BOTH contain caffeine so mixing both so close together is not a good idea. If you DO want to consume a preworkout powder while still on a fat burner supplement, make sure your preworkout is caffeine and stimulant free.
Ok… I started taking it… Now, it doesn’t work anymore!
Most preworkouts are stimulant-based supplements so the body will start to become desensitized to the ingredients over time. To avoid that, you should cycle off stimulant-based preworkouts for a month. Instead, you can use a stimulant-free version of preworkout in between cycles. Instant coffee is also another great way to get a boost without using an actual preworkout supplement. NESCAFE CLASICO Dark Roast is my Instant Coffee of choice in between preworkout cycles. They have cute little single use packages that can easily be put into a water bottle & shaken.
Not every product is created equally…
Now that you know what the heck it is, here comes the fun part! PICKING A BRAND! There are a ton of different versions & variations of preworkouts. If it is something that is important to you, you should do the leg work & research to find the one that will work for you. Sometimes it just takes trial & error.
I say all of that to say…
Like everything in life, you get out of it what you put in. No supplementation will make up for poor nutrition and a lack of training. There is no magic potion; You have to still put in work. Supplements can’t really “supplement” your life unless you’re already doing a lot on your own.
Another quick tip? Drink water with BCAAs during exercise!
– Estee Denise “Nisey” Ratliff
I’ve lost over 100 pounds \o/. See my story here. I am NOT a nutritionist or a doctor. This blog is NOT meant to be a substitute for any professional guidance or counseling. The information I provide merely reflects my own personal experiences and is NOT meant to take the place of medical or nutrition advice from professionals. But it’s helpful and pretty…so enjoy!