Best Pre Workout

Posted by in on Apr 01, 2014 . 0 Comments.

Pre Workouts have fast become one of the most important supplements in peoples stack, often now been classed as a staple supplement for their training plan. A recent study showed that up to 70% of adults have used a high energy drink or powder to further increase performance both physically and mentally.

There are generally two different types of pre workouts; stimulant based and non stimulant based pre workouts.

Stimulant Based Pre Workout:

Stimulants have been used by bodybuilders and endurance athletes for decades now due to their ability to increase performance through mental and physical pathways. Stimulants have a direct effect on the CNS (Central Nervous System) and will improve mental alertness, motivation and often muscular strength and motivation. Stimulant based pre workouts are normally used for increased energy, and at the end of a tough working day, can provide an athlete with the energy required to maximize a full training session. Some stimulants prove more effective than others when been used in a pre workout, here are some of the most popular stimulants used:


Caffeine is generally considered the best stimulant for a pre workout and is included in nearly every stimulant based pre workout, fat burner and energy supplement in the world. Caffeine is one of the most widely researched stimulants in the world and it is proven to work!

Caffeine has many physical effects on the body, and central nervous system in particular. Caffeine can act as a thermogenic agent, heating the muscle and the body’s core temperature up. Caffeine can block adenosine receptors which can release neurotransmitters making it very effective for mental focus. Caffeine can also decrease airway resistance and stimulate respiration making it a positive stimulant for endurance based athletes. In terms of bodybuilding, caffeine has been proven to aid in muscle building by aiding glycogen replenishment after a workout which is the most vital part of the building process.

Higenamine (norcoclaurine)

Norcolaurine is a chemical compound found in a variety of plants, and is fairly new onto the market. The reason that I am writing about this stimulant now as opposed to the other popular stimulants like ginseng or gaurana etc is because this Stimulant is deemed to be the new DMAA, or have similar effects as the recently banned compound atleast.

As we all know, DMAA or Geranium Oil, was and still probably is the most sought after stimulant on the market however with its recent banning, people are struggling to obtain the compound. This is where Higenamine steps in! Higenamine is not only a potent stimulant for energy, it can also help with fat loss just as DMAA used to, and has been likened to ephedrine due to its beta2 andrenegic agonism.

Higenamine is making its way into a lot of pre workouts now and should be looked at if a huge energy spike is what you are looking for.

Pro’s for a Stimulant Based Preworkout:

  • Increased Energy
  • Improved mental focus
  • Increased mental alterness
  • Improved endurance
  • Improved strength
  • Thermogenic properties
  • Cost effective

Con’s for a Stimulant Based Preworkout:

  • Crash/Come down
  • Sleepless nights if taken too late
  • Relying on them for all sessions
  • Addictiveness
  • Body can build up tolerance to stimulants
  • Heart rate increase best pre workout supplement (stimulant):

iForce Conquer



Non Stimulant Based Pre Workouts

Non stimulant based pre workouts are fast becoming a popular choice for many athletes and individuals to give you the essential nutrients and ingredients to maximize your training session without the common side effects associated with Stimulant Based Pre workouts. Non stimulant pre workouts are most common with individuals that are sensitive to stimulants; do not want to use stimulants due to side effects or athletes who train later on an evening due to other commitments. Non stimulant pre workouts don’t provide the same energy that a stimulant pre workout provides but can just as equally help in maximizing sessions and increasing muscle strength and hypertrophy. The two most common Non-Stimulant based pre workouts are:


Creatine is probably the most researched supplement on the market ever due to its amazing contributions to muscular energy and power increases. Creatine has been around a number of decades now and every scientific study that has ever been conducted on this ingredient has come back extremely positive. Creatine is naturally produced in the muscle and is used as energy output when training, specifically short high intensity bursts of movements. When all the natural creatine stores have been used by the muscle, the muscle will fatigue a lot quicker meaning we can’t keep lifting as heavy as normal at the same intensity. Another reason to include creatine in your pre workout is due to the hydration properties it offers. Creatine can draw water into a muscle keeping it full and hydrated at all times. Creatine is the number one ingredient in most non stimulant pre workout supplements.

Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine is a non essential amino acid but should be considered when buying a non stimulant pre workout. Beta Alanine works at a cellular energy level to help the muscle dodge the feel of fatigue during long high intensity sessions. It works by encouraging more carnosine in the muscle tissue, which may delay the build-up of acidity in muscle tissues throughout a workout set. In other words it allows the muscle to work harder for longer yielding bigger and better results. Beta Alanine will increase muscular endurance, increase energy for high intensity or explosive workouts and increasing overall workout performance.

Pro’s for a Non-Stimulant Based Preworkout:

  • Increased Energy
  • Improved Focus
  • Improved Endurance
  • Improved Strength
  • No crash
  • Can be taken at any time of the day

Con’s for a Non Stimulant Based Preworkout:

  • No mental alertness increase
  • No mental focus
  • Zero energy increase for days when energy low
  • No thermogenic properties for fat loss
  • Usually more expensive best pre workout supplement (non-stimulant)

iForce Hemavol



Alternative Pre Workout Supplementation

Of course, not everyone is chasing energy for a pre workout intensifier. We also have pre workout ‘Pump’ products or Nitric Oxides (NOX). More often than not a stimulant based and non stimulant based pre workout will contain many of the ingredients what we would consider ‘pump’ products. Athletes will consume these types of supplements to aid blood flow to the muscle and give it a full, rounder appearance whilst training and also for some time after. A nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule that acts in many tissues to regulate various physiological processes including vasodilation (blood vessel expansion), brain neuron function, inflammation, apoptosis (programmed cell death), cellular protection, immune function and erection. We actually use an NO product simply for blood vasodilation which will aid in skin ripping pumps and vascularity. Below are some of the most common ingredients that are considered the best when it comes to NO boosters:


L-Arginine is proven to not only have a healthy effect on nitric oxide production but also overall health including improved heart function. L-Arginine improves the bioavailability of nitric oxide, which is naturally occurring in the body. When we exercise, this nitric oxide is released, and L-Arginine can propel the strength of the release making it very effective for pump and vasodilation. As we know, Nitric oxide increases the diameter of blood vessels, which may improve circulation and the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart making L-Arginine a key component of any pre workout Nitric Oxide.


L-Citrulline is considered a non essential amino acid and has been shown to not only aid in nitric oxide enhancement but also in liver detoxification, due to it been a metabolite in the urea cycle. L-Citrulline is effective in supporting the production of nitric oxide through by sparing L-Arginine meaning the two products can work synergistically for better nitric oxide effects. best pre workout for pump

iForce Hemavol


Pre Workout Nutrition

Pre workout supplements can be a very effective tool in increasing the body’s ability to deal with high intensity workouts and getting the most from a workout. People though, often overlook the importance of nutrition alongside the supplementation and don’t maximize this opportunity also. When we supplement a great nutrition plan the opportunity for growth and development are endless. So what should we eat before we train?

Carbohydrates are, simply put, the most effective nutrient to take before a training session and likewise post workout too. Carbohydrates main role within the body are to produce energy by a build up of glycogen in the muscle. If we have enough glycogen to burn, the body will be using carbohydrates for energy and not eating into the muscle tissue. Carbohydrates also increase insulin levels, and as we know, insulin is the most anabolic (muscle building) hormone in the body. Carbohydrates are essential for muscle growth and muscle sparing.

What type of carbohydrates are the best?

There are many debates and arguments over this question, and plenty of science to prove one or the other. My personal preference lies with slow burning carbohydrates such as Oatmeal or Sweet Potato. These Low GI carbs burn a lot slower and give out energy over a constant period. High GI carbs like White Potato or White Rice will increase energy over a shorter period of time but will cause insulin to spike high and then drop at a considerable rate meaning that we may feel depleted and tired a lot quicker after the initial energy spike which makes this type of carbohydrate great for replenishment but not for prolonged energy. A serving of oatmeal with protein powder will cover all bases for a muscle building pre workout meal. I would recommend consuming at least 30% of your daily carbohydrate intake about 90 minutes before a high intensity workout, to allow them to be in your system ready for your workout. Dave Young

Who is Dave Young?

I am a Level 3 Qualified Personal Trainer, with plenty of CPD courses including level 3 GP and Exercise Referral. I am based in the Wakefield, West Yorkshire, area and currently train many competitive athletes as well as non competitive athletes too. I offer full Nutritional and Training programs online, with prices starting from as little as £20. Please feel free to contact me via email on if you are interested in any of my services.

Last update: Apr 01, 2014


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