The best pre-workout supplements can take a normal workout and make it a great one. But are you giving yours long enough to kick in?
For many athletes and lifters, taking a pre-workout supplement is a crucial part of their training ritual. But if you look around the gym or watch training videos online, you’ll see people taking them at different times: everything from “at home before I get in the car to drive to the gym” to “right before I pick up the weights and do my first warm-up set.”
If you’re like Vince Sant and you like to slam a pre right before you start training, there’s nothing wrong with that. But for most people, it’s not the ideal way to see the real benefits across the entire workout — which are things like controlling fatigue, helping you stay focused, and allowing you to pump out more reps than you would without it.
Here’s why: Science has shown that the caffeine in a pre-workout takes 15-45 minutes to kick in, and up to an hour to reach peak levels in your bloodstream.
In other words, if you wait until you’re at the gym to take it, you might be several exercises into your workout before the caffeine is doing much. So it might help you with the last round of a tough circuit, or the last couple of exercises in a strength or muscle-building workout, but that’s about it.
If you’re afraid that taking a pre-workout an hour before training will leave you short on energy halfway through your workout, well, think again. Depending on your tolerance, you probably have more like 3-4 hours before the caffeine level in your blood goes down by half — and possibly as much as 6-8 hours.
How to Take a Pre-Workout: If you can remember to, take your pre-workout at least 15 minutes before training, and even better, more like 30-45 minutes before training. And if you can’t remember until your workout starts, that’s OK — it’ll still help boost your energy for hours afterward.
Should I take a Pre-Workout Every Day?
You don’t have to take a pre-workout every day to see benefits from it. Unlike some supplements like creatine, whose benefits are systemic and build up over time, a pre-workout offers acute benefits. This means it enters your system, and is gone a few hours later.
If you have a decent caffeine tolerance and don’t see negative impacts on your sleep, there’s no reason you can’t take a pre-workout every time you train. Alternately, you could also save it for your most intense workouts of the week, like a brutal leg day, or a pump-focused arm workout or shoulder workout.
Why Should I Take a Pre-Workout?
But if you’re wondering why anyone would bother to take a pre-workout supplement, maybe it’s because your workouts aren’t challenging enough to deserve one — yet!
If you’re following one of V Shred’s most popular programs like Fat-Loss Extreme, Toned in 90 Days, or the legendary Ripped in 90 Days, a pre-workout can help you get the most out of every workout. But if you’re looking for a personalized solution, we can help you there, too.