One way to boost your performance in the gym and take it to another level is by taking pre-workout supplements. Not only do they provide a boost in energy and power, allowing you to achieve your workout goals, they also can help to speed up muscle recovery and growth, fatigue and boost confidence levels. A vast majority of work-out supplements use stimulants like caffeine to provide that initial energy boost you feel after taking a pre-workout. However, these types of stimulants can have some adverse side effects such as sleeplessness, changes in circadian rhythm, and an overall decrease in mental wellness. In some cases, some people are caffeine intolerant which means they won’t be able to take pre-workout supplements at all. The good news is that there are many alternatives to caffeinated pre-workout formulas (labeled as caffeine free) that can work just as well in improving performance, without the adverse effects.
The way that caffeinated pre-workout supplements work is by capitalizing on the way in which caffeine affects the body; let’s get into the science behind it. When caffeine gets ingested, it raises the blood glucose levels in the body, and this allows for more glucose to be available for the muscles which use that glucose as fuel for energy during workouts. An adverse side effect to this rise in glucose is that in some cases, high amounts of the hormone glucagon may form from too much glucose in the blood and that causes an imbalance in the body.
Gluconeogenesis is a process that the body initiates to convert non-carbohydrate sources into glucose, which is then used as energy by various organs and muscles in the body. Amino acids are considered to be the primary building blocks of life, and they are essential for muscle development and growth. In summary, caffeine helps to produce energy in the body that is used by the muscles, but it does not directly affect muscle growth on its own. All in all, caffeine-free supplements may be the more viable solution if you’re looking for an energy boost without having any adverse side effects.
We have listed below some trustworthy caffeine-free pre-workout supplements you can buy:
Creatine is one of the most popular ingredients commonly found in many caffeine-free pre-workout supplements. Creatine is also an amino acid, naturally found in many foods. This substance is known for its strength increasing, muscle growth and stimulating properties.
When you workout, your body breaks down a chemical called “ATP” also known as “Adenosine Triphosphate.” The breakdown of this chemical helps to supply energy to the body during physical activity. It works by continually resynthesizing itself to enhance performance and allows for increases in physical activity. During intense workouts, the body may use ATP faster than it can regenerate it, and this is where creatine comes into play. Taking creatine supplements increases phosphocreatine levels in the body, which, in turn, allows the body to produce more ATP, fueling muscles during physical exercise. This reaction results in feeling less tired and increases energy reserves, allowing for longer and more effective workouts. Large amounts of creatine in the body results in more ATP. So the muscles have more fuel to use allowing for the fibers in them to move more freely, which helps muscle growth. Long-term users of creatine supplements may benefit from an improvement in overall strength, a reduction of fat build up in muscles and an increase in red and white muscle fiber development.
There are many different forms of creatine supplements available on the market. The most common types of this substance are “Creatine Monohydrate” and “Creatine-HCL.” Creatine-HCL use may result in lower water retention than creatine monohydrate, which produces slimmer, more natural looking muscles. Both of these supplements will boost creatine levels in the body and increase the amount of creatine stored in the muscles, which is an essential part of exercising. Also, the use of creatine supplements efficiently buffers lactic acid and hydrogen ion build-up, which results in less muscle fatigue during workouts and recovery. That burning feeling that you feel in your muscles after prolonged exercise is the result of lactic acid build-up, and this build-up can reduce the effectiveness of your gains. In conclusion, we believe that creatine use is essential for people looking to improve their workout regimen and achieve their personal fitness goals.
Some people have trouble absorbing creating effectively, so they may need to search for a different supplement to aid them during exercise. The reason for this is most likely related to genetics, but the exact cause is still unknown. Moreover, creatine sue may not be optimal for those who perform aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or cycling so they may opt for a different supplement. For these reasons, many people choose to use “Citrulline” also known as “L-Citrulline.” This substance like creatine is also an amino acid which helps the body to produce higher levels of “Nitric Oxide” (NO). Nitric oxide is a “Vasodilator” which means it can improve the circulation of oxygen in the body, which is essential for muscle activity and growth.
Nitric oxide (unlike drugs like caffeine) widens blood vessels allowing for increased blood flow to the muscles. This action of increased blood flow considerably enhances the function of muscles since the increases in oxygen allow for more nutrients to be absorbed and utilized by the muscle tissues. Citrulline use has many benefits including, improving overall workout performance, reduces muscle fatigue, and enhances concentration which can be extremely helpful during physical exercise.
Many pre-workout supplements mix citrulline with L-Malate, to boost its effects. Adding malic acid to pre-workout supplements including citrulline increases energy levels and overall performance substantially. There have been various studies, (specifically on female tennis players) that showed ingesting citrulline malate before exercise resulted in increases in grip strength, and higher levels of energy. Comparable results showed that male weightlifters who supplemented with citrulline malate experienced improvements in their lower body muscle strength, which boosted their overall performance. Citrulline malate doesn’t only improve performance though, its also known to reduce muscle soreness, which is extremely important to athletes who need to be able to tap into their muscle strength on a regular basis. In our opinion, citrulline use can do wonders for both professional athletes and beginners just starting to workout.
Beta-alanine is a naturally synthesized amino acid which forms in the liver. The body also absorbs Beta-alanine from eating different types of meat such as beef and chicken. This amino acid is considered to be “non-essential” since the body produces enough of it on its own for most people, but for people who exercise often supplementing with beta-alanine can be very beneficial.
Beta-alanine travels almost instantly to the muscle fibers in the body after being ingested. After that, it mixes with a chemical called “Histidine” which is also an amino acid, and this combination forms a substance called “Carnosine.” Carnosine is mainly responsible for optimizing blood pH levels in the body, though it also helps in buffering hydrogen ions as well. Carnosine demotes the build-up of acids such as lactic acid, which in turn allows for a more productive workout. Much like some of the previous supplements we mentioned, beta-alanine has many benefits that can help users to achieve better results from their workouts.
Maintaining balanced pH levels in the blood is essential, but this is even more critical during physical exercise. For example, if the environment in the blood becomes too acidic, this can result in premature muscle fatigue which can cut workouts short and ruin potential gains. When you exercise your body naturally introduces acidic enzymes into the bloodstream, and this is what causes feelings of fatigue, and stress in the body. Beta-alanine use can counteract these effects by balancing these pH levels, boosting your energy and stamina allowing for longer workouts. Studies show that supplementing with beta-alanine can increase levels of carnosine in the blood by around 58% after just one month of use, and 80% after two and a half months. These are the reasons why many athletes choose to take beta-alanine before and during high-intensity training. The use of beta-alanine has many benefits including improved physical performance, reduced fatigue and soreness, and improved recovery. High levels of carnosine in the body result in the growth of more fast-twitch muscle fibers. Many naturally muscular people such as sprinters and bikers are known to have higher concentrations of carnosine in their blood. Furthermore, men also naturally have higher levels of carnosine in their blood compared to women, and this is because women’s bodies contain enzymes which destroy carnosine cells lessening their prevalence.
If you have ever been to a gym, health and fitness store, or even the supplement aisle of a grocery store you may have heard of (BCAAs). BCAAs, also known as “Branched-Chain Amino Acids,” are extremely popular in the fitness community, and are known to improve workouts. There are many BCAAs, but the main ones are L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and Valine. Leucine is the most often studied one of the bunch and has much more research than the others backing up its beneficial claims. Research shows that athletes who take BCAA supplements before resistance training and other workouts, tend to notice improvements in muscle strength, fat loss, and lean muscle gain.
Many people recommend these common tiny amino acids as the absolute best way to build and maintain muscle mass. They also have many other benefits including increasing metabolism. When taken as a pre-workout supplement, the body uses these BCAAs as an energy source utilized throughout intense workouts to keep the muscles fueled. It is a fact that about 3-18 percent of all energy boosts during exercises come from these amino acids. For these reasons, we believe that anyone can benefit from supplementing with BCAAs, including regular people, and athletes alike.
Leucine is unique in that it is “Anabolic,” meaning that its a muscle building amino acid. Leucine helps to synthesize proteins in the body that stimulate muscle growth. Moreover, leucine also helps the body to prevent muscle tissue breakdown which allows it to be used for energy to improve the length and efficiency of workouts.
Another one of leucines benefits is its ability to control glucose levels in the blood. This regulation of blood glucose allows for more energy to be provided to the cells which support muscle and brain function, which in turn, help to maintain focus, concentration, and motivation during physical exercise. The use of leucine also makes glucose more readily available for muscles in the body since it supports insulin function. One of the primary functions of insulin is retaining the breakdown of muscle mass, and this allows for better intake and absorption of BCAAs by the cells.
BCAAs support overall muscle development and this is hugely beneficial to athletes who require as much muscle development as they can get to perform well during games or competitions. BCAAs may also increase the bodies “Basal Metabolic Rate” or BMR. This increase results in the creation of more muscle and less fat in shorter times. Another interesting fact about BCAAs is that they inhibit serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that commonly forms during physical activity. High levels of serotonin may increase feelings of fatigue, and that can be detrimental to a productive workout. In conclusion, consuming BCAAs is a proven method for improving the functions of both the mind and body during workouts, and they can help to take your fitness goals to higher levels.
The main differences between non-stimulant supplements (such as the ones mentioned in this article) and caffeinated pre-workout formulas, is that caffeine can have vasoconstricting effects on the body. Even though caffeinated supplements do work and are useful in increasing energy levels, and promote muscle growth, they also have adverse side effects which can leave the body feeling worn and fatigued over time.
There is tons of research out there available which shows that caffeinated pre-workouts are not as efficient as non-stimulants such as BCAAs, creatine, citrulline, and beta-alanine. So its kind of a no-brainer to provide your body with the most effective, and healthy way to boost performance. You wouldn’t expect a plane to fly on empty in the same way you can’t expect your body to run on unnatural substances. Caffeinated supplements are a thing of the past, more and more professionals are leaning towards noncaffeinated supplements in this day and age as the data shows how much better they are in comparison. In conclusion, we think that caffeine free pre-workout supplements are the best way to fuel your body for a workout, and they help people from all over the world with performance, focus, and recovery.