The nectar of the gods.
It is what gets us going in the morning right.
I know for me it’s not until I’ve had my coffee in the morning that I really know what way is up.
My wife and I own a cafe so coffee has been a pretty big part of my life the last few years.
And it’s also become my go-to pre-workout.
The gym I train at is just around the corner from the cafe which makes it even easier.
So let’s talk pre-workout first.
What is pre workout?
Pre-workouts are a supplement that typically comes in a powder form, made up of several ingredients designed to boost energy levels and performance in the gym.
Some of the main ingredients include:
A compound that’s produced naturally in the body improves recovery time, muscle mass, and performance.
I have a full article here breaking the differences between creatine and pre-workout for you to read.
But if supplementing with creatine is something that interests you, I recommend using the creatine below.
I come in a capsule so the serving sizes are set for you!
Another naturally occurring compound in the body that helps improve blood flow and relax blood vessels
Which in this case is good for energy levels, improved alertness, and fat burning.
One of the big problems we find with more pre-workouts though is they tend to be very high in artificial sweeteners and in some cases sugar alcohols.
They typically have the same amount of caffeine as 1-2 cups of coffee.
Which is fine, if you’re not drinking any more coffee that day.
I will typically train in the morning after my morning coffee, so I’m never double dipping as I don’t use a pre-workout powder.
Coffee is my pre-workout.
Sure there are some added bonuses with pre-workout that you don’t get in coffee.
But I’m not going to stop drinking coffee, especially not for a powder that potentially has harmful sugars and sweeteners in it.
That’s not to say there aren’t more natural pre-workout powders out there.
But I like coffee, and it doesn’t cost me as much when we buy the quantities we do.
But if you don’t drink coffee by all means have a look around and try a pre-workout powder that’s not loaded full of crap.
What Can I Use Instead Of Pre Workout?
Well, there’s obviously coffee, which you can have many ways and there are pros and cons with black or white.
If you’re drinking it black that’s great, hot or iced is fine.
Even a shot of espresso works, short and sharp, straight to the point.
But it would be worth following it up with at least a glass of water as coffee has been shown to be a diuretic.
But having your coffee black is going to mean your body won’t be having to digest the milk.
On the other hand, having your coffee with milk is ok too even though your body will be digesting the milk.
It’s also giving you some protein and even some fats and carbs for a little energy kick.
So for me either is fine and the cons of either are kind of nitpicking anyway.
I’ve never felt bloated or heavy from having a little milk before a workout.
But if you do, just go black.
Each to their own on this one.
For more information on whether or not your choice of coffee is making you fat, check out my article here.
Dried fruit is a great little pre-workout energy boost as most dried fruits are high in sugars.
The kind of sugars your body wants right before a workout as well.
A handy little supply of energy right before you get a sweat on.
Especially if you’re going to have just fruit. Bananas and berries are great for the same reason as our dried fruits.
Full of natural sugars that your body can break down fast and use right away.
As well as all the other nutrients you are getting in which will vary from fruit to fruit.
These are great as well but for slightly different reasons.
The carbs you are getting from oats are slower releasing.
So depending on the workout you’re doing, that energy could come in handy at the tail end of your session.
What’s The Best Natural Pre Workout?
What I just went over are the best whole food options.
But if a powder is what you prefer then it’s going to come down to what’s in it.
Like any product, we’re going to consume from a packet you want minimal ingredients and only things you understand.
If the ingredient is just a number, that’s not telling you anything.
So what are the ingredients we want to look for?
As I mentioned earlier this is great to aid in recovery and performance and is an awesome supplement on its own.
Creatine is the most widely researched supplement on the market and is proven in what it does.
Again, great for energy levels and for aiding in fat burning is to be taken with caution.
Always look at the level of caffeine on the package.
The recommended dosage is between 1.4-2.7mg per pound of body weight.
This is an amino acid that helps with muscle fatigue.
But this is only really working at its best with short bursts of intense exercise.
1-4 minute bursts of work, so it’s not really doing much outside of that.
Another amino acid, only this one is known for increasing blood flow to body tissues.
It’s also been shown to improve performance and reduce muscle soreness.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids have been shown to improve endurance, reduce mental fatigue and muscle soreness.
They are also known for their muscle-building effects.
Can I Take Pre Workout Every Day?
Let’s err on the side of caution here.
Like anything, it’s probably not best to get too carried away.
The first reason is digestion, they have been shown to cause gut problems.
Also, there is potential for symptoms common to addictions, you may find after a month that it’s not working the same so you need to increase the dose.
It’s worth using a pre-workout in blocks and taking a week off every few weeks.
And going back to coffee, you may end up finding yourself overdoing it with all the caffeine and it could become a hard choice to make if you had to pick just one.
But hey it may work for you. If you’re only training 3 times a week it may be that no tolerance ever builds up to it.
So at the end of the day, it’s your call but I would definitely monitor the situation.
Before you dive to far into supplements, where are you at with your routine?
Your diet, your workouts even your habits?
For a FREE evaluation of your current situation book a consultation call with me now!
If you’re finding your gym routine getting stale and want something new to get you motivated, have a look at my free E-Book ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want‘.