Benefits Of Pre-Workout And Natural Alternatives

Can pre-workout boost your performance?

In case you are unsure what it is, pre-workout refers to a dietary supplement designed to be taken before a workout to increase energy levels and enhance physical performance. These supplements typically come in the form of powdered drink mixes or capsules and are increasingly popular among athletes. In simple terms, it is the kick many of us need to get down to the gym after a long day at work.

5 reasons why pre-workout boosts your performance

1. More Energy: Pre-workouts often contain caffeine, which gives you a good energy boost and reduces fatigue during workouts.

2. Better Focus: Some ingredients like tyrosine or taurine help enhance mental focus, so you stay engaged during your exercise.

3. Improved Endurance: Certain ingredients like beta-alanine and citrulline malate can delay fatigue, so you can exercise for longer and at a higher intensity.

4. Stronger Pump: Ingredients like citrulline or arginine promote better blood flow to your muscles, giving you that satisfying “pump” feeling during workouts.

5. Increased Strength: Some pre-workout supplements contain creatine, known for supporting protein synthesis and enhancing strength during resistance training.

Scientific evidence or just a marketing trick?

There are scientific studies that have explored the effects of pre-workout supplements and their potential benefits. Here are some common ingredients found in pre-workout products.

Caffeine: Caffeine is probably the most popular stimulant known to improve attention, physical performance and reduce perceived exertion. Studies have shown that caffeine can enhance endurance, strength, power, and focus during workouts. It may also increase fat oxidation, potentially aiding in weight loss efforts. Caffeine has consistently been shown to improve exercise performance when consumed in doses of 3-6 mg/kg body mass and 60 min pre-exercise. (Source: International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance)

Beta-Alanine: Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps increase muscle carnosine levels, which can reduce muscle acidity and delay fatigue during high-intensity exercise. Several studies have demonstrated that beta-alanine supplementation can improve exercise performance, especially during short-duration, high-intensity activities. (Source: Effect of the beta-alanine supplementation in sports: an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses)

Citrulline: Citrulline is an amino acid that may improve blood flow and promote a better “pump” during resistance training. Some studies have suggested that citrulline supplementation can enhance exercise performance and reduce muscle soreness. A total of 3−4 g of L-citrulline or 8 g citrulline malate (CM) are recommended 1 h before exercise. Citrulline supplements are especially recommended for power and strength athletes for them to adequately recover and subsequently train at their desired intensity level. (Source: Effect of citrulline on post-exercise rating of perceived exertion, muscle soreness, and blood lactate levels: A systematic review and meta-analysis)

Creatine: Creatine is a popular supplement known to enhance strength and power during resistance training exercises. Numerous studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation can improve exercise performance, increase muscle mass, and support muscle recovery especially for healthy young population with adequate training in a variety of dosage strategies and athletic activities. (Source: Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021)

Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that may have antioxidant properties and help reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress. Some studies suggest that taurine supplementation could improve endurance performance. Limited and varied findings prohibit definitive conclusions regarding the efficacy of taurine on aerobic and anaerobic performance and metabolic outcomes. There are mixed findings for the effect of taurine consumption on improving recovery from training bouts and/or mitigating muscle damage. The timing of taurine ingestion as well as the type of exercise protocol performed may contribute to the effectiveness of taurine as an ergogenic aid. More investigations are needed to better understand the potential effects of taurine supplementation on aerobic and anaerobic performance, muscle damage, metabolic stress, and recovery. (Source: Taurine in sports and exercise)

Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid that may help improve cognitive function and focus during stressful situations, including exercise. Some studies have shown that tyrosine supplementation can help maintain mental alertness during prolonged exercise. Especially in combination with caffeine and theanine, supplementation could potentially hold ergogenic value for athletes in sports requiring rapid accurate movements (Source: Effects of acute caffeine, theanine and tyrosine supplementation on mental and physical performance in athletes)

Considerations for women taking pre-workout 


There are specific aspects that women should consider when taking pre-workout supplements to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Here are some important considerations:

Dosage: Women generally have lower body weight and different physiological factors compared to men. As a result, the dosage of pre-workout supplements should be adjusted accordingly. Start with the lowest recommended dose and assess how your body responds before increasing it.

Ingredients: Carefully review the ingredient list of pre-workout supplements. Some products may contain ingredients that are not suitable for women or may have different effects on female bodies. Avoid supplements with excessive amounts of stimulants or potentially harmful substances.

Sensitivity to Stimulants: Scientific evidence shows that certain pre-workout ingredients, like high doses of caffeine or other stimulants, may affect women more significantly compared to men.  

As women may be more sensitive to stimulants you have to be cautious with the amount of caffeine or other stimulants in your pre-workout supplement to prevent unwanted side effects like jitteriness, anxiety, or sleep disturbances. Particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or have hormonal imbalances.

Menstrual Cycle: Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can influence how your body responds to exercise and supplements. Some women may find that certain pre-workout ingredients have varying effects at different stages of their cycle.

Natural alternatives to commercial pre-workout supplements


If you prefer to avoid commercial pre-workout supplements or are looking for natural alternatives, there are several options that can help enhance your energy and performance before a workout. Here are some natural alternatives to consider:

Whole Foods: Prioritize a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats about 1-2 hours before your workout. This can provide sustained energy and proper nutrients to fuel your exercise session.

Fruit: Fruits like bananas, apples, or berries are excellent sources of natural sugars and carbohydrates, providing a quick energy boost before your workout.

Caffeine: If you enjoy caffeine but want to avoid the synthetic versions in pre-workout supplements, consider a cup of black coffee or green tea. They can provide a moderate caffeine boost without added artificial ingredients.

Beetroot Juice: Beetroot juice contains nitrates that can enhance blood flow and improve exercise performance. Some studies suggest that beetroot juice can boost endurance and reduce the oxygen cost of exercise. However, it’s worth noting that individual responses may vary.

Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness and aid in recovery.

Coconut Water: Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, which can help maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance during workouts.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): BCAAs are naturally occurring in protein-rich foods like meat, dairy, and legumes e.g. salmon, eggs, lentils. Consuming a small amount of BCAAs before exercise may help minimize muscle breakdown during high intensity and endurance efforts.

Apart from food, several other factors can also influence your workout performance. Consider these factors to enhance your exercise experience:

Hydration: Proper hydration is crucial for optimal exercise performance. Drinking enough water throughout the day and before your workout can help you stay energized and perform better.

Sleep and Rest: This is obvious, but ensuring you get enough quality sleep and allowing adequate rest between workouts can significantly impact your energy levels and exercise performance.

Mindfulness and Visualization: Practicing mindfulness techniques and positive visualization before your workout can help you mentally prepare and focus on your exercise goals. 

Pre-workout for weight loss 

Pre-workout supplements are not specifically designed for weight loss purposes, but they may indirectly support weight loss due to their impact on exercise performance and energy levels. Here are some ways pre-workout supplements might be beneficial for weight loss:

Increased energy and motivation: Pre-workouts often contain stimulants like caffeine that can boost energy levels and motivation. With higher energy levels, individuals may feel more inclined to engage in longer and more intense workouts, which can contribute to burning more calories and aiding weight loss.

Improved exercise performance: Certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements, such as beta-alanine and citrulline malate, can help enhance endurance and reduce fatigue during workouts. This can lead to individuals being able to exercise at a higher intensity and for longer durations, potentially burning more calories during each session.

Appetite suppression: Some pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that may help suppress appetite, which can be beneficial for weight loss efforts, as it may lead to reduced calorie intake throughout the day.

Thermogenic effects: Some pre-workouts contain thermogenic ingredients like green tea extract or capsaicin, which can slightly increase metabolism and promote fat burning. However, the actual impact on weight loss is generally modest, and it’s essential to maintain a calorie deficit through diet and exercise for significant weight loss.


In conclusion, pre-workout supplements have the potential to boost exercise performance due to their formulation of various ingredients aimed at enhancing energy, focus, endurance, and strength during workouts. Ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline, creatine, and others have been studied for their positive effects on physical performance.

While scientific evidence supports the benefits of some pre-workout ingredients, individual responses may vary. Some people may experience a significant improvement in their workout performance, while others might not notice a big difference. One thing to note is that the long-term effects and safety of pre-workout supplements require further research.

It’s important to approach pre-workout supplementation with caution and ensure that the product is appropriate for your specific health condition. As always, consulting with a healthcare professional or a dietitian is recommended before incorporating pre-workout supplements into your meal plan.

While pre-workout supplements can offer a potential performance boost, they are not a substitute for a well-balanced diet, proper hydration, sufficient rest, and regular exercise. A holistic approach to fitness and health remains essential for achieving optimal workout performance and overall well-being.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *