Scratching your head with all the pre, intro, and post-workout supplement jargon? You want the biggest advantage you can get while in the gym but what truly matters?
It can be confusing with the hyped-up names and compound mixtures but let’s see what science has to say about it.
There is research showing marginal improvements from dozens of ingredients. HOWEVER, there are 5 nutrients that stand out in study after study. These are the nutrients even the International Olympic Committee has reported to naturally support performance and muscle building or fat loss results.
Next time you are looking for supplements, you can keep note of these 5 ingredients proven to deliver greater gains.
1. Caffeine (the right form)
WHY use it? Energy to get through those workouts
Best Gains dose: 75 – 300 mg
Benefits: Caffeine is listed as an ergogenic aid in the journals which means it is proven to boost performance in both endurance and anaerobic (short bursts) exercise. Literature shows it can increase workload which in turn means more volume and more gains for you.
The problem is that caffeine can short circuit your adrenal glands. You end up having to take more and more while feeling more fatigued throughout the day because your adrenals can’t keep up with your energy (adrenalin) needs.
So, what do you do? Quit taking the synthetic anhydrous form of caffeine by itself because that is what burns you out so fast. Green tea and other herbs have caffeine in them but the caffeine is food-based, instead of being made in the lab. There are certain compounds, called phytonutrients, that help caffeine not cause damage while providing the energy you need.
Products that contain natural caffeine:
Our newest pre-workout formula! This formula has all of the ingredients listed on this page specifically for producing and completely new workout experience that will get you maximum gains.
A complete focus product... Remember, this formula also contains nootropic herbs and pre-digested B-Vitamins that create an awesome flush for more circulation benefits.
This chewable pre-workout contains 30 mg of whole food caffeine in every chew plus the most mind-blowing nitric oxide nutrient we have ever seen. More on that with other nutrients.
WHY use it? Strength, Power, and Muscle Density
Best Gains Dose: 3-5 g in pre-workout (based on the type of creatine)
Benefits: Creatine is the most researched and used ergogenic nutrient in the world for muscle benefits. It is the number one nutrient to help push the heavyweight. Simply put: Creatine provides cellular fuel so you can lift heavier and longer.
Why 3-5 grams? Research is very clear that if you take Creatine in the form of Creatine Monohydrate you will benefit the most from 5 g before your workout. Many will take 5 g after as well. When taking Creatine Nitrate, the dosage is only 3 g. When Creatine is bound to a nitrate, it penetrates the muscle cells faster because of the nitric oxide increases the flow of nutrients at the cellular level. If you want improvement to muscle shape, strength, and size, you are crazy if you don’t take some form of creatine. You are doing the work in the gym and you need to take advantage of all the gains possible.
Products that contain Creatine:
If you are going to take Creatine Monohydrate, you want the instantized form. Creatine comes in 3 sizes and, the smaller the particle, the easier it gets absorbed. Straight Creatine Monohydrate has a large mesh size of around 75. Micronized Creatine has a smaller mesh of around 200 but Instantized Creatine comes in at 500 and is a fully-dissolved molecule. No gritty mouth feel and full absorption. Don’t be fooled or spend your money on Creatine's that are not instantized. Again, take 5 g before workout and 5 after if you want.
These two products contain Creatine Nitrate, which is the choice supplement when wanting to increase Nitric Oxide, along with creatine. It brings the pump along with the creatine in one molecule. Crea-Nitric 100 is pure Creatine Nitrate in capsule form.
N.O. Chews combine Creatine Nitrate along with natural caffeine and antioxidants into a chewable tablet. Whether it is a capsule or chewable form, there is 1 g of Creatine Nitrate in each, which means you can take 3-4 before workouts.
NOTE: Which one should you take? It depends on your goals. If you only want the muscle benefits of Creatine, take Instantized Creatine. If you don’t want caffeine or energy but want Creatine Nitrate, take the Crea-Nitric 100 or if you want the energy at the same time, the N.O. Chews are for you.
3. Vasodilators (Nitric Oxide boosters)
WHY use it? Nitric Oxide increases blood flow and expands blood vessels. In reality, the benefits are greater than blood vessel expansion and the pump. Nitric Oxide keeps the blood vessels flexible which helps keep blood pressure normalized and is a tremendous anti-aging factor.
Best Gains Dose: 3-5 g in pre-workout (based on the type of nitric oxide nutrient used)
Benefits: When Nitric Oxide is stimulated and released in the bloodstream, there is an immediate expansion of the vessels. When working out, this creates a greater pump but more importantly, it increases nutrient delivery to the muscle cells for growth and burns fat within fat cells more efficiently. It is like the difference between stagnant and flowing water.
Products that contain Nitric Oxide boosting nutrients:
There are two nutrient pathways that stimulate Nitric Oxide production in the body. The first is the urea pathway that mainly utilizes the amino acid arginine. It also utilizes citrulline and ornithine. The other is the nitrate pathway.
Argi-Pump has all three amino acids. It should be taken 20 minutes before working out and in a 4-capsule dose. A lot of people buy and use Argi-Pump for its growth hormone help along with the Nitric Oxide. If this is what you desire, take 4 capsules right before bed for growth hormone help.
A capsulated formula that only contains creatine nitrate. Take 3-4 capsules 20 minutes before a workout.
Containing Creatine Nitrate but also 30 mg of natural caffeine and 35 antioxidant-filled fruits and veggies. This is a chewable tablet and you should take 3-4 tablets right before a workout.
Note: Crea-Nitric 100 and the N.O. Chews utilize the food NITRATE pathway to create Nitric Oxide release. Both of these formulas use the purest form of creatine nitrate in the world called CREA-NITRIC. This form of creatine nitrate has no additives or residues.
DURING WORKOUT NUTRIENTS
4. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
WHY use it? Stimulate better focus, keep anabolic environment and increase endurance.
Best Gains Dose: 5 g during a workout
Benefits: BCAAs—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—are very beneficial when it comes to creating a more focused mindset, increased duration of workout, and regulating protein metabolism. It is important that you get the right ratio of leucine to isoleucine to valine. You are looking for 2:1:1, respectively.
BCAAs give you some immediate protection against the catabolic environments produced when exercising. Moreover, drinking BCAAs may help decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the following day so you can get back to training hard faster.
Product that contains BCAA’s:
This formula has the right ratio of 2 parts Leucine to 1 part isoleucine and valine AND is instantized. This means it is absorbed completely and quickly. Many BCAA products don’t get into the system immediately and do you no good if taken during your workout. In addition, this formula is only BCAAs. Most products on the market contain artificial sugars, like sucralose and aspartame. These synthetics, along with dyes, can impede all nutrients delivery especially BCAAs. Take 5g (1 teaspoon) in water and drink during your workout. We recommend putting a few drops of organic Cranvia in it for a sweet flavor.
WHY use it? Faster recovery, increased time of anabolism, and reduction of acid buildup.
Best Gains Dose: 5 g during a workout
Benefits: Glutamine is the secret weapon and most underutilized of all the sports nutrients. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and is used up in times of workout stress or any stress. Without glutamine, you don’t recover as fast. It is known throughout the literature as the anti-catabolic nutrient because of its ability to keep you anabolic even when on lower calories.
Product that contains GLUTAMINE:
This product is a straight powder with no fillers. Take 5 g during your workout and many take 5 g before bed also for recovery and Growth Hormone release. Most athletes combine Glutamine with BCAAs in one drink that is sipped during workouts. This combo, once tried, will be a staple in your regime because of the difference it makes.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
We suggest focusing on these pre-workout and during-workout ingredients. They are the main staples based on research for this part of training. Each ingredient has multiple benefits in different scenarios. When you buy your next pre-workout and intra-workout mix, make sure the products contain enough of the aforementioned ingredients, or it may not be as effective as possible.
Here are a couple of sample stacks for your pre-workout and intra-workout needs.
5 minutes before a workout - 3 N.O. Chews
ABOUT GAINS IN BULK
Gains in Bulk is a homegrown company created by bodybuilding and sculpting enthusiasts. We are about Purity, Potency, and Price.
Like many of you, we have done our research and know what nutrients we want. What we did differently is, instead of searching for existing company's products that have high markups, we sought out the highest quality supplements from the manufacture. Now, we are passing the savings and highest quality performance nutrients on to you as we work to change the way supplements are purchased and utilized in this industry. We sell in bulk to give you the largest gains at the smallest price possible.
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Aguiar AF, Januario RS, Junior RP, et al. Long-term creatine supplementation improves muscular performance during resistance training. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013; 113(4):987-996.
Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., ... & Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 20(3), 236.
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Castillo L, Sanchez m, Vogt J, Chapman TE, et al. Plasma arginine citrulline, and ornithine kinetics in adults, with observations on nitric oxide synthesis. Am J Physiol. 1995;268:E360-367.
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Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables ... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575935/by S Lidder - 2013.