I love a good pre-workout buzz. Some people eat fruit or nuts, others guzzle down a protein shake. Me, I like experimenting with different pre-workout supplements to give me that shot of adrenaline.
I blame it all on Ephedrine. If you’ve ever taken Ephedrine, a stimulant and appetite suppressant that was widely used years ago, you know what I’m talking about. Banned in the mid-2000’s, this was the most powerful pre-workout supplement I’d ever taken. Granted, there were some side effects (like the inability to sleep at night or unknowingly rapping out loud the lyrics to “Momma Said Knock You Out”) but moving a crazy amount of weight or not “dying” while doing cardio made it well worth it.
I see guys in the gym or at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy slamming Red Bull, Mountain Dew, Rockstar, or other drinks prior to their workout. For me, these drinks make me nauseated.
If you’re looking for a good workout buzz, here’s a quick rundown on some of the supplements I’ve recently used, from five stars (solid choice to get you going) to one star (you’re better off drinking a glass of milk and going to sleep).
A few caveats:
1) This is what worked/didn’t work for me. Tolerance and reaction will be different for everyone. For example, Ephedrine was great for me but a friend of mine didn’t feel a thing.
2) There are numerous other factors to consider. Things like amount of sleep, stress and nutrition can all affect a supplement’s effectiveness.
3) I’ve seen some very detailed reviews on all of these supplements – down to how the little crystals dissolve in water. Suffice it to say that all of the supplements mixed easily and tasted fine.
Coffee (5 stars): It all starts with caffeine – the main ingredient in all of these pre-workout supplements. There’s a reason Starbucks is full of students studying. Because they can get their all-night cram on in multiple caffeinated ways. Coffee doesn’t get five stars for the buzz only, but throw in cost, convenience, accessibility and simplicity and you have an all-around solid choice. Drink one to two cups an hour before training.
Jack3d – USP Labs (4 stars): I just tried this for the first time a few weeks ago. The only reason I gave it a slightly lower rating than Hyper-FX was because it didn’t give me that pre-workout buzz. Actually, there wasn’t really any buzz, but I could feel the supplement’s effects throughout my workout.
Amino Energy – Optimum Nutrition (3 1/2 stars): Amino Energy is a decent product, but the effects came and went quickly. I felt the buzz – for a few minutes. Then it was gone. I felt the workout energy, again for a few minutes, then it was gone. Maybe it was my dosage. I’ll probably give this product another shot.
Assault – MusclePharm and Xyience Xenergy Drink (2 stars each): Here’s where I’m a little confused. These are both energy supplements associated with mixed martial arts (MMA). MMA athletes are some of the best conditioned and mentally tough athletes on the planet. So I assumed their supplements would be great. Not for me. I didn’t feel a thing. Again, going back to individual effects, maybe these just aren’t for me. Actually, if you read user reviews, Assault is right up there with some of the highest rated pre-workout drinks. Give it a try. It might work differently for you.
So there you have it. If you find yourself dragging to your next workout or just want that extra “oomph,” try one of these supplements. Who knows, you might end up breaking a personal record or, at the least, catch yourself rapping “Momma Said Knock You Out.”