If you want to maximize your performance in the gym, then you definitely want to consider using a pre-workout supplement. Here are 10 benefits of using a pre-workout supplement.
Muscle gains and fat loss are all about what you put in the gym. That is, results are directly hinged upon how hard you work in the weight room.
If you push yourself to the very brink of your physical limit, then you can bet that your muscles are going to grow and the fat is going to melt off.
However, digging deep and training to the point of absolute failure cannot always be accomplished on willpower alone. Well, actually, it can, but more often than we would like to admit, our bodies screaming in pain makes us quit before we reached our physical limit.
This is why there are pre-workout formulas. Not only do they fire you up, but they ignite something inside you that morph you into a mutant on a mission.
The benefits of a pre-workout supplement are numerous. There’s also plenty of scientific evidence to back them up, so no need to just take these claims at face value.
Benefit #1: It Wakes You Up
The primary benefit of a pre-workout supplement is the most obvious: it gives you a few slaps in the face to energize you when you’re not in the mood for the gym..
If you work out routinely, then you’ve experienced those moments more often than you would like. No one is immune from those days when they would so rather plop on the couch than get in their strength training or cardio session..
A pre-workout supplement acts as a stimulant. Most brands utilize caffeine, which is renowned for its multiple benefits besides acting as a powerful pick-me-upper. When you feel as if every cell in your body is awake, you just feel alive and like you can take on the world.
Studies have verified that caffeine produces physiological changes in the brain. Caffeine works its magic by binding into the adenosine receptors without activating them. All you need to know about adenosine receptors is that they nudge your body towards sleepiness and fatigue.
Caffeine is a widely popular stimulant, but it’s not the only substance known for providing a sustained energy surge.
Arginine is also known to stimulate the body due to the heightened blood and oxygen flow it creates.
While Rebellion doesn’t contain arginine, it does contain a hefty serving of L-citrulline malate. Aside from causing an insane muscle pump, which you will read about later, L-citrulline malate induces arginine production.
Benefit #2: It Increases Athletic Performance
Aside from waking you up, pre-workout supplements also enhance physical performance in every type of athletic activity from endurance sports to strength training. This has been verified in this study..
All in all, caffeine users improve their performance output by an average of 12%..
Most pre-workout drinks also contain creatine monohydrate, which has also been shown in this study to boost physical output. Creatine helps the body by producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is produced by the skeletal muscles for providing energy during strenuous activity..
Another commonly known ingredient is beta-alanine. This amino acid has been shown to increase muscle carnosine concentrations. Carnosine is a peptide that acts as an antioxidant and offsets muscle fatigue caused by the buildup of hydrogen ions produced during high intensity training.
If you are training to put on lean muscle mass or to lose body fat, then it is absolutely pivotal that you train to your maximum potential; anything less than your very best efforts results in subpar gains.
For muscle gains you have to lift to absolute failure for muscle tissue to adapt and grow. Likewise, to lose fat, you have to perform short intervals of high intensity cardio to exhaust your glycogen stores and turn to body fat as an emergency reserve.
Benefit #3: It Boosts Mental Function
Pre-workout supplements also act as food for the brain. This is mainly due to the caffeine content, which has been shown to have nootropic-like effects. While it may be a stretch to suggest that caffeine intake will make you into the next Einstein, studies do suggest that it keeps those ever irritating brain fogs at bay.
According to a study conducted at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, consuming approximately 300mg of caffeine a day has been linked to a slower cognitive decline in older women.
Furthermore, other studies have linked caffeine to long-term memory retention. Subjects that consumed caffeine were able to better remember a series of images shown from the day prior as well as distinguish between new images that were similar but not identical to the ones shown the previous day.
This explains why college students often have a coffee pitcher by their study table when cramming their minds with textbook information in preparation for an exam. Yes, the caffeine keeps them awake and alert, but it also improves their ability to retain information as well as absorb new ones.
Even creatine monohydrate has been shown to improve memory.
This is somewhat of a surprise given that the molecule is thought to be solely associated with ATP production and increasing energy output. Well, the science says it all in one study that demonstrates the positive effects of creatine on memory.
Within black pepper lies an alkaloid known as piperine. While scientists still aren’t exactly sure how it works, piperine appears to have some influence on the brain’s chemical pathway that reduces radical-related cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s.
Benefit #4: Pre-Workout Supplements Increase Muscle Pump
If you do any form of strength training, then you are no stranger to the pump sensation where the muscle you worked feels absolutely jacked. Flexing a pumped muscle is certainly an ego booster. Body builders have an absolute love affair with the muscle pump.
The muscle pump feeling is a result of the muscle becoming engorged with blood. This actually enhances protein synthesis, which in turn promotes muscle repair and growth. It also decreases muscle breakdown when the muscles are overworked.
The muscle pump is especially believed to have an effect on fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are stimulated during high volume training, such as lifting extremely heavy under low repetitions, or performing short bouts of explosive movement like sprinting or shooting for a takedown in wrestling.
Nitric Oxide (NO) supplements are very popular nowadays as a pre-workout formula due to the insane pumps they are known for delivering. Most pre-workout supplements also contain ingredients known for creating a pump. Rebellion contains L-citrulline malate, a non-essential amino acid found in apples and melons.
Arginine is typically the primary ingredient in most NO products due to its ability to increase oxygen delivery to overworked muscles. Well, L-citrulline malate has been shown to increase plasma arginine levels more than supplementing with arginine directly.
This study verifies the effects of L-citrulline malate on NO production.
Benefit #5: It Helps You Lose Weight
Pre-workout supplements help you lose weight indirectly by allowing you to work harder in the gym, thus burning more calories. However, many ingredients in a typical pre-workout formula are also known for aiding in weight loss.
Caffeine has already been established as being more than just a stimulant. Aside from waking you up and improving brain function, caffeine is also a proven fat loss aid. This study shows that high caffeine intake raises body thermogenesis and fat oxidation.
Aside from boosting metabolism, caffeine also helps you lose weight by keeping hunger at bay. Like most stimulants, caffeine is an anorectic agent known for delaying the onset of hunger.
It’s so effective at blunting hunger, in fact, that the legendary Gallae tribesmen of Ethiopia were known to carry provisions of crushed coffee beans mixed with fat to prevent hunger during lengthy military expeditions.
This makes caffeine a very helpful agent if you’re on a calorie deficit to lose weight. Consuming coffee just before a meal may actually help make you feel full faster, thus helping you consume less without feeling like you’re being deprived.
It’s also useful when you’re intermittently fasting. Most caffeine supplements and even pure black coffee minus the sugar and cream contain zero calories.
If you’re also taking a pre-workout supplement or other caffeinated beverages, Try not to consume more than 400mg/day.
Benefit #6: It Speeds Up Muscle Recovery
If you strength train to absolute failure, then your muscles are going to be taking a serious beating. Some of the muscle tissue will be damaged, which your cells will have to repair and build back even stronger.
If you return to the gym before the recovery process is complete, then you may risk overtraining and muscle catabolism.
It’s typically post-workout supplements that are known for aiding in muscle recovery. However, pre-workout products contain just the right ingredients as well.
Caffeine actually helps with muscle recovery by increasing glucose and insulin levels after workout.
This was proven in a study by the American Physiological Society where it was shown that a carbohydrate drink with caffeine improved glucose levels 66% more than a carbohydrate-only drink.
On top of quicker recovery, caffeine also alleviates muscle soreness in the hours and days following a rigorous workout. If you have ever done strenuous weight training especially following a long layoff, then you should be familiar with sore muscles.
It’s no fun and your body feels as if it has just been shot out of a cannon. Well, this study is evidence that sipping caffeine helps reduce the feeling of those achy muscles.
It’s not just caffeine that facilitates recovery; creatine monohydrate has also been shown to have similar effects on sore muscles.
Studies show that supplementing with creatine helps subjects regain their strength faster following a high volume strength training session.
Benefit #7: It’s Good for Your Mood and Well-Being
Your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical health. The thing about performance enhancing supplements is that most contain ingredients that also have the secondary benefit of elevating your mood..
Caffeine has been proven in numerous studies to elevate mood. It is also believed to have beneficial properties as an anti-depressant..
The same holds true for creatine. Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of this time-honored muscle building supplement extend beyond enhanced physical performance.
Creatine has in fact been shown to alleviate common symptoms associated with stress. In addition, creatine also proved to be beneficial in helping patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Obviously, when you take a pre-workout supplement, your primary intent is to get that additional surge of energy to propel you to push like a workhorse during an intense strength training or cardio session. However, you cannot overlook the importance of sound mental well-being.
Stress, after all, is linked to excess cortisol production, and too much production of the cortisol hormone has been linked to fat gain and muscle atrophy.
It has also been linked to increased estrogen (AKA the women hormone) in men. Excess estrogen leads to subcutaneous fat stores in areas such as the thighs, upper arms and chest.
The end result is the ever dreaded man breasts.
Benefit #8: It Increases Lean Muscle Mass
It was established that pre-workout supplements help you train harder, thus resulting in better gains. Beyond that, a product like Rebellion also creates an anabolic environment conducive for muscle hypertrophy.
Creatine monohydrate, as most of you likely already know, has long been known to promote muscle cell volumization by shuttling water into the cells and causing them to swell.
People whose bodies lack the ability to produce creatine naturally are also more prone to muscle dystrophy. Studies have verified that creatine use is associated with gains in non-fat mass.
Yet another beneficial and somewhat obscure ingredient is betaine anhydrous. This valuable amino acid is that it has been shown in a study to have a greater effect on muscle volume and fat loss when tested against a placebo group.
Benefit #9: It’ll Add Years to Your Life
Can a pre-workout supplement really slow down father time? Americans are more susceptible to preventable disease like pulmonary cancer and stroke due to a western diet. Caffeine, though, may help offset the risk.
Caffeine has been linked to decreased risk of all too common maladies like obesity and type II diabetes. In fact, in laboratory studies, caffeine has been shown to increase the life span of mice by up to 40%.
Does this mean our daily morning cup of Joe will add 20 to 30 years of life for people? That’s obviously wishful thinking, but there is certainly something potent about caffeine that warrants further studies.
On the subject of health, caffeine may also act as a natural wrinkle reducer. For one, caffeine has already been shown to fight off skin cancer, but it just might also keep you looking younger by keeping your skin smooth and supple.
Caffeine actually dehydrates skin and fat cells, thus reducing their water-retaining abilities; the result is less cellulite in common problem areas.
Results are also noticeable in the face as cell dehydration causes bags under the eyes to “de-puff,” making them less apparent.
Mentioned earlier was the ingredient black pepper extract. This compound is believed to promote skin health. One way it helps is by stimulating the skin to produce pigment.
Unhealthy skin cells are unable to produce ample pigment, and the result is a condition known as vitiligo, a skin disease where the affected skin takes on a whitish hue.
On top of that, piperine may also reduce the risk of skin cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation exposure.
Benefit #10: It Increases Libido
Yes, you heard that right, pre-workout supplements turn you into a sex monster, no joke! This was verified in a University of Texas study where it was shown that caffeine consumption reduces the odds of erectile dysfunction in men by up to 42%.
It’s not just the caffeine. Creatine has also been shown to increase testosterone, and testosterone is linked to higher sperm count.
Also remember that pre-workout supplements enhance physical performance. Being able to push yourself to the limit in the gym, especially when it comes to heavy compound lifts, is sure as heck going to send your body into a testosterone overdrive. That means even more ample sperm production.
Many men, in fact, have reported increased erections when transitioning from a sedentary to a physically active lifestyle.
What about women? Don’t worry; they’re not exactly left out of the equation. A lab mice study showed that female rats were more quickly to return to their male partner for a second round of intercourse when given a dose of caffeine.
Of course, this study was done on rodents, so it’s not exactly bulletproof evidence that the results translate to human subjects. Nevertheless, it’s quite intriguing and certainly warrants further studies.
One Final Note
As you can see, caffeine is a huge component in a lot of these benefits listed. With that in mind, though, it must be pointed out that caffeine is not some kind of wonder drug, and consuming more does not equate to even more profound benefits. It must be reiterated that the daily recommended dose is 400mg.
Don’t be a bonehead and think that exceeding that amount will equal twice the energy, twice the memory improvement, and so on. Caffeine overdose has been linked to the jitters, anxiety, nausea, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and dizziness. Too much of it could even prove to be fatal.
As long as you exercise the most important muscle (your brain), common sense will tell when you had enough cup of Joe for the day. You know your body better than anyone else, so you should know just how much caffeine is enough to give you the jolt of energy come gym time.
Be Physically and Mentally at Your Best Before Hitting the Gym
It’s rare to be physically and mentally on par come time for a workout. Perhaps you feel physically drained from a hectic work day, or you feel mentally zoned out.
With a pre-workout supplement, you’ll feel as if you were given a fresh set of batteries.
This is exactly what a product like Rebellion sets out to do. .
It contains all of the ingredients mentioned throughout this post and is just the type of supplement that relies on results rather than hype. Pick up a bottle today to find out for yourself just how it zones you in.