The perfect PRE-workout drink

Posted: July 20, 2013 in fitness, Muscle Building
Tags: , ,

Coming up with the ideal pre-and post workout nutrition has been a journey of research and experimentation for me. When I wrote the perfect pre-workout drink blog, it was largely based on maximizing the hormonal response of training. This one is about priming those hormones!

Specifically we want to:

  • initiate growth hormone
  • prepare the body for insulin
  • support testosterone
  • inhibit cortisol
  • Additional things to consider pre-workout are:

  • compelling the body to utilizing fat for fuel
  • mental focus
  • By hitting all of these we set the body up for the most optimal results from training. To begin with, I’ve stated this before, but it is important to avoid carbohydrates for at least 3 hours prior to training as it will blunt the growth hormone resonse.

    Ingrediet 1: BCAAs (3g leucine) – Leucine has been shown to initiate protein synthesis on it’s own when taken in doses of about 3g. BCAA’s are the first amino acids the body will start to catabloize if the body decides it needs to use muscle tissue as a fuel source, so taking in BCAAs is also a preventative measure against this.

    Ingredient 2: EAAs – These can be taken free-form or simply in the form of a whole protein, preferably fast digesting ie whey. BCAAs are three of the 9-essential amino acids, but all are required to complete the muscle building process.

    Ingredient 3: Glutamine – glutamine is also one of the amino acids in muscles, but more importantly glutamine supplementation may help to stimulate growth hormone and supress cortisol. However it appears that in order to be effective high doses are required, so I suggest starting around 10g and possibly even move upwards from there.

    Ingredient 4: Minerals – Magnesium, chromium, calcium & zinc – these will help support both growth hormone and testosterone, as well as combatting any minerals that may be lost in the process of intense training. Chromium specifically will help with insulin sensitivity. Ensure that Magnesium is NOT Magnesium oxide as it is almost completely useless.

    Ingredient 5: Vitamins – primarily C & D to combat cortisol and support testosterone.

    Ingredient 6: L-Carnitine L-tartrate – the tartrate form of carnitine specifically has been shown to help the body utilize fat as the primary source of fuel.

    Ingredient 7: R-ALA – the R-form of ALA is an insulin mimetec (meaning it acts like insulin without the fat storage) as well as a powerful antioxident. Make sure it specifically says R on it, otherwise you are probably getting S-ALA, which is not effective.

    Ingredient 8: L-tyrosine – Shown to help mental focus and combat cortisol.

    Ingredient 9: L-Taurine – Also shown to assist with insulin sensitivity as well as muscle volumization, which may also translate to improved performance.

    Ingredient 10: Melatonin – low doses have been shown to increase growth hormone (usually 1g or less).

    Ingredient 11: Creatine monohydrate – both pre and post workout are ideal times to load up on creatine to ensure you’re getting the greatest benefit from it.

    Ingredient 12: Caffeine – I prefer to cycle caffeine as taking it regularily will take a huge toll on your adrenal glands and halt your metabolism, so use wisely; not constantly.

    In an ideal world you would add only one or two of these at a time to your pre-workout regime and assess their effectiveness. If you can find a pre-workout supplement that has several of these and NO carbs, it may save you some trouble, here are some examples you might consider…

    Mass pro synthagen: EAAs (and BCAAs of course), taurine, and magnesium

    Superpump Max: BCAAs, caffeine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, creatine, taurine, glutamine, tyrosine, magnesium, calcium and a small dose of vitamins

    Allmax muscle prime: BCAAs, caffeine, calcium, magnesium, tyrosine, taurine and vitamins.

    ON Amino Energy: EAAs (except for L-tryptophan), tyrosine, taurine and caffeine.

    There are plenty others out there, but you get the idea. Being intelligent about what goes into your body prior to training (and what doesn’t) can make the difference between great and mediocre results.

    Related: Unsung Bodybuilding Supplements; The perfect post-workout drink; Why Numbers are meaningless in bodybuilding

    1. […] are a couple of diet related articles you can look at: Eating like a bodybuilder The perfect pre-workout shake Muscle juice Between-meals shake Eating disorders in […]

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