There are several varieties of pre-workout mixes on the market. I’ve used many of the top performing mixes like Cellucor C4, Pre JYM, N. O. Xplode, Optimum Nutrition Platinum, and ENGN. Each pre-workout mix has a variety of ingredients to induce energy and endurance for an intense workout, but all pre-workouts have one thing in common. They do not have the optimum dosage of each ingredient. One ingredient may have a high dose, while other ingredients would need 4 or 5 servings to hit optimum dosage. Let’s go over the top 6 ingredients for an optimum pre-workout.
The top ingredient in any pre-workout mix is caffeine. Most pre-workout powders have 100mg to 150mg of caffeine in the mix. The average cup of coffee has 80mg to 100mg of caffeine. For most workouts, the optimum dosage range for caffeine is 200mg to 300mg, depending on the person’s tolerance. The maximum recommended daily dose for caffeine is 400mg. You can become dependent on caffeine for energy, so please tread lightly on the dosage. Caffeine costs about $0.05 per 200mg.
Creatine is one of the most important supplements for any fitness workout. It improves strength in muscles, reduces muscle recovery time, and supports lean muscle mass. Most commercial pre-workouts only contain 1g to 2g doses of creatine. The optimum daily dose of creatine is 5g. Doses higher than 5g per day are not optimal. Creatine costs about $0.02 per gram.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) (2:1:1 Ratio)
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are essential for muscle function and recovery. BCAAs can be consumed before and/or after a workout. BCAAs can induce protein synthesis in muscles to increase muscle growth and promote muscle recovery. Most pre-workouts do not include BCAAs in the mix. This important ingredient should be in all pre- and post-workout mixes. The optimum dosage range is 4g to 6g. BCAAs cost about $0.03 per gram.
Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid that improves fitness performance in workouts and increases lean muscle mass. Beta alanine can cause flushing and tingling with medium to high dosage. It can improve energy and endurance during a workout with shortened muscle recovery times. Most pre-workouts only include 1g to 2g of beta alanine per serving. The optimum dosage range for beta alanine is 3g to 6g. Beta alanine costs about $0.03 per gram.
L-Citrulline DL-Malate (1:1 Ratio)
Citrulline malate increases nitric-oxide (NO) production and opens up blood vessels to increase blood flow in muscles. Citrulline malate is becoming more common in pre-workouts but in low doses. The optimum dosage range for critrulline malate is 2g to 6g. Critulline malate costs about $0.04 per gram.
L-Arginine a-Ketoglutarate (AAKG)
Arginine AKG is similar to citrulline malate. It stimulates nitric-oxide production and blood flow to muscles. Arginine AKG is becoming more expensive compared to other pre-workout ingredients, so commercial pre-workouts have abandoned it for cheaper alternatives. The optimum dosage range for arginine AKG is 4g to 6g. Arginine AKG costs about $0.04 per gram.
The perfect pre-workout will vary per person. Formulate your pre-workout with lower starting doses at first. As you progress with your workouts, slowly increase your dosage until you find your optimum dosage. Don’t not start with maximum dosage. By making your own pre-workout, you can have an optimum pre-workout dosage for as low as $0.60.