A pre-workout supplement is designed to maximize the effectiveness of your training by increasing your energy levels, endurance, concentration and strength. Implementing a wide variety of ingredients, most pre-workout supplements are widely used by recreational and professional athletes to get them that little extra edge to conquer their workout and push past their limits and plateaus.
Most contain doses of caffeine, beta alanine, creatine, L-citruline and BCAAs and some form of fast-absorbing carbohydrate for a quick energy-boost, amongst other ingredients. While there exist many, many more other substances, like taurine, red pepper or grape seed extracts, the aforementioned ones are the essential requirements for a quality pre-workout.
They work, respectively, as follows:
- Caffeine: A powerful stimulant, improves physical strength and endurance. Classified as a nootropic, it also provides mental stimulation.
- Beta Alanine: Increases muscular endurance, and improves moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise performance.
- Creatine: Stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine, which causes strength increases and aids the brain, bones, muscles and liver.
- Citrulline: Results in reduced fatigue and improved endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise.
- BCAAs: Promotes muscle protein synthesis, and prevents fatigue in novice athletes.
Consequences of overstimulation
A common side-effect of a pre-workout is that an athlete’s sleeping quality and quantity takes a hit. This is largely due to the high dose of caffeine and/or other stimulants included in the supplement, coupled with pre-existing use of stimulants in their everyday lives – such as being a regular coffee drinker.
As is well known, sleep has an absolutely vital role in regulating hormones and repairing the damage caused to the body through intense training. One could argue that if you’re not going to sleep well, you might as well skip training intensely altogether, as you will probably end up causing substantial stress on your health.
Luckily for all avid coffee-lovers throughout the world, supplement companies have formulated pre-workout supplements without stimulants, which are guaranteed to leave your sleeping schedule and rest untested. Combining other ingredients in their appropriate does, they are still bound to aid your workouts hugely, and help you kill it in the gym or the track field.
The three top stimulant free supplements will be presented below:
This one is definitely our favorite. By looking at the ingredients, one can tell it has it nearly all: Citruline and creatine are dosed in the appropriate doses, and the rest of the ingredients are scientifically proven to provide results. Included is L-carnitine, a substance involved in energy metabolism that helps the fat-burning process, Betaine (trimethylglycine) with is ergogenic and improves performance and power output, Choline, a molecule used for its cognitive boosting properties and reduction of fatty liver buildup, amongst others.
Notably, an ingredient that seems to be missing is Beta-Alanine, a substance shown to increase physical performance and aid lean-mass gain. For some, this might be a benefit as Beta-Alanine results in a strange (harmless) tingling sensation when taken in high doses.
All in all, this product seems to be reliable and do exactly what it promises to do: Train harder, longer, more effectively and recover faster. Highly recommended.
This stimulant free pre-workout supplement promises to give you laser focus, increased vascularity and muscle pump and more energy. It includes, amongst others, Beta-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Citrulline and L-Norvaline, ingredients that will enhance Nitric Oxide in your body resulting in unprecedented levels of pump. It contains vitamins of the B complex, which enhance energy levels substantially, and L-carnitine which aids the fat burning process.
Notably, this product is completely creatine free. This is not a negative per se, but one might want to supplement creatine independently in order to maximize his strength and power output. Creatine is probably the most well researched supplement there is, and is completely safe, widely used by athletes throughout the world.
Other than that, we would easily recommend this product, as it seems to be based mostly on scientific research instead of gimmicky, nearly unknown ingredients.
This nitric oxide booster brought to you by Force Factor is specifically designed by serious competitors who aim to get biggest, faster and stronger. It includes substances such as L-Citrulline, Agmatine Sulfate and L-Norvaline that aim to enhance nitric oxide levels, and a strength complex that has creatine in it. Judging from its ingredients, this product will definitely increase blood flow to your muscles – which will result in muscle pumps and vascularity – provide you with an explosive source of energy to fuel your workout and, through its creatine implementations, aid you strength-wise – which will obviously result in more muscle gains, long term.
What we really like about this product is how it seems to include valuable substances, guaranteed to increase your performance, without focusing too much on fluff. Notably, it seems to be lacking Beta-Alanine, but one could supplement it independently to maximize their results, so it is not that huge a problem.
The one thing we don’t really like about VolcaNO, is how due to Force Factor’s proprietary blend it does not list with clarity the exact dose of each substance included in the product. This is not to be taken as a jab towards this particular company, as Force Factor is not alone in doing so. We would like it best if supplement companies in general were explicit in their supplement dosages, so that interested parties could better compare the various products together.
Other than that, VolcaNO seems like a very interesting product. We would recommend it.
If you’re hesitant to try a pre-workout supplement due to fear of overstimulation, don’t be afraid. There exist many, good, quality products readily available for you. Supplement companies constantly try to improve their goods, to better satisfy your athletic needs. So next time you look up for a new, stimulant-free pre-workout be sure to check up on the aforementioned ones. We are certain you are not going to regret it.