Healthy foods and supplements

Ten Common Pre-Workout Ingredients And What They Do

Looking to take your workout performance to the next level? A pre-workout supplement might be just what you need. But with so many ingredients out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. That's why we've put together a list of ten common pre-workout ingredients and what they do for your body. From BCAAs to vasodilators, we'll cover everything you need to know before hitting the gym.



BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids, which are three of the twenty amino acids found in pre-workout supplements, meat, and milk. Research shows that these proteins can help reduce exercise-related fatigue and discomfort while promoting muscle growth

Dosage and Effects

The recommended dosage of BCAAs is between 5-10 grams per day, or 3 grams for individuals weighing less than 150 pounds. Taking too much BCAA supplements can lead to side effects such as nausea or stomach discomfort. However, when taken in moderation, BCAAs can improve athletic performance by increasing endurance levels.

In addition to their endurance-enhancing qualities, extract of beetroot/pomegranate and caffeine are also popular pre-workout ingredients that boost blood flow and increase muscle strength and endurance. For those looking to gain muscle rapidly through heavy weightlifting, creatine monohydrate is a common ingredient found in most pre-workouts that improves strength and lean muscle mass while speeding up recovery time.

2. Beetroot/Pomegranate Extracts

Beetroot and pomegranate extracts are two natural ingredients commonly found in pre-workout supplements. These extracts enhance blood flow and endurance for long-duration exercises such as cross-country running and weightlifting. It's recommended to consume a glass of beetroot or pomegranate juice in addition to your pre-workout supplement, as a single serving may not contain enough extract to have a significant effect in these areas. Additionally, both beets and pomegranates are nutrient-dense foods that can provide other health benefits beyond their use in pre-workouts.

Why are they included in pre-workouts?

Pre-workout ingredients such as L-citrulline improve nitric oxide production, leading to better blood flow during exercise. This enhanced circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to fatigued muscles for improved endurance and reduced fatigue. Additionally, pre-workout supplements provide antioxidant support that reduces muscle damage resulting from exercise. These benefits are why they are included in pre-workouts to promote optimal performance during workouts and speedy recovery afterward.

Serving Suggestions

  • Follow the recommended dosage on the product label to ensure safe and effective use of pre-workout supplements.
  • For optimal effects, take your pre-workout supplement 30-60 minutes before exercise. It's important not to take more than one pre-workout supplement at a time as this can result in excessive dosage or unwanted side effects.

3. Beta-Alanine

: This ingredient is a popular choice in pre-workout supplements due to its ability to delay muscle fatigue and enhance performance during exercise. By preventing lactic acid accumulation, beta-alanine allows individuals to train harder and perform more reps. However, taking too much can cause flushing or tingling of the skin, which some consider evidence of its effectiveness but should be adjusted for those who find it uncomfortable.

Overall, including beta-alanine in your pre-workout supplement regimen could improve your workout experience by allowing you to push yourself further than before. Just make sure not to take too much and adjust accordingly if any discomfort occurs from its use.

Dosage and Side Effects

It's important to follow dosage instructions on the pre-workout supplement packaging, as taking too much can lead to adverse side effects. Most pre-workouts recommend taking one scoop (or serving size) mixed with water 30-45 minutes before a workout.

Common side effects of pre-workout supplements include increased heart rate, jitters, nausea, and headaches. If you experience any severe symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing after consuming a pre-workout supplement, seek medical attention immediately.

4. Coffee Pre-Workout

Using Coffee as a pre-workout is an excellent source of caffeine that can help in enhancing muscle strength, endurance, and blood flow during exercise. Caffeine also reduces the perception of exertion, allowing individuals to train harder without feeling stressed. However, it is essential not to exceed 400 mg per day and reduce caffeine intake if you consume a lot of pre-workout beverages.

In conclusion, coffee pre-workout supplements are an easy and effective way to boost energy levels before hitting the gym or your training session. Together with other common ingredients such as BCAAs and beta-alanine, they can significantly improve workout performance when taken in proper dosages within safe limits for individuals looking to achieve specific fitness objectives.

It's important to understand these ingredients before selecting a pre-workout supplement as each one combines different substances and concentrations for specific fitness objectives.

5. Carbs

Carbohydrates in pre-workout supplements can be beneficial for marathon athletes and cyclists as they increase energy and muscle recovery. However, if you engage in weightlifting at the gym or prefer fewer calories and carbohydrates, consider a pre-workout without sugar. It is important to examine the sugar content of your pre-workout supplement if it contains carbohydrates.

When are they beneficial?

Pre-workout supplements can be beneficial for individuals who need an extra energy boost before a workout, when training for endurance or strength, and before high-intensity workouts. These supplements contain ingredients that enhance blood flow, muscle strength, and fat loss to help you train harder and longer. However, it is important to choose the right pre-workout supplement based on your fitness objectives.

  • Before high-intensity workouts
  • For individuals who need an extra energy boost
  • When training for endurance or strength

Sugar vs. No Sugar

Sugar may provide a quick energy boost before your workout, but it could lead to an energy crash later. No sugar options usually have fewer calories and may be better suited for weight loss goals. For individuals with diabetes, opting for no sugar pre-workout supplements is the best choice to avoid any sudden spikes in blood glucose levels.

6. Creatine Monohydrate

creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements because it improves strength, lean muscle mass, and recovery. It is especially effective for heavy weightlifting workouts that require fast strength but few repetitions. You can take up to 20 grams of this supplement per day if you want to gain muscle rapidly or five grams (one teaspoon) for maintenance.

In the search for creatine alternatives, some manufacturers have developed creatine hydrochloride (HCL). This version may be more soluble and easier on the stomach than traditional creatine monohydrate. However, there is little scientific evidence to suggest that HCL is any more effective than other forms of creatine supplementation.

7. L-Citrulline

L-citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid that the body produces. It aids in the production of nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and increases blood flow during exercise. Improved circulation transports nutrients and oxygen to tired muscles, enhancing their performance. Most individuals only require 3-6 grams of this supplement per day, although doses below 15 grams are safe.

8. L-Glutamine


L-glutamine is a pre-workout ingredient that can aid in reducing muscle discomfort and accelerating recovery. This amino acid helps with the recovery of exercise-induced microtrauma in newly formed muscles. Most individuals unknowingly consume 3-6 grams of L-glutamine daily through their diet, but it's acceptable to consume up to 14 grams daily with pre-workout supplements.

When selecting a pre-workout supplement, understanding its ingredients and combinations is crucial. With our glossary of top ten substances commonly found in such supplements, including L-glutamine, you can make an informed decision about which one will best suit your fitness objectives.

Sources and Dosage

L-Glutamine is found in various foods such as beef, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Consuming L-glutamine prior to exercise may help reduce muscle discomfort and accelerate recovery. The recommended daily dosage of L-glutamine for pre-workout supplementation is 14 grams. However, the majority of individuals consume 3-6 grams of L-glutamine unknowingly through their regular diet.

Possible side effects of consuming too much L-glutamine include nausea and stomach discomfort. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or changing your diet drastically.

9. Vasodilators

Vasodilators are substances that dilate blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles. This helps improve endurance during exercise and aids in recovery post-workout. Common vasodilators found in pre-workout supplements include L-citrulline and nitric oxide boosters.

It is important to note that some individuals may experience side effects such as headaches or dizziness from the use of vasodilators. It's recommended to start with a lower dosage and monitor how your body reacts before increasing the amount used.

10. Vitamin B

Vitamin B is an essential nutrient found in several foods and pre-workout supplements. It aids in the conversion of food into energy, which is critical for a strenuous workout.

Pre-workouts typically contain vitamins B6 and B12, as well as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and folic acid.

The combination of these vitamins improves metabolism, stamina, mood, cognitive function, and nervous system health. To reap these benefits from pre-workout supplements containing vitamin Bs be sure to follow recommended dosages on packaging or consult with your healthcare provider.


Transcend Pre-workout

In conclusion, pre-workout supplements can enhance workout performance and provide various benefits depending on their ingredients. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with certain ingredients and consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any supplements into your routine. It is also important to adhere to recommended dosages and avoid relying solely on pre-workout as a solution for achieving fitness goals.

Overall, when selecting a pre-workout supplement, consider the specific needs of your body and desired outcomes. Look for products that contain safe and effective ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, or creatine monohydrate. Finally, prioritize proper nutrition habits and adequate rest in conjunction with supplement use for optimal results.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.