Successful training is not just a question of willpower, you have to prepare beforehand! Slack, laziness and fatigue … Even the most assiduous have already been confronted with this problem.
It is clear that recovery and a healthy lifestyle play an essential role in the quality of a weight training session. Sometimes the problem comes from elsewhere. This is where the Pre Workout booster appears, a dietary supplement aimed at increasing our athletic performance during training.
Let’s see together what a booster is, why is it more interesting to do your home Pre Workout and when to take it. We will end with the most interesting, the ingredients and the recipes to make your own booster.
What is a pre-workout booster in bodybuilding?
The rule of thumb when taking dietary supplements is knowing what you are consuming, especially for a booster.
It is a drink to take before training . It aims to increase your concentration , your energy to improve your performance . We can also note the presence of ingredients to achieve better muscle congestion during training.
Therefore, the Pre Workout can be summed up in 3 words:
- Pump (congestion)
In view of the diversity of ingredients, it is essential to know how to read the labels in order to select or do a Pre Workout adapted to you.
Do your homemade Pre Workout or buy it in a food supplement store?
Boosters abound in the food supplement market. You can quickly be tempted by a pretty packaging, filled with promising messages: strength gain, fat burn, improved focus … But what is it really?
The more ingredients there are in a dietary supplement , the greater the risk of buying a product that is far too expensive for its content. Some ingredients are less expensive than others, so the dosages are mostly out of balance. Not to mention the presence of unnecessary ingredients in a Pre Workout, such as creatine.
Generally, bodybuilders look for the “boost” in a booster. Synthetic caffeine being inexpensive and very effective is enough to fulfill this need. However, when it comes to a more expensive ingredient, like citrulline, you find that the dosages are far from optimal.
So manufacturers have no interest in making a well-dosed but more expensive product. A pretty name and high caffeine dosages are enough to sell.
To be honest, the best booster on the market is yours. Do a Pre Workout at home with two advantages:
- A much lower price
- Controlling dosages
All the more so as the dosages will be specific to each person (body weight, optimal threshold, etc.).
When to take your pre-workout at home to optimize your workouts?
Mistake number 1: taking the SAME booster every day (hence the importance of dosages).
Indeed, wanting to take a booster rich in caffeine for low intensity workouts is not necessarily useful. By dint of overdoing it, you will be forced to increase the doses to feel the same effects as before.
To know when to take your home Pre Workout, it is necessary to determine:
- His form of the day
- The planned weight training session
From there, you will be able to determine when to take your booster and at what dosage.
If I take my example, I favor the ingredients:
- Stimulant: for my intensive sessions or when the form is not there
- To congest: in order to work on my weak points
Choosing a NO booster for muscle congestion
The lack of muscle congestion during training is frustrating for some practitioners. Although congestion does not indicate a good workout, it should still be remembered that it is one of the factors of muscle growth .
So, it can be interesting to look for muscle congestion when working on your weak points. This is when pre-workouts including NO booster ingredients (nitrogen monoxide or nitric oxide) can add a little extra to your sessions. Beyond a better “pump”, NO booster makes it possible to:
- Maintain a good hypertrophic response
- Accelerate muscle recovery
- Facilitate blood circulation
- Improve oxygenation of muscle tissue
There are many dietary supplements or foods to increase your NO levels, here is a list to compose your homemade Pre Workout.
Arginine, the amino acid of choice for a good pump
Arginine is an amino acid that plays a fundamental role in the secretion of NO. It is even more important to supplement arginine if physical activity is important.
In addition to better muscle congestion, this amino acid helps fight fatigue during exercise (elimination of rapid metabolic waste such as ammonia).
Unfortunately, arginine is difficult for the body to absorb because it is largely broken down in the liver. We are therefore not equal when it comes to its effectiveness. You have to test to determine if the purchase is superfluous or not.
If you want to buy some, arginine comes in different forms. The preferred shapes are:
- Arginine AKG (more easily absorbed, but more expensive)
Regarding its dosage, it is best to consume between 8 to 10 grams, about 1 hour before training.
Citrulline, a more effective alternative
The best alternative to increase your arginine levels is citrulline . Although more expensive, it will be much better assimilated by the body.
You can find citrulline in some foods like watermelon, but food supplements are more effective. Indeed, it would be necessary to consume astronomical quantities to obtain the expected effects.
On the market, you can find citrulline in two forms:
- Citrulline malate (malic acid + L-Citrulline)
If you want to do a home Pre Workout, your best bet is to go for citrulline malate , which is more effective for recovery between two sets. The optimal dose is around 7 grams, to be taken about 1 hour before your workout.
If you don’t want to take a dietary supplement, you can still increase your NO levels through food. For this, the food of choice remains beet, thanks to its high nitrate content.
The ingredients of a Pre Workout to increase performance
In order to progress in bodybuilding, it is essential to surpass yourself, to want to do better than last month. In other words, you have to be more and more efficient.
Fatigue, lack of energy, motivation and difficulty holding an intensive session are limiting factors for performance. Fortunately, means do exist to partially overcome these problems.
Here are some effective ingredients to include in your homemade Pre Workout, to refuel, to be more enduring and to improve your focus in training.
Caffeine, a powerful stimulant
Coffee, tea, Cola… Caffeine is easily accessible and widely consumed, even by sedentary people.
Once thought to be a doping agent, caffeine is one of the most powerful molecules to perform better, whether at the gym or at work. There is no doubt about its effectiveness.
It would take too long to go into all the benefits of caffeine … Therefore, we are only going to talk about its benefits during a weight training session. Caffeine helps:
- to increase the force of contraction
- to improve concentration during exercise (stimulation of the nervous system)
- to delay fatigue
- to fight against hypoglycaemia by maintaining blood sugar levels
- burn more fat for energy
In view of all its benefits, the desire to enrich your homemade Pre Workout with caffeine at each session is tempting, but not recommended for two reasons:
- the habit and the need to constantly increase the doses for similar effects
- the risk of caffeine intoxication (palpitations, anxiety …) due to increased doses
Indeed, its overconsumption is dangerous if it is abusedly consumed in excessive doses. In order not to fall into the trap of always more, you have to be careful to limit your consumption, even outside of sport. This allows you to keep your optimal threshold to enjoy its beneficial effects, even with low doses.
Choosing a good source of caffeine
This is an almost essential ingredient for an effective Home Pre Workout . You still have to know how to choose the right source of caffeine.
The advantage of caffeine (capsule or powder) is that it doesn’t cost too much. So do not hesitate to pay the price to have a quality product.
Synthetic caffeine, without chlorogenic acid (antioxidant) should be avoided. It is preferable to opt for natural caffeine in order to conserve the polyphenols, if possible from green coffee or guarana .
To determine your tolerance threshold, you have to go little by little, in increments of 50mg. Usually, the required dose is around 4 mg / kg of body weight, to be taken 1 hour before training.
Prolong your endurance thanks to Beta-alanine
With growing success, this amino acid is found in most pre workout booster. beta-alanine helps to synthesize more carnosine (with the help of L-hystidine).
This concentration of carnosine is useful to be more enduring during short efforts and intense, neutralizing the burning sensation at the end of the series, a factor limiting its performance.
For information, the tingling sensations after taking beta alanine, usually in the face, are quite normal and not dangerous. It is stimulating for some and unpleasant for others.
The recommended dose is around 4 grams per day. Note that its effects on performance are not immediate. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks, taken regularly, to notice any real change.
Add a source of carbohydrate to fill up with energy
It would be a shame to do a homemade Pre Workout without carbohydrate , the number 1 fuel for our muscles.
It is all the more important to add a source of carbohydrate to your booster if it was several hours since the last meal. For this, the banana is more than sufficient. You can consume 2 to 3 bananas, preferably very ripe, 1 hour before training, in addition to an intra-training carbohydrate drink or a homemade gainer after training.
Ensure muscle mass gains and improve recovery thanks to the booster
It would be a shame to do productive sessions for less muscle mass gains.
Of course, you can do without it and progress anyway. But the effort required to optimize your sessions is low, why deprive yourself? The cumulative effect applies to bodybuilding: it’s the little things that will make a noticeable difference over time.
On the other hand, it is all the more important not to neglect this part if your diet is random or if you are in full force (calorie restriction), because the cause of stagnation is not only linked to training.
Avoid catabolism: Amino acids or whey?
Catabolism, the obsession of bodybuilding practitioners.
To limit breakage, it is necessary to replenish the stocks of amino acids before the session, especially if the last meal is several hours ago. A simple whey is not suitable (speed of absorption).
You can opt for BCAAs (also a source of energy), but the best is still peptopro (I invite you to read the article on BCAAs to find out why).
In the case of peptopro, it is advisable to consume approximately 15 to 25 grams before, spread over the entire session or post-training.
Taurine to recover faster between two sessions
While having no direct effect on training, adding taurine to your homemade pre-workout can be beneficial for recovery.
No! taurine is neither dangerous nor stimulating and does not come from the c ***** of bulls. It is simply an amino acid, NOT ESSENTIAL.
His interest in bodybuilding? Limit cramps and improve muscle recovery. I have never personally tested this type of dietary supplement, so I have no feedback on it.
We can sometimes read that it would be more judicious to consume taurine before going to bed, in part because of its drowsy effect… Once again, the best is to test, even if the investment remains low interesting in my opinion.
The recommended dose for this food supplement is around 4 grams.
Recipe to make your homemade Pre Workout
As you can see, there is a multitude of ingredients to make your own booster. The idea is not to buy everything to make THE best booster of all time, but to select the ones that you find useful, effective and suitable for your session.
Here is an idea recipe for a homemade pre workout , The quantities vary according to the practitioners:
- 200mg of caffeine
- 8gr of citrulline malate
- 3gr of Beta-alanine
- 1gr of taurine
- 15gr of Peptopro
- 2 bananas
Feel free to add other ingredients to add flavor (red fruits, syrup, etc.), ice cubes and a straw, for an explosive cocktail!
I keep it simple when I do my own homemade pre-workouts, the most effective ingredients for me are citrulline malate, caffeine and bananas. And that’s it … You are free to test and judge whether the investment is worth it.
Of course, the list is not complete. I preferred to focus on the most interesting and beneficial for a bodybuilding practitioner, quickly discussing the performance effects of each ingredient. Fortunately, there are other ways to improve the quality of your weight training sessions. Interested in an article on this topic?