Pre-workouts come in a variety of different brands, sizes, and flavors. While they are all clumped together as one type of supplement, there are different kinds of pre-workouts that have different uses that will only benefit specific types of training.
According to sites like OurFitness.life, pre-workout supplements are one of the best ways to boost workout performance safely. However, if you try to take the wrong type, you won’t see the results you want.
To ensure you get the results you are after, we are going to look at the five most common types of pre-workouts and what they should be used for.
#1 – The Strength & Size Pre-workout
These types of pre-workouts contain Ingredients that are solely focused on improving strength levels and pumps. They won’t do much good for those training with high rep ranges or performing cardio.
They are probably the most common pre-workout supplement since they have been around the longest and most trainees are looking to push their strength levels as far as possible.
Some common ingredients in this type of pre-workout are:
These pre-workouts are best used in conjunction with strength training. If you are going to the gym and looking to put on muscle size and lift more weight every session, these are right for you.
#2 – The Endurance Pre Workout
These pre-workouts are a little less common but are great for more prolonged lasting bouts of exercise. The ingredients won’t be aiming to boost maximal strength. So, if you want to find your one-rep max during a training session, this isn’t the right product for the job.
Instead, they are focused on keeping your energy high throughout a high rep, or circuit/cardio style workout. The longer you can sustain your performance in these types of workouts, the better results you will get.
Here are a few ingredients that are found in endurance pre workouts:
Endurance athletes and CrossFit trainees best use these pre-workout supplements.
If you are training for long durations and/or using high rep schemes with low rest periods, these types of pre-workouts are your best bet!
#3 – Nootropic Pre Workouts
These are a newer style of pre-workout that focus solely on boosting mental focus to increase performance. While they are marketed as a workout supplement, a lot of people use them for different purposes, like studying or gaming.
The ingredients tend to be non-stimulatory, so use outside of a workout setting seems just as logical as before a workout. However, many also contain Caffeine as it is a potent nootropic itself.
Many ingredients found in Nootropic based pre-workouts aren’t researched in-depth for their effects on exercise performance, but some pilot studies and anecdotal reports show promise for boosting performance during a workout.
Here are a few Ingredients you might find in a nootropic pre-workout:
- Alpha GPC
- Acetyl L Carnitine
- Huperzine A
- Choline bitartrate
If you are looking for more of a mental boost instead of physical stimulation, then a nootropic pre-workout is a good route to take.
Also, if you are looking to boost your cognition at any other time of day, like before a big test, gaming session, or workday, a nootropic based pre-workout could be used.
#4 – Non-Stimulant Pre Workout
These pre-workouts tend to deliver similar results as other pre-workouts already listed, without the inclusion of CNS stimulants, like Caffeine.
They may boost strength, endurance, or mental focus without ingredients that stimulant your central nervous system. This makes them an excellent choice if you train close to bedtime.
You want to avoid CNS stimulants around bedtime since they can make falling asleep and staying asleep very difficult.
The ingredients you’ll find in these types of pre-workouts are the same as any other kind, void of stimulants.
This may reduce the overall effectiveness of the supplement since it doesn’t contain ingredients that are proven to boost workout performance. However, their absence is necessary for some people to be able to use a pre-workout.
#5 – Combination Pre Workouts
These types of pre-workouts are becoming more popular by the day. They contain ingredients from all kinds of pre-workouts to boost all aspects of fitness.
They’ll boost strength, endurance, and focus so that a trainee doesn’t miss any chance of boosting performance.
Those that train with different methodologies to boost overall fitness will benefit most from these combination pre-workouts.
It’s best to utilize them when starting a workout with a maximal strength focus and moving towards endurance work at the end of the session.
Since most trainees train this way, these are usually the best choice for pre-workouts. Only those who specialize, like marathon runners or powerlifters, will find other types of pre-workouts better for their goals.
One thing to keep in mind is that since these types of supplements contain the most ingredients, they end up being the most expensive of any pre-workout type.
If you are on a budget or only train to improve one type of fitness, you might be better off choosing a specialized pre-workout for your specific goal. Otherwise, a combination type of pre-workout should be your go-to supplement for performance.
A pre-workout supplement can help you boost your results by improving your efforts during each workout.
However, it’s not as simple as just picking one off the shelf and hoping it works. You need to find one that contains ingredients that align with your goal(s).
If you train for one type of fitness, like strength, pick a strength-focused pre-workout. If you train for overall fitness improvements, a combination product is your best choice. If you train close to bedtime, choose one that aligns with your goals without the inclusion of any CNS stimulants.
Author: Adam Steel is the editor-in-chief of ourfitness.life. A triathlete and avid gym-goer, he is currently training to complete his first ultra-marathon.
With the knowledge learned in this article, you are ready to pick the supplement meant for you. Pick the pre-workout supplement aligned with needs and go crush your goals!