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  • Why you NEED a good pre-workout

    Over the last decade pre-workouts have arguably become the most commonly used supplement in the world. They have gone from being “non-essential” to deeply embedded into gym culture in less than a decade.

    But what are the benefits? And are they really all they’re cracked up to be?

    What are the benefits of a pre-workout?

    Now, something that I really do want to highlight here is that you can undoubtedly make some serious gains without pre-workout supplements.

    I mean, from a muscle building perspective, as long as you are training hard, recovering adequately, and eating sufficient protein, you can be pretty certain that you are doing everything you need to maximise growth and adaptation.

    However, ask anyone who has been training for a decent amount of time and they will tell you that the “training hard” part of the equation can be easier said than done.

    Which is where pre-workouts really come into their own.

    1.   Better Focus

    It is well established that many of the common ingredients found in pre-workouts increase mental alertness, leading to improvements in attention, reaction time, problem solving capability, short term memory, and judgement [1].

    Moreover, some of them can reverse some of the mental effects that come from a lack of sleep [2].

    Taking this back to the gym, it is highly likely that improved mental performance could cause better physical performance, and ultimately, a better workout. If this leads to more reps per session, or more weight on the bar, then we are looking at some serious improvements in gains over time.

    Moreover, taking a pre-workout before your session after a bad night sleep might help you train well, even if you are feeling subpar.

    2.   Increased Strength

    Pre-workouts have the capacity to cause substantial increases in muscle strength on a per-session basis [3, 4, 6].

    This means that if you were to take a pre-workout before a weight training session, you will be able to lift more weight than you could without it. While this is cool in its own right, it happens to have some impressive long-term benefits.

    If you are undertaking a long term strength training program, a good pre-workout will help you lift more weight every single session. This will lead to greater training adaptations, and more strength gains over time.

    And when you think about how this effect compounds over the duration of months and years, it becomes huge.

    3.   More Muscle Growth

    In addition to improvements in strength, a good pre-workout also has the potential to improve weight training performance at more moderate loads, by increasing the number of reps you can do at a given weight [3, 5].

    For example, without a pre-workout you might be able to leg press 180kg for 8 repetitions. However, after taking a pre-workout, you might be able to leg press the same weight for 10 repetitions.

    This directly increases the amount of volume you perform each training session, and is going to increase the amount of muscle growth you are likely to experience over the duration of a training block [7].

    4.   Greater Endurance

    Many of the core ingredients in most pre-workout supplements play an important role in preventing the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscle tissue during exercise [6, 8].

    This can in turn lead to case improvements in both muscular and aerobic endurance, while limiting fatigue accumulation during a training session.

    This can also increase the amount of volume you lift per session, while simultaneously boosting the quality of your working sets. Over time you can expect this to manifest itself in improvements in muscle strength, muscle growth, and even fat loss.

    5.   Bigger Pumps

    There are a number of pre-workouts that include ingredients that can be classified as “vasodilators” [4, 6].

    While this word might sound very technical, it very simply describes a type of compound that helps relax and widen your blood vessels. This increases blood flow throughout your body and to your muscle tissue, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

    The result?

    A significantly greater pump!

    This can further increase the results of your training, while simultaneously increasing the size of your guns when you leave the gym (a nice bonus, if you ask me).

    6.   Faster Recovery

    Lastly, in addition to better gym performance, taking a pre-workout before you train will also improve your recovery after exercise [4, 5].

    By increasing the movement of proteins and nutrients into your muscle tissue, pre-workouts can make sure that your body has everything it needs to repair itself after a solid session. This accelerates recovery between sessions, while also reducing muscle soreness.

    The best bit here is that this improved recovery between training sessions will ensure that the quality of your training stays high over the duration of a training block -- again enhancing the result of your training.

    What to look for in a pre-workout supplement?

    I also want to highlight that while a GOOD pre-workout will provide the above benefits, there are some that are much better than others. Which is why if you are after a high-quality pre-workout to take your training to the next level, they should tick the following three boxes.

    1.   No Proprietary Blends

    A proprietary blend is a combination of several different ingredients that sit within a supplement.

    Unfortunately, despite being extremely common, proprietary blends are actually a loophole that supplement companies use to avoid listing how much of each individual ingredient is in their pre-workout. This makes it much easier to hide smaller doses of effective (and often costly) ingredients, while bulking it up with a larger amount of ‘filler’ ingredients.

    Obviously this means the supplement is cheaper to make, but it also makes it much less effective -- even if it does happen to include some good ingredients.

    So, if you are looking at a pre-workout that contains a priority blend, turn and run.

    2.   Too Many Ingredients

    Another you want to be wary of is a pre-workout having too many ingredients -- which I would define as ant more than 6 or 7.

    When it comes to pre-workout supplements, they generally have small serving sizes (5-10 grams on average). As such, the more ingredients they contain, the less of each ingredient you get.

    This again makes it easier to provide you with less of the more effective (and more expensive) ingredients, making the supplement less effective.

    3.   Scientifically supported ingredients

    Lastly, you want to make sure that the pre-workout you are taking actually contains ingredients that have been shown to work in the scientific literature -- something that is not always the case (despite what advertisements might have you believe...).

    With this in mind, they should include some of the following:

    • Caffeine
    • Creatine
    • Beta-alanine
    • Citrulline malate
    • Agmatine
    • L-Tyrosine

    And if they don't? Put it back on the shelf and never consider it again.

    Final Remarks

    Before we finish up, I want to also mention the fact that many compounds found within pre-workouts are classified as stimulants -- which means they have a direct impact on your physiological and psychological systems.

    As a result, you should definitely touch base with your GP before commenting supplementation.

    However, once you have done that, you can expect to see some serious benefits from taking good quality pre-workout supplements, including improved physical and mental performance, better recovery and more intense pumps, and over time, greater improvements in strength and size.

    Just make sure you do your research and find a good one.



    1. McLellan, T. M., Caldwell, J. A., & Lieberman, H. R. (2016). A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71, 294-312.
    2. Cook, Christian J., et al. "Skill execution and sleep deprivation: effects of acute caffeine or creatine supplementation-a randomized placebo-controlled trial." Journal of the international society of sports nutrition 8.1 (2011): 1-8.
    3. Grgic, J., Grgic, I., Pickering, C., Schoenfeld, B. J., Bishop, D. J., & Pedisic, Z. (2020). Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance—an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(11), 681-688.
    4. Gonzalez, A. M., & Trexler, E. T. (2020). Effects of Citrulline Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Humans: A Review of the Current Literature. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 34(5), 1480-1495.
    5. Pérez-Guisado, J., & Jakeman, P. M. (2010). Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(5), 1215-1222.
    6. Hobson, R. M., Saunders, B., Ball, G., Harris, R. C., & Sale, C. (2012). Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino acids, 43(1), 25-37.
    7. Kern, B. D., & Robinson, T. L. (2011). Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on performance and body composition in collegiate wrestlers and football players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1804-1815.
    8. Tumilty, L., Davison, G., Beckmann, M., & Thatcher, R. (2011). Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat. European journal of applied physiology, 111(12), 2941-2950.
  • Top 3 Benefits of Citrulline Malate

    A non-essential amino acid that is abundant in watermelon, citrulline malate has been a hot topic in the fitness world for a variety of reported benefits such as vasodilation, increased energy, and recovery. Outside of the fitness world, citrulline malate can be useful in alleviating the constriction of the blood vessels from a common headache and in lowering your overall blood pressure.


    Whether you have a contest to win, new personal bests to beat, or you simply want to support your overall health, citrulline malate may be able to help. Let's take a look at the top 3 benefits of citrulline malate.


    Athletic Performance

    Let's jump right into the fitness-related benefits with the claims that citrulline malate may be able to increase your performance during either workouts or events such as a race or lifting competition. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research demonstrated that individuals who supplemented with citrulline malate experienced a significant improvement in time-trial based exercise. What's more, subjects required shorter rest breaks than their counterparts who weren't supplementing with citrulline malate.


    This has huge implications for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike as citrulline malate is an amino acid and is not on any banned substance list.


    Muscle Building

    If you want to build noticeable lean muscle mass, citrulline malate may help provide the extra edge that you need.
    Triggering muscular hypertrophy is all about achieving a specific set of acute variables. If your muscles fatigue before reaching that muscle building sweet spot, you may be losing out on what you need to see results. Citrulline malate has been shown to be an effective muscle building supplement that may increase the number of sets and repetitions you can perform.


    Another study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that subjects using citrulline malate performed 50% more repetitions compared to those individuals who weren't using it.


    Overall Health and Wellness

    It's okay if you're not trying to build huge muscles or prepare for an endurance-based activity, citrulline malate may be able to improve your day to day life.


    If you suffer from chronic headaches, citrulline malate may be an excellent natural alternative to over the counter medicine that damages the stomach lining. It expands blood vessel, alleviating the pressure that is causing the headache.


    Studies show that taken consistently, citrulline malate is also great for supporting blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health.


    Create Your Own Citrulline Malate Supplement

    Ready to start using citrulline malate? Why take a chance on a brand you don't know when you can make your own?


    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can create your very own citrulline malate supplement mixed with the ingredients you choose!


    We recommend the standard dosage of 1,500 mg (1.5 grams) but if you're extremely active, you may want to increase that dosage to 2,000 mg (2 grams).


    Try the Amino Z Supplement Builder today!




    1. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.


    1. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016;13:6. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0117-z.


    1. Figueroa A, Wong A, Jaime SJ, Gonzales JU. Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):92-98.


    1. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
  • Create a Pre-Workout: Top 5 Energy Boosting Ingredients


    Are you unhappy with your current pre-workout brand? Is it falling short on providing you with the energy you need to crush your workouts and achieve your fitness goals? Why not create your own?


    Thanks to revolutionary supplement technology, you're now able to create your very own pre-workout supplement. You control which ingredients go in and the dosage of each individual ingredient per serving. If you're ready to make your masterpiece, let's take a look at the top 5 energy boosting ingredients to put in your pre-workout supplement.



    Let's kick off the list with L-Tyrosine. This up-and-coming amino acid has been shown in several studies to be a powerful way to boost cognitive function, improve focus, and support your workout performance.


    As a cognitive booster, L-Tyrosine is considered a nootropic. It's ideal for supporting the learning process and working memory. It also helps to boost your mood and alleviate symptoms from depression. Best of all, it puts your focus in the zone during workouts. (1-3)


    Dosage to Use Per Serving:

    • Standard dose: 500 mg
    • Very active individuals: 700 mg


    Beta Alanine

    If you've ever used a high-quality pre-workout supplement before then you know exactly when Beta Alanine kicks in because it has that tell-tale tingling and flushed feeling that runs down your neck. Beta Alaine is also an amino acid and it's widely used due to its performance-enhancing benefits.


    Studies show that Beta Alanine supplementation can support your performance during your workouts especially in the area of endurance. It also kickstarts your way to recovery and muscle growth. (4-6)


    Dosage to Use Per Serving:

    • Standard dose: 1,200 mg
    • Very active individuals: 2,000 mg


    Guarana Extract

    This herbal extract has been used for hundreds of years to support overall wellness but researchers discovered that it had many other practical benefits including skyrocketing your energy levels. The nice thing about guarana is that it delivers the energy boosting and focus enhancing benefits of caffeine without the jitters or anxiety.


    If you're looking for a natural way to boost your workout performance and promote cognitive function such as focus and alertness, guarana needs to be in your pre-workout supplement. (7-8)


    Want to know how to create your very own supplement? You can use the Amino Z Supplement Builder to do just that! Try it today and create your ideal pre-workout supplement.


    Dosage to Use Per Serving:

    • Standard dose: 500 mg
    • Very active individuals: 1,000 mg


    Agmatine Sulfate

    While Agmatine may not directly support energy levels like guarana, it does significantly help your workout performance as a nitric oxide booster. Higher levels of nitric oxide in the blood during your workout may equate to that pumped up feeling that many weight lifters strive to experience. Agmatine is also helpful for recovery as it alleviates inflammation and soreness. (9-11)


    Dosage to Use Per Serving:

    • Standard dose: 700 mg
    • Very active individuals: 1,000 mg


    Caffeine Anhydrous

    Last but certainly not least, no pre-workout supplement is complete without some help from caffeine. If you drink coffee every morning, you know exactly what caffeine can do for you. It spikes your energy levels, ignites your focus, and boosts your overall performance. This isn't just hearsay, there are plenty of studies out there confirming that caffeine is one of the best natural energy boosters you can get your hands on. (12-14)


    Dosage to Use Per Serving:

    • Standard dose: 150 mg
    • Very active individuals: 300 mg



    Looking for an effective pre-workout supplement? Why not make your own? Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. Use our guide above to make an incredible potent pre-workout. You can even experiment and try other ingredients that suit your body and fitness goals. Try it today!



    1. Colzato LS, Jongkees BJ, Sellaro R, Hommel B. Working Memory Reloaded: Tyrosine Repletes Updating in the N-Back Task. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2013;7:200. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00200.


    1. Reinstein DK, Lehnert H, Scott NA, Wurtman RJ. Tyrosine prevents behavioral and neurochemical correlates of an acute stress in rats. Life Sci. 1984 Jun 4;34(23):2225-31.


    1. Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D., Candace J. Gibson, Ph.D. Tyrosine for the Treatment of Depression. Nutrition and Health. 3:3, 163-173. July 1, 1984.


    1. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


    1. Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c74e38.


    1. Hoffman J, Ratamess N, Kang J, Mangine G, Faigenbaum A, Stout J. (2006) Effect of Creatine and Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Performance and Endocrine Responses in Strength/Power Athletes. IJSNEM, 16(4).


    1. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.


    1. Moustakas D, Mezzio M, Rodriguez BR, Constable MA, Mulligan ME, Voura EB. Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model. Holscher C, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123310. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123310.


    1. Gilad GM, Gilad VH. Long-term (5 years), high daily dosage of dietary agmatine--evidence of safety: a case report. J Med Food. 2014 Nov;17(11):1256-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.0026. Epub 2014 Sep 23.


    1. Aggarwal S, Shavalian B, Kim E, Rawls SM. Agmatine enhances cannabinoid action in the hot-plate assay of thermal nociception. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Oct;93(4):426-32. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Jun 16.


    1. Galea, E et al. 'Inhibition of Mammalian Nitric Oxide Synthases by Agmatine, an Endogenous Polyamine Formed by Decarboxylation of Arginine.' Biochemical Journal 316.Pt 1 (1996): 247–249. Print.


    1. Acheson KJ, Zahorska-Markiewicz B, Pittet P, Anantharaman K, Jéquier E. Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97.


    1. Daniel Borota, Elizabeth Murray, Gizem Keceli, Allen Chang, Joseph M Watabe, Maria Ly, John P Toscano, & Michael A Yassa. Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nature Neuroscience 17, 201–203 (2014) doi:10.1038/nn.3623.


    1. David Furman, Junlei Chang, Lydia Lartigue, et al. Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states. Nature Medicine 23, 174–184 (2017) doi:10.1038/nm.4267.
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