When looking around for information about pre workout shakes you will find that there really isn’t one place that brings everything together. Why is this? Well it’s because it’s a very vague and broad term. I’m going to attempt to narrow down the scope of a pre workout shake in this article so we can figure out together what you need in one.
Reasoning for Pre Workout Shake
The first thing we must identify is why would we want or need nutrients before working out. Here are the most common reasons given:
- For an energy boost
- For improved performance
- For faster recovery
Let’s breakdown each of these and see what each part consists of.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you will probably get better results if you are alert and focused rather than lethargic and tired. In order to do this there are 2 options. The first is to take some sort of stimulant, like caffeine either by itself or part of a supplement.
The second is to ingest food. Now in order to make food even close to as fast absorbing and acting as a supplement alternative, it must not only have a high GI, and should also be in its most available form. What this means is that most fruits can work fairly well once blended, but this is also the reason why a sports drink like Gatorade can be effective even though it contains a lot of sugar which is traditionally viewed as bad.
For something to improve your performance it typically has to alter your hormones (not recommended) or decrease fatigue during training. The most cited product for this is creatine, which is why it is often contained in pre workout supplements.
The idea behind this is that having some protein and glycogen readily available will reduce muscle damage and get recovery started faster. This can obviously be accomplished by food or supplement, and while most people prefer just to have a post workout meal or shake you may prefer to have it before.
Putting it All Together
So we know the main components of a pre workout shake that we need to consider. If you only want to prioritize one of these things you may just need a single supplement or protein shake recipe. Many people simply take a caffeine supplement before training.
In the case that you want everything mentioned above you basically have 2 options. Either 1 – combine food and supplements in a shake (for example a coffee and milk/water base with bananas and almonds) or 2 – get a pre workout supplement instead. Both of these can work very effectively, but depending on your circumstances one might be more convenient, cheaper or preferable to you.
If you take a look at the packaging of most pre workout supplements it’s clear that they are targeted towards men users. However, this doesn’t mean that women should not use supplements to improve their performance in the gym, far from it actually, as the number women getting serious about their training rises, so will the number of pre workout supplements for women specifically.