It’s hard to stay motivated and energised for every single workout of the week.
Tiredness from everyday life can set in quick, and sometimes you just need some sort of extra boost to get you through.
This is where pre-workout supplements come in.
Best known for their stimulants, a pre-workout is the pick-me-up you need to get into the gym and pump through the best-quality workout possible.
Before we take a look at our top two picks, let’s look into how they work.
What is a pre-workout?
Pre-workouts are a type of supplement designed to be taken before a workout session, to improve a bunch of different aspects of your workout.
Although they’re best-known for providing a caffeine boost, pre-workouts are actually much more than that. In addition to boosting your energy levels, they can improve motivation, concentration, strength, pumps, and more.
Different pre-workouts put different emphasis on each of these possible effects; some focusing on just one, while others try to provide multiple benefits.
How to pick a good pre-workout supplement
The best pre-workout supplements are designed to lift your workout quality across the board.
A majority of these try to make sure that they use ingredients to cover 4 main benefits:
- Mood and Concentration
Of course, just including these ingredients isn’t the end of the story. It’s also important to make sure these ingredients are included in effective doses and absorbable forms.
Stimulants are the main type of ingredient for this category, especially caffeine.
These are the primary reason people buy pre-workouts – to give them that instant energy kick they need to get going.
Some more serious stimulants like DMAA have been shown to be dangerous, and are now banned in Australia and New Zealand for safety reasons (1).
Although many performance ingredients like Creatine can be taken at any time of the day, they are often included in pre-workouts.
This is due to improved absorption when taken around workout time, as well as the simple convenience of consuming it them at the same time as everything else.
Performance ingredients can boost strength, power, and/or endurance, allowing you maximise the “good” muscle damage that triggers growth.
Mood and concentration
A less-recognised part of pre-workouts are the mental-focused ingredients. These can improve a bunch of factors that improve mood, motivation, and concentration.
They allow you to get “in the zone” – that state of mind where nothing else matters, and you’re completely energised and focused on the task at hand.
This allows for better muscle-memory connection, form, and overall attitude during your workout.
The “pump” is that amazing swelled-up feeling that you get from lifting weights, and comes from extra blood flow to the muscles being used.
This is a popular effect to maximise using a pre-workout, usually done through ingredients called “vasodilators”.
A vasodilator is a compound that expands the blood vessels. There are a whole range of pre-workout ingredients that do exactly this.
BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS 2017
Now that we know just what a well-rounded pre-workout supplement should do for you, here are the absolute best pre-workouts available in Australia and New Zealand in 2017!
#1st Place: 4 Gauge
4 Gauge is the most beneficial pre-workout overall, available to Australasia.
It has a range of ingredients that cater to each of the big 4 categories, and are sure to improve your workout quality across the board.
Its open label formula shows that 4 Gauge are proud of their formula, and rightly so – let’s take a look at what it can do for you.
Increase endurance, power, and strength
4 Gauge includes 4 key ingredients that improve performance – and do so in a bunch of different ways:
- L-Citrulline Malate and Beet Extract: improve endurance by increasing nitric oxide levels
- Creatine Monohydrate: increases strength and power by improving the rate of cellular energy
- Caffeine: increases power output and endurance, especially at higher doses.
Boost focus and reduces fatigue
A smart inclusion to the formula is L-Theanine. This is a compound that improves relaxation, but doesn’t sedate you.
It’s often paired with caffeine to take the edge off and eliminate the jitters that accompany it, which is exactly what was done here.
The result is a smooth, clean energy with intense focus, which is perfect for pushing yourself through a tough workout.
Another great addition is Rhodiola Rosea, a herbal ingredient that reduces fatigue. It can rid you of any sluggishness from tiredness or mental drain, letting you get the most out of your session.
Yet another mentally-enhancing ingredient in the 4 Gauge formula is Acetyl-L-Carnitine, which has been proven to improve concentration and alertness in those with fatigue (2).
Improve pumps and hydration
L-Citrulline Malate and Beet Extract are vasodilators, which means that in addition to improving endurance, they also expand your blood vessels and contribute greatly to the “pump” effect.
4 Gauge has a clinically effective dose of L-Citrulline Malate, for skin-tearing pumps (3).
What Makes it Unique:
A special ingredient that we don’t see very often is Coconut Water Powder – a very concentrated version of coconut water, which you may already know is very effective for boosting rehydration after exercise (4).
Overall, 4 Gauge is a spectacular formula, and ticks all the boxes for an effective pre-workout supplement.
Where To Buy:
You can get it from their official site, 4gauge.com, which ships to both Australia and New Zealand.
#2nd Place: Pre-JYM
Pre-JYM is a close second in this race. A similar formula to 4 Gauge, you can tell at first glance that it too is an all-rounder that will give you a whole range of benefits.
Thumbs Up For:
Pre-JYM has quite a number (but not all) of the key ingredients that make 4 Gauge great.
These include L-Citrulline Malate, Caffeine, Creatine, and Beet Extract. These provide a nice core that give solid effects for endurance, power, energy and pumps – and would even be quite effective on their own.
Thumbs Down For:
Not including L-Theanine in the same way that 4 Gauge did, which takes off that jittery edge caused by caffeine.
This would especially have been helpful to tone down side effects from the large dose of caffeine that Pre-JYM provides.
Extra Marks For:
Including a whole 5g of Branched chain amino acids, which many athletes take around workout time in addition to their pre-workout.
BCAAs are helpful for minimising muscle breakdown during exercise, and are especially great for fasted training.
This adds both value and convenience to Pre-JYM, since you won’t have to drop extra money on a BCAA supplement.
Where To Buy:
You can get it from bodybuilding.com, who provide worldwide shipping.