Best Pre-Workouts 2018
We’re all familiar with the daunting feeling of mentally preparing for a workout, especially after the fatigue from a long week has begun to set in.
Whether it’s a morning workout after a short sleep, or an after-work session, sometimes you’re doubtful if you can summon the energy to make it to the gym.
Enter: The pre-workout supplement.
Pre-workouts are supplements most famous for their energy-boosting properties, usually from stimulants such as caffeine.
Taken under the right circumstances, they can be the difference between making it to the gym and having a great workout, or not making it at all.
Under the stimulant surface, though, they are much more than a shot of energy. They can improve your performance, pumps, and even concentration.
We reveal our top two picks below, but before we do, let’s take a closer look at how a pre-workout supplement works.
What is a pre-workout?
The name is quite self-explanatory: a pre-workout is a supplement which is made to be taken before exercise. But what do they do, exactly?
Pre-workouts are well-known for their caffeine (or other stimulant) content.
This allows the supplement to perform its primary effect, which is getting you energised and ready to go!
Some of the overlooked effects, however, could be some of their most valuable benefits.
Performance-enhancing ingredients (the safe and legal kind!) can boost your strength and endurance levels, allowing you to push past physical limits.
Other brain-boosting ingredients can reduce fatigue, increase focus, and even improve your mood.
Some ingredients purely improve pumps, boosting nutrient delivery and the “powerful” feeling you get from weight-lifting.
Every product puts a varying level of focus on each of the above effects, providing different combinations of benefits to the user.
How to pick a good pre-workout supplement
Although increased energy, performance, or pumps are nice on their own, the best pre-workouts combine ALL of these effects.
There are four main areas that you should look for in an effective pre-workout:
- Physical performance
- Mood and focus
Bear in mind, both the ingredients AND their respective doses are important when evaluating a formula.
It pays to keep an eye out for open-label supplements, with large, effective doses of all components.
Although caffeine is the most common and well-known stimulant in pre-workouts, there are many others that you may come across.
These ingredients are usually the leading reason for using a pre-workout supplement, providing an energy boost that is needed to get to the gym.
Stimulants can be both the most helpful, but also potentially the most dangerous inclusions to pre-workouts. Ensure that you know what you’re taking before consuming any dodgy ingredients.
Intense stimulants such as DMAA have been banned across Australasia after safety concerns (1), so double-checking ingredient safety with a professional may be a good idea.
Performance-boosting ingredients are another important part of pre-workouts.
A majority of these can be taken at any time throughout the day, but are best absorbed around workout time.
Their effects can boost factors that affect strength and endurance, maximising the effectiveness and output of your workouts.
Mood and concentration
Perhaps an ignored area of exercise is the mental aspect.
Distractions, stress, and fatigue can all get in the way of a good workout.
Mood and concentration ingredients play an important part in getting you zoned-in, and focused on the task at hand while exercising.
“Pumps” are what we call that puffed-up feeling you get while lifting weights.
This comes from increased blood flow to the working muscles during exercise, which provides extra oxygen and nutrients to help with performance.
Ingredients promoting this effect can improve both the physical and psychological aspects of your workouts.
BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS 2018
Alright! Now that you know what to look for in a great pre-workout supplement, let’s go over the top pre-workouts available in Australia and New Zealand in 2018.
#1st Place: 4 Gauge
4 Gauge is our top-pick for pre-workouts in 2018.
It contains a bunch of ingredients that cover each and every one of the main effects outlined above, improving all aspects of your workouts.
The first great indicator is their open-label formula – a sign that they’re delighted with their formula, and aren’t hiding any poor doses.
So, what exactly can you expect from 4 Guage?
Increases in endurance, power, and strength
Four important ingredients are included in 4 Gauge’s formula for physical performance:
Citrulline malate and beet extract: These are both potent vasodilators (blood-vessel expanders) which increase blood flow and endurance.
Creatine monohydrate: One of the best-proven supplement ingredients, well-known for its ability to improve strength and power output.
Caffeine: Not only does it have energy-boosting effects, but caffeine is also a powerful ergogenic ingredient which can improve both power output and endurance.
Boosted focus and reduced fatigue
4 Gauge puts equal weight on physical and mental performance, shown in their formula:
Theanine: A special calming amino acid, which allows extra focus, without drowsiness. It can take the “edge” off caffeine.
Rhodiola rosea: A fatigue-eliminating herb. It can erase tiredness and give you a physical and mental boost for all-round improved performance.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: An amino acid which has been shown to boost focus levels in people with fatigue issues (1). It may also have some fat-burning properties.
Improved pumps and hydration
Whether by accident or design, a couple of the performance ingredients in 4 Gauge also double as pump-enhancing ingredients.
This is an extra benefit from blood-vessel expansion effects, provided by citrulline malate and beet extract.
The formula contains a complete, clinically-effective dose of citrulline malate, to maximise pumps (2).
What Makes it Unique:
One unique and powerful ingredient included in this formula is coconut water powder.
As you may know, coconut water is high in electrolytes, and is well-known for its rehydration-boosting properties.
This can improve both performance and recovery, contributing to improved workouts and optimised results (3).
4 Gauge is a brilliant formula across the board. It pays special attention to each of the four pillars of a solid pre-workout, and will improve all aspects of your workouts.
Where To Buy:
It can be purchased via their official site, 4gauge.com. They provide shipping to both Australia and New Zealand.
#2nd Place: Pre-JYM
A close runner-up in this race is “Pre-JYM”.
With a formula which is very similar to 4 Gauge, you can expect similar effects which cater to all aspects of your workouts.
Thumbs Up For:
Although it misses a couple, Pre-JYM contains many of the same ingredients that we find great in 4 Gauge.
These ingredients include caffeine, creatine, citrulline malate, and beet extract – all of which provide a range of performance-enhancing effects.
Thumbs Down For:
Unfortunately there is no L-theanine in Pre-JYM, which provides extra focus and anti-jitter effects.
This would have been super helpful in a high-caffeine formula like Pre-JYM, since it contains quite a large caffeine dose.
Extra Marks For:
Throwing in an entire 5 grams of BCAAs – an addition that many would pay extra money to have in a second supplement.
This is especially handy for preventing muscle wastage during workouts, as well as improving recovery and growth.
The inclusion almost makes Pre-JYM a 2-in-1 product, which would be valuable and cost-effective for BCAA-lovers.
Where To Buy:
You can buy Pre-JYM straight from bodybuilding.com, who ship anywhere in the world.