There are hundreds of possible pre-workout ingredients but most pre-workout products narrow their selection down to 8-15 ingredients. If you’ve looked around at pre-workout products, you’ll notice that the core ingredients are almost always the same.
Based on the pre-workout market it’s safe to say the three most important pre-workout ingredients are:
A pre-workout with clinically effective doses of these three ingredients will accomplish 80-90% of what you’re looking for in a pre-workout.
Your Pre-Workout Goals
To fully answer to the question of which ingredients are most important in a pre-workout partly depends on your goals. Is your main goal endurance? Power? Focus? Pump?
Let’s take a look at each function.
Most Important Ingredient For Pump
L-Citrulline is widely considered the most important ingredient for increasing blood flow and improving your pump. 4-10g is the most common range with the best pre-workout products usually hitting at least 6g of L-Citrulline.
Most Important Ingredient For Endurance
The most important anti-fatigue pre-workout ingredient for increasing endurance is beta-alanine. Beta-alanine helps you get an extra rep or two by reducing your perception of fatigue. 3-6g of Beta Alanine is a good dose, although once you get over 3g you’re looking at a pretty severe case of tingles.
Most Important Ingredient for Energy
Caffeine is really the go to pre-workout ingredient. Everything else is a cheap imitator. 200-400mg of caffeine is the most effective range depending on your caffeine tolerance.
Most Important Ingredient for Focus
Caffeine is probably the best ingredient for focus and attention. However, if you are taking a stim-free pre-workout, then the most important ingredient will be a source of choline. 300-600mg of choline seems to be the sweet spot.
Most Important Ingredient For Strength Gains
For maximum strength gains I’d recommend the pre-workout ingredient creatine monohydrate. A good dose for creatine monohydrate is 5-10g per day. Having said that, caffeine can also contribute to increased strength and power.
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