So you want to make your own pre-workout supplement? Good call. Making your own pre-workout gives you full control of the dose, flavor, and your athletic performance and outcomes. We’re going to talk about what the best ingredients are, what to look for, and why making your own pre-workout is the best way to improve your performance.
The Problem With Pre-Workout Supplements
Most Pre-Workout Supplements Are Under-Dosed
Before, we get into what ingredients you need, let’s talk about why you should make your own pre-workout supplement.
Honestly, most pre-workouts suck. There’s a reason, why we don’t sell one so listen up. The overwhelming majority of pre-workout supplements are under-dosed and only add a fraction of the actual ingredients you need to help improve your athletic performance. Clinical trials are conducted, to figure out how much of each ingredient you need to enhance your performance. And If you don’t have enough, then guess what, your performance does not get any better.
How many times have you bought a pre-workout that claimed it was going to give you massive gains in strength and muscle mass just to find out a month later it was a waste of money? The fact of the matter is that most pre-workout are basically powdered caffeine and sugar. Without a clinical dose of each ingredient, you get no performance benefit. By making your own pre-workout, you have full control of the dose. All Swolverine products, are clinically dosed according to what the scientific research says, so you get maximum performance benefit.
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Most Pre-Workout Supplements Use Proprietary Blends
What’s a proprietary blend? Glad you asked. A proprietary blend in a supplement is when there’s a list of ingredients that don’t show you how much of each ingredient is actually in the product. Instead, it’s listed as a blend. Manufacturers ‘claim’ this is because they don’t want other brands using their formulas, when in fact it’s just a ploy so they can cut manufacturing costs. How do I know? Because I own a supplement company. I’ve seen these blends and the content testing. Believe me, adding a small dose of beta-alanine at 1g instead of 5g per scoop, costs a whole lot less, than actually giving you the 5g in a single serving. When you read the back of a label and see that it has great ingredients your first thought is usually, “wow this seems like a great product.” But, in reality, those great ingredients most likely account for close to zero. Yet, another reason why you should make your own pre-workout supplement.
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Most Pre-Workout Supplements Don’t Use Clinically Proven Ingredients
How many times have you read the back of a pre-workout label and thought, what the hell is that? Yes, almost every time. Pre-workouts are stacked with ingredients you’ve never heard of, with little to no clinical evidence proving they actually work. Manufacturers do this for marketing hype, claiming, “that their new patented formula will give you massive pumps,” when in fact, your only pump will be when you get bloated. Making your own pre-workout give you control over what ingredients you use, for their specific and intended purpose. At Swolverine, we only use products that have been clinically proven and that provide evidence-based outcomes.
Now that we’ve got why you should make your own pre-workout out of the way, let’s talk about how to make your own pre-workout.
How To Make Your Own Pre-Workout
1. Use Unflavored Ingredients
The first step you need to take in building your own pre-workout supplement is making sure you buy each ingredient unflavored. This will ensure that you can mix them together, without having six different flavors conducting a civil war in your mouth.
2. Use Clinically Proven Ingredients
When the term isn’t being used for just hype, the phrase ‘clinically proven ingredient’ means that the ingredient has been scientifically tested, and proven effective, to increase your performance. With that being said, you want the clinically proven ingredient to be in the clinically validated dose.
3. Use Clinically Proven Doses
The Clinically Effective Dose means, what dose was used by clinical studies, to prove a positive performance outcome or measure, or the amount used for that product to be considered an ergogenic aid.
Below you will find the top five clinically proven pre-workout ingredients you should include in your pre-workout in the correct clinical dosages per serving
The Best Pre-Workout Ingredients To Make Your Own Pre-Workout
One of the best ingredients to include in your own pre-workout stack is Beta-Alanine. The power of Beta-Alanine is unrivaled in the sports supplement world. Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta amino acid that’s proven to help you surpass your usual rep threshold and increase your workout volume. Beta-Alanine is so powerful because it’s converted into carnosine – a dipeptide that helps counteract the development of lactic acid. Lactic acid is what causes the burning sensation in your muscles that results in muscle fatigue, which eventually translates into a loss of power.
Some of the notable benefits of adding Beta-Alanine to your pre-workout stack include
- Delayed Muscle Fatigue
- Increased Endurance
- Greater Gains In Strength
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When you’re making your own pre-workout stack, and looking for the best beta-alanine, make sure it’s made with CarnoSyn. CarnoSyn® is the only Beta-Alanine that has successfully obtained New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) status with the FDA and has more than 55 clinical studies that support an improvement in performance. Swolverine’s Beta-Alanine is created with CarnoSyn® and is clinically dosed at 5g per serving.
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RECOMMENDED PRODUCT (Beta-Alanine CarnoSyn, Unflavored 100 Servings, 5g per serving)
Citrulline Malate (CM) is a unique combination of the nonessential amino acid L-Citrulline and Malate, which comes from malic acid. L-Citrulline is derived from watermelons while Malate is made from apples. Citrulline Malate has been used now for over 20 years in Europe as a pharmacological treatment for fatigue and muscle weakness. Only recently has Citrulline Malate been offered for commercial use in sports performance and supplementation.
One of the biggest benefits of Citrulline Malate is its ability to influence Nitric Oxide (NO) production through a rise in plasma L-Arginine levels. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator, therefore widening blood vessels, increasing blood flow and circulation without increasing blood pressure. That means better muscle repair, faster recovery, and increased strength.
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With higher levels of L-Arginine, Citrulline Malate also facilitates the biological process of protein synthesis, where cells generate new proteins. Other notable benefits of supplementing with citrulline malate before your workout are
- Relieved Muscle Soreness
- Delayed Muscle Fatigue
- Increased Strength
- Improved Recovery Times
According to the Clinical Studies, 5-8g of Citrulline Malate should be supplemented 30 minutes before your WOD to enhance sports performance, endurance, and recovery. We recommend Swolverine Citrulline Malate since it contains the clinical dose of 5g per serving, and has 100 servings.
Most pre-workouts that contain Citrulline Malate are under-dosed and only contain a fraction of the amount you actually need to improve your performance. If you want to gain an athletic edge over your competition, lift heavier, clock faster times, and train harder with less muscle fatigue and soreness then make sure to add a 2:1 ratio of Citrulline Malate to your pre-workout stack.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT (Citrulline Malate 2:1, Unflavored, 100 Servings, 5g per serving)
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are considered the building blocks of protein and are composed of the essential amino acids L-Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAAs help increase the rate of protein synthesis and decrease the rate of protein breakdown. What does that mean for you? It means that BCAAs help you build more lean muscle mass while helping protect against muscle mass breakdown. Whether you love lifting weights or crushing times at the CrossFit box, your body utilizes these essential amino acids for fuel, which increases the rate of protein degradation (muscle mass loss) and BCAA oxidation.
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When you workout, BCAAs are expended quickly, and without a positive balance of BCAAs, the rate of protein degradation will be greater than the rate of protein synthesis, meaning you’ll actually lose muscle mass, rather than gain it. Not to mention, without an adequate supply of BCAAs your body won't have the essential nutrients it needs, to efficiently repair, rebuild, and restore muscle mass, for faster recovery times.
The 2:1:1 BCAA ratio is always the best. We know that Leucine has the greatest anabolic effects on protein synthesis, therefore having a larger ration of leucine, to isolceuine and valine should increase muscle strength and lean muscle mass right? Not necessarily. Studies show that taking a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs stimulates protein synthesis even better, than taking leucine in higher ratios or leucine alone. Therefore a 2:1:1 ratio will be better to activate protein synthesis than a 4:1:1 or 10:1:1 ratio.
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Benefits of adding BCAAs to your pre-workout stack include
- Building/Rebuilding Lean Muscle Mass
- Decreasing Body Fat
- Improving Hydration
- Improving Recovery
Swolverine’s BCAA contains a clinically dosed 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs as well as added L-Glutamine and electrolytes for hydration and recovery.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT (BCAA 2:1:1, Electrolytes, L-Glutamine, 50 Servings, Lemon-Lime)
Kre-Alkalyn is a pH corrected form of creatine. Kre-Alkalyn has proven to be one of the most effective sports supplements shown to enhance exercise performance, promote muscle strength, and increase lean muscle mass. Studies have consistently indicated that Kre-alkalyn supplementation increases muscle creatine and phosphocreatine levels approximately 15-40%, which enhances anaerobic training capacity and increases training volume [R].
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Most pre-workouts contain creatine monohydrate, which is a much cheaper ingredient than kre-alkalyn. Kre-alkalyn was created to address the negative side effects associated with creatine monohydrate supplementation. Here are some of the key differences between kre-alkalyn and creatine monohydrate.
- Creatine Monohydrate can cause gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, stomach aches or cramping from converting creatine into creatinine (a toxic by-product of creatine conversion)
- Creatine Monohydrate requires a loading phase of 4-5 doses (typically 5 grams per dose) per day for up to 5 days and once a day thereafter.
- Creatine Monohydrate requires cycles, specifically 1 week of loading, 5 weeks of 4-5 weeks of maintenance, and 1-2 weeks off.
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Other notable benefits of including Kre-Alkalyn in your pre-workout stack include
- Increased Strength
- Increased Peak Performance
- Increased Power Output
- Increased Lean Muscle Mass
- Improved Endurance
- Improved VO2 Max
The recommended dose of Kre-Alkalyn is 3g taken 30 minutes prior to your workout. Swolverine’s Kre-Alkalyn Creatine, contains a full 3g clinically effective dose, to help you improve power and performance.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT (Kre-Alkalyn, Unflavored, 100 Servings, 3g per serving)
L-Glutamine is the most abundant and naturally occurring conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. It makes up approximately 60% of the amino acid pool in your muscle tissue. Glutamine helps direct the body where and when to place nitrogen atoms in order to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. In order to build muscle mass and strength, you need to maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
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During intense training periods, your body will actually use and deplete all of its glutamine, which inhibits its function and decreases strength, stamina, and lengthens the recovery period. By supplementing L-Glutamine, you’re therefore ensuring your body has an adequate supply of glutamine stores to maintain a positive protein balance to reduce muscle soreness and protect yourself from workout induced muscle mass breakdown.
Other notable benefits of supplementing with L-glutamine in your pre-workout include
- Faster Recovery
- Reduced Muscle Soreness
- Decreased Muscle Mass Breakdown
- Increased Muscle Building
- Decreased DOMS
- Better Immune System
The research indicating the effective dose of L-Glutamine supplementation varies widely from study to study. The most effective dose to help with faster recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness is a conventional dose of 5-10g per day. We recommend adding Swolverine’s L-Glutamine to your pre-workout stack. Just 1 scoop provides you with 5g of glutamine to optimize your workout recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT (L-Glutamine, Unflavored, 100 Servings, 5g per serving)
Do You Need A Pre-Workout?
The simple answer is no. Instead of relying on a ‘quick fix’ of energy, eat a nutritious diet full of nutrient-rich foods, drink plenty of water, and focus on your training. If you’re serious about improving your athletic performance, then be responsible and do the research to find products that are transparent, clinically dosed, and made with proven ingredients. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away and filling your body full of ingredients with no evidence to prove they even work.
Should I Stop Taking Pre-Workout?
What you put in your body matters. Every single month you throw away money in hopes that buying pre-workout is going to make you stronger, faster, and healthier, when in fact it’s just a bunch of B.S. Most pre-workout supplements under-dose and only sprinkle the most important ingredients you need to effectively progress. So unless you’re going to make your own pre-workout, then yes, stop the nonsense.
Does Pre-Workout Work? Conclusion
If you’re looking for a quick fix and boost of energy, then yes, pre-workout supplements work in that regard. But, do pre-workout supplements work to help you increase strength, improve endurance, and optimize recovery? Most do not.
If you actually want to increase your athletic performance, then you need the full clinical dose of each ingredient, not just a sprinkle like most pre-workouts provide. What’s inside your supplement is important. Do your research and only trust brands that are transparent and don’t hide behind proprietary blends, use clinical doses, and provide proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. The bottom line, make your own pre-workout. It’s the most effective way to get the gains you deserve.
Ready to make your own pre-workout stack?
SWOLVERINE is an endurance athlete and active lifestyle brand. Made for the elite athlete, and the strong-willed our products were designed to fuel your athletic performance. We perform when you perform.
We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.