With so many pre-workout ingredients in most brands of pre-workout, how do you know which are the best ones that’ll whip your training into a frenzy of productive intensity? TRAIN reveals all…

Your nutrition Don Gauvreau has a Master of Science degree and is an S&C coach who’s formulated supplements for over 10 years earning him the moniker: The Supplement Godfather.


The best pre-workout ingredients on the market


This class of ingredients increases your ability to shrug off both physical and mental stress. While there are plenty of these getting eyeballed under microscopes, rhodiola rosea and eleuthero (aka Siberian ginseng) stand head and shoulders above the rest.

In Asia, eleuthero is used to combat anxiety and stress but it can also increase your ability to thrive during testing physical conditions by improving your mental focus. A study published in Life Sciences found that it improved exercisers’ testosterone:cortisol ratio during exercise and helped them cycle longer at a higher intensity without fatigue.

The other element is rhodiola rosea, which has become one of the most well- researched adaptogenic ingredients on the planet.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that when exercisers took 225mg an hour before training, their heart rate was lower than normal when doing submaximal exercise, lowering the rate of perceived exertion.

In short, it’ll make your hill sprints seem like a walk in the park.



This is arginine with the carboxylic acid removed, which makes it support muscle pumps and blood flow to your working muscles.

Research in Neuroscience Letters also found that it may act on hormones such as luteinizing hormone (LH) and growth hormone (GH). This puts you in a good position to build and retain your hard-won muscle.



You’ll find betaine in many foods like wheat, spinach, beets and shellfish. It helps protect cells against dehydration by increasing the amount of water they retain. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that it can also reduce inflammation.

Taking just 2.5g of betaine daily can help improve your endurance, reduce muscular fatigue and support muscular strength because it cuts the amount of lactate in your blood while keeping your cells hydrated.

It’s fast-acting too. When exercisers took it for just two weeks, their muscle-building hormonal profile improved, found research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

It’s an exciting ingredient that’s quickly becoming a one-stop shop for both endurance and power athletes.


Citrulline malate

This works in a similar way to nitric oxide to create rich muscle pumps. Studies in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that citrulline malate reduces fatigue and improves anaerobic and aerobic endurance.

It can regulate the enzymes involved in glycogen (energy) breakdown and shift muscles from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. This gives you more gas in the tank for all parts of your workouts.

Citrulline malate is among the best pre-workout ingredients but be sure that the pre-workout you buy has a clinically effective dose which has been seen to be between 4 and 8 grams just before your workout. Beware of cheeky pre-workouts skimping out with as little as 0.5 grams of citrulline malate, which is a useless dose.


Beetroot and pomegranate extract

Pomegranate is a relatively new feature in pre-workout drinks because it has a high nitrate and polyphenol content, which increases nitric oxide production and enhances exercise efficiency.

What’s more, a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that it could reduce muscle soreness attributed to intense exercise. It can be found in nitrate- rich vegetables like beetroot.

That means that both beetroot and pomegranate improve exercise performance, enhance blood flow to your working muscles and lower your oxygen demand from exercise. The good news is: they’re pretty tasty so you can bet the finished product will serve up a tasty performance boost.


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