For years bodybuilders and athletes have obsessed over the post-workout window, leaving the pre-workout nutrition realm relatively ignored. While post-workout is still vitally important, the dynamics of it are less complex. Research shows the main and most effective strategy is whey protein, with the addition of other ingredients such as the ones we use in RE-KAGED.
However, when it comes down to pre-workout, the possible strategies are endless. It’s also more important than most people give it credit, with many studies showing certain supplements or nutritional aids benefiting the following areas:
- Time to exhaustion,
- Strength, 1 rep max etc,
- Amount of reps performed per set or workout,
- Muscle Damage following the workout,
- Perception of effort/intensity, making your training feel easier, so you can go harder,
- Amount of muscle you grow,
- Energy, focus, motivation and more…
As you can see, what you did before the workout can have a major impact on the actual gym session. In turn, this can make or break your muscle building career to an equal, if not greater, extent than post workout.
Several pre-workout supplements can significantly enhance your strength or hypertrophy specific training. These ingredients make up all good pre-workouts, such as PRE-KAGED, and are backed by years of scientific research. Here’s a breakdown of key supplements you need to maximize the pre-workout window:
Used by numerous athletes, caffeine is one of the most powerful supplements in the world. Often ranked as the second best supplement behind creatine, caffeine can improve strength, 1 rep max, and muscular endurance.
In one research trial, Beck et al., (2006) found a single dose of caffeine before the workout significantly improved bench press 1 rep max.
Another meta-analysis (review of all the research) assessed 27 studies and found that caffeine improved muscle power by up to 7%. In other words, if you are currently squatting 300 lb, a single pre-workout scoop may increase it immediately to 320 lb! From training alone, it may take you weeks or months to add that much weight to the bar! (Warren et al., 2007)
Creatine has long been heralded in the scientific world as the number one muscle builder. It provides a direct benefit on your muscles ATP energy stores and helps you train at high-intensities for longer, with more strength/power.
It has over 500 studies supporting its use, it’s even used in a clinical setting to aid in disease. For performance, a 4-week research study found an 18 lb increase in bench press 1 rep max and a 20% increase in total training volume for the higher rep work. This means it can enhance both strength/power and muscle growth since total volume within a session is key to building muscle (Earnest et al., 1995).
Another study found after only 5 days of creatine supplementation, bench press 1 rep max increased by a whopping 21% and half squat strength by 33%! (Izquierdo et al., 2002).
Other key ingredients include beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline, with numerous research studies proving their benefits.
Along with improved workout performance, your pre-workout nutrition can actually have the same effect as your post-workout nutrition and enhance recovery.
In one study, whey protein was consumed both before and after the workout and found an average 22% increase in muscle fibers size yet no change was observed in the group not taking the whey (Andersen et al., 2005).
In summary, the pre-workout window is equally as important as post workout. Along with enhancing muscle protein synthesis (the biological processes behind growing new muscle) and aiding recovery, it can also drastically improve performance and brain function. Make sure you are optimizing your pre-workout nutrition plan. Here’s how:
Eat: A high protein meal with 25-30g of protein and possibly some easily digestible carbohydrates.
Drink: All the ingredients listed above, which you can purchase separately or find them all, pre-mixed in PRE-KAGED.
Take these around 30 - 60 minutes pre-workout, followed by IN-KAGED during the workout, then a serving of RE-KAGED following the workout, and you will tick all the boxes when it comes to scientifically-backed workout nutrition strategies!
Andersen, L. L., Tufekovic, G., Zebis, M. K., Crameri, R. M., Verlaan, G., Kjær, M., ... & Aagaard, P. (2005). The effect of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of protein on muscle fiber size and muscle strength. Metabolism, 54(2), 151-156.
Beck, T. W., Housh, T. J., Schmidt, R. J., Johnson, G. O., Housh, D. J., Coburn, J. W., & Malek, M. H. (2006). The acute effects of a caffeine-containing supplement on strength, muscular endurance, and anaerobic capabilities. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 20(3), 506-510.
Earnest, C. P., Snell, P. G., Rodriguez, R., Almada, A. L., & Mitchell, T. L. (1995). The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 153(2), 207.
Izquierdo, M. I. K. E. L., Ibanez, J. A. V. I. E. R., Gonzalez-Badillo, J. J., & Gorostiaga, E. M. (2002). Effects of creatine supplementation on muscle power, endurance, and sprint performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(2), 332-343.
Warren, G. L., Park, N. D., Maresca, R. D., McKibans, K. I., & Millard-Stafford, M. L. (2010). Effect of caffeine ingestion on muscular strength and endurance: a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42(7), 1375-87.