What is Preworkout? + Recommendations

When I first got into the #fitlife , I found navigating my way around the gym to be difficult enough.

Then I started hearing about different products and supplements meant to enhance the workout and I was like : what the heck is preworkout? 

If you want to gain a better understanding of what preworkout is, or you are simply interested in some recommendations, then this is the post for you so keep reading!

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I work in a supplement store. So as a preface to this I want to say that my recommendations are going to be based on the stock carried there specifically. That being said, there are so many great products to choose from and I stand behind the selection here 100%.

So, moving on.

What is preworkout? Preworkout is compromised of two basic components.

  1. Energy – which is actually code for “caffeine” . Most (not all) preworkouts have caffeine to varying degrees, from 50 mgs per scoop and upwards. Preworkout selection should be determined based on your caffeine tolerance – I find for most people who can handle a little bit of caffeine that staying between the 150-200 range works well, which is just about the equivalent of 1.5-2 coffees.
  2. Pump – All preworkouts contain components meant to increase circulation and bring oxygen to the muslce , thereby creating a better pump during the workout. Examples of this are things like arginine and citrulline. This is what gives your muscles that bursting full feeling… of course if you’ve had it before, you already know.


Aside from these two basic components you might also find some b vitamins, which help your body metabolize and convert other substances into energy, and amino acids, which can help with muscle building.

I find many people are in one camp or another; they either want a stimulant based preworkout that hits them so hard their eyes bulge out, or they want a preworkout that will mainly enhance their pump during the workout.

I want the best of both worlds and typically aim to find one that is more well balanced. This is important because I do like a bit of caffeine (especially after those long hard days) but too much of it can constrict the blood vessels, thereby actually making it more difficult to get a pump going.


Most Popular

Cellucor C4

In my personal experience C4 has been the most popular preworkout 1.5 years running. I don’t say that specifically because so many people come into buy it (which they do), but also because so many who come in have typically tried it. I would consider this a well balanced preworkout with about 150 mgs of caffiene and other ingredients in there for pump as well. It also contains vitamins B6, B9, and B12. I do not reccomend taking this in place of a B vitamin but having those extras in there is a nice touch. So many people “graduate” from taking C4 because they have developed a tolerance for the amount of caffeine in it and need something stronger. Another option might be cycling off for a few weeks to build up that tolerance again.

Best Kept Secret

Dr. Jekyll

Dr. Jekyll is one of those preworkouts that just gets written off too quickly. It has a lower amount of caffeine than many of it’s counterparts sitting at 100 mg per scoop. Keep in mind that is still as much as the average cup of coffee. I can’t say that the flavour is anything to go crazy about – as comparatively it is just not as tasty as some others out there. However it is tolerable and since most people down their preworkout pretty fast I personally see this in large part as a non-issue. No b-vitamins in this baby but it does contain choline, which is thought to enhance brain function (among the various other processes it is responsible for). Why would I reccomend this preworkout? Hands down, best pump of my life. And I don’t say that lightly. As a smaller person, I think it has been much harder for me to get a good pump. So thank you Dr. Jekyll for helping me out.


Personal Favourite 

The Curse

I did not, based on first appearances, receive this product well – … I mean, isn’t  the labeling a bit silly? Despite that impression, I decided to give it a try. And I’m glad I did. The 155 mg of caffeine packs a decent punch, and I had great pumps using it. Best of all, they keep their ingredients simple and clearly label what each ingredient is intended for. No nonsense. I also want to add that some of their flavours use beet juice for colouring, and since I am trying to avoid artificial colouring dyes as much as possible it is nice to have that option with The Curse. I’ve turned skeptics into believers with this one so don’t be afraid to try it!

Whatever preworkout you decide to use, do yourself a favor and cycle off of it every now and then. Just like that morning cup of coffee, you can develop a dependency on it. You don’t want to have to need it. Take it for enjoyment, not because you can’t workout without it.

All this being said you don’t need a preworkout to have a great workout. All you need is a spirit of hard work and determination – and your inner drive to guide you. But I will say that with it, the workout sure is a bit more fun!

I did a video related to this – check it out here : The 3 Supplements I Can’t Live Without

Thanks for reading!

2 responses to “What is Preworkout? + Recommendations”

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