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It’s becoming more and more popular – you’re cooling down after an intense workout and someone says, I’m exhausted, I can’t believe I forgot to take my pre-workout today. Athletes and gym-goers alike are taking pre-workout to help them push through exercise harder and faster. And if you’ve taken it before, you probably know why.

I remember the first time I took pre-workout. I eased into it and only took about two-thirds of the recommended dose because I’d heard too many people say they felt too jittery. But wow it was great. I got more reps and lifted heavier than I had been, and while I wouldn’t say it was necessarily easier, I felt better.

The problem is there are SO MANY pre-workout supplements out there to choose from. So how do you know what to take?

The best thing you can do is read the ingredients. Because not every pre-workout is created the same.

The first thing you want to watch out for is proprietary blends. These are blends listed under a group name that include something like formula or ‘system. Then they list the included ingredients in that blend. The problem is, you don’t know how much of those ingredients are in the blend, and they often are imbalanced and could be combined ineffectively, or even unsafely. You can Google proprietary blend labels to see what they look like. The takeaway? Only go for pre-workout that has the individual dosages listed for each ingredient.

Next, you should look through each of the ingredients. Here are some of the most common ingredients that can be effective when taken in appropriate doses:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine*: Promotes fat burning and improves cognition
  • Beta-Alanine: Helps reduce fatigue and improves anaerobic output
  • Betaine: Improves strength and energy output, increases lean muscle mass, reduces body fat
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): Known as the building blocks of protein, you can learn a lot more about these guys here
  • B Vitamins: Helps maintain your body’s metabolism and promotes energy”
  • Caffeine: Increases energy burned, improves strength, promotes endurance
  • Creatine: Improves strength, builds muscle, minimizes soreness
  • L-Tyrosine*: Improves mood and cognitive function
  • L-Arginine*: Improves performance and reduces fatigue
  • Theanine: Improves concentration

*What do the L’s mean? It stands for Laevorotatory. It’s bit complicated, but most simply states, these supplements are aminos that are most similar to the ones produced in our bodies. D aminos are the opposite and in most scenarios, supplementing with L aminos. If you want more information about aminos or any supplementation, be sure to talk with your doctor.

So now that you know some of the things you should be looking for, you can likely make a better choice when choosing a pre-workout. Nova 3 Labs offers a pre-workout called Max Perform that has no proprietary blends and includes breakdowns of the ingredients. The Max Perform page on our website also links to studies that show the benefits of some of the top ingredients. Max perform comes in two delicious flavors and can help you boost your workout.


About the author:

Nichole Wierzba

Nichole is a corporate marketing writer by day and freelance writer by night. She enjoys taking the complex and making it simple through conversational writing. When she?s not madly typing in front of a computer screen, she?s hanging out with her dog or tearing up a boot camp workout.