When I first starting lifting, I was still very new to world of pre-workout supplements. My younger brother on the other hand was all about it, and would use some of the heavy hitters like Super Pump, N.O.Xplode, etc. So, I was curious and like the nutrition nerd that I am, I began to do research, and A LOT of it. My favorite starting place: Bodybuilding.com. They have a great pre-workout article here, and supplement forums (#ftw).
The right pre-workout supplements can boost your strength, endurance, focus, and muscle pump. I personally work out early in the mornings before work (5AM), so I was definitely looking for something that would give me the right amount of energy and endurance to push through my workouts. The two things I went back and forth on the most (in terms of ingredients within pre-workouts) were:
1. Creatine is clinically suggested to increase muscle strength and power. However, I read a lot about how creatine promotes water retention. Of course, at the early stages of my lifitng, I wanted to get nice and lean not look all puffy with water retention…so I decided to look for pre-workouts without creatine. However, I am still open to creatine, and am actually considering adding it into my current supplement stack.
2. Stimulants – A lot of the pre-workout reviews that I had read, spoke about the crazy energy boost they get (hence the picture at the top of my post lol). I will admit, knowing that I was working out at 5AM, I was all about this too! I tried different samples of pre-workouts (from BodyBuilding.com), and soon realized that feeling like my heart was going to explode before a workout, was just not my thing. I finally settled for a product that would have a reasonable amount of the stimulant caffeine.
(There are a lot of other ingredients to consider when picking a good pre-workout supplement. I highly recommend reading the article by Jim Stoppani, PHD here, to learn more about choosing the right pre-workout)
After all my research, the winner for my pre-workout supplement was Optimum Nutrition’s Essential AmiN.O. Energy – LOVED this stuff. I cycled through this product for about a year and a half and LOVED it. It always gave me just the right amount of energy and muscle building aminos that I wanted.
However, a few months ago, I decided to eliminate caffeine from my diet (for health reasons). So, unfortunately, I was back to the drawing board. I wanted a stimulant free, NATURAL pre-workout. I had pretty much given up hope, when I stumbled upon NRGMatrix in a post from one of my favorite bloggers PowerCakes.
What is NRG Matrix?
“An expert scientific team specializing in health, medicine, immunology, nutritional supplements and mycology developed NRGmatrix™ to provide consumers a functional and wholesome energy drink. Made with Organic and Natural Ingredients, NRGmatrix™ works with the body to heighten energy without a crash, helps you focus, bolsters your immune system, and assists your body in recovery.”
This product contains no gluten. no sugars. no artificial colors or flavors. No sodium. No wheat. No corn. No soy. No dairy. No GMOs. No chemicals. No known allergens – wow!
I ordered a sample pack initially and was AMAZED by how delicious this was and the CLEAN energy that it gave me! I now use NRG Matrix religiously before my workouts and I LOVE it :].
In good health,