If you have used pre-workout supplements in the past, you've most likely come to know a few things about them. First off, they work. They get your head in the game, and prep your body for action. Second, they are very strong in terms of caffeine and if you happen to go over your personal tolerance levels, the effects can be unpleasant. You can get a slightly "jittery" feeling, like one would feel after too much coffee and you might feel like your heart is racing too. This means you've gone over the line.
As I continue to review pre-workout supplements, I am beginning to notice an upwards trend in the caffeine levels. It is becoming common place to find caffeine in amounts around the 200 milligram mark and above. While this might be great for some intense body builders or those people who already have a high stim tolerance, they're not for everyone. A lot of the people in my close circles will start to feel the jitters after about 2 cups of coffee which has around 160mg of caffeine; never mind the 3 cups worth and above.
This is why I have decided to put together a few options for people who do like to use pre-workout supplements – but do not need or want something that intense. With the choices listed below, I have tried to keep them under 1.5 coffee cups worth of caffeine per serving. Lets take a look:
One of the good parts about Amino Energy is that the caffeine used is derived from Green Tea, and Green coffee extracts which can give us more of the natural benefits from each plant. Now do not get confused when looking at the label; it says 160mg of caffeine per 2 scoops, so you can just start out with 1 scoop to keep your stim intake down until you feel more comfortable. The small scoop sizes are a nice touch because it allows us to really customize how much we want to take. It includes a good size dose amino acids; not only to accelerate your recovery, but improve your endurance as well. Along with Beta Alanine, Citrulline, and more ingredients known for their performance enhancing properties.
Superpump Max is the next one up. Superpump has been around a long time and remains one of the most popular pre-workouts. Though it can not be seen on the label, Superpump has roughly 100mg per single scoop. This is just barely over 1 cup of coffee's worth of caffeine which is usually doable for most people. And over time, if you feel more comfortable, you can begin to up the dose – but 1 scoop is a great starting point. It does not only offer the benefits of caffeine however. It has a number of recovery and endurance boosting amino acids like BCAA's, Glutamine, and Carnitine. And you also get about 1.5 grams of Creatine monohydrate per serving as well.
And finally we have C4 Extreme from Cellucor. Still a fairly "young" pre-workout but it has been very popular since its release. It gives users about 135mg of caffeine per single scoop, which is a nice sized dose for someone just starting out. This will keep things very affordable too. Along with the caffeine, they've included Creatine Nitrate for strength – which is suggested to be more easily digested and used by the body compared to regular Creatine mono. And for endurance, its uses Beta Alanine (yes, the tingly stuff) as well as a host of B Vitamins to help you sustain that energy all through your workout. If you're thinking about C4, the Pink Lemonade flavor was my favorite and I highly recommend it.
It is always a smart idea to start off small with caffeine doses until you get a better idea of how your body handles them. So please be careful when trying things out, and you should manage just fine. I hope that these few suggestions will help you find the right supplement for your needs.