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The term pre-workout might need clarification for people living outside of a high-level athletic lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, a pre-workout does not mean a series of exercises before an actual workout, akin to pregaming before a sporting event. It refers to various supplements athletes and weightlifters use to improve athletic performance. Taken before exercise, they are aimed at improving attention, energy, and endurance.

A pre-workout dose should be taken within 60 minutes of starting any exercise. Most substances reach their maximal plasma levels in an hour or two when consumed on an empty stomach. However, some of the benefits of popular pre-workout supplements’ active components, such as caffeine or phenethylamines, may be felt as soon as 15 minutes after consumption. 

While there are stimulants in some varieties, the main non-stimulant components are non-essential amino acids such as alpha alanine, arginine malate, and L-tyrosine. These molecules lessen tiredness and boost short-term endurance, allowing individuals to complete an additional rep or two on challenging sets or establish a personal record. 

Many people find delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to be a satisfying indicator of a nice, hard training session. Ultimately, we want to recover from this stage as soon as possible because the aim is to heal and train again quickly. This is the main benefit of beta-alanine. The body converts beta-alanine into carnosine, reducing the acidity from lactic acid buildup and helping with inflammation and healing. There is no single recommended dose when it comes to pre-workouts, but there are limits. The recommended daily intake of beta-alanine is 2 to 5 grams. Taking too much might activate the peripheral nerves, resulting in a tingling feeling known as paraesthesia. 

L-tyrosine, which has been demonstrated to play a role in the production of nor-epinephrine and dopamine in the brain, is used by your body to make catecholamines, which are a natural response by the body to reduce stress. This group of neurotransmitters induces emotions of contentment and alertness. Many foods, including fish and eggs, contain L-tyrosine. While it is categorized as a non-essential amino acid, if enough hasn’t been ingested from food, your body can make more from supplements.  

Sulfate of agmatine is made from the essential amino acid l-arginine. It is known for a perceived improvement in focus and mental energy. It also helps users achieve muscle pumps because it reduces nitric oxide metabolism. 

Pre-workout supplements often include stimulants. Anyone who has tried to work out when jet lagged or after a long night of working or studying can see the advantages of feeling energized while exercising. But how can these nutrients boost athletic performance while boosting your energy level or reducing fatigue? In general, these ingredients work to improve athletic performance and endurance by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS).