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In the world of athletics, performance and productivity are the name of the game. In order to get bigger, stronger and faster, you need to progressively overload your system to elicit these musculoskeletal adaptations. This means hitting a few more reps each session, or increasing the weight being lifted or even adjusting rest intervals to make the workout more challenging.

To most of us, this can be a difficult task, especially when you are already training 5 to 7 days per week and busting your butt every time you step foot in the gym. Luckily the lifting gods have blessed us with the development of a class of multiple-ingredient performance supplements often referred to as pre-workouts. Smart athletes reach for their favorite “pick-me-up” before they train to help get them through their workout and improve their quality of training. Do you sometimes find yourself wondering, are they worth it? In this article, we will cover some of the acute and long-term implications of adding a pre-workout supplement to your stack regimen and current training program.

Short Term Benefits of Pre-Workouts

Pre-workout formulas typically include a synergistic blend of ingredients that research has shown may increase strength, power and muscular endurance following ingestion, which should translate to enhanced training adaptations over time. For example, Hoffman et al. found an increase in repetitions to failure during the back squat following ingestion of a pre-workout supplement using a load equal to 75% of the individual’s one rep max (1RM) (1). Similarly, Gonzalez et al. (2) found an improvement in the number of repetitions lifters were able to complete when they were instructed to complete 4 sets of 10 at 80% of their 1RM, during either bench press or back squat following ingestion of a pre-workout supplement. Others have found a similar enhanced ability to complete repetitions to failure only 30 minutes after drinking a pre-workout supplement (3).

Over time, regular use of a pre-workout formula will provide invaluable support for maximized performance and improved recovery. If acute use of these products allows you to complete a few more reps, or maintain a higher velocity for each rep day in and day out, they can make a world of difference long-term; particularly as a result of being able to complete a higher training volume. Therefore, when combined with a structured training program, you will essentially be able to train harder, which can help increase mass, increase strength and help you recover faster between workouts. Research has shown that when a pre-workout supplement was combined with an 8-week training program (3-day split focusing on multi-joint, compound movements) subjects experienced a significantly greater increase in bench press strength (18% vs. 10%), lean body mass (8% vs. 4%) and muscle thickness (12% vs. 5%) (4).

Essentially these products appear to help increase your training volume, whether it’s for a specific lift or throughout your entire workout. Keep in mind the improvements mentioned above are after only a short period of time; you can imagine how over the long haul this supplementation could lead to some big gains! Several of the ingredients in these products have also been shown to improve subjective markers of fatigue, alertness and focus, which may help you to get amped up before your workout and maintain that intensity until the very last set.
 
Performance Enhancers in Perfect Synergy

The majority of pre-workout formulas contain ingredients that have been shown to improve resistance-training performance when taken individually, so when combined there may be a synergistic effect. Common ingredients often include caffeine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, taurine, L-carnitine, citrulline, B-vitamins, creatine and other essential co-factors. Due to the varied chemical structure of the individual ingredients themselves, they exert their effects through a variety of pathways.

For example, caffeine has been shown to support calcium usage within the muscle, which may help muscle contraction and force production. Studies have even shown improvements in strength and power after just one dose! In addition, caffeine acts as a stimulant which may help reduce sensations of fatigue and improve focus. In other words it simply makes you feel better during heavy training, thus improving efficiency. Beta alanine, on the other hand, helps to support the buffering capacity of muscle during high-intensity exercise, allowing you to fight through the burn and pump out a few extra reps during your high volume work. Not to mention, it gives you a sense of parathesia (tingling sensation) so you know when it “kicks in,” a sensation many lifters enjoy. Similarly, taurine has also been shown to help delay fatigue and improve muscular endurance during exercise. A lot of pre-workouts also contain various amino acids or nitrate-containing compounds that help facilitate a muscle “pump” during training by increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle. These compounds cause a vasodialatory response that help open up the blood vessels during exercise.

The Ultimate Performance Maximizer:
One Pre-Workout Formula
Rises Above the Competition

Clearly, there’s a lot to be excited about in the pre-workout category. That’s why it’s disappointing that so many of these formulas are essentially interchangeable, offering the same ingredients in the same substandard dosages. One manufacturer, however, has done its homework. It should come as no surprise that BioQuest has taken pre-workouts to the next level and created a scientifically enhanced, testosterone-charged pre-workout supplement in AndroFury. This next-generation workout enhancer provides a perfect blend of energy catalysts and muscle-pump agents, in addition to testosterone-boosting ingredients which play a key role in maximizing workout intensity and productivity.
 
Each of the ingredients in AndroFury have their own mechanism precision-targeted to enhance your training. Long-term beta alanine supplementation has been shown to augment training adaptations by increasing carnosine levels within skeletal muscle, which plays an important role in buffering the reduction in pH often experienced during high-intensity exercise. AndroFury's muscle-pump precursors help to maximize blood flow and nutrient delivery during and after your workout to ensure you are getting the right nutrients at the most crucial time. L-carnitine-L-tartrate has been linked to the mediation of androgen receptor content in muscle tissue, which in turn plays a role in protein synthesis, thus supporting lean muscle mass. Furthermore, the BCAAs in AndroFury can help to prevent muscle breakdown during high-intensity exercise and jumpstart muscle growth following your workout. These BCAAs contain a dosage of leucine, which is an essential amino acid that stimulates protein synthesis and helps increase muscle mass over time.

The most important thing that sets AndroFury apart from other pre-workout supplements is the inclusion of an advanced, highly refined, protodioscin-rich botanical compound that has been shown to support testosterone levels, a key adaptation for facilitating processes key to muscle growth recovery following training. Specifically, testosterone has benn shown to mediate key regulatory factors that are responsible for a wide range of male performance factors. Over time this may help with promoting gains in lean muscle mass and aiding with muscle repair during intense periods of training. Together, all of the ingredients in AndroFury can help to maximize training efficiency and enhance training adaptations.

Superior Pre-Workout Optimization
for the Bodybuilder on a Budget

Watching every dollar, as so many of us are? Fusion Force by BioQuest is another product with several key ingredients designed to optimize your workouts and facilitate gains in lean muscle and strength. What Fusion Force lacks in the testosterone-boosting benefits of AndroFury it makes up for with creatine, which will likely go down in history as one of the most beneficial nutritional ingredients of all time, especially when it comes to performance in the weight room. Creatine helps support the capacity of the energy system used to help fuel bouts of strength training, which in turn allows you to train at a higher level for a longer time. It’s also been shown to positively influence satellite cell activation which can help support muscle mass. Again, over time the ability to do so would lead to enhanced training adaptations. Research has shown that even after only 3 to 5 days of supplementation, people have experienced increases in strength and power with creatine. The creatine incorporated into Fusion Force is Creapure® creatine monohydrate, universally recognized as the world’s best.

In addition, Fusion Force also includes several other performance enhancing ingredients such as beta alanine, citrulline malate, BCAAs, and betaine that have been shown to support muscular endurance, lean muscle accretion, blood flow and power when consumed individually and together. If you’re also interested in staying lean while you optimize performance, then Fusion Force has you covered. It contains a comprehensive formula consisting of caffeine, green tea extract, L-carnitine and green coffee extract, each of which may exhibit properties that can support fat mobilization, while increasing energy expenditure. Fusion Force raised the bar for manufacturing protocols and sheer efficacy when the pre-workout category was really coming into its own and it still has multitudes of fans to this day.
 
Conclusion

The best aspect of these pre-workout supplements is the performance-enhancing effects of the ingredients all working together. Instead of buying 5 to 10 different supplements, products like AndroFury and Fusion Force embody a “one-stop shop” for everything you need to get the most out of your training. (On a side note, keep in mind that it is always recommended to follow instructions regarding serving sizes, as three scoops are not necessarily better than one.) So whether you’re looking for a boost in energy, an increased pump during the workout, a higher training volume or growth promoting ingredients, these pre-workout supplements have it all covered for you!

Read more about AndroFury here.

Read more about Fusion Force here.

Scientific References

1.    Hoffman, J. R., Ratamess, N. A., Ross, R., Shanklin, M., Kang, J., & Faigenbaum, A. D. (2008). Effect of a pre-exercise energy supplement on the acute hormonal response to resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(3), 874-882.
2.    Gonzalez, A. M., Walsh, A. L., Ratamess, N. A., Kang, J., & Hoffman, J. R. (2011). Effect of a pre-workout energy supplement on acute multi-joint resistance exercise. Journal of Sports science & Medicine, 10(2), 261.
3.    Spradley, B. D., Crowley, K. R., Tai, C. Y., Kendall, K. L., Fukuda, D. H., Esposito, E. N., ... & Moon, J. R. (2012). Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance.Nutr Metab (Lond), 9, 28.
4.    Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Dudeck, J. E., Oliveira de Souza, E., McCleary, S. A., Wells, S., ... & Wilson, J. M. (2013). Effects of 8 weeks of Xpand® 2X pre workout supplementation on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, lean body mass, and strength in resistance trained males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 10(1), 44.


Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.