The truth is simple but harsh. If you’re not attacking your workout with absolute maximum intensity, working to failure and keeping intervals between sets as short as possible, you’re wasting your time.
You only have forty-five minutes to an hour (at most) to achieve the maxed-out work output required to savagely breakdown muscle tissue so that those fibers can be repaired and regrown bigger and stronger to survive what your body perceives as an incredibly difficult environment.
If you’re spending the first ten minutes “getting up to speed” or the middle ten catching your breath, you might as well be sitting in the smoothie bar or shopping for gym shorts in the concession.
This is why so many workout warriors looking to add significant muscle mass supplement with a pre-workout performance-optimizing formula. This is why there are also so MANY pre-workout formulas to choose from.
Which brings us to the meat of the matter. Are all of these various pre-workout formulas essentially interchangeable? Do they have the same ingredients in varying amounts? Are they the same? Or are there products (or even one product) that represent a dramatic break from the same old thing? Let's take a look.
A Brief History of Pre-Workout Formulas
Believe it or not, pre-workout formulations are a fairly recent development in the sports nutrition world. Ten years ago, performance optimization meant a cup of coffee before your workout or maybe, if you were being fancy, a caffeine pill. Workouts themselves could often be lengthy, unstructured affairs that found gymrats wandering the gym floor for up to two hours getting nowhere very slowly.
That's all gone now. The swiftly growing canon of exercise research has revealed that short, sharp, high-intensity, high-volume workouts are the key to significant muscle growth. For athletes, it was time to pick up the pace and shock muscle tissue into new growth. Not coincidentally, a new form of sports nutrition supplementation began to appear at this same time.
The first pre-workout formulas were a small step up from that 80s-era cup of joe. They contained plenty of raw caffeine (up to 300 mg) or other stimulant compounds; they contained some kind of muscle pump facilitator, often arginine alpha ketoglutarate, meant to dilate blood vessels, providing enhanced nutrition delivery and a good veiny bulge. Creatine monohydrate was a common ingredient as well. Creatine, of course, provides little rapid-onset benefit for athletes, but taken over the long term is an invaluable tool for muscle strength increase.
Over time, new ingredients made an appearance. Beta alanine was included for endurance support. BCAAs were provided to spur protein synthesis and muscle recovery. Electrolytes helped with hydration. Some formulas incorporated ingredients for hormonal support such as Mucuna pruriens extract or Rhodiola rosea. Pre-workout science was advancing!
The Same Old Same Old: Still Your Dad's Workout
Until it stopped in its tracks. Amazingly, little has changed in the pre-workout category in the ensuing ten years. Pre-workout formulas themselves are common sights in gyms everywhere; it seems everyone has one in their workout bag these days. Manufacturers, enjoying record-breaking sales from their existing products, have had little incentive to invest in the research and product development that would advance the power and productivity of their products.
To illustrate this state of affairs, one need only look at one of the category's well-entrenched best sellers. We won't name names here, but think in terms of a pairing of one letter of the alphabet with one number.
This perennial favorite among gym-goers contains plenty of caffeine, some arginine-AKG, a negligible amount of creatine (one gram), and an undisclosed amount of Mucuna pruriens extract. That's it. Later variations of the formula contain some combinations of common fat-loss co-factors (which may or may not be a goal of yours, but is far afield from performance optimization).
The Dawn of a New Science of Pre-Workout Performance Optimization
While most manufacturers were content to give the customer what he or she presumably wanted, while keeping research and production costs low, a select few began to explore new avenues of performance maximization and physique enhancement. New areas of investigation involving energy output, muscle cell hydration, and endurance support were beckoning and they heard the siren's call.
One such manufacturer was CellDyne. Their new pre-workout technology VyoCore is designed to support the widest array of physiological factors of crucial import for competitive athletes -- including endurance, power, strength, recovery, hydration, energy and focus. And it does so by incorporating the latest cutting-edge science in the fields of sports nutrition and performance enhancement.
Most existing pre-workout supplements actually do little or nothing to support strength other than provide a small amount of creatine monohydrate. VyoCore, in sharp contrast, is powered by a patented form of adenosine 5*-triphosphate disodium called Peak ATP®, identical to actual human ATP, that has been linked in clinical studies to a whole host of performance and physique benefits.
Naturally synthesized ATP is broken down in the cell, unleashing energy to transport protein and fats into and out of cells, support intercellular communication, and trigger muscular contraction. Unfortunately, your body keeps little of this key energy facilitator in reserve and its availability in the cell declines precipitously during high-intensity exercise. Research devoted to increasing ATP availability outside the cell via precisely timed dosing of ATP before workouts led to the creation of Peak ATP®.
The potential for strength increase provided by Peak ATP® has been phenomenal. In a landmark double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by researchers at the University of Tampa, test subjects who supplemented with Peak ATP® experienced an average of 147% increase in strength compared to placebo (55.3 kg vs. 22.4 kg), as well as a 30% increase in power (796 vs. 614 watts), a 100% increase in lean body mass (4.0 kg vs. 2.1 kg), and a 96% increase in muscle thickness (4.9 mm vs. 2.5 mm). The researchers speculated that supplemental ATP may provide cumulative benefits in strenuous, repetitive, and exhaustive exercise activities, which could lead to improved strength and lean body mass gains (1 Wilson).
VyoCore also addresses endurance with a key active ingredient that supports carnosine levels in muscle tissue. Carnosine availability is a prerequisite for postponement of the onset of fatigue, muscle "burn" under stress, and loss of strength. In a recent clinical study, this carnosine-supporting mechanism has resulted in 80% increases in muscle carnosine over a ten-week period and more than a 16% increase in physical work capacity. Test subjects supplementing with this compound have experienced improved muscle endurance, decreased acidosis, and better performance in high-intensity interval training (2 Baguet).
Muscle cell hydration is another key performance factor for athletes. Once hydration collapses within the cell, dehydration, stress, and metabolite accumulation swiftly and negatively impact performance. While most pre-workout formulations address this issue with some generic trace amounts of electrolytes, VyoCore contains an advanced osmolytic agent that helps support cell hydration and volume during intense exercise. In a published College of New Jersey study, athletes supplementing with this agent experienced an increase of 30% in squat repetitions after 7 days of supplementation and 60% after 14 days, as well as significant increases in the quality of repetitions performed.
Even the caffeine in VyoCore represents a scientific advance. VyoCore contains a 90% pure organic caffeine derived from green coffee beans and designed to deliver a clean, powerful boost in energy, mental alertness and performance. This compound is non-GMO-sourced and provided in a precision-targeted 225 mg dose intended to provide maximized benefit without over-stimulation. VyoCore then further supports the mind-muscle connection with advanced co-factors that facilitate neurotransmitters in the brain linked to cognitive function and stress relief.
Finally, it should be pointed out that VyoCore is guaranteed to be absolutely 100% free of banned or illegal substances, a matter of great importance to competitive athletes.
The advent of the era of pre-workout supplementation has been a boon to athletes everywhere seeking to attain maximum performance capacity and the physique enhancement that comes with it. For far too long, however, the actual products that make up this category have failed to live up to those athletes' high standards. By dramatically advancing the parameters of pre-workout science, VyoCore has established itself as the serious athlete's #1 choice for expanding performance potential and training output.
1 Wilson JM, et al. Effects of oral adenosine-5’-triphosphate supplementation on athletic performance, skeletal muscle hypertrophy and recovery in resistance-trained men. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2013, 10:57.
2 Baguet A. et al., 2009. Carnosine loading and washout in human skeletal muscles. J Appl Physiol, 106: 837-842. And Harris RC, et al., 2006. The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids, 30(3): 279-289.
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