If you’ve spent even a minute inside the gym, then you’ve definitely heard of a pre-workout. Non-stimulant pre-workouts are a refreshing and energising formula that can fuel you through a workout. So, what happens when you remove the stimulants?
Keep reading, and we’ll show you.
What are pre-workouts, and when should they be used?
We’ll kick you off with the headline act: stimulant pre-workouts.
Your standard stimulant-packed pre-workout is like a power-up for athletes, supplying a dynamic dose of energy and a magnified mental performance. Pre-workouts come in a range of blueprints and recipes, but they are generally built with a core of:
- Caffeine (of course)
- Amino acids
- Nitric oxide precursors
A standard stimulating pre-workout isn’t for everyone, but if you find yourself struggling to make it through a workout or feel overly fatigued and lacking energy, you may find a pre-workout can perk you up and help you get the best out of your training.
Generally, you will want to take your pre-workout about 20 minutes before you begin training. This will give it time to kick in. You will also want to take pre-workout consistently as studies have shown it to have better effects than using it once every so often. Building up consistent usage can help your workouts last longer while allowing you to feel less tired during after them (WebMD. 2021).
What are the different types of pre-workouts?
You can effectively divide pre-workouts into two distinct groups: stimulant & non-stimulant.
Stimulant pre-workouts will almost always include caffeine but in widely varying dosages. You may find a low-stim pre-workout or a high-stim pre-workout, so it is always important to read the ingredients list when choosing a stimulant pre-workout.
Other popular stimulants include Ginseng, L-Theanine, Guarana and Theobromine, which can all naturally stimulate you while offering some fantastic nootropic health benefits, too (Shields, T. 2022)
Non-stimulant pre-workouts, in contrast, contain no ingredients that can be considered stimulants and focus on increasing blood flow and promoting enhanced muscle pumps.
What is a non-stimulant pre-workout?Non-stimulant pre-workouts are free of any ingredients that can be considered stimulants. One of the most important ingredients in a non-stimulant pre-workout is a vasodilator to increase blood flow. This increase in flow can ensure that more blood is pumped into your muscles alongside more nutrients and oxygen. This can naturally enhance your energy levels (Stokes, W. 2022).
Non-stimulant pre-workouts generally follow a blueprint of:
- Creatine Monohydrate
The key difference between a non-stimulant pre-workout and a stimulant pre-workout is the stimulants.
A stimulating pre-workout can increase the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, equating to increased alertness, attention, energy and physical activity (Robertson, I. 2022).
Stimulants can also raise blood pressure and increase heart and breathing rates, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine and other stimulants, suffer from any heart-related issues, consume coffee throughout your day or are planning on training late in the evening - a non-stimulant pre-workout may be more suitable for you.
Do non-stimulant pre-workouts work?
Not only do non-stimulant pre-workouts work, but they offer a range of performance benefits and allow you to train without stress at any time of the day.
Firstly, without caffeine to delay your fatigue, you can enjoy the aftermath of a heavy session without any unwanted crashes. After the stimulating effects wear off, you may find yourself feeling less alert, struggling to concentrate and suddenly feeling extremely tired. You can avoid this with a non-stim variant (Van De Walle, G. 2020).
To substitute the lack of stimulants, non-stimulant pre-workouts contain nootropics like L-Theanine and creatine monohydrate that can enhance your cognitive functions and support muscle growth, respectively (Brody, B. 2019).
Non-stimulant pre-workout also contains nitric oxide, which supports vasodilation, or increased blood flow to working muscles. It can enhance the quality of your muscle pumps and reduce the time it takes to fatigue (Tucker, A et al. 2021).
At the end of the day, non-stimulant pre-workouts can work excellently and can help you take your performance to the next level.
If you drink too many coffees already, are sick of the heavy crash and jitters, or simply train late in the evening and need a supplement that won’t keep you up all night, switch to a non-stimulant pre-workout.
Want to know more? Our friendly and knowledgeable team at Fit Nutrition can help. Head in-store or chat with our team online to get started.
WebMD Editorial Contributors. 2021, ‘Health Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements’, WebMD, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/health-benefits-pre-workout-supplements>
Shields, T. 2022, ‘11 Natural Stimulants for Energy and Focus that aren’t Coffee’, Fresh Cap, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://learn.freshcap.com/tips/natural-stimulants/>
Stokes, W. 2022, ‘Stimulant Vs. Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout: Which Is Better’, The Frisky, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://thefrisky.com/stimulant-vs-non-stimulant-pre-workout/>
Robertson, I. 2022, ‘Stim bs Non-Stim Pre-Workout (Which One Should You Take?) Total Shape, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://totalshape.com/supplements/stim-vs-non-stim-pre-workout/>
Van De Walle, G. 2020, What Is a Caffeine Crash? Plus 4 Tips for How to Avoid it’, Healthline, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-crash>
Brody, B. 2019, ‘What Are Nootropics?’ WebMD, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/nootropics-smart-drugs-overview>
Tucker, A et al. 2021, ‘What to Know Before Taking Nitric Oxide Supplements’, Men’s Health, accessed 22 November 2022, <https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19717792/nitric-oxide-supplements/>