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Expert Guides

A Brief Guide to Pre-Workout Supplements

Publish date: 20/07/2013

One of the most crucial parts of the supplement group is our pre-workout supplements since it prepares you for the strenuous and rewarding routine. In this article we give you the basic about pre-workout supplements that you need to know.

What are the Benefits of Pre-workout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements are not a very old phenomenon and have only recently gained popularity. Thanks to much research on this issue, now we have a much better understanding of what kinds you should take and what the benefits are. The benefits of taking pre-workout supplements can be listed as:

  • Enhanced strength
  • Better performance
  • Increased endurance
  • Lower muscle breakdown during workout
  • Increased protein synthesis
  • Improved energy and focus
  • Improve nutrient delivery and assimilation
  • Enhanced fat burning
  • Better and optimal hormonal secretion

What are the Different Categories of Pre-workout Supplements and How do they Help

Pre-workout supplements can be grouped on the basis of what benefits they deliver and the broad classification would include supplements that help you gain:

  • Strength
  • Muscle mass
  • Energy & Focus
  • Endurance
  • Muscle Protection (anti-oxidants)

Strength Enhancers:

The following supplements will help you improve your strength and power while at your workout and beyond. Also mentioned are the usual dosages for each, though you could also check with your instructor. 

  • Creatine Monohydrate

    The recommended doses are 5 grams around 30 minutes before every workout session.

  • Taurine

    Recommended doses are 1-2 grams of taurine 30 minutes before every workout session.

Muscle Mass Growth Enhancers

If you are looking at muscle mass growth, then the following supplements are what you need to watch out for. You can also check out the recommended doses for each here:

  • BCAAs

    3-10 grams of BCCA is recommended right before you start your workout. You can also take it during your workout.

  • Whey Protein

    Recommended doses are around 15-30 grams immediately before workout. Also remember to take your post workout dose for best results.

  • High Glycemic Carbohydrates

    The recommended dose in this case depends on your focus, that is, whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscles. However in the usual case it is advised that you should take around 20-60 grams of high glycemic carbs right before training.

Energy & Focus (Cognitive) Enhancers

It is very crucial that your energy and focus are at their prime when you are on your workout routine. This will ensure that you get the best results out of the training session. To help you with this, the following supplements can be help.

  • Caffeine

    It is best taken around 30 minutes before training.

  • Tyrosine

    Recommended doses are around 500-1000 milligrams to be taken 30 minutes before workout.

Endurance Enhancers

Endurance during workouts is key to maximise the gains from your workout. Higher endurance lets you lift more weights, do more reps and basically train longer and harder. The supplements to help with endurance are as follows:

  • Beta-alanine

    Recommended doses are around 2-2.5 gram around 30 minutes before workout and again the same amount for a repeat dose later in the day.

  • Citrulline Malate

    You should take between 3-6 grams immediately before or during the workout

Anti-Oxidants (Muscle Protectors)

Intense exercising causes a lot of oxidative stress leading to release of a lot of free radicals which have the potential to damage cells. Antioxidants help by neutralising free radicals. Some supplements that are high on antioxidants are:

  • Vitamin E

    Recommended doses are 100-400 IU’s of Vitamin E to be taken 30 minutes before training.

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid

    Recommended doses are 200-400 milligrams around 30 minutes before workout.

  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)

    Recommended doses are 300-600 milligrams 30 minutes before training.

Some Important Facts You Should Know about Pre-Workout Supplements

You need to cycle your Pre-Workout Supplements so that your body does not get too adapted to them and stops responding to their doses. Creatine is a relevant example. If you don’t cycle your creatine loading, your body may get used to the supplements and stop producing the amounts that it does on its own. Also taking more of it will simply mean that your body will no longer be able to use it and just excrete it as a waste product. Caffeine is another such supplement. The usual cycle that is recommended is using it for 6-8 weeks and then taking a break for 2-3 weeks.

Take your pre-workout supplements on an empty stomach. In case you are sensitive to certain supplements like caffeine, you can combine it with a light snack but otherwise avoid taking them with food. Additionally it may not be a good idea to take multiple supplement products at the same time.

Author: Joyce