What's the best pre workout for women?
The best pre workout for women depends on your individual fitness goals and training style. We'll tell you exactly why in this in-depth article. I’ll help you choose from the growing list of women’s pre workout drinks on the market today. The best place to start when answering the question of choosing the best women's pre workout is probably in the 90's, where the pre workout trend all began. So dust off your history books, and let's dive in.
Pre-workout supplements for women have not been on the market for very long. Up until very recently, the only pre workouts were focused only on increasing skeletal muscle size and strength. The pre workout category was dominated by companies such as BSN, with their famous product 'NO-Explode', and USP Lab's infamous 'Jack3d'. These products were (and continue to be) all for the most part identical. The formulas were based around L-arginine, caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and maybe some additional amino acids or stimulants such as schizandrol or synephrine. These ingredients each play a very distinct role in the product.
- Arginine: (the amino acid thought to increase blood flow and thus create a muscle 'pump')
- Caffeine: The world's most popular stimulant, which actually does improve cognitive and athletic function
- Creatine: Helps accelerate the pace at which ADP is turned back into ATP to be used by the muscle - also increases the water capacity of the muscle
- Beta-Alanine: Meant to raise muscle carnosine levels thus improving endurance - also provides a tingling sensation to the skin
These are the basic ingredients of the classic pre workout supplement. The caffeine and beta-alanine provide immediate feedback to the user, so that they know the product is 'working'. These products are not necessarily bad- in fact this tried and tested recipe for success has proven to be an effective workout enhancer, and can be taken with regularity without fear of side effect.
But what does this have to do with women's pre workout supplements? Well, now that you have got that foundation of knowledge about pre workout drinks and their history, we can get into the women's stuff.
But first, there's on last chapter to the pre workout saga, that you need to know about. It helps explain how the women's pre workout category came to be. During the hay-day of the pre workout, there was a product called Jack3d. You might have heard of it. It was the strongest pre workout to ever hit the market, and people were obsessed with it. This pre workout created such an intense experience, that people couldn't resist takign more and more of it with each workout. Unfortunately, a string of tragic events unfolded- with Jack3d being implicated in several of the events. Investigations were conducted, and it was discovered that the stimulant that gave Jack3d it's unique levels of energy and focus, was actually an amphetamine known as dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. This dangerous and powerful stimulant has been implicated in multiple deaths- and thrust the sports supplement.
The first pre workout drinks for women were introduced in 2012- when leading company Fitmiss was created as a women's-specific branch of supplement giant Musclepharm. The Colorado-based company created an entire line of women's sports supplements, including the Fitmiss Ignite pre workout for women. This pretty pink and black product became the line's most successful product, and also helped create an entirely new market segment within the sports nutrition category.
Other products soon followed- with entire brands now emerging as completely dedicated to the female pre workout scene. NLA performance is one such company. Their product- NLA Uplift, is a women's pre workout containing caffeine, beta-alanine, arginine, and even agmatine (another popular 'pump' ingredient). Promera Sports came next, with a women's version of their popular creatine product 'Con-cret'. Promera's creatine based take on the pre workout is an attractive option for women looking to increase their muscle size and strength.
Users looking for a more natural pre workout need not look further than the ATHENA pre workout. Featuring full-label transparency, the flagship product from Unico Nutrition Inc, an up-and-coming California-based natural sports supplement company, is the best natural pre workout selection. Full label transparency is the practice of listing every single ingredient and the exact amount per dosage right on the label. This way, the customers know exactly what they are getting in every scoop of the product. You'll find no 'proprietary blends' or other deceptive 'label' dressing tactics used by almost every other supplement company. Notice the ATHENA pre workout supplement facts panel label on the left, versus the label of NLA’s Uplift on the right. Notice the difference? ATHENA has one ingredient per line-item, where-as the competing product has clusters of ingredients in a blend. The production costs to formulate the products are dramatically different when you do it this way, which is why ATHENA is one of the more expensive products on the market.
Another thing to consider when choosing a pre workout supplement is whether you want artificial sweetener or colors in your product. 95% of all pre workout supplements use sucralose as the primary source of sweetener in the product. We all know sucralose is good for keeping the calorie count down in your supplement- but is it worth the risk? Recent studies have shown that sucralose can reduce your good gut bacteria, which puts you at risk for weight gain and obesity. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, sucralose can alter the way your body reacts to sugar ingestion-particularly your insulin response. Insulin is a hormone that facilitates sugar metabolism. It’s certainly not something that you want to mess with. See our article on what makes a natural pre workout supplement ‘natural’ for more information on this topic.