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Our Pre Workout 101: Why it works!

Our Pre Workout 101: Why it works!

Posted by Jackson Peos on Apr 13, 2021

Estimated reading time: 12 mins

Pre-workout products dominate the supplement scene, but as we know, not all of them live up to the hype. A good pre-workout is designed to boost your energy levels, improve your performance, reduce fatigue, and help aid your recovery afterward.

In this blog, Jackson Peos review our Pre Workout 101, discussing the key ingredients included in the formula and why they can take your workouts and progress up a notch!

Ingredients with STRONG evidence

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Beta Alanine

Ingredient 1: Caffeine

Caffeine is a powerful supplement used to enhance physical and mental performance. Unlike beta alanine and creatine, a single dose of caffeine has the capacity to increase mental focus, muscle contraction strength, endurance performance, fatty acid oxidation, while reducing perception of fatigue, and sparing muscle glycogen. With respect to dosing, 3-6 mg/kg is recommended 60 minutes prior to training or competition. However, in some cases 6-9 mg/kg may be consumed with positive affect. It is worthwhile to assess tolerance with lower doses initially to measure potential side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, irritability, and stomach discomfort.

Another important research finding is that caffeine increases metabolic rate by around 16% following a high dose (8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight). It is important to consider however that a 16% increase in metabolic rate is unlikely to notably improve long term fat loss, evident by previous research showing no fat loss effects after 6 months of supplementation with caffeine.

The best benefits from caffeine are going to come from the performance, strength, and focus benefits, which likely result in improved training output and higher training volumes, indirectly encouraging fat loss and muscle gain.



A cup of coffee contains between 70-140mg of caffeine, while a standard serve (13.2g) of Pre Workout 101 contains 272mg of caffeine. It is important to understand your tolerance to caffeine as a half serve may be all you need to feel the full effects. We do not recommend you take more than one dose per day.


Creatine supplementation may also allow one to do more work over a series of weight training sets. Improving the volume and quality of work over a number of sets may lead to greater gains in strength, muscle and performance. After a period of creatine supplementation, high-intensity and repetitive exercise performance can increase by up to 10-20%. Taking into account efficacy, safety, and cost, creatine is among the surest supplement bets for inclusion in a pre-workout.


In terms of dosing protocols, 2,000 – 5,000 mg of beta alanine daily for 2-8 weeks has been shown to be effective. One notable side effect (and possibly the most well appreciated feature) of beta alanine is a mild paresthesia – a tingling in the skin of the face and arms – however this is harmless and can also be avoided by doing split doses across the day.



Caffeine, Creatine and Beta Alanine are three of the most researched ingredients and there is a lot of strong evidence that supports their effectiveness.


Ingredients with MEDIUM evidence

  • Citrulline Malate
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

A recent meta-analysis (a study of all studies on a topic) also concluded that citrulline supplementation overall provided small but significant increases in exercise performance.

There's more comprehensive research supporting the nitric oxide-mediated benefits of arginine - with citrulline increasing arginine levels - thus it’s plausible that citrulline is playing a beneficial role via this pathway. Furthermore, some research suggests that taking citrulline will lead to higher and more consistent arginine levels than taking arginine alone. Citrulline is very readily converted to arginine as needed, and it is also better absorbed than arginine, which not only makes it a better source of arginine for the body but can mean a lower rate of gastrointestinal upset than arginine when taken in high doses.

Citrulline malate is the most researched form of citrulline, and there is speculation about an independent role of malate in producing performance benefits, but there's insufficient research to compare citrulline malate to L-citrulline directly. Research recommendations suggest 6,000 – 8,000 mg of citrulline malate about an hour before exercise for maximal performance benefits. On days that you don't exercise, it can be broken up into smaller doses. Citrulline research does not report notable side-effects, though more research is needed to confirm its long-term safety when taken in high doses.



There are very few foods that have notable amounts of citrulline, watermelon being a notable exception.


It is important to note that BCAAs are present in high doses in a variety of protein sources, particularly meat and eggs. Thus, supplementation with BCAAs is generally unnecessary for people with a sufficiently high protein intake (1-1.5 g/kg of bodyweight a day or more). However, for people with a low daily protein intake, BCAA supplementation can promote muscle protein synthesis (creating a more anabolic environment) and increase muscle growth over time.



Eggs are naturally high in BCAAs however, it might be a bit weird to eat a few boiled eggs at the gym in between sets. In powder form, BCAAs supplements are typically consumed as an intra-workout but they still have great value prior to training in a pre-workout.


Ingredients with SOME evidence

  • L-Theanine
  • L-Tyrosine

Ingredient 6: L-Theanine

Research on L-Theanine seems to support a reduction in anxiety and stress, and improved relaxation following supplementation. L-Theanine is also reported to increase sleep quality due to deeper sleep.

Other potential benefits with supplementation include improvements in attention and executive function, however more research is needed to confirm any cognitive effects. Some researchers also suggest L-Theanine may have a mild reduction effect on blood pressure and jitters, taking "the edge off" stimulants and pre workout products, but more research is needed to confirm this.

The relaxing and attention promoting properties of L-Theanine coupled with the lack of sedation may be the most important role L-Theanine plays in a pre-workout, avoiding the “wired” feeling that many other pre workouts cause. Finally, a combination of theanine and caffeine is noted to be synergistic in promoting cognition and attention.


This has been noted in situations of cold stress, psychological stress, and sleep deprivation in humans but at a relatively high dose of 150mg/kg. Improvements in focus and attention during stressful situations have been found, though the effect does not appear to be very large.



L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine are both amino acids that are linked to increased attentiveness and relaxation and have a synergetic effect with other ingredients in the pre-workout.


Ingredients with LITTLE evidence

  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Silica

Ingredient 8: Choline Bitartrate

Choline is a molecule mostly used for either its cognitive boosting properties (turning into acetylcholine, the learning neurotransmitter) or as a liver health agent, able to reduce fatty liver build-up. Found in high amounts in egg-yolks.

Ingredient 9: Silica

When six trained male cyclists were given silica in three divided doses totalling 1g for one week before a 40km bike ride, researchers found that supplementing silica caused less blood lactate production compared to riders taking a placebo during the time trial. Thus, it is possible that supplementing with silica could delay fatigue during workouts.


Pre Workout 101 - Buy Now

Pre Workout 101

Unearth your inner power and attack workouts like never before with Pre Workout 101. If you’re after sustained energy, heightened focus and no crash look no further, Pre Workout 101 is the ideal start to your workout. Pre Workout 101 has been formulated for athletes like you who want ultimate performance and stamina in their chosen sporting arena.

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  5. Gualano AB, Bozza T, Lopes De Campos P, Roschel H, Dos Santos Costa A, Luiz Marquezi M, Benatti F, Herbert Lancha Junior A. Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Mar;51(1):82-8.
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About the author

Jackson PeosJackson is a PhD candidate, accredited Sports Nutritionist, and competitive bodybuilder and boxer. He currently works at the School of Human Sciences, where he has completed a BSc in Sports Science and in Exercise & Health, and an Honours in Exercise Physiology. Jackson is also completing his PhD in the field of Nutrition where he is directing the first randomised controlled trial investigating the effects of intermittent vs continuous dieting on fat loss, muscle retention and muscle performance in resistance trained athletes.
Instagram: @jacksonpeos
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