When it comes to going to the gym, the type of energy source you choose has been up for a long debate. Bottom line, you have 4 primary options: energy drinks, pre workouts, coffee, or take nothing at all.
More times than not this decision comes down to whichever you prefer, but here we’re going to explain which of these the undisputable best is.
First Up – Coffee and its benefits before working out
Back in the day, this was the original pre workout and energy drink. Whenever you needed energy, coffee was the one, singular, yet ever dynamic solution.
Now days, there are more options – yet many people still keep it simple and stick to the black magic.
Coffee gives you energy, you get that. But here are some other benefits that may not be on your radar:
- Increased Metabolism
- Reduced feeling of Effort (makes work feel easier)
- Less Training Pain
- Strength and Endurance Increases
Obviously, these are some hefty benefits. Even if they only encompass 5% of actual results… That adds up over time and is just enough to get through a long-lasting plateau. But, this isn’t our only consideration, so let’s keep the comparison going.
Energy Drinks before Workout – Good move, or waste of cash?
Energy drinks are similar to coffee in respect to containing caffeine, but that’s about it. Besides the caffeine, energy drinks are loaded with sweeteners (artificial), flavoring (artificial), and a ton of sugar. All of these things combined are often not optimal in comparison to the available alternatives.
Some energy drinks add in some extra ingredients which may look good, like:
- Citrulline (or citrulline malate)
- Gingko biloba
But, upon closer examination and research you will quickly discover that the amounts are miniscule, and bear no clinical benefit. To sum up energy drinks before the gym – they are simple and easy, even sometimes effective, but when it all comes down to it, they are not the best option.
Don’t get us wrong, throughout the day you can easily catch the BWSB team downing Monsters, Redbulls, and Amps… But in the gym there is a better way.
Pre Workout Supplements – Intended for the Gym
Here we have it, the final category of supplementation for getting your in-gym gains on: pre workout supplements. Now, you could say that we are a bit biased on the subject, since ‘ehem’, we have countless pre workout articles on this website.
In fact, we are towards the highest tier of pre workout gurus on the internet! But hey, with all that experience and savviness, we’re going to give you the hard facts with bro-science to a minimum.
Pre Workouts originate from modified coffee and energy drinks
Think about it. Back in the day, coffee was the go-to pre workout. Next, came energy drinks. And then, the ‘ah-ha’ moment took place and bodybuilders began adding things to their coffee and pre workouts to maximize energy and power in the gym.
It wasn’t too long after this that the supplement industry realized how much of a market was available. This is where scientists enter the scene and real jumps in performance took place.
Now, flash to the present – we have some real, effective, solid pre workout supplements on the market. Supplements that without a doubt put straight coffee and sugary energy drinks to shame!
What We Look for in a Pre Workout
The pre workout market is huge, yet we can divide the whole industry into three fields. On the left, we have pure stimulant based pre workout supplements, in the middle we have the full-spectrum highly effective pre workouts, and on the right we have the stimulant free pre workouts that kick some butt too.
High stimulant pre workouts are where it all started. Something about taking a huge dose of energy before lifting some weights creates a euphoric feeling that nothing else can match. Based on this, companies are more than happy to give you pure energy (especially because it’s cheap).
However, when you think about why you are lifting – to change your body composition and build a stronger mind… The center and right fields start to look highly attractive.
In the middle, we have the full-spectrum pre workout supplements. Most notably, you can view these supplements on our official top 10 best pre workout energy drinks. These pre workouts have energy like in our far left category, however, they also have performance enhancing ingredients like BCAA, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and more… All in real-world clinically tested proper dosages. Something those high stimulant pre workouts can’t match.
When taken, these full spectrum pre workouts are amazing. They deliver energy, focus, power, endurance, and most importantly – results. However, this is no discredit to stimulant free options…
The far right category hold the stimulant free pre workout options. These contain straight non-stimulant performance enhancers like those full-spectrum additions we mentioned. Many, many people opt for stimulant free pre workouts over their counterparts for these reasons: doesn’t interfere with sleep, allows more muscle pump, and doesn’t dehydrate you as quickly as caffeine supplements do.
Putting it all together on Pre Workout vs Coffee vs Energy Drinks
As a whole, each option offers some benefit. But, we strongly believe that pre workout supplements are the only option. In fact, science believes it too. So, we hope this article was entertaining and helpful to you. If you have any pre workout specific questions, use the search field in the top right, we have articles about EVERYTHING! Otherwise, comment below and we’ll get back to you someday.