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Natural, homemade pre-workouts: our best recipes

There’s nothing like a ‘pre-workout’ drink to set you up for exercise. Discover how to prepare a homemade pre-workout that will help you get the most out of your training session.
Bodybuilder drinking a homemade pre-workout
Discover how to make your own pre-workout.
Rédaction Supersmart.
2023-08-22Comments (0)

What is a pre-workout why is it important?

A pre-workout is a drink, usually consumed before a weight-training session or other intensive sports activity, which is designed to improve performance, increase energy and concentration, and reduce muscle fatigue.

Although there are ready-made preparations on the market, more and more people are now creating their own homemade pre-workouts.

Basic ingredients of a pre-workout

A pre-workout will usually include the following ingredients:

  1. stimulants: with the addition of either caffeine, theine or guarana, for increasing energy, alertness and mental focus (1);
  2. carbohydrates: great for providing energy to the brain and muscles;
  3. amino acids and protein: including, amino acid-wise, beta-alanine, citrulline or arginine, for improving muscle resistance, recovery and vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) (2). Protein-wise (if the aim is, for example, to increase muscle mass), it will usually include complete whey protein extracted from the cheesemaking by-product. And finally, creatine, an amino acid derivative which increases physical performance;
  4. vitamins and minerals: in particular, the energising B vitamins (like B6 and B12), and minerals such as magnesium and zinc, both of which are good for energy metabolism and muscle function (3);
  5. herb and plant extracts: ginseng, ginger, du ginkgo biloba or cordyceps, for example, some of which are recognised for their stimulant and adaptogen effects.

Whey-free homemade pre-workouts

Vegans will obviously need to exclude whey, which comes from cow’s milk, from their pre-workouts, but pea and rice protein are both excellent alternatives.

How to blend the different ingredients

To create your pre-workout, you’ll need to mix the various recipe ingredients in a blender, to produce a single, consumable drink. Blend till you have a drink with a smooth consistency, but don’t use a juice extractor as you want to make sure you preserve any fibre.

The best classic recipes for a homemade pre-workout

A 100 % natural, vitamin-rich pre-workout

For a guaranteed vitamin and energy boost, blend 1 peeled beetroot, 2 carrots, 2 cored apples, 2cm-3cm of peeled ginger root and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (3).

Pre-workout coffee recipe to stimulate and deliver increased stamina

Blend 100mg-200mg of caffeine, 5g of arginine, 5g of creatine and 2g of beta-alanine. Perfect for fully energising your body and helping you go the distance during a long training session!

Homemade pre-workout for increasing muscle mass

Blend 20g-25g of whey (about one dose), 5g of creatine, and half a cup each of blueberries and Greek yogurt – an ideal combination for helping you gain muscle.

A healthy banana-based mix

Blend one banana(high in carbs and thus energy), a few stoned dates, a small glass of skimmed milk and half a teaspoon of honey (for taste!). Pour into a bottle and chill until the froth settles, then garnish with a few almond slivers before consuming.

Recipe for a super-effective pre-workout high in amino acids

Blend 200mg of caffeine, 5g of creatine monohydrate, 2 grams of tyrosine and 8 grams of citrulline malate, with a flavoured water. A classic pre-workout, highly effective for getting fit and accomplishing your exercise objectives.

How to include dietary supplements

If you want to add supplements to your pre-training drink (the above-mentioned citrulline, creatine, ginseng, etc.), make sure you choose good quality products.

Some supplements can be taken in the form of powder, while others come as capsules (which in principle can be taken with your drink rather than blended into it). In the case of certain plants, you can also directly infuse or steep the plant.

If you’re in any doubt about your choice of supplements, or your personal situation, be sure to seek advice from a health professional.

The importance of nutrition when engaging in sport

A homemade pre-workout is an important element of your training programme but it should not replace a varied, balanced diet. A diet with a good intake of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats is essential for supporting physical performance and recovery. The time you eat can also play a role in maximising your performance.

Making a good pre-workout: final points

It should be remembered that even though these recipes are natural, they contain stimulants and may therefore cause side-effects such as nervous tension, heart palpitations or sleep problems. What’s more, some people may be allergic to or intolerant of certain ingredients. If in doubt, always consult a health professional.

To conclude, making your own homemade pre-workout allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and adapt the recipe to your particular needs. At the same time, remember that these preparations do not replace a varied, balanced diet.

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References

  1. Goldstein ER, Ziegenfuss T, Kalman D, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7(1):5. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-5.
  2. Kaczka P, Batra A, Kubicka K, Maciejczyk M, Rzeszutko-Bełzowska A, Pezdan-Śliż I, Michałowska-Sawczyn M, Przydział M, Płonka A, Cięszczyk P, Humińska-Lisowska K, Zając T. Effects of Pre-Workout Multi-Ingredient Supplement on Anaerobic Performance: Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 9;17(21):8262. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17218262. PMID: 33182295; PMCID: PMC7664913.
  3. Martinez N, Campbell B, Franek M, Buchanan L, Colquhoun R. The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jul 16;13:29. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7. PMID: 27429596; PMCID: PMC4947244.
  4. Domínguez R, Maté-Muñoz JL, Cuenca E, García-Fernández P, Mata-Ordoñez F, Lozano-Estevan MC, Veiga-Herreros P, da Silva SF, Garnacho-Castaño MV. Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Jan 5;15:2. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0204-9. PMID: 29311764; PMCID: PMC5756374.
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