More and more bodybuilders are taking pre-workout supplements, in order to maximize their performance and prepare their bodies for the grueling training regime necessary to gain a competition-class physique. Bodybuilding supplements companies have reported a significant increase in the number of people ordering pre-workout supplements, whether online or in high street stores, and associations such as the Australian Institute of Sport also cite a "trend" towards the various powdered formulas and pills on the market. Here are three of the most popular active ingredients found in pre-workout supplements – some well-known, the third a little more exotic:
1. L-arginine. Another amino acid, L-arginine is obtained naturally through a diet rich in red meat, poultry, dairy and fish, and can also be synthesised in the laboratory. The amino acid is needed for the production of proteins and is not only popular among bodybuilders and athletes, due to the boost that it gives their performance, it is also used to treat many medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, chest pains, congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease and other disorders of the heart and circulatory system. It has also been proven to be beneficial in cases of erectile dysfunction and infertility. There are many bodybuilding supplements containing L-arginine, whether they use it alone, or in combination with other boosters.
2. Creatine. This is so widely used among the bodybuilding community worldwide, that it scarcely needs anything more to be said. Available in pills or powder form, creatine is also naturally present in the body – mainly in the muscles around the skeleton – it's just that bodybuilders require rather more of it than the average person! Since creatine is essential for “building” the protein in the body, it makes sense that taking it as a pre-workout supplement helps with muscle-building. Another dose after the workout as well helps to ensure its efficacy.
3. Deer antler. Whereas most bodybuilders know all about creatine, they are only recently being let into a secret known by practitioners of Chinese medicine for thousands of years – and so far, the responses from the bodybuilding world have been very positive. Deer antler has been used since time immemorial for giving the immune system a boost, as an anti-inflammatory and for encouraging the growth of muscle mass. Now found all over the place in the pre-workout supplements market, its active muscle-building ingredient is found in the “pre-calcified” part of the deer antler, where the growth hormone supplement IGF-1 is present. This is a natural alternative to steroids.
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