The glorious drug, caffeine, is frequently used in pre-workout and fat-burning supplements to increase energy and focus. It improves mental alertness, memory, exercise performance, and fat burning. So why are they so popular in these supplements?
Caffeine studies have shown enhanced peak torque and motor unit recruitment in lower and upper body muscle groups. The increase in energy allows individuals to produce more power (energy) to squeeze out extra reps. Muscle burns calories. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It works by stimulating the brain.
There are also plant sources of caffeine, including kola nuts, guarana, and yerba mate. You will often see these last two ingredients when looking at a thermogenic (fat burner). Caffeine can be useful and, typically, most people’s best friend, but it is a drug. It can cause shakiness, agitation, decreased coordination, high blood pressure, and increased heart rate in extremely high doses. It should be taken with care and always assess tolerance.
Nitric oxide is a compound that your body NATURALLY produces to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. It contributes to “the pump.” The pump is when your muscles swell, caused by excessive blood, as shown below, after my leg day routine.
Some common compounds used to make nitric oxide are included in pre-workout supplements. These include L-arginine, L-citrulline, and sources of dietary nitrates. L-citrulline is an amino acid found in meat, nuts, legumes, and watermelon. An example of how the pump powers growth is through oxygen.
Increasing the delivery of oxygen-rich red blood cells to your starving muscles accelerates the speed at which your system is able to cleanse itself of muscle toxins, such as ammonia. It also may decrease muscle soreness due to the oxygen-rich blood cells. Nitric oxide is also crucial for the fat-burning process, as it facilitates the breakdown of fats.
If nitric oxide levels are low, fat accumulation increases, leading to negative impacts on blood flow and heart health. Moreover, insufficient nitric oxide can result in a slow metabolism and hinder weight loss. So, that last part is critical for those reading, not necessarily interested in muscle building or fat burning.
Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to travel to every part of your body effectively and efficiently. It offers heart-boosting effects, including reducing arterial stiffness, reducing blood pressure, and improving carotid artery blood flow. Limited nitric oxide production is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and a particular “male dysfunction.”
Cody Rininger is certified by the National Academy of Medicine as a Professional Fitness Instructor. He is also certified in Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Heart Variance, Nutrition, Neuromuscular Flexibility, Supplements, and Mental/Behavior Performance. He incorporates techniques for concentration, focus, motivation, and coping with anxiety. He has been featured in National Fitness Magazines and has spoken on several national Podcasts.
Prior to personal training, Cody received his Master’s in Instruction. He has first-hand experience with differentiating personalized instruction, planning, and goal setting. Cody brings his 2B Imperium training methods, knowledge, and experience to give clients the best overall experience, whether they have been exercising for years or are beginning their fitness journey. He was named 2022 Siouxland Trainer of the Year and is nominated for the 2023 Award. Cody trains at the Four Seasons in Sioux City and North Sioux City.