I have seen good results from SWF. 2-3 scoops in a big shaker bottle. Drink about a scoop’s worth before the workout and then sip throughout. It makes a real difference for me in terms of the volume I can handle and my performance towards the end of the workout.
I also use a stimulant, usually a Spike Shooter, before almost every session. Some people will tell you this is bad, and that you shouldn’t rely on stimulants to get geeked for a workout. Maybe. But I like it and it gives me better workouts, so I don’t care…I tolerate caffeine well and don’t usually have much trouble with sleep.
If you want to grow fast, I’d load as many carbs and as much quick protein into the pre/peri workout period as possible. Get some casein hydrolysate and add it to the shake. If money is very tight, something like glucose/malto (50/50) and whey isolate will work too, although it may slosh around some in your stomach, not the best if you are squatting or pulling.
So in sum, what I do is about 30 mins out, I drink a Spike Shooter, then about 10-15 out, I start sipping a SWF drink. About 1/2 is done by the first work set, and I sip the rest throughout the session.