T Nation

Pre-Workout Use


#1

Two weeks ago I started a new job. It’s awesome in every relevant way. However, the big difference is that I work more days per week than before albeit for shorter shifts. This means it generally works out best to train after work. Previously, I’d train on my days off right after breakfast - no matter how much sleep I’d had, I almost never felt the need for any pre-workout.

Now, I’ve noticed that while I’m physically fine after work I’m mentally nowhere near as fresh and focused as I’m used to being. I’m making mistakes like misloading the bar or not being focused enough to set up properly. If I use a pre-workout, I’m focused just fine.

My main concern is, which is a better option:

  • keep avoiding pre-trainer use to see if I adjust, which will mean a period of frustratingly sub-par sessions; or

  • use pre-workout and figure out the minimal effective dose.

I know this is a tough question as there is no one size fits all answer, but any help would be appreciated.


#2

@MarkKO can you grab a quick powernap before hand? Those help me a ton, that or a small dose of caffeine.

I love spike but at 5-6pm I don’t really need to load up on 150mg+ of caffeine :slight_smile:


#3

If you are uncertain about the use of stimulants, get a bottle of caffeine pills and try them. They are usually around 100mg per pill so you can experiment how your energy levels are with 100-500mg dosages.

If you want an actual PWO, you might want to find something that doesn’t have stimulants in it. It’s usually just caffeine and taurine which can be added separately to control dosages. Creashock from Chained Nutrition and Redweiler from Olimp Nutrition are some solid choices in the global market but if you happen to have the Lidl supermarket chain in your country, their PWO kicks some serious ass with it’s ingredients.


#4

Thanks guys!

@corstijeir a power nap isn’t really an option. I could go old school and just have a quick coffee, though. That isn’t a bad idea at all.

@Furius I’m not worried about using stims, more getting reliant on them.

I guess it boils down to what works best for me. I think I’ll try just a little caffeine or coffee most days and leave the PWO for when I’m really mentally off so I don’t build up a tolerance.


#5

I do find i drag a bit after work. Truly, if you could break away and workout at lunch I’ve found this is the best option. I don’t do it a ton bc i like to workout with my lady, but on days I lift solo is awesome.

When you have a time window like that i notice that intensity stays high, you’re at your mental peak, and you invariably do what’s most necessary.

When i do it, i dink a shake beforehand, and squeeze my lunch in at my desk after. I’ve got to don the monkey suit after but with proper timing it works.

This is of course, assuming you work relatively close to the gym.


#6

Unfortunately that isn’t really an option, the gym is about a 10 minute drive from work. I’ll run with coffee and judicious use of pre workout and see how I go.


#7

seems like it’s becoming more popular to use nootropics instead of stims for pre-workout. I don’t really know anything about it but it might be worth looking into.


#8

You could try starting the session with some CNS activation-type drills. @bacher wrote about some here, and Thib has something similar with his neural charge work. They could help to get your head right and shift your brain into _train_mode.

I also like using a lunge variation during my general warm-up for a kinda similar purpose. If my balance is off during my lunges, I’ve found it to be an indicator that I’m not 100% “present”, then I can take a second to compose myself and deliberately try to get more in tune with things.

And congrats on the new job. :wink:


#9

@Yogi1 I’m plain curious now, so I’ll definitely check them out.

@Chris_Colucci thanks! I hadn’t thought of that, but I’ll look into it.