Looking for the best pre-workout for women?
It should be simple, right?
But between the endless options and mass marketing campaigns, it’s sometimes hard to find what you need—whether it’s a supplement, a yoga class, or the best coffee in wherever-you’re-visiting-next.
For pre-workouts (and all supplements) a good place to start is with quality, plant-based ingredients that you can actually pronounce.
Pre-workout supplements that leave you strung out or include sugary, synthetic fillers probably aren't going to boost you to your optimal performance, and may even have negative consequences on your health.
Finding the best pre-workout for women isn’t as easy as it should be, but we’re here to help, so you can crush your next gym sesh, SoulCycle class, beach run, etc.
Here are 5 things to look for when choosing your next pre-workout supplement.
1. Clean Energy Sources
Not all energy is created equal. Spikes and jitters are often the results of an adrenalin flood from too much sugar and caffeine in many popular pre-workouts.
To avoid this excessive spike, followed by the inevitable crash, try these instead:
The herb Yerba Mate contains the stimulating compounds theobromine and caffeine, known to increase energy levels as well as improve focus without the jittery side effects.
Caffeine has also been shown to improve muscle contractions, reduce fatigue and improve sports performance by up to 5%.
One study showed men and women given one 1-gram capsule of yerba mate right before moderate-intensity exercise burned 24% more fat than those who weren't given Yerba Mate.
Organic Green Coffee Beans
Most of us know coffee to be a great source of energy due to being high in caffeine. However, coffee beans in their unroasted form also contain chlorogenic acid, which has been studied for its ability to aid in weight loss.
2. Stress-Reducing Adaptogens
Adaptogens are in a category all on their own, having been used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. They have an incredible ability to adapt (hence the name) to help you find balance in your body.
So, How Do They Work?
When faced with stress, your body produces hormones to help you deal (cortisol being the most common).
Cortisol causes your body to increase its heart rate and adrenaline production, which can leave you hot and bothered (and not in a good way).
While normal amounts of stress are manageable, too much stress causes a breakdown in your body’s stress management processes. Too much cortisol production can also cause fatigue, irritation, muscle weakness, and other serious side effects. It’s really a lose-lose scenario.
Studies show that adaptogens help us deal with stress by boosting your body’s natural stress response, which benefits your entire body: nervous system, immune system, metabolic system, and hormonal balance.
With adaptogens, you become more resilient to physical, chemical, biological, and psychological stressors, but without any dulling or numbing side effects, because they also help you focus your attention and improve endurance. You’re still the same old you, just better.
Why We Love Them
Adaptogens come from plants! (And in case you didn’t know, we’re plant-based plant lovers.) They’re also naturally occurring and easy to ingest without any known side effects. Some of the most common ones are:
- Eleuthero Root
- Maca or Peruvian Ginseng
- Rhodiola or Russian Ginseng
- Siberian Ginseng
Whether you’re super stressed or dealing with fatigue (or both!), adaptogens can help. And we think that’s pretty neat #plantpower.
3. Naturally Occurring Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide occurs naturally in the body. It relaxes blood vessels to keep them flexible and dilated, boosts blood flow, and helps control blood pressure. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces plaque development.
An article in Berkeley Wellness shows that as we age our cells produce less nitric oxide, which contributes to hypertension, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, the consequences of diminished nitric oxide production further impair the production of new nitric oxide.
The good news is that nitrates can be found in plants, which the body turns into nitric oxide when ingested. (You might be familiar with the nitrates found in animal products. The ones found in processed meat convert into harmful nitrosamines when eaten, and are linked to an increased risk of cancer, so stick to the plant-based ones.)
Our Favorite Nitric Oxide-Boosting Plants
- Organic Beets: They're also high in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium
- Organic Leafy Greens: Salad greens, kale, and spinach are also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. Broccoli, bok choy, and mustard are also rich in many of the B-vitamins
- Organic Spirulina: Dried spirulina contains between 51% and 71% protein and is rich in B Vitamins, Iron and Manganese (for extra greens, try our organic alkaline greens powder)
4. Hydrating Electrolytes
The electrolytes we refer to in nutrition are minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate) that transport fluid throughout your body to keep you hydrated.
An article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a water deficit “decreases a person's maximal aerobic power and physical work capacity for progressive-intensity exercise.” It’s also associated with decreased blood volume, which can reduce the effectiveness of your veins to pump blood throughout your body.
Generally, thirst is a good indicator of your hydration needs, but the same article shows that when you’re hot and sweaty, thirst occurs when you’re already at a water deficit of about negative 2%.
This means that by the time you reach for your water bottle, your performance might already be impacted.
Reaching for a pre-workout with electrolytes (and making sure you drink water before and after you sweat) is the best way to keep making those gains.
5. No Added Sugar
If you see sugar, in any of its forms, on your pre-workout ingredient list, run the other way.
Sugar may taste good (let’s be honest, it tastes great), but it will definitely cause you to spike and crash, among other unwanted side effects.
Women need to be especially wary of sugar due to its impact on insulin and the subsequent effect insulin has on hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
The best pre-workout for women won’t have any added sugar in it. Our organic pre-workout supplement, Renewable Energy, contains monk fruit, which has been used for centuries in traditional eastern medicine for its high antioxidant properties and naturally occurring sweetness. It’s a great sugar-free alternative and no stevia aftertaste!