Of all the supplements people spend their hard earned money on pre-workouts are one of the most expensive with 30-day serving jars of quality stuff running anywhere from around $17 to $35.
Add to that some amino-based pre-workouts that are taken a couple times a day like O.N’s Amino Energy or the fact that you’re bulking and doing two-a-days means you’re easily depleting a tub a month.
How to Boost the ROI on Expensive Preworkouts
So, in the spirit of saving a bit of cash and just being an old-school frugal f*ck, here are 3 ways to seriously increase the longevity, punch, and the overall effectiveness of your pre-workout powder.
*Skinny Yoked experimented with with O.N. Amino Energy, Musclepharm Assault and Betancourt B-Nox. “Tests” were carried out over a period of 4 months under various workout conditions, primarily featuring a chest/bicep, back/tricep, leg, shoulders/supplemental split.
1. Take a Sports Multivitamin as a PRE-pre-workout o.n opti-men pill
Why? Hour long intense workouts are extremely taxing on the body, or at least if the weight being lifted is heavy and the rest periods are short. This means your body will be utilizing all of it’s energy sources to successfully complete the tasks the brain is commanding it to do.
Ensure your body has all the tools it needs for a long strenuous workout by taking a multivitamin 30-45 minutes or so before your workout. Things to look for in a good bodybuilding vitamin include:
Rich in B1, B2 and B3 (Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin) – a.k.a the sh*t that turns your pee highlight yellow
Vitamin C – Because the gym is a filthy place and bodybuilding is momentarily extremely taxing on the immune system. Double down on Vitamin C to stay in the gym more and sick in bed less.
Essential Minerals – Zinc, Magnesium (ZMA), Calcium for bones etc
Most multivitamin brands recommend taking 2 capsules per day anyways, so one in the morning to start your day and one an hour before your workout is the perfect 1-2 punch.
Multivitamins like Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men have a profile list as long as Kate Moses legs, and are reasonably priced, so they’re a great option.
Effect: Our energy levels with both vitamin supplementation & pre-workout use were noticably higher than with just one or the other alone. We always got a little B-vitamin kick from our multis, and same with our powders, so together they make a pretty solid one-two punch.
Additionally, the pre-workout hulk-mode beast feeling that usually wears off in a half our or so lasted longer, resulting in very satisfyingly grueling workouts.
2. Occasionally Cycle Off Pre-Workouts
This one can be difficult, especially if you’re already snorting or inject pre-workout directly into your veins, but the best way to increase the impact a pre-workout is to simply stop taking it for a week.
You don’t have to do this often, but we prefer taking a break from pre-workouts for a solid week every other month to “reboot” our sensitivity to the stimulants. Same thing happens when you stop drinking coffee or booze for a week then try it out again.. it’s like discovering it for the very first time all over.
This doesn’t mean by any measure you’ll make less gains. Be creative and take advantage of a unique week in your workout schedule. Take the time to try some therapeutic exercises like swimming or focus on some cardio-building HIT workouts. Hell, take a vacation and let your body completely recover so you can hit it twice as hard the next week!
The idea in taking a break is to breakdown the resistance you naturally build to the stimulating effects of your pre-workout, specifically the caffeine.
Taking a break to reload, stretch, limber up, and re-cooperate will allow you to come back and attack the weight with a whole new level of intensity.
3. Mix Chia Seeds With Your Pre-Workout
This is probably our favorite “hack” of all. Everyone should know by now that chia seeds are pretty awesome little super-seeds.
Just on their own these little bastards pack a huge nutritional punch.
Just 1 ounce of chia seeds contains:
11 Grams of Fiber
4.4 Grams of Protein
5+ Grams of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
15% RDA of Calcium
30% RDA of Manganese
30% RDA of Magnesium
27% RDA of Phosphorus
As well as small amounts of naturally occurring Zinc, Niacin, Potassium, Thiamine and Riboflavin
All this in a little package that contains only 137 calories in total. Add to that the anti-oxidants and fiber contained in chia and you have yourself a legit superfood.
Don’t brush off the importance of fiber. Building muscle requires a ton of water and if you have diarrhea you’re going to have problems staying fully hydrated. Including chia seeds in your pre-workout (or even mixing them in your protein shake) will help keep your bowel movements regular and solid.
But the biggest hack in including chia seeds in your pre-workout is:
The “Aztec Effect” of this “Mayan Miracle Food”
Chia seeds have a pretty cool property; they absorb water like a mother f*cker. This property is called being hydrophilic. Essentially, they’re like tiny little natural sponges. This means they can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water, which is what causes that gelatinous coating to form around the seeds after they’ve been soaked in liquid.
Mayans and Aztec runners would drink chia seeds before taking out on long distance runs since 3500 B.C. “Chia” is actually a Mayan word than translates to “strength”. Isn’t it only logical we mix these badboys into our pre-workouts then?
chest day mayan
By mixing in chia seeds WITH pre-workout we are creating little “delayed release” globs of pre-workout. When you consume your drink with both chia and pre-workout the nutrients dissolved in the water will be absorbed first (like usual) and the nutrients bound in the “chia-gel” will digest and absorb at a slower rate; thus prolonging the impact of your pre-workout.
Keys to mixing the perfect chia pre-workout:
1. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chia seed to a full glass of water
2. Add your regular pre-workout scoop immediately after
3. Mix both the chia and pre-workout together, stirring intermittently over 3-4 minutes. (It takes a while for the chia to absorb the pre-workout and expand. Stir regularly (every minute or so) to make sure they don’t clump together at the bottom)
4. Down the hatch! Don’t worry about chewing them, they’ll be broken down over the course of your workout, releasing pre-workout energy/vascularity all throughout your workout.
Complete Hack Summary:
If you just scrolled through all the above text because you’re A. lazy as f*ck or B. just can’t wait to get to the gym and get on with your workout, here’s a short recap of how to hack your pre-workout and get the biggest bang for your buck:
1. Cycle off pre-workouts for a week every other month or to shock your tolerance
2. Take a multivitamin 20-30 minutes BEFORE taking your pre-workout to top up on vitamins and minerals needed for intensive training.
3. Mix chia seeds into your pre-workout to add additional nutrients and fiber and to prolong the digestion and thus bodies utilization of the active ingredients in your pre-workout.
If you liked this pre-workout hack, check out our special pre-workout breakfast recipe too!
Now enough reading. Get yourself some chia seeds, some vitamins, your shaker, a couple scoops of pre-workout and go kill it at the gym!