Everyone wants a good pre workout, but some people just don’t want something that is loaded with stimulants for whatever reason. Whether it be because you train late and night, are stimulant sensitive, or are already using stimulants through fat burners, a stim-free pre workout is right down your alley.
The problem with choosing stim-free pre workouts is very much like choosing any other supplement. With so many varieties around, first time buyers can feel inundated with choices. Although the stim-free market isn’t as diverse as the regular pre workout market, it still provides a plethora of choice.
Before choosing a stim-free pre workout, it is important to know what exactly a stim-free pre workout does. Obviously, unlike regular pre workouts, they do not provide mental energy and focus through compounds that stimulate your central nervous system. Instead, they rely on improving workout quality by boosting strength, muscle stamina, recovery, nutrient delivery, and of course, muscle pump and nitric oxide.
Stim-Free Pre Workouts for Strength
The most common ingredient used in stim-free pre workouts (as well as other pre workouts) to increase strength is creatine. Creatine is the best proven supplement for improving strength and lean gains. The compound is available in various forms, but they are all designed to do the same thing. Creatine improves your muscle groups’ ability to regenerate its energy currency (ATP). When you saturate your muscles with creatine, you are able to crank out a few more reps.
Stim-Free Pre Workouts for Muscle Stamina
During intense exercise, your muscles produce a by-product known as lactate. It is a contributing factor to the burning sensation you feel, as well as muscle failure. Delaying the onset of muscle failure can therefore improve muscle stamina, once again, allowing you to squeeze out more reps. For this reason, stim-free pre workouts also contain beta-alanine. When ingested, beta-alanine gets converted to carnosine, which is able to buffer against lactate build up. Beta-alanine works well hand in hand with creatine and can really help improve workout performance.
Stim-Free Pre Workouts for Recovery
Faster recovery means faster returns to the gym. This in turn leads to increased muscle gains. There are a variety of ingredients used in pre workouts that can help improve recovery. The most common of which include specific amino acids. The branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are one of the most effective for helping with recovery. They stimulate protein synthesis, help reduce muscle breakdown and decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Glutamine is another amino acid that is also widely considered to help with recovery. Glutamine in muscle tissue is often depleted and can leave the trainer in an immuno-compromised state. Including this ingredient in the pre-workout may therefore also be helpful for recovery.
Finally, there are also countless ingredients that help reduce inflammation and/or muscle damage from free-radicals. They can be compounds like vitamin C, herbal, fruit extracts, or other antioxidants.
Stim-Free Pre Workouts for Nutrient Delivery
Providing nutrients to working muscles can help extend performance by providing your body with a rapidly burnt fuel source. Again, BCAAs can be included for this purpose. Other good additions include simple carbohydrates, such as dextrose, or hydrolysed protein. However, manufacturers often do not get too carried away with high quantities of these types of ingredients. This is because it would make the serving size ridiculously large. Consequently, if you wanted additional nutrients, it is best to use an intra workout supplement such as Scivation Xtend Endurance, Gen-Tec P2P, or Gaspari SizeOn.
Increasing blood flow can also assist with nutrient delivery, which is a function of nitric oxide boosters.
Stim-Free Pre Workouts for Pump & Nitric Oxide
A good solid pump is one of the Holy Grails of weight training for bodybuilders. Few things feel as good or rewarding. This is achieved through dilation and expansion of blood vessels through the action of nitric oxide. Traditionally, arginine has been the ingredient of choice for this purpose, and as such, arginine and its many derivatives and variations are often used in generous doses in pre workouts. However, with recent research, it has been found that citrulline is actually more effective. As such, this is another ingredient to keep an eye out for.
In addition to the two aforementioned amino acids, there is also a variety of other ingredients that can help you get a good pump. Certain whey protein fractions, agmatine, niacin, GPLC, nitrates, and a variety of herbal extracts can also help to give some massive pumps.
Best Stim-Free Pre Workouts
Taking the above factors into consideration, we have selected a few stim-free pre workouts that we feel are among the best in the category.
- Elemental Nutrition Pre Workout – A simply named stim-free pre workout that provides everything you need, at effective doses, and for a price that won’t break the bank.
- Ronnie Coleman Testogen XR – A unique two in one product that provides some great pumps but is also a potent testosterone booster.
- MuscleTech Push 10 – Supplement veterans MuscleTech’s first attempt at a purpose sim-free pre workout is sure to please. Although it has some arginine, it has a stronger focus towards increasing strength and stamina.