Everything You Need to Know About Pre-Workout Supplements

You may have heard about pre-workout supplements from friends, social media, physical trainers, or ads. If you’re wondering what’s the deal with these products, we’ve got you covered. Read on for answers to common questions about pre-workout supplements.

What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?

We all know fuelling up before a workout is important. Without it, you might lack the energy you need to perform your best and you may tire out faster than normal. Pre-workout supplements (sometimes referred to as simply “pre-workouts”) are designed to fight this, with a blend of minerals and compounds that work to provide energy and increase performance.

You might find pre-workouts in a chew or pill form, but most often, pre-workout supplements are sold as a powder that you dissolve in water. Generally, you should take pre-workout powders about 30 minutes to an hour before exercising. For longer sessions, you can wait until an hour into the activity. 

Some of the main benefits associated with pre-workout supplements include:

  • Improved performance 
  • Sustained energy
  • Increased concentration and focus
  • Reduced muscle soreness and faster recovery 

How Do Pre-Workout Supplements Work? 

As with anything you put into your body, it’s important to know what’s inside your pre-workout supplement. Some common ingredients found inside pre-workout mixes include: 


Nitric oxide (NO2) boosters include amino acids like citrulline and arginine, and sources of nitrates like beetroot juice. Research suggests that these compounds support nitric oxide production to improve blood flow, which means they support recovery from exercise. However, studies note that arginine breaks down in the bloodstream too early to be effective. 


We all know caffeine as a stimulant that occurs naturally in coffee, tea and cocoa. A 2020 literature review of multiple previous studies on caffeine found that supplementing may enhance muscle strength and endurance, aerobic endurance, speed, and jumping performance.

ATP – ATP stands for Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate

Every cell in your body produces ATP, which acts as a signaling molecule for nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. It’s key to helping your body store and use energy. But the more your muscles work, the more ATP gets consumed and must be replaced.

Creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring amino compound found in fish, meat, and animal products and has been widely studied for its ability to increase muscle strength. Creatine also increases energy by supporting production of ATP during high-intensity exercise.

Do You Need Pre-Workout Supplements Before Every Workout? 

If you’re wondering whether you should take pre-workout supplements before every single workout, the simple answer is, probably not. Remember that the foundation for your body’s performance is a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. 

But pre-workout powders, chews or pills can be great for when you’re gearing up for an ultra-challenging workout. They can also give you a boost for long rides in the backcountry  or on those days where you’re really dragging.

What to Consider Before Taking Pre-Workout Supplements

Some pre-workout powders contain extremely high levels of caffeine (research puts the maximum daily intake at about 400mg). Anything more than that and you may experience negative side effects like anxiety, jitters, or insomnia. 

You should also consult a healthcare professional before taking pre-workouts if you’re pregnant, lactating, trying to conceive, taking medication, under the age of eighteen, or you have a medical condition.

Activate Your Peak Performance and Endurance with ACTIVATE Pre-Workout Supplement 

CamelBak’s ACTIVATE pre-workout supplement is designed to give you energy when and where you need it—on the road, on the trail, or in the gym. This special blend helps you maintain strength and endurance for longer.

Here’s what’s inside: 

  • 6g citrulline for blood flow and recovery*
  • 150mg caffeine to increase alertness and remove fatigue, without the jitters
  • 450mg PeakATP® for energy, endurance and reduced lactic acid production
  • 2g creatine to support recovery and reduce muscle soreness
  • 500mg beetroot concentrate to provide nitrates, a key component in creating energy

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Here’s what’s NOT inside: 

  • Arginine – ACTIVATE uses citrulline instead of arginine because citrulline is more effective at delivering arginine to the blood and muscle than arginine supplements. 
  • Beta-alanine – Although some studies suggest that regular beta-alanine intake may allow athletes to work out longer, that information is not confirmed. Additionally, beta-alanine has caused skin tingling for some—an undesirable side effect that we want to avoid.
  • Unnecessary stimulants – ACTIVATE contains no unnecessary stimulants like taurine or extreme levels of caffeine.

Simply mix one scoop into 8-10 ounces of water and enjoy thirty minutes before your workout, run, hike, or ride. Add juice to improve creatine results. Athletes love our Raspberry Blast flavoured pre-workout powder mix—try it now!

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