"Pre-Workout Recommendations by Mike Kesthley"(3.10.2015)

PreWO Recommedations
If you walk into any supplement or health-food store, you are bound to find hundreds of choices in the “Pre-Workout” section.  If you pick up a can or container and read the label, the number of ingredients can be staggering, and nearly indecipherable.  Do they work?  Are the necessary?  Will they improve, or decrease, my performance?  All of those are legit questions that should be asked prior to taking ANYTHING that will affect training.
For mixed-modal training, my recommendations are fairly straightforward, and only composed of a few items—mainly, BCAAs
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are composed of 3 of the 22 amino acids; these are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  While it’s well known that amino acids are the “building blocks” of protein, and are needed for muscle tissue recovery, BCAAs play other roles.  What makes BCAAs more interesting from the other amino acids is that they are metabolized within muscle tissue and can be utilized for energy (oxidized)—which can result in glycogen being spared.  Another role they play is within the CNS, by affecting neurotransmitters, and altering our perception of fatigue.
How to Take:  BCAAs come either in a capsuled or powdered form, and usually in a ratio of 2:1:1, 4:1:1, or up to 10:1:1 leucine to isoleucine and valine.  I favor the powdered form, as it’s easier to ingest a higher dose.  The downside is they are NOT palatable on their own, and have to be mixed with flavoring and sweeteners.  Top brands include Nutriforce Natural Amino (clean formula) Scivation Xtend (popular, extra “goodies”, not clean) or PES Amino IV (10:1:1 w/ taurine, but has sucralose).  I get asked a lot about brand recommendations…I’m not loyal to any one brand, I just look for solid + simple formulations.
An option is to choose capsule forms of BCAAs, but be prepared to choke down a handful of pills preWO.  Bonus is you get BCAAs, and nothing else.
Dose:  7-15g 30-45min PreWO.  Option to consume during lower-intensity training sessions.

Thoughts on commercial, premade (“Kitchen Sink”) PreWorkout formulas

Many folks have reactions to commercial preWO formulas.  I like to call them “kitchen sink” supplements…because they generally have everything and the kitchen sink in there!  It can be hard to pin down what folks will have reactions with, but here’s my thoughts on just some of the ingredients that may show up; keep in mind this is just a fraction of what can be represented in a preWO formula:
  • Beta Alanine:  This is a great supplement, but some folks have GI reactions to it if taken on an empty stomach…it can cause nausea and profuse sweating.  Why?  I’m not sure, its not supposed to.  One of the side effects of beta alanine is “parathesia”, or pins n’ needles.  This is the BA combining w/ histidine, and usually presents itself on a dermal level (cheeks, fingers).  Totally benign.  My thoughts here are some folks are more sensitive at the GI level, and this parathesia presents as nausea.  Personally, this is also me—I absolutely CANNOT take beta alanine before a workout, but am fine w/ 3-5g PWO.  Why do we find it preWO?  People FEEL it, therefore, they THINK its working.  Savvy manufacturing trick.
  • Arginine:  This works on the nitric oxide cycle, and one side effect is vasodilation.  If you have sensitive blood pressure, this can cause a relative hypovolemia, which results in light-headedness, sweating, and nausea.  Arginine effects can be potentiated (stronger effect) with other precursors like beetroot or agmatine.
  • Caffeine:  If you are not used to caffeine, the above symptoms can happen.  Hard to say the total amount—this is the issue w/ these types of supplements; we really don’t know EXACT doses of specific compounds.  Caffeine for most is fine preWO, but some people are sensitive to even a little
  • Huperzine-A:  this is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor—that is, keeps the essential neurotransmitter acteycholine floatin’ around longer.  Generally, a good thing, and helps w/ mental focus.  That said, can cause cholingeric side effects like nausea, sweating, and vomiting.  Think nicotine overdose—same symptoms.  Many preWO supplements now will have nootropic items like huperzine-A, or racetams like piracetam.
What to do:
  • My generally recommendations across the board are, for preWO, 7-15g BCAAs.  These are ergogenic (performance enhancing), help w/ recovery early, AND have zero side effects other than making you more awesome.
  • This can be stacked w/ creatine, but doesn’t have to be, it is better absorbed PWO.  Items like creatine and beta alanine ARE effective—they work under saturation, NOT acute dosing, so an athlete is better served taking them POST workout.
  • A little caffeine is ok, just depends on personal tolerance.
Endnote 1:  If you are depending on preWO to “get you through” a training session, you need to look a WHY that is.  Sleep?  Diet? Training volume?  Are these all in order?
Endnote 2:  It is ALWAYS better to err on the side of less vs more when it comes to preWO—take more time to warmup, get mentally ready, and have an effective and intense training session.  The flip side?  Too much PreWO and you feel sick, cannot push, have a pounding headache, and a non-productive training session.

I. Dynamic and Mobility Prep Warm-Up:
Lifestyle + Fitness Phase Prep
3 Minutes of the Zone 1 Work
3-5 Minutes of the following:
Coach Option
3 Sets of the following Run By Coach Warm-Up:
20 Second Row
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Second Front Lean Rest
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Second Airdyne
Rest 10 Seconds
II. Phases Strength and Conditioning:
A. Lifestyle Phase
Maximum Aerobic Power Sessions + Core/Core
4 Sets of the following:
40 Jump Rope Singles
20 Goblet Squats
10 Box Jumps
Rest 3 Minutes
3 Sets of the following:
1 Minute Airdyne
1 Minute Plank Holds
1 Minute Airdyne
1 Minute Plank Holds
Rest 1 Minute between sets
B. Fitness Phase
Maximum Aerobic Power Sessions + Core Stability
A. 5 Sets of the following @ Moderate Effort @ 80%:
5 Deadlifts @ 135/95 lbs, 95/65 lbs
15 Box Jumps
5 Front Squats @ 135/95 lbs, 95/65 lbs
15 Cal Row
Rest 1 Minute between sets
B. Accumulate 3-5 Minutes of Hollow Holds for End Portion
C. Competition Phase
Jerk Intense + Gymastics Component + Intense High
A. Split Jerk off Blocks, 80%, 1 rep x 2 sets, 85%, 1 rep x 1 set, 90% x 1 rep x 1 set, rest as needed between sets
B. Strict Handstand Push-Ups, 8-10 reps x 4 sets, and/or Clusters of x 4 sets, rest as needed between sets.
C. 30-20-10 of the following:
Cal Assault Bike
Wall Balls
Rest 8-10 Minutes
12-9-6 of the following:
Push Press @ 165/110 lbs
Box Jumps @ 30/24 inches
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