Even for the most avid, consistent, and disciplined exercisers, staying motivated to hit the gym hard can be a major struggle. Always there’s a little voice in our head expressing our inner lazy thoughts.
Take the day off, you’ve earned it! You’re comfortable here on the couch, do you really want to get all sweaty and tired at the gym? Oh, look! Potato chips!
One of the best ways to shut that voice up is to take a stimulant, a heavy dose of feel-good energy that helps drown the voice out in a neurochemical explosion of “Yea, let’s do it!” enthusiasm. Except this is only a temporary solution to shutting the voice up and, in the long run, doesn’t actually improve your workout results. In fact, it may actually deteriorate your health.
Which is why so many exercisers are turning to stim-free pre-workout substances. Here we’ll cover the advantages of taking a stim-free pre-workout, as well as the Best Stim-Free Pre-Workout to buy in 2020.
The Stim-Free Pre-Workout Guide
Whether you’re a noob or veteran to the gym, taking a pre-workout supplement may help you take your game to the next level. Granted, you’ll still need to do all the work (i.e., exercising) for a pre-workout supplement to work. However, the fact remains that a pre-workout supplement that works may help you get the most out of all that hard work you’re investing in the gym.
Which brings us to the first question:
How Do They Work?
If the purpose of a pre-workout supplement is to improve your workout performance and results, what then makes for a great workout? For the bodybuilder and weightlifter, it’s lifting heavier weights for more reps without pulling or tearing any muscles. Athletes may strive for more esoteric measures of performance, such as swimming faster laps, running longer distances, or sparring more formidable opponents.
Whatever defines a good workout for you, a good pre-workout will help if it targets all of the bio-pathways universal to …well, working out. Here are a few of the primary bio-mechanisms of an effective pre-workout supplement—particularly an effective stim-free pre-workout supplement:
ATP Energy Enhancement
Stimulants stimulate. Energizers energize. Does that make sense? Yea, me neither.
But what I think I’m trying to say is that natural energy boosters enhance cellular ATP energy production without necessarily engaging the sympathetic “fight or flight” system, whereas stimulants synthetically throw the body into heart-racing, blood-pressure-rising “fight or flight” mode potentially at the cost of natural, cellular energy. Natural pre-workout supplements increase natural ATP energy levels, synthetic stimulants deplete them for a quick release of jittery, feel-good focus. Naturally, the natural pathway is better for long-term performance enhancement.
Nitric Oxide (N.O.) Boosts
Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the muscle pump is better than sex, the human race has been at severe risk of extinction. Men simply do not care about procreation anymore, as they’ve found greater satisfaction in boosting their nitric oxide (N.O.) levels in pursuit of the glorious muscle pump.
Essentially, nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels, allowing for greater blood flow throughout the body. This increase in circulation allows for an increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue, which in turn helps improve muscular strength and endurance. Poor circulation is awful for exercise. It also contributes to a slow, malnourished brain.
Although, funny enough, N.O. boosters that assist with circulation are also great for erectile strength and can be found in many sex enhancement supplements… so, maybe what Schwarzenegger actually meant was that the muscle pump is better than low-N.O. sex?
The reason athletes train at high altitudes is to increase their body’s oxygen capacity. Athletes who aren’t constantly huffing and puffing for air tend to have greater stamina than those who can’t take two steps without having to sit down and eat a Snickers. With that in mind, some pre-workout supplements may help with oxygen utilization, ensuring that exerciser’s muscles stay well-oxygenated.
This bio-mechanism pairs well with N.O. boosters which help with the delivery of oxygen (and nutrient fuel) throughout muscle.
Muscle Tissue Protection
Weight training is great for muscle health. But too much weight training is not-so-great for your muscles. For consistent exercisers who hit the gym hard, finding that sweet spot directly between training and overtraining can be difficult, as well as a literal pain in the ass when they occasionally veer into overtraining territory. This is because exercise is essentially a form of stress—a little stress helps keep the body in check, but too much can be deadly.
This perhaps best explains why supplements are virtually necessary to truly serious exercisers and athletes. We need various forms of muscle tissue protection, from antioxidants to anti-inflammatories to lactic acid buffers, to preserve our muscle integrity in the face of big-time muscle expansion.
Which Ingredients Should You Look for in a Non-Stim Pre-Workout?
Really, whether you’re looking at a stim or non-stim pre-workout stack, you should be looking for these same PWO ingredients. What works in a non-stim pre-workout works just the same as in a stim-laden stack, and, thus, the ingredients listed below shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as “stimulant alternatives.” In fact, these ingredients are altogether better than any standalone stimulant stack—i.e., those highly caffeinated “rage powders” that amateur meatheads mistakenly brag about taking.
To get the most out of your workout, without resorting to stimulants for a cheap energy boost, look for the following PWO ingredients:
Not all energy boosters are stimulants, as popularly demonstrated by creatine. Anyone who’s supplemented creatine knows that this isn’t a pre-workout ingredient that you necessarily feel the way you feel the acute effects of, say, caffeine. Yet, compared to stimulants like caffeine, creatine works much better as an energy booster, given that it is energy.
As an organic compound, creatine is naturally stored and used in muscle tissue for the production of ATP, the basic energy unit used for muscle contraction, maintenance, repair, etc. Under ongoing conditions of high-intensity training, the body burns through creatine, eventually hitting a wall that prevents you from getting your best workout. Supplementing creatine further saturates your muscle tissue with this ATP-synthesizing compound while also stimulating insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) for optimal muscle performance.
The amino acid L-arginine is a popular go-to for N.O. boosted muscle pumps. Or, at least, L-arginine used to be the popular N.O. go-to. Today, smart supplement manufacturers go for L-citrulline, an amino precursor to L-arginine that works like L-arginine except better.
Again, N.O. boosting helps increase circulation throughout the body, allowing for that awesome “muscle pump” feeling that comes with having a great workout. L-arginine is a well-known N.O. booster; however, the amino fails to fully pass through the digestive tract in bio-active form. Only some L-arginine gets through to boost some N.O. L-citrulline solves this problem by surviving digestion and absorption into the body, where the amino switches gears to N.O. boosting L-arginine. The result: better blood flow, baby.
The most abundant amino in the body, L-glutamine, is one we tend to take for granted. (Perhaps because it’s the most abundant amino in the body.) Playing a key role in protein metabolism, L-glutamine is essential to muscle metabolism. Muscular energy, growth, repair—these are the main bio-benefits of supplementing L-glutamine.
Taken in a pre-workout context, this amino helps:
- Clear protein-damaging lactic acid build-up from muscle tissue;
- Increase antioxidant glutathione activity to combat overtraining stressors;
- Replenish L-glutamine levels lost to high-intensity training.
Depleted L-glutamine reserves may lead to muscular atrophy. Supplementing this amino helps protect and rebuild the muscle you breakdown during exercise.
Cordyceps Sinensis Extract
Sort of a strange ingredient to take for exercise enhancement, Cordyceps Sinensis is a fungus that grows on insect larvae. (Yep.) Traditionally, Cordyceps is valued as a vitality tonic, due to the fungus’ noticeable boosts on energy and oxygen capacity. While the exact bio-mechanisms are unclear, Cordyceps is believed to work by:
- Stimulating and protecting mitochondrial ATP energy output;
- Improving oxygen utilization in muscle tissue.
Combined, these two actions promote exercise strength and endurance, warding off both physical and mental fatigue akin to some of our favorite anti-stress adaptogens. (E.g., Rhodiola!) It’s cool to see this fungus pick up some steam in the supplement market as it’s one of the best pre-workout ingredients available.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Another unique pre-workout ingredient picking up steam among health enthusiasts, maritime pine bark extract is typically spoken of in a nootropic context; however, the herbal extract seems to possess significant workout advantages as well. By supplying a rich complex of antioxidants, maritime pine bark helps protect against oxidative stress (free radicals) that accumulates in the face of overtraining. Plus, these antioxidants also seem to possess N.O. boosting properties, making maritime pine bark extract a great PWO pair option with an N.O. booster like L-citrulline.
Coleus Forskohlii Extract
Some use Coleus forskohlii to burn fat. Others to improve their sex game. Surprisingly, this Ayurvedic herb is very multi-functional, thanks to its supply of forskolin, a bio-active compound that improves various aspects of health and performance by increasing cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) activity.
For those committed to fasted training (exercising on an empty stomach), Coleus forskohlii extract is a smart addition to your PWO stack, namely for the herb’s catabolic effects of stored fat, which the exercising body may use as an energy source (rather than your muscle tissue). Not to mention that cAMP also seems to stimulate thermogenesis, muscle growth, and testosterone for additional bodybuilding benefits.
Why Take a Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout?
Usually, when we talk about stimulants in pre-workout supplements, we’re talking about caffeine. In modest doses, caffeine possesses significant health advantages, from increasing thermogenic fat loss to improving cognitive focus to, yes, improving exercise performance.
However, excess caffeine levels, those comparable to what you tend to get in a pre-workout supplement (~200mg caffeine), may throw you overboard and actually impair focus and performance. Taken daily, there may also be negative metabolic consequences, especially if the intensity of your workout doesn’t match the intensity of your stimulants.
There are other PWO stimulants, too—namely those -ine stimulants such as synephrine, ephedrine, oxilofrine, amphetamine, etc. that do pose exceptional health risks, especially to heart and cardiovascular health. While these stimulants vary in potency and legality, their stimulatory effects are sought after by shady supplement manufacturers who are, essentially, trying to get their customers low-key addicted to their stacks.
So, with that in mind, the advantages of taking a non-stim pre-workout are obvious. Compared to stim-laden stacks, stim-free PWOs are:
- Healthier: no risk of low-key addiction, cardio issues, insomnia, etc.
- Cleaner: professional athletes may safely take natural, stim-free stacks.
- More Effective: stim-free formulas boost performance, not dopamine cravings.
At the end of the day, you can always add a little bit of caffeine to your pre-workout stack. Enjoy coffee in the morning? Down a cup with your PWO before hitting the gym in the AM. Or don’t.
Either way, you’re still getting some killer exercise performance boosts.
Best 5 Supplement’s Criteria for the Best Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout 2020
Aside from having no stimulants, including the likes of caffeine and synephrine, what qualifies a stack as the best stimulant-free pre-workout supplement includes:
- Powerful Ingredients: is the quality and potency top notch?
- Adequate Dosages: are the ingredients sufficiently dosed?
- Acute Results: can you feel the effects during the workout?
- Safe: can you take the formula daily without cycling?
- Legal: are there any substances banned for competitive use?
- Proprietary Blends: are the dosages visible or hidden?
- Additives: are there any junky FD&C colors, fillers, lubricants, etc.?
- Affordable: does the price match the value?
Again, given that you can always add cheap stimulants (e.g., caffeine anhydrous pills) to your PWO stack, the best stimulant-free pre-workout to buy in 2020 may just be the best pre-workout, stim-free or not.
Best Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout 2020
*To Buy, Visit: www.performancelab.com
The best stimulant-free pre-workout to buy in 2020, one that’s both effective and safe to use, is Performance Lab SPORT Pre, an all-natural, muscle-priming, muscle-protecting PWO stack.
Particularly great for high-intensity training, Performance Lab SPORT Pre supplies both acute and long-term bursts on energy and endurance with its impressive mix of easy-to-absorb creatine and fast-acting N.O. boosters.
Here’s some of the main benefits of Performance Lab Pre:
- Increased N.O. for pumped-up muscles
- Elevated ATP energy levels for improved endurance
- Better oxygen utilization for aerobic exercise
- Fast-twitch muscle support for anaerobic exercise
- Reduced oxidative stress associated with intense exercise
As well as a unique addition of Himalayan Pink Salt for electrolyte replenishment, ensuring sustained hydration during and after exercise. In other words, the health benefits of this pre-workout extend well beyond the workout itself.
To Buy, Visit: www.performancelab.com
Performance Lab SPORT Pre Supplement Facts
No stimulants and no junk additives. Only natural PWO boosters targeting and enhancing natural bio-pathways. Here they are in greater detail:
Creatine (as Creapure®): an advanced form of creatine, Creapure® is fast-acting and easy on the gut, a great choice for increased cellular ATP energy.
Cordyceps Sinensis (as Cordyceps Super™): a standardized extract of the cordyceps’ bio-active constituents, this fungal extract is awesome for exercise endurance, strength, and vitality.
L-Citrulline: Performance Lab smartly selects L-citrulline as its N.O. booster, one that works exceptionally well with the N.O. boosting activity of maritime pine bark extract (see below).
L-Glutamine (from Ajinomoto®): from one of the oldest and best amino suppliers, this L-glutamine works particularly well at protecting and repairing broken down muscle tissue.
L-Carnosine: Combining beta-alanine with L-histidine, Performance Lab’s L-carnosine helps replenish carnosine levels lost to exercise, thereby improving muscle stamina and recovery.
Himalayan Pink Salt: never underestimate the importance of hydration to muscle and strength gains, especially after a grueling, sweaty workout. This salt provides the electrolytes necessary to sustaining adequate H2O levels.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract: also found in Performance Lab Mind, a nootropic brain booster stack, maritime pine bark extract supplies a rich antioxidant complex of proanthocyanidins, which help with circulation and resistance to muscle-damaging free radicals.
Other Ingredients: Plantcaps® Capsules
It isn’t enough to have an awesome list of ingredients. The “Other Ingredients” also need to work. Or, more accurately, they need to get the hell out of the way. And that’s what Performance Lab’s Plantcaps® do, more or less.
Constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan), these Plantcaps® capsules technically qualify as prebiotics, lending Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout modest gut health advantages… and that’s it. You’ll find no FD&C colorants, flavors, or any other BS additives in this formula. Only these vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, easy-to-digest capsules.
The Stim-Free Pre-Workout Fat Burner Stack
The best way to build muscle is also great for burning fat. In fact, anything that builds muscle also contributes to fat loss, given that more muscle mass means greater metabolic energy expenditure across the body, even while resting. But, again, the best (and healthiest) way to build muscle, that also improves fat loss, is fasted training, an exercise strategy that simply involves working out on an empty stomach.
While in a fasted state, the exercising body tends to prioritize stored fat as a source of energy. However, the downside to fasted training is that a really great, intense workout may counterproductively lead to the deterioration of muscle tissue, making muscle somewhat harder to gain and maintain for the fasted trainer.
Enter: Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner.
By protecting muscle tissue against the deleterious bio-effects of fasted training while also promoting thermogenesis (energy expenditure), this stim-free fat burner supplement is a smart stack option to pair with your PWO. Similar to Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout, all the ingredients here are natural, safe, and very potent. And they work without resorting to cheap stimulants and nasty, junky additives.
Let’s check them out:
Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner Ingredients
Coleus Forskohlii Extract (as Forslean®): supplying a standardized 10% minimum extract of forskolin, which improves anabolic muscle gains and catabolic fat breakdown during exercise.
HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate): a BCAA metabolite that protects muscle tissue against protein-damaging enzymes while encouraging the body to use stored fat, not muscle tissue, as a source of exercise energy fuel during fasted training.
Cayenne Pepper Extract (as Capsimax®): a popular, potent extract of cayenne pepper, supplying active ingredients called capsaicinoids that help maximize the body’s calorie-burning potential during exercise while suppressing food cravings.
Black Pepper Extract (as BioPerine®): in tiny doses, this black pepper extract significantly sparks thermogenesis and improves nutrient absorption in the gut, thereby improving the overall bio-availability of this fat burning stack.
*To learn more about Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner, click here.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to cycle creatine?
If you’re taking upwards of 5,000mg creatine daily, as some supplements mistakenly advise, you’ll need to cycle off of creatine every now and then. Fortunately, Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout uses a modest, yet effective amount of creatine that you may supplement daily for a long time without any fears of side effects. Plus, the ingredient’s advanced Creapure® form ensures quicker absorption of the full dosage per serving, allowing for cleaner, quicker uptake without the usual upset stomach associated with excess creatine intake.
Will these PWO ingredients affect my intermittent fasting results?
Some pre-workout supplements might, but Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout is safe to use during the fasted stage of an intermittent fasting schedule. Granted, you’ll want to break the fast after working out for a quicker recovery time, but, until then, your fast is safe with Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout.
Where can I buy Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout?
You can buy Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout, like all Performance Lab supplements, at the Performance Lab website: performancelab.com.
While there are no Amazon or GNC or any other third-party retailer listings, Performance Lab does offer a price discount, if you buy in bulk. Here’s how pricing works:
- One Bottle: $35.00 for 120 capsules
- Two Bottles: $66.50 for 240 capsules (5% saving)
- Three Bottles: $94.50 for 360 capsules (10% saving)
In other words, you get 5% per each additional bottle (up to three bottles per order).
It’s surprising how many exercisers supposedly concerned with their health are willing to take unhealthy supplements to improve their exercise performance. Of course, much of exercise is vanity, and there are sacrifices we make to look good. But your health shouldn’t be and doesn’t need to be one of those sacrifices.
Healthy is sexy, baby. And a healthy, stimulant-free pre-workout supplement, such as Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout, may go a long way in improving your health, your exercise performance, and, yes, your sex appeal. And don’t fool yourself: your sex appeal has miles and miles of room for improvement. I just know it.
To learn more about Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout, click here.