Homemade Pre Workout: How to Make It?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 26/04/2021
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Feeling unhappy with your pre-workout supplements. The product you ordered online does not work as advertised. You feel betrayed by a commercial that later turned out to be a complete sham!

Then, welcome. It’s time to take things into your own hands (literally).

In this article, we will provide you with some recipes that you could use to make your own, personal, homemade, 100% natural pre-workout supplement.  

We will start by listing the most common ingredients that you will require to create your own homemade pre-workout supplement.

What Ingredients Make a Good Pre Workout?

1. Caffeine

Caffeine, most commonly found in coffee or tea, is a natural molecule. What are the benefits of caffeine, you might ask? 

Caffeine increases your alertness and energy levels. Inhibiting adenosine receptors in your brain, caffeine,  can decrease the feelings of discomfort and pain related to your exercise [1].

Aside from that, caffeine can also help you with the amount of fat your body burns (increases it between 10-30%). It does so by boosting your metabolic rate [2]. 

Caffeine is responsible for increasing the levels of epinephrine (adrenaline) in your body. Epinephrine or adrenaline is a so called “fight or flight” hormone, that can significantly increase your physical strength during a workout.

It is also considered to be one of the best natural sources of antioxidants. Not only does caffeine make for a great ingredient in your homemade pre-workout, but it also has a lot of health benefits. 

Some studies have shown that consumption of caffeine can decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease [3].

Using caffeine as an ingredient in your homemade pre-workout drink could be a great idea. 

2. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid is often used as an ingredient in pre-workouts and can be beneficial if added to your homemade pre-workout mix. The main food sources for beta-alanine are meats, fish and poultry. 

In reaction with histidine, beta-alanine produces a dipeptide molecule called carnosine [4]. Carnosine is then responsible for reducing the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles during exercise.

That can lead to an increase in performance. 

Beta-alanine reduces muscle fatigue, allowing you to extend your stay at the gym. It improves your stamina and endurance and was shown to be extremely beneficial in short-duration exercises that last between 1-3 minutes.

It is very popular with endurance and strength athletes alike because it increases your lean muscle mass while giving you a lot of other benefits. Definitely a great ingredient for your natural pre-workout homemade drink.

3. Citrulline Malate

Excuse me for intruding shopkeeper, but where can I find citrulline malate? In that watermelon, you say? 

That’s right, watermelons are the most commonplace to find this ingredient. 

So if you don’t plan on eating them every day (insert racist comment here), you should probably consider adding citrulline to the list of ingredients you’d want to put into your homemade pre-workout.

Studies have shown that this commonly used pre-workout ingredient could help to increase performance in high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest times. It can also help with relieving muscle soreness post-workout [5]. 

Using it as an ingredient in your homemade pre-workout helps to increase the levels of L-arginine in your body (like seriously? Yeah, seriously.). And what is L-arginine? 

4. L-arginine 

L-arginine regulates the levels of nitric oxide in your blood which is responsible for an increase in blood flow in your muscles. Increased blood flow, means that more oxygen is delivered into your muscle giving you more stamina and endurance. 

The only reason why l-arginine might be excluded from your homemade pre-workout is that it has poor absorption rate when taken orally [6]. 

If you decide to add it to your homemade pre-workout mix you might want to consider other means of consuming it, rather than just taking it orally (yes, this is a putting things up your butt joke).

5. Creatine

Found in muscle cells, creatine is a natural molecule and one of the most common ingredients of pre-workouts. When used, creatine can improve your muscle growth and strength gains.

Creatine increases the levels of adenosine triphosphate (or ATP) in muscle tissue, giving you more energy and improving your performance at the gym. 

If you are prone to having long workout sessions, creatine can help you with muscle recovery while giving you an increase in muscle mass. 

A lot of research has been done on creatine, all of it coming to a conclusion that it’s completely safe to use [7].

Creatine is shown to stimulate the protein synthesis of two major proteins (actin and myosin heavy chain).

If you choose to make your homemade pre-workout with creatine, you will probably not be making the wrong decision. Unless you like making the wrong decisions. Then you should use whatever you’d like. 

6.BCAAs

What would you say if I told you that there are 20 amino acids in your body, all of them acting as building blocks of proteins (they are involved in protein synthesis)? Probably nothing. 

What about this – there are only 9 essential amino acids? Still nothing? Tough crowd. Ok, listen to this hotshot:

BCAA a.k.a. Branched-Chain Amino Acids a.k.a. leucine, isoleucine and valine a.k.a. the toughest of the essential acids are the things that make your muscles go “we will, we will rock you”!

You heard it right! You want your muscle to grow big? Done. Need that muscle soreness to stop? It’s gone. 

You’d like something to reduce your exercise fatigue? What fatigue? BCAA can even stop your muscles from deteriorating and hold’em tight like a kidnapper holding a little girl (or a boy, we don’t want to assume the gender of a kidnapped entity).

Wondering where you can find this magnificent jewel? 

Everywhere! Beef, chicken breasts, salmon, eggs, canned tuna, parmesan cheese and even greek yogurt (thank God Greeks invented something other than philosophy).

BCAAs are a must have ingredient when trying to make your own homemade pre-workout supplement.

How to Make Pre Workout

Formulas

Ok, now you know what are the most common pre-workout ingredients. What now? Well, make your own pre-workout, what are you waiting for? 

You “can’t”? “Don’t know the recipe”? Oh my God, come here, be quiet and write this down!

First Formula: Pure Energy Cocktail

For this homemade pre-workout recipe, you will need around 200mg of caffeine, 5g of L-arginine, 5g of creatine, 2 grams of beta-alanine.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which ingredient is the main character in this homemade pre-workout. That’s right, good old caffeine. 

You can start with the smaller dosage, maybe 100 mg of caffeine and then slowly work your way up to 200, but listen closely – never go over 200. You don’t want to go there, trust me!

This amount of caffeine should give you focus and mental alertness of an eagle. Be wary not to take it before bed because you may experience insomnia.

L-arginine will make sure that the blood is flowing into your muscles at an increased rate, relieving you of fatigue and enabling you to endure longer training sessions.

Creatine is going to give you enough power that ensures your strength gains are like no other.

As a cherry on top, beta-alanine will give you that sweet tingling sensation on your skin, just to remind you that no recipe is perfect. It will also increase your performance and energy (but that’s less important, more! I meant more).

Second Formula: The Enormous Muscle Shake

This homemade pre-workout formula was left to me by my grandad, who was able to lift 240 kilograms on the bench press (like him, I also enjoy exaggerating). 

Ingredients for this family legacy are 20g of whey protein, 5g of creatine, one cup of blueberries and a half of a cup of greek yogurt (writing of this article was not financed by the state of Greece).  

The philosophy behind this bad boy can be summarised by the famous dictum of the workout world: “Don’t ask about big muscles, ask how much whey protein is enough”.

Whey protein will build your muscles from the ground up and help with muscle recovery (even post-workout). 

Creatine monohydrate is a younger brother of whey protein. When whey protein is sleeping, creatine is helping your muscles grow while stealing from his mother’s purse.

Not just for their flavour, but because of the fact that they are loaded with antioxidants, precious vitamins, carbs and fibre, blueberries will give you everything you need during exercise.

Full of casein protein (like nothing else in this world), Greek yogurt is going to help you with the recovery, slowly leaving digestive amino acids in your body that will stay there long after you’ve finished with that physical activity.

Third Formula: Infinite Reps MIX

Those interested in big muscles are not going to be interested in the following lines. There are no powerful energy boosts in this homemade pre-workout formula. 

This mixture holds the keys to endurance and stamina. If you want to run across long distances, swim or cycle, this is it, search no further.

For this formula, you will need 200 mg of caffeine, 15 g carbs (maltodextrin, cyclic dextrin, etc), 3 g of beta-alanine and 4 g of citrulline malate.

Caffeine is once again doing the hard work, i.e. giving you more energy than anyone mortal could handle (but you will be fine).

Beta-alanine is providing you with the necessary energy to endure the whole training session, carbs are feeding the muscles and citrulline malate is doing the tricky business of recovery. 

The Bottom Line

Like store-bought pre-workout products, homemade ones can significantly increase your performance, endurance, stamina and overall strength gains during your workout sessions.

If you choose to make your pre-workout mix yourself, you should be mindful of the amount of ingredients you use, as well as their effect on your body.

Now that you know all the common supplement ingredients used in a pre-workout mix you have no excuses not to make your own homemade pre-workout mix

Whatever you decide to make, chances are you are likely going to use some or most of the ingredients we’ve listed (caffeine 100%).

Making a homemade pre-workout could be just the thing you need since there are many problems concerning store-bought products.

You could make a mistake and spend a large amount of money on the product for which, if you have made it by yourself, would cost you far less.

Like with anything in life there are always certain risks involved.

That being said, you can try one of our formulas and figure out for yourself what mix do you like the most. 

References

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271707
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2912010/  
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15998896/   
  4. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0224-0
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20386132/  
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510020/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/  

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