I get questioned about what I use for a pre-workout almost every Thursday and I think the answer always surprises people: I don’t take anything. Truth is, getting off of pre-workout was the best thing that I ever did for my actual workout. When I first started CrossFit I did use it, but I would hit my redline very quickly. It’s not like I never take it anymore, but I just save it for strength only days. Nowadays, rather than taking an actual “pre-workout”, I just piece together my own with a few high quality products, rather than get a pre-mixed cocktail of who knows what.
Swolverine is the current name of the company formerly known as Elivate Nutrition – one of the only supplement companies I trust for ingredients to put into my body. As I get older, I tend to care more about what I take and I regret cheaping out in my younger years, basically trying out any supplement under the sun. Their products are pharmaceutical grade, clinically dosed and best of all, transparent. Sure, you can get cheaper supplements out there, but I wouldn’t trust the quality.
My normal stack consists of BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids), beta alanine, and something new to me, citrulline malate. If I’m taking something pre/intra workout, its definitely going to be BCAA’s; while the jury is still out on the effectiveness of it, I feel good when I use it. Beta alanine is something I just started taking earlier in 2017 and I feel like other than creatine, is the best supplement that I’ve added to my “stack”. Citrulline malate is going to be a love it or hate it kind of thing for people, but if you like that “pre-workout feeling”, you’ll probably love it.
“Sometimes, water just isn’t enough. SWOLVERINE’s BCAA is a synergistic combination of Branched Chain Amino Acids, Electrolytes, and L-Glutamine designed to help provide intra-workout hydration, fight fatigue, and optimize recovery. With a deliciously classic lemon-lime flavor, BCAA is the perfect addition to your workout.” – Swolverine.com
Really the only thing that I’ve pretty consistently taken over the years is BCAA’s, which are essentially the building block of protein. Swolverine’s is a 2:1:1 ratio of L-Leucine (2000mg), L-Isoleucine (1000mg), L-Valine (1000mg) and L-Glutamine (1000mg). They also include 20g of Sodium, 40g Potassium and 2.5mg of Vitamin B6 for electrolytes and hydration in a lemon lime flavor. The flavor, to be honest isn’t my favorite, but isn’t the worst either. The way I use BCAA’s is intraworkout, sometimes with a carb unless I’m have gummy bears around to snack on.
BCAA’s bypass the liver and go straight to the muscles which is what make them important for your recovery. They’re found in every source of protein, so you’re likely to get them from just eating anyway, but it’s nice to have some during a workout. The debate on whether or not you need to be supplementing with extra is out for debate, personally I always just feel a little bit better when I take them, but like all supplements, your mileage may vary.
“BETA-ALANINE is a non-essential beta amino acid, which works to reduce muscle fatigue by counteracting the development of lactic acid, created by hydrogen ions. Introducing Beta-Alanine into the bloodstream raises carnosine levels, which helps fight the hydrogen ion buildup, helping to increase training volume. “ – Swolverine.com
Probably the best thing that I introduced into my stack was beta-alanine because of how fast lactic acid builds up in me personally. I’ve never been the greated “WOD-er”, but beta alanine lets me go that extra round without feeling the lactic acid burn as much.
It works well with both sprint and longer workouts, but you’ll probably notice it more in the latter. Your legs and arms won’t feel the burn as much which is beneficial for those sprints where you can’t drop the barbell, but also great to keep you moving through those high-rep chippers. This year’s open (rip) was probably the best I’ve ever performed and I truly believe that it was because I was coming off a kre-alkalyn cycle from Swolverine and using beta alanine.
Make sure you continually use beta alanine so you don’t lose out on it’s benefits. I feel like it’s best used like creatine, with some kind of pre-load cycle before you really start to feel the effects of using it.
“CITRULLINE MALATE is a synergistic compound containing L-Citrulline a nonessential amino acid and malic acid. These ingredients work together to raise arginine and ornithine plasma levels, more efficiently and effectively than l-arginine alone. Higher arginine levels, naturally promote the production of nitric oxide, which supports greater endurance, muscle force, power, and delays muscle fatigue.” – Swolverine.com
I’m kind of new to taking citrulline malate by itself, but if you’ve ever taken a pre-workout, you know the feeling it gives you: The pump.
Personally, I used to love that tingly feeling preworkout gives you, but nowaday’s I can only take so much of it so I only use half a scoop at a time of citrulline malate. Citrulline malate helps release nitric oxide, which in turn makes you more vascular but opening up your blood vessels for increased blood flow and circulation. This works extremely well with beta alanine to help you hold on to every last rep during that metcon or hypertrophy program.
They make it especially easy to get refills on your supplements with their subscribe and save option, where you get 10% off your order. If you’re pretty good about taking your supps, this is the option I’d recommend you go with.
Though I don’t really care for the change in name, the products are still as high quality as ever. Swolverine is one of the few brands in supplements that I trust and I’ll continue to use them as long as they’re around, whatever name they go by.