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Keto Pre-Workout (what you need to know)

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If you’re on the Keto Diet or are attempting to consume little to no sugar but still want a pre-workout beverage, I’ve got you covered. Most pre-workout blends contain loads of sugar and unnecessary ingredients. Let’s dive in to what’s important when looking for the right Keto Pre-Workout powder.

Keto Pre Workout

What makes a supplement good for Pre-Workout?

A pre-workout drink (regardless of diet preferences) primarily needs one very important ingredient: Beta Alanine. Everything else (for a pre workout need) is secondary.

Why is Beta Alanine required in a pre-workout drink?

Beta Alanine is like having a third lung. You get more output. There’s a lot going on in relation to Beta-Alanine and its benefits, I’ve written an extensive post exclusively on Beta Alanine. Check it out.

Beta Alanine Benefits:

  • Improves High-Intensity Exercise
  • Delays Neuromuscular Fatigue
  • Improves Endurance Performance
  • Extends time-till Exhaustion
  • Increases Muscle Carnosine
Beta Alanine Benefits
Beta Alanine Benefits

Is Caffeine Good in Pre-Workout?

Caffeine can be a good addition for a pre-workout blend. However, the concern with adding caffeine to a pre-workout drink is you may be limiting the window of use. For example: if you workout at night, caffeine in your pre-workout (for most) isn’t a good idea (it’ll keep you up or impact the quality of your sleep).

Don't Consume Too Much Caffeine
Don’t Consume Too Much Caffeine

The other concern with adding caffeine to your pre-workout: you’ll get more than needed. Most people have negative impacts in relation to sleep quality when caffeine consumption is too high. If you enjoy your morning coffee or energy drink, to follow that up with a pre-workout drink too, it may just be too much. I’d avoid added caffeine in my pre-workout drink for two reasons: I like consuming caffeinated drinks and don’t want to stop AND I don’t want to get more caffeine than my body can manage effectively. When consuming high amounts of caffeine each day in multiple beverages there will be a direct and indirect impact to health.

What other ingredients should I look for in a keto pre-workout supplement?

Not only will you be selecting a pre-workout blend that’s safe on the keto diet (won’t raise blood sugar), you should also be aware of ingredients that may be harmful to your health.

Approved Sweeteners for Pre-Workout Keto Supplements

The most obvious “other” ingredient to be on the lookout is what sweetener is used. You’ll need to ensure the sweetener in your keto pre workout is very low on the glycemic index. The lower the number on the glycemic index, the more likely that sweetener will not impact ketone levels. For example: if the sweetener used is Stevia, you’re safe. Why is Stevia a safe ingredient in a pre-workout blend? It’s a zero on the glycemic index. More on Stevia here.

Try to stick with sweeteners that are a ZERO on the glycemic index.

Beta Hydroxybutyrate

There are some powerful applications for BHB. Should you be consuming it daily and… what exactly is BHB?

What is Beta Hydroxybutyrate?

Your body naturally produces ketones when you are either fasting or starving (have limited to no fuel), on a Ketogenic Diet (not consuming carbs), or are very active. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is the chemical produced by your body to produce energy as required. When your body produces BHB (and acetoacetate) that’s considered: endogenous. When you consume a supplement with BHB, that’s exogenous (you’re eating it, your body is not producing it).

I love the application of exogenous ketones (BHB) when someone is just starting off on the Keto Diet. It signals to your body how valuable ketones can be. It assists in the process of becoming a fat burner.

I believe the consumption of BHB can really accelerate performance. However: I am NOT a fan of consistent or long term exogenous ketone consumption. If you’re healthy and are taking a pre-workout supplement daily, I’d avoid the one with BHB. If you’re looking for an occasional boost on game or race day, go for it!

Why should I avoid daily/regular BHB supplementation?

It’s similar to the reason why I would avoid taking a melatonin supplement. While I think taking melatonin on occasion can really help with sleep and circadian rhythm, regular usage has a dark side. When you take something like melatonin daily, you’re telling your body not to worry about producing it on its own. In turn, your body looks for the exogenous source which may negatively impact your body’s ability to create it on its own.

If you’re on a Keto Diet for weight loss, you want to create endogenous ketones. The reason you want to make BHB without a supplement: when your body creates BHB it’s using fat! This means that you will lose fat in order to create ketones. If you regularly supplement with BHB you may impact endogenous ketone production and stall fat loss. While BHB supplementation is great, it also has a darker side that should be considered when looking at long term supplements.

Is BHB needed in a keto pre workout? No. Can BHB help with performance? Yes. Should you consume ketones on a regular basis? No. Is it better to have your body create BHB (if you’re healthy)? Yes.

Creatine

Creatine is an often overlooked but highly beneficial supplement when it comes to building muscle for all age groups. Creatine helps maintain a continuous supply of energy to working muscles. If you’re trying to put on lean muscle mass (which everyone should be trying to do), Creatine should be a supplement you’re consuming daily.

Creatine can be taken prior to your workout or after. Creatine will help promote a better power output and assist with muscle recovery.

What are other sources of Creatine (in addition to supplementation)?

Creatine is naturally produced in your body and can be enhanced by consuming foods with high amount of creatine. The following is a list of the top 7 natural sources of Creatine. On the right hand side you can see the amount of creatine per 100 grams of the following foods:

1Herring Fillet (raw and dried)1.1g
2Beef patties (raw)0.9g
3Herring0.9g
4Beef steak gravy (juice cooked from meat)0.9g
5Salmon0.9g
6Beefburger0.9g
7Pork0.7g

How should I consume Creatine?

I don’t have a hard proof example other than my own opinion. I personally supplement with Creatine but not in my pre-workout blend. The reason I don’t like creatine pre-mixed in my workout blend is that I prefer to consume creatine throughout the day in a few beverages. I feel as though I get more value when the creatine is spread across several hours and not one drink right before my workout. I DO add creatine to my pre-workout drink (in addition to adding it at other times of the day). It’s difficult for your body to effectively breakdown creatine for use when you consume too much at once. Too much at once may just be a waste of money. Aim for smaller servings throughout the day of creatine for best results. Smaller = 2-3g of creatine per serving.

Electrolytes

Getting the right balance of sodium, magnesium, and potassium will have the greatest postive impact to health in comparison to any supplement on the market in relation to overall health (IMO). Electrolytes play a key role in nearly every imaginable bodily function.

How to Pick the Right Natural Electrolyte Drink Mix

I prefer taking 2 servings of Cardnl’s electrolyte blend daily. This is a blend I created looking at scientific research while formulating the optimal balance of needed and supplemented electrolytes.

One serving (either in the morning or at night prior to bed) of the Original. And one serving of the Pre-Workout Endurance blend prior to my workout. The Endurance blend has one added ingredient: Beta Alanine.

My Recommendation for a Keto Pre-Workout Supplement

The Cardnl Endurance Electrolyte Blend is the ideal pre-workout electrolyte blend on the market. Also view: How to Pick the Right Natural Electrolyte Drink Mix

Simple Ingredients: Redmond Real Salt, Beta-Alanine, Citric Acid, Magnesium Malate, Potassium Chloride, Reb M (stevia leaf)

Endurance Pre-Workout Electrolytes

The Endurance Pre-Workout Blend is safe to consume while fasting (no calories). Endurance also includes the optimal balance of Beta Alanine in addition to citric acid.

Citric Acid is one of the most common ingredients in the world. Citric Acid plays a role in flavor but also (more importantly) – Citric Acid enhances the bioavailability of minerals (allows your body to absorb minerals more easily).

The Endurance Electrolytes do NOT contain caffeine which enables you to better control adequate and appropriate for you caffeine intake.

The Endurance Electrolytes do NOT contain any unnecessary ingredients. Enjoy a slightly sweet lemon salt flavor while you unleash your third lung.

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