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    Let's Talk Pre-workout: Stim vs Non-stim

    August 31, 2023 3 min read

    Let's Talk Pre-workout: Stim vs Non-stim

    When it comes to pre workout, Stimulant or Non Stimulant is often the question...

    Recently non-stimulants, aka ‘pump‘ pre-workouts have become quite popular in the supplements industry. This is due to many companies adding in very large doses of stimulants in their products. Overdosing on stimulants has caused people jitters and energy crashes thus giving all pre workouts with stimulants a bad reputation. However, there are certain stimulants that have proven to be very beneficial in numerous studies. They actually can play an important role in improving your gym session. In this article we will go over some pros and cons of both to help you better understand why both can benefit you.


    What is a Stimulant?

    A stimulant is a substance that increases the activity of the central nervous system and the body. In doing so, it heightens focus and can speed up heart rate, leading to a small increase in caloric output. It can also slow appetite, which can help those on a diet consume less calories.

    Stimulants can be both legal and illegal but for this article we will stick with the role of stimulants in athletics, bodybuilding and fitness in general.

    Stimulants have been used in the fitness world since in the late 1800’s when cyclists in Europe would mix wine with coca leaves or cocaine to get increased energy and endurance. Stimulants have been popular in the realm of fitness because of their direct effect in improving physical and mental performance.

    Pre-Workouts with Stimulants

    Stimulated pre-workouts will have varying doses of stimulants such as caffeine, di-caffeine malate, yohimbine, theobromine, theacrine/teacrine, etc... to increase energy levels, alertness, cognitive abilities, exercise performance, and stamina. Further than just neurological effects, stimulant-based pre-workouts usually contain a blend of ingredients that will increase the production of NO (nitric oxide) within the muscle. This is where the “pump” comes from, and it is much more prevalent when a solid blend of ingredients are used in a supplement’s formula. Alongside NO producing ingredients, most pre-workouts contain either one ingredient or a combination of a couple that are used to increase muscular endurance

    Non Stimulant Pre Workout

    Non-stimulant based pre-workout supplements are pretty much the same as stimulant-based pre-workouts with the only difference being its minus the stimulants. That means that these types of pre-workouts are geared solely toward giving the user a pump and providing increases in endurance. There is no neurological effect felt from the use of a stimulant-free pre-workout simply because there are no stimulants!

    Which one is right for you?

    Well how about both? Having a Stimulant and Stimulant free pre-workout on hand can be useful depending on the time of day you workout.

    Using a stimulant-based pre-workout in the morning or early afternoon workout is an optimal choice. Not only do you get your workout out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your day, but the effects of the caffeine can help keep your mind and body energized well into the day – allowing you to be as productive as possible.

    What's even better, you can save the money you’d normally spend on a morning cup of coffee to wake you up by downing a serving of your stim-based pre-workout before your workout which can help carry you throughout the day

    Now if you need/prefer to workout in the evening or at night, the last thing you need is to lay in bed, wide awake because you downed a pre-workout full of stimulants two hours earlier. Therefore, clearly your best bet would be a non-stim pre-workout. You’ll still get all the benefits without the excessive rush of energy that can last hours.

    Bottom Line

    Pre-workouts that contain both high amounts and zero stimulants can offer a myriad of benefits which means the choice comes down to which one is better for you. Now you and only you know your body better than anyone. If you are sensitive to stimulants, the clear winner in this conversation is going to be a non-stim pre-workout. Do not use a stimulant-based pre-workout if you know you will have adverse effects from it or you have any health concerns where stimulants can create any issues. Always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement.