Let’s take a look at two extremely popular workout enhancers, BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) specifically Driven AMINO™, and pre-workout specifically, Driven’s PreWOD™. Both play an active role in your workout improving performance, recovery, and endurance. Here we will break down the benefits of each and when is the best time to take one, both or possibly neither!

Key Points

  1. PreWOD™ contains stimulants that need to be consumed approximately 20 minutes before exercise for the best results.
  2. If working out late in the evening you need to assess how long those stimulants are going to be working and adjust the dose or not use at all if it’s going to affect your sleep.
  3. BCAA’s can be taken prior to workout but if your undergoing a long duration training session, especially strength training you may want to use them intra or during your workout.
  4. Freeform BCAA’s (not bound to a complete protein chain) do not have to be digested and enter quickly into the bloodstream.
Nicole Barbell Picture

Lets first look at PreWOD™ and breakdown the active ingredients with simple explanations of their role in enhancing your workout. PreWOD™ contains 200mg of caffeine anhydrous, about the same amount of caffeine in a large cup of coffee. The anhydrous state of Caffeine just denotes its water free form and thus when it enters your body (75% water) it is absorbed faster than a liquid delivered form of caffeine. Otherwise, they are synonymous. Also in the stimulant category of the formula is DMAE or dimethylethanolamine, a choline metabolite that unlike caffeine increases the release of dopamine (a feel-good chemical in the brain) without increasing your heart rate. The combination of DMAE and Caffeine can give you hours of feel-good focused energy that can give you the energy to push you through the tough parts of your workout or taken before you leave your house, motivate you to keep driving to the gym instead of making a detour!

PreWOD™ also contains 1500mg of Beta-alanine a nonessential amino acid and the building block of carnosine in the body. Its purpose is to buffer the build-up of acid inside the muscle cells to reduce fatigue and improve performance. You may also notice the “tingly” side effects you feel on your skin within the first 5-10 minutes of taking it. Side note, to truly get the benefits of its acid buffering abilities you will have to reach your body’s peak performance zone. That is extreme fatigue where one more round or one more rep seems impossible, so if you take it WORK HARD and get your money worth!

The Betaine Anhydrous (yep no H2O added) was added to PreWOD™ to increase force production, aka make you stronger. This vitamin derived from choline is often found in sugar beets thus the name Betaine. The increase in strength is partly due to Betaine’s ability to increase your body’s internal production of creatine. For increased recovery Betaine plays a role in promoting protein syntheses, the action of building new muscle and preventing muscle breakdown. Betaine has been shown to reduce inflammation at the cellular level, which could lead to many health benefits (probably best saved for another article)!

Why is it important to get a good PUMP during your workout? Because it’s fun of course! Oh, and it plays a critical role in performance, oxygenation, nutrient delivery, and endurance…

For added cellular function and antioxidant protection, we added L-Taurine and good old Vitamin C. L-Taurine is a non-essential amino acid found in the body that can decrease in amount during intense exercise. Why is it important to keep Taurine levels elevated? Taurine acts like a neurotransmitter lowering stress in anxiety-producing situations thus increasing exercise performance and boosting feelings of wellness. It is also an antioxidant useful for its ability to abolish free radicals and keep cells alive and healthy. Vitamin-C is also an antioxidant but has performance applications as well. Undergoing extreme bouts of exercise can lower your immune system and leave you vulnerable to illness and soreness. A dose of Vitamin C prior to workout might be the simplest thing you can do to combat this. Side note, it could also help you prevent scurvy should you find yourself on a pirate ship at sea for months with nothing but dried and salted fish to eat.

While PreWOD™ can definitely get you ready and roaring to hit the weights you might consider how long you want to be roaring after you train. Consider this, if your workout time on a given day 7:30 at night and you wouldn’t dare drink a couple of cups of coffee at that time because you’re the type of person that would still be staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m., you might want to skip the PreWod or at least back down your dose. Like all stimulants, it can have a diminishing return effect if you take it too often. Consider taking a break for a week every so often and even during regular use take a day or two off. This will help keep your adrenal glands responding the way you want them to when you need them to. It is designed to be taken once a day, maybe twice on competition day but spread it out. The right amount of stimulants can make you feel great leaving you to think MORE must be better! It’s not.

“The right amount of stimulants can make you feel great,
leaving you to think, MORE MUST BE BETTER!

It’s not.”

Now let’s look at BCAA’s specifically the ones found in our Driven’s AMINO™ formula. BCAA’s or Branch Chain Amino Acids are 3 of the 9 EAA’s or Essential Amino acids meaning our bodies cannot synthesize them, they have to be consumed or ingested. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the branched amino acids named for their side chain or “branch-like” structures. In this formula, they are found in a 2:1:1 ratio (2g Leucine, 1g Isoleucine, 1g Valine). While it’s debated, this ratio has shown the most merit to be the most beneficial combination of BCAA’s. Leucine is the star of the BCAA cast, playing a crucial role in mTOR or protein syntheses. Think of it as the on switch signaling the body to use proteins to build new muscle. When you are in the gym you aren’t building muscle (anabolic), in fact, there is a good chance you are breaking it down (catabolic).

BCAA’s can be taken both before and/or during “intra” workout to reduce the breakdown of muscle tissue.

BCAA’s are found in animal proteins like beef, chicken, and fish and in powdered sources like whey. However, in these sources, the BCAA’s are bound in the chain of amino acids that make up the complete protein. They first have to be digested and absorbed from the small intestine into the bloodstream where they can then give their benefits. When you are in immediate need of BCAA’s like during a workout it makes more sense to consume the free form, non-bound amino acids. They can absorb quickly without having to be digested first.

During a workout, BCAA’s both decrease muscle loss (a penny saved is a penny earned) and help fight fatigue. However, BCAA’s can be taken any time of the day to keep anabolic activity elevated and can be very beneficial to sip on them between meals to keep your body in a positive anabolic state.

In summary:

Both PreWOD™ and AMINO™ can be beneficial when taken before a workout. Make sure you monitor your timing of the ingestion of PreWOD™. It is important to both make sure you get the most benefit in performance and to make sure you are sleeping. For best results use only 4-5 days a week and don’t forget to go cold turkey on all stimulants for a week or two on occasion. The BCAA’s in AMINO™ have many muscle building and preserving benefits and can be enjoyed both as a part of your workout or just during your day.

Now you know.  It’s not a one product VS another product, adding both of these to your workout regimen can bring excellent results!

They taste amazing, mix both PreWOD™ and AMINO™ together for a powerful pre-workout stack that will have you motivated and getting the best possible results!

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