Back to Inside Track Blog

What are Pre-Workout Supplements? Meet Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard 

April 21 2024 5 min read

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out on your fitness journey, understanding what pre-workout supplements are and how they can enhance your performance is so important. 

At Fitness First, we’ve partnered with Optimum Nutrition to bring our members the best pre-workout supplement: Gold Standard. Discover everything there is to know about supplements in this blog.


  • What is a pre-workout supplement?
  • Are pre-workout supplements important for exercise?
  • When did Fitness First partner with Optimum Nutrition? 
  • When to take Gold-Standard Pre-Workout Shot
  • Why is caffeine in pre-workout supplements?
  • How much caffeine do I need?
  • What are some ingredients in the Gold Standard Pre-Workout Shot?
  • Can you take the shot before a Fitness First Class?
  • Get set with Fitness First and Optimum Nutrition

What is a pre-workout supplement?

A pre-workout supplement is a type of specialised dietary supplement designed to boost energy levels and athletic performance before we exercise. They can come in various forms, but we usually see them as either powder mixed with water or pre-mixed shots. 

Most pre-workout supplements will contain a variety of the same ingredients, including:

  • Caffeine — For increased alertness and stamina. 
  • Creatine — Enhance muscle performance and energy.
  • Amino acids — Such as beta-alanine and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), aim to help improve endurance and reduce muscle fatigue. 
  • Nitric oxide precursors — You’ll find ingredients such as L-arginine or citrulline, which can help improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
  • Vitamins and minerals — These are important for our metabolism and general muscle function.

Are pre-workout supplements important for exercise?

While you don’t have to take pre-workout supplements before every session, they can be beneficial for some fitness enthusiasts depending on your goals, workout intensity and the personal tolerance you have for the ingredients. 

Most of the time, people will take pre-workout supplements to:

  • Enhance performance and energy — Pre-workout supplements can increase your energy levels and endurance during your workouts. This can be extremely beneficial if you’re taking on a high-intensity workout or heading in for a long gym session. 
  • Increase focus and motivation — Sometimes, there’s nothing worse than having no motivation to do your session, whether you’ve had a long day or your head just isn’t in the game. But ingredients like caffeine in Optimum Nutrition's Gold-Standard Pre-Workout Shot can help improve mental focus and alertness, enhancing your overall workout experience and motivation. 
  • Better results — Some ingredients in pre-workout supplements, such as creatine and amino acids, can help in muscle growth and recovery, leading to faster and more noticeable results, particularly in strength training.

When did Fitness First partner with Optimum Nutrition?

At Fitness First, we’re committed to bringing the best of the best to our members so they can get the most out of every workout.  

Fitness First and Optimum Nutrition have partnered to redefine fitness, merging our holistic wellness approach with Optimum Nutrition's premium nutrition and health offerings, such as their Gold-Standard Pre-Workout Shot. This collaboration symbolises a commitment to a healthier, stronger future for all our members.

When to take Gold-Standard Pre-Workout Shot

To maximise their benefits, it's essential to use pre-workout supplements correctly. The general recommendation is to consume the Gold-Standard Pre-Workout shot 20-30 minutes before exercise. This timing allows the body to absorb the active ingredients — primarily caffeine — ensuring peak physical performance during your session.

Why is caffeine in pre-workout supplements?

Caffeine is popular and usually one of the main ingredients in pre-workout supplements because it is a powerful stimulant that enhances both mental alertness and physical performance. 

Caffeine's main function is as a central nervous system stimulant, as it blocks adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a substance that helps promote sleep and relaxation in our bodies, so, essentially, caffeine can stop this attaching to its receptors, leading to increased alertness and energy. Essentially, when caffeine builds up in your body, it stops you from feeling tired. As time passes, your caffeine levels reduce, and you start to feel tired again.

The presence of caffeine also helps to improve our endurance levels by mobilising fat stores. This allows the body to use fat as fuel and conserve muscle glycogen, as well as extend the amount of time our bodies can exercise.

How much caffeine do I need?

As well as pre-workout supplements, caffeine can be found in most things we enjoy in our everyday lives, including everything from coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and even chocolate. You might be surprised to know that an average 200-250 ml cup of coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine. 

In comparison, ON Gold Standard Pre-Workout Shots contain 175 mg of caffeine per serving — which is around 1-2 cups of coffee, if you want to think of it in those terms. The caffeine content in pre-workout supplements is specifically calibrated to support athletic performance, providing a more substantial boost than a regular cup of coffee has on the body! 

Studies have shown that caffeine dosages between 3-6 mg per kilogram of body mass can significantly enhance our exercise performance. Even lower doses, such as 2 mg, have been shown to have an overall positive effect on the body. For someone who weighs 70 kg — around 11 stone — a caffeine dose of around 140-210 mg is ideal to support performance, right in the sweet spot for the Pre-Workout Shot.

What are some key ingredients in Gold Standard Pre-Workout Shots?

Beyond caffeine, the Pre-Workout Shot contains other active ingredients, such as:

  • 250mg of PerforMelonTM
  • 1.5g of beta-alanine
  • 2.0g of citrulline

PerforMelonTM comes from watermelon and is a source of citrulline, which helps to improve blood flow to the muscle, enhancing oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscle. Beta-alanine helps to remove the acid that builds up in the muscle after high-intensity exercise, allowing you to train for longer at higher intensities.

Can you take the shot before a Fitness First class?

Yes, you can take Optimum Nutrition’s Gold-Standard Pre-Workout shot before our Fitness First classes! It’s important to remember which classes these might be best suited for — think of some of our more intense classes like HIIT, Spin and Bootcamp, where movements are more demanding compared to some of our lower-intensity sessions like Meditation

Get set with Fitness First and Optimum Nutrition

Pre-workout supplements can be a valuable addition to your fitness regime if you use them correctly. They’re great for boosting your energy levels, enhancing your endurance and improving your concentration, no matter what session you’re taking on!

Discover more about all things fitness and nutrition today with our Inside Track Blog, or why not book your first class today? Find a gym near you now, whether you’re looking for a gym in London or further afield!