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What you take before you train directly impacts your workouts. Many individual supplements help by providing the raw materials that support the physiological processes — like greater nitric-oxide and energy production and vasodilation — that enhance workouts. Here are some supplements you should consider to improve the quality of your workouts.

Citrulline: This amino acid readily converts to arginine in the body, and research shows that taking citrulline increases arginine levels better even than taking arginine itself. Arginine boosts production of nitric oxide and growth hormone. Higher levels of nitric oxide help relax blood vessels to deliver more nutrients, blood and oxygen to muscle cells where they are put to use, enhancing workouts and results.

Capsicum: Capsicum annuum is the fancy name for peppers. The active ingredient in these plants, capsaicin, supports better workouts by allowing blood vessels to relax so more blood — and nutrients — flows through them. Better blood flow through wider vessels also helps keep blood pressure from spiking higher. Because the mechanism is different from NO-mediated dilation, the effect is additive.

DMAE: Originally marketed in the 1960s as a prescription drug to enhance learning and memory in people with attention disorders, DMAE leads to higher choline levels in the brain, apparently by inhibiting choline’s breakdown. This could lead to higher acetylcholine levels and, thus, better mental function and even muscle strength. Plus, choline is involved in the production of betaine, which has been shown to increase muscle strength and power.

Beet Juice Powder: A recent study determined that cyclists who supplemented with beet juice improved their time trials more than 10-kilometer rides. Bodybuilders seeking to lose body fat should consider drinking beet juice or taking a supplement so they can perform more intense types of cardio (such as HIIT intervals) for more efficient fat loss. One way it appears to work is by providing precursors to NO. Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which first get converted in the body to nitrite and then nitric oxide.

Find them all in: Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Pre-