If you’re new here, let me introduce myself. My name is Sarah Bowmar and my husband and I own Bowmar Nutrition, a health and fitness supplement company. Within the depth of our product lines, we offer a preworkout called PRE and a nootropic called SHARP. I am asked daily if one could use SHARP as a preworkout or even combine SHARP and PRE together prior to weight lifting. I want to break down the differences between the two and when you would use one over the other.
If you are new to supplements or simply just trying to learn more, a nootropic is essentially a product to help with focus, cognitive recall, and memory (we call it brain juice), where a PRE is meant to enhance your weight lifting session.
I would also like to point out that I will be comparing our caffeine-based SHARP and our caffeine-based PRE. We do have a non-stimulant (no caffeine) PRE and a non-stimulant (no caffeine) SHARP. Please note, while there are several similar ingredients between the two products, dosages vary (SHARP has more of some ingredients and PRE has more of others).
Ingredients Both Products Have:
- PRE Benefits: a non-essential amino acid that may increase blood flow (the pump) by increasing nitric oxide production. It can also produce positive muscle effects by decrease amino acid breakdown and stimulant protein synthesis. An increase in blood flow to the muscle can also result in strength increases during the lift as more blood in the muscle also means there are more nutrients in the muscle as well. This can also help with recovery and prevent injury when lifting with proper form
- SHARP Benefits: Study confirms: Recently it has been reported that L-Citrulline prevents neuronal cell death and protects cerebrovascular injury, therefore, L-Citrulline may have a neuroprotective effect to improve cerebrovascular dysfunction
- Betaine Anhydrous
- PRE Benefits: a naturally occurring chemical in the body that improves hydration, stimulates water-based pumps (ie: shuttles water to your muscles), improves strength and powder, and, like l-citrulline, supports protein synthesis. As a side note, protein synthesis is a process in which our cells make protein
- SHARP Benefits: Betaine anhydrous helps in the metabolism of a chemical called homocysteine. Homocysteine is involved in the normal function of many different parts of the body, including blood, bones, eyes, heart, muscles, nerves, and the brain. Betaine anhydrousprevents the buildup of homocysteine in the blood
- PRE Benefits: this ingredient may be familiar to many of you that use our MELT fat burner- that in-depth blog can be found here. It is an amino acid that has many incredible benefits. In the context of PRE workout, especially in a non-stimulant PRE, it helps with focus and reduces fatigue.
- SHARP Benefits: Because tyrosine is turned into the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, it may play a role in relieving depression. An analysis of several studies found that tyrosine might be effective in treating mild-to-moderate depression
- PRE Benefits: a conditionally essential amino acid that increases endurance performance, workload, and can reduce overall muscle soreness. There are also recent studies that prove it prevents muscle damage and protein catabolism while decreasing oxidative stress produced by exercise. Study can be found here
- SHARP Benefits: Laboratory studies show that taurine can achieve what was once thought to be impossible—stimulate new growth and connections of brain cells, which raises the real possibility for restoration of youthful brain function in older adults. Taurine levels decrease with age and with metabolic and neurological disease
- PRE Benefits: A popular stimulant used in pre-workout to increase energy, focus, mental alertness, and exercise performance
- SHARP Benefits: Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. When it reaches your brain, the most noticeable effect is alertness. You’ll feel more awake and less tired, so it’s a common ingredient in medications to treat or manage drowsiness, headaches, and migraines
- Alpha GPC
Other SHARP Ingredients:
- Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL- An amino found in nearly all cells of the body. Study finds it improves aged brain function and learning capabilities
- KSM 66- It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress. Ashwagandha also provides numerous other benefits for your body and brain. For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression
Other PRE Ingredients:
- Citrapeak- probably my favorite ingredient in our PRE (this is both our stimulant and non stimulant based)! This ingredient is a derivative of citrus and has multiple studies that prove it’s effectiveness in increasing blood flow and the nitric oxide pump. The full studies can be found here
- Citrus Bioflavonoids- another citrus derivative that has been proven in many third party studies and trials to increase blood flow (again, more blood flow to the muscle being worked = stronger output, less fatigue, more nutrients, less injuries, and better recovery)
- Green Tea Leaf Extract- caffeine is removed during the extraction process of our green tea leaf ingredient. During the process, tea leaves are soaked in water to release caffeine and other tea compounds. There is a relatively new study that looks directly at decaffeinated green tea leaf extract and the overwhelming results of its benefits of increased energy output during exercise. Full study can be found here
- L-Tryptophan- as essential amino acid. Study finds: total exercise time, perceived exertion rate, maximum heart rate, peak oxygen consumption, pulse recovery rate, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption were determined during the two trials. The total exercise time was 49.4% greater after receiving L-tryptophan than after receiving the placebo
- L-Theanine- amino acid that elevates levels of GABA, as well as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and they work in the brain to regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, and sleep, as well as appetite, energy, and other cognitive skills
- Theobromine- structurally similar to caffeine and derived from cocoa, it facilities fat browning (as described here). Full study can be found here.
- Yohimbe is the name of an evergreen tree found in parts of central and western Africa. It is meant to boost mood and increase physical performance
- Vitamin C- proven to minimize the catabolic stress response
- Niacin- Vitamin B3 that helps break down food for energy
- Vitamin B6 and B12- study finds vitamin B-6 to play an important role in the metabolic pathways required for exercise, while vitamin B-12 assists with DNA synthesis, which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells
- Choline- When choline is depleted during intense physical exercise, it may fall below normal levels and negatively impact exercise endurance
Timing and Dosages
As you can see from the above breakdown, there are similarities between the two products but more differences than what they have in common. If you want to take SHARP as a preworkout, it won’t harm you. But PRE has almost a dozen more ingredients than SHARP that are specific to training and performance. SHARP is intended to be taken prior to studying, work, driving, etc (any time you need extra focus). PRE is meant to be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to your lifting sessions.
Please keep in mind there are 75mg of caffeine in 1 scoop of SHARP and 125 in 1 scoop of PRE. You can use them multiple times per day and you can use them both on the same day, just watch your overall daily caffeine intake!