Pre-workout supplements have become increasingly popular because of their ability to boost athletic performance by delivering energy, mental clarity, and muscle endurance.
Fact is, there are 4.5 million posts on Instagram that can be found with the hashtag “pre-workout”, this huge number of posts demonstrates the popularity of the supplement.
But there are people who are not in favor of using pre-workout supplementation and like to rely on a cup of coffee. Frankly, it’s a topic of personal preference but it’s important to understand whether the use of pre-workout supplements is even worth it or not.
Before we discuss whether pre-workouts are good or bad it's important to understand the basics of pre-workouts and their common ingredients.
What is Pre-workout?
Any supplement that is intended to improve physical or mental performance can be termed as a pre-workout supplement.
Pre-workout supplements are available in different forms, they are available in capsules, powders, canned drinks, chewable, etc. all claimed to help in achieving peak performance while challenging workouts.
These supplements also come with different names like Nootropics, Nitric booster, Cognitive enhancers, etc.
Pre-workout supplements are designed to improve mental clarity, muscle pump, muscular endurance, focus, stamina, and motivation.
Instead of pre-workout supplements, some people prefer to have energy drinks or coffee. Preworkout vs energy drinks vs coffee can be a subject of debate and people use them according to their personal preferences.
Why do people take pre-workout?
Every person has their own reason to take pre-workout, while most of the people are using pre-workouts to improve physical performance but some are taking it to feel more energetic and motivated. I personally love the tingling effects, lol.
Fact is, the right pre-workout supplement has all the essential ingredients to improve strength, endurance while reducing mental and physical fatigue. Additionally, pre-workouts also improve the blood flow and the body’s natural ability to withstand stress.
For those reasons, people may choose to take pre-workout before a variety of workouts, from trying to increase their one-rep max on the back squat, power through an interval-heavy running workout, or simply have enough gas left in the tank to crank out the final burpee in a HIIT class.
It’s important to understand that every pre-workout supplement is created differently and their effectiveness depends on blend ingredients, their quantity, and their quality.
- Stimulants: Brain stimulating agents help in improving the motivation levels, energy levels, and keeps you focused. Caffeine, L-taurine, L-tyrosine are some of the common ingredients of the majority of pre-workouts.
Vasodilators: L-arginine and Citrulline malate are the most common vasodilators that are being used in pre-workout supplements to support better blood flow and improve the supply of nutritious blood.
Vasodilators may also help in improving the muscle pump.
- Beta-alanine: Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is responsible for reducing fatigue through clearing lactic buildup while intense training.
- Creatine: Creatine monohydrate is one of the most well-researched supplements in the fitness industry. Creatine not only improves ATP production but also boosts muscle building, cognitive functioning, and fat metabolization.
- BCAAs: BCAAs in pre-workout are getting increasingly popular, to support muscle health and hypertrophy.
Pre-workout really worth your money?
Whether the pre-workout supplement is worth your money or not totally depends on the blend of ingredients it contains.
The quality of the ingredients used in the supplement is one of the most important factors that determine the benefits or drawbacks.
Benefits of pre-workout supplements:
Feel more energized and focused:
Improved cognitive functioning is one of the most important aspects of a good workout. Whether it’s about performance at work or at the gym, half of the success comes from mental strength. Pre-workouts are designed to provide mental clarity, alertness, focus, perception of energy, and motivation.
Blocks the pain receptors:
Caffeine has been shown to block the pain receptors which helps in pushing through the limits.
Increased strength and endurance:
Warriors nutrition co POWER Preworkout contains Dicreatine malate, Beta-alanine, and B-vitamins to support better strength and endurance.
Dicreatine malate helps in improving the ATP production and cell hydration that directly impact the muscle size and strength. Beta-Alanine on the other hand helps in clearing the lactic buildup muscle tissues to promote better endurance.
Improved blood flow:
Pre-workout is insufficient without the strong punch of vasodilators. Vasodilation is an important process that helps in improving the supply of blood into the target area and also offers a greater muscle pump.
Prevents premature fatigue:
Do you start to feel the decline in energy levels just after 20-30 minutes of workout? Supplementing with good pre-workout can certainly help.
A standard pre-workout supplement contains all the essential ingredients that will keep your mind and body energetic for a longer period of time.
Burn more calories
A good pre-workout also works as a great fat burner, it helps in elevating the body’s metabolism for a few hours which indeed boosts the calorie-burning process.
Additionally, pre-workout assists in boosting training intensity which keeps the metabolism high for the rest of the day.
Not all pre-workout supplements have the same set of side effects. While some pre-workouts may contain safe, energy-boosting ingredients, others can be pointless—or potentially harmful.
There is a reason why we called it the probable drawbacks since all the companies have their own proprietary blend every pre-workout supplement will act differently. And because of the mix of multiple ingredients, some people will seamlessly enjoy the pre-workout and others might experience some negative results too.
Overstimulation: In the pursuit to boost performance some brands are offering harsh doses of brain stimulants that might negatively affect the body. If you are new to pre-workout then it’s suggested to start with a mild pre-workout supplement.
Increased blood pressure: Everybody is different, Strong dose of stimulants might increase the heart rate and some people may experience drowsiness.
Insomnia: People who work out in the evening should be very careful about choosing the right pre-workout. A strong dose of caffeine might mess up the sleep cycle.
How to dodge the side effects:
Choose a pre-workout that is free from harsh stimulants. Our POWER pre-workout is specially designed with high quality ingredients that stay easy on the body while providing the required stimulus for improved performance.
Tips to choose the right pre-workout for you.
Understanding what’s in the pre-workout is the basic step to choose the right pre-workout supplement for you.
Strong dose of caffeine is not always good:
We have seen this trend in the younger generation of bodybuilders. Many guys tend to attract towards pre-workout that has a strong dose of caffeine.
A strong dose of caffeine might make you anxious and jittery, it is also responsible for the energy crash. Choose a pre-workout with a moderate amount of caffeine. 150-250 mg of caffeine can be your perfect sweet spot.
Experience with the pre-workout:
What’s your previous experience with pre-workout should also be an important factor.
First-timers should always start with the pre-workout formulae that are mild on the body.
What’s your training type? Are you someone who likes to lift weight or run 5K?
Your body’s requirements are different, someone in endurance training should focus on ingredients like moderate Caffeine, Taurine, BCAA and electrolytes.
If you are a strength training lover then you should be focusing on Beta-alanine, L-Citrulline, Creatine, etc.
Always choose a pre-workout supplement that contains clear information on all the ingredients.
I usually stay away from companies that do not specify all the ingredients. If you’re finding lots of long, difficult-to-pronounce words on the label of your pre-workout then you might want to google about the ingredients and their effectiveness.
Body composition goals
Some pre-workout contains a large number of carbohydrates to fuel the workout and some contain limited calories.
If your body goal is to get lean then it’s important to look into the number of calories and presence of carbs.
In our opinion, pre-workout is a totally worthy tool that can instantly elevate the workout performance that eventually leads to more strength and endurance.