Pre-workout supplements have existed for quite some time but only in the last couple of years have they gone from something obsessed bodybuilders took, to something even casual exercisers are trying for a boost. These supplements are meant to give you the same energy as a pre-workout meal without weighing your stomach down.
Most pre-workout supplements contain different amounts of the same primary ingredients: caffeine (for an energy boost), BCAAs (amino acids that repair protein in the body), and beta alanine (another amino acid that prevents muscle fatigue). Many also contain creatine which is said to help you push through more intense workouts but is believed by many experts to be pure filler.
Every pre-workout supplement has different effects on different people but they all have similar pros and cons. It’s important to know as much as you can about any supplement before you begin taking it.
Increased Mental Focus – How much of this you get depends on the supplement, but you can count on caffeine to boost your mental focus. Some supplements may use other stimulants similar to caffeine for this purpose.
Increased Energy – Again provided largely by caffeine, this is the primary purpose of pre-workout supplements. Beta alanine allows you to maintain this increased level of energy for a longer period of time.
Increased Strength – A lot of these claims are exaggerated but you will get an extra boost of strength from most pre-workout supplements; you will also notice more rapid muscle growth over time.
Increased Fat Burning – There is some evidence that caffeine may directly help you lose weight when taken in the right amounts. Because pre-workout supplements also protect and strengthen your muscles they also increase your ability to continue burning calories after your workout.
Potentially increased blood pressure – Some of these supplements have been known to cause increased blood pressure. It is recommended that anyone who already has high blood pressure avoids pre-workout supplements.
Irregular heart beat – This can happen if you perform aerobic exercises after taking pre-workout supplements because of the combination of stimulants and natural adrenaline. Pre-workout supplements are only recommended before strength training workouts for this reason.
Potential dehydration – Caffeine is a diuretic and if there’s too much of it in a supplement for your body size you will likely experience dehydration. This can make it impossible to complete a longer workout even if you’ve brought a water bottle and it puts unnecessary strain on your muscles.
Potential adrenal fatigue – As people get used to caffeine they end up resorting to larger and larger doses. If you’re not careful about controlling your caffeine intake it can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue
Potential drug test failure – Some pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that are actively banned from sporting leagues. Make sure you research individual ingredients before you actually purchase anything.
Many serious bodybuilders swear by pre-workout supplements and they have been shown to provide excellent results time and time again, but there are still drawbacks. You shouldn’t be afraid of pre-workout supplements but you should take the time to carefully research the various supplement options and ingredients used in these supplements before you actually purchase any.
Cost – Pre-workout supplements can be extremely expensive, and often produce the same results as brewing my own coffee in a french press for a quick caffeine boost before exercising. There are definitely cheaper methods to achieve the same result.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions remember to always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Find Mobility Guardian on Google+