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There are several Pros and Cons to Pre-workout supplements so how do you know if they are a right addition to your fitness nutrition plan? We are here to help with an in-depth dive into all of the benefits and drawbacks of these multi-ingredient supplements.
Pre-workout supplements are a popular way to improve athletic performance, but there are pros and cons of Pre-Workout Supplements. Some people find that they help with energy and endurance, while others feel like they make them jittery or anxious. In order to decide if pre-workout supplements are right for you, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of taking them.
Details of What A Pre-Workout Is
To help you adapt and improve your athletic performance over time, pre-workout supplements, which are sometimes called “pre-workout,” are multi-ingredient dietary compositions. Powdered supplements can be mixed with water and consumed before going to the gym.
To put it another way, there is no “standard” pre-workout formula. It’s possible to find a pre-workout supplement from a variety of suppliers, with a variety of ingredients. In pre-workout supplements, you’ll often find creatine monohydrate, beta alanine, L-Tarurine, and L-Leucine, in addition to caffeine. There are others, but those are some of the most common ingredients.
There are also many pre-workouts on the market that are caffeine free to help with some of the downsides that we will talk about later.
Common Ingredients Are Found in Pre-Workout Supplements
There are some core ingredients found in most pre-workouts. Before we hop into the prod and cons of pre-workout supplements, let’s take a look at these common ingrediants.
Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring amino acid that helps the body recycle adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is what our bodies use for energy. So, more creatine monohydrate in the system means more potential energy.
Creatine has been shown to boost muscular mass, strength, and performance in the gym, according to research. With creatine supplementation, you may lift higher weights and develop muscular mass. To keep you going on a lengthy run, bike ride or weightlifting exercise, it helps your muscles manufacture energy.
Beta Alanine is a nonessential amino acid that your body uses to make carnosine. Carnosine is a peptide that helps buffer the build-up of hydrogen ions, which leads to muscle fatigue.
Beta Alanine has been shown in research to delay the onset of fatigue, increase anaerobic endurance, and improve muscular performance. So, if you’re looking to push past that final rep or sprint to the finish line, beta alanine may help.
L-Tarurine is an amino acid found in many energy drinks and pre-workout supplements. L-Tarurine is thought to improve physical performance by reducing fatigue and improving focus during exercise.
One study showed that L-Tarurine supplementation improved running time to exhaustion, reduced the rate of perceived exertion, and improved cognitive function.
L-Leucine is an essential amino acid that is part of the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and is known for its role in muscle protein synthesis.
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Leucine has been shown in research to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is the process that helps repair and build muscle tissue thus reducing recovery time. Supplementing with L-Leucine may help you build muscle mass and strength.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can improve focus, alertness, and energy levels. Caffeine is often added to pre-workout supplements to help people feel more energetic and focused.
Other Common Pre-Workout Ingredients
Other ingredients you may find in your pre-workout include isoleucine, L-Citrulline DL-Malate leucine, and L-Theanine. These are all BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) that can have similar benefits to L-Leucine in terms of muscle protein synthesis and repair.
What to Look for When Choosing A Pre-workout Supplement
Now that we know a little bit about the common ingredients in pre-workout supplements, let’s talk about what to look for when choosing one.
First, it’s important to consider your fitness goals. If you’re looking to build muscle mass and strength, then you’ll want to choose a pre-workout supplement that contains creatine and beta alanine. If you’re looking to improve endurance or cognitive function, then you’ll want to look for a supplement that contains L-Tarurine and L-Leucine.
Second, it’s important to consider the caffeine content of the supplement. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll want to choose a pre-workout supplement with a lower caffeine content. If you’re not sensitive to caffeine, you may want to choose a supplement with a higher caffeine content to help you feel more energetic and focused during your workout.
Third, it’s important to consider the other ingredients in the pre-workout supplement. Some pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that are not backed by research or that may have side effects. So, before you choose a pre-workout supplement, make sure to read the ingredient list and do your research to make sure the ingredients are safe and effective.
Pre-workout supplements can have many benefits, but it’s important to consider your fitness goals and the caffeine content before choosing one. Make sure to read the ingredient list and do your research to make sure the ingredients are safe and effective.
Now that we know a little bit about pre-workout supplements, let’s talk about the pros and cons of taking them.
The Pros and Cons of Pre-Workout Supplements
Now that we know some of the common ingredients, as well as what they do, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of pre-workout supplements.
Pros of Pre-Workout:
Possible Performance Boost
The most common reason people take multi – ingredient pre-workout supplements is to improve their performance. And there is some research to support this. As we looked at before, many of the common ingredients in pre-workouts have been shown to improve exercise performance in various ways.
Creatine can help you lift heavier weights by potentially improving strength and increasing your body’s lean muscle mass (source). This is often used when muscle building to increase muscle size and create lean body mass. Another common ingredient, beta alanine, has been shown to improve anaerobic endurance (source).
So, if you’re looking for a possible performance boost during your workouts, taking a pre-workout supplement may be right for you. Just make sure to choose one that contains ingredients that have been proven to work and that you’re not sensitive too.
Improves Focus and Energy Levels
Another common reason people take pre-workouts is for the energy boost and focus benefits. Caffeine is the most common ingredient for this purpose and is used for energy production. And, as we know, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can help improve energy levels and focus.
If you’re someone who often feels tired during your workouts, a pre-workout with caffeine may help you feel more energetic and focused. Just be careful not to take too much caffeine, as this can lead to jitters or other side effects. To combat this con of pre-workouts, many supplements can now be found with lower doses or in a caffeine-free variety.
Potential to Improve Motivation
Another potential benefit of pre-workouts is that they can help improve motivation. This is likely due to the combination of energy and focus benefits that these supplements provide.
If you often find it hard to get motivated to workout, a pre-workout supplement may help give you the little extra push you need. Just be careful not to rely on the supplement too much and make sure to workout even when you don’t have your pre-workout.
Cons of Pre-Workout:
May Cause Jitters or Other Side Effects
As we mentioned before, caffeine is the most common ingredient in pre-workouts and one of the most common side effects is it often cause jitters or other negative effects. If you’re not used to consuming caffeine, it’s best to start with a lower dose or choose a pre-workout that doesn’t contain caffeine.
Some people also find that they get an upset stomach, racing heart or headache from pre-workouts. Again, this is often due to the high doses of caffeine in some supplements. Be sure to read the label carefully and start with a lower dose if you’re new to pre-workouts. The Mayo clinic recommends limiting caffeine intake to 400mg per day. That is roughly four cups of coffee.
May Not be Beneficial for Low Intensity Workouts
As we mentioned before, the benefits of a pre-workout supplement may not be as apparent for someone who does low intensity workouts like yoga. If you’re looking to improve performance or energy levels, a pre-workout may not be the best option for you.
Can be Expensive
Pre-workout supplements can be expensive, especially if you’re taking them multiple times per week. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider pre-workout alternatives like black coffee or green tea before your workout. These can provide a similar boost of energy and focus without the cost of energy drink or supplements. This could really help cut costs when you are using pre-workouts on a regular basis.
Increased Blood Pressure
Finally, one potential downside of pre-workout supplements is that they can increase blood pressure. This is often due to the high doses of caffeine in some supplements. If you have high blood pressure or are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid pre-workouts altogether.
As with any other supplement, it’s important to do your research and consult with a doctor before taking a pre-workout supplement. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions or are taking any other medications.
Can Be Addictive
Lastly, some people find that they become addicted to pre-workouts and can’t workout without them. This is often due to the caffeine content in these supplements. If you find that you’re relying on pre-workouts to get through your workouts, it’s best to cut back or stop taking them altogether.
Other Potential Cons of Pre-Workout
Some additional potential drawbacks from supplements include insomnia, adreanal fatigue, anxiety, and irritability. If you experience any of these side effects, it’s best to stop taking the supplement.
If you’re looking for pre-workout alternatives, there are a few things you can try.
Black Coffee or Green Tea
Before your workout, try drinking black coffee or tea. These drinks can provide a similar boost of energy and focus without the cost of energy drink or supplements.
Exercise on an Empty Stomach
If you’re looking for an alternative to consuming a pre-workout supplement, try working out on an empty stomach. This can be tough for some people, but it may help you feel more energized and focused during your workout.
Yoga or Stretching
If you’re not looking to increase performance or energy levels, try doing yoga or stretching before your workout. This can help improve your flexibility and range of motion. We have a guide offering some great Beginner Yoga Poses to try.
While pre-workout supplements can have some benefits, they also come with potential risks and side effects. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of pre-workout supplements to carefully to help decide if they are right for you.
FAQs About Pros and Cons of Pre-Workout Supplements
Below are some frequently asked questions about the pros and cons of pre-workout supplements.
Q: What are some possible side effects of pre-workout supplements?
A: Some potential side effects of pre-workout supplements include jitters, headaches, increased blood pressure, and upset stomach. If you experience any of these side effects, it’s best to stop taking the supplement.
Q: Can I take pre-workout supplements if I have high blood pressure?
A: If you have high blood pressure, it’s best to avoid pre-workout supplements altogether. These supplements can increase blood pressure and may not be safe for you to take.
Q: What are some of the benefits of pre-workout supplements?
A: Some potential benefits of pre-workout supplements include increased energy, improved performance, and increased focus. However, these supplements are not right for everyone and come with potential risks and side effects. You should consider your entire nutrition plan before starting any food or new dietary supplement.
Q: What Pre-workout Ingredients Should I Avoid?
A: If you have high blood pressure, you should avoid pre-workout supplements that contain caffeine. Additionally, people who are sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants should avoid supplements with large amounts of these ingredients.
Q: How Long Does Pre-workout Take to Kick In?
A: Most pre-workouts take about 30 minutes to kick in. However, the effects of these supplements can vary depending on the ingredients and how much you take. If you’re looking for an immediate burst of energy, a pre-workout may not be right for you.
Q: What’s the Best Time to Take Pre-workout?
A: The best time to take pre-workout is about 30 minutes before you plan to start your workout. This will give the ingredients time to kick in and provide you with energy and focus for your workout. However, be sure to listen to your body and only take pre-workout if you feel you need it.