Most people who enjoy regular workouts – from gym-goers, runners to yogis – would have heard about pre-workout supplements.
You may have some questions regarding pre-workout supplements, and we will help answer those questions, such as what are pre-workout ingredients, should you be taking pre-workout supplements, and how safe is it to take a pre-workout supplement?
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Most pre-workout supplements are a mix of powders with different ingredients (more on that later). The purpose of this powdered mix is to enhance your exercise performance when you drink it before your workout.
The pre-workout supplement industry is variable, and each brand has its own ingredients, although there are some similarities between brands that produce muscle growth and regulate body weight.
Despite the different formulas used by brands, certain key ingredients in pre-workout remain the same, which we will look at below. It remains up to you to do research on the ingredients in your preferred pre-workout drink.
Generally, pre-workout supplements work to increase muscle growth and provide an energy boost through the use of branched-chain amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, creatine and caffeine.
The inclusion of carbohydrates is up to the individual brands. The Faction Labs Disorder Pre-Workout is one brand that excludes carbs from its formula.
Amino acids, like beta alanine or citrulline, work to increase blood flow by opening up your blood vessels.
Other ingredients, like hormones, can promote the production of insulin growth factors, which increases tissue growth.
Here are some common ingredients in pre-workout supplements:
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our bodies, after body fat. By including carbs in your pre-workout supplements, your body will have increased energy before a workout.
Carbs are useful before any type of exercise – resistance, strength, sprint or endurance. When you workout, your body will use stored carbs and sugars (glucose) to produce energy and keep you strong during training.
Most of us know the effect of coffee, and this stimulant can keep you alert during physical performance. It keeps you awake during early morning training sessions, and also promotes muscle tissue development and strength.
Creatine is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements. It consists of amino acids which are stored in the muscle tissue as energy which can be harnessed later. Creatine is also well-known to build lean muscle mass.
When Is It Best to Use a Pre-workout Supplement?
You may be questioning whether you should use a pre-workout supplement, and when it is best to take a pre-workout.
A lot of avid exercisers take pre-workout supplements to have more energy, especially with early morning sessions.
These supplements form a standard part of sports nutrition, and can help those working out to excel further during training.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of this supplement, take it 30 to 45 minutes before exercising. It is important to note that pre-workouts are not for everyone, and you should not come to rely on them for energy.
It is up to you to get proper sleep, water and food. Pre-workouts are not designed to help you lose weight, so if this is your goal, then you should skip this supplement and focus on healthy eating and the right exercise.
1. Are Pre-Workouts Bad for You?
Pre-workouts help boosts energy, performance, and develop muscle mass. Because of the ingredients, such as carbs and caffeine, it is important that it is taken in moderation.
Over-consumption of caffeine may result in high blood pressure, cardiac issues, and a disrupted sleep cycle. It is best to avoid supplements with added sugar, flavouring and preservatives.
Buy a reputable supplement brand. It may be more expensive, but these brands have a proven success rate and will be third-party certified for safety.
2. Will I Gain Weight?
Creatine, although safe for use, must be taken with a lot of water. This will allow you to build muscles and lean body mass, and not pick up weight.
Creatine causes your muscles to store excess water, which will make it appear that you gained weight – a common concern for athletes.
Excess carbs can also lead to weight gain, however, if you take the correct amount of pre-workout products before exercise, this is unlikely to be an issue.
3. What Will It Do to My Kidneys?
The concern about kidney damage comes due to the inclusion of creatine in pre-workout formulas.
Creatine will not damage your kidneys if you take it with a lot of water, so make sure to stay well-hydrated after taking pre-workout supplements. To protect your kidneys, try avoiding creatine intake for long periods of time.
Pre-workout supplements are the perfect way to increase energy and performance when working out. It is up to you to do your research and find a brand that works for your exercise regime.