At some point in your fitness journey, you've probably considered taking pre-workout supplements. After all, they are some of the most well-known supplements in the industry today, and the benefits are continuing to grow.
While some may fear the ingestion of any unknown chemicals or foreign substances, it is important to know what pre-workouts can provide you before going to any conclusions. Keep in mind, there are also supplement companies that create 'natural' pre-workout supplements, which contain only natural ingredients. You can even create your own!
Let's take a look at what taking pre-workouts contain, as well as the benefits they provide for you.
Pre-Workouts: What's In Them?
Many are concerned with these supplements, since they hear stories of people having cases of rapid heart rate, 'jitters,' not being able to sleep at night, or crashing from exhaustion a few hours after ingestion.
While these all have occurred, it is important to understand that user error needs to be considered as well. Most of the problems that people fear, such as a very high heart rate, is due to the consumer taking more than the recommended intake that is on the label. You should also take some time to build up to the recommended serving sizes, such as starting off with a half a scoop, instead of a full scoop.
The main ingredients in pre-workout supplements are caffeine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, and (usually) creatine. The beta-alanine is what gives you the 'jitters,' and the rest are normal supplements that you would otherwise have to stack on top of your pre-workout.
Now let's take a look at a few of the benefits these powerful supplements bring to the table.
Pre-Workout For Increased Performance
This is the #1 reason that people order these supplements. Pre-workouts come with a beautiful combination of supplements that have a high impact (BCAAs, creatine), and combines them with caffeine to provide an excellent energy boost.
But now, on top of just having an energy boost, you have increased strength, endurance, and focus. One study showed the positive impacts that NO-Shotgun® has on performance, muscle mass, and body composition1.
Because of the thermogenic effects pre-workouts have, they give you increased endurance, as well as using fatty acids for fuel. When this is done, you are helping to fight off any excess fat mass gain, due to your pre-workout supplement speeding up your metabolism.
The side effects of these supplements is another reason your metabolism is boosted. This includes having more stamina, which allows you to train for longer durations during your training sessions. On top of this, you also have increased intensity, which allows you to exert more energy, and thus burn more calories.
Pre-Workout for Improved Recovery?
Remember when I said that BCAAs were included in most pre-workout supplements?
Yeah, those things have a massive benefit on a number of variables.
One of these variables includes muscle recovery post-exercise. After you finish working out, it is important to replenish and fuel your muscles, to help them recover and grow from the stress that was accumulated. But with the inclusion of BCAAs, you already have a head start on this.
That is because BCAAs are responsible for protein synthesis, the process that is responsible for starting the recovery and growth of your muscles. When these are ingested prior to working out, they are already helping your muscles to repair and recover, since they are readily available in the body.
It is my opinion that everyone should try pre-workout supplements at least once. They are loaded with beneficial ingredients, provide an unbelievable improvement to your training sessions, and make you feel much more fulfilled and satisfied with your workout. Without them, you greatly reduce the chance of a bad training session.
Don't train fatigued and hinder your growth and progress. Instead, grab a quality pre-workout supplement, and watch the performance improve, and the muscle gains come piling on.
- Shelmadine, B., Cooke, M., Buford, T., Hudson, G., Redd, L., Leutholtz, B., & Willoughby, D. (2009). Effects of 28 days of resistance exercise and consuming a commercially available pre-workout supplement, NO-Shotgun®, on body composition, muscle strength and mass, markers of satellite cell activation, and clinical safety markers in males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.