You may think pre-workout is a relatively new trend, but you’d be surprised to find out athletes have been using supplements in some way, shape or form to enhance their workouts throughout history. While pre-workout has been popularized by career athletes, it can be a beneficial addition into your workout routine by kickstarting your energy levels. Don’t believe us? Read on and find out more about how pre-workout works and remember to talk to your physician before using dietary supplements.
What Is Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout is defined as any meal, snack or supplement consumed before working out to help energize and maximize your efforts. However, the pre-workout we’re dishing on is the supplemental variety. Pre-workout supplements are meant to enhance your workouts, but how do they work? For starters, many pre-workout options are formulated with caffeine. Caffeine, a stimulant, energizes by activating beta-endorphins in order to increase your alertness and your energy. That burst of energy comes in handy during a strenuous workout. While caffeine is used in some pre-workout varieties—it’s not found in all of them. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, there are plenty of other options. Some brands use an additive called beta-alanine which helps slow down muscle fatigue so you can push harder, longer during your workout. Some additional popular ingredients found in pre-workout are creatine, taurine and L-arginine.
When Should I Use Pre-Workout?
The first thing you need to do if you’re interested in incorporating a pre-workout into your fitness journey is speak with your physician. A doctor should always be consulted before using dietary supplements and pre-workout supplements are no different! When you get the all-clear to use pre-workout, plan on taking it roughly 30 minutes prior to your workout. The pre-workout needs enough time to digest into your system and help energize your exercise sesh.
How Do I Know If Pre-Workout Is Working?
In short, you’ll know. That sudden burst of energy? It’s the pre-workout! You’ll also notice that your body isn’t as fatigued as it typically might be during your workout.
Is Pre-Workout Worth the Hype?
It’s a common question people ask when considering using pre-workouts, with good reason. With pre-workout, there’s often more caffeine in the formula than recommended for daily consumption. Some pre-workout supplements contain as much caffeine as the equivalent to FOUR cups of coffee in just one serving and many others contain caffeine levels that could present health problems.
The occasional use of pre-workout can help with performance inside the gym. If you find yourself needing a boost or need to work out later or earlier than usual—it could be worth trying. However, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re feeling fatigued or looking for a boost. Do you need more sleep? Are you drinking enough water throughout the day? Are there more natural ways to boost your energy? Pre-workout can be a great way to super-charge your time in the gym, but they aren’t your best bet for everyday use.