Pre-workouts have become very popular in recent years, but are they something you should add to your supplement cupboard, or are they one to leave behind?
Pre-workouts are a multi-ingredient formula that is used to boost an athletes energy and performance. Generally, you’ll find a mix of amino acids, caffeine, creatine and sweeteners in a pre-workout powder, which you’ll then mix with water and drink before a workout (hence the name!)
Firstly we have to look at what the ingredients in a pre-workout do in your body. The ingredients in most pre-workouts will increase your blood flow, increase your heart rate and increase blood flow to the skin. The first ingredient to consider is caffeine. Caffiene is known to most of us to boost our energy levels and stamina and this is exactly why its in pre-workout. Caffiene has been shown to block pain in the muscles during a workout to, which is good if you want to push your muscles as far as they can go.
Another ingredient is Creatine. Creatine is a chemical your body has naturally, in very small amounts. It is used when you need high-energy for a short burst of time. Typically your creatine system can only be sustained for a tiny amount of time and takes a while to be regenerated. Adding a pre-workout containing Creatine to your workout, could improve your high intensity capacity and help you use that system in your body for longer by replacing what your body naturally makes, faster.
All this being said, there are always cons to everything and pre-workout is no different. The caffeine content in a pre-workout is extremely high. It’s recommended that people don’t exceed 400mg of caffeine a day – and guess what? Pre-workout has around 150mg – 250mg in each scoop. With some brands recommending you take 2 scoops in one serving, that your entire daily recommendation in one drink! If you add your morning coffee, your afternoon tea, you’ve soon added up to well over the recommended amount. So it’s definitely worth thinking about how much caffeine you consume throughout the rest of the day as well (as high levels of caffeine can lead to headaches and nausea).
It’s worth noting that some suggested effects of Creatine taken in high doses could cause some issues for your liver and kidneys down the line, but this hasn’t been conclusively proved and there is research to show the safety of a creatine supplement.
Pre-workout definitely has benefits and, if used correctly, could really boost your performance in the gym if used in moderation. With anything, it’s definitely worth looking at your other intake of caffeine and the other ingredients before jumping in to downing pre-workout at every gym session.
Come check our variety of pre-workouts at the reception bar. Ready and waiting for you to give them a try.
Love, Team UG