Scrolling through social media could make you fear that you are missing a training foundation that is apparently just as necessary as a custom-fit sports bra and shoes: a pre-workout supplement, known colloquially as a “pre-workout.”
In fact, there are 4.3 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag “Preworkout”, and the photos show how diverse this term can be: chewable tablets, capsules, canned drinks, powders and colorful liquids in shaker bottles promise everything to help you achieve a better one Achieve training.
You used to eat a banana or piece of toast before a hard workout, and that was enough. But now it seems like every athlete (at least on social media) is talking about pre-workout.
“If I want to train well, I need pre-workout.”
As a coach and regular athlete, I’ve heard these lines from everyone. No, I am not taking a pre-workout supplement, nor do I recommend that you take one.
But knowing how often people talk about these supplements and how heavily marketed they are, I decided to speak to exercise dieters to get their opinion. It turns out that some pre-workouts may contain safe, energy-saving ingredients, but others may be pointless or potentially harmful. Here’s what you need to know before joining the pre-workout believers.
What is pre-workout?
“Pre-workout” is a supplement – usually a powdered drink mix but also available in the forms listed above – that claims to increase exercise performance if consumed beforehand.
First and foremost, it’s important to know that virtually every supplement and sports nutrition brand has its own pre-workout formula, which means that no two tubs contain the same or even similar ingredients. In fact, according to a 2019 study of the 100 commercially available nutritional supplements per workout, almost half of all ingredients were part of a “proprietary blend,” meaning the amounts of each ingredient were not disclosed.
“There really isn’t a good definition of what a pre-workout supplement is – and a lot of companies only suggest it on products because it’s available at the time – but in general it’s a product designed to boost energy levels in general Combination of B vitamins, carbohydrates and antioxidants, ”says registered nutritionist Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE, spokeswoman for the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, to SELF.
While some pre-workout supplements contain carbohydrates, many are carbohydrate and calorie-free. Others contain caffeine, beet juice, or amino acids like arginine, citrulline, and ornithine, which they market to speed up your “fight or flight” response, widen your blood vessels, and increase blood flow to your muscles, she says. Some supplements even contain esoteric ingredients like deer antler velvet to increase insulin growth factor 1, a hormone that your body naturally produces in response to strength training to increase muscle and tissue growth.
Why do people take before exercise?
Most people take it before exercise for performance reasons or just to feel better and less zonked while exercising.
Pre-workout supplements were studied using a range of exercise metrics, including strength, strength, and endurance, and the time it takes to be tired and perceiving exertion – or how hard it feels to work during a given task.
For these reasons, before a variety of workouts, participants can choose to pre-workout by trying to increase their maximum of 1 rep in the squat, to gain strength through interval-heavy running workouts, or simply to have enough gasoline in the tank last burpee in a HIIT class.