Whether you are going to the gym or doing exercise at your home, you may have heard about pre-workout supplements from your gym trainers, friends, or through advertisements. It is claimed that these pre-workout powders improve your fitness and give you the optimal energy you need to do challenging workouts.
However, many health experts don’t support these types of supplements and tell us how they are dangerous and unnecessary for us.
Here we will discuss the real fact behind pre-workout powder to understand whether they’re healthy or not.
What are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout powder or supplements, also known as “pre-workouts, is formulated for giving you instant energy to do exercise. These powders are enriched with caffeine, Amino acids, beta-alanine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners, simply mix into water and drink before workout.
Which ingredients should be in Your Pre-workout powder?
According to studies, it is suggested that certain ingredients should be in your pre-workout powder supplement.
Caffeine is commonly used in the pre-workout supplement to boost energy and focus. It works as a stimulant to improve concentration, memory, and physical performance, as well as reduce body fat.
Creatine is often used in pre-workout powders as well as a standalone supplement. It’s very popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and weightlifters. Researchers say that supplementing with creatine can increase your body’s stored supply of this compound, thus improving recovery time, strength, muscle mass, and exercise performance.
This is a type of amino acid that is used in pre-workout drinks. It helps in preventing acid build-up in muscle tissue and gives strength to your muscles to work longer. One most important fact of this ingredient, you can feel a tingling sensation, but it is completely harmless, you may find it unpleasant.
- Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, this is a compound that our body naturally produces. And in the pre-workout formulas, some common compounds are included that help in the formulation of nitric oxide. These compounds are L-arginine, L-citrulline, and sources of dietary nitrates like beetroot juice.
Research proves that supplementing with these compounds boosts oxygen and nutrient transport to your muscles, and improves athletic performance.
- BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
BCAAs are used for increasing muscle growth and decreasing muscle soreness when it is taken before a workout. This compound is naturally found in dietary sources of protein.
Which Ingredients or Compounds You Should Avoid?
Generally, Pre-workout supplements are safe and risk-free, still, you should consider something before taking:
Sugar Alcohols and Artificial Sweeteners
Pre-workout supplements contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavor of the supplement without increasing calories.
Artificial sweeteners may lead to intestinal discomfort, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. However, these symptoms are not scientifically proven, but some people have experienced them.
So, before purchasing a pre-workout powder, you should check the ingredient list of the product, if they contain large quantities of these sweeteners, avoid them or try a small amount first to see how your body responds to it.
Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine is an energy-boosting ingredient, but its excessive intake may lead to some side effects like increased blood pressure, disrupted sleep, and stress. In one serving of protein powder have as much caffeine as you take in your 1-2 cups of coffee. So, when you are taking any pre-workout formulas, avoid other sources that provide caffeine.
Do You Need a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout powders aren’t for everyone. If you are struggling with the lack of energy during the workout, before taking the supplement, consider other lifestyle factors like hydration, sleep, and diet.
If you get that pre-workout formula to work for you, you can take it or continue it. Just be mindful of their ingredients and your total consumption and keep these factors in mind.
How to take Pre-workout powder
Pre-workout products come with instructions for how to take them. Follow these instructions, and start with a smaller serving, so that you can assess your tolerance level. You should take the supplement 30-60 minutes before you work out. This allows enough time for the ingredients to reach your bloodstream and kick in.
If your pre-workout supplement contains caffeine, beta-alanine, or other stimulants, don’t take it in the evening, it may disrupt your ability to fall asleep.
Food Alternatives to Pre-Workout Powder
Taking a Pre-workout supplement before workouts give energy to your body to perform in your training session and make a big difference in your energy level in a positive way. Besides these pre-workout formulas, you can also plan a balanced meal that is rich in carbs, protein, and fat like you can take an egg or veggie omelette and whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, you can also include fresh fruit. But this type of balanced diet should be taken at least 2-3 hours before the workout.
If you do exercise in the morning, you can also try an easily digestible source of carbs like banana about 30-60 minutes before your workout.
If you don’t prefer taking a pre-workout supplement and want the performance-boosting effects found in caffeine, drink a cup of coffee alongside a pre-workout snack.
Pre-workout supplements are used to improve physical performance and energy levels through workouts and other physical activities, but there are no health benefits.
Whether you are thinking of taking pre-workout supplements, you shout opt for formulas certified by a third party if you decided to take them.
If you have any health issues, you may want to check with your doctor before trying a pre-workout supplement.
The most important thing, whether you take pre-workouts powder or not, make sure you are following a healthy and balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate sleep.