Our coaches and I have recently been asked more questions than usual around supplements. It's not a subject that we cover publicly too often as we tend to recommend supplements on a case-by-case basis when necessary, but in response to the increased demand, over the coming days/weeks I'm going to cover some of the more common supplements as a simple summary. Today, we start with Pre-Workout A pre workout is exactly what it say’s on the tin – it’s a supplement to be taken prior to a workout with the gaol of giving you more energy for improved strength & performance. In other words, a pre workout is a performance enhancing supplement.
Although the ingredients list can vary wildly from brand to brand, typically you’ll see caffeine (this is what gives you the stimulation) and a mixture of vitamins, BCAA’s and creatine.
Caffeine is seen as the key ingredient as it’s what gives you the (almost) instant hit. This is what makes you tingle and buzz with surplus energy. Now you know what a pre-workout is, should you take it? The answer, as always, is maybe. So let me answer this in a different way:
Should we rely on it? And the answer to that is most definitely no.
If from time to time you need to have a coffee to get you through a work day, that’s a fairly well accepted thing to do. But if you rely on coffee to get you through a work day every day, that’s a fed flag!
Same principle applies here. If you’ve got a workout planned and you’re lacking energy, then sure, take a hit but reserve it for those occasions. Next question, are there any side effects/risks? The big one is the impact on your heart. The very high levels of caffeine (sometimes upwards of 300mg or the equivalent of 3-4 cups of coffee in one hit!) causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. For this reason, it is recommended that anybody with cardiovascular conditions avoid.
Other side effects include: dehydration, anxiety, jitters, stomach irritation, skin irritation and negative interactions with other medications. Summary In summary, pre-workout can give you the edge when it comes to performance. Personally, I like a pre-workout from time-to-time.
But treat with caution. If you are in a high risk category or take other meds, take advice before you purchase.
Most importantly, don’t become reliant and if in doubt, cut it out!