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Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
For some time I’ve been interested in buying a supplement to give me an extra push on my early morning workouts.
Coffee would, of course, be an easy option and is used by many, but I don’t actually like the taste of coffee so pre workout supplements could be a good option for me.
Although these supplements are marketed as safe, are they? Knowing about these supplements, their ingredients, and the risks, is very important for me to make the best choice.
A pre-workout typically consists of three or more ingredients, depending on the brand.
They may contain pump enhancers, creatine, stimulants, and more recently have started to contain nootropics.
The main stimulant found in most pre-workouts, however is caffeine. This ingredient is responsible for blocking the receptors in the brain that receive chemicals that make you tired.
Before I take any pre-workout, I need to make sure I carefully research and ensure it is safe because not all of these supplements are created equal, and not everyone should plan on taking them, especially for the long term.
Table of Contents
- Is It Safe to Take a Pre-Workout Every Day?
- Are Energy Drinks the Same as Preworkout?
- How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
- What Should a Pre-Workout Contain?
- Can Preworkouts Cause Heart Problems?
- Pre-Workout Horror Stories
- Conclusion – Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements
Is It Safe to Take a Pre-Workout Every Day?
Although pre-workout supplements are generally considered safe for most people, taking them daily may be too often.
The safety of taking a pre-workout daily depends upon the ingredients and their strengths.
Some pre-workouts contain large amounts of caffeine. When taken daily, too much caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure and anxiety.
It can also cause decreases in quality sleep.
It can be especially dangerous to take a caffeine-laden preworkout if you are getting caffeine from other sources throughout your typical day.
Coffee, sodas, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine.
If you are going to take a preworkout daily, make sure to be mindful of the ingredients. If you suffer from any health issues, check with your doctor first before adding any supplement to your routine.
Are Energy Drinks the Same as Preworkout?
Some people have made the mistake of thinking energy drinks are the same as pre-workout, but this is not true.
Yes, both of them contain stimulants like caffeine, which help increase energy, but pre-workout contains other vital ingredients that help improve your performance in the gym.
While some people substitute pre-workouts with energy drinks, this is not advisable. Most energy drinks are filled to the brim with caffeine and sugar, both of which can cause problems in your body.
Most pre-workouts contain natural caffeine, whereas energy drinks contain artificial caffeine.
Natural caffeine sources may come from green coffee beans or green tea extracts.
With natural caffeine, you are less likely to experience crashes and jitteriness.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
The average person should not consume over 400 mg of caffeine a day.
Popular energy drinks like ‘Bang’ can contain as many as 300 mg of caffeine in one serving! That’s a lot.
These drinks can cause rapid heartbeat, among other issues, that may make working out uncomfortable and even dangerous.
If you have been using energy drinks, thinking they are on the same level as a preworkout, you are misled.
If you are going to use any type of supplement before working out, make sure it is of the highest quality and contains beneficial nutrients and ingredients that will propel your success during workouts.
What Should a Pre-Workout Contain?
As I mentioned briefly above, pre-workouts can contain varying ingredients, but often include a stimulant.
Any pre-workout supplement you take should consist of the very best ingredients.
You should also eat healthy meals, in addition to consuming a preworkout.
Note: The vitamins and minerals contained in a pre-workout supplement should not be depended on to provide you with your daily nutrition requirements alone.
The following are some of the top ingredients you should look for when choosing a pre-workout.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
You may see this ingredient shortened to BCAA on the label. These amino acids typically contain three types, including valine, isoleucine, and leucine. When you consume branched-chain amino acids, they do not go through your digestive system. Instead, they go right into the blood and begin to work.
Choose a pre-workout that contains caffeine from natural sources, whenever possible. Caffeine stimulates your body’s central nervous system.
It will help you stay more alert and focused during your workouts.
Creatine is a non-essential amino acid that is sometimes produced by the human body.
It helps to replace your creatine stores, which can become rapidly depleted during workouts.
Creatine helps to increase physical performance in the short term.
When you are sweating, you are losing important electrolyte minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
It is especially important to choose a preworkout with electrolytes if you will be working out for a long time.
You will find protein in the best pre-workout supplements.
Protein helps the body to deliver more amino acids, which results in greater muscle growth.
Many of the best pre-workout supplements contain vitamin B12.
This vitamin is essential for achieving proper metabolism in the body.
This vitamin is also integral in forming red blood cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system.
When searching for any pre-workout, make sure to read the ingredients carefully.
If the preworkout contains a lot of words you cannot pronounce, chances are it is no good.
Choose a nutritionally beneficial preworkout for the best results.
Can Preworkouts Cause Heart Problems?
Unfortunately, some pre-workouts can cause heart issues to develop, even if they are only temporary.
Some pre-workout supplements contain vast amounts of caffeine.
As stated before, you should consume no more than 400mg of caffeine a day.
If the preworkout you are taking contains tons of caffeine, and then you are consuming coffee and other caffeine sources, you could be overloading on this stimulant.
Too much caffeine consumption can cause the following.
- An influx of caffeine can lead to high blood pressure. Higher blood pressure puts you at a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke.
- Too much caffeine can also cause heart palpitations. When your heart is beating abnormally, it cannot deliver blood flow to the body as it should.
- Other heart rhythm issues can also develop as a result of too much caffeine.
The above will not happen to everyone because everyone reacts differently to caffeine.
If a person has an underlying heart condition, whether known or unknown, they may experience more extreme side effects than a completely healthy person.
No matter the level of health, over time, too much caffeine can take its toll on a person.
Pre-Workout Horror Stories
There are not as many horror stories to tell as of late because most of the really dangerous pre-workouts have been removed from the market. That being said, there are still horror stories floating around that should warn people to be careful when using any type of preworkout, especially those that are on the more intense side.
One user reports they had stopped using pre-workout supplements for about four months and then decided to use a scoop before driving to the gym.
On the way, they experienced massive bloat and belching.
When the user went to do their chest workout, they started projectile vomiting pink and purple foam all over the gym floor and equipment.
Needless to say, they were too embarrassed to ever go back!
A healthy twenty-five-year-old military male experienced a bilateral cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke after consuming Animal Rage XL.
While this is extremely rare, given he had no risk factors, it occurred shortly after he consumed the popular pre-workout.
A healthy thirty-three-year-old housewife took Alpha Lean-7. She was rushed to the emergency room with central chest pain and fainting.
With no cardiac risk factors, her troponin rose to 50 ng/L.
After a three-day stay in the hospital, her troponin levels finally came down.
The Dangers of Preworkouts
Some side-effects can be experienced by people of all ages after consuming a preworkout. It is important to be aware of the possible risks. The following includes a list of some of the negative side effects of using pre-workouts.
- Pre-workouts may make you feel jittery, especially if they are loaded with caffeine. If you are too jittery, working out may become problematic.
- You also may become bloated. Some preworkouts can cause you to hold on to water and gas, which can become painful.
- Some pre-workouts can cause a pins and needles feeling in your hands and feet, which can become quite uncomfortable.
- You could also experience stomach upset. Taking too much preworkout could result in nausea and diarrhea.
- Some pre-workouts increase blood flow, which can end up causing headaches. These headaches can also be brought on because of an increase in blood pressure.
Conclusion – Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements
Although some pre-workouts are beneficial, you should practice great caution when using them, especially daily.
Check the ingredients and their strengths carefully. Read reviews. Ensure you check with your doctor before using any pre-workouts, especially if you have cardiac risks.