Pre-Workout Supplements – Another Marketing Trick or a Necessity?

pre workout supplements

Several years ago nobody was talking about the pre-workout supplements. A healthy lunch and a banana were enough to give us energy, but now we hear more and more about these little fellows capable of boosting our energy.

The opinions are split, there are trainers who recommend them and there are also trainers who do not trust these wander makers.

“Pre-workout” is any supplement, usually a powder drink mix, that claims to boost workout performance if you consume it beforehand.

While some pre-workout supplements have carbs, most are carb- and calorie-free. Others contain caffeine, beet juice, or amino acids such as arginine, citrulline, and ornithine to rev up your “fight or flight” response, dilate your blood vessels, and increase blood flow to your muscles, says Jessica Crandall, registered dietitian.

Carbohydrates, caffeine, beetroot juice, and creatine monohydrate (a popular muscle-building supplement) are all common pre-workout supplement ingredients that have been shown to improve exercise performance.

Although some pre-workout ingredients are well tested and could boost your energy level, a great majority of ingredients aren’t tested and it could harm you on a long term.

Carbs are pretty obvious—they’re your body’s go-to source of energy and what experts recommend eating before a workout to properly fuel.

Caffeine is a well known stimulant for boosting energy and alertness but there are some other studies that prove coffee may help improve muscle’s ability to generate power.

Beetroot juice wasn’t as tested as carbs or caffeine, but the last studies proved that it increases the body’s levels of nitric oxide and improves cardiovascular performance.

Creatine monohydrate is also an ingredient often used in pre-workout formulas. Creatine is a derivative of three amino acids that’s naturally produced in the body and stored in the muscles as a source of quick energy.  The studies have shown that it can be taken pre or post workout and there are also some studies that say creatine offer better results if taken after workout.

All workout performance questions aside, safety comes first, so before choosing a particular brand of supplements, make sure they are FDA regulated and get more information about their ingredients and their impact on your body!