Pre Workout: Benefits, Side Effects & Should You Take It
Pre-workout is a dietary supplement that provides you with anaerobic power to complete your workout without getting tired. The pre-workout benefits include improved energy, better muscle strength, increased lean body mass, enhanced concentration and fat reduction.
The main ingredients of any good pre-workout drink include amino acids, caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine and sweeteners. It is advised to consume it about 30 minutes before a workout.
But is it really necessary for you? Do you really need it and are there any side-effects of pre-workout? This article covers it all. So let’s dive deep into that pre-workout bottle before you hit the gym!
In this article, we’ll cover
The presence of various body-building ingredients makes it a power-packed drink to make you perform well in the gym.
You can make good use of those workout hours without procrastinating with these pre-workout ingredients. Here is what these ingredients can do for you –
- Caffeine – It is one of the main ingredients of any pre-workout powder, gel, drink or tablet. It makes you more active, and alert and improves performance like your daily coffee does, except that it has more caffeine than your daily cup of joe.
- Creatine – It is another superhero of your pre-workout. It gets stored in the muscles of your body and boosts their strength and muscle mass. This improves the overall muscle performance including the recovery time. It is quite popular among gym-lovers to enhance muscle power.
- Amino Acids – BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) increase muscle endurance that is they help your muscles to work for a longer time period without getting tired. They are known to improve muscle strength as well so you can lift more in the gym.
- Nitric Oxide Releasers – The ingredients present in a pre-workout drink such as L-arginine, and L-citrulline help in releasing nitric oxide in the body. When nitric oxide is released in the body, the blood vessels expand (dilate), thereby improving the blood flow to the muscles. Good Blood flow means great performance.
- Vitamin B-complex – Vitamin B is taken to give strength to nerves, keep the skin healthy and make the overall muscle functions better.
Well, everything has its pros and cons, and pre-workout is also not an exception. There are a few reasons that can make it unsuitable for you.
- Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners are added to pre-workout drinks to make the drink more palatable. The presence of artificial sweeteners can cause allergies in those who are sensitive to them. It is known to cause some indigestion problems as well.
- Excessive Caffeine – The daily recommended dosage of caffeine for a healthy adult is 400 mg (2). This is the top limit, if you are taking caffeine from other food sources as well such as tea, coffee, green tea etc then it is easy to lose count and face adverse effects such as anxiety, sleep disturbances and inability to relax.
- Unmonitored Substances – Some pre-workout is loaded with ingredients that can cause harm to your body. The addition of some amphetamines in the pre-workout can be quite harmful. (3)
The pre-workout is not really bad for you but you need to look out for the ingredients it has and whether you are allergic to any of them. Monitoring the caffeine intake is also important so that you don’t max out on your daily requirements.
Also Read: Best Pre Workout Foods
- Keeps you More Focused – Due to the addition of caffeine in the pre-workout, it keeps you more focused and increases your concentration. The presence of concentration and attentiveness during the workout is very important to protect yourself from injuries as well.
- Boosts Energy – This is the undeniable benefit of pre-workout. It gives you a rush of energy about 30 minutes post-consumption. It keeps procrastination and fatigue at bay.
- Longer Workout Sessions – It is a dream for every gym lover to spend more time in the gym. It gives you assurance about your agility and endurance. Pre-workout helps you do that. Creatine and BCAAs in the pre-workout keep you longer in the gym without getting tired.
- More Motivation – Whenever you don’t feel like leaving your bed and you think about giving the gym a pass, try a pre-workout drink. It is the enemy of that lazy dilly-dallying. You will end up doing more than your usual workout that day!
- Decreases post-workout Fatigue – The benefits of pre-workout are not limited to just before or during your workout sessions. It provides you with a good recovery period as well. If your pre-workout has nitric oxide precursors, creatine and vitamin B6 then you can say goodbye to the post-gym fatigue.
- Watch out for Excessive caffeine – High caffeine content can make you feel anxious, cause high blood pressure and can lead to difficulty in sleeping as well. Taking pre-workout can cause sleep disturbances, especially if you are taking it in the evening. Make sure your daily caffeine intake should not more than 400 mg which includes your overall consumption of caffeinated beverages (4). You can also take the pre-workout during the day to avoid any sleep disturbances.
- Development of Tolerance – They can become ineffective after a long time period of consumption. As your body gets used to it, they don’t show the same effect as before anymore.
- Indigestion is due to a combination of pre-workout ingredients such as caffeine, creatine and artificial sweeteners.
- If your pre-workout contains beta-alanine (an amino acid), it can cause a tingling sensation after consumption, which can be quite unpleasant for some. However, lowering the dosage of your pre-workout can reduce the tingling considerably. (5)
- Pre-workout is a good supplement to keep your workout sessions more energizing, long-lasting and less tiring as well.
- Choose half of the recommended dosage in the beginning to avoid any adverse effects.
- Avoid taking the pre-workout long term, rather opt for it on those days when you want to perform extra at the gym or when you are feeling demotivated.
- Make sure you read the ingredients well and monitor your coffee intake if you want to reap all the benefits of pre-workout without getting any side effects.
What exactly does pre-workout do?
Is a Pre-workout necessary?
No, it is not a necessity but if you feel tired before and after a workout or want to give an extra push to your workout sessions then you can try the pre-workout drink.
What are the Alternatives to Pre-workout?
The most popular natural pre-workout drinks are beetroot juice, coffee and banana that you can consume daily before your workout sessions. Banana and coffee can also become your go-to pre-workout meal.