In the latest posts on my Instagram account, I have mentioned pre workout supplements or referred to them in some cases. As a result, people ask me what pre workout supplements are, and if they’re worth buying. I’d like to give a quick overview on pre workout supplements in this article. In addition, I’ll show you guys how I personally use them and to what you should pay attention when using pre workout drinks.
Starting with the first question: What are pre workout supplements?
The general idea of pre workout supplements is simple. They’re helping you to perform better, which means more reps and sets or at a higher resistance level when training. They’re basically energy drinks designed for bodybuilding and various other sports which require strength and/or endurance.
If you now are now reading about pre workout drinks for the first time and think you don’t need such a thing, you’d better stop reading. I’m totally serious! If you work out, no matter if you’re into bodybuilding, calisthenics, crossfit or whatever, and do not take any drink prior your workout, then you don’t have to change anything.
The thing is though, that when you’re doing something constantly for an extended period of time, you sooner or later begin to lose focus and energy. Pre workout drinks help us to keep going and pushing our bodies to the limit.
Nowadays, there’s a big hype on pre workout supplements. Check the best seller list on any supplement store and you’ll see pre workout supps in the first places. I’d say there at least two pre workout supps on the 10 most sold items. The rest is very likely protein powder. The list of pre workout products is endless. All supplement companies reply to the major interpellation and therefore a thousand different products exist.
So we’ve learned, pre workout drinks give us energy and motivate us to go to the gym. Although this sounds really good, there are also disadvantages about pre workout drinks. First of all, you never know what exactly you drink as the ingredients can be covered under a blend. Terms you often see on pre workouts supplements are “Energy blend,” “Pump blend” or “Strength matrix” followed by some ingredients you’ve probably never heard of before. Well, to be fair, there are companies who list all the used ingredients accordingly. But in general, they don’t have to declare the exact amount they use or even the ingredients.
The next question you might ask yourself is what are in those pre workout supplements, and why should manufacturers hide their recipes?
Pre workout supplements often contain things like Caffeine, Creatine, Beta Alanine, L-Arginine, Amino Acids, Glutamine, Taurine and much more. Their goal is to increase energy, support muscle repair and growth. Caffeine is used as stimulant which actually makes you feel energized and stronger. However, sometimes other stimulants are being added and the drinks result in a cocktail full of stimulants. If you’ve ever read some review on pre workout supps, you’re probably aware of how the consumption of such products will end like. The fact is that you can get a feeling of being high from the stimulants which you can find in some pre workout supplements.
With all this in mind, let’s go over to the next question: Is it safe to take pre workout supplements?
The answer is simple: No, it’s not.
One of the biggest problems is that the nutritional supplement industry is unregulated. I’m not saying pre workout supplements are dangerous, but we actually don’t know whether they are safe or not.
Long-term effects of pre workouts are not known and as I said before, you never really know what you consume. Some time ago, I came across a pre workout supplement which includes a pro-hormone, which is nothing other than a steroid. Can you imagine? It’s ridiculous!
On the other hand I have to say that pre workout simply works. I personally had the best workouts in my life after taking such a supplement. It’s a fact that they can help you to push yourself to your absolute maximum which means you can move more weight, perform more reps and at the end, you’ll get more gains.
I can understand if you’re a bit confused now. I mean, they can bring my workouts to the next level, but at the same time I’m telling you they’re not safe?
Well, I want to be honest with you guys. I personally take pre workout supplements. I still have samples from the FIBO in Köln and I think even from last year’s Mr. Olympia in Vegas. Some of the samples I grabbed contain heavy stimulants and of course I tried them. They make you feel good. I can imagine that some of them give you a similar feeling like party drugs do. It’s not a secret that some manufacturers used the same ingredients for pre workout supplements like they use for party pills. The energy after taking such energy drinks can increase rapidly, I can say this out of experience, but then I often felt a crash after a while and I felt much worse than before. So to sum up, pre workouts full of stimulants are not recommended.
Fortunately, there are also really good supplements without any stimulants (or just some caffeine) and even though you don’t feel “high” while using them, you are able to increase weights in the gym.
I’m not trying to convince anybody to start taking pre workout supplements. Instead, I’d like to give you my tips on what you should consider in case you decide to give them a try:
- Always check the ingredient list before buying/taking pre workout supplements. If you’re not sure about an ingredient, don’t take it!
- Don’t make pre workout supplements a habit. Save them for days when you’re really tired or you’d like to set a new personal record.
- Don’t take pre workout supps more than two days a week! Your body will build a tolerance to stimulants, and they will lose effect over time.
- Don’t take supplements including caffeine or other stimulants later in the day as they can cause sleep problems.
So, I hope I cleared things up a bit. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
At this point I’d like to call attention to my new Youtube video. It shows me weight training my shoulders and arms:
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