We must all have had those days in which we just aren't feeling 100% for our workouts. We've definitely been to the gym feeling 'tired', like, 'I don't even wanna be here right now.' A pre-workout could be the answer and protagonist to your troubles... Voila! lets dive in.
A study published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition, showcased a study, on the introduction of pre-workouts, with workouts, that showed increases in V02 max, training volumes and lean body mass, whilst also increasing the rate of fat loss amongst recreational athletes.
We always want to be at our best before workouts right? Especially really tough training. If you don't fuel yourself properly, you're already a step behind peak performance, so a pre-workout can be used to combat that, and enable you to endure longer and harder workouts.
When do I take them and how often?
Pre-workouts can come in the forms of food, shakes, tablets and more commonly, powders. More commonly, a pre-workout is better known in its powder substance which is mixed with a drink and taken 30-60 minutes before a workout. Giving it the 30-60 minute window ensures that it gets into your bloodstream and takes effect. To add you'll also begin to learn what that sweet spot is in terms of finding that exact timing you need before you feel that moment your pre-workout hitting you; you'll feel sharp, focused and on edge (in a good way...)
If you're a first timer at pre-workouts then welcome to the party, your first shot will probably hit you pretty quick and you'll feel like Iron Man when he snapped his fingers at Thanos, *sheds a tear* - anyway; overtime, like anything else, your body may build up a resistance to your pre-workout, so cycling it (taking a break) every once in a while when you stop feeling the effects as strongly - can help. Trying a new product with not too dissimilar ingredients or different quantities can also help mix up your concoction game.
What's in a pre-workout? What should I look out for?
Pre-workouts are usually loaded with caffeine, sugar and energy boosting stimulants; which I'll cover shortly. You may think coffee or bananas will do the job in increasing your output in your workout, and you are right, but there's a limit in which you can only really take to the next level by choosing a supplement. A good pre-workout will contain most of the following ingredients in quantities which will take effect when consumed.
Creatine Monohydrate: The most researched performance enhancement supplement researched. popular among gym-goers due to its potency in increasing performance during training and increases in strength.
Taurine:Contributes to the metabolism of fats and fights oxidative stress during workouts.
Arganine/Citrulline: Plays a role in expanding your blood vessels. Wider blood vessels, better blood flow, increased oxygen use in muscles which can lead to longer endurance during workouts. Citrulline can also contribute to the reduction of muscle soreness after workouts.
Caffeine: Of course, the god of all pre-workouts, to put it into perspective, a regular coffee, black, will give you around 65mg per cup. A pre-workout scoop of around 15-20g can give you up to 200mg+ plus all the above. Quality over quantity right?
Pros & Cons
To summarise, a healthy pros and cons list can assist you in making a final decision:
Improved performance i.e - endurance, concentration and focus.
Responsibly buzzed off of your head in your favourite workout environment.
Feeling focused, sharp and strong can also lead to confidence and mood boosts.
Signs of overstimulation disruptive sleeping patterns & jitters, the 'crash'; feeling overly exhausted at the end of your workouts.
Building up a tolerance - Don't overuse pre-workouts because you can; but because you need. "With great power, comes great responsibility" - Uncle Ben, 2002
Digestive issues - ever drank too much coffee and ended up being a 'little' busy in the WC? Find a pre-workout with a good balance of ingredient measurements; you probably won't find the perfect one straight away.
That's all from me! If you have any more questions, please reach out! Stay safe and drink responsibly.