You may have come across friends or colleagues who religiously take supplements before hitting the gym. You may have also seen brands advertising their supplements, claiming they can help you with energy and endurance throughout your workout. Pre-workout supplements have gained more attention in the modern market as more people are focusing on healthy living and feeling better. Many people who use these supplements (but not all) include bodybuilders, power lifters, trainers, serious gym goers, and athletes.
That being said, many people don’t understand what pre-workout supplements are and how they can benefit the average person. Because of the popularity of supplementation in the fast-paced 21st-century, more research has been conducted to confirm the benefits of pre-workout supplements and understand how they impact performance. However, it is understood that supplements could pose some risks and side effects. In this article, we get to look more in-detail about pre-workout supplements.
What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Any supplement designed to boost your performance before and during a working out is a pre-workout supplement. They usually come in two forms, a liquid drink or a powder. It is important to understand that there are many brands on the market all with their own unique formulas. This means that each brand has a different set of ingredients. In 2019, a group of researchers looked at the ingredients in pre workout products from the top 100 commercially available brands. They found that more than 50 percent of the components were of a proprietary blend.
Speaking with SELF, Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that pre workout supplements may not have a suitable definition, and more companies are just using the title for their products since it's popular in the market today. In reality, these are products intended to boost health and energy levels by combining several elements such as carbohydrates, antioxidants, and B vitamins.
She also goes on to say that some products have carbohydrates while others are calorie and carb-free. Many contain ingredients such as beet juice, amino acids, and caffeine. Many brands market these ingredients as essential in improving your fight or flight response, improving blood flow to all parts of the body, including muscles, and dilating blood vessels. Other supplements add unique ingredients like antler velvet which is essential in increasing insulin levels growth factor-1. This is a hormone that is usually produced by the body as a response to resistance training that increases tissue and muscle growth.
A pre workout supplement combines several essential ingredients to make a quality product. While several brands compete on which products are the best, there are a few essential ingredients that top the list. Some examples include;
- Caffeine – It is used to increase your metabolic rate, reduce fatigue and increase endurance. It also promotes brain function and a healthy central nervous system.
- Creatine – This is a popular body-building supplement that is synthesized from amino acids. It promotes strength, muscle growth and improves performance.
- Taurine – It is an amino acid found in organ tissues, muscles, and the brain. It is a neurotransmitter that regulates the transportation of nutrients in the body and also stabilizes cell membranes. Taurine is an essential ingredient that improves athletic performance.
- Betaine – This amino acid assists in processing fat and boosting overall liver function. It is essential in improving work capacity, muscle size, and body composition.
Why do people need pre-workout supplements?
Most people taking pre-workout supplements do so for the same reasons – to feel good and less fatigued when working out. These supplements have been analyzed on many factors, including: endurance, perception of effort, strength, power, and the time it takes for a person to feel fatigued. For this reason, most people nowadays are interested in taking a pre-workout drink or pre workout powder for different types of exercises. From helping through a challenging class of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to heavy interval running workouts, pre-workout supplements are rapidly gaining attention in the modern world.
What are the benefits?
Stored energy declines rapidly when working out or doing any other form of physical exercise. For this reason, pre-workout supplements are essential in supporting your workout routine, boosting energy and hitting goals. Here are some essential pre workout benefits.
Increases physical performance
Protein is an essential ingredient that supports muscle growth and maintenance. It helps you make every workout count. For protein synthesis to occur, protein is required. It must equal or exceed the rate at which the protein is broken down for muscle growth and maintenance. Some supplements have creatine which is known to improve physical performance during short, high-intensity workouts.
It helps you stay focused
Pre-workout supplements impact both physical and mental health. You feel more calm, focused, and sharper. This clean energy boost allows you to be confident and have a clear mind focused on achieving set objectives. This will help you make the most of your exercises each day. Working out has a significant effect on mental health. It is easy to psych yourself into or out of a workout, even when you have the energy to keep going. Ingredients such as caffeine help you concentrate on your training to get the most out of it.
Prevents premature fatigue
As you lose energy during physical exercise, your muscles tire and become weak prematurely. You may experience fatigue and muscle soreness after an intensive workout which may slow your recovery time for the next workout. Many pre-workout supplements contain the nutrients needed for helping your body perform with adequate levels of energy. They also have the right ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine needed to heal your sore muscle and help in your recovery.
While it may seem wiser to take all of your workout supplements at once, there are other alternative ways of achieving more while spending less. You should also know how to use the supplements. For example, caffeine should be used in moderation. This is because, while it may help you with your workout routine, it causes excessive fluid loss leading to dehydration. Before deciding which pre workout supplement to take, remember to consult with your doctor first.
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