If you’re someone who loves working out and is constantly looking for ways to stay fit and keep their body in shape, then you must have stumbled across pre-workout powders. Whether you like to work out at home or are a regular at the gym, you must’ve heard mentions of how pre-workout supplements help take workouts to the next level. Many people say that these powders help you channel through tough workouts without breaking a sweat, while others believe that they can have some side effects to look out for. There is a huge variety of pre-workout supplements available in the market these days, and while many of them are completely safe and effective, others can pose a serious threat to your health. Therefore, it is important to review the ingredients of pre-workout powders prior to buying them. To help with that, here’s a simple guide to understanding the basics of pre-workout supplements and what ingredients you need to look out for.
Pre-Workout Supplements: The Basics
Pre-workout powders or supplements contain multiple ingredients combined to form dietary formulas designed to boost your energy and athletic abilities. In simpler words, the purpose of pre-workout supplements is to stimulate an individual’s heart rate and get their blood pumping to boost the energy needed for a workout.
Typically in the form of a powder, these supplements need to be added to water or milk and consumed before a workout. The ingredients added are used for stimulating heart rate, providing muscle strength, power, and speed to your body.
Ingredients To Look For
While there are countless brands that have little consistency in their formulas, the main ingredients remain the same, varying in quantity. For you to find an effective pre-workout powder, you need to delve deeper and look for specific ingredients that a good supplement should have. Here’s a list of ingredients you need to look for when selecting your pre-workout supplements.
About 2 to 5g of beta-alanine is used in pre-workout powders as a source of amino acid. Amino acids are a common pre-workout supplement ingredient because they help prevent acid buildup in your muscle tissues. This, in turn, allows your muscles to work harder, and longer. It may also help increase muscle size and help delay muscle fatigue.
About 100-200g of caffeine is used in pre-workout powders to enhance energy levels and affect overall workout performance. Caffeine is well known for its ability to increase energy and focus. It helps improve mental alertness and reduce body fat, resulting in a more effective workout, and your body gaining muscle mass and losing body fat.
Most workout supplements contain chemical compounds that are naturally produced in the human body. By consuming these ingredients, these chemicals increase and enhance overall performance. Creatine is used to produce energy and increase muscular strength. It is stored in skeletal muscles and improves your body’s strength, recovery time, muscle mass, and exercise performance. This compound is present as a separate supplement as well and can be used to make pre-workout drinks; for ideas, you can see the top pre-workout drinks at SFGate.com and make drinks and protein shakes that work best for your workout routine. Creatine is especially popular among weight lifters and bodybuilders.
4. Nitric Oxide Precursors
Nitric oxide is another one of the naturally produced chemical compounds present in the human body to improve blood flow. Pre-workout supplements and meal supplement drinks usually have a good quantity of nitric oxide precursors present in their formulations, including L-citrulline, L-arginine, and beetroot juice. By supplementing these precursors through pre-workout powders, you can boost oxygen flow and nutrient transport to your body, effectively increasing athletic performance.
5. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Another source of amino acids, these compounds help increase muscle growth, resulting in a greater muscle mass and reduced body fat. When taken before a workout, this ingredient helps reduce muscle soreness.
Ingredients To Avoid
Although most pre-workout supplements are considered safe to consume, there’s still a level of risk associated with different ingredients found in them. Plus, people with chronic illnesses or other diseases might have to look out for ingredients that could be potentially dangerous for their health and worsen their condition. If you’re considering adding pre-workout supplements to your routine, first review what ingredients you should avoid.
1. Excess Caffeine
While the most important energy-boosting ingredient of these supplements is caffeine, consuming an excessive amount can lead to increased blood pressure. While this isn’t good for regular people either, increased blood pressure is potentially life-threatening for people that already have this problem. Moreover, excessive caffeine intake can also lead to added stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. A single serving of pre-workout powders can compare to 1-2 cups of coffee intake. However, if you’re consuming caffeine from other sources as well, you may end up consuming too much.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Many pre-workout supplements contain artificial sweeteners to improve flavor. While this doesn’t add to the calories of your intake, it does trigger uncomfortable problems that can hinder your workout. Intestinal stress and discomfort are common side effects of consuming pre-workout supplements that contain artificial flavor. In particular, excessive consumption of sugar alcohols might cause problems like diarrhea, bloating, or gas. Therefore, you may want to avoid pre-workout formulas that contain an excessive amount of artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.
3. Non-Tested Supplements
The food and drug administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating food and other consumable items by testing the products for health safety. While many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients tested and approved by the FDA, some contain ingredients that may work effectively to improve muscle mass and performance and can also be potentially dangerous for your health. Therefore, you should steer clear of the pre-workout powders that contain any suspicious or non-tested ingredients.
Pre-workout supplements are majorly used to enhance muscle mass, recovery, and performance. For this purpose, these products contain various ingredients targeted to boost energy and improve overall performance. To make sure you select the best pre-workout supplement for your workout routine, ensure that you look for the ingredients mentioned above and avoid the dangerous ones.