Some people exercise regularly to achieve a certain body goal, others want to lose weight, while there are also men and women who want to stay in shape. Regardless of the reason behind regular workouts, you want to get the maximum out of every session at all times. Since our energy levels go up and down, it comes as no wonder why we sometimes don’t perform very well. To avoid this, people usually take pre-workout supplements, but are they really effective or safe? Let’s see!
What Is A Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout supplements are a group of dietary supplements taken before athletic activity to improve performance. These products use natural ingredients to deliver their benefits and help you get the most out of every workout.
Athletes take these supplements in order to improve endurance and do their grueling exercises, but they are becoming increasingly popular among “regular” people as well. For example, fitness trainers also use them as well as people who want to achieve their goals faster but need more energy to do so.
Pre-workout supplements can come in the form of powders that you mix with water and drink 20-30 minutes before your daily training, but they can also come as capsules. Some brands provide both persons and users can choose the most convenient option. Some supplements are formulated specifically for men or women, but some products are suitable for both genders.
Benefits Of Pre-Workout Supplements
The popularity of pre-workout supplements keeps growing due to a wide spectrum of benefits they provide. Some of them include:
- Increased athletic performance
- Better mental function
- Improved muscle pump
- Aid weight loss
- Faster muscle recovery
- Better mood and overall wellbeing
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Better, stronger libido
Are They Effective?
The popularity is one thing, but the efficacy is entirely different. Can you really expect a better performance just by taking a capsule or drink before the workout?
Pre-workout supplements contain a blend of ingredients ranging from creatine to caffeine and guarana to change the way you feel while exercising. These ingredients are intended to give men and women the perception that their workout is supercharged. They do so by increasing the blood flow and heart rate, improving focus, and make you feel more aware and able to concentrate on the workout session.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published results of the research whose primary objective was to evaluate the effects of pre-workout supplements on anaerobic power, muscular strength, body composition, and mood state. The study included 20 men who consumed either a supplement or placebo 30 minutes before the workout.
Scientists discovered that pre-workout supplement combined with eight days of training didn’t improve the performance or body composition. That said; men from the supplement group had better results regarding lean body mass and lower body strength.
The same journal published yet another study on a similar topic; researchers at the University of South Florida aimed to determine the acute effects of caffeine-containing pre-workout supplements on different measures of performance including upper and lower body power, anaerobic power, and upper body strength in 13 healthy men.
Findings revealed significant differences in anaerobic power following the ingestion of a pre-workout supplement in comparison to placebo. However; scientists did not find differences between upper and lower body power and upper body strength. They concluded the research explaining that caffeine-containing pre-workout supplements have the potential to improve anaerobic power performance.
A research from the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that consumption of pre-workout supplements was not associated with improved performance or body composition. At the same time, scientists call for more research on this topic to inspect the effects of these products during long-term use.
Additionally, the Nutrition and Metabolism published a study which discovered that supplementation with these products improved performance and lower body strength while increasing perceived energy and reducing subjective fatigue.
As you can see, studies show mixed results which could be explained by the fact that results vary from person to person, and it also matters what product you use. That is why you should always opt for reliable pre-workout supplements made by reputable brands.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Although supplements are made of natural ingredients and they are generally safe, they still carry a risk of adverse effects. Pre-workout products usually contain caffeine and other stimulants and some people can experience:
- Chest pain
- Kidney damage
- Tingling/numbness in lips, face, or extremities
- High blood pressure
- Trouble sleeping
- Flushed and red skin
To avoid side effects associated with pre-workout supplements you shouldn’t exceed the recommended dosage. Before purchasing, consult your doctor in case you have a health condition or if you’re taking other medications. Read the label thoroughly to ensure you are not allergic to some ingredient.
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The scientific evidence is still inconclusive regarding pre-workout supplements; some studies confirm their efficacy and others don’t. Of course, different people experience different results. What you can do is to be cautious and opt for a reliable product. Stick to the recommended dose to avoid side effects.
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