What are Pre-Workout
Pre-workout supplements are multi-ingredient dietary formulas designed to boost athletic performance; they carry a wide array of health benefits. They were first introduced in 1982 by Dan Duchaine, who created the Ultimate Orange, and bodybuilders in Venice, California, got their first taste of this pre-workout supplement. According to their feedback, the effects were remarkable.
Those who ingested the supplement claimed to have gained muscular strength and were now able to lift heavier weight and shed a great deal of body fat within a short period. The consumers also experienced increased energy, focus, and motivation while in the gym. As a result, the ultimate Orange gained massive popularity in the following years until the late 1990s and early 2000s when several lawsuits were filed against the supplement following a series of heart attacks among its users. The suits came after the inclusion of ephedra in its formula.
History of Pre-Workout
In 1993, a small company, Experimental & Applied Sciences, began producing a rudimental creatine supplement for bodybuilders after testing it for at least two decades. After a while, the new pre-workout supplement became the standard until the emergence of new stimulants formulated with various ingredients, including Arginine AKG, Citrulline Malate, and Arginine Malate. The new supplements promised temporarily open vessels, giving athletic people a boost before hitting the gym.
With the new stimulants’ success, there emerged more potent pre-workout supplements, which gave birth to the modern formulas. Today, athletes take pre-workout supplements to enhance their nutrition and performance, increase focus and strength throughout their exercise.
As the usage of these formulas increase, advocates claim that they can improve your athletic performance, enhance your vitality, and give you enough stamina to complete your exercise. Experts, on the other hand, claim that supplements are potentially dangerous and completely unnecessary. Read on to find out why there are conflicting views regarding pre-workout supplements.
The Health Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements
The increased intake of pre-workout formulas is attributable primarily to the energy rush they give athletes and the positive changes they make in their bodies. Discussed below are some health benefits of the best pre-workout formulas and their effect on your exercise performance.
- Enhanced Blood flow
Often, the best supplements contain compounds known as arginine and citrulline, which trigger nitric oxide production. When nitric oxide is produced in the body, it helps with relaxing the vessels and improving blood flow throughout your body. Consequently, your body can efficiently transport oxygen and vital nutrients to your muscles, which increase your performance and prevent premature fatigue.
- Increased Energy
Whether you are distance running, lifting weight, or participating in your favorite athletic event, you will need a lot of energy to complete your task. As such, you may go for the best pre-workout with creatine, trimethylxanthine, and amino acids. Creatine and amino acids will directly boost your energy, while trimethylxanthine, simply known as caffeine, will act as a stimulant to keep your body moving. As such, you will feel energized with a heightened mood to exercise and for a more extended period, ultimately improving your athletic performance.
- Improved Mental Focus
Focus is the key component to completing tedious tasks like distance running, and this is where pre-workout supplements with caffeine come in handy. This nutritional stimulant is mostly found in coffee and tea; it has been considered an effective ergogenic aid for many decades. When ingested, it stimulates the nervous system, which improves alertness, allowing you to focus more on your exercise performance. Besides, trimethylxanthine energizes the body and thus reduces subjective fatigue. As a result, you can continue with your training session without losing focus or falling short of your target.
- Hastens Recovery
Although you will ingest pre-workout supplements before beginning your athletic training session, they might help you recover much faster after an athletic performance. While the best way to improve your workout performance is to exercise until you have entirely burned out your energy, this could make your body sore. Ingredients like creatine and caffeine contained in your supplement will reduce soreness and increase insulin and glucose levels in your body, which will, in turn, help you recover swiftly. It’s also not a wonder to see athletic individuals consuming the best supplements in the form of protein shakes, which support muscle recovery and growth, among other health benefits.
- Enhanced Muscular Endurance
Your muscles require a lot of energy to keep your body moving during your workout. As you continue working out, however, the energy store in your muscles is bound to deplete. The best pre-workouts, especially those whose formulas contain taurine and creatine, can prevent premature fatigue during an exercise. Both compounds are naturally occurring and work to increase energy production in the muscles and make them fatigue resistance even during high-intensity athletic performances. Also, creatine enhances muscular strength and growth.
Also, most pre-workout supplements contain amino acids like L-arginine, which reduces the negative impact of exhaustive exercise. This is achieved through the release of free radicals.
- Assist in Weight Loss
Pre-workout supplements will also facilitate weight loss thanks to their ability to improve your exercise performance. Compounds like creatine enhance your energy levels while caffeine increases your focus. As a result, the best supplements will crank up your drive to work out more intensely, not to mention helping you exercise longer. Thus, you will end up losing more fat. Besides, trimethylxanthine boosts metabolism, delays the onset of hunger, and raises fat oxidation, all of which work to facilitate weight loss.
- Promotes Muscle Pump
The muscle pump denotes the bloated feeling that occurs when the cells expand, which reduces the outward flow of body fluids. When blood is pumped into your muscles more expediently than it’s released, there will be an accumulation of fluids and thus resulting in the ‘pump.’ To achieve this, you will want to perform more reps with shorter rest periods between sets, allowing more fluids to accumulate in your muscles and ultimately facilitating more considerable swelling.
Some of the elements contained in the pre-workout formulas that promote muscle pump include:
ü Trimethylxanthine: This facilitates extended energy while also boosting performance and muscular stimulation
ü Citrulline Malate: This is essentially a vasodilator that combines with Betaine and L-Arginine to assist with synthesizing Nitric Oxide.
ü Beta-Alanine: This supports enhanced muscular endurance in addition to building muscle mass.
Perhaps you are wondering whether the pump will help you build muscle, and the answer is affirmative. The extra fluid in your body will contain more nutrients and oxygen-laden blood, which will, in turn, support more intense exercise performance and hence building muscle more swiftly. Besides, pre-workout formulas also contain creatine, aspartic acid, and niacin, all responsible for enhanced body metabolism, amino acid synthesis, and improved muscular function. Taking a protein shake before beginning your athletic training session could be the one nutrition you need to achieve greater muscular strength.
Pre-Workout Side Effects
While pre-workout supplements boast many health benefits and a positive impact on your athletic performance, they also come with several negative effects. The negative effects are attributable to the different compounds used in the creation of each pre-workout. Some of the common side effects associated with these supplements include:
- Digestive Upset and Diarrhea
Digestive upset is often caused by consuming pre-workout formulas whose ingredients are higher than recommended doses. Some of these ingredients include magnesium, taurine, sodium bicarbonate, Yohimbe, arginine, trimethylxanthine, and creatine. In other cases, the root of the problem may boil down to inappropriate use of the product, for instance, using insufficient water when mixing your supplement. Also, a pre-workout with components like magnesium may cause diarrhea due to the laxative compounds.
Ingredients like caffeine, which are found in certain pre-workout supplements, can act as diuretics. Just like your cup of coffee, your supplements can trigger the kidneys to release water too quickly. Some may also cause extreme sweating and diarrhea, leading to excessive water loss from the body. As such, you will want to drink a lot of water, especially if you realize that your bathroom trips have become quite frequent. Besides, creatine might cause kidney damage, particularly when taken with inadequate water.
Pre-workout supplements could cause headaches in more ways than one, including dehydration and vasodilation. Water creates a protective layer around the brain, and when your body becomes dehydrated, the cover is bound to thin out and may cause your brain to bump into the skull, especially when you’re working out. This could easily cause a headache.
Also, most pre-workout supplements contain ingredients like arginine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and malate that promote your vessels’ expansion, which is known as vasodilation. These vessels include those found in your brain, and such expansion could lead to a headache.
Finally, a pre-workout containing caffeine might significantly contribute to headaches. This is attributable to the buildup of adenosine, which occurs when trimethylxanthine wears off.
- Sleep Deprivation
While the caffeine included in your pre-work formula is aimed at giving you the necessary vigor and focus on enhancing your workout performance, it also inhibits sleep and activates flight or fight hormones known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones will keep you awake after your workout session as they course through your body. While trimethylxanthine has a half-life of three to five hours, different body metabolism among users can increase or decrease that duration. Ideally, the effects of trimethylxanthine will stay in the body for a longer duration in a person whose metabolism is slow.
- Tingling and Itchy Sensation
Many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients like niacin, beta-alanine, and vitamin B3. To sensitive people, beta-alanine causes a tingling feeling in your body. While this nervous system reaction is harmless, it can be very uncomfortable. Niacin, on the other hand, causes flush where your skin becomes red and splotchy. The result is a tingling or itchy sensation, which often causes a lot of discomfort that could prove detrimental to your workout session.
- Intestinal Distress
Most pre-workout supplements contain sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners that enhance their flavor without introducing calories into the body. However, some ingredients will cause intestinal distress in some athletes. For instance, ingesting large amounts of artificial sweeteners trigger such symptoms as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. To avoid such side effects, you should take small quantities of these sweeteners.
- High Blood Pressure
This is among the most dangerous side effects of pre-workout supplements and is mostly caused by caffeine’s effects on the body. A standard pre-workout contains 300mg of trimethylxanthine, while a single cup of coffee contains about 100mg. Given that trimethylxanthine is a stimulant, it increases blood pressure in the body by a huge percentage. The increase in blood pressure can be a huge problem, especially if you suffer from HBP.
Besides, having your blood pressure spike up constantly can put a strain on your heart and blood vessels. It may also cause the development of such cardiac ailments as coronary heart disease. Also, some artificial sweeteners contained in most of these pre-workout formulas may carry negative effects on your body, including long term weight gain and high blood pressure, not to mention heart disease.
It is hard to pinpoint the leading cause of nausea where supplements are concerned; there are several causes. Among the most common is the failure to dilute your supplement with enough water. Your body could also fail to tolerate a particular ingredient used in the formula. To rectify the issue, you may start by diluting your pre-workout addition with more water than recommended. If you still experience nausea, there could be a compound in your supplement that does not go well with your body.
Summary and Review
Pre-workouts have popularly emerged as a significant asset for all athletic people, and for a good reason. They are an excellent nutritional tool that can fire up your workout drive to improve your athletic performance. This is achieved by increasing your vigor, focus, endurance, and opening veins for efficient blood flow. Taking your pre-workout supplements in the form of your favorite protein shake could be the easiest way of improving your muscular strength and enhancing your body’s level of endurance. Consuming the best pre-workout with your protein shake is highly advisable if you are looking to participate in an intense training session.
However, while pre-workout formulas are extremely valuable in terms of nutrition, they carry some side effects that you may encounter at some point in your life. For instance, supplements may lead to headaches, nausea, dehydration, sleep deprivation, and high blood pressure, not to mention digestive tract illnesses. Some of these side effects are caused by improper use, different body reactions to compounds in the formula, and the production of substandard supplements. The sweeteners contained in the pre-workout additions may also cause diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. For instance, sweeteners like sugar alcohols and sucralose could inhibit your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and increase your risk of contracting diabetes.
Fortunately, most of these side effects can be avoided by ensuring proper usage, ingesting the best pre-workout in the recommended amount, and testing it before taking the entire dosage. Also, you may want to choose pre-workouts whose content does not include sweeteners. Alternatively, special formulas containing natural sweeteners like the monk fruit extract and xylitol. Natural sweeteners in a pre-workout supplement are excellent replacements for sugar; they are equally sweet and low calorie while rendering you safe from diabetes and obesity.
In conclusion, pre-workout supplements have tremendous health benefits, and they can improve your exercise performance significantly. However, you need to exercise due diligence before ingesting them lest you experience unpleasant side effects. Remember that pre-workout supplements should not replace your normal intake of daily nutrition intake in the form of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals.