Pre workout supplements are probably not necessary, and they seem to command such a big focus because of the hype, marketing, and promotions that are there to squeeze out of every spare dollar from novice bodybuilders and the guys who want to have it all, just because it sounds good.
It’s critical to look at pre workout supplements in-depth if you’re planning on taking them anyway, if you think they can help you make some gains or that you can get some benefits out of them, because they can be extremely dangerous if they’re not well understood.
Most of the pre workout supplements labels have names and terms that are unintelligible to the layman, and might only make sense to a biochemist. The ingredients, in combination, are designed to increase your performance when you’re in the gym. Some of the most common ingredients include Guarana, Arginine, Phenylalanine, caffeine, Tyrosine, and Creatine to name a few.
A lot of these ingredients (with the exception of creatine) just make sense from a theoretical point of view, and it’s kind of hard to find a proven link to which one of these ingredients has a real effect on performance. It’s hard to point out exactly which mechanism in the blend is the one that increases performance.
Note: Creatine is one of the few supplements that I have always noticed positive effects from. Just be sure you’re dinking enough water.
“Placebo effect or not, this shit works!”
A lot of people who take pre workout supplements start to see improvements in their training performance, and that’s a good thing, even if science can’t tell us exactly why. However, the effects don’t always last, and someone should not keep taking pre workout supplements for a long period of time. Especially when they’re not training or drinking sufficient amounts of water.
Law of Confusion
The problem with a number of these popular products, and a lot of them have some really lavish names, is that you have absolutely no way of telling how much of each ingredient is in the product. You might see the phrase proprietary blend, and it’s followed by the number of grams in the whole blend, and underneath that might be a list of ingredients in the proprietary blend that doesn’t have the actual gram or milligram values besides the individual ingredients.
This can be exceedingly dangerous because each individual’s hormonal responses and tolerances differentiate with the type and amount of ingredients that are used in the blend. For instance, some of these products, but not all of them, might have up to 20 grams of proprietary blend of several of the ingredients used. You might just be taking in a whole lot of caffeine!
Here’s a cool vid on the subject from my boy Matty Fusaro…
Keep It Real
Now, there are definitely benefits to be seen with pre workout supplements, but you have to take the right products from trusted brands, and you have to know how many of each of the individual ingredients is included in the bottle and your dose.
If you’re not absolutely sure, then you’re just gambling with your body, and that’s no good. There is some hope though, because there are a lot of pre workout supplements that are effective, natural and they have the ingredients’ dosage listed, or just a very small amount of proprietary blend included.
David “Pre Workout” Aston
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