Is pre workout necessary?
If you are an experienced athlete or a beginner to the fitness industry, you have probably heard of pre workout supplements. These are used by many different athletes and sporting people to increase their energy levels before a workout and improve performance. Everyone can relate to feeling tired and unmotivated for a workout. Although training is enjoyable, some days it can seem like a chore and your performance can be dramatically affected. Pre workout is a supplement that can give you that extra kick on them days you are feeling under the weather. Although useful these supplements shouldn’t be necessary before every workout and in this article, we are going to be sharing our thoughts on pre workout and if its necessary.
What is pre workout?
Pre workout is a supplement used to boost your energy and focus during a workout. Most are available in powder form and is taken around 15 – 30 minutes before a workout. There is usually a mixture of different substances in these supplements known to improve energy, focus and reduce muscle fatigue. These ingredients include caffeine, beta alanine and creatine. There are many different supplements on the market that use different ingredients to boost energy, some use carbohydrates and others use antioxidants to boost energy.
Taking these supplements before a workout is likely to have a positive effect on your performance. This is due to ingredients like caffeine which is a stimulant. This increases the time it takes your muscles to get exhausted, meaning you can go for longer before you experience feelings of fatigue. This will also decrease the amount of pain caused by your workouts which will also reduce the effects of muscle fatigue and can reduce DOMS (delayed offset muscle soreness).
Side effects of pre workout
Like many supplements, pre workout does have some side effects if you take it in abundance. This meaning that if you take pre workout before every training session or consume it every day then you can expect to experience some negative side effects. A couple of these side effects can include over stimulating, energy crashes and dehydration. Caffeine which is one of the main ingredients in pre workout can cause you to have increased blood pressure and can cause adrenal fatigue.
If you have been taking pre workout for a while and quite regularly can also cause an addiction. If you have built up a dependency on pre workout then training without it will feel like a chore and you will have less energy during your workouts. Addiction comes along as caffeine can cause damage to your central nervous system and this can be short or long term. So, if you are thinking about taking some pre workout then try not to have it before every training session and limit it to just a few times a week or when you feel tired.
Alternatives to pre workout
If you are thinking about replacing your pre workout supplements with something else, then there are many things you can do to increase your energy and concentration for a workout. One thing you can do is try having a pre workout meal or snack. If your eating before a workout then you want to have something that is going to keep you energised and keep you performing at optimum rates. The best thing is to try and include some carbs and energy boosting foods, these will increase your glycogen stores so your muscles will get less fatigued during a workout. Examples could include bananas and rice. Fat is also great for before a workout as it can keep you going for longer and moderate intensity exercises, for example running or a steady bike ride.
You could also try having a coffee before a workout as this will leave you feeling full of energy and similar to a pre workout. This is because coffee is high in caffeine which is the main ingredient in pre workout. Caffeine improves concentration and energy making it ideal to take before a workout. Beetroot is also a great natural pre workout food, this is because its high in iron which is needed to build muscle. Its also rich in nitrate which is known to improve physical performance. This also reduced the chances of an irregular heartbeat that may be caused by supplements as nitrate reduces blood pressure.
Benefits of pre workout
You have probably got the hint already that pre workout offers many benefits and can give you the edge during your workouts. The main benefits include having increased energy and concentration, this will cause you to perform better in your workouts meaning you are getting the most from your training. Taking this supplement also improves the amount of glycogen your muscles get as a study was done that concluded people who take a form of pre workout have more glycogen in their muscles after a workout. This means their glycogen levels became less depleted after a workout.
Modern pre workout supplements also contain a load of other key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients like creatine. Some of these ingredients can improve rated of protein synthesis which will cause your muscle to grow in size and strength. Caffeine also helps burn fat at a greater rate then usual making pre workout a supplement that can help with your weight loss goals as well.
Why you should try to slow down on pre workout
If you are wondering why you should try and take less pre workout then there a few reasons. If taken excessively it can cause dependence and heavy use can have digestive effects. So, if you take pre workout every day then try to stop this and just consume it a few times a week. Not taking it excessively means that you can still get the benefits when needed but miss out on the serious side effects.
Overall, if you take pre workout then you should be responsible with the dosage you take. Taking too much or having it daily has many side effects and to avoid these do not abuse this stimulant. Pre workout can be a very helpful tool and it does not have to be completely avoided, but you should be aware of how much you are taking so you do not take it too frequently. The best times to take it is on the days you may be feeling tired or unmotivated as this will get you in “the zone” for when you start your training.