Pre-Workout Supplements

What is Pre-workout?  

Pre-workout is usually a powder, pill, or canned drink that is composed of caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and branch-chained amino acids. Pre-workout is a supplement that is meant to be taken before you begin an exercise session to:

  • increase energy
  • help your recovery/fatigue
  • enhance your workout performance

Preworkout powder supplement is a measuring cup on a small scale with a blender in the background.Pre-workout Powder

Which is the Best Drink for Pre-workout?  

Choosing the best pre-workout supplement that works well for you will vary on the goals you have in mind for your workout and body. For instance, some supplements may be designed more for muscle gain. Others are made for running or cardiovascular focused workouts. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which pre-workout is the “best”. There are also pre-packaged canned drinks that are good choices for pre-workout that you may want to consider.  I would say the most efficient way to determine what pre-workout is best for YOU is to decide the aim or goal for your workout, your preference on ingredients, and the product effectiveness.

What are the Benefits of a Pre-workout Drink?

Some claimed benefits of pre-workout drinks are an increase of energy, improved performance/concentration, and quicker recovery times. These supplement benefits will also last longer than one gym session if pre-workout is taken consistently and safely, you will see improvements that you probably wouldn’t have attained if you didn’t try a supplement. This is likely due to your body’s faster recovery time and ability to workout at a higher intensity.  

There hasn’t been a lot of research on the effectiveness of pre-workout supplements, but based off the ingredients, pre-workout has shown to support athletic performance. For instance, nitric oxide is a common ingredient in pre-workout that relaxes blood vessels and promotes blood flow. As a result, your athletic performance may improve due to the increase of oxygen and nutrient transport to your muscles.

Another common ingredient in these supplements is beta-alanine. This allows your muscles to work longer and harder due to the prevention of acid buildup in your muscles. This amino acid is common in pre-workout formulas. It is beneficial to know it may cause a tingling sensation throughout your entire body. It is a strange feeling, so if you don’t enjoy it I recommend finding a pre-workout that doesn’t contain beta-alanine.  

When Should I Drink Pre-workout?   

Pre-workout should be taken 30-40 minutes before your workout. It is very common for people to take this supplement right before they start their session, however it is recommended to take it at least 30-40 minutes before to get the most out of your supplement and workout.  

Should You Take Pre-workout on an Empty Stomach?

Taking pre-workout on an empty stomach can cause the ingredients to be absorbed into your bloodstream a lot faster compared to eating a meal prior to drinking/consuming pre-workout. It is not unsafe to take pre-workout on an empty stomach, you just need to be mindful of the quicker absorption rate and how your body will typically react to a workout without any food in your stomach. 

How Long Does Pre-workout Last?  

Pre-workout typically lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. This is dependent on the ingredients of your supplement. Most formulas contain caffeine, which typically lasts longer than the rest of the components included.

Strong young woman in a gym performing the deadlift exercise.Woman completing a deadlift exercise.

What Does Pre-workout Actually Do? Can it Build Muscle?  

Pre-workout can enable you to train more intensely for a prolonged period with more energy and focus. I wouldn’t necessarily say that pre-workout will help you build muscle. Taking this supplement can help you gain muscle by allowing you to work harder and longer. Basically, you’re giving your body the chance to work harder than you would naturally (without a supplement) and as a result you may have a better workout and see results over time.

Is it Bad to Take Pre-workout Every Day? 

It is recommended to only take pre-workout on the days you are training/working out. Once again, it is important to know the ingredients in the pre-workout of your choice. Knowing that a high dosage of caffeine is usually included in your supplement and consuming too much caffeine could potentially be harmful/dehydrating. It is smart to take a break from pre-workout every once in a while.

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By: Mariah True, PTA

JOI has physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida that specialize in orthopedic rehabilitation. Please see us if you are suffering from back issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity! Call 904-858-7045.

If you need to see an orthopedic specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000 or click the red button below.

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