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Are Pre-Workouts for Everyone?

Let’s start with the basics. What is a pre-workout? At their core they are dietary supplements formulated to be taken prior to a workout with the goal of helping to improve the quality of the workout session, and they are mainly marketed towards resistance training rather than aerobic workouts. Pre-workouts have been shown to increase energy, focus, endurance and blood flow. Some studies have shown the use of a pre-workout can result in long-term benefits when combined with a consistent training routine.

What do most pre-workouts contain? Most commonly pre-workouts contain caffeine. They can contain between 150 mg to 300 mg of caffeine per serving, or the same as approximately three cups of coffee. Other ingredients include beta-alanine to help you perform high-intensity exercises, creatine to help you gain strength and amino acids to help increase lean body mass.

Are there any side effects? Like all supplements there are some potential side effects to pre-workouts, mainly derived from your sensitivity or misuse. For example, the high levels of caffeine they contain can make some feel jittery and the creatine they contain can increase water retention. These side effects would be exacerbated if you were to take more than the recommended dosage, which is not recommended. Using the pre-workouts in conjunction with a consistent workout plan and only taking them when you are working out, and following the label, can help alleviate the potential side effects.

For the experienced lifter, pre-workout can help you go into your workout with the energy you need and the added benefits of better blood flow and more focus. For those new to resistance training, some experts don’t recommend this right away as many are very heavily caffeinated and can be a hard shock on the system. Pre-workout are recommended to those who have been consistent with their workouts and diet and are now starting to plateau a bit. As with all things related to working out you should contact your doctor and explore whether or not pre-workouts are best for you.