Do you need a pre-workout?
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Lately, I’ve been asked what pre-workout I’m “on” more than how much I bench.
Since when do college kids need a pick-me-up supplement to release some energy? All of a sudden, it’s as normal to see someone experimenting with the newest pre-workout drink as it would be to see them downing Gatorade.
I get it. You’re tired, need some energy and it seems like everyone else is doing it.
Let’s start by addressing the fact that you shouldn’t be taking a supplement of any kind if you don’t know the ingredients or their effects. Considering majority of pre-workout supplements hide behind proprietary blends, which give a total serving size and then list a bunch of ingredients, which leaves you in the dark about the amounts. Usually this isn’t a health issue, but rather a ploy to have you spend $50 on some flavored caffeine.
Other times, there are severe consequences to venturing down the unknown pre-workout trail, with companies being sued on allegations of contaminating supplements with meth like compounds. The Federal Drug Administration does not regulate supplements. This gives anyone the freedom to put whatever they’d like in a bottle and sell it to the gullible public.
Forget the fact that you’re probably wasting your money and the product could potentially be dangerous. What makes you think you need it? I’ll be the first to say that if you’re a competitive athlete looking to gain an edge there are products out there that are effective and safe, but if you aren’t, it’s hard to think you need one.
If your workout includes some bench pressing and a jog on a treadmill, I don’t think you need to be amped up for that one. Sure, these products may have trickled out to the mainstream due to effective marketing, but sports nutrition research isn’t being conducted so that you can bang out a few more curls. Don’t believe the hype.
If you feel bogged down, the first two issues tend to be sleep and nutrition. For college students, getting more quality sleep will increase energy greater than any pre-workout drink.
After you improved your sleep and nutrition, then see if you still need a pre-workout. If you do, remember more frequent use of caffeine decreases the effects, so use a pre-workout sparingly.