Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
“Pre-workout” supplements are a class of mixtures of herbal ingredients and premixed chemicals designed to increase your energy, improve alertness, reduce fatigue, and increase blood flow to your muscles. The claim of this broad category of pills and powders is that they will help you train longer and harder with better results.
Some of the promises are roughly bullish, others turn out to be fulfilling. What is true is that pre-workout supplements can turn you on. They often contain ingredients like caffeine, taurine, and B vitamins, which can all help you feel motivated. That’s not to say it’s crash-proof energy, but the chemicals in a pre-workout can provide enough oomph to get you through your workout, Jordan says. Moon, Ph.D. professor at Concordia University.
But here’s what’s wrong: There isn’t a lot of science on the more esoteric ingredients in some of these supplements, such as Panax ginseng and deer antler velvet. Worse, in a 2019 study, scientists evaluated 100 pre-workout products and found that the amounts of almost half of the ingredients were not disclosed on the label. And some plant extracts mix poorly with drugs or other supplements, Moon says.
What’s also wrong: Some pre-workouts advertise they contain creatine but don’t have enough compound to count, Moon says. Science has shown that taking creatine can, in fact, help you increase your strength and power (read more about all of that here), but you need to take in around five grams per day for two to four weeks for the nutrient builds up in your muscles. Most of the pre-workout products you’ll find on the market contain only three grams of creatine per serving.
Should You Take Pre-Workout Boosters?
If you are taking pre-workout supplements, take them with caution. Experts suggest starting with a lower dose than indicated on the label. Nancy Clark, RD, a Boston-based sports nutrition consultant, advises buying a brand that is third-party certified by NSF International for quality assurance. (We love X2 Performance Pre + Intra Workout.) Or just eat real food: a banana, oatmeal, granola bar, or latte are all good pre-workout fuels.
A version of this story originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Men’s health.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and other similar content on piano.io