Is pre-workout bad for your health?
There are so many pre-workout supplements out there. It can be difficult to know which one is best for you, what ingredients to look out for, and which pre-workout ingredients to avoid.
This article breaks down the 6 most important pre-workout ingredients and explains what they do for you.
Keep these in mind when shopping for a pre-workout supplement so that you can choose the best one for your needs!
Let’s dive in!
Related: Is Taking Pre-Workout Bad For You?
Pre-Workout Ingredient #1: Caffeine
Caffeine is the most common ingredient in pre-workout supplements and it can provide a boost of energy, however, it can also cause side effects such as a fast heart rate and restlessness.
Caffeine is known to improve alertness and delay fatigue by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain.
This means this ingredient can help you work out harder for longer periods.
For this reason, coffee is considered a good pre-workout because it contains caffeine.
The recommended daily intake of caffeine for adults in Europe and America is between 300mg-400mg per day.
Most pre-workout supplements contain high levels of caffeine.
But if you’re worried about over-consuming this ingredient, look out for supplements that contain green tea or guarana as they’re decaffeinated and will provide you with similar benefits without causing these harmful side effects.
Pre-Workout Ingredient #2: Creatine
Creatine is another common ingredient found in pre-workouts.
It’s a natural substance that helps to provide your muscles with energy and it can support muscle growth.
Is it necessary to buy a pre-workout supplement because of its creatine content? No, it’s not because you can get creatine from your diet by eating more seafood and red meat or even consider supplementing with creatine monohydrate.
But if you’re not getting enough from your diet or don’t want to get creatine monohydrate then a pre-workout supplement with creatine will be beneficial.
In this case, look out for supplements containing creatine monohydrate as research shows that this form of the supplement is most effective at boosting muscle strength and size.
Learn How To Eat Better Food, Lose Weight and Start Working Out To Build Some Muscle Now.
Pre-Workout Ingredient #3: Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that the body produces itself.
But it can also be found in protein sources like pork, chicken, red meat, and fish.
When beta-alanine enters your bloodstream, it combines with histidine to produce carnosine.
This process is important for trainers because carnosine acts as an antioxidant as well as increases exercise performance by delaying the onset of fatigue.
This ingredient found in pre-workouts helps to increase the amount of time you can exercise before feeling fatigued.
If you prefer to consume beta-alanine through food instead of supplemental form, try eating chicken, pork, or fish a few hours before your workout.
Although beta-alanine levels are much high in pre-workout supplements.
For that, look for supplements that contain a higher dose of beta-alanine as this is an effective ingredient for boosting exercise performance.
Pre-Workout Ingredient #4: Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a gas that’s produced naturally in the body and it helps to dilate blood vessels which means more oxygen, nutrients, and amino acids can reach your muscles.
This is important because the more oxygen and nutrients your muscles have, the longer you can exercise before feeling fatigued.
Nitric oxide is also known to improve muscle recovery and growth.
Also, you can increase the amount of nitric oxide in your body by consuming healthy foods like beets, spinach, arugula, watermelon, and pomegranate.
If you want to look for pre-workout supplements that contain nitric oxide, then make sure it contains citrulline malate because it has the most impact on nitric oxide levels that leads to exercise improvements and muscle growth.
In this case, look for supplements that contain arginine or citrulline malate as these ingredients help your body produce nitric oxide.
The higher the dose of these ingredients, the better the supplement is at increasing the amount of nitric oxide in your body.
Pre-Workout Ingredient #5: Citrulline Malate
Citrulline malate is another common ingredient found in most pre-workouts.
Citrulline malate can help to boost muscle growth and performance when taken before your workout, however, it’s also been shown to have some positive effects on blood pressure levels.
This ingredient has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure.
According to Healthline, a dose of 8 grams may reduce fatigue and improve performance in the gym.
In this case, look for supplements that contain an adequate dose of citrulline malate.
Pre-Workout Ingredient #6: Branched-Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids that are important for muscle growth.
These amino acids are called essential because the body can’t produce them. So, you have to get these nutrients through your diet or supplementation.
BCAAs are important for athletes and trainers because they can speed up muscle recovery and growth while also reducing fatigue during exercise.
This is important as it allows you to perform better during training sessions.
BCAAs can also be found in food sources like eggs, chicken, beef, fish, and dairy products.
But if you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement that contains BCAAs, then make sure it has a high dose of leucine as this is the amino acid that helps to promote muscle growth.
In this case, look for supplements that contain all three BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) as these will be the most effective at helping you build muscle and decrease muscle soreness.
Pre-workouts usually come in powder form which is mixed with water.
However, if you’re not a fan of the taste or texture of these supplements, there are now also some that come in pill form.
Be sure to check the ingredients list before purchasing though as some pre-workouts contain artificial sweeteners which can be harmful to your health.
In most cases, no – as long as you’re choosing a supplement that contains ingredients such as caffeine, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and arginine or citrulline malate.
However, it’s always best to speak to your doctor before starting any new supplement, just to be safe!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below!