Mind the things you put into your body.
Most of us who have stepped into a gym with both our feet for at least five minutes have a high probability of some sort of contact with pre-workout supplements. Whether it be from a poster, ads at the counter, promotional events, or even just from watching another gym-goer down a 20 ouncer of the stuff, pre-workout supplements have been part of the exercise scene for some time now. So what’s in a pre-workout supplement and is it OK for us to take?
Pre-workout supplements do exactly what they’re named for, supplementing us with extra energy prior to working out. There are many forms of these supplements, ranging from meals and shakes to pills and powders. In whatever form they come in, they’re all designed to do one main task: to boost our energy levels and increase focus for a better workout. Pre-workout supplements supply an extra boost of carbs to raise our blood sugar levels and supply the additional energy we may need during a workout. However, they will also contain other ingredients intended to increase our focus and alertness, such as caffeine.
Caffeine is one of the key ingredients in many pre-workout supplements that help us to stay focused and alert during our time at the gym. Although a controlled amount of caffeine is harmless (studies show it may even be beneficial to our hearts), some supplements available over-the-counter may contain an excessive amount of caffeine that can cause some serious health issues like anxiety and high blood pressure.
Other ingredients you should look for in a pre-workout supplement are creatine monohydrates, BCAAs or branch chain amino acids, taurine, B-vitamins, and NO2 boosters to name a few.
In the end, taking supplements to help improve your workout can be beneficial if taken according to the directions and by knowing your body well. However, like most things, too much of anything can be harmful.