If you are an ordinary fitness enthusiast or athlete, you may hear the buzz of pre-workout supplements. These products are usually in the form of pills or powders and are expected to increase energy and improve exercise performance. But before you exercise, it’s important to know what it is and how it affects your body.
Before exercise: caffeine
The main ingredient of most pre-workout products is caffeine. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD said caffeine can be very large. It stimulates the body’s central nervous system, shortens reaction time and reduces fatigue.
All of this is great for exercise or hard training, right?
“Remember, excessive intake of caffeine can have serious side effects,” Barton said. “You can experience the heart of the race, tingling, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, and even disgusting.”
Most brands have a caffeine content of 150 mg to 300 mg before exercise. This translates roughly into one to three cups of coffee.
As a result, the label promises to increase energy, and focus and performance can often be shaken by caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine, it is wise to read the product label and be cautious.
Barton said pre-workouts can be beneficial and safe if the ingredients on the label are listed correctly and the company is trustworthy. She also said that many of the safe, natural ingredients that are usually found before exercise can be obtained by eating real food.
“You don’t always know what other ingredients are packed into some pre-workout supplements,” Barton said. “But with whole food, you know what you got.”
Some of the best ways to prepare
Learn more about some of the typical pre-workout ingredients, their role and how to naturally ingest them in your diet:
There are 20 different species including beta-alanine, valine, isoleucine, and leucine.
- Potential benefits: growing and repairing muscles, reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, helping to produce energy, regulating blood sugar, mood, and nutrient absorption.
- Possible side effects: Gastrointestinal problems include nausea, bloating and diarrhea, and skin irritation.
- Food equivalents: poultry, fish, red meat, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, beans, seeds.
- Potential benefits: Improve endurance in high-intensity exercise, improve attention and response time.
- Possible side effects: Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, racing heart and shaking, itching or tingling poor sleep.
- Food equivalent: coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate.
- Potential benefits: improving energy and performance.
- Possible side effects: Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea.
- Food equivalent: bread, fruit, sports drink, sports gel or chew.