Are Pre-Workout Supplements Bad For You?


Image by: Tambaco the Jaguar
By Jake Bradshaw

Everyone needs a little boost before their workout. It keeps your stamina on point which allows for a longer, more productive work out. However, these drinks you see in the grocery or health food markets often don’t provide everything we need and can often create a bad situation.

Although a lot of these supplement drinks will say that they have the nutrients we need to give us energy, there are studies that might prove it’s long term side effects might not be worth it in the end.

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What Do They Have That Normal Food Doesn’t?

Most of these nutrients can be found in food, however the time it takes to digest your food is the time it takes for one to actually feel the results. Even then, it will not be the same amount of energy that these supplements can give. The whole point of these boosters is for instant adrenaline.

Here’s a tip: When you take these supplements, take them with something solid, a protein bar for example. This way, the nutrients have something to soak into which allows for a longer period of energy during your workout since your body is digesting the food during this time, causing your metabolism to speed up.

What’s In These Drink?

Vitamin Bs (B6, B3, B2), Caffeine, Beta Alanine, Carnitine, Citrulline, Glucoronlactone, Creatine, and much more are put into these mixes. They feed your cells and amino acid production which in turn, gives you more adrenaline. The excessive quantity makes it happen within seconds.

A meta-analysis done by Culbertseon, et al in 2012 as well as a study by Caruso in 2010 have shown that these enhancers do very well feed your intramuscular body, however due to the need of constant reinvention, studies are ongoing and deliver new case studies every year.

Everyone’s body is different which will create different results. Some people have an iron deficiency. In this case, the person would feel hot and sweaty after consumption, breaking out in itches and rashes due to too much Vitamin B. In some cases, there have been anxiety attacks during workouts.

In recent polls of men who have taken these supplements for long periods of time, a lot have reported acne and pre-mature baldness. Most of the studies point towards creatine as being the culprit. These products love to highlight the fact that they have creatine which isn’t exactly NEEDED for muscle growth. If anything, it is better for a post-workout consumption – during the recovery phase.

Short Term vs. Long Term Use.

In regards to the marketing of these supplements (like NO xplode or Jack3d), the idea is to build a word of  mouth campaign. Most of these companies do not list long term effects. Why? Because the whole idea of these pre-work out drinks is to create SHORT term results. So in most cases, long term studies do not exist for these products.

One of the recent studies have shown that energy supplements, when taken long term, will affect your heart. Realistically, this can happen if you take them throughout the day. The vitamin Bs, caffeine and aminos inside speed up your heart rate, making it exhausted over time. People can get addicted to the rush, calling it their “magic drink”. Since it does keep your stamina up, it should be monitored accordingly.

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