With fitness always evolving nutrition trends are surely to follow close behind. The most recent changes have included the use of performance enhancing supplements. In the past decade supplements have grown into a $25 billion dollar industry making it one of the fastest growing industries in the world. I started doing some more research on pre-workout powders, pills, and all those dietary supplements. I wondered what makes them so attractive and why people are so willing to pay so much attention and money for these dietary supplements that we really do not know all that much about? The supplements make outlandish claims and promises like “insane vascularity and a STUPID PUMP that will blow your mind!”, “get steroid-like gains”, and “explosive energy”.
Whether these claims are valid or not, I am not sure because I have not used any of these dietary supplements. However, they do sound a bit far-fetched and since the FDA does not regulate the $25 billion dollar industry it allows companies to put whatever they want in the supplements. Okay, that may sound a little scary, so let me just say that not everything in pre-workout is terrible, but some things can be. So as pre-workout supplements become increasingly popular with athletes in high schools, college, and event with the typical working man or woman, it could be causing some serious issues with their bodies.
Most pre-workout supplements that I have looked into have the same four ingredients in them; Creatine, Caffeine, Beta Alanine (BA), and LCLT.
Creatine: So this seems to be the most common ingredient with most, if not all, pre-workout substances. Creatine is naturally produced in our body and can also be found in a lot of meat. Creatine functions as a driving force in burst muscle contractions by constantly refueling the ATP which is the source of energy. Long chemical story short: Creatine will give you more energy and make you feel less tired.
Caffeine: Good ol’ caffeine. It’s the most commonly used stimulant among people and the popularity stems from its seemingly magical ability to wake us up from the dead. Caffeine in pre-workout powders can vary depending on the brand and the number of grams in each scoop. There is a fine line between just the right amount and having the most amazing workout ever and having too much causing you to shake uncontrollably and make the difference of having the best workout of your life or shaking uncontrollably and dropping a dumbbell on your foot.
Beta Alanine: Yea, i did not really know what it was till I started doing my research. From what I understand it is a nonessential amino acid usually found in poultry and other types of meat. Its main purpose is to reduce fatigue which as you can imagine sounds amazing to anyone, especially trainers and extreme athletes since most of them are working out and doing intense exercise for several hours a day.
L-Carnitine/L-Tartrate: Out of all the ingredients, I think I like this the best. Not only does it help your body use your excess fat as an energy source, but it also prevents the breakdown of muscles, and lessens the amount of tissue damage and soreness after a workout. So yes, this does improve performance, but again it is not essential in the grand scheme of things.
It is not necessary to use preworkout to get in an effective workout. With that said I can understand the appeal of an elixir that provides extra energy, focus, and work capacity. Each supplement can be beneficial as long as you stick to the proper dosage, but the more you use and depend on preworkout for each intensive workout session, the more your body will build up a tolerance to it and eventually just a scoop will not be enough.