Pre-workout Supplements : The Good & The Bad

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The popularity of the pre-workout supplement has grown exponentially in the last few years, in part because of FOMO (fear of missing out) and also because the ergogenic benefit i.e. their ability to enhance performance, is simply too good to ignore!

Pre-workout supplements have become fashionable in the fitness industry, so much so that gym goers and fitness enthusiasts alike cannot bear to miss a trick. Although their rise in popularity is partly due to marketing and commercial appeal, the main reason for their use is the scientific evidence that back them up. There is a plethora of evidence supporting the main ingredients that make up most pre-workout supplements, including Beta-alanine, L-arginine, Citrulline malate, Caffeine and now, BCAA’s including Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.

There is nothing ‘wishy washy’ about pre-workout supplements, a well-constructed pre-workout will deliver enhanced focus, reduce perceived exertion (make exercise seem easier), enhance muscle power endurance, increase muscle pumps, improve vascularity and ultimately improve oxygen and energy delivery to your brain and muscles for exercise.

Some companies are less transparent with ingredients and their respective quantities, take proprietary blends as an example. On the back of some pre-workouts are a total figure (usually in grams) for say, an ‘Energy Complex’, which states the total grams of ingredients within the complex. This complex may add up to 2000mg (basically 2g, but using mg makes it look like more), and contain 4 ingredients in total e.g. Caffeine, Beta-alanine, L-arginine and Citrulline malate. However, proprietary blends don’t state the individual’s quantities for each, which is a problem if we consider that a good pre-workout should deliver at least 1-2g of Beta-alanine alone, and around 3g of L-arginine, which by default means this supplement is skimping on some of the ingredients!

My ‘opinion’ on pre-workout supplements is largely irrelevant because they are backed by the real power in all this…science. Pure and simple, pre-workouts work. Where the issues come in are when companies pick cheaper ingredients that provide a big stimulatory hit, but little more than that! Caffeine is a fantastic ingredient, it not only stimulates but improves vascularity, oxygen delivery, awareness and reduces perceived exertion, but cramming a pre-workout with masses of caffeine and little more is poor practice! At Discount Supplements we endeavour to provide our customers with brands that are open, robust and honest in all that they do, so rest assured that pre-workouts are safe, effective and have a solid place in both elite and recreational athletes supplement stack.

 

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PRE WORKOUTS THE GOOD THE BAD

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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