Pre-workout supplements are designed to help people get the most out of the time they spend exercising. Pre-workout supplements usually contain a blend of ingredients that may help with energy levels, endurance, and even muscle power during a workout. While pre-workout supplements are generally taken around 30 minutes prior to exercise, always follow label directions.

What are the benefits?

  • Pre-workouts can supply your body with amino acids to help rebuild and repair muscle tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is what makes up the majority of muscle tissue. Some pre-workouts incorporate branched chain amino acids, which are a special type of amino acid that helps to support lean muscle.  The stress of exercise causes your muscle fibers to develop microscopic (very tiny) tears in them. This is what causes some of the soreness experienced the day or two after your workout.  Amino acids, electrolytes and other ingredients like adaptogens found in pre-workouts help with overall recovery.
  • If you need an added boost of energy during your workout, pre-workout supplements are a great way to get it. Most contain caffeine, tri-methyl xanthine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can give added energy as well as alertness/focus during your workout. When taking a pre-workout, monitor the amount of caffeine you consume to ensure it is at a level that is tolerable for you. If you are not sure, consult your physician to discuss if a particular product is suitable for your needs and goals. B vitamins are a common ingredient used in pre-workout supplements. B vitamins work with your body to help break down energy stores such as carbohydrates, fats, and protein.  B vitamins play an integral role in the facilitation of metabolic processes.
  • If you have hit a plateau while working out, a pre-workout designed to increase athletic performance may help.  Beta-alanine is a modified amino acid that helps reduce the feeling of fatigue.  Although beta-alanine may cause temporary paresthesia (slight tingling sensation on the skin), many people opt for a pre-workout containing it because of its ability to be converted into carnosine by the body. Carnosine may aid in increasing endurance and adding to power during a workout when performance may tend to suffer from muscle fatigue.  Ingredients like citrulline malate and arginine help to increase nitric oxide levels.  Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator by increasing blood flow, which allows your muscles to get the nutrients they need.

Pre-workout supplements are formulated to help you optimize your workouts, but supplementation alone cannot perform miracles. It still requires hard work, dedication, and consistency to get the results you want. Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and/or supplement regimen if you have concerns or questions.