Chemicals in Pill Form and as Injectables

Today I will be discussing why you shouldn’t take a pre-workout supplement. A lot of people claim that pre-workouts are the be-all and end-all, because they can provide a huge boost in energy.

But are pre-workouts really that great? Let’s find out.

 

What Are the Contents?

So right of the bat, let me ask you a question. Do you have any idea what’s in your pre-workout? Sure, look at the label on the back. Most pre-workouts have the ingredients listed nice and orderly. However, there are several components that even Google doesn’t know a lot about.

This is where you should be careful. Some pre-workouts contain designer drugs, which are often a derivative of compounds like amphetamine. Not kidding.

These designer drugs are legal according to the law, since they are new. Therefore, there is not a single law that prohibits them from being created and used. Should substance A be forbidden, well, then there’s B, and so on. These substances all do the same thing, but since they’re chemically different, they are classified as different compounds.

This picture shows the molecular structure of amphetamine.

Back when I was training for about 4 months, I thought it’d be a good idea to purchase a pre-workout. So I looked one up. All the reviews stated that you’d feel an insane pump, as well as feelings of unlimited energy.

I mean, if people are positive about it, why not try it, right? I was familiar with the principle of pre-workouts to the point that I knew that most of them contained high amounts of caffeine. This should be the reason people were experiencing certain feelings. Right?

I bought my pre-workout and tried it the next morning. The label said not to use it every day, because of reasons. The people in the reviews weren’t wrong, though. It gave tremendous amounts of energy. I did my workout and went all out. When I was done about an hour later, the pre-workout was still working.

Three hours later my body finally calmed down. Three hours! From half a scoop!

I was okay with the amount of energy it gave me, but I was disgusted by the taste. It tasted like a chemically brewed orange juice, but with a few pounds of extra sugar. This was the reason for me to throw it a way after a week.

Yet another week later, I tried to look for a new pre-workout. One that didn’t taste like a laboratory on fire. I came across the one I bought and it turned out that it wasn’t being shipped anymore.

“Why?”, I thought to myself.

It turned out that one of the components of said pre-workout, was indeed a derivative of amphetamine.

So unknowingly, I’d been taking amphetamine three times in a week. Well, I was glad I threw it away. You might be wondering what pre-workout I used, but since it’s unobtainable, I won’t mention the name.

The main takeaway from this anecdote, is that you always need to pay attention to the labels of the supplements you’re buying. If something seems off, chances are that there could be forbidden substances in it.

An example would be a compound called N-α-diethylphenylethylamine (N-α-DEPEA). This compound gives the same effects as using a light dosage of speed. This can be addictive, and there are cases in which N-α-DEPEA has killed.

This picture shows the molecular structure of N-α-DEPEA.

Note the similarities with amphetamine. No, it’s not the same molecule, but it does have a similar function.

Please note that not all pre-workouts contain designer drugs, but there might be a possibility.

 

#1 – It’s a Waste of Money

There, I said it. Pre-workouts are without a doubt a waste of money. Almost all pre-workouts contain substances like caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine.

Yes, these compounds do actually work! However, it’s cheaper to just purchase them, rather than a pre-workout. Not only that, but it is often a lot healthier. The best part, I think, is that you have control over the dosages you take.

 

#2 – Don’t Use Energy You Don’t Have

Let’s say you’re going out with friends, and you skip a night’s rest. It’s guaranteed that you’ll still notice this lack of recovery in the next 1-2 days.

The same can go for a pre-workout. Since they can give you enormous amounts of energy, you might use more than your body actually has.

Your body will then need to compensate and you might feel quite fatigued the next day.

Another disadvantage is the possibility of overtraining. Having more energy might trigger you to do more than your muscles can handle. This can result in overtraining or injury.

 

#3 – Stimulants May Decrease Sleep Quality

I’ve often heard people claiming they are having difficulties falling asleep after a training session for which they’ve used a pre-workout.

Gosh, I wonder why.

Pre-workouts contain a lot of stimulants that keep your body pumped and full of energy. True, not everyone reacts in the same way to a pre-workout, but multiple studies have shown that most athletes have difficulties falling asleep after using a pre-workout.

Remember: sleep is important. Its quality determines the rate of your recovery, and therefore your progression.

 

#4 – Focus on the Basics

If you want to make the most of your workouts, make sure your focused on training, nutrition, consistency and recovery.

Supplements may indeed provide an increase in your performance, albeit only by 3%. The rest of your performance comes from all the basics.

The thing that will give you the best results, is a personalized workout plan, combined with enough protein, carbohydrates, fats, as well as vitamins and minerals.

The final important factor for the best progression, is one of my personal favorites: sleep.

If all of these factors are up to par, you can try a supplement. I personally would not recommend a pre-workout, but if you’d like to read about the ones that I do recommend, click here.

 

In Conclusion

So there you have it. Pre-workouts work for some people, but its contents are not guaranteed to be healthy. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but I do think that this needs to be said.

If you want to use a stimulant to keep you focused on your workout, I’d recommend having yourself a nice cup of coffee. It’s cheap and healthy, and it gives you a boost of energy.

I hope you learned something about one of the most often used supplements: the pre-workout. Please, leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

24 thoughts on “Everything About Pre-Workouts

  1. Great review you have here. Nice one. I have now learnt a thing or two from your post. Majorly that if you want to use a stimulant to keep you focused on your workout, it is recommended that you get yourself a nice cup of coffee. Also even if Pre-workouts work for some people, its contents are not guaranteed to be healthy. I have a cousin who does this and it would help him.  Thank you again for the information 

    1. Hi Benjamin, 

      Thanks for dropping by! Pre-workouts probably work for a lot of people, but the more healthy option would be a cup of coffee or even an energy drink. Feel free to share it with your cousin! 

      Have a great day! 

  2. Thank you very much for the information. I just start to workout and read in another blog that you can add pre-workout to give some additional energy boost. If what you said above is true, then I don’t think I want to experiment consuming pre-workout just for giving more energy to train. I think adjusting my eating schedule should work to give me more energy if I want to workout. Thanks again.

    1. Hi there, 

      Pre-workouts can indeed offer you a lot of energy that you can use to break certain plateaus. The same can be said about one of those lazy days. If you really don’t feel like training, but you have to according to your workout plan, it might be for you. However, it’s not without risk. You can still experiment with them if you like, as long as you make sure that you read the labels carefully. There are some decent pre-workouts on the market, but there are also a lot of rotten apples. Still, the more healthier option would be to consume a high-caffeine beverage, such as coffee. 

      Good luck! 

  3. This is a very good one. You see, there are many people who do not understand that there are some supplements that are not needed for one to use and one of those is the pre-work out supplements that people people are always on about. I see your reasons here and I accept that it is wrong to use products that are going to give false energy. Nice post.

    1. Hi Henderson, 

      Yes, pre-workouts are often praised to really help during a workout, but it’s just not without risk. There’s quite a few decent pre-workouts on the market, but also a lot of potentially dangerous ones. If it really is energy you’re looking for, just have some caffeine and you’ll be good. 

      Cheers! 

  4. The article gives clear information about pre-workout. and i clearly understood, the component mixed in the pre-workout are caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine, these component are very harmful to human health.I recommended to my friend to, don’t take any pre-workout and tell the effects of pre-workout, Thanks for providing valuable information, your friend yoge.

    1. Hi Yoge, 

      Thanks for dropping by and I’m glad to see you’ve learned a thing or two! 

      Have a great day! 

  5. Great argument and very convincing as well. You know your post has some very important secrets that people do not know about supplements generally one of which is the fact that they only give temporary satisfaction an you’re very right when you say that they don’t taste very good most times. I admire your information here. Very good one work sharing so that others would understand why pre-work out supplements are not right.

    1. Hi John, 

      I’m glad you liked my article! I just feel like people should be more educated on the subject of workout supplements, as they are such a normal part of everyday life in the gym. Thanks for dropping by! 

      Have a great day! 

  6. Hey thank you for the awesome post!  I have been using pre workout drinks for over four years, and never realized that some of them have a derivative of amphetamine!  That is very scary if you ask me.  I have always heard that it is okay to use pre workout drinks.  Thank you for pointing out that I shouldn’t be using energy I don’t have.  I never thought about it like that, because I just thought the energy came from the drink, and that it would be okay.  I don’t know why I thought that, but for whatever reason, I did.

    1. Hi Jessie,

      It sure is scary! That’s why I always urge people to read the labels of the products they buy, and to do their own research. Some pre-workouts are indeed semi-okay (semi because there are in my opinion more healthy alternatives), but some are less so. The main takeaway from this article is that you should be aware of what you are putting in your body. Always do your own research! 

      A part of the energy you’re getting sure comes from the sugars in the pre-workout you’re taking, as well as the caffeine (which is probably a component as well). As long as they are the main stimulants, you’re in the safe I would say.

      Have a great day! 

  7. A great read here on pre-workouts. I don’t use these so much anymore but when I do, it’s because the local vitamin store where I get supplements from, has given me some free samples after I’ve spent so much in the shop. When I did try them, like you said, they just taste like pure sugar mixed with a bit of orange. Yes they gave me a boost but they did make me feel strange later in the evening. Now you have mentioned the types of substances that can be in these pre-workouts, it’s pretty scary! I sometimes ignore the contents on the back but now after reading this, I will definitely  make sure I give them a good read! Thank you for this information. I agree coffee will give you the same but cheaper affect. 

    1. Hi Lee, 

      The fact that you felt strange in the evening could have something to do with high dosages of caffeine. Sure, it could be something else, but the bottom line is that your body gets an enormous energy boost, after which it will crash. 

      Try not to ignore the information on the labels, as they provide vital information about what you’re ingesting. If you don’t know a component and you’d like to know more, just do a Google search! 

      Cheers!

  8. Thank you for this great post, I must admit that I have been ignorant about the side effects of the previous work out suplement, just before writing this comment I did some research on Google about  the side effects of the ore work out supplements. And I couldn’t believe how harmful these products can be. Thank you once again for the insight 

    1. Hi Randy,

      Thanks for dropping by. Some pre-workouts can indeed have quite a few negative effects to the body. It’s good that you did some research on the matter! 

      Have a great day! 

  9. Kevin

    I appreciate your opinion in your article, and you did include some relevant information. The caution I would add is that your recommendation to not take a pre-workout supplement is based on just one experience you had with a pre-workout. Not all  pre-workouts are created equally.

    I do appreciate that later in the article you remind everyone that pre-workouts may work for some people. I think it is important for everyone to do their own research and decide if there is a product that will work for them.

    Again, I appreciate your opinion, but we all need to be careful with blanket statements about products.

    Perhaps a better title would have been “Why I No Longer Take a Pre-Workout Supplement.”

    Just my humble opinion.

    Keep up the great writing.

    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Tom, 

      I appreciate your opinion on the matter and I’ve taken your feedback into account. 

      A part of this article is indeed based on my own experience. I’ve done quite a bit of research though, and the fact remains that quite a few pre-workout products contain derivatives of amphetamine, and that some turned out to be lethal.

      Because of this, I think it’s important to warn people about the possible negatives of pre-workout supplements. Based on the possibility of designer drugs in pre-workouts, I would personally not recommend them to people. Thereby come other possible side effects, such as insomnia. This leads me to believe that I should not be selling the idea of pre-workouts being a harmless product. 

      Indeed, not all pre-workout products are ‘rotten’, but nonetheless, there are healtier and cheaper alternatives in order to get a similar effect. I believe most people are smart enough to do their own research to a certain extent, which is why I urge everyone to carefully read the labels of the products they buy, and to look up things they don’t recognize. 

      In the end, the basics are more important than any form of supplement. 

      Thanks again for leaving your thoughts. 

      Have a great day! 

  10. Hello Kevin!

    It is a very good idea to warn people about certain supplements they may take! It is not that difficult to start using suspicious or dangerous substances while practicing sports. This is done out of the preoccupation for increasing endurance, efficiency and strength in a shorter time.

    And sometimes, these shortcuts to success involve real drugs like amphetamine – when it comes to new substances, obviously it should take some time to the authorities to figure out something is wrong, before banning the substances.

    Wasting too large amounts of energy in a short time can be lethal, of course. After all, there are people that die from drugs, right because they were no longer able to feel that their body was tired. And the excess of energy shoves the sleep as well!

    Pre-workouts must be taken very carefully, or even avoided at all. Good nutrition + good sleep = a good mood!

    Kind regards, Peter

    1. Hi Peter, 

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts! The solution is rather simple if you ask me. More people should be reading the labels of their products, followed by their own research. Even a small Google search will suffice. Some products are objectively dangerous to the human body. 

      Of course, not all pre-workouts are that bad, and that’s the reason that everyone should do their homework. 

      Have a great day!

  11. Hello there thanks for your awesome article it would really be of great help to the public.Pre-workout can supercharge your training, but it can also leave you a jittering mess.from what I know Certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements, such as creatine, caffeine, and nitric oxide precursors, have been shown to support athletic performance.but all of this have negative effect on your boday

    1. Hi David, 

      While it’s true that a lot or pre-workout supplements contain creatine, caffeine and nitric oxide, these components are not necessarily bad for you. Creatine is also found in meat for example. caffeine is only dangerous in very high amounts, and nitric oxide lowers blood pressure and helps people manage their diabetes type 2. 

      Nonetheless, there could potentially be a few compounds hidden in pre-workouts that are damaging to the body.

      Have a great day! 

  12. I never got into habit of taking pre-workouts. After reading your article I’m glad I didn’t! I mean – a derivate of amphetamine?!? That is crazy! 

    As you mentioned, if there is a need for boost of energy before workout, coffee will do wonders. I wouldn’t thought about using extra boosters – if I workout too late in the day, I already have troubles sleeping.

    A round of applause for your: focus on the basics! Let’s stop treating ourselves as professional athletes, if we workout for an hour or so per day… And now we could discuss another topic: obsession with overtraining 🙂

    1. Hi Katja, 

      I know, right?! I didn’t believe it myself at first, but apparently some pre-workouts legitimately contain derivatives of amphetamine. Since they’re often brand new, they aren’t forbidden yet. 

      Stimulants of this magnitude simply aren’t necessary to give you an energy boost. Yes, you will notice a more intense effect, but at what cost? We often don’t know. 

      Therefore I’d suggest we keep to other stimulants, if any at all. 

      Have a great day! 

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