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 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.
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!