Pre Workout Supplements

supplements g13 (7)

Popular products for gym users are pre-workout supplements which can help give a boost to those who are looking to improve their session whilst they are in the gym. But what kind of things are in these supplements and are there any risks?

Typically the pre-workout supplements are in powder form which are mixed with water and consumed usually 30-40 minutes before a workout. The idea is that they will give you an edge and enhance your performance typically in resistance training exercises enabling you to lift heavier weights and complete more repetitions.

There are a wide variety of supplements available on the market, each one consists of a different cocktail of various compounds all aimed at giving you an edge in performance. Reasoning for including some of the ingredients is based from very little research which may be inconclusive research or taken out of context. The ingredients included for each brand is different but some common ingredients include the following:

Amino Acids: Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are 3 essential amino acids compromising of valine, leucine and isoleucine. Supplementation of BCAAs can help prevent muscle breakdown during intense exercise, provide energy for the muscles and can aid recovery. Arginine is another amino acid that is often included as it can be converted to nitric oxide which causes increased blood flow to the working muscles. Taurine may also be included as there is evidence to suggest that it may increase muscle mass and reduce muscle protein breakdown during high intensity exercise.

Beta-Alanine: This is an amino acid which is a precursor to carnosine. It is a buffer which means it counteracts the acidity in muscles that accumulates during high intensity exercise so it allows the muscles to tolerate high intensities for longer and delays fatigue.

Caffeine: Benefits of caffeine as a stimulant for a workout by increasing alertness and concentration have been proven. However, sometimes it is unclear on the label of the supplement how much caffeine the product actually contains. Some of them consist of high doses and can be the equivalent of 3 cups of coffee or more which can be dangerous as it exerts strain on the heart.

Creatine: Creatine is combined with phosphate to make phosphocreatine which is used by muscles as an energy source, especially for high intensity activities such as lifting, sprinting and jumping. Creatine supplementation pre-workout allows your muscles to recover faster between sets and allows you to sustain effort for prolonged periods.

Stimulants:  Other than caffeine, some products may also use different stimulants to give you an edge. Previously, various used stimulants have been banned for being unsafe and have been known to contain dangerous substances, one such being DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine). Adverse reactions or dangerous side effects can occur when using some of these products. Therefore, it is advisable to conduct research prior to consuming certain supplements and ensuring full awareness is given regarding the positive and negative effects of each.

In conclusion, pre workout supplements are probably safe if used correctly and in moderation. However, if you are unwilling to pay for pre-workout supplementation and ingest the cocktails of chemicals inside your body, then you can quite easily get everything you need pre-workout from food.

Carbohydrates and protein are needed for energy and muscle growth; fluid is needed for hydration. Coffee can be consumed to provide alertness & improve performance and consuming caffeine in this form allows you to better control how much you are taking in. If you are going to use this kind of supplementation before your workouts, I would recommend doing your own research on the ingredients they contain and finding a product that is most suitable for your requirements.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Didsbury Clinic (Manchester) to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.

Get in touch with our team

For immediate & emergency appointments please contact either our Didsbury or Wilmslow Clinic.
Alternatively you can complete our appointment booking form, or contact us for enquiries below.