Are Pre-Workouts Bad For You?

Are Pre-Workouts Bad For You?

Have you just started being part of the fitness community? If yes, you must hear many different opinions regarding pre-workouts from several gym-goers and fitness athletes. This buzz might have got you thinking about whether or not pre-workouts are bad for you.

To some fitness freaks, pre-workout supplements are necessary. In contrast, others dislike them due to some of the side effects these supplements come with.

Before you gulp down any pre-workout formulas, you need to know the positive and negative effects they have on your body. In this article, we’ll explain the pros and cons that pre-workout supplements can have on your fitness regime. But first, let's develop a proper understanding of all things pre-workouts!

What Are Pre-Workouts?

Pre-workout supplements, also known as pre-workouts, are bodybuilding supplements. They may comprise a single ingredient or a large mix. These supplements are usually available as a powder drink mix that helps enhance athletic performance.

Athletes and weightlifters take them to increase endurance and energy during workouts. Besides boosting energy, these supplements also help develop focus during the workout session.

Most pre-workout supplements have carbs as their main ingredient, while others are carb-free. Carb-free supplements may contain beet juice, caffeine, or different amino acids. The amino acids manage the "fight or flight" response of the body in response to the pre-workout supplement.

To consume a carb or carb-free supplement boils down to your choice because both come with their own sets of pros and cons. To make sure you stay safe and fit, you must be aware of these popular supplements' advantages and disadvantages. So, without any further ado, let's get right into the details.

The Pros

If you're a fitness enthusiast, you might find the pros of pre-workouts more captivating than the cons. It’s because most athletes are more concerned about increasing their energy during workouts.

Pre-workout supplements can be advantageous and safe to use if you consider their ingredients carefully. The company from where you buy them also plays a massive role in determining the supplements' credibility.

Here are some of the benefits that pre-workouts provide and a few of the ingredients that help them achieve the desired effect!

Enhance Performance and Increase Focus

Supplements with caffeine help rev up your muscles' energy and enhance performance. They do so by stimulating the central nervous system to improve brain function for a more impactful and efficient workout.

Promote Muscle Growth

Supplements containing BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) help develop muscles by increasing their protein synthesis. They're known for promoting muscle growth, reduce muscle fatigue, and easing any muscle soreness.

Improve Metabolism

Supplements that have B vitamins are crucial for the body's metabolism. It’s because the body itself can't produce these ingredients. These vitamins ensure the proper functioning of body cells. They help your body convert food into energy efficiently, produce new blood cells and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues.

Improve Cardiorespiratory Performance

Supplements with beet juice increase nitric oxide levels in your body—the increased nitric oxide level results in increased blood flow, improving lung function, and stronger muscle contraction. Overall, beet juice helps improve cardiorespiratory endurance and performance.

Improve Muscular Strength

Supplements that have creatine are an excellent way to improve muscular strength, promote lean muscle mass, and help muscles recover quicker after exercise. This muscular boost aids in providing bursts of speed and energy during a high-intensity workout.

All these ingredients offer boosted energy, efficient metabolism, and stronger muscles. However, they also come with some cons that users must consider along the way.

The Cons

Since the FDA doesn't regulate pre-workouts, it’s essential to make sure that they pass through a genuine vetting process. The proper testing procedure ensures and validates the quality and purity of the pre-workout formula.

Food inspection authorities, such as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), have certified many pre-workout supplements as safe to use. But what about the ones that aren't certified?

Pre-workout supplements can have major side-effects on your health if used incorrectly. Let's have a look at some of the side effects.

Restlessness and Insomnia

Overdose and off-timing intake of pre-workout drinks that contain caffeine can lead to severe restlessness and insomnia. Insomnia may result from delayed digestion of caffeine. At the same time, restlessness may increase your heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in several types of cardiac risks.

Diarrhoea and Headache

High dosages of creatine and caffeine can have a laxative effect on your body if you have a weak stomach. They make the body's water retention ability ineffective. The body becomes unable to retain water which leads to severe dehydration and, ultimately, diarrhoea. It happens with most diuretic supplements which are used for weight loss. Dehydration, in turn, leads to headaches.

Tingly or Prickly Sensations

Pre-workouts containing ingredients such as niacin, beta-alanine, or vitamin B3 may cause tingly or prickly sensations throughout your body.

Now the question arises, are pre-workouts bad for you? Owing to the side-effects mentioned above, it depends on "how much" and "when" you take a particular pre-workout supplement.

Research has shown that pre-workouts only increase 4 to 8 per cent of the body's strength during workouts. With that said, the pre-workout supplements containing caffeine have the highest number of benefits if consumed appropriately.

Ingredients such as creatine, caffeine, and beet juice help boost your strength during workouts, but they're not known to give you heroic strength whatsoever. Many other ingredients may not even have any impact at all.

Final Words

Pre-workout supplements are mainly used to improve physical performance and boost energy for workouts. However, you may face some harmful consequences if you don't follow the right directions while using them or are buying them from unreliable sources.

If you prefer taking pre-workout supplements, it is wise to check the ingredients they have and run a background check on their side effects. You must also make sure to take a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep to make the most out of your workout sessions!


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