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Do you really need to take a pre-workout supplement? Hands down the most popular category of supplements to hit the market in recent years are Pre-Workout Supplements (aka Energy Boosters).
Just take a quick visit to your local gas station and on the front counter you’ll see everything from caffeine pills, Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy Shots, to God knows what else…
Go visit your local supplement store and the shelves will be lined off with
Pre-Workout drinks, powders, and stimulants all claiming to get you Jacked, make you Explode, go Crazy, Scream, Expand, Rage, and blow your freakin mind!
It’s almost to the point where you’re expected to get buzzed out of your head on stimulants just to get through the day. Does anyone even go to the gym sober anymore?
Most pre-workout supplements contain stimulants, which are substances that stimulate the central nervous system and rev up the metabolism, such as caffeine.
And while many pre-workout energy boosting supplements may have over a dozen ingredients listed on the label. The one that you’re feeling the most is caffeine. The other ingredients may help a little and can work synergistically with caffeine to either enhance or prolong the stimulant effect, but by themselves, most will have little stimulant effect on the body.
Studies from as far back as the 1970’s have shown that caffeine enhances exercise performance by increasing the release of adrenaline into the blood and stimulating the release of free fatty acids. The working muscles then use this extra fat for fuel during exercise, thus reducing the need to use as much muscle glycogen (i.e. carbohydrates). The sparing effect of muscle glycogen means that there is more available energy for later in exercise and this delays fatigue.
Energy boosting stimulant supplements do work. They rev up the metabolism and give you that “mental pick me up”, mostly from the caffeine. Will these supplements work any better than a simple cup of coffee? Probably Not…