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Pre workout supplements are a great tool to help assist you with getting the most out of your workout in my opinion but they also have their downsides which is why I’m writing this article to cover the pros and cons of them.
I’m not writing this article to try to convince anyone to start using them or to not use them for that matter, just an informational post of all the stuff I’ve noticed over my years of using them.
Please do further research on your own and ask the manufacturers of the product if you have any specific questions before taking any pre workouts and never take more than is recommended.
I always like my good news first so we’ll kick this off with going into the pros of pre workout supplements.
- Insane Amounts Of Energy
- Able To Lift Heavier & Do More Reps
- Better Blood Flow (Pumps)
- Improved Mental Focus
- Increased Motivation
Allow me to explain in more detail on the points mentioned here.
Energy – One of the main ingredients in pre workouts is caffeine with some of them going as high as 500mg of caffeine per serving! To get an idea here 100mg of caffeine is usually equal to 1 cup of coffee.
Lift More – Another staple ingredient in these products is creatine which allows your muscles to lift more weight & be able to do more reps before throwing in the towel.
Blood Flow – Nitric Oxide (L-arginine) helps with not only keeping oxygen to your muscles to be able to go longer but it also helps with reducing lactic acid build up which happens in your muscles when you work out.
Mental Focus – Caffeine is great for energy but if you’re not focused on working then you’re basically Tasmanian Devil running around with all of that energy. This is where Tyrosine and also a newer product called nootropics come into play with helping you stay mentally focused on what you’re there to do.
Motivation – This sort of goes hand in hand with the energy side of things but there are times when you probably have plenty of energy but still don’t feel like doing crap, this is what I mean by motivation here because it can help give you the feeling to want to better yourself basically the drive to get stuff done.
The (Potential) Cons
*Note that all of these are potential cons, not a certainty.
- Sleeping Issues
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Racing Heart
- Stimulant Dependent
- Gas & Bathroom Issues
Pre workouts are made by different companies, different ingredients are used with different dosage amounts so the side effects don’t go as a one size fits all type of issue here but these are the most common I’ve seen from across the board of me using multiple ones.
Sleeping Issues – Having a hard time sleeping is not uncommon with using pre workouts especially if you’re just starting to use one. Your body is not being used to having that much caffeine (usually) and also when you take it is also a major factor (I try to avoid taking one after 7pm, this varies per person).
The good news here is the sleeping issues tend to go away after you’ve used it for a week or two. Try starting with lower doses and working your way up to the recommended amount to gauge how much it will affect your sleeping.
Blood Pressure – A rise in blood pressure is common as well with these supplements but the increase is usually only while the supplement is active in your body. (If you have blood pressure issues maybe chat with your doctor before using these)
Racing Heart – Another similar issue like the blood pressure one. With as much stimulants that are being packed into these supplements don’t be surprised to notice your heart beating much faster or much more noticeable.
It’s very common advice in the fitness community to not do cardio while taking a pre workout because that will just add even more excitement to your heart which I do not think is safe, so just be very careful here.
Stimulant Dependent – After using a pre workout and noticing how much you get done with it in your system you may start to feel as if you need it every single workout or you won’t ever be able to get anything accomplished in the gym.
Gas & Bathroom Issues – This is one of the more annoyance type of cons than the others. When taking certain pre workouts you may notice you have more gas while their in your system a long with a sudden urge to go take a dump.
The gas is can last for a couple hours while the sudden urge to go to the bathroom is usually right when it starts to kick in then after that you will probably be fine.
How Do I Know Which Pre Workout To Pick To Avoid These Issues
Unfortunately it’s more of a trial and error type of thing when yourself being the test subject. I only say this because pre workouts react differently depending on the person using them so it’s hard to really go off of what someone else suggests 100%.
With that being said you should always do your homework with supplements like this so read reviews, ask other guys in your gym and keep an eye out for possible sample packs to try.
I really wish I could say use pre workout 1234xyz and you won’t have any side effects at all but I would be lying because I haven’t a clue how you might react to it even if I don’t have one single side effect from it.
Luckily with fitness supplements becoming such a booming industry you do have plenty to choose from so if you don’t have any luck with your first few that you try you usually have plenty more options.
I’m going to end this article here so I hope this pros and cons article helped shine some light on pre workout supplements for you.