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Pre-Workout Supplements: Understanding the Pros and Cons

The Complete Herbal Guide / Fitness  / Pre-Workout Supplements: Understanding the Pros and Cons
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Pre-Workout Supplements: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Everyone wants to get an edge on their opponents, and those who want to get it in a legal, healthy, and readily available way are turning to supplements as the answer. Even if you don’t really have opponents, you probably just want to compete against yourself and be the best you can be – as we humans do. So, here you are looking for information. Today we will be talking about the pros and cons of pre-workout supplements in their varying forms.

An Introduction to Supplements and Exercise

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If you have come here after seeing advertisements for all kinds of miracle pre-workout pills and potions then you are most likely wondering if what they claim is true. The short answer to that is: maybe. It depends what exactly they are claiming, and a few of them really are making some wild statements that can’t possibly be true. However, the fact is that there are many real benefits of taking certain supplements before your exercise.

So, the problem is trying to sort through the advertising language and then finding what will be right for you as an individual. The basic goal of a pre-workout supplement is to provide your body with a boost in essential nutrients, with a focus on your muscles in particular, just before you train.

Popular Pre-Workout Supplements

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There are a lot of myths and legends that have evolved over the years, particularly in the professional Bodybuilding scene, but today we are only focused on scientifically proven ingredients that could really help you. Here is a short list of popular supplements and the reasons people have for taking them.

Caffeine / Energy Boosters

It is not a surprise that energy boosting products such as caffeine are very popular for pre-workout use, but it may surprise you how much other stuff is in some of these stimulating supplements. Always read the label to check what else is in that powder or drink you are thinking of buying, and if in doubt just drink a double shot coffee.

Vitamin C

If you are trying to put on muscle or just lose some weight, vitamin C is extremely important. It is essential to your body and helps with the ability to repair and grow tissue, as well as increasing oxygen levels. You can see why this one is so popular as a pre-workout supplement, right? If you are not getting enough of it in your diet, and most people are not, then something like liposomal vitamin C may be a good solution. It’s best to get your vitamin C in a liquid form such as this because it is more readily absorbed by the body in this way.

Creatine

This is one of the better-known supplements for pre-workout, and also one that has been studied in-depth. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body, but many people take a supplement of this ergogenic aid before working out. It has been shown to increase muscle mass when coupled with regular strength training, but for some people, the effect is almost none.

Taurine

You may have heard of taurine as one of the main ingredients, along with caffeine, in energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster. However, it may be more beneficial and easier to fit into your diet when taking taurine in supplement form. It can aid with muscle fatigue as well as giving your muscles the ability to remain hydrated which could help your gains.

The Downside of Supplements

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As with supplements you could take for other issues, you should talk to your doctor before taking a whole bunch of pre-workout tablets and powders. These supplements could be harmful when taken in excess, or even in regular doses could cause harmful interactions with prescription drugs or other medical conditions.

Another problem is that some supplements just don’t work for certain people, such as creatine, or the effect is greatly diminished after prolonged use, such as caffeine and other stimulants. In the case of stimulants, if you can give up coffee and energy drinks when you’re not in the gym you will experience a better effect.

This last word of caution is just a minor one, but it’s important to remember: taking supplements does not turn you into Superman within an hour. Don’t push yourself too hard by thinking that you should be able to handle a whole lot more strenuous activity all at once.

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At the end of the day, it is important to remember that it’s your body and you are responsible for what you’re putting into it. If you are unsure of something, or if you feel like there are some negative effects from whatever you are taking, just stop and talk to your doctor about it at your next appointment.

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Caitlin Evans

evans.b.caitlin@gmail.com

Caitlin here, medical student and occasional writer. My fields of expertise cover health, nutrition, and wellness-related topics. One day I will have my own, personal awesome blog - until then I’m boosting my online reputation and blogging experience with The Complete Herbal Guide.