If you’re looking for a fitness supplement, “pre-workouts” are the most sought-after. Both professional athletes and regular gym-goers use them.
Pre-workouts are supplements you take before a workout to boost your physical and mental stamina.
After taking a pre-workout pill, the benefits will last 30 minutes to two hours. This, of course, depends on the components, the effects you’re looking for, and other variables.
In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about pre-workout vitamins and how they may help you achieve your fitness goals.
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What is exactly pre-workout?
There are a variety of pre-workout pills on the market, all of which aim to improve the quality of your exercise by boosting your energy, work capacity, and concentration.
They include substances like Arginine, which dilates blood vessels to boost “pump” or blood flow to and from your muscles. Caffeine, included in these products, may help you feel more energized.
Some pre-workout pills also include creatine, which might help you perform better in high-intensity activity.
The majority of pre-workouts are powdered and mixed with water or juice. In certain cases, pre-workout supplements are marketed in the form of pills or cans, or bottles.
You may find a wide selection of pre-workout pills on the market, each with its unique recipe.
The dosage per serving is frequently included in the ingredient list of a pre-workout supplement. Some pre-workouts specify merely a proprietary combination of substances, but not the precise dosage of each.
According to studies, these are the most frequent pre-workout supplement ingredients:
- “vitamin B3” refers to niacin.
The combination of some or all of these compounds distinguishes most pre-workout pills.
Several producers often add flavoring, coloring, and artificial sweeteners to enhance the product’s taste and appearance.
SUMMARY: To put it another way, pre-workouts are a supplement. They include a variety of substances that are designed to enhance different areas of exercise performance. Caffeine, Arginine, and creatine are just a few more common components found in sports supplements.
How long does a pre-workout last?
Several substances in pre-workouts have variable durations of action. Caffeine and Arginine are two of the most researched active components in pre-workout supplements.
These two chemicals will take between 60 and 90 minutes to kick in with most pre-workouts. Caffeine’s and Arginine’s peak effects are 60 and 90 minutes after ingestion.
An increase in blood flow is brought about by adding Arginine to pre-workouts. According to the research, Arginine’s half-life varies from 30 to 120 minutes, according to the dosage and the individual.
The half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours. Research shows that the acute effects of caffeine come in after one hour and persist between 1.5 to 9.5 hours, depending on the person.
The benefits of a pre-workout might last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the half-lives of caffeine and Arginine.
Your pre-workout effects may begin and end at different times for different people, based on studies showing a wide variety of half-lives for the key substances.
Pre-workout effects last for a certain amount of time depending on:
- the serving size of each component
- eating a certain amount of servings at the same time
- your total weight
- your level of activity
- how sensitive you are to caffeine
SUMMARY: Two hours is a typical pre-workout time frame. Ingredients have an impact on this. For example, Arginine’s effect on blood flow may wear off within one to two hours, yet caffeine’s effect on energy might last for up to six hours.
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Is a pre-workout safe to take?
Pre-workouts with many ingredients tend to be safe. On the other hand, pre-workouts include several potentially dangerous chemicals. Pre-workout supplements may increase your chance of injury via the following side effects.
Toxic effects of coffee
When ingested in excess, caffeine may be dangerous and even deadly. You can’t get a deadly quantity of caffeine via typical drinking coffee or tea because of the volume of liquid you’d need to guzzle down.
It’s simpler to take large quantities of caffeine when you ingest concentrated powders like pre-workouts that contain high stimulant levels. Caffeinated beverages, on the other hand, represent a lower danger.
Caffeine overdose may occur if a person consumes many caffeinated drinks in addition to pre-workouts. There may be a greater danger for those with lower body weights.
Consumption patterns and the harmful consequences of pre-workouts were examined in a research published in 2019. Most participants claimed they only took one serving for each usage.
However, 14 percent said they took two or more servings per time they used the supplement. More than one pre-workout per day was reported by 17% of participants.
Pre-workout pills were found to have the following adverse effects by 54% of those in the research.
- allergic reactions on the skin
- heart defects
Pre-workout users who ingested two or more doses a day were more likely to have these negative effects, as did females.
Overconsumption of coffee produces heart palpitations and nausea, whereas overconsumption of niacin induces flushing. As the dosage is increased, so is the degree of these effects.
According to a study of human research, caffeine’s lethal dosages in humans have been reported to range from 3 grams to as high as 5 grams.
At least 250–400mg of caffeine per serving is typical in pre-workout supplements.
To get a 3-gram dosage out of a pre-workout containing 400 mg of caffeine per serving, you would only need to make 7.5 servings.
Even though this is a lot of pre-workout, it is conceivable for a person to drink this much every day. As a result, you must consume it in moderation.
Toxicity of niacin
Niacin may induce major side effects, such as:
- Low blood pressure is life-threatening
- Hepatitis B virus infection may lead to liver failure.
- organ failure of numerous organs
According to research, niacin has been shown to cause liver damage at dosages as low as 3 grams per day.
Niacin flush is a safe but unpleasant side effect of taking niacin at lower levels, roughly 30 mg per day.
Your skin will become red, itchy, and heated due to this ailment. It usually dissipates after a few hours.
As a general rule, the best pre-workout supplements include niacin levels ranging from 25.8 to 41 mg. As a result, it’s conceivable that consuming one dose of pre-workout can cause you to experience a niacin flush.
Check the quantity of niacin per serving on the product’s label and take the suggested serving size to know how much you’re consuming.
Other safety issues are also important.
Pre-workout pills have not been investigated in terms of long-term safety, so there is no way to determine whether they are hazardous in the long run.
Caffeine’s adverse effects may be exacerbated or changed by adding other components to supplement formula. Pre-workout pills are no exception, making it difficult to draw broad conclusions regarding their safety.
In certain cases, the substances in dietary supplements may even be illegal or hazardous. In the United States, pre-workout supplements are not regulated by the FDA (FDA).
Supplement producers in the United States are not required to conduct safety testing on ingredients before incorporating them into a product. Only if an item is explicitly prohibited may it be included in dietary supplements.
Companies may also claim the product’s efficacy as long as they don’t claim that the supplement treats, cures, or prevents a particular ailment.
Pre-workouts and other supplements are prime examples of “buyer beware.”
Potentially harmful to professional athletes
Banned chemicals may pose a health hazard, according to some experts. Additionally, if you participate in a sport that involves drug testing, you should be aware that using some pre-workout supplements might result in your disqualification.
Athletes who ingested trace quantities of illicit drugs while taking supplements that claimed to contain unrelated compounds have previously tested positive for prohibited substances.
A methamphetamine analogue, N,-diethyl-phenylethylamine (N,-DEPEA), was detected in a pre-workout supplement named Craze in a 2013 investigation.
Following the disqualification of many athletes from competition for testing positive for a forbidden stimulant, researchers analyzed and identified this ingredient in a pre-workout supplement.
Multiple prohibited chemicals were detected in varying concentrations and combinations in 17 distinct supplement brands studied in 2020.
The following banned stimulants were found in this analysis:
These illegal compounds are troubling, and it’s hard to tell whether the inclusion of these components was purposeful or unintentional in pre-workout supplements.
In addition, there is a shortage of information on the short- and long-term consequences of mixing various stimulants in varying quantities that are not indicated on the label.
It is up to the customer to ensure that a pre-workout supplement has been third-party tested in the US, although these compounds have been outlawed.
Unknown health implications and, at the least, a major headache for coaches and athletes trying to establish that contaminated supplements caused a positive drug test are possible outcomes of these chemicals.
Pre-workout supplements that have been subjected to independent testing are an excellent choice for serious athletes.
Taking a pre-workout pill may be done safely if you follow these guidelines:
- Keep it to just one serving each day.
- Use caution if your pre-workout contains caffeine or nicotinamide, both stimulants.
- Choose items that have been examined by a third-party agency like Labdoor or Eurofins Scientific.
- Make sure every ingredient is stated, as well as the serving size.
- Do your homework on each item to make sure you know what you’re getting and whether or not there are any negative effects or concerns.
- Be clear of “proprietary mixes” that don’t reveal how much of each component you’re getting in your pre-workout supplement.
- No matter what pre-workout supplement you use, never take more than one serving at a time. A pre-workout product that you’re trying out for the first time should be used with caution.
- You should check with your doctor before taking a pre-workout if you are on any medication or medical issues. They could benefit from seeing the ingredients list for the pre-workout you’re interested in.
SUMMARY: More than one dosage per day may cause adverse effects or health hazards from certain chemicals in most pre-workouts but seem harmless. If you do decide to take one, limit yourself to one serving and look for a product that a reputable third party has validated.
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Who should use a pre-workout supplement?
Most pre-workout supplements aim at those interested in bodybuilding, powerlifting, and similar weightlifting disciplines. If you’re an athlete in another sport, you may take them.
Caffeine, in particular, has been shown to improve physical and mental performance. However, as your tolerance to caffeine increases, so do these advantages.
Pre-workout supplements have the potential to aid a wide range of athletes, including those competing in the categories of endurance, strength, and physique. Aside from caffeine, many of the other substances are geared for weightlifting.
Most high-intensity sports may benefit from pre-workout preparation, especially if you’re lifting weights or engaging in maximum effort activity.
SUMMARY: Pre-workout vitamins might aid athletes who don’t engage in high-intensity exercise like weightlifting.
Pre-workout supplements can improve attention and performance in the gym despite safety concerns and overzealous marketing.
To a significant extent, pre-workout supplements’ efficacy is determined by the kind of performance improvement you’re trying to achieve.
One research indicated that a pre-workout pill containing caffeine enhanced anaerobic peak and meant power considerably.
The Wingate Anaerobic Power Test was used to quantify these abilities, a typical examination of the capacity to exert great effort for short periods.
According to the same research, pre-workout supplementation did not improve upper body maximal strength or upper or lower body maximal explosive power as judged by the bench press 1-repetition maximum, the medicine ball throw, or the vertical leap tests.
Pre-workout vitamins may be beneficial, according to a new study:
- increase muscle strength
- develop strong, lean muscles (when used while resistance training)
Physical performance may be improved by using pre-workout supplements. Research on pre-workout supplements has been equivocal, and more studies are required.
SUMMARY: Certain performance indicators, such as anaerobic power output, may benefit from pre-workout supplements.
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5 pre-workout supplements to consider
If you’re looking for a great pre-workout supplement from a trustworthy manufacturer, here are some options. All of these supplements are devoid of any known harmful ingredients.
Before using these or any other pre-workout supplement, be sure you do your research and contact a healthcare practitioner.
Bulk Transparent Laboratories
Caffeine levels in the Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout product are around 180 mg per serving.
Pre-workout supplements might be intimidating to newbies, but this basic combination is a wonderful place to start. Moreover, it does not include any artificial sweeteners or tastes and no artificial colors or flavors.
Caffeine, B vitamins, and branched-chain amino acids are found in high concentrations in Pre-Kaged.
This is a great supplement for anaerobic sports like weightlifting because of the inclusion of creatine and caffeine, and B vitamins.
Pre-Workout by Legion
At 350mg of caffeine per serving, Legion Pulse falls at or near the upper end of the spectrum.
L-theanine, citrulline malate, and beta-alanine are just a few of the additional chemicals included in this formula, all of which offer fitness-related benefits.
Legion Pulse is also sweetened and flavored organically.
Women’s Power Pre-Workout
Designed for ladies, Power Pre-Workout has low caffeine content. For your health and well-being, you should research the plant extract ingredients in the recipe before you use it.
This product is a suitable option for those who are more sensitive to caffeine.
Pre-Workout Performix SST
Caffeine is the primary ingredient in this Performix SST Pre-Workout supplement, which also contains citrulline malate and lion’s mane and Yohimbe root extract as other ingredients.
It is claimed that combining these plant extracts and citrulline malate can enhance blood flow and sharpen attention during exercises.
This pre-primary workout’s ingredient is a caffeine dosage of 300 milligrams. Keep your total caffeine consumption in check and familiarize yourself with the plant extracts before taking them.
SUMMARY: Pre-workout pills from certain well-known brands are safe and effective by third-party testing. Always conduct your research and contact a doctor before using these items.
Popular pre-workout pills are one of the most frequently used nutritional supplements. Fitness buffs and professional athletes alike often make use of these devices.
There is some evidence that they can help with anaerobic power and performance when training and working out, so most of them are intended to help with that.
Pre-workouts raise the reddest flags regarding health because of the high caffeine content. Limiting your intake to one cup per day and avoiding other caffeinated drinks during that period can help reduce this risk.
Pre-workouts can be tainted with prohibited or otherwise hazardous ingredients since the FDA does not oversee supplements.
Buying a pre-workout supplement that has been quality-tested by a third party is one option to consider.