I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but every time I go on social media to check out what my favorite powerlifters, strongman athletes, crossfitters and other strength athletes are doing, my feed will always have at least a handful of advertisements from pre-workout companies. We are constantly bombarded with a variety of brands and their new top notch pre-workout. We see and hear hundreds of conversations about athletes using performance enhancement drugs, but it seems that there aren’t a lot of conversations about the various substances that are perfectly legal to buy at a grocery store. Is there a conversation that should be had about pre-workouts? I mean, how much is there to discuss about something that doesn’t even require an I.D. to buy? Afterall, it does seem that as soon as anyone signs up for a gym membership, the next purchase is a tub of pre-workout. Well, I figured what better place to start a conversation about it than right here.
So, what exactly are pre-workouts? Pre-workouts are a blend of dietary supplements that strength athletes and regular gym goers use to provide a stimulus going into a training or workout session. They usually contain substances such as creatine, caffeine, branch chain amino acids, beta alanine, l-arginine and a slew of other vitamins, minerals and supplements. Mixed all together in specific dosages, these pre-workouts are supposed to help you be prepared physically and mentally for a grueling workout. The idea is that with pre-workouts, someone would be able to train heavier, longer and have a better physiological response to the training. Every brand will have their own recipes and blends of different supplements for what they will market as the best for you and your training. Pre-workouts are readily available in sporting goods stores, grocery stores and an unlimited number of online stores.
Now, before I get deeper into this, understand that I am not here to tell you not to take pre-workouts and to demonize them as something inherently bad. That would make me a dishonest hypocrite, as I have used many different pre-workouts over the years. I don’t have it out for supplement companies, and I’m not here to take a big dump on their heads. However, there are some things worth talking about and providing some information on. Firstly, it is important to know that pre-workouts are not regulated by the FDA. So, companies have much looser regulations on what they can and can’t sell to the public. Obviously, supplement companies can’t put out a pre-workout that will cause harm to people, but that doesn’t mean that pre-workouts don’t come without some degree of risk. There have been some pre-workouts and supplements that have been banned because of being linked to detrimental health events. Pre-workouts generally consist of many different dietary supplements, and the companies that make them don’t necessarily have to be forthcoming about the dosages of their ingredients. A lot of pre-workouts will have a line on the ingredient list about having a “proprietary blend” to prevent other people from copying their formulas and selling it off as their own, which is a perfectly understandable stance to take. However, as a consumer, that should grab your attention to some degree. Most ingredients in pre-workouts are found in the food we eat and within our own bodies. However, you should know that you will be ingesting many of these supplements in much higher quantities than you normally would. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s dangerous, but everyone reacts differently to different substances based on their individual physiology. Luckily, information on all of the ingredients are easily found with a quick online search. From there, you can determine if the ingredients on the back of a tub of pre-workout is something you want to put in your body. You have to remember that the fitness industry is just like any other industry. It might revolve around health, fitness and strength, but companies are in it to make money for themselves. That doesn’t make them evil, but it does put the responsibility of knowing what is being bought and consumed on you, the consumer. Like your training and nutrition, it is up to you to make sure that you are buying the right product for yourself.
Now, you may find yourself asking if you really need to take a pre-workout. That more or less depends on you. For example, I train early in the morning before the sun comes up. I pretty much need something to get me going, and I’m not going to brew a cup of coffee at 4:30 in the morning. From a training standpoint, you don’t really need a pre-workout, but they can be a tool to help you reach your goals. Most pre-workout needs can be met with a well rounded diet and a proper sleep schedule, however, we’re human and that doesn’t always go to plan. The truth is that it kind of comes with trial and error. It may take a little experimenting to figure out whether or not taking a pre-workout is best for you and which one you should go with. Everyone reacts to various pre-workouts differently, so you have to find the one that suits you and how you train. Just don’t forget that pre-workouts are just a supplement. They are a very small part in what makes your training productive and progressive. It will always boil down to effort, programming and recovery and there is no way around that fact.
If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTHSHOP at checkout to get 10% off of your order. But wait? What if you have a glorious Beard? Check out FerociousBeard.com and use Promo Code “ATLASSTRENGTH” to save 15% on all o your beard care!!
On November 19, 2022, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its third annual strongman competition, the Rougarou Classic. If you are interested in competing, check out the event page on ironpodium.com
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