If you’ve ever needed a boost before you hit the gym for a killer workout (or a HIIT video in your living room), you may already be familiar with pre-workout, a supplement that can help athletes crush their upcoming workout. It almost always contains caffeine, as well as other ingredients too, like creatine, and amino acids. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of pre-workout, if it can aid in weight loss and everything in between.
Vital note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.
Is Taking A Pre-Workout Bad For You?
Before you take any new supplement, it’s normal to wonder if it may be bad for you. Always be mindful to purchase a pre-workout supplement from a trusted brand and be sure to check the ingredient label. Sometimes, “[the] added ingredients aren’t tested or governed by the FDA and have caused serious issues,” Jamie Hickey, nutritionist, trainer and Founder of Truism Fitness tells Lively. Shopping for a pre-workout that puts quality, clean labels and transparency first? Scoop up Vital Performance™ PRE, an NSF Certified for Sport® pre-workout supplement that provides a unique combination of collagen and other premium functional ingredients that helps you get in the zone and stay in the game.
What are the benefits of taking a pre-workout?
Pre-workouts can give you an energy boost before a workout, but so will something like coffee or an energy drink. So what, specifically, are the benefits of taking pre-workout? “Pre-workouts help you increase your energy levels so that you can motivate yourself to work out and to exercise at a higher intensity level, giving yourself faster results,” Hickey tells Lively. You may be able to push yourself a little harder, whether that means running an extra mile or getting a few more reps in.
Do you really need a pre-workout?
“You don’t need a pre-workout if you’re disciplined enough to make yourself work out when you’re tired and unmotivated,” Hickey says. “The energy boost you get from a pre-workout helps you get off your butt and work out. But if you start your warm-up without a pre-workout, your body will start to release endorphins that will wake you up and allow you to work out at a high intensity without any supplements.”
So no, you don’t need pre workout, but you do need a heavy dose of willpower and motivation without it.
Does pre-workout help you lose weight?
Taking a pre-workout on its own will not help you lose weight, but if it’s causing you to work out longer or harder without consuming more calories, you may see a drop on the scale. “There aren’t any reputable cases studies done that will show you any weight loss benefits to taking a pre workout,” says Hickey. “They do contain caffeine that will act as a mild appetite suppressant but this alone won’t be enough to aid you in your weight loss goals.” It comes down to pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise. The pre-workout is merely supplemental.
But will pre-workout make you gain weight? After all, if your fitness goals include weight loss, you don’t want to get in the way of your progress. Fortunately, probably not, according to Hickey: “The only time a pre-workout will make you gain weight is when they contain creatine monohydrate, which will make you retain water weight in your muscles which can give you the appearance of gaining weight or make you bloated.”
What is the best pre-workout?
The best pre-workout will depend on your taste preferences and your fitness goals. Hickey suggests looking for a brand that uses natural ingredients and third party testing to prove efficacy and safety. If you’re looking to build muscle, look for a blend that contains creatine, and if you’re hoping to speed up recovery and ease muscle soreness, try a formula that contains BCAA or EAA.