What is Pre-Workout and What Does It Do?
If you’re new to the pre-workout world, don’t stress! A pre-workout supplement pretty much does what it sounds like. Pre-workout supplements come in a ready-to-drink beverage format, or a powder format, and when consumed, give you an extra energy boost before a workout, help you tire less easily, and can help you meet your overall fitness goals. The best pre-workout supplements will contain ingredients that support energy, focus, endurance, strength, and delayed fatigue during an intense training or activity session.
The type of pre-workout supplement you choose will depend mostly upon the type of exercise you do, as well as any dietary preferences or restrictions. Runners and cardio enthusiasts may want to opt for a pre-workout supplement that helps to increase blood flow for better oxygen levels, while someone who lifts weights or enjoys boot camp classes may look for ingredients that support muscle endurance. If you prefer to do any sort of workout in the morning, a pre-workout supplement can be a very convenient way to get energy before you hit the gym, mat, bike, and more.
When Should You Take Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout supplements work best when they are taken at the optimal time. Your pre-workout supplement label will often suggest the best time for consumption. Generally speaking, however, it is best to drink your pre-workout drink 30-60 minutes before your workout routine, which will allow the ingredients to absorb into your system with optimal benefit.
The traditional belief is that pre-workout supplements are only for serious athletes, however, the right one can be a positive addition to your workout routine depending on your preferred type of exercise. Added energy, focus, and stamina can support you in getting the most out of your workout. Some pros of using pre-workout supplements include:
What Are The Benefits of Pre-Workout?
- More energy
- Muscle strength
- Better stamina and blood flow
- Increased oxygen levels
- Faster recovery
- Increased motivation
What Are The Ways You Can Take A Pre-Workout Supplement?
Powdered pre-workout supplements are very convenient, as they can be mixed and consumed in a number of ways! You may want to mix your pre-workout with a smoothie, or with just water. If there is a high amount of caffeine in your pre-workout supplement, you may also consider drinking it alongside a small snack rather than on an empty stomach, to help curb jitters.
How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?
Most pre-workout drinks or supplements will take effect after 30 minutes, and will last up to 2 hours. This is all dependent upon ingredients, however, and a select amount of pre-workouts can last up to 6 hours.
Can Women Take Pre-Workout?
Absolutely. Pre-workout supplements are becoming very popular among active women looking to get more out of their fitness routine. The right ingredients can help build lean muscle, increase performance and boost energy levels during exercise, and lead to achieving better results.
It’s important to call out, however, that while there are many pre-workout drinks are marketed “for women”, the products are not often formulated to actually meet the needs specific to women.
Is Pre-Workout Bad for You?
There is a range of types of pre-workout supplements, which is why it is so important to pay attention to your ingredients, and caffeine and stimulant levels, to determine what is best for your body. It is best to avoid artificial additives, allergens, and high stimulants altogether. To do so, you may want to opt for a natural pre-workout - which you can learn more about in our natural pre-workout guide here.
In terms of the effects, because pre-workouts are meant to stimulate, they can sometimes cause nervousness or unwanted jitters. An increased heart rate might mimic the feeling of anxiety or panic.
It is also important to look out for ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, such as niacin (B3) in some people. Unnatural additives and synthetic ingredients in traditional pre-workout supplements are one of the most common causes of reactions, often via artificial sweeteners.
Some artificial sweeteners to avoid are:
As reflected in this study, these zero calorie sugar alternatives have been linked to negative effects to the gut microbiome, and can also:
- Increase the risk of metabolic disorders
- Irritate your gut
- Cause bloating, inflammation, headaches and diarrhea
How Do I Choose the Best Pre-Workout Supplement For Me?
Choosing the right pre-workout not only depends on your type of exercise but also upon your general health, and any dietary preferences or restrictions. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you would more likely benefit from a very low-caffeine, or a completely caffeine-free pre-workout. Aila’s superfood pre-workouts contain only 90mg of organic caffeine that is naturally derived from green tea, and make a great option for someone who is caffeine sensitive.
Some other ingredients to seek out are B-vitamins supporting cognitive function, such as B-6 and B-12. Both of these vitamins can assist with focus during your workout routine, as well as with muscle tissue regeneration post-workout. These are also found Aila’s superfood pre-workouts.
Above all, read your labels
There are a variety of products on the market and it’s important to do the research to find both safe and effective pre-workout supplements that meet your needs.
Depending on the ingredients, a pre-workout supplement can improve your workout experience, and help you achieve your fitness goals by increasing energy levels and improving muscle performance and recovery.
Always look for products that have been third-party tested, that offer transparency into their ingredient sourcing process, and that include clean ingredients. References: