Who else knocks back a pre-workout supplement to power through a 6am sweat sesh? We feel ya. Or maybe you’re more of a post-shift pre-workout drinker, relying on a kick of caffeine to see you through your evening workout. The fact of the matter is, many of us consume pre-workout on the reg – some of us take the stuff every single session! But, is it all that good for us and should we really be taking pre-workout supplements to smash our goals?
Well, you’re about to find out! Read on to find out the pros and cons of this popular supplement, as well as when’s best to take it – spoiler: definitely not before bed.
WHAT IS PRE WORKOUT? HOW DO PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS WORK?
Many of you ask, "what does pre workout do?", well, pre-workout supplements, such as drinks or powders, are designed to give a sudden boost of energy and increased focus. Like our 50 Calibre pre workout powder, most pre-workouts are available in powder form. To drink, simply mix the pre workout powder with water. Key ingredients often include caffeine, beta alanine, amino acids and creatine.
WHEN TO TAKE PRE WORKOUT?
As the name suggests, the best time to take pre-workout is before exercise – usually around 20-30 minutes prior. For those who prefer to pump in the evenings, be careful how late you consume your pre-workout; if you’re planning on taking it a few hours before getting some shut eye, then think again. Taking pre-workouts too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc with your routine– not great when the sole purpose of taking the stuff is for energy! To be on the safe side, always refer to the packaging to find out how and when to consume your pre-workout.
HOW TO TAKE PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS?
To use powder-format pre-workouts simply add the suggested serving to water, shake or stir and you’re good to go! To take our .50 Calibre pre-workout supplement, just add one serving (half a scoop) to 150-250ml of cold water and shake or stir – we’d recommend preparing your pre-workout in one of our handy Grenade® shakers, ideal for easy, on-the-go use. As mentioned, you should drink your pre-workout 20-30 minutes before training and make sure you don’t consume your pre-session energy boost within 4 hours of bedtime, as this could affect your ability to sleep.
HOW LONG DOES PRE WORKOUT LAST?
It depends which pre workout you take and the amount of caffeine it contains. However, Grenade®’s .50 Calibre Pre Workout can last for 4-6 hours, with the most pronounced effect hitting 30-60 minutes after consumption. Due to this, it’s recommended that you avoid taking .50 calibre® within 4 hours of intended sleep, otherwise you may be in for a sleepless night!
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS IN PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS?
Most pre workout supplements contain anything from 150mg to 300mg of caffeine per serving. One serving (half a scoop) of .50 Calibre® pre workout contains 200mg of caffeine.
WHAT IS IN PRE WORKOUT?
They usually also include key ingredients such as Beta-Alanine and Creatine to enhance energy and performance during your workout.
SHOULD YOU TAKE A PRE-WORKOUT? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- Improved performance
Hit a plateau at the gym? Lacking motivation? Well, downing a pre-exercise energy booster before your session could help to improve your performance, helping you to secure that final rep or last that extra mile. Amino acid, beta-alanine, is a pre-workout staple and is famed for its the ability to increase performance. Numerous studies have shown that beta-alanine can reduce fatigue during intense exercise, improving endurance and increasing muscle growth.
- Increased focus
From the gym social butterfly who exercises his jaw more than his biceps to the never-ending list of things you’d rather be doing than, well, working out, it’s not unusual to get distracted when trying to stay fit. Believe it or not, draining a pre-workout before your sesh could keep you on track, increasing your focus and determination. Packed with fast-acting caffeine, pre-workout drinks are perfect for those days where your concentration is lagging.
- Beneficial ingredients
This varies between pre-workouts but many are filled with additional vitamins and minerals, making sure your body is fuelled and focused. The Grenade® 50 Calibre pre-workout includes additional BCAAs for anti-catabolic support, citrulline malate, the most proven NO-boosting amino acid, and numerous other effective ingredients to support muscle blood flow.
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF PRE WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS?
All supp pros will be all too familiar with the jitters that can come with taking a pre-workout. But, for those who are new to taking a pre workout supplement, the shaky sensation can be a little unnerving. When you consume a pre-workout, your body is dealing with high volumes of caffeine. This caffeine stimulates the nervous system. When you consume higher levels of caffeine than what your body is used to, your nervous system is unable to use all of the energy it has been given, which causes those tell-tale jitters and tingles. Not everyone will suffer with this side effect and some don’t mind too much but if it’s something you’re uncomfortable with, lower your serving or steer clear altogether.
Like anything, if you abuse pre-workout supplements, they’ll become less effective. Your body gets used to certain ingredients after a while, especially if they’re consumed more often than recommended. To make sure you’re still able to feel the benefit of that pre-workout rush, reserve this supp for exercises emergencies, eg. when you’ve already snoozed through three alarms and are most definitely going to miss that early morning circuit class or when your body flat out refuses to complete that last rep (rude) and hitting your PB seems like an impossible feat. All worthy reasons to whack out the pre-workout.
- Artificial ingredients
As with beneficial ingredients, this will vary between different supplements but always always read the label before purchasing and consuming a pre-workout. Some feature dangerous ingredients or incorrect dosages of certain products, which could have a serious effect on your training and, more importantly, your health.
So, do pre workout supplements work? Are they worth it? Next time you're lagging or fighting to focus, perk yourself up with a pre workout and you’re sure to notice a difference in your training. Just remember, don’t over-do it and choose your supps wisely (our 50 Calibre pre-workout supplement is worth a try, even if we do say so ourselves).
Want some more information on gym supplements? Browse our blogs on glutamine, creatine monohydrate and BCAA.
Looking for some workout inspo to burn your new pre-workout fuelled energy? Head over to our blog to find out 4 reasons why circuit training could be for you and discover the benefits of popular workout kickboxing.