Who else knocks back a pre-workout 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 relying on it to smash our goals?

Well, you’re about to find out! Read on to find out the pros and cons of this popular supp, as well as when’s best to take it – spoiler: definitely not before bed.

What is pre-workout?

Pre-workout supplements are designed to give a sudden boost of energy and increased focus. Like our 50 Calibre supplement, most pre-workouts are available in powder form that you then mix with water. Key ingredients often include caffeine, beta alanine, amino acids and creatine.

When should I take pre-workout?

As the name suggests, you should consume pre-workout 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.

What are the pros of pre-workout?

Improved performance

Hit a plateau at the gym? Lacking motivation? Well, downing a pre-workout before your session could 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 it’s 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-workouts 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-workouts?

Over-stimulation

All supp pros will be all too familiar with the jitters that can come with taking a pre-workout. But, for those new to this 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.

Immunity

Like anything, if you abuse pre-workouts, 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 supps 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, when you’re next 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 is worth a try, even if we do say so ourselves).

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.