Getting a good workout may be difficult if all your energy is going to juggling work, family, and more. For this reason, pre-workout supplements have gained popularity over the last few years. Pre-workout claims to give you the energy to power through a workout. Opponents of pre-workout say the products are unsafe and that their contents are potentially dangerous. What is in pre-workout? Let’s talk about the common ingredients and what their functions are.

Caffeine is the most abundant ingredient found in pre-workout supplements; it works by acting as a stimulant on the central nervous system, tricking the brain into thinking that you are not tired. In addition, caffeine can release adrenaline, giving an additional boost of strength to your body. Studies have shown that consuming around 90 to 150 mg of caffeine before a workout can improve performance. However, pre-workout supplements tend to have between 150-250 mg of caffeine. You may think, “more should be better right?” Well that is not the case as research has found that performance actually drops when people are over caffeinated citing that over-caffeinated individuals become too jittery to perform at an optimum level.

Creatine and beta-alanine are two other active ingredients in pre-workout supplements. These are added to help boost muscle performance during your workout. Creatine increases the endurance of muscles, allowing them to function at peak performance for longer periods. Beta-alanine helps reduce acid build-up in muscle tissues during exercise. While research shows that both of these supplements are effective, it is only the case if they are taken regularly.

The issues surrounding pre-workout supplements have nothing to do with these three ingredients. The main problem with these supplements has to do with their regulation and their labels. Pre-workout supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration which allows companies to add substances in their products that are banned in the US without putting it on the label. Oxilofrine is one of the more common substances added to pre-workout to act as a stimulant. This drug is used in Europe to treat low blood pressure and in higher doses, oxilofrine has been found to cause heart problems and possibly cardiac arrest. This is just one of the more common examples, but there are many other banned stimulants that have been found in these supplements.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding to take a pre-workout supplement. Is this a trustworthy company? Do some good research to ensure that they are a reputable company and that they aren’t adding anything you don’t want to be ingesting. Check to see if they have been tested by a third party such as NSF or USP. How do you react to caffeine? Everyone reacts differently to caffeine. Too much may prove to be hindering your workout instead of helping. Make sure the amount of caffeine in your pre-workout is tolerable for your body.

Pre-workout can be used as a boost to help increase performance at the gym. If you are relying on pre-workout to exercise, and you wouldn’t be able to exercise without it, there may be something wrong with your diet. Here at Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, your Rochester chiropractors, our nutritionist will help you develop a diet to give you energy that will last the whole day. If you are having difficulty staying awake and motivated to work out, schedule a free consultation today!