To answer the question nobody wants to ask (because we love energy sups) we have to first define what a pre-workout supplement is.
Definition: Pre-workout supplement Any supplement designed to be consumed prior to exercise (pre-exercise) or physical activity; Usually consisting of ingredients that can increase energy, strength, mental focus and blood flow to the muscles.
Bro Science Definition: Stuff you take BEFORE you workout, to give you energy DURING your work out.
Not sure TMW would approve of that one.
This does hold water for most of the popular preworkout supplements that bodybuilders and enthusiasts currently take. If you ask almost anyone at the gym, I'll bet you they currently take or have tried at least one of the more popular energy supplements such as Jack3d, 1MR, NoXplode, Musclepharm, et al.
It's not ALL about energy
Some of these products are designed to do more than just give you energy; If it was just about energy then brew yourself a pot of coffee or grab an espresso (the latter of which ancient wisdom - or builders over 60 – swear by). There is a reason body builders don't just pop a bunch of No Doz pills before a work out.
By breaking down the list of ingredients used in major pre workout supplements on the market (See our Top 10) to describe what each component does, why it's really in there, and what effects it is supposed to have on your body. Then, and only then, can you make your own educated decision on what works the best, and what is safe for you to be taking. There's no reason to kill yourself just to get bigger! It just ain't worth it.
Be your own guide with the facts on these pre workout supps and their ingredients:
Typically used to increase vascularity and blood flow. Also used in male enhancement pills. Who would thunk!
This stuff is in coffee and has been used for centuries as a stimulant for the mind and body. Caffeine mostly comes from coffee plants, but can be extracted from leaves of tea bushes, kola nut, yerba mate, guarana berries, guayusa, and yaupon holly.
If you've had Starbucks, you've probably had caffeine. It is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but, unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is both legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Heck, some studies are even saying that coffee / caffeine is actually good for you. Just don't mix it with ephedrine, which is banned by NCAA, MLB, NFL, and PGA TOUR. Selling or purchasing almost anything with ephedrine in it is a sure fire way to get the FDA crawling up your butt; It is currently limited and monitored
A pretty straight-forward ingredient. Extensive research over the last decade has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of 5 to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.
Not to be confused with methamphetamine! What is all the rage about 1,3-dimethylamyline lately? This geranium stem extract is also scientifically known as Methylhexanamine or commonly as DMAA. You don't have to look very far to find out that this stuff was the latest substitute for the old effedrine / caffeine stimulants. Furthermore government agencies are currently examining this ingredient and it's on the chopping block to be banned due to health concerns. If the stimulant you are taking has caffeine and 1,3-dimethylamylamine in it you may want to do some research to make sure it's safe, especially if you have a heart condition or if heart disease runs in your family history.
I take it and like the effects, but I used to take caffeine and effedrine when it was legal too. This stuff is a beast, so be careful with it.
So, are pre workout supplements bad or good for your body and mind? At fullspike we love them, but every enthusiast, gym-goer and body builder alike should read the labels and make a judgement call. As much as I'd love to tell you to run to the FullSpike.com supplement store and buy every preworkout offered, your health and safety comes first. We just want to see you get the body you deserve. Light weight!