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Since the DAWN OF TIME… well, at least since 1982, gym junkies have been chasing down new ways to boost their energy while training. Let’s go over whether or not you need a pre-workout (PWO) and what you should look for in a PWO supplement.
Do you need it?
No, you do not need it. PWO is often marketed as providing vast amounts of energy, herculean gains and 40-inch arms. PWO doesn’t do any of that. With that noted, that’s not to say that your training will not benefit from using it, if it has the right ingredients. It’s better to look at pre-workout as a “performance” supplement rather than an “energy” supplement. Which is what we really want, isn’t it?
What should you look for?
Caffeine is in the majority of PWO supplements, and it has been shown to give you energy. But that’s not what’s important. Caffeine has been shown to increase performance especially during high intensity exercise.
Beta Alanine can reduce the effects of muscle fatigue and improve tactical performance. What this means for you is that you can train longer before wearing out. Like creatine, Beta-Alanine works best when taken daily through a process called loading.
Potassium, sweet potassium, how we love thee. This is an important electrolyte that helps reduce cramping and fatigue. It also improves muscle function and hydration. This electrolyte is best when taken alongside Sodium Bicarbonate.
Sodium Bicarbonate is an electrolyte that is lost faster through sweat than the others. Sodium helps to manage fluid levels in the body, which for the pump chasers out there, means better IG photos because your “pump” is directly impacted by your bodies fluid retention.
So, what does all of this mean? Why are there so many electrolytes listed here? Maintaining proper hydration is an absolute key in increasing performance. The more you sweat, the more dehydrated you become, the less effective your training just became. You need to prime your system with these minerals before your training even begins.
“But I don’t even sweat when I work out” Well, you’re either dehydrated and shouldn’t be training or you’re spending more time on TikTok than you are training.
Change your mindset when it comes to PWO. It’s not about the energy, if you have no energy then you probably need to address other factors in your life and stay far away from PWO and other stimulants for that matter.
Do not start any diet or exercise plan without first consulting with your physician! Let your doctor know about any drugs or supplements you are using and what the plan consists of.
This content is meant to be informative and should not be considered medical advice.
Written for Stoked American Fitness