Pre-workout supplements are promoted to assist with endurance, energy, focus and performance during physical training. Although it’s a relatively new addition to the sports nutrition market, pre-workout supplements are already very popular with athletes and body builders.
Most pre-workout supplements contain ingredients like electrolytes, amino acids, arginine, glutamine, caffeine and nitric oxide. When the amino acid, l-arginine, converts to lcitruline in the body, nitric oxide is produced. It is believed that nitric oxide increases blood flow to muscles and improves uptake and delivery of nutrients and hormones to muscles during training.
How do you choose the appropriate product?
Choosing a pre-training supplement is often difficult as there are so many available. Your choice should be based on your individual training goals and budget. For example, a weightlifter may require a formula that provides ‘the pump’ or energy boost for training, while a distance runner may require a formula that provides nutrition and electrolytes. Our sports nutritionists will help you identify particular needs, options and ideal solutions, so make sure you stop by for the best expert advice. Also consider the following:
- Research the products carefully before making your choice.
- Become familiar with the ingredients listed on each product.
- Educate yourself about what you are taking and choose products from reputable companies.
- Avoid products that include excessive amounts of preservatives, fillers and ingredients that you are unfamiliar with.
- Look for a product that contains fewer ingredients with clear labeling.
Cycling pre-workout products:
In most cases, a person’s body will ‘adapt’ to a pre-workout supplement and the effect may be reduced over time. Cycling the product is therefore a good way to get the most benefit from the supplement, while avoiding larger doses that could be costly and harmful to your body. The best way to cycle pre-workout products is to use consistently for 6 to 8 weeks followed by 2 to 3 weeks off, then simply repeat.
- Pre-workout supplements should be taken along with a healthy, well-balanced diet and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme.
- It is NOT suitable for children under 15 years or pregnant women and should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision.
- Many pre-workout supplements contain substances that give the user instant energy, such as caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the release of the hormone adrenalin from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. Sensitivity to or the effectiveness of caffeine will decrease with use. For example, initially a cup of coffee is all that is required to stay alert but over time it takes 3 cups or more to exert the same effect. Plus persistent caffeine intake will lead to lowered adrenalfunction.
One therefore always needs to ensure you are aware of what is being ingested and how it could affect your performance. Also, the balance and measure in which it is taken are key to increased performance. Don’t harm your abilities due to a lack of knowledge or misinformation. Please consult regularly with our sports nutritionists, as they are highly qualified and entirely able to put you on the right track every time.