*In this post I am referring to the supplement called "Pre-Workout".
Pre-workout isn't as commonly known as protein powder. I didn't know about pre-workout until I started following "fitspo" YouTubers on social media. They'd put a scoop or two of pink powder into a glass of water and chug it before the gym. Normally it comes in tubs with neon labels and a list of gibberish ingredients meant to turn you into a lifting machine for an hour. Intense right? Well, it isn't as intense as it sounds!
Let me first explain what pre-workout actually is.
Pre-workout is a supplement packed with ingredients made to boost your strength, endurance, and energy during your workout. You take it with water 20-30 minutes before you work out and it's very important to stick to the recommended dosage. The ingredients in pre-workout can make you feel buzzed and tingly if your body isn't used to it.
For first-timers, do what I did and try the pre-workout on a non-gym day when you know you're just going to be chilling out. That way you can see how you feel in a comfortable environment. (Or, if you don't freak out about weird bodily sensations like I do, take the recommended dose and try it at the gym.)
*Keep in mind that most pre-workouts contain caffeine. If you drink a lot of coffee, taking pre-workout on top of that could cause some negative side-effects from an overload of caffeine.
What is in pre-workout?
Each brand of pre-workout has it's own blend of ingredients and dosage amounts. These ingredients include vitamins and amino acids with properties backed by scientific research to benefit your performance during your workout.
*Check out this very informative list of common ingredients in pre-workouts with links to scientific studies. It will tell you everything you need to know better than I can.
what to avoid:
Stay away from brands with long lists of ingredients. Companies use these ingredients because they are cheap and look fancy to a consumer's eye. Also avoid any labels that include "proprietary blends". This lets the company put however little amount of dosage they want without having to tell us the exact dosage because it's in the "blend".
Do you need pre-workout?
You should only take pre-workout if you want to. It is by no means necessary.
If you want an extra boost of energy before going to lift weights at the gym, then take pre-workout. It'll wake you up, get you pumped up, and help you perform better. (No, you aren't going to be ripping your shirt off like the Hulk, just incase you were worried about that.)
I take pre-workout because I lift first thing in morning on an empty stomach. The pre-workout wakes me up and lifts me from my morning haze. There's been a noticeable change to my energy at the gym now that I take pre-workout.
What kind of pre-workout is best?
I've only had two pre-workouts in my life. My first was Prolific by PEScience. I didn't notice any difference while taking it aside from occasional stomach aches. If I took more than 1 scoop of Prolific, I felt tingly in my fingers, which is a common side effect of pre-workout if your body isn't used to it.
I bought Legion Athletics' PULSE soon after trying Prolific. The taste was a million times better. I felt like I was drinking fruit punch instead of medicine, and I noticed an immediate change in my energy. I stay longer at the gym and I push myself harder. I now have the energy and focus after my workouts to add ab exercises into my routine.
I'm sure there are a ton of trust-worthy pre-workouts out there but I will back Legion's 100% for their honest, in-depth explanation of what's in their products. I trust that I get my money's worth with PULSE and it tastes damn good.
Taking pre-workout is all about preference. I will fully-acknowledge that taking pre-workout is partly a placebo effect for me. I feel like a badass when I take it, as if I'm not just lifting weights but I'm going to the gym like it's my job and killing it every time. The entire process is fun for me.
As long as you're responsible and listen and respond to how your body reacts, I don't see why you shouldn't try pre-workout!