If you’d have asked me what I thought of pre-workout drinks in my younger days (like a lot younger), I’d have told you that pre-workout drinks were essential. That they 100% changed my body, my form, my life. Of course, in effort to avoid dating myself, a lot of ingredients that were ubiquitous in workout drinks in the 1990s (ephedra, anyone?) are now taboo.
Today after decades in the personal fitness industry, I’m less confident that pre-workout drinks are necessary, especially effective, or particularly good for you. A lot of them make me a jittery mess. But I’m also not knocking them. If you find that a pre-workout drink gives you more energy, makes you feel like you get a better workout, or helps you transform fat into muscle faster, more power to you. Just be sure you’re reading labels. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of these pre-workout drinks.
Pro: Pre-Workout Drinks Give You Energy
There’s no disputing the fact that pre-workout drinks may give you an energy boost. Most of them are loaded with caffeine. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, caffeine is the main ingredient in most pre-workout drinks. So, you’re not imagining more energy. But you could probably get the same energy boost from coffee.
Pro: Pre-Workout Drinks Provide a Lot of Amino Acids
Pre-workout drinks do contain a lot of amino acids, which are essential for growing and repairing muscles. So the amino acids you’ll get by drinking a pre-workout shake are probably going to work in your favor.
You can also just adopt a diet based on foods that contain the 9 essential amino acids. The diet would include complete proteins such as beef, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, quinoa, and buckwheat. Incomplete proteins that contain some but not all the essential amino acids include nuts, beans, seeds, and some grains.
Cons: Too Much Caffeine Can Make You Feel Terrible
Too much caffeine can make you feel nervous and jittery. It can also cause physiological side effects including a racing heart, high blood pressure, nausea and GI problems. If you’re looking for an alternative to loads of caffeine, shop around. I recently found a mushroom blend drink that doesn’t make me feel jittery but keeps me focused during my workouts.
Cons: Pre-Workout Drinks Can Be Expensive
Even the most ardent advocates for the use of pre-workout drinks admit that to get results, you must drink them regularly. An occasional drink before a workout isn’t going to do much. So, drinking them multiple days a week can put a dent in your wallet.
Cons: You May Build Up Tolerance
Another potential drawback is building up a tolerance to your pre-workout drink. You shouldn’t drink more than is recommended, or you can experience negative side effects. But, over time you will also build up a tolerance to the effects of caffeine, etc. If you find that your pre-workout drink seems less effective than it used to be, take a break from it for six weeks, and then resume.
Final Thoughts: Do What Works for You
If you work out to stay toned, keep your weight in check, and for the mental health benefits of exercise, a pre-workout drink isn’t necessary. It’s also not necessary if you tend to go to the gym to socialize and maybe get in a few sets here and there.
But if you’re serious about bulking up, or competing, a high-quality pre-workout drink may not be a bad idea. Keep an eye on the level of caffeine it contains. 400 mg should be your max total consumption in a day, so if your drink contains 300 mg and you like coffee or tea, be aware that you’re probably taking in more caffeine than is healthy.
Will a pre-workout drink change your life? Probably not. But when taken exactly as instructed, it probably won’t hurt, either.
About SY Performance
SY Performance offers in-person and hybrid training at Conquer All Things Fitness Studio, located at 1218 Magnolia Blvd in Burbank. SY Performance was founded by Burbank-based celebrity personal trainer Scott Yonehiro. Yonehiro created and launched the first “90 Day Body Transformation Program” in 2010. To date, thousands of individuals have completed the program, which utilizes a proprietary combination of science-based techniques coupled with fitness, nutrition, and mindset exercises to help individuals of all ages lose weight, reduce body fat, and increase muscle.
Email : Scott@syperformanceone.com