Sports supplementation has become extremely popular in the past couple decades ever since the world was introduced to some of the biggest names in the health & fitness industry including: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Lou Ferrigno, and the list goes on.
It seems that as the years have passed, society has built a mindset that these legendary figures of the industry achieved having these great physiques through sports supplements. For example, things like protein powder, creatine, branched chain amino acids, and pre-workout. Although there may be some truth to that, many people fail to understand that consuming more and more of these supplements does not mean you will become stronger, faster, and bigger over night. However, taking supplements with a clean diet and proper exercise will, over time, improve overall athletic performance.
One of the biggest supplements used in today's society is pre-workout. Pre-workout is a stimulant that comes in powder, pill or liquid form that is meant to elevate energy levels which will then provide you with motivation to exercise. There are many different types of pre-workout supplements out on the market today. There are some with actual health benefits and some with no health benefits at all. For example, some pre-workouts use green coffee bean extract, yerba mate, or any other natural caffeine sources that may lower blood pressure as well as increase glucose metabolism. On the other hand, others use caffeine that is manufactured in a lab and is mainly just meant to give your body the surge of energy. Caffeine promotes increased focus, intensity and energy in the gym. Arginine-based supplements are another popular choice because they are designed to activate peak vasodilation, resulting in powerful muscle pumps.
Knowing your caffeine tolerance and not overdoing it is key to avoid abusing the pre-workout and causing harm to your body. Pre-workout isn't for everyone nor is it essential to having good workouts and obtaining results. Some people get the little boost they need from coffee, tea, energy drinks or even certain foods.
There are some additional considerations when taking a pre-workout supplement. First is timing - you want to take your pre-workout approximately 30 minutes before your workout. It is also important to remember that the stimulant can stay in your body and continue working after your workout, even for hours, depending on your body Make sure you time it appropriately if you workout in the evenings/before bed. Second, it is not recommended to take pre-workout without food. It can cause a variety of symptoms (nausea, stomach pains, chest pains, etc.) and adversely impact your training. Ideally you want to eat slow digesting-clean carbs approximately one hour before your workout. Lastly, always read labels, do research and consult with a Doctor if you have any concerns or medical conditions before you take any supplements.
Remember, exercise and proper nutrition is necessary if you truly want to achieve results! There is no "magic pill."
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