If you need a boost before a workout, this could be for you
Getting the right nutrition and preparing your body for exercise can make all the difference when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts. But where does a pre-workout supplement fit into that? Is it just another hoax or does it serve a legitimate purpose? And what exactly is pre-workout?
“Pre-workout is a supplement used to increase energy and motivation before a workout,” Connie Cheng, wellness director for Gold’s Gym, told The Active Times in an email. “If you are continuously having suboptimal workouts, you may not reach specific fitness goals, and a pre-workout can help maximize your performance in a workout on lower-energy days.” But that doesn’t mean you should be relying solely on pre-workout to achieve the workout results you want.
“Any type of supplement should be a way to balance a healthy eating pattern,” Cheng said. Even with pre-workout, you still need to make sure your diet gives you all the nutrients and vitamins you need.
Pre-workouts are generally made up of three types of ingredients: stimulants, nootropics, and pump enhancers. Stimulants work by blocking the receptors in your brain for the chemicals that make you feel tired. The stimulant most commonly found in pre-workout is caffeine, the same ingredient found in coffee, which can also help your workout.
Nootropics are ingredients that help stimulate the brain. Typically, they are used to boost cognitive performance, but their function in terms of exercise is somewhat different. “Specifically for pre-workout, they stimulate neurons and increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain to increase motivation during your workout,” Cheng said. This study in the Canadian Geriatrics Journal showed that, unless you’re deficient in certain nutrients that keep your brain healthy, most nootropic supplements won’t improve cognitive performance.
Pump enhancers increase nitric oxide, which increases blood flow to the muscles. This gives you better power output and performance, and can also decrease muscle soreness after your workout is over.
Source: The Active Times