The most trending fitness mantra today is the mandatory consumption of pre-work out supplements if you are really looking out for good results from your workout session. However, it should be noted that this buzz statement is not so far supported by any proof of scientific evidence. On the other hand, many scientists and medical experts have evaluated the dangers of taking pre-workout supplements.
Consuming supplements before a workout is quite popular with many athletes and other active individuals. However, no one has so far tried to figure out whether the manufacturer’s claims of enhanced physical fitness and muscular strength are supported with any scientific pieces of evidence. Thus, in order to evaluate the rationale of taking pre workout supplements or their side effects, we need to understand more about what exactly are the prework out supplements.
What are prework out supplements
Many of the preworkout products are nutritional supplements that are not regulated by US Food and Drug Administration for their dietary composition. Moreover, safety as well as the feasibility of their consumption before working out has not been confirmed so far. These supplements are thus categorized under the umbrella of special nutritious food that is not drugs.
It is very crucial to understand that since these supplements are not regulated by US FDA for their direct dietary composition and nutritional benefits, manufacturers can claim any unrealistic benefits, in order to increase the market value of their products. However, it is important to evaluate a product for benefits and dangers of taking preworkout supplements; before selecting the same.
What do you need to understand about preworkout supplements?
The supplements are usually considered to be a proprietary blend of nutrients and other stimulants that are not necessarily listed on the package and are prepared mostly for improving stamina, muscular endurance and an overall increase in physical fitness. Research has further indicated that most of these preworkout stimulants are largely containing caffeine as their primary ingredients and hence you tend to gain instant energy and be ready for the instant workout.
In this regard, International Society of Sports Nutrition has suggested identifying the need for taking pre-work out supplements and understand the beneficial aspects of each ingredient to be sure about the dangers of taking preworkout supplements.
What are the common ingredients of preworkout supplements?
Before reaching the conclusion related to the dangers of taking preworkout supplements, it is important to understand the composition of these prework out supplements. Some of the commonly found ingredients are as follows:
Caffeine: Studies have proven positive effect of consuming caffeine as an instant energy booster for better athletic performance. Studies have identified that caffeine is important for increasing rate of metabolism and improve levels of muscular endurance. It can also promote resistance to fatigue and tiredness. Caffeine is known as the better brain stimulant for the productive performance of the central nervous system. However, it has been observed that most of the preworkout supplements contain more than the prescribed amount of caffeine and this can be noted as one of the dangers of taking preworkout supplements.
Creatinine: Creatinine is known to be as the most popular supplement promoting instant bodybuilding. Studies have confirmed that creatinine is made up of many amino acids, with their primary role is to maintain muscular integrity. This can be achieved by maintaining proper cellular balance using protein synthesis. Various scientific literature and clinical studies have suggested the use of creatinine for better muscular strength, better performance, and improved stamina. However, the recommended dose of creatinine should be between 4-5 gms and any amount above the prescribed dosage can add to the dangers of taking preworkout supplements.
Other important amino acids: These supplements are also ready with different other important amino acids, such as beta-alanine, taurine, phosphates, arginine etc. These amino acids are primarily known to be effective for increasing muscular strength, through improved cellular functions. They have different compounds in them that are known to be advantageous for different functions. For example, Arginine contains nitric oxide, which can enhance the flow of oxygenated blood towards the brain to improve performance during a workout session. Similarly, Beta-alanine contains carnosine that enhances the structural integrity of the muscles, in order to improve their athletic performance. Taurine is known as the most abundant amino acid found in brain, muscles and other important tissues, which acts as a neurotransmitter and is involved actively in cellular metabolism, muscular action, another controlling mechanism of the central nervous system.
Phosphates, Nitrates, and Betaine: These compounds are primarily found in many food supplements and are especially abundant in green leafy vegetables. Their leading role in the body is to maintain proper liver functions, cellular functioning, and detoxification. They are again directly as well as indirectly involved in maintaining better body composition, increasing muscular size and improving stamina.
Proposed side effects and dangers of taking preworkout supplements
Although, number of preworkout supplements are being manufactured in order to enhance the workout capacity, increase stamina and improve muscular endurance; it is important to know that FDA does not support these claims. And this can be related to lack of supportive scientific evidence to predict the dangers of taking preworkout supplements. Moreover, various incidences have been noted since the last couple of years, wherein the consumers are collapsed after taking preworkout supplements. There are incidences of cardiac arrest, sudden alleviation in the heart rate and coma, which have been noted in many known news bulletins, such as the New York Times. Besides, doctors are relating other less serious side effects such as jittery feeling, energy imbalance, headaches, and nausea with the frequent consumption of preworkout supplements.
Is there any alternative to preworkout supplements?
Many experts are suggesting that it is really not essential to be on preworkout supplementation for an equally effective workout session. Instead, it is being advised that healthy nutrition can indeed be the best way to fuel all your body needs and demands. It is always better to rely on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and instant energy boosters like bananas, wheat crackers and/or peanut butter; instead of facing the dangers of taking preworkout supplements.
In this regard, some of the basic tips for guaranteed health and fitness without any side effects can be noted as:
- Enough sleep
- Plenty of water
- Regular strength training and cardiovascular exercises
- Consumption of high-quality food in moderation, multiple times a day.
- Say no to processed food, soda, and sugary substitutes
- A daily session of stretching exercises.