Pre-Workouts are a great tool for boosting energy levels, improving performance and chasing a “pump” during your training. Nearly every gym goer has their favorites to assist in increasing strength, training intensity, burning fat and stamina throughout their workout. However, so many people share a common issue. Their choice pre-workout starts to lose its luster over time. Many people think the answer is as simple as just changing to the next pre-workout because their body has “adapted” to the ingredients and/or formula. This strategy is not effective for a number of reasons. In this short article, we are going to cover the issues we’ve seen with pre-workouts and give you the best course of action to prevent them going forward.
The most common pre-workout side effect is “the crash”. Often times this happens with pre-workouts that use synthetic caffeine (typically caffeine anhydrous) over natural caffeine. It’s important to avoid synthetic caffeine sources if possible. Synthetic caffeine can also cause increased anxiety and “that jittery feeling.” Why would a company use synthetic caffeine? It’s simple, it’s cheap and easy to get.
Another reason your pre-workout isn’t working could be you’re taking in too many stimulants throughout the day making the caffeine less effective. Coffee, energy drinks, soda, tea and even chocolate contain caffeine. In addition, your stimulent intake will affect your ability to sleep well at night, keeping you in the never ending cycle of needing more throughout the day.
I suggest you pump the breaks on your stimulent intake and do a full body cleanse. One - two weeks of no stims to allow your body to recover and restart your “stimulant tolerance.” That means no energy drinks, pre-workouts, thermogenics... no caffeine whatsoever. Make sure to consume plenty of water to stay hydrated and fend off any nasty symptoms like headaches you may experience. If this is too challenging for you, then you can try the “cycle” method. Cycling your Pre-Workout doesn’t mean choosing a different pre-workout, it means switching to a “stim free” pre workout like our Pump Powder or going without pre-workout for at least 3-4 weeks.
Three things you need to consider to get the most out of your pre-workout are your diet, water intake and sleep. Supplements are meant to “supplement” your diet and lifestyle. If you’re putting garbage into your body, don’t expect your supplements to magically fix your problems. Pre-workout is only as good as your diet and lifestyle will allow it to be. If this is you, take it one step at a time. I suggest starting with getting a full night's rest. Once you’ve created a habit of getting better sleep, move to drinking a gallon of water a day and then tackle that diet. The reason I say “one step at a time” is because the failure rate is much higher when you try to change too many “bad habits” at once. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, I am only trying to give you the best shot at making the changes necessary to get you to your best self.
When choosing a pre-workout, know what it is you’re putting in your body before you make a decision. The price and hype surrounding the product doesn’t mean it's the right choice for you. Be an informed consumer. Be leary of brands who aren’t transparent with their labels/ ingredients. We’re transparent because we want you to know what you’re putting in your body and that each ingredient is dosed effectively.
Author: Rich Wilkins
Chief Content Officer MAN Sports