Did you ever go on hikes or other expeditions as a child? You know those long, all-day adventures where you’d eat a good meal and then spend the next few hours trudging through the wilderness, exploring a new stretch of seashore, or navigating rapids on a river raft?
Adventures involving physical activity provide some of the best workouts, and that wholesome meal beforehand was like a pre-workout to ensure you’d have energy throughout the journey to reach your destination.
When you need to fuel your adventurous Black Box Fitness workouts, a healthy snack or meal can be beneficial before a workout, but what if you want a little more energy than what a meal can provide you? You could consider adding a pre-workout before your workout battles.
Let’s jump in and take a look at what a pre-workout is and consider whether it’s a good choice for you.
What is a Pre-Workout?
The goal of a pre-workout supplement is to provide you with a little extra energy to push harder in your workouts. They come in the form of powders, tablets, chews, drinks, gels, or capsules. A typical pre-workout contains ingredients like caffeine, designed to give you extra energy, as well as a mixture of vitamins, amino acids, and or other nutrients to increase blood flow, pump oxygen to your muscles, build muscle, and even reduce soreness after your workout.
Benefits of a Pre-workout
Pre-workouts have many benefits that can positively impact your overall performance, and studies have shown positive effects, particularly when used as part of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.
A study presented in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated “significant improvements in anaerobic peak and performance values.” There is also science from a different study published in that same journal linking increases in VO2 max, training volume, and lean body mass.
The benefits of a pre-workout can vary depending on the type of workout you do, but pre-workouts are designed to boost stamina and endurance, enhance strength, and aid in muscle gain.
Stamina and Endurance
Since most supplements include caffeine, pre-workouts help remove fatigue by giving you a blast of energy. Typically they also include beta-alanine, a chemical that helps eliminate acids from your body, specifically the muscles. A boost of energy plus making your muscles feel better can help you push harder and longer through workouts, thus providing boosting your stamina and endurance.
In addition to encouraging more intense and longer exercise sessions, some pre-workouts contain creatine, an organic compound that basically recycles the energy “currency” of cells, primarily in muscle and brain tissue. With increased metabolism and renewed energy, you can see resulting increases in strength. Creatine can also have cognitive benefits, which can help transform your workout.
Pre-workout supplements also typically contain citrulline, an amino acid that increases blood flow to the muscles. That increased blood flow boosts oxygen levels and helps ensure that extra nutrients are carried to muscles as they experience the stress of training. Ultimately citrulline helps ensure that muscles can work longer and harder for more productive results.
Are There Any Risks
As with any supplements, pre-workouts should be used wisely in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, quality sleep, and a good dose of common sense.
If you’ve ever had too much coffee, you know that it can cause some issues, including anxiety, loss of sleep, and high blood pressure. Since pre-workouts typically include quite a high dose of caffeine, it’s wise to use them cautiously and perhaps start with half of the recommended dosage to see what your tolerance is.
As with any changes to your diet or lifestyle, it’s a good idea to chat with your health care provider prior to using pre-workouts. This is particularly important if you have pre-existing health issues, which can be worsened with the use of supplements of any kind.
Pre-workouts can be beneficial if used wisely and particularly helpful in certain fitness routines, such as the HIIT workouts provided at Black Box Fitness. With that said, be wise with your choices, and if you have a pre-existing health condition, don’t tolerate heavy doses of caffeine, or react badly to supplements, then stick with some of those healthy snacks you enjoyed as a kid before you embarked on amazing adventures.
Whichever path you choose, a regular workout, healthy diet, and focus on positive living will always be your best tools for success!
We are not recommending any specific brand, but here is a list of top-selling pre-workouts to start your research.