Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Give a man a pre-workout supplement and you make him strong for life?
Pre-workout supplements are immensely popular lately. Some people believe so strongly in ‘Rocket Fuel 2.0’, that they start pre-ordering their next batch when their current supply is still half full! The thought of having to be #dedicated without their beloved stimulant is one thought too far.
Pre-workout supplements aren’t necessarily bad. I’m aware there are some decent ones on the market. However, the pre-workout market is heavily saturated with ‘coffee in a bottle’ type supplements – where you’re basically buying caffeine and sugar. Admittedly, some pre-workouts do contain beneficial ingredients; beta-alanine, L-carnitine, creatine and even traces of EAAs and BCAAs.
While these beneficial amino acids are present, they’re nearly always in a poor ratio to sugar, caffeine, artificial flavourings and preservatives. The over-riding property of a product should dictate what the product is labelled as. Otherwise I could advertise my home as a spider sanctuary because I have one little spider living in the corner of my garage, right?
Pre-workout supplements are bad then?
No, not necessarily. They are a tool just like exercises. There’s a time and place for everything. Pre-workouts are not that different. If your budget allows you to buy them, so be it. Although I would caution against being ignorant to ingredient lists and ratios of amino acids to cheap stimulants (sugar, caffeine etc). You get what you pay for.
I personally haven’t used pre-workout supplements. I think a good old-fashioned cup or two of organic black coffee is more than sufficient. Green tea, white tea, black tea are all fair game too! These actually have health benefits besides being a stimulant.
The most basic of pre-workouts; organic black coffee
Of course, the caffeine dosages in these beverages are nowhere near the ones in some of the supplements, and this is where we hit the nail on the head………..
People rely on pre-workouts to mask poor lifestyle habits.
Over-working, under-sleeping, chronic stress, malnutrition, even over-using stimulants. Any or all of the above will have a marked affect on your general performances in the world. Eradicating, or minimising these will naturally cause less “need” for pre-workout stimulants.
Stimulants are never a long term solution. They only work for a set duration before you have to ‘top up’ with another capsule, cup of coffee, cigarette or whatever else. You could also think of them as a ‘get out of jail card’. The human body builds a tolerance to stimulants very well. The more you take, the more you need to replicate the original effect.
The final word –
Pre-workouts in any form, be it coffee or supplements, are there for them times you need a pick up. Those days where you stayed up late the night before because you took that gorgeous chick out for the first time. I understand it. Things happen. The last thing you want to do is be a slave to your gym performances; fretting about not training on the same day every week, thinking your session was useless because you forgot your protein powder, thinking taking pre-workouts will eliminate the possibility of a ‘bad’ performance. Life works in cycles. Light doesn’t exist without darkness.
Circumstances are very rarely ‘perfect’. Use stimulants on days where your lifestyle habits haven’t been up to par. Heck, use them on workout days only. It’s well documented that caffeine is a strength enhancer. Intelligently exploit caffeine for your benefit, it’s what I do and it works well – very well. This could be classified as ‘cyclical caffeine usage’.
In a picture perfect world we wouldn’t need caffeine at all. We’d sleep 8 hours straight every night, would have access to the best quality food at our disposal, never fight with our spouse and not need to work another day in our lives. In this case, pre-workouts are utterly pointless; you shouldn’t need a lift, you should be thriving.
(totallytop10.com) – The residents of paradise never need a pre-workout
Since reality isn’t quite so cute, and a lifestyle like so would lead to little evolution of character – or anything else for that matter, just do your best to practice sound habits that lead you to never “needing” pre-workouts day-in, day-out. And when the chips are down, seek a little help in the form of a pre-workout.
Coffee and tea are always going to get my approval far more than over-priced, over-hyped, over-used and over-rated pre-workout supplements. Regardless of who endorses them.