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Pre-workouts have been the recent hot topic in the fitness space. Slowly but surely they are cementing themselves as a staple in most supplement stacks. We have covered in previous articles the importance of certain ingredients and doses to look out for when buying a pre-workout, but what about the use of the product itself? I mean, it’s in the name “pre”-workout, so it can’t be that hard right? Wrong. So often people miss a multitude of effects and benefits that pre-workouts offer, simply due to a few small mistakes that prevent them maximising the results of the product, in turn limiting their results in the gym. This is not ideal, so how do we maximise the benefits of the products we utilize? Below are top 3 mistakes people make when using their pre-workouts, rectify these and let the true gains begin!
All too often people head to the gym with the intention of consuming their pre-workout upon arrival, seems good in theory, sip on your pre-workout while you’re getting ready to train, however this is not exactly the ideal scenario. Most of the ingredients in our pre-workout supplements take anywhere between 20-60 minutes to get into the bloodstream and peak in our system, supplying our body with the effects we desire. The issue with consuming your pre so close to training is that, while you may feel a hit from the caffeine, the body doesn’t have time to respond to and reap the benefits from the other ingredients prior to beginning the session. A final drawback to consuming your pre too late into the workout window is that caffeine has a half-life of around 3-6 hours (depending on the individuals ability to metabolise caffeine) which can leave you over stimulated post workout, making it hard to relax, recover and rest. This can affect quality of sleep and ability to fall asleep, having a negative impact on our body’s ability to recover and rebuild.
Paying close attention to the caffeine/stimulant content in your pre-workout is a crucial element when trying to maximise the benefits of your pre-workout. The amount of caffeine/stimulants that are in each serving of the product will play a big role in the way our body individually responds to that given product. This is important as every person has a threshold to where his or her body will best respond to a given dose of a certain stimulant. Going too low can yield no cognitive or performance-enhancing effect while exceeding your body’s tolerance can leave you over stimulated, jittery and sometimes anxious. Starting with a low dose and testing to find that sweet spot (whether it be less or more) will ensure you get the most out of each and every serve of your pre-workout supplement.
Lastly is a very common occurrence, consuming your pre-workout on an empty stomach. Whether this is first thing in the morning, or late into the evening when you haven’t consumed food for an excess of 4-5 hours, the effects of your pre-workout may not be the positive one you’re seeking. The most common feedback is that a particular product made them light-headed, dizzy, jittery, anxious and even sick, not exactly the effects we want to be receiving before we hit a hard training session. When consuming your pre-workout it is always good to take it in a fed state, having eaten some form of food within the 2 hour period prior to hitting the gym. This will allow our body to tolerate the strong stimulatory effects much more effectively than if you were fasted, making the impact of your pre-workout a positive one without these negative side-effects.
To maximize the effects you want to take your pre-workout about 30 minutes prior to training. This will not only ensure the ingredients have time to enter your bloodstream and peak during the training session, but also give them time to leave your system post training, allowing your body to rest and recover after an intense session. By changing a few small things in regards to your timing and ingredient dosage, the benefits you receive from your pre-workout can be elevated to a whole new level, improving both cognitive and physical performance and most importantly, progressing you towards your goals.
Author Glen George from our Blackburn store. Get in touch via email or head to our social media pages and ask us a question!