Pre Workout for Women: Should You be Taking Them?

Do pre-workouts work

Please note: This article is advice only, I am not a medical professional. 

I began the year by challenging myself to making changes to my diet and exercise routine. I got fed up of always feeling tired and lethargic, I started thinking why does it seem to be so easy for some people out there to wake up strictly at 5am every day, put on their gym clothes and workout shoes and start giving themselves a daily dose of physical activity. For most of us, becoming a morning person and maintaining a regular workout seems like a battle you can’t win?

If like me you may not have that sheer amount of motivation and energy to up your workout routine, you might be thinking about taking pre-workout supplements. After all, everyone in the gym has been talking a lot about it lately. It seems as though without taking pre-workout, their workout performance would be bad.

I have tried a number of pre-workout powders and drinks, I have also gone natural and just used food to supplement my workout. I cant really say there is much difference. Hence my reason for this article.

Do you really need a pre-workout supplement? That is the question you may have in mind. Let’s first know what is a pre-workout and what are the claims made about it.

In a nutshell, a ‘pre-workout’ is simply a supplement that is usually made as a powder drink mix that is intended to be consumed before a strenuous workout to boost sudden energy and performance and aid in muscle recovery as well as building muscle mass. I found some examples in this post:

Pre-workout supplements have been heavily marketed these days claiming to provide the mentioned benefits. But what’s the truth behind it? Can you trust those claims?


What You Need to Know About Pre-Workout Supplements

Truth is, you should be a little sceptic about buying pre-workout supplements because they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. It only means that they can’t be pulled out of store shelves and online shops until FDA receives enough complaints from the people who have used the product. When that happens, it is the only time that the administration would look into the matter and investigate the supplement.

Sadly, most pre-workouts sold in the market can’t live up to their claims—they are either ineffective, potentially harmful or both. If you remember some of the most popular pre-workouts formulated in the past including Ultimate Orange and Jack3d, these were pulled out of the market because they contained harmful ingredients such as ephedra and Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). Cases of heart attacks, chest pain, and shortness of breath in many individuals who used the products have been reported.

That’s not the end of the story though. As mentioned, a lot of those harmful pre-workouts are still flooding the market these days. Some of the ingredients used aren’t even clearly specified, if not, the ingredients are even something you can’t pronounce yourself. In this situation though, there’s a simple principle to live by: If you don’t know what this ingredient is, if you can’t say it clearly, steer clear from the product, unless, you’re willing to spend extra time to do useful research.

Also, it’s good to remember that even the nutrients that are generally safe can be dangerous when taken in large doses and when combined with unsafe active ingredients. Contraindications are one potential risk as well if you have health issues and you’re undergoing certain medications for it.

Pre-workout girl running

If you think you really need pre-workout, have yourself evaluated by your trusted physician first. Undergo an overall medical check-up to know what nutrients should be balanced in your body. After all, health is about balancing all the nutrients and hormones our body needs to function at its best. Once you have some brands in mind, talk to your dietitian about it to help you do a careful review on the ingredients used.

Another important thing to remember is to steer clear from products with proprietary blends, a list of ingredients grouped together under a single label. That would mean that the label only includes the total amount of all these ingredients combined in one, though they are listed in descending form—from more to least. Still, you wouldn’t know exactly how much each of these ingredients is included in the formula of the product.

Anything shady? Probably! If a company isn’t afraid to let you know how much of these ingredients they put in the mix, then, there is greater possibility that their product is better than the rest out there. On the other hand, a company that isn’t transparent about the individual amount of their ingredients are probably hiding something you wouldn’t want to know because you’ll be discouraged or advised against buying their product. As simple as that.


As Much as Possible, Go Natural

Is there any way you can consume only natural pre-workout drinks, munchies and full meals to fuel your energy for intense workouts? Of course, if you prefer doing so. Perhaps, we’re just too lazy or too busy at times to spend some more minutes preparing all-natural meals, shakes, and drinks so we end up switching those for instant pre-workout powder mixes and supplements.

Tell you what though, some of these nutritious meals, drinks, and protein shakes are quite easy to make. Take a look at some examples from this article. You get the energy-boosting and muscle-building nutrients in a much healthier way. There’s a good reason you shouldn’t do some shortcuts. You reap more benefits when you put in extra time and effort. That includes your fitness journey. Everything done in moderation is the key, too. Overdoing your workout isn’t healthy either.


So, Should You Be Taking Pre-Workout Supplements?

Whether to take or not to take pre-workout supplements is your personal decision. However, be sure not to get swept by the sweet-sounding promises in the ad copies of the products you see on the store shelves or online. Do enough research if you plan to buy one. Know your current health status by undergoing an overall check-up. Also, get useful advice from your trusted physician and dietitian regarding the supplements, diet, or nutrients you need to take.

Lastly, as much as possible, rely on natural energy-boosting and muscle-building meals, shakes, and drinks, rather than taking pre-workout supplements. At the end of the day, it’s still the safest way to go.

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