Pre-Workout Supplements: Yes or No?

I have often been accused of being anti pre-workouts. This isn’t in fact true at all, and i too have had memorable leg sessions while training on mesomorph, jack3d, 1mr etc etc etc. I understand the innate desire to train hard, reach pb’s and inevitably grow! 



While ‘proprietary blends’ annoy me generally, this is an entirely different topic altogether which you can read about in another article. My great problem with the pre-workout market isn’t the pre-workouts at all – it’s the end user… 

What do you mean Shannon I hear you asking. My great problem with these products is that their massive mark on the supplement market has been partially achieved due to consumer ignorance, and by this i mean consumer ‘need’. The pre-workout market currently equates to 50% of sports supplement sales, which really proves me to be the odd one out! 

With fatigue being the number one condition i see several times per day in clinic, its no wonder that people are constantly looking for an ‘upper’ before they train. Footy players are using these things before a game, cyclists and other cardio specific athletes ‘like the effect’ and the list goes on…. Rowers, ju-jitsu and martial artists, girls on a night out ; where does it end? 

In this caffeine fuelled world we live in, where people are drinking red bulls to stay awake at work, i guess pre-workouts serve a purpose. The problem here though (naturopathically speaking) is that all good things come to an end, and don’t the manufacturers know it!

Most pre-workouts are coming out now with the addition of adrenal adaptogens (a class of herbs) to help ‘level’ the central nervous system; aka, mix in a downer with all the uppers! This however is a mere myth. The amount of these adaptogens added to a pre-workout fails to exist at a therapeutic level, meaning it is all about good labelling. Smoke & mirrors.

The manufacturers can’t be held completely responsible however; they are only giving consumers what they want. The average consumer rates a pre-workout by how ‘off your head’ you feel on it. Reality check boys… Your amazing pre-workout supp is amazing because of the 2 cents worth of caffeine / 1,3 dimeth & other stims they add in.

If you cant sleep at night due to taking your pre –workout, you cant grow!!!

A great pre-workout is best put together yourself, using single ingredients at therapeutic levels to increase training intensity, strength, endurance & recovery. A great pre-workout will also allow for the necessary rest & recovery phase too! If you’ need’ a pre-workout to train you should have a good look at your diet, nutrient timing, stress levels and lifestyle. If on the other hand you enjoy the extra focus & drive you get from a pre-workout, i suggest you use them intermittently and minimise the use of other stimulants in your everyday.

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Shannon Brenton
Shannon Brenton

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