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Pre-workout supplements: Should you use them?

Examining the pre-workout drink trend
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JESSICA LAM/THE VARSITY
JESSICA LAM/THE VARSITY

Everyone who exercises fairly regularly can understand that, on some days, you just need a little extra push to get you through a workout. Recently, there’s been a big trend to take “pre-workout” — that is, pre-workout supplements, which provide you with a boost of energy to get gains. However, some questions have recently come up regarding the efficacy and safety of such pre-workout supplements, especially because their production is not well-regulated.

Workout supplements are generally designed to aid you in achieving your fitness goals, and some of these products fall under the category of pre-workout supplements. They’re designed to increase your energy and improve your overall workout.

The actual ingredients of these powders vary greatly and can include substances such as caffeine. The caffeine in these pre-workout drinks may give users the boost they are looking for before starting their workouts. This can be especially beneficial when taking part in early morning workouts where energy is pretty low.

However, studies are still lacking a consensus on whether or not pre-workout supplements really help. Moreover, there are health issues that can arise from using these drinks. Firstly, there are often large amounts of added sugar and artificial sweeteners in pre-workout powders. In addition, they can cause a variety of digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Furthermore, supplements are not a well regulated industry — so perhaps you may want to think twice and really examine the ingredients on a supplement’s label before you ingest it.

It is safe to assume that although pre-workout drinks can be useful in giving you the energy boost you need right before your workout, you should still consider their pros and cons before making a final decision on whether or not to take them. If you are in dire need of energy, consider some fruit before you work out instead, as fruits are an all-around great option before a workout, and don’t contain the same concerning and complex ingredients that are in pre-workout supplements.