Should You Use Pre Workout? Close Look
In this article I will be exploring whether you should use pre workout. This a very controversial topic that divides opinion. A lot comes down to the duration of your sessions and how intense they are. There are many different pre workouts available on the market and they have become more popular in recent times. I will be debating how necessary they are as well in this post.
What Is Pre Workout?
First I will briefly define what is meant by the term “pre workout”. This is essentially a powdered substance that is intended to be taken before workouts, with water or another drink to improve focus, stamina and performance. In essence they are designed to give you more energy for your workouts. Caffeine and other minerals are the main ingredients in all pre workouts, other ingredients vary. Some pre workouts also contain creatine and nitric oxide. You can get pre workouts in various flavours, my preferred flavour of pre workout is “fruit punch”. I just like the taste of this the best.
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Should you use pre workout for shorter sessions? Let’s define “shorter sessions” as workouts up to 90 minutes in duration. In my view the answer is they are not necessary for shorter sessions. A good nutritious balanced diet and good sleep should always be the focus. You could just have a cup of coffee before these type of sessions for a pick me up. This will be sufficient to have the energy needed for a great workout.
Therefore, if your weight training workouts fall into this time duration I believe it is a waste of money investing in pre workouts. It would be an added expense that is unnecessary for you given your individual training situation.
For weight training sessions longer than 90 minutes in duration I would recommend pre workouts. Especially if the session is going to be intense and taxing, the pre workout would provide great assistance to give an added boost of energy and endurance. In my own case I use pre workouts for this very reason. I lift weights at the gym twice a week with full body workouts and the workouts are very long and gruelling. I have found that without pre workout it would simply be too tough to endure these types of workouts. The pre workout is essential for me for this reason.
I only take one scoop but even after my workouts I still have energy to burn and am quite alert. It just goes to show how powerful these pre workouts are. It also means that if you are going to take pre workouts you shouldn’t exceed the recommended dose.
The Dangers Of “Dry Scooping”
Dry scooping is when you swallow the pre workout and then chase it down with water or another liquid, instead of mixing the powder with water. This is more dangerous as you are getting a much more concentrated hit of the pre workout. If you stick to the recommended doses you should be fine but there have been cases where people have had adverse effects from “dry scooping”.
For example a Tik Tok fitness influencer by the name of “JA” dry scooped four scoops of pre workout with his pre workout drink. His pre workout drink also contained another four scoops of pre workout powder mixed with water! This made his total consumption 8 scoops of powder. Needless to say this didn’t end well. After his workout he ended up unconscious and when taken to the hospital doctors found that his blood pressure was 330/180 and that one of his pupils was bigger than the other.
His brain started to bleed and part of JA’s skull had to be removed. This was in order to relieve some pressure, he ended up making a full recovery thankfully.
The most important thing is not to abuse pre workouts. Stick to the recommended dose and even slightly under to be completely safe. Never exceed the recommended dose, it may seem like a macho thing to do but it is definitely not smart or clever.
How Much Caffeine Should You Look For?
If you decide to take a pre workout you will want to know what sort of quantity of caffeine to look for. I would say if you want to be safe not to exceed more than 300mg of caffeine per serving of pre workout. You should also look for a pre workout that contains creatine, BCAAs, nitric oxide and beta alanine. These are all ingredients that a good pre workout will contain, when taken responsibly it will benefit you immensely for long workouts.
Don’t Take Sleep For Granted!
I do want to re-iterate this point as it is very important. You should aim for a minimum of 7 hours of good sleep every night. A lot of people with poor sleeping habits end up relying on caffeine pills and pre workouts as a crutch to get them through workouts and life in general. The combination of a lack of sleep and over reliance on pre workouts can have disastrous consequences on your health. Therefore whatever you decide, make sure that you have the basics first. Good balanced nutrition, good sleep and supplementation. These are the most important components to bodybuilding success as well as consistent hard work in the gym.
To conclude, in this article I have discussed the topic of pre workouts and specifically answered the question “should you use pre workout?”. The key takeaways from this discussion are to use pre workout sensibly for longer training sessions and not to use them for short sessions. Also be careful to never exceed the recommended dosage and keep an eye on your overall daily caffeine intake. For instance, if you are already consuming a few cups of coffee a day then you need to be especially careful with regards to pre workout consumption. You would have to significantly reduce the amount you take if you decide to use it. Finally, never forget that good sleep and nutrition trumps all else and will give you the best chances of success with your bodybuilding activities.
If you have any questions about anything I have written in this article please feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to respond to your questions and engage in a meaningful discussion. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!