“Should I Take Pre-Workout?” is a common question asked usually by beginner lifters.
And for good reason. If you’re a gym newbie, a pre workout can seem quite daunting with all those ingredients you may have never heard of before.
Well, in this article we’ll dissect whether or not you should be taking pre workout.
We’ll go over the pros & cons, risks, and benefits as well as how to use a pre workout and how to make your own from home.
So, with that being said, should you take pre workout?
Pros & Cons Of Pre Workout
Before we dive into the science of pre workout, we should take a look at the first pros and cons that jump out.
Of course, this list isn’t the definitive answer of all times as each person will have their own health characteristics and/or complications that should be factored in.
However, this list can be used as a basis for whether or not you should take a hardcore pre workout like the one I use from HTLT Supplements.
To get started, here’s the list of the most common pros:
- Allows you to lift heavier weight
- Helps you run faster and for longer
- Can help you build muscle faster
- Can drastically improve focus, motivation, and energy
- Drastically boosts blood flow to muscles, which causes an insane pump in the muscles
- It Helps muscles look much bigger temporarily
In short, it basically makes you a fitness superhuman for a couple of hours, where you’re stronger, faster, etc.
Because of this, pre workouts are often used to help people smash their PRs (personal records) on exercises because of the boost in strength they get.
Pre workouts are also great for getting “pumps” which makes your muscles appear MUCH larger for a couple of hours which is a real confidence booster.
Pre workout is also great for athletes (we’ll go in-depth later) because of the performance-enhancing benefits and due to the fact that in nearly all sports, pre workout is not banned from use.
That being said, pre workout (like any supplement) comes with risks if it is abused.
If you abuse pre workout you can expect results such as heart palpitations, anxiety, severe sleep problems, and more.
However, if you’re using pre workout responsibly, then you can rest assured that pre workout in most cases is 100% safe.
Here’s the list of cons for pre workout:
- Can make sleeping difficult (if used too close to bedtime)
- Can cause jitters or shakiness
- The skin might be tingly (Although some people like this effect, as it’s not painful)
- May cause slight anxiety
Overall, all of these are heavy “maybes” and none of these side effects are guaranteed to happen so long as you’re being responsible with your dosages.
When You SHOULDN’T Take Pre Workout
There are times however when I wouldn’t recommend pre workout for gym goers.
This could range from any number of reasons, whether the person has heart problems, is sensitive to stimulants, whatever.
It’s important to know that if you have any outstanding health conditions, it would be best to consult with your doctor before the use of any pre workout.
Another instance of when I wouldn’t recommend certain pre workouts to a beginner is because they have no idea what to expect, their tolerance is low, etc.
For example, if you can barely handle a coffee in the morning, then I’m most certainly not going to give you a say like the original Jack3d formula. (It was basically legal meth, and VERY strong)
I’d likely start you off with something much tamer, like a stim-free pre workout or maybe one that focuses on giving you a pump rather than “GOD LIKE ENERGY.”
From there, you’d assess your own tolerance and slowly work your way up the ladder so that you can safely utilize the benefits that come with a stronger pre workout.
Natural Pre Workout For Beginners
Now, let’s say for whatever reason, you’ve chosen against getting pre workout. Maybe you’re worried about side effects, or maybe you’re cheap.
Whatever the case may be, I’m going to show you how you can make your own high quality pre workout from home!
If you think that you can’t make a good pre workout using a few simple ingredients around the house then think again.
We’ll be combining these elements to make the ultimate natural pre workout:
- Ingredients for a pump
- Ingredients for energy
- Ingredients for strength
You can choose to focus on one area if you wish, but know that if you combine all of them together, then you’ll essentially be getting a dose of a high-quality pre workout but using all-natural ingredients.
Ingredients For A Pump
To get a pump, we need to look at natural ingredients that boost nitric oxide, or blood flow to put it simply.
Believe it or not, there is some GREAT nitric oxide boosting foods out there.
Here’s a list of the top 3:
If you’re trying to get a pump before the gym, I’d recommend getting 2 cups of watermelon, 1 cup of beets, and about 3-4 grams of l-arginine.
All of these ingredients boost nitric oxide.
As a little disclaimer, you can find l-arginine literally anywhere, I often use the ones from Walmart and have had no complaints thus far.
Ingredients For Energy
Next up, for energy, we’re going to be looking at only 2 main ingredients.
We’re only using 2 because they work so well together, these two are bananas and coffee.
The bananas will provide your body with fast-digesting carbs which will fuel your whole body and your muscles, and the coffee will give you that added energy boost.
These two together make for a GREAT natural pre workout and are my number one go-to when I’m in a pinch.
I’d recommend getting anywhere from 100-300mg of caffeine (about 1-3 cups of coffee) depending on how well you can handle it, and at least one or two bananas about half an hour before your workout.
Ingredients For Strength
Lastly, we have ingredients that will help fuel your workouts with added strength.
A lot of these you can either find in foods or for cheap at places like Walmart or GNC.
Here is the list of ingredients for strength boosting ingredients:
- Vitamin D
If you’ve noticed, everything except creatine in the list above plays a key role in your body’s production of testosterone.
To put it simply, testosterone is the hormone associated with your strength and muscle gains. So more testosterone equals more strength.
Zinc and ashwagandha you can find for cheap at the store, and you can get plenty of vitamin D simply by soaking up some sunlight for about 20 minutes.
But that’s not all, as we also have creatine. Creatine is the most widely researched supplement in the world, with plenty of studies praising the supplement for its safety and effectiveness.
Not only will creatine make you stronger, but it will also help you grow faster, run longer & faster, and more.
Creatine is so beneficial for the body that it’s even been reported to have brain-boosting effects according to this study.
The best part about creatine is that when it’s not out of stock, it’s usually dirt cheap and can often last you several months depending on the brand.
How To Use Pre Workout For Maximum Results
To make sure you’re getting the most out of whatever pre workout you choose, whether it’s the natural one, or a legit hardcore one, there are some general guidelines to follow in order to make the MOST of your pre workout.
For starters, make sure you drink plenty of water with your pre workout.
Not only is this a safe practice in general, but the added water will help to deliver the ingredients in the pre workout all throughout your body more effectively.
Trust me, you’d be surprised how much better pre workout works when you drink a tall glass of water or two before your workouts.
Next, it would be beneficial to get some fast digesting carbs in around half an hour before your workout.
Here’s a short list of fast digesting carbs:
- White Rice
- White Bread
- Rice Krispies (personal favorite to use before gym)
These carbs will be quickly broken down by your body and used for fuel, allowing you to have more energy, strength, and endurance in the gym.
Should Athletes Take Pre Workout?
Now, what if you’re an athlete looking to gain an edge over the competition… should you use a pre workout?
The short answer is yes, but be careful when selecting which pre workout you use.
If you’re an athlete looking to improve performance, you’ll want to choose a pre workout that focuses on energy, strength, and endurance, and NOT a pump.
The reason for this being, that if you are stressing your muscles super hard in your given sport, the last thing you need is a crazy pump in those muscles which would just lead to tightness and cramps.
I made this mistake once during a basketball game during my high school years. I took a hardcore pre workout, and all was going well for about half an hour, but after that, my calves were so tight and were cramping something AWFUL.
These days, I’ve learned how to use pre-workouts properly and will often use some before I head down to the park and put on a dunk contest with some friends, because it helps me jump WAY higher, and I can keep the intensity much longer too.
All in all, if you’re an athlete I would definitely recommend a pre workout to improve your performance, but also a warning of caution that you do your research to make sure you do not make the same mistakes.
Should You Take Pre Workout: Conclusion
In the end, although you may not NEED a pre workout, it’s most certainly a great asset to have on your side when undergoing any physical endeavor.
A good pre workout will allow you to lift more, run farther and faster, and stay focused in the gym allowing you to dominate each one of your sessions.
Overall, I hope you enjoyed this article and found the advice useful.
Make sure to check out Light The Minds for even more great articles on building lean tissue and shredding fat, and until next time!