We know that pre workouts are made for exercise fanatics and people with healthy lifestyles, but are pre workout drinks safe? Most gym-goers have never even thought about the safety of this product? Has your pre workout ever tasted like chemicals?
Have you ever felt side effects from your pre workout like tingling, dizzy headedness, anxiety or nausea? Have you looked at the ingredients on the label and wondered, what does it all mean?
I am going to do my best to answer these questions by digging in to do some research and include input from my personal experience. We already know that these performance supplements will do wonders for almost any sport, but is pre workout safe?
FDA Approved Pre Workout
The odd thing is that there is no such thing as an FDA approved pre workout or any other nutrition supplement for that matter. This is an unregulated industry. However, the ingredients in pre workout supplements are FDA approved. You can even look these ingredients up individually on their website.
You can look up the scientific studies if they are FDA approved. FDA approval doesn’t always mean an ingredient will work in the way you would like it to, or as advertised since ingredients affect people differently.
These pre workout ingredients that have been checked by the Food and Drug Administration:
Caffeine has been studied far more than any other of the ingredients. Caffeine is regulated and provides a clean source of energy.
L-Citrulline is an Amino Acid protein that provides you with a muscle pump by bringing in more blood to your muscles, therefore increasing performance and endurance.
L-Theanine is also an Amino Acid helping the muscle to break down energy. It also helps keep the stimulant effects of caffeine on a safe, manageable level.
Nitric Oxide is a protein that gives vascularity and also muscle pump, helping you go harder and stronger.
L-Carnitine is another Amino Acid that helps to improve metabolism and aids in muscle repair.
Creatine is a protein that helps improve recovery time, increase muscle mass, strength and performance.
These are some of the “safe” ingredients to look for. Usually pre workout also contains vitamins, flavorings and sugars to make it a well-rounded pre workout. Look for these ingredients when picking a pre workout.
If you have any questions or comments regarding pre workout ingredients or Amino Acids, please let me know in the box at the bottom.
Why Your Pre Workout Supplement Tastes Like Chemicals?
First of all, there is nothing wrong with your pre workout tasting bitter or like chemicals. However, some taste better than others, so I would recommend reading reviews for this.
After all, pre workouts do contain chemical compounds(most of these occur naturally in your body. If you do get a supplements tastes too good, the chances are that it is loaded with sugar or sucralose.
Caffeine may be the main bitter taste, since this is a chemical stimulant. Pre workouts are highly concentrated and are not like foods, so you may taste the ingredients more prominently. Coffee is a much more watered-down version, so the Caffeine taste is undetectable. There is nothing harmful about it or this taste except that Caffeine is moderately addictive.
One serving of most pre workouts contain between 100-400mg of caffeine. That’s a pretty potent punch for 7 grams of powder, and would take several cups of coffee to get the same effects. If you are Caffeine intolerant, you would want to try a Caffeine Free Pre Workout Supplement.
Possible Pre Workout Side Effects?
As I discussed briefly in the introduction, you can have some temporary side effects from your pre workout. This is usually just your body reacting to ingredients that it is not used to. It passes soon and may never happen again,
Switch in brands is also a good idea, in case you bought on that for some reason doesn’t agree with you. Most pre workouts have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, so try as many of them as you like until you find one perfect for you.
If you do get a headache, chances are it is caused by vasodilator compounds found in the ingredients. One of them is an amino acid, L-Arginine which increases the Nitric Oxide in your body. The increases Nitric Oxide is actually a good thing because it promotes muscle growth.
As far as the headache, you may want to give your pre workout one more try because sometimes the body needs to get used to it. If not, switch brands.
Pre workouts are loaded with Caffeine giving you enough energy to power through a workout. The amount of Caffeine will some times give you a temporary headache. Most of the time this will happen the first time you try a new supplement, so don’t take too much the first time.
Start slow and work your way up. I have gotten a little to motivated my self and overindulged, getting a nice pre workout headache myself. I take some longer than others to learn, but I definitely don’t recommend doing this. If problems persist, try a Caffeine Free Pre Workout.
The Caffeine can also disturb your sleep habits. Be sure not to take your pre workout to late in the evening. If you take it earlier, most of the caffeine will burn up during your workout, then you will have a few hours before bed.
Once again, if this continues to interrupt your sleep try a different brand. Different brands have a large spectrum of caffeine quantities, so pick one that’s right for you.
What about the tingling in your head and your body? This happens occasionally and is caused mostly from the Beta-Alanine and Niacin. There is nothing wrong with this feeling, it is just a harmless nervous system reaction.
This “tingling effect” is part of the pre workout experience. Between that tingling and the effect of the Caffeine you should feel ready to go.
Possible “Bad” Ingredients in a Pre Workout?
Number one is DMAA or dimethylamylamine. This is an amphetamine sometimes found in weight loss products and pre workout supplements. DMAA can raise blood pressure and lead to cardiovascular problems ranging from shortness of breath and tightening in the chest to a heart attack. Read the ingredients, and stay away from this.
Proprietary Blends enable companies to hide dosages of individual ingredients or to avoid listing the ingredients on the label. This is so nobody but the manufacturer knows what ingredients are actually in it. They can also fill the proprietary blend line item with cheaper ingredients that can result in symptoms and complications. Personally, I’ve had several brands in the past with proprietary blends with no side effects, but I may have just been lucky.
Yohimbe can also be a negative pre workout ingredient. I have only known one person in my circle of fit friends that has had a reaction to Yohimbe, but I thought that I should bring it up since this has been verified in many. Bad effects usually come from taking larger dosages of this. If you are sensitive to this it is possible to have nausea and dizziness.
Artificial sweeteners and food coloring. It’s really hard to get away from this. Most pre workouts and post workouts are flavored with sucralose. Most brands of pre workouts on the market have food coloring. They must be worried about what color this concoction would be without food coloring.th
In recent years there now is an exception to the rule called “All Natural” and also “Organic Pre Workouts”. The reason I recommend these is that they are made with healthier ingredients and don’t contain any artificial additives, colors, flavors or sugars.
Are Pre Workout Drinks Safe Conclusion
When it comes down to it, pre workout is safe to take. It is designed for exercise enthusiasts who strive for a healthy lifestyle. If they weren’t, myself and many others wouldn’t be drinking it. Pre workouts are not FDA approved.
However, post workout protein powders and half of the products that you see in a vitamin or health store are not. Unfortunately, workout products are an unregulated industry, but you can still make educated dissensions about them.
Please don’t forget that most complications from pre workout supplements are almost always from taking too much. Are pre workouts bad? Not when taken properly. The best recommendation is always to start with the recommended serving.
We talked about possible side effects from your pre workout. Most of the time these can be caused from the first time you try a pre workout, or when you switch brands. It takes a minute for your body to figure these things out, and for you to figure out the best quantity. So don’t take too much and patiently work up to it.
Lastly, the bad ingredients. The couple of ingredients that I listed to watch out for are not seen very often, but keep an eye out for them just in case.
If you have any more questions on pre workout safety or need any other information regarding them, please leave a comment below. I will respond as soon as possible.