For all the gym enthusiasts and athletes, pre-workout is a Godsend because it’s a great way to get that energy boost needed to increase your workout regimen and increase your endurance. However, as a rule of thumb, moderation is essential. And moderation isn’t limited just to exercise but also matters when you take pre-workout supplements. It might sound contradictory since the whole point of pre-workout is to be able to work out more (so more pre-workout means more exercise). But that’s not necessarily true. Think about it; the supplements aren’t necessary naturally occurring, and even if they are, they aren’t naturally occurring in the amount you’re taking, so if you take too much, there are bound to be some risks attached. So the million-dollar question is: how often should pre-workout be taken?
Here’s where pre-workout is tricky. While for most of the part, the core ingredients of pre-workout are pretty much standard, it’s the effect they have on our bodies. That is the major question. Our bodies are unique, and the effect of certain stimulants on our bodies varies from person to person, so there’s no fixed formula that we can apply to tell you when it’s too much or too little. That may sound concerning, but don’t worry too much about it; there are always signals that your body gives out, and so if you pay attention and know what the signs are, you’ll be safe.
So first and foremost, get acquainted with the ingredients that your supplement has. Now the most common ingredients you will find are:
- Citrulline Malate
The good news about these ingredients is that if you do your research, you’ll be able to find out what the recommended doses for each for these ingredients are.
is a pretty known energy booster. People rely on it for several things that go beyond the gym. Students use it for all-nighters; working people use it to get through their day. And sometimes, you’ll notice that they end up on caffeine high for the straightforward reason that caffeine is addictive. So one day you’ll start with a low dose, and after a week or two, you’ll feel that dose just isn’t doing it for you so you’ll increase the dose, and the more you take it, the more immune you become. And to be honest, we can say the same for most, if not all, the other ingredients as well.
Nevertheless, anywhere between 100mg to 200mg of caffeine is the safe limit to take.
is what creates muscle mass. It is suggested that starting with 5g a day is safe to be able to reach the maximum muscle mass within six weeks. For speedy results, you can take 5g 4 times a day for five days.
is what helps reduce fatigue in your system while working out. Now, if you’ve already taken Beta-Alanine in your supplements, you’re all too well aware of the awful tingling and itching sensation you feel. Now imagine overdosing the amount of Beta-Alanine in your system, and that awful sensation goes tenfold. Since you obviously don’t want to experience that, stick to the recommended dose that is between 800mg to 2000mg.
is another stimulant that prevents fatigue and sore muscles. Anywhere between 2 to 6g is enough to get your body pumping.
But this is just the easy part. Knowing the recommended doses doesn’t mean most people stick to them. Like we mentioned above, these stimulants are addictive, and people who take pre-workout are prone to becoming dependent on them. The dependency isn’t only just physical but mental as well. And it’s the mental dependency which can become a cause of concern in the long run.
We say that because of the physical dependency that our body creates can easily be quashed by taking more natural foods for energy boosts and adrenalin rushes. Simple stuff such as coffee, green tea, nuts, and fruits like apples and bananas serve the same purpose. However, the mental dependency is what will stop us from reaching out to these foods believing them not to be enough and will take us up to our pre-workout doses.
And the worst part is, it’s not the dependency on the known stimulants that is an issue. If you’ve taken the time out actually to read the ingredients label you’ll find some questionable things on them. If we don’t know what “proprietary blend” or “explosive energy blend” is, how can we know how our body will respond to these ingredients and just how addictive they can be? Do we really want to play Russian roulette with our bodies and these supplements?
We probably sound like we’re anti-pre-workout, but we actually aren’t! We’re just advocating for its safe use, which is pretty simple. First, all start with small doses. Even with the range, if recommended doses start with the smaller range and try not to make your way up to the higher range. If you feel like the dose isn’t doing it for you, consult your gym trainer. They’re well versed in these things and can guide you better.
Secondly, pre-workout isn’t something you have to take religiously. When you first start off taking pre-workout, do so on alternate days. And try to maintain that cycle. On the days you don’t take pre-workout to opt for natural food as we’ve mentioned before.
Thirdly, if you start feeling there is a dependence on pre-workout, ask yourself this simple question: Why am I putting my body through such rigorous training? Is the risk of addiction worth it to reach that goal? Once you know the answers, you’ll be able to manage the urge to take more than necessary.
So, in conclusion, the choice is yours. Your body is your top priority, and only you know how to take care of it the best. You know the risks and hands we’ve provided the alternates. The rest we leave in your hands.