Is Pre Workout Bad For You? Everything You Need To Know

Summary: Is Pre Workout Bad For You? What Are Pre-Workout Supplements? How Do They Work? As much as it enhances your workouts, it can also KILL you.



As people of advancing ages, we always look for ways to improve our lives--whether our career, our relationships, and our health.

As a former athlete and a present fitness instructor, I always look for ways to maximize my gym performance as well as my client's.

Some of them, at times, find it hard to drag themselves to the gym without a little push from their instructor.

This is a pattern I noticed as we get older. Our energy is not as intense as it was when we were in our teenage years--or just maybe, the demands for our energy are greater because of this stage in life called "adulthood."

Here comes the dilemma--we want to look good but we also want to skip workouts and just rest. We tell ourselves, "If only I have the energy that I had..."

Pre-Workout Supplementation

Enter the pre-workout supplementation.

In the world full of responsibilities and stress that suck the energy out of you, saying YES to something that WILL boost your energy and enhance your workout experience is very easy--it's a no-brainer.

The question left would be, "Is pre workout bad for you?"

Let's discuss first what pre-workouts are.

What Are Pre-Workouts And How Do They Work?

What Are Pre-Workouts

Pre-workout supplements have ingredients ranging from caffeine to guarana to beta-alanine to Yohimbe and to creatine--just to name a few.

These ingredients, taken before a training session, give athletes a supercharged workout by stimulating the body to release more energy, by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and by enhancing focus.

The main ingredients that I never fail to see in pre-workout supplements are CAFFEINE and CREATINE. Let's talk about them.


The most common ingredient in a pre-workout supplement is caffeine. Typically, range from 100 to 300 mg of caffeine per serving is the standard, which is about 3 cups of coffee.

That's a lot for an average joe.


There's a lot of studies showing that caffeine can boost energy before a workout.

In one of the studies, triathletes increase their aerobic capacity by about 30-50% just downing coffee before training.

In another study--Journal of Strength Conditioning and Resistance in 2012--concluded that men who used coffee as their pre-workout drink could lift heavier weights compared to those who took a placebo.

These studies show how beneficial caffeine is for people needing an extra oomph of energy. But they also concluded that people build a tolerance to caffeine fairly quickly and downing too much of it is not a good idea.



The second most common ingredient in a pre-workout supplement is creatine. Creatine boosts performance by producing and replenishing ATP to support muscular and cellular function.

It also expands energy production by drawing water from the blood plasma into the muscle, which not only improves muscular performance but also swells the muscles making them look bigger.

A study in the Journal of Athletic Training back in 2003 discovered that college basketball players taking creatine had fewer injuries. As well as rare cases of dehydration and muscle cramping than those players who don't take the supplement.

Apart from the fact that creatine helps us perform better in the gym, there are also numerous studies proving that it also has plenty of cognitive benefits.

Creatine supplementation supports memory, mood, and reduced brain fatigue. Now that we have a good understanding of what pre-workouts are, let's discuss the safety of its usage.

Are Pre-Workouts Bad For You?

Are Pre-Workouts Bad For You

The saying, "too much of anything is bad," holds true for EVERYTHING, and pre-workout supplements are not exceptions.

Caffeine and creatine, the two main ingredients in pre-workouts, are not harmful in moderate doses. But in high doses, they can be damaging.

But these two are not the real problem. The problem is with the other stimulants mixed in it. Most pre-workouts today are in "propriety blends," meaning different ingredients are mixed up with every single serving of it, and some of them aren't considered safe.

Pre-Workout Supplements

One of the ingredients that was found on one of the pre-workout supplements that's considered dangerous is an amphetamine precursor called 1,3-dimethylamylamine, or DMAA.

The FDA already filed criminal charges against the supplement companies who used it and they are already out of the market.

Because pre-workout supplements are STIMULANTS, it can raise a person's heart rate. If taken for so long or if taken recklessly, they can put a huge strain in the heart. And this can cause a serious damage and may even lead to death.

Raise Heart Rate

Other less-serious side effects of pre-workouts are jittery feeling, headaches, insomnia, difficulty breathing, and nausea.


Pre-workouts aren't bad. In fact, they are great additions to our training regiment. The only advice I can give you is be smart about this stuff. Listen to your body and ALWAYS do your research.

And remember, there is no substitute for the basics--eating quality foods, getting plenty of water, and sleeping well.

I suggest getting these things handled first before experimenting with other risky stuff.

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