Have you ever stood in the gym, thinking, “Is pre-workout natty?” This is one of the many questions that has the fitness fraternity divided, but not to worry. We’re here to help you understand.
In this article, we’ll walk you through pre-workout powders, their essential ingredients, what the FDA thinks about natural ingredients, and what to check when picking these supplements.
So, keep reading, and let’s explore protein powders together!
What Is Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout is a supplement designed to enhance your exercise performance, whether aiming for an all-around boost or targeting specific aspects of your training.
These supplements are formulated with ingredients like caffeine, serving as a source of an energy surge.
A pre-workout supplement will kick-start your workout, promoting increased alertness and stamina.
These supplements are strategically consumed 30-45 minutes before a workout, allowing the body to absorb and utilize the ingredients effectively.
Pre-workouts come in diverse forms, from pre-mixed beverages to powders that can be blended with water or added to shakes. This versatility caters to individual preferences, ensuring accessibility and convenience in integrating pre-workouts into your fitness routine.
What Goes Into a Good Pre-Workout?
When it comes down to what goes into a good pre-workout, there are no set rules; therefore, the companies can get as creative as they want. But here are some essential ingredients that you will usually find in a good pre-workout:
- Caffeine makes you more awake and energized, giving you a good start for your workout.
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids: They are like the building blocks for your muscles. They help your muscles grow and repair, making you stronger.
- Beta-Alanine: This helps stop your muscles from getting too tired. It acts like a shield against the stuff that makes your muscles tired during exercise.
- Nitrates: These are good for making your blood flow better. It sends more oxygen to your muscles, making you perform better and feel less tired.
- Plant Extracts: They can do different things, like reducing inflammation or giving you antioxidants, which are suitable for your body when working out hard.
- Creatine: This is famous for making you stronger. It helps your body produce more energy when you’re pushing yourself.
- Electrolytes: These are important for keeping your body balanced. They allow you to stay hydrated, especially when sweating a lot during a challenging workout.
What Are Natural Ingredients In A Pre-Workout?
While the supplements do not have to be approved by the FDA, a few things qualify as natural, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.”
Best Natural Pre-Workout Ingredients
Unfortunately, not every natural ingredient is to be considered healthy. For example, coffee is derived from coffee beans grown on land, but consuming too much coffee can result in jitters and nausea.
- Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is a natural ingredient added to pre-workouts. It gives you a caffeine boost, like what you get from coffee. But it’s not just about energy – it also has L-theanine and antioxidants. L-theanine can help improve focus, and antioxidants are good for recovery after a workout.
- Watermelon Juice
Watermelon is a common ingredient amongst many that are found in pre-workouts. Watermelon juice has citrulline, which boosts nitric oxide levels that help your blood flow better, delivering more oxygen to your muscles.
- Beetroot Juice
Beetroot juice is another natural ingredient you might find in your pre-workout. It’s packed with nitrates, which can help you train longer, regulate your blood pressure, and improve your oxygen intake.
Betaine is in foods like spinach, and it’s got a positive effect on your muscles. If you want to make your muscles more prominent and powerful, betaine in your pre-workout can help. It’s a secret ingredient for boosting muscle size, work capacity, and power.
- Cocoa Extract
Cocoa extract is high in epicatechin. This helps nitric oxide in your blood work better. Better nitric oxide means improved blood flow, which is excellent when working out hard.
Turmeric has curcumin, which is excellent for boosting nitric oxide levels. This helps blood flow to your muscles during your workout. If your pre-workout includes turmeric, it might also have black pepper, which makes curcumin work even better.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract
Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract might sound fancy, but it’s a helpful ingredient. When you’re working out, your muscles might get inflamed – normal. But too much inflammation is not great.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom helps keep things balanced, supporting muscle repair without going overboard with inflammation. It’s like a cool-down for your muscles after a workout.
What to Avoid in a Natural Pre-Workout?
When looking for a natural pre-workout, you must know what to avoid to ensure you get the most out of your supplement without unwanted additives. Here’s a guide on what to steer clear of:
Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors, and Dyes
Avoiding artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes in a natural pre-workout is best. These additives might make your pre-workout taste better or look more appealing, but they’re not the natural goodness you want.
Artificial sweeteners, in particular, can sometimes be present even in products labeled as “sugar-free.” So, it’s not just about the sugar content – check for these sneaky sweeteners on the ingredients list.
Check Labels Carefully
To make sure your pre-workout is genuinely natural, take a moment to read the labels. Look for unfamiliar names or words that sound more like chemicals than natural ingredients.
If you’re not sure about something, a quick online search can help you understand what’s in your supplement.
Sugar-Free Doesn’t Always Mean Additive-Free
Don’t be fooled by the term “sugar-free.” Some products claiming to be sugar-free might still contain artificial sweeteners to provide that sweet taste without actual sugar.
Make Informed Choices
Everyone’s body reacts differently to ingredients, and personal health goals vary. Consider your preferences and health objectives to make informed choices about your pre-workout.
If you aim for a more natural approach, prioritize products that align with your values and provide the ingredients that support your fitness goals.
Related Article: How to Make Pre-Workout Taste Better?
In the quest to uncover the truth behind pre-workouts, it’s clear that these supplements are designed to elevate your exercise performance, providing an energy boost through ingredients like caffeine.
While there are no strict rules on what makes a pre-workout, understanding the key components, such as branched-chain amino acids, nitrates, and plant extracts, is crucial.
According to the FDA, the definition of “natural” emphasizes the absence of artificial additives. However, not every natural ingredient guarantees healthiness, as seen with coffee’s potential drawbacks.
When choosing a natural pre-workout, beware of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes, and make informed decisions aligned with your fitness goals.