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What Ingredients Should I Avoid in a Pre Workout?

Last updated: June 14, 2022

Hitting a plateau, lack of motivation, or even struggling with strength in your day-to-day life is of great concern, especially to a bodybuilder, weightlifter, or regular fitness enthusiast. Although you may have enough protein intake, you cannot reach your optimal post-workout results without first eating enough nutrients and having enough energy (mentally and physically) to conduct your entire routine at 100% efficiency. Pre-workouts are popular for this reason, giving you that extra edge when all else seems hopeless in the face of future gains.

In this article, we'll explore what pre-workout is, and how it can benefit your body. We will also help to assuage some concerns about the side effects of certain less reputable pre-workout sources by alerting you to the ingredients that you should be cautious of when you notice them on the label. Finally, we'll list one of the best pre-workout supplements on the market.

What is Pre-Workout?

A "pre-workout" is simply something that you can ingest before a workout. Ideally, this is supposed to be fast-acting so that you can even take this supplement during your travel time to the gym, park, or other fitness facility and reap its benefits right before you begin your warmup routine. Naturally, this means that a pre-workout must be effective during a workout, and give you the edge that you need to progress at a faster level. This means that pre-workouts must sustainably increase your energy, motivation, attention, strength, and endurance. To achieve this, here are some benefits of how a good pre-workout should affect your body:

  • A good pre-workout supplement should stimulate the muscles, providing more ATP (energy) to your muscle and ligament cells.
  • An effective pre-workout should activate your dormant and auxiliary muscles so that they help to make your lifts much easier, at no expense to your body except for fatigue.
  • Pre-workouts should increase blood flow to your muscles, providing them with more oxygen and hydration, leading to better results.
  • The supplement should provide more motivation and mental clarity, giving the user the much sought-after "pump" feeling in both their muscles and their entire routine.

A "pre-workout" is simply something that you can ingest before a workout. Ideally, this is supposed to be fast-acting so that you can even take this supplement during your travel time to the gym, park, or other fitness facility and reap its benefits right before you begin your warmup routine.

Top 5 Things To Avoid In Your Pre-Workout Shake

Here are the top five things that you should be wary of when purchasing a new pre-workout supplement:

Caffeine. Many pre-workouts can (and sometimes, should) contain some caffeine. Caffeine is a great source of energy and is even proven to reduce fat, increase metabolism and even decrease cravings for certain foods. The issue becomes when caffeine is provided in high doses (north of 400g) as it can cause many side effects - including anxiety, the "jitters", stress, insomnia, nervousness, panic, and a nasty feeling during the "crash".

Artificial substances: If the pre-workout contains any added colors or even flavors, be wary of these ingredients and follow the label. While the flavor is a common addition to some pre-workouts to market them properly to different tastes, it is concerning when it is added with certain food dyes. Food dyes can sometimes contain side effects, including certain carcinogenic properties. Allura red, Tartrazine, and No. 6 yellow are examples of what to avoid.

Any blend that is considered "proprietary": Pre-workouts should not be scientific studies, and should not contain any ingredient that is deemed "proprietary". This means that they are unable to list this product on the label (or even that they don't wish to). This doesn't necessarily mean that the product is dangerous, but in some instances, it can even mean that they are putting in much less of these beneficial ingredients than they wish to disclose. All ingredients of the pre-workout should be listed before and after purchase.

Sugar or sweetener: This is more of a modern trend, where pre-workouts are starting to be manufactured without any added sweetener or sugar. Prep-workout is often taken in powder form that contains amino acids, proteins, and vitamins. This would make the taste either dull or unpleasant. Adding sugar seems like a good idea for taste, but it causes a sharp increase in insulin levels, which makes you more fatigued during your workout and has a worse effect on diabetics.

Fillers: The ingredients in the pre-workout should all have a benefit to your health or fitness routine. Some brands like to add "filler" ingredients to save on costs and to make more money selling these pointless ingredients to you. For example, maltodextrin is a common additive in pre-workout supplements that has no purpose other than to add thickness, so it feels like you are getting more of a mouthful than what is reality.

Extreme NO2 Booster

One of the best pre-workouts on the market is N.O XT which is a nitric oxide supplement used to boost your workout results. This helps to maximize blood flow, increase endurance, support an insane pump, maintain and build muscle, and also takes in the reparation and development of future gains. The key ingredient here is L-arginine, which is an amino acid proven to regulate and improve cardiovascular health and blood flow and circulation. Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring substance in the body, and the veggie capsules ensure it is a vegan-friendly product.


What is an optimum pre workout heart rate?

Pre-workouts usually aid in elevating your heart rate, which increases blood flow to the body. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for a healthy individual, but should not be combined with coffee or a strenuous HIIT activity as it can push the heart rate beyond its limits, increasing the risk of heart disease. Your optimum heart rate during a workout should be 220 subtracted by your age. 

Is c4 pre workout vegan?

Cellucor C4 is a vegan-friendly pre workout. There were concerns regarding the creatine nitrate in the pre-workout (as this is usually derived from animal peptides) but they are synthetically created without the need for animals.

Is pre workout safe to take?

For a healthy individual, certain pre workout brands are safe to ingest. If you have any concerns, it is best to consult with a doctor. Look for brands that do not contain stimulants or added fillers.

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