Is Pre-Workout Worth it?

people in gym working out

Fat-burners are a part of the term pre-workout- supplements that give you a boost for your workout. Most pre-workout supplements are aimed for weight lifters, but supplements like fat-burners are pre-workout supplements that anyone could benefit from.

The Pre-Workout Fad

It seems nearly impossible to walk into a gym and not see half the people drinking pre-workout or carrying a bottle of it. Not to mention, a good amount of people like myself drink pre-workout on the way to the gym. Because of this it can be very enticing to join the fad. This is especially true because most gyms have a small shop where you can buy protein, pre-workout, and all other kinds of fitness related junk. I say junk because half of the supplements out there you don’t really need.

Let me take you back to the beginning of this decade. Working out and exercising wasn’t as popular, so there wasn’t much research on supplements. One of the biggest pre-workout supplements on the market was Jack3d. This pre-workout seemingly appeared overnight. At the gym, it was all anyone talked about. “Have you tried Jack3d?! I heard it turns you into a monster in the gym!” For a good few years Jack3d was the titan of pre-workouts. It’s what made pre-workouts so popular.

In 2011, however, the deaths of two army men supposedly caused by Jack3d shocked the world. It was taken off the shelves in stores in army bases and pretty soon researchers found out a potentially harmful substance in Jack3d called dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. This substance was found to be related to amphetamines in that it raises heart rate and blood pressure giving you that superman feeling in the gym. Despite the controversy, after a change in formula Jack3d was still selling and pre-workouts were still gaining popularity.

Is it That Dangerous?

DMAA itself is dangerous and of course you shouldn’t take it. But there wasn’t specific evidence linking DMAA to the soldier’s deaths. A common mistake that people make is using pre-workout for cardio or HIIT related workouts. Caffeine and other stimulants work by raising your heart rate and dilating blood vessels, so if you’re doing super intense workout, your heart is going to be working overtime. There are many cases where this happened and it’s just sad because you don’t need pre-workout for cardio. Drink some tea or a small cup of coffee and you’ll be good to go.

What Pre-Workout is Best For

What should you use pre-workout for then? It’s best for weight lifting. Training involves lots of rest and short periods of exercise. There are times, and almost all weight lifters know this, where we reach a plateau and we just can’t get past it no matter what we do. This is what pre-workout is best for. Or, there are times where we are dragging our feet through the day and we have a big lifting session ahead. Pre-workout will help give you a boost of energy to push through that workout.

Too often than not, people become hooked to pre-workout and start using it for every workout. Your body will adapt and begin to look for it every workout. When you finally stop taking it, you will feel terrible in the gym.

Is it Worth it?

Pre-workout is only worth it if you are a serious weight lifter. Otherwise, you don’t need it. The only time it would be okay is if you are dead tired and know you won’t hit those weights unless you take a little pre-workout.

Fat-burners, on the other hand, aren’t as stimulant heavy as pre-workout so they can be taken daily for serious and non-serious weight lifters. As mentioned earlier, if you’re about to partake in some serious cardio or HIIT, you might want to think twice about all the caffeine and stimulants you’re about to take.

The only supplements anyone really needs is protein. Many people workout hard but restrict their diet to lose weight. Oftentimes people don’t get enough protein so drinking a protein shake can help reach protein goals and maximize muscle gain. If you are thinking about taking pre-workout, take a step back and see if your workouts are more cardio-based or weight-based. Also, if you do decide to take pre-workout, make sure you only take it when you need it.

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