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What's in Your Pre-Workout Supplement?

A boost of energy to push us through that next work out seems like a great idea, but it might not be if your pre-workout supplement is hiding ingredients dangerous to your health!

Between work demands, family schedules, and the many tasks of modern day living, life can get hectic and leave us feeling tired and low on energy. It’s for this reason that an increasing number of us are turning to pre-workout supplements to help boost our workout performance and overall energy. While this may, in theory, sound like a good idea, it can significantly hinder both the health and fitness outcomes we desire.

Let’s begin by addressing some of the most common and concerning pre-workout ingredients. First, in a study conducted in 2014, several of the common conventional pre-workout powders were tested and were found to contain a chemical called DMBA, which is essentially the same as DMAA (dimethylamylamine). DMAA is so dangerous to health that the FDA has banned it, as it can lead to heart attacks, brain bleeds, and even death. Though it has recently (as of 2015) been banned, some supplement brands still contain it.

Outside of the fact that many pre-workouts contain this harmful chemical, the problems don’t end there. The rest of the ingredients that make up conventional pre-workout supplements pose plenty of health risk themselves. One of the main ingredients in pre-workouts is caffeine, and in doses that are far above what can be considered healthy. The average pre-workout supplement contains approximately four times as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. These high doses of caffeine can lead to a host of problems, particularly heart issues, elevated blood pressure, adrenal fatigue or burnout, low thyroid, hormonal imbalance, and other undesirable outcomes.

Other common and problematic ingredients found in pre-workout products include artificial dyes, artificial flavors, emulsifying agents, and fillers. These ingredients are all, individually and collectively, highly processed, toxic, pro-inflammatory, carcinogenic and lead to a great deal of internal dysfunction.

Lastly, there are certain nutrients that are added into many pre-workouts, such as beta-carotene, calcium, etc. While this might sound good, the problem is that these nutrients are typically in their isolated (processed) form, lacking the synergy of other nutrients needed. Additionally, the sources of these nutrients are typically very low quality, from coal derivative sources, as these are far cheaper for manufacturers to use. These not only do not nourish the body but can cause harm. Make sure to buy products where those nutrients come from natural, healthy sources

Some of the top health issues that can come from frequently consuming the ingredients found in pre-workout products include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart strain & heart attack
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Adrenal fatigue or burnout
  • Low thyroid
  • Mental disorders (ADD, anxiety, brain fog, etc.)
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Digestive disorders (including autoimmune, leaky gut, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
  • Lowered metabolism
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Reproductive problems
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Increase stroke risk
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea
  • Cramps

Healthy Solutions

Seeing as the risks far outweigh any pros of consuming these products, it would be wise to discontinue any use of them. Instead, when in need of a little pre-workout pick-me-up, try better, healthier solutions.

  • Banana
  • Fruit + raw nuts
  • Apple + nut butter
  • Whole oatmeal
  • Whole, fresh fruit smoothies
  • Whole, fresh-pressed juice
  • Sprouted bread + nut butter (and whole fruit spread)
  • Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein with almond milk

Get healthy with our free fitness challenge where we give you a free meal plan and a free exercise regimen to follow so you can feel your best!

Resources:

  1. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/04/12/its-like-crack-doctor-on-pre-workout-supplement/
  2. https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/why-taking-pre-workout-supplements-might-be-a-bad-idea
  3. https://www.livestrong.com/article/1003313-preworkouts-bad-you/
  4. https://legionathletics.com/pre-workout-supplements/

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