Preworkout? We’re talking about preworkout? Not the workout. We’re talking about preworkout man… How silly is that?
All jokes aside – the sad thing is that many people put more thought into their preworkout than they do their actual workout.
You may not like to hear this, but preworkout does not matter!
Are you seriously telling me that you, a man, can’t go to the gym and pick up some weights without drinking your fruity berry drink first?
Imagine if we could bring people from the Spartan age or the Viking age into the present, and you told them that you can’t workout until you drink your blue-raspberry “pump enhancer” first. They would laugh in your face. Because you deserve it!
Not only that – the only thing in most preworkout that even makes a difference is caffeine*. You can get that from coffee. The jury is still out on citrulline malate, but at this point the evidence isn’t clear enough to warrant taking it. In my experience, it makes no difference at all.
Now, I’m sure that some of the PubMed warriors out there are thinking along the lines of “But wait! One time there was this one study in Russia with a sample size of 2 that showed that taking 17mg of *some random substance* improved performance!”. If that’s you, the comments are open for you to present robust, reliable research in favor of whatever you’re trying to push. I will gladly change my opinion if presented with new evidence.
There are two things preworkout is good for: the placebo effect and the bottom line of supplement companies. Billions of dollars are spent marketing and funding “research” for these things, so it’s no wonder that so many people take them.
Preworkouts also have things like flavorings, sweeteners, anti-caking agents, etc. which certainly aren’t improving your health.
Finally, there is potential concern over the possible side effects of long term, chronic consumption of some of these “natural” molecules. For example, there has never been a study on the effects of taking 8g of citrulline malate daily for 10 years. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily harmful because we don’t know. But for my health, I prefer to be cautious.
My advice: save your money.
*put differently, caffeine is the only natural substance which has robust, reliable evidence supporting its acute ergogenic properties.