Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Day 120 - Do you take a pre-workout supplement?

I personally don't. Even though I workout first thing in the morning, I stick with good old caffeine to, as I like to call it, "Shake out the cobwebs".

I know many people, however, that take a pre-workout supplement to help them wake up, and 'pump up', for their workouts. The active participant in many pre-workout supplements is 'NO' or nitric oxide. I actually did a bit of undergraduate research on NO, on my way to my B.Sc. in Biochem. But enough about me.

In a round about way, it is NO that is involved in the chemical reaction targeted in erectile dysfunction medications. How does that relate to pre-workout supplements you ask?

Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator, meaning it relaxes your blood vessels. This is theoretically ideal for body builders as it could therefore increase blood flow to the muscles.

Having said that, I came across a very interesting study from Mississippi State University that has found that pre-workout supps may very well be useless.

"In the current study, acute AAKG supplementation provided no ergogenic benefit, regardless of the subjects' training status", the researchers concluded. "Based on the current study an acute ingestion of AAKG is not recommended for healthy individuals to increase maximal strength and muscular endurance for resistance training exercises."

I recommend you check out the ingredients label on your pre-workout supp if you take one, and see if it contains any form of arginine in it. If so, you may be better off with a cup of coffee without all of those other ingredients.

I have tried many different types of pre-workout supplements myself, and to be honest, I definitely noticed a difference. I felt 'buzzed' after taking them. Having said that, I cannot honestly say that I noticed any difference in my workouts or performance. Maybe that 'buzzed' feeling was my body feeling the shock of so many ingredients in one beverage at once!

Quote of the day:
"If you think you can or you think you can't, either way you are right."
~ Henry Ford