Pre-Workout Doesn’t Work
There, I said it!! Pre-workout is not all it’s cracked up to be and you’ll end up dropping a wad of cash for fancy packaging rather than an inventive solution. Back when I worked at GNC, droves of people would come in looking for the brand new energy drink or pre-workout powder. These things were absolutely loaded with caffeine ranging anywhere from 300mg to 500mg per dose. That’s insane!!
Caffeine is the universal drug that we all rely on. I definitely need my coffee fix every morning before I start my day. It’s obvious that caffeine in doses of 300mg or higher will stimulate anxiety (Jones & Smith, 1992). But in moderate doses, it can actually level out anxiety and even reduce self-rated depression (International Scientific Association Of Coffee, 1988). A study done by Jarvis (1993) tested regular daily coffee and tea consumption over 9000 participants and found increased mental acuity. The best levels of performance came from individuals consuming close to 400mg of caffeine per day.
Now the argument I’m trying to make is that spending money on single large doses of caffeine won’t make any difference to gradual small doses throughout the day. Indeed, most studies have only looked at the immediate effects of caffeine after one large amount (Smith, 2002). One study I found confirmed no difference between consuming 65mg of caffeine at 4 intervals throughout the day and drinking one 200mg dose of caffeine (Smith & Brice, 2001a,b).
From my own personal experience, the effects of taking a pre-workout lasted maybe a month before they died off. I kept having to buy pre-workouts with higher amounts of caffeine just to get the same buzz. There was nothing else about pre-workout that gave me any additional benefit. Even if it boasted massive amounts of BCAA’s (I think these are useless), nothing happened beyond the initial kick I received from the caffeine. So I ditched pre-workouts in favor of a few cups of coffee throughout the day and I feel exactly the same.
Jones, D. M., & Smith, A. P. (1992). Handbook of human performance. Academic Press.
International Scientific Association Of Coffee. (1988). Douzième Colloque scientifique international sur le café = Twelfth International Scientific Colloquium on Coffee. Association Scientifique Internationale Du Café.
Jarvis, M. J. (1993). Does caffeine intake enhance absolute levels of cognitive performance? Psychopharmacology, 110(1–2), 45–52. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02246949
Smith, A. (2002a). Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40(9), 1243–1255. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0278-6915(02)00096-0
Smith, A.P., Brice, C. (2001b). The behavioral effects of caffeine. In: Proceedings of the 217th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Anaheim, CA.
Smith, A.P., Brice C. (2001). Behavioural effects of caffeine in coffee. In: Proceedings of ASIC ‘ 99, Helsinki.