What You Need to Know:

▪ Preworkouts are stimulant-based supplements that are taken before training to boost energy and endurance.

▪ Preworkouts are based on high doses of caffeine, the main active ingredient in these products.

▪ Excessive caffeine is not recommended as it can give cardiovascular side effects and cause dependence.

▪ Many preworkout ingredients besides caffeine have good safety and efficacy ratings but are used in ineffective amounts. Others, like herbal ingredients, are not always effective.

▪ It is not advisable for teens to use preworkout supplements. A solid meal, a shake and a regular cup of coffee can do the trick. 

About the Teens & Supplements Series

Sporty teenagers are an attractive target for nutritional supplements as they may easily be influenced by strong marketing strategies employed by companies. 

Without the necessary knowledge it is almost certain that they will either buy a supplement that is not suitable for them, that does little to help them, rips them off financially and may possibly even be doing harm to their bodies.

The goal of this series of articles on bodyandscience.com is to educate parents and teens about supplements, to assist them in making educated choices.

In this article we take a look at preworkout supplements, which are a very common and high selling category.

What are Pre-Workout Supplements?

“Preworkouts” are supplements designed to give a rapid energy boost before workouts. They are very popular among both endurance and strength athletes as well as gym goers. 

Preworkouts are also commonly advertised as products that increase mental focus, improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation, and increase workout endurance.

Parents’ Guide to Preworkout Ingredients [infographic]

Practical Recommendations

▪ Think Preworkout food: ensure you are getting the right nutrition before workouts by taking in proteins and carbohydrates, the proper fuels for your workout. An example is a chicken wrap and a large banana or apple. Alternatively, a well-formulated pre-exercise shake can do the job. Keep fibre and fat to a minimum as they can slow down digestion and cause gastrointestinal distress while you are exercising. 

▪ Be well rested: get proper rest by sleeping at least 8 hours on the eve. There’s no need to make up for lack of sleep by ingesting preworkouts or energy drinks. 

▪ An occasional cup of coffee: coffee can provide a good boost. Drink only when really necessary for best effect.

About the Author

Veeraj Goyaram

MSc (Med) Exer. Sci (UCT) cum laude, BSc (Hons) Biology.

Veeraj is passionate about researching and developing nutritional products for optimal health and performance, with a particular interest in sports, child and diabetic nutrition products. As a former research student at the University of Cape Town, Veeraj examined the effect of exercise and nutrition on the function of genes in muscle. His research was published in renowned scientific journals and medical textbooks on Diabetes and Exercise (PubMed listing). Veeraj keeps healthy by regularly lifting weights and taking daily walks.



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