Pre-Workout: a supplement or a death sentence?

Chloe Mantakounis, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After reading the label of pre-workout drinks and powders, it can look like a whole different language. With dozens of different ingredients, is this supplement safe and effective?

First, we should look at what pre-workout is. Pre-workout is a supplement literally taken before working out, this could mean running, playing field hockey, tennis, wrestling, lifting, and even playing golf. The primary use of pre-workout supplements (usually referred to simply as “pre-workout) is more caffeine, but the supplements’ labels also claim to offer focus, endurance, and much more.

According to healthline.com, “There’s little consistency in terms of ingredients. Amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners are often included, but quantities can vary…” The quantities mentioned vary upon hundreds of brands of pre-workout.

 Critics also note potentially dangerous side effects of pre-workouts. One would be the artificial sweeteners; a lot of pre-workouts use artificial sweeteners to immensely reduce the calories in the product. Also, there’s a lot of caffeine in these, and they can easily be overtaken or overdrank. 

Another danger in pre-workouts is the fact that they’re supplements, so they’re not regulated in the United States. This means they can have banned substances or dangerous amounts of substances in their product.

Healthline also says that pre-workouts aren’t needed as long as, “You’re getting a balanced diet, plenty of water, and sufficient sleep.”

Let’s be real: a good number of Archmere students don’t get at least one of the listed healthy acts (especially sleep), or they might just hate coffee, so let’s examine the good side to pre-workouts.

Pre-workout, when taken carefully, produces a positive effect on an athlete’s workout. Depending on the brand/product, the supplement can help athletes be more energized, more focused, and “crash” less post-workout. Men’s Health Magazine stated, “Pre-workout is designed to help fight this, to help you keep going harder and for longer.”

Personally, and what sparked me to write this article, was that I started taking pre-workout from the brand Ghost. It contains no harmful ingredients, it has a great taste, and I found it effective as it’s helped me increase weight when I’m lifting or run longer on cardio days. The catch: it’s $45 for a container, $1.50 per serving. That is very expensive for pre-workout. 

However, there are plenty of affordable pre-workout brands: C4, NITROSURGE, Neurocore, Optimum Nutrition, and more. These are all $25 and below.

Pre-workout can be vital for those who think they need it or think it would help them, as well as those wanting a general alternative to coffee. When researched enough and used within the serving size, pre-workout is a great supplement for any activity that involves exercise. However, be sure to discuss this with your parents, coaches, or doctor before starting a new supplement.