While pre-workout supplements were once the go-to supplement, their market growth has slowed and is projected to grow just 5% over the next 5 years – a steep decline from just a few years ago.
There seem to be several contributing factors involed: the emergence of vitamin waters, whole-food supplementation such as AG1, and a general intolerance to the amount of caffeine found in almost every pre-workout supplement.
What's In Your Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance athletic performance and improve workout intensity. To do this, most contain variations of minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Others have ginseng or panax to enhance or improve energy levels. Many contain sugar or artificial sweeteners like Sucralose.
But then there’s another common ingredient – caffeine. How did that get in there?
It’s almost like someone accidently dropped an energy drink into thier glass one morning and came up with what we now call a “pre-workout”.
There’s really nothing wrong with having some caffeine in the morning. Who doesn’t love coffee?
OK, some people don’t but most of us do. The real problem is consuming too much caffeine.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
Reports and estimates vary but the average healthy adult can consume about 200mg of caffeine in a day without any significant harmful effects.
According to an article published by WebMD, 400mg or more can bring about a host of side-effects including fatigue, increased heart rate, insomnia and more.
So now that we have a baseline, let’s take a closer look at how much caffeine the “average” person consumes.
Caffeine Content of Common Drinks:
Energy Drinks: 50-300mg
Brewed Coffee: 95mg
Caffeine Adds Up - Get A Calculator
To see how all this fits together, let’s start with an example and assume your daily routine consists of two cups of coffee and, at night, you enjoy an ice-cold Coca Cola with a meal. Well on this particular day, you consumed over 280mg of caffeine – well above the level of recommended caffeine, but not necessarily enough to cause serious side effects.
But, now let’s say you decide to start working out but want to make sure you have enough energy AFTER the workout to go to work and spend time with your family and friends later. So you try a pre-workout.
Now you are taking well over 400mg of caffeine.
This is true for a lot of us, who unknowingly consume more caffeine without even realizing it.
Pre-Workouts Without Caffeine
Pre-workout supplements are here to stay, and we welcome them. But, it’s important to know that there are not only low caffeine supplements but no caffeine pre-workouts that can support the body before, during and after workouts.
The body, for the most part, loses protein, salt, potassium and minerals during a workout. Sure, having a nice little caffeine boost is great, but not necessary. And there are herbs, roots and other plants that have long been used to help recover and support us after a long days work.
This is not to say that caffeine in pre-workouts is bad, just that it should be used sparingly or at least, shown very clearly to consumers so that they can make informed decisions regarding their supplementation.
So, are pre-workouts just energy drinks disguised as healthy supplements? No. They are not, yet. But, the line is getting blurry and we all should do better to make sure we are truly helping others.
We can do that by creating and selling supplements that we stand behind and believe in. Let’s get to work.