Pre-workout … what is actually worth taking?

Every exercise supplement store has shelf upon shelf of powders and pills all claiming different types of transforming results. And of course, we all want to make the most out of our time in the gym and working out.

What they don’t tell you is that:

– there is no substitute for working out and eating well. The mystery powders are not magic and on their own, they won’t give you the results you are looking for

– the rules regulating this industry are very loose. As long as it’s not poison, they can sell it to you. But there is no guarantee or requirement to demonstrate that it actually works

– the vast majority of products out there are completely useless for the vast majority of people

Saying that, there are a few supplements that are well understood, safely produced and actually worth taking. These are still not miracle products that work for everyone, but they can help if you are serious about getting into shape.

1. Whey protein

This is a byproduct of milk. When milk is intentionally curdled to make cheese, the curds are separated from the liquid whey, which is then processed further into a powder. That powder is very high in protein, and relatively low in calories, so it’s useful if you’re trying to build muscle but have a hard time eating enough protein from other sources.

2. Creatine

Creatine is an organic acid, naturally produced by the body, that helps to supply energy to muscles. It’s most closely linked with short, high-intensity movements, like sprinting or weightlifting.

3. Caffeine

A stimulant for the central nervous system. As far as exercise is concerned, it can kick-start your workout on days when you’re feeling lethargic. It’s especially helpful if you work out early in the morning. And once you’re ready to lift, a caffeine rush can give you a more intense, focused gym session.

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