Correct use of pre workout supplements, habits and sleep

There is an increasing focus on supplements, not just in the fitness industry but across all genres and levels of working out. You have got to give credit to the marketers of these supplement manufactures. They have made it mainstream for even girls to use supplements as part of their daily workout scheme. They are successfully pushing the mantra, that in order to be fit you have to add all these supplements to your workout regimen. But in the midst of all this supplementation, are we missing some important points, only to make the companies happier by buying more of their stuff, totally missing the key word “supplements”  – I was.

There are lots of products to focus on, but for this piece I will concentrate on pre workout supplements. I will by no means say that they lack effect – if only they did, then the problem would not be as profound. Lots and lots of these really offer a potent effect and make a real impact on your focus and energy-levels. They CAN have their rightful place.

But it starts to be a problem, when you cannot train without having one of these pre workout drinks. If all your workouts are fueled by these. You will probably, like I did, tell yourself, “why risks not having a great workout”; and thereby justify your repeated use.

Pre workout supplements are great for when you feel tired, are in need of that extra energy and really needs to perform. But it should NOT be your default.

I had this habit of 45 minutes prior to my workout, I would stop working and mix a pre workout shake. Then I would read t-nation or any other training/fitness site for 20-30 minutes with some high energy music in the background – all in order to get myself into the right mood and mindset for working out. This was, and is highly effective – but I would even do this on days where I was not tired at all. Mix pre workout, music, read – go. It had become part of a habit and ritual.

Apart from increasing the amount I spent on pre workout supplements, it also kept giving me problems with sleep. As I have written in a prior article, pre workout supplements can very well mess with your sleep patterns. And judging by the amount of people who read that one, it seems to be a quite widespread problem. One very, very obvious solution to this problem – that I for a very long time totally missed – is to not take the pre workout supplements in the first place. Use them when needed, but avoid having them as the default.

Take a step back, look at your use of supplements and reconsider your use, with total awareness. You can be in a period of high workload and therefore in need of the extra energy, but then remember to back of once the load is gone. We humans are very habitual, be aware of it and make conscious choices instead.

4 responses to “Correct use of pre workout supplements, habits and sleep”

  1. I totally agree if we talk about caffein based pre-workout supplements. No need to fuel yourself with it every time. But if it’s just BCAA + Creatine, why not? You will improve results without any side effects.

    1. I am a strong supporter of creatine, myself. BCAA’s are given a lot of hype, but I haven’t researched them well enough myself, to say anything about those.
      But my point is on a more general note; you can very deliberately choose to have these before each training – I totally agree on the non-existent side effects of say creatine – but you can also very well train without them, and still get absolutely brilliant results. Don’t just get into the “lazy default mode” of taking this and this every time.
      Cycle on and of from time to time, this will also make it easier for you to determine, which of the supplements that actually deliver results.

  2. Great article.I currently take caffeine and BCAA’s before my workout. I also take a multi-vitamin, fish oil and whey/casein proteins throughout the day. I recently found a pre workout supplement that claims to have everything you need in one dose – Have you tried this? Do you know if it’s safe? I’m sick of throwing my money away so any help would be appreciated.

    1. I can’t recommend anything I haven’t tried. Look at my “Trouble sleeping because of pre-workout supplements?” if you want recommendations.

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