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Everything You Need To know About Pre-Workout Supplements

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Everything You Need To know About Pre-Workout Supplements

If you’re training hard and smashing your goals, then you may have noticed that your eating habits have changed. When we’re exercising more than we have done previously, whether that’s from little to no exercise to starting your fitness journey or from a regular exerciser to reaching the Advanced OYG Programme, we place more demands on our bodies. And this means we need more energy from our food. 

When we’re trying to lose weight, the thought process can easily be, well I need to eat less and exercise more. Which to an extent is true - we need to achieve a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. 

But what matters more, is the way we’re fuelling our bodies, rather than focussing too much on calorie counting. Because if we don’t fuel ourselves correctly, and we reduce our calorie count too much, then we won’t be able to perform at our best when we’re exercising (or in any other part of our lives) as we simply won’t have the energy. 

It’s clear then, that it can be tricky getting the balance right! One way to ensure we’re getting the right fuel is to make sure we’re eating enough protein. Healthy protein rich foods include lean meat such as chicken breast, fish, eggs, low fat dairy, tofu, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds. 

But another way we can fuel our workouts more effectively is by taking a pre-workout supplement, often referred to as simply pre-workouts. 

What is a pre-workout supplement?

A pre-workout supplement can come in many different forms from powders that are made into shakes to capsules and even pre-mixed drinks in cans. But they all tend to contain a mix of nutrients designed to help fuel the body to work harder, reach fatigue more slowly and get the best from working out. 

Each sports supplement brand will have it’s own mix, but most will contain the same three base ingredients:

  • Caffeine - our favourite morning pick-me-up, caffeine is used in pre-workouts to help improve our mental and physical energy levels and our focus to get the job done. They do tend to contain high levels of caffeine, often the equivalent of three regular cups of coffee, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, make sure you check the label. It’s also best not to use them in the evenings. 
  • Creatine - a derivative of three amino acids, creatine naturally occurs in the body and helps to manufacture a substance called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, that fuels the muscles and helps them work longer and harder. Creatine is used in pre-workouts to help replenish the natural supplies in the body and support the muscles as we work out. 
  • Beetroot juice - nitric oxide also naturally occurs in the body and helps to relax the blood vessels in order to allow more blood flow. Beetroot juice is rich in nitric oxide that helps to improve blood flow. In turn, this improves the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which is thought to increase athletic performance. 

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