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January 12, 2021 4 min read

One of the most popular sports supplements on the market is pre-workout. Most fitness bloggers and influencers swear by pre-workout supplements and can be seen on Instagram dry scooping or chugging their pre-workout in the car before heading into the gym. If you’re someone who has never tried a pre-workout supplement, you may have your doubts. What’s the deal?

What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?

Pre-workout is a general term for a dietary supplement taken immediately before exercising. These wildly popular supplements are multi-ingredient formulas put together to boost energy levels and support better athletic performance and endurance. There isn’t one specific formula; instead, pre-workouts contain any number and combination of ingredients.

The idea is to help you have a better workout so that you can achieve your fitness goals. Pre-workout supplements typically come powdered and mix with water to be consumed as a tasty beverage.

Is Pre-Workout a Stimulant Supplement?

Stimulants are a class of drugs characterized by how they speed up the central nervous system making the user feel more awake, alert, confident, and energetic. There are plenty of illegal stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, but there are also many legal, widely used stimulants like caffeine and nicotine.

Many pre-workouts do include a stimulant supplement, but that’s not always the case. For those who are sensitive to caffeine or any other stimulant supplements, stimulant-free pre-workouts are plentiful.

Stimulant-free pre-workouts may include other natural nootropic and performance-enhancing ingredients that are not labeled as stimulants because they don’t stimulate the central nervous system.

What’s the Deal with Dry-Scooping?

Dry-scooping is a technique for taking your pre-workout in which a scoop of powder is placed directly in the mouth before taking a swig of water and downing it all in one gulp. The idea behind dry-scooping is to consume the supplement quicker. Some internet people suggest water dilutes the stimulant supplement, but there is no evidence to back up this claim. Some people warn of the adverse effects of dry-scooping on tooth enamel and potentially taking too much of the stimulant supplement. Follow the recommendations on your pre-workout supplement to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Why Choose a Pre-Workout with a Stimulant Supplement?

If you’re not sensitive to stimulants, opt for a pre-workout that is a stimulant supplement.

The benefits of using a stimulant supplement before you exercise are: 

  • increased energy
  • improved mood
  • enhanced focus
  • a clearer mind

Some stimulant supplements also:

  • improve brain health
  • solidify a better mind-muscle connection
  • increase motivation
  • encourage fat loss

Does the Type of Stimulant Supplement Matter?

Your pre-workout supplement could contain any number of stimulants. Below are some of the most popular stimulants for dietary supplements. While each stimulant has its own list of benefits, most are used for the same reasons. Choosing which stimulant works best for you is a matter of trial and error. You may find that you’re sensitive to caffeine supplements, but not to ginseng, or vice versa. 

Caffeine Supplements

The most popular energy supplement in pre-workouts is caffeine. Caffeine also happens to be the most widely used stimulant globally, consumed in tea, coffee, soda, caffeine supplements, and more. It’s derived from tea and coffee plants naturally and travels via the bloodstream to the brain, where molecules fill the adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling sleepy. Caffeine also blocks the A2A receptor, promoting the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and glutamate.

Along with a jolt of energy and a burst of feel-good hormones, some research also suggests caffeine ramps up the metabolism, improves the brain’s overall health, prevents Alzheimer’s, and improves athletic performance and endurance.

If your pre-workout is not stimulant-free, it most likely includes a caffeine supplement.

Ginseng Energy Supplements

Another plant-derived energy supplement, Panax ginseng, enhances mental focus, improves memory, and has some performance-enhancing qualities like:

  • increased endurance
  • increased energy 

Hordenine HCL Energy Supplements

Hordenine is a chemical compound that naturally occurs in many plants and is used as an energy supplement to support fat loss. Hordenine is not as well researched as other stimulants like caffeine supplements, and it may cause false positives on urine drug testing for opiates.

Phenylethylamine Energy Supplement

Phenylethylamine is a stimulant that’s naturally present in chocolate. It enhances dopamine levels in the brain, which leads to a clearer mind and a boosted mood.

Trusted Pre-Workout Supplement with a Stimulant

Allmax Impact Igniter: a great tasting stimulant pre-workout supplement, including hordenine HCl and caffeine. Igniter also includes other muscle pumping, performance-enhancing, and fat burning ingredients.

Stand Alone Stimulant Supplements

Suppose you like the idea of a stimulant supplement without the other performance-enhancing, exercise-focused ingredients that pre-workouts contain. In that case, you can opt for a stand-alone stimulant supplement like caffeine supplement pills.

Caffeine supplement pills are pills or tablets that contain natural or synthetic. These give you the benefits of consuming caffeine in a convenient pill. Some caffeine supplement pills are time-released, so you reap the benefits over the course of a day. Others release all at once. It’s imperative that you read the directions of your caffeine supplement pill, as it’s easy to overdose accidentally.

Potential Side Effects of Energy Supplements

Stimulants and energy supplements provide many benefits to your mind and body and improve your athletic performance. It’s for that reason that many pre-workout supplements include energy supplement stimulants. However, like with all nutritional supplements, it is critical that you follow recommended dosing and only use trusted supplement brands.

Some side effects and risks associated with the use of caffeine supplements or other energy supplements, especially if you take too much, are: 

  • irritability
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • irregular or increase heart rate
  • insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • high blood pressure and hypertension
  • headaches and migraines
  • low blood sugar
  • cardiac arrest
  • worsening of pre-existing autoimmune diseases

Whether you are using a pre-workout with a stimulant supplement or opt for caffeine supplement pills, legal stimulants can benefit your workouts, mood, energy levels, and even your brain. What’s important to remember is that all stimulants are drugs that must be used with caution. They can cause unpleasant side effects in some individuals, so it’s best to use trial and error when trying pre-workout supplements and stimulant supplements.

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