You may be asking yourself, “do I need a pre-workout?”
Perhaps you’ve heard people talking about them at your gym or yoga class. Or maybe you’re familiar with pre-workouts, but you’ve got no idea how to go about choosing one?
Whatever pre-workout questions you have, this blog post will strive to give you the answers
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Exactly what a pre-workout is
- Reasons to use one
- Pre-workout ingredients
- Info on pre-workouts and weight loss
- How pre-workouts for women differ from generic products
- Potential downsides of pre-workouts
- Pre-workout FAQs
What is a pre-workout?
In short, a pre-workout is a supplement designed to help you work out harder, for longer.
A pre-workout is a powder, drink, capsule, or bar that you take around half an hour before your exercise session.
They are formulated to enhance performance by using ingredients that could potentially provide a boost to your stamina, power, and motivation.
A good pre-workout might help with the following:
- Top up your energy levels.
- Improve your performance by increasing alertness and endurance.
- Increase your cardiovascular performance.
- Improve focus and motivation.
Why use a pre-workout?
Head to the Powher Pre-Workout page and you’ll see four good reasons. Pre-workouts could:
- Improve exercise performance
- Support greater energy & endurance
- Aid mental clarity & alertness
- Help decrease tiredness and fatigue
As specially designed performance aids, pre-workouts are designed especially to maximise your workout gains.
By boosting your endurance, you’ll be able to squeeze an extra few reps, or an extra hundred metres out of your session. This may not feel like much, but it all adds up.
By boosting your performance, you’ll be able to work out harder. You’ll start sweating that little bit sooner during your workout, and you’ll have the energy to keep that new momentum going.
By boosting your mental clarity and alertness, a pre-workout helps you push through the doubts and the difficult moments, so you can focus on the goals at hand. No more telling yourself to stop!
This is especially useful if your daily schedule means you have to work out early in the morning or late at night. Increased drive makes it easier to establish a regular and effective exercise routine.
Don’t forget to keep hydrated, get a good night’s sleep, and maintain a healthy diet as well: these things will help you to feel fresher and better prepared for your session.
Pre-workouts are supplements designed to maximise all aspects of your workout performance
Every pre-workout will have a different formula, but there are a few key things that ingredients can do. They are:
- Boosting energy: self-explanatory, this gives you more energy to work out than you’d otherwise have.
- Preventing fatigue (also called buffering): this helps you to improve your stamina and last longer.
- Rebuilding muscle: while the ingredients themselves don’t technically do this, building muscle is a side-effect of working out harder and longer.
- Less soreness: some ingredients change how protein is metabolised in your body, reducing the soreness you feel in muscles after working out.
- Increasing power, via nitric oxide production: by boosting blood flow to your muscles, nitric oxide could potentially help you to perform heavier reps and more sets during your training session.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the ingredients in the Powher Pre-Workout for Women, to give an idea of what a high quality, effective pre-workout looks like.
Natural caffeine to boost focus and improve concentration: two things vital for helping you to work out for longer.
Scientific studies have found that caffeine can help increase workout output by improving vigilance, and the ability to exert sustained attention.
EnXtra is a caffeine amplifier, meaning it enhances the effects of natural caffeine without causing any of the negative side effects.
You might get to enjoy higher alertness and focus with no increased blood pressure, no increased heart rate, and no caffeine crash.
Coconut water powder is the water from a coconut, freeze-dried, then turned into a powdered form. It is packed with electrolytes, making it a great natural alternative to post-exercise sports drinks.
It also contains potassium, which plays a role in supporting normal muscular and neurological function; calcium to keep your energy-yielding metabolism ticking over normally, and magnesium to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin B5 – also known as pantothenic acid – is linked with supporting and maintaining high energy levels in athletes.
B5 paves the way for enhanced energy levels and better performance.
Our full ingredients list can be found here.
Pre-workouts contain a mixture of vitamins, minerals, stimulants, amino acids and other ingredients that support your body’s performance
Does a pre-workout help you to lose weight?
For many people, the goal of exercise is to get fit and help them get in shape. We hear a lot of people asking whether pre-workouts will help with weight loss.
The answer is: sort of.
The heart of weight loss is burning more calories than you consume, and exercise is a reliable way to increase the amount you work off. Logic follows that the more you workout – and the harder – the more calories you’ll be able to burn.
Here’s where pre-workouts come in:
A pre-workout is designed to enhance the duration and power of your workout.
This means that taking one by itself won’t cause weight loss. And it isn’t intended to, either: there is no magic pill for weight loss. However, the natural stimulant content could help to raise your core temperature and boost your metabolism.
Consequently, a pre-workout enables you to get more from your workout: to burn more calories and, by extension, to boost your weight loss goals.
Pre-workouts don’t cause weight loss but they may be able to increase your exercise levels, contributing to a healthy lifestyle
What’s different about a pre-workout for women?
Tons of pre-workouts are designed with male bodybuilders in mind. The end game for these guys is big, rippling muscles.
So choosing a pre-workout for women is a slightly different ball game to choosing one for men.
The basic difference between the two is that the majority of women don’t want a pre-workout that makes them super muscular.
A pre-workout for women will be specially formulated to meet the specific physiological demands of their bodies. It will contain fewer muscle-bulking ingredients like creatine, and lower levels of stimulants.
Some of the decisions we’ve made with the Powher formula demonstrate the difference between pre-workouts for men and women:
- Lower stimulant levels. Get the stimulant kick, but at levels that align with the female body.
- Vitamins and minerals tailored to your physiology, rather than generic ones.
- ‘Stim-free’ ingredients. Beyond caffeine, there’s nothing in here that will stimulate you. The result? No massive energy spike.
Pre-workouts for women are specially formulated to align with your workout and lifestyle goals
Downsides: How to avoid a harmful pre-workout
You may be wondering, “is a pre-workout good or bad for my health?”
Some pre-workouts are just straight-up ineffective. They contain doses so small that ingredients can’t work properly, or even ingredients that don’t do anything at all.
Worse, some products contain ingredients that can be harmful. For example, back in the 1980s, one pre-workout was linked to heart attacks due to the large amounts of ephedra it used (thankfully this ingredient is now banned!).
Nowadays there is much less risk of things like this happening, thanks to a more informed customer base and much higher amounts of publicly accessible research into ingredients and their effects.
To avoid potential downsides of any supplement, make sure you stick to the recommended doses and follow the instructions on how to take it. Also, pick a supplement that produces to GMP and is manufactured in an FDA registered facility.
How a pre-workout can help with your goals
Are you looking to get toned? To build muscle? To lose weight?
While Powher is designed with women in mind, it’s not unlikely that some men will be reading this blog. So we don’t want to assume that everyone’s goals are the same.
If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll want to keep an eye out for ingredients like creatine which are linked with the development of muscle mass. Also for things like BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) which are known for muscle-building effects.
If losing weight is your primary goal, ingredients to boost motivation and increase the intensity of your workout will be your best bet. You’ll want to avoid anything designed to bulk up your muscles.
Choosing the right pre-workout for you
The right supplement for you will depend on your goals – outlined above – and your preferences.
Do you have any dietary requirements, for example? And what are your caffeine thresholds like?
If you like a stimulant hit before you workout, then a pre-workout containing caffeine – or some other stimulant – may be a good answer.
Just remember not to take it too late in the day! If you’re a late-night exercise fan, the caffeine may make it difficult for you to get to sleep.
Also, remember that you may feel a bit jittery if you’re not used to the levels of caffeine found in a pre-workout. Your heart may beat faster than you’re used to.
Taking time to find a pre-workout that aligns with your needs may lead to better results
Other pre-workout questions
Here are answers to a few other pre-workout questions.
How long before exercise should you take a pre-workout?
This will vary between products, but it’s usually about thirty minutes. We recommend taking Powher half an hour in advance of working out, just so it has time to circulate through your system.
How do you take pre-workouts?
Again, this depends on the product. Powher is a powder that you mix into water to make a tasty drink. Other pre-workouts are bars or even capsules that you swallow before working out.
Are pre-workouts safe?
We’ve covered this briefly above, but if you’re still unsure then we recommend talking to your doctor, or to another qualified health professional to put your mind at rest.
Can you take a pre-workout while pregnant?
This depends on the ingredients, and the type of exercise you’ll be doing. If there are exercises that aren’t advised for pregnant women, then a pre-workout won’t change that. Similarly, your recommended daily intake for certain ingredients may change during pregnancy.
We wouldn’t advise taking Powher while pregnant because of the stimulants it contains.
Hopefully that’s all your pre-workout questions answered! We’ve covered everything from what they do, to whether they’re safe, to how to choose the right one for you.
If you’re looking for better results from your workouts, then a supplement could be just the thing for you. If weight loss is on your goals list, then you need to keep in mind that a pre-workout will not cause weight loss: rather it will pave the way for you to work out in such a way that your caloric deficit increases, meaning your body will burn more calories.
Disclaimer: The information on the Powher blog does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as such. If you would like to learn more about your dietary requirements and related aspects of your health, speak with a registered medical professional.