The Truth About What's Really In Your Pre-Workout

Pre-workout is a sports supplement that claims to increase energy levels and athletic performance. It usually comes in powder form, although you can also find pre-workout beverages and food products as well. It seems like every gym buff relies on this supplement, but what's actually in it? According to Healthline, pre-workout is made with an endless combination of ingredients. Some of the most common ingredients you'll see include caffeine, creatine, and amino acids.

Caffeine is a widely-studied drug that has been shown to be safe in small amounts (via Mayo Clinic). It is recommended that you consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Creatine, another common ingredient in pre-workout, is an amino acid that increases muscle endurance, which may help you work out for longer periods of time (via Healthline). Caffeine and creatine have been studied the most extensively out of all the ingredients you typically see in pre-workout supplements. Be wary of products that contain large or undisclosed amounts of other ingredients.

Side effects of pre-workout

Many supplements come with potential side effects and pre-workout is no different. The effects you may experience will depend on the ingredients found in the particular product you choose. For example, caffeine is known to cause restlessness, headaches, and anxiety (via Verywell Health). If you choose a pre-workout that contains caffeine, you will likely experience these effects.

Other common side effects of pre-workout include nausea, increased heart rate, digestive issues, and tingling in your hands and feet (via Healthline). Everyone has unique tolerance levels to individual ingredients, so it is important to start taking pre-workout in small doses until you find the ideal amount for yourself. Opt for pre-workout products that contain short ingredient lists and clearly state how much of each ingredient is in the mix. Pre-workout is not regulated by the FDA and it can be tricky to determine what is really inside a product. The safest pre-workout products are tested by third-party organizations like NSF or Informed Choice, which test for banned substances and ingredient potency.