Pre-Workout: What You Need to Know

Pre-Workout: What You Need to Know

Author: Tammo Walter

If you’ve spent any time in a gym recently, you’ve probably heard plenty of people discussing “pre-workouts.” 

One of the most promoted and varied product groups on the athletic market, this ultra-popular sports supplement, has gained support from professional athletes and casual gym-goers alike for its supposed energy and performance-boosting properties.

Like many fitness supplements, however, the marketing, reputation, and prevalence of pre-workout products have often overshadowed the scientific study of its effects on the body. 

In an attempt to clear up common misconceptions and give you the truth about pre-workout, its ingredients, and its impact on you and your athletic performance, we’ve created ATAQ’s Guide to Pre-Workout Supplements:

What is “Pre-Workout?”

In general, “pre-workout” is any nutrition supplement specifically intended to be taken before exercise to increase your energy levels and subsequently aid your physical fitness.

This type of supplement is typically developed and produced in one of three separate forms:

  • Powders: the most common variety; often mixed with water as a sports drink substitute
  • Pills: provide a swift burst of energy and are often filled with caffeine
  • Foods: often come in the form of a bar, gummy or gel; take longer to absorb but provide lasting energy
  • Are There Stimulants in Pre-Workouts?

    Regardless of which form your sports supplement comes in, we can break it down further into one of two categories: pre-workout with stimulants and pre-workout without stimulants.

    Supplements with stimulants are designed to provide you an immediate boost that serves as somewhat of a shock to your system. They often “jolt” you awake, making you feel amped and ready for a workout. This reaction can extend the amount of time before your muscles wear out, often leading to longer and more intense workouts.

    Examples of stimulants commonly found in sports energy supplements include:

  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine

  • While caffeine’s energizing effects are indisputable, people who have heart conditions, anxiety, high blood pressure, or are pregnant are often encouraged to avoid it. As a result, many companies have created pre-workout supplements designed to provide energy without caffeine.

    These caffeine-free supplements tend to have a more gentle effect and can provide you longer-lasting, milder energy to sustain your exercise and performance.

    Examples of non-stimulant energizers in pre-workout include:

  • Beet Root
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Citrulline
  • Creatine
  • Ginseng Extract
  • What Are Some Common Pre-Workout Ingredients?

    There is an extensive range of pre-workout sports nutrition supplements, many of which are full of a wide variety of healthy and potentially unhealthy ingredients. However, like many products that claim to enhance your mental or physical performance, pre-workout products are not highly regulated by the FDA. 

    This unfortunate truth means that it is pivotal for you to take an active role in researching any products you consume to avoid being fooled by a misleading label. 

    To evaluate supplement labels accurately, you need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of joint compounds, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other ingredients. 

    Here are some of the most common pre-workout ingredients you need to know:

  • Artificial Sweeteners and Alcohol Sugars: intended to add flavor without increasing calorie counts; can cause intestinal discomfort in the forms of bloating and cramping. 
  • Beta-Alanine: an amino acid that reduces acidity in your muscles -- helping you exercise for more extended periods; can cause tingling in hands and feet.
  • Caffeine: can improve mental alertness, energy levels, and memory; excess consumption can lead to high blood pressure, increased anxiety, and insomnia. Be sure to consume in appropriate doses, as anxiety could occur. 
  • Citrulline: increases blood flow to muscles and brain during exercise; in some people, this can cause headaches.
  • Creatine: can heighten exercise capacity and help build lean muscle; leads to water retention that can cause bloating or discomfort. There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take normal doses.
  • Ginseng Extract: can aid physical endurance and improve focus/concentration; used for centuries as a traditional Asian healing medicine. Be wary of whether the root or stem is used, as the root has more benefits. 
  • Niacin: increases the flow of blood in your body to help you get a better workout; can lead to skin rashes.
  • What Are The Pros and Cons of Taking Pre-Workout Supplements?


  • Quick but Lasting Energy: the best pre-workout supplements can help provide you the energy you need to push yourself in the gym
  • Increased Endurance: when taken moderately and properly, pre-workout can increase your muscular endurance -- leading to quicker results
  • Improved Focus: studies show that sports supplements consumed before exercise can enhance concentration 
  • Motivation Boost: the sensation of strength and vigor pre-workout can help you feel more driven to achieve your goals

  • Cons:

  • Feelings of Anxiety: high stimulant contents can lead to increased heart rate, nausea, insomnia, or restlessness
  • Water Retention: supplements with creatine cause increased water retention; this can lead to bloating and weight gain
  • Intestinal Problems: pre-workout supplements can cause upset stomachs that hinder your exercise
  • Does ATAQ Make Any Energy Supplements? -YES!

    Here at ATAQ, we make a wide variety of delicious and effective exercise supplements:

    Our Booster Shots focus on energy and endurance, power and endurance, recovery and immunity. This two-ounce plant-based, functional beverage using only clinically proven extracts in tested dosages. The shots are shelf-stable and have no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors.

    If you’re looking for a reliable pre-exercise boost, our delicious, plant-based raw energy bars are the perfect source of the energy you need to prepare for your workout and get the most out of your day. 

    Health-conscious and primarily plant-based, here are the significant factors that separate our bars from all others on the market:

    • ActiGin Extract: Derived from ginseng, our bar’s essential compound is clinically proven to provide you lasting energy in the form of ATP, energy storage in the form of glycogen, and toxin removal that aids muscle recovery.
    • Simple Ingredients: Our bars are composed of eight basic ingredients and are non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
    • All Natural: ATAQ takes pride in keeping our energy supplements free of preservatives and artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
    • Bursting With Flavor: Delicious plant-based flavors like banana nut, chocolate walnut, blueberry coconut, and mango almond mean there’s an ATAQ bar for everyone.
    • Stimulant Free: Our bars provide you energy without any potentially harmful side effects of popular pre-workout alternatives. 

    The Verdict

    For more information on staying physically active, fit, and energized while maintaining a positive attitude and a nutritious diet, stay up to date with our ATAQ Blog and feel free to try some of our other excellent, plant-based exercise supplements!

    Join Team ATAQ and #kickbuttnaturally!



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