Athletes, bodybuilders, and weekend warriors use pre-workout supplements before hitting the gym to level up their exercise routines and outcomes. Data shows that people lean on pre-workout supplements for energy support, focus, muscular endurance, and blood flow or “pump”. But, over half of the same people who take pre-workout supplements report experiencing uncomfortable side-effects that are caused by less-than-healthy ingredients.
The most common complaints are skin reactions, like tingly skin,flushing and nausea. Many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that can cause these reactions. But some supplements are designed to help fuel the body for healthy workouts without these unwanted side effects.
Here are some tips on what ingredients to look for–and those to avoid–in a pre-workout supplement to skip the side effects.
SWAP CAFFEINE FOR MALIC ACID AND TART CHERRY.
Many pre-workout supplements contain caffeine to increase endurance and focus. And while adding this ingredient may offer some benefit, taking caffeine, especially in the evening, can result in unwanted effects like insomnia, jitteriness, anxiety, and more.
If you want ingredients that support energy levels but won’t leave you jittery, options like malic acid and tart cherry are non-stimulating choices that can help you feel focused and vitalized.
If you need a little more kick for a lifting session and want a caffeinated pre-workout, opt for a natural caffeine source like the caffeine from green tea found in Lite Up XTRA.
LOSE BETA-ALANIINE FOR CITRULLINE MALATE AND NITROSIGINE.
If your skin is itchy or tingly, your supplement may contain beta-alanine, an amino acid that can help support muscle endurance, especially during high-intensity intervals. But with the good comes the bad, and some people may experience itchy or tingly skin when they include this ingredient in their pre-workout plan.
SAY NO TO NIACIN, YES TO CITRULLINE MALATE.
If you’re feeling flushed, the culprit may be niacin (Vitamin B3). Niacin is typically added to pre-workout supplements to increase blood flow. According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended amount of niacin for healthy adult men and women is 16 mg and 14 mg, respectively, but many pre-workouts contain much more. Citrulline malate and Nitrosigine® may provide the same increased blood flow and nitric oxide boost without the excess niacin. .
AVOID SUGAR ALCOHOLS AND LOOK FOR STEVIA.
Some pre-workout supplements are loaded with sugar alcohols (like erythritol) which can cause some people to experience GI distress. From bloating to abdominal cramps to even diarrhea, some sweeteners can make people feel pretty terrible after taking them.
Opting for supplements that are sweetened with natural options, like stevia, can help get that sweetness you crave without an upset stomach.
USE A CLEAN PRE-WORKOUT SOLUTION.
Using pre-workout supplements can help you take your workouts to the next level, especially if you need a little more support in the energy or muscle-stamina department. But with all of the positives that these supplements can offer, some choices can lead to unsavory side effects too.