Pre Workout Use in Physical Exercise

  • 10 Pages
  • Published On: 27-11-2023


With weight management and physical exercise becoming common, especially for athletes and weightlifters, pre-workouts are increasingly becoming relevant. Insofar, Puente-Fernandez et al. (2020) observed that pre-workout has been mostly preferred by athletes as it is believed to support their endurance and energy boost during their exercises positively. Concerns have risen due to their attributed side effects, which are typically adverse to some extent, despite the regulatory board being reluctant to regulate its usage. Therefore, this research paper's main objective was on investigating the use and any potential effects, both positive and harmful to the body. Before exploring the forms of pre-workout, it's of importance that the meaning of pre-workout is clearly stated. Generally, pre-workout is a generic term that refers to bodybuilding supplements usually used by weightlifters and athletes to boost their performance (Roberts et al., 2020). From the perception of most athletes and weightlifters, the pre-workout supplements are customarily taken to enhance their energy, endurance, and focus during workouts, and the supplements contain varied forms of ingredients (Hall and Bay, 2017). Historically, these supplements were first formulated in 1982 but have since been modified to chemists' latest form to make them more potent. Pre-workout supplements have been available in various forms of tablets, powders, liquids, capsules, and bars. There are close to eighteen components in the pre-workout supplements, and the most common ingredients are caffeine, beta-alanine, and creatine, while the others include nitrate, electrolytes, branched chain amino acids, and ephedrine methylhexanamine, carbohydrates, among others. Due to its increased usage, it's notable that the supplement is highly considered during workouts. However, scientist warns that the pre-workout supplements usually have some adverse effects thus consumption must be with caution. It is arguably true because there is a lack of regulation on the control of these supplements by the Food and Drug Administration authority. Thus, it is an alternative approach of consulting the healthcare professionals before consuming the supplements. Whatsapp On this accord, researchers attribute some significant benefits of pre-workouts to weightlifters and athletes, and the primary benefit lies on its great impact on muscles. Insofar, pre-workout supplements increases the muscles endurance due to its large amounts of caffeine that boosts the overall blood flow (Ellerbroek and Antonio, 2018). Ingested caffeine act as an antagonist to adenosine receptors thus acting to reduce the pain experienced and allowing for longer periods of workout times. It also improves muscle recovery as it decreases the time taken by muscles to recover from an intensive exercise, thus allows athletes reduced times in between their training sessions (Harty et al., 2018). The improved muscle recovery is due to the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) present in the pre-workout glutamine supplement ingredients. Moreover, pre-workouts are also known to make the athletes feel energetic during exercise activities, although proof is yet to be found associating the supplements with increased energy. However, according to researchers, the boot in energy in the body is associated with the large amounts of caffeine in the supplements. Finally, studies uncover that the caffeine in the pre-workout supplements also improves athletes' or weightlifters' alertness and focus (Grgic et al., 2019). Contrarily, pre-workouts are also argued to have some adverse effects, among which could be digestive complications. According to researchers, individuals who have taken pre-workout supplements with beta-alanine may experience a tingling sensation, known as paresthesia. Moreover, supplements with a higher concentration of niacin may also cause dizziness and facial flushing (Jagim et al., 2019). Further, the other disadvantages of using pre-workout supplements include dehydration, addiction, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, energy crash, drug test failure, tachycardia, unwanted overstimulation, and increased blood pressure that exposes individuals to a heart attack or stroke.


Tobi and Kampen (2018) defines methodology as a set of ideas and principles that informs the design of a research study, and this implies that it serves as the blueprint of any given research work. Since the research was qualitative, the suitable method of data collection was interviewing. The interview was most preferred for this study since it was more flexible and was ideal for exploring more of what pre-workout entailed. Again, the questionnaire's use was more realistic for the survey as it was simple and reliable for recording the primary data as per the participants' responses. Since the study determined the usage and impacts of pre-workouts, a random selection was made for the study participants. In this case, the study involved 15 respondents who were engaged through interviewing by questionnaires. The respondents included athletes, weightlifters, and physical health therapists who had either consumed or interacted with the pre-workout supplements directly or indirectly. Each respondent filled the questionnaire. For this study, the researchers used an open-ended questionnaire that allowed the respondents to respond expansively to the questions. The questionnaires enabled the researcher to discover various perceptions towards pre-workout supplements, the preference and frequency of usage, and the potential benefits and disadvantages. The research conducted hence met the threshold of the research objective, which was to investigate the motivational factors towards the use of pre-workouts and the possible side effects.

Primary Research

It's presumed that subjects who consumed pre-workout supplements demonstrated a more resistant exercise session repetition to fatigue than those who did not consume it, leading to researchers' interest to investigate why it has grown to be most preferred by most weightlifters and athletes without the experience of many adverse effects. For clarity and explicit understanding of pre-workouts, this independent study was carried out to support existing publications. Remarkably, the study used a qualitative approach to give a complete result for pre-workout.


Figure 1

The pie chart above represents the results of the interview conducted for the study. According to the results, among the 15 respondents interviewed, 9 of the participants supported pre-workout consumption, alluding that it had benefits of improved performance during an exercise. On the contrary, four of the respondents opposed using the supplements due to their adverse side effects. However, two of the participants were undecided, although they claimed that pre-workouts had both advantages and disadvantages. Cetin et al. (2019) joined other researchers in observing that pre-workout use is recommended for those involved in exercise since they are bound to increase muscle activity performance and endurance. For example, in the interview session, one of the respondents on pre-workouts' safety affirmed that they were safe on moderate amounts, not unless an individual had some severe conditions. The interviewee attributed the caffeine and beta-alanine ingredients that motivated alertness and endurance respectively making it preferable when asked about athlete performance enhancement. Further on personal opinion, the respondents confessed that pre-workouts were significant for any individual that needed an energy boost. However, the respondents cautioned against excessive consumption of pre-workouts on the potential dangers, stating that it could lead to irregular heart rates, sleep struggles, anxiousness, and more negative effects. On a general recommendation preference, the interviewee confirmed using it quite regularly, especially when in need of energy to get focused on a busy day.

Secondary Research/Literature Review

As argued by Lane and Byrd (2018), the use of pre-workout supplements has been on the rise, as individuals use them to boost their aerobic and anaerobic performance. Some refer to it as a multi-ingredient pre-workout supplement (MIPS) and are typically taken before exercise. They are optimized with varieties of supplements, including caffeine, beta-alanine, amino acids, creatine, and nitric oxide agents, which elicit a synergistic impact on acute exercise performance and subsequent training adaptations (Harty et al., 2018). Previous pre-workout studies have demonstrated an increase in the number of successful repetitions during resistance training and greater peak power and increased lower body muscular endurance, reduced fatigue, and increased reaction time during the exercise. On an individual account, Ali, Lee and Rutherfurd-Markwick (2019) observed that using ingredients like creatine increased testosterone concentration and growth hormones during physical activities and decreased lactase levels while simultaneously increasing power output. On the other hand, caffeine supplements have also resulted in increased muscular endurance and muscular strength along with increased peak and mean power out. Moreover, supplements like citrulline are believed to increase nitric oxide levels. However, other researchers oppose that citrulline can also cause an acute effect on the total work that an individual can perform during training (Speer et al., 2020). Beta-alanine has also been argued to have a positive impact on exercise performance. Along with these other ingredients, huperzine has a positive effect on brain function, enhancing upper body strength, endurance performance, and aerobic sprint performance (Venzuela et al., 2019). Generally, although current research shows how pre-workout improves performance during exercise, there is still limited research on these supplements' capacities to improve and maintain the peak power all through the training session.

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After considering the evidence on both the primary and secondary research findings for this study, it can be concluded that there are significant results on the consumption of pre-workouts before any exercise session. This could be why its increased use is witnessed among athletes and weight lifters, and the FDA is so relaxed to regulate it. However, its consumption is advisable with caution due to its potential negative implications, and stable or normal health conditions should be ensured before its use. Additionally, it should be consumed in the right dose since overconsumption might be fatal.


Ali, A., Lee, S.J. and Rutherfurd-Markwick, K.J., 2019. Sports and exercise supplements. In Whey Proteins (pp. 579-635). Academic Press.

Çetin, O., Yaşar, M.N., Demirtaş, B., Beyleroğlu, M., Eker, S. and Gürkan, A.C., 2019. Acute effects of pre-workout supplement on aerobic and anaerobic performance in basketball players. Physical education of students, 23(1), pp.16-22.

Ellerbroek, A.C. and Antonio, J., 2018. Effects of pre-workout supplements on strength, endurance, and mood. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 17(1), p.7.

Grgic, J., Mikulic, P., Schoenfeld, B.J., Bishop, D.J. and Pedisic, Z., 2019. The influence of caffeine supplementation on resistance exercise: a review. Sports Medicine, 49(1), pp.17-30.

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Harty, P.S., Zabriskie, H.A., Erickson, J.L., Molling, P.E., Kerksick, C.M. and Jagim, A.R., 2018. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), pp.1-28.

Jagim, A.R., Camic, C.L. and Harty, P.S., 2019. Common habits, adverse events, and opinions regarding pre-workout supplement use among regular consumers. Nutrients, 11(4), p.855.

Lane, M.T. and Byrd, M.T., 2018. Effects of pre-workout supplements on power maintenance in lower body and upper body tasks. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 3(1), p.11.

Puente-Fernández, J., Seijo, M., Larumbe-Zabala, E., Jiménez, A., Liguori, G., Rossato, C.J., Mayo, X. and Naclerio, F., 2020. Effects of Multi-Ingredient Preworkout Supplementation across a Five-Day Resistance and Endurance Training Microcycle in Middle-Aged Adults. Nutrients, 12(12), p.3778.

Roberts, B.M., Helms, E.R., Trexler, E.T. and Fitschen, P.J., 2020. Nutritional recommendations for physique athletes. Journal of human kinetics, 71(1), pp.79-108.

Speer, H., D’Cunha, N.M., Davies, M.J., McKune, A.J. and Naumovski, N., 2020. The Physiological Effects of Amino Acids Arginine and Citrulline: Is There a Basis for Development of a Beverage to Promote Endurance Performance? A Narrative Review of Orally Administered Supplements. Beverages, 6(1), p.11.

Tobi, H. and Kampen, J.K., 2018. Research design: the methodology for interdisciplinary research framework. Quality & quantity, 52(3), pp.1209-1225.

Valenzuela, P.L., Morales, J.S., Emanuele, E., Pareja-Galeano, H. and Lucia, A., 2019. Supplements with purported effects on muscle mass and strength. European journal of nutrition, 58(8), pp.2983-3008.

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