There are a lot of misconceptions out there around pre-workouts. They’re good, they’re bad, they help your workout; they hurt your workout, you can take them daily, you need to cycle.
Some people swear by them, while others won’t touch them, but the fact of the matter is that pre-workouts have earned their ranks in supplement stacks.
They’re one of the most effective ways to take your workout to a new level and achieve the ultimate in performance, but many people think pre-workouts can support weight loss.
We’re answering your questions and addressing the link between pre-workouts and weight loss, and if you can expect to drop a few pounds by pounding back the pre.
What Do Pre-Workouts Do?
Pre-workouts are a class of fitness supplements designed to enhance performance. While they all work on their own mechanism based on what’s in the formula, the basis of them revolves around stimulation, better blood flow, and enhanced focus and drive to boost overall performance.
They’re intended to be consumed prior to a training session, and are typically a blend of ingredients—caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, amino acids, nitric oxide boosters, etc.—specifically combined to elicit a synergistic effect on exercise performance and ramp up the training adaptations you experience .
While many of the compounds in pre-workouts can be taken alone, combined, they can maximize the effect via targeting several different pathways that all play a role in performance.
Think of a pre-workout like this. You do a warmup prior to training to get your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments ready for the work they’re about to do. It helps to improve flexibility and mobility and prevents injury.
A pre-workout is like a warmup for both your body and mind. It helps get you into that zone; prime your nervous system to fire at the perfect time and speed; and adjust your mind for drive, focus, and intensity.
Without the proper fuel, you’re not going to be able to perform at your best, but when you throw in a pre-workout, you’re getting power, strength, stamina, and endurance through your entire session, along with:
- Better oxygen and nutrients delivery to support athletic performance
- Enhanced waste removal to prevent fatigue
- Better blood flow for the ultimate workout performance
- Stronger muscle performance for greater strength, power, stamina, and recovery
- Enhanced cardiovascular performance for better stamina, cardio efficiency, endurance, and aerobic fitness
- Fired up cognitive performance for increased focus, intensity, and motivation
Pre-Workouts And Weight Loss
You want cleaner energy and sharper focus without the crash linked to high-stim pre-workouts.
But there’s one question you hear a lot with pre-workouts: Can they help me lose weight?
The short answer is maybe.
Pre-workouts aren’t designed to rev metabolic rate and stimulate fat burn; that’s a class of supplements on their own called fat burners. What they are designed to do is enhance your performance.
Because they’re a specific formula targeted to increase speed, strength, stamina, power, and other aspects of overall performance, one of the side effects of adding in a pre-workout supplement may be weight loss due to nervous system stimulation and an improved work capacity. But keep in mind that there’s not going to be any direct effect.
It’s also important to note that when you’re enhancing performance, weight gain could also be a side effect; not in the form of fat, but muscle mass. A better capacity to perform means you can lift more for longer, thus translating directly into better gains.
And because muscle is denser than fat, it can transition you to increased lean mass, which sometimes moves the needle on the scale, albeit in a good way.
The point here is that if you’re looking for weight loss, a fat burner is probably a better route to go, but don’t underestimate the power of food to support your weight loss goals. When you’re fueling properly outside of the gym, you can perform better inside the gym and maximize your results.
Pre-workouts aren’t designed to maximize fat loss and help you shed weight, but if you’re looking to shake up your body composition by increasing lean mass—which indirectly will help you lose weight—Pre Lab Pro® is your guy.
- PS Harty, HA Zabriskie, JL Erickson, PE Molling, CM Kerksick, AR Jagim. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):41.