Pre Workout 101 – What Young Athletes Need to Know

We’ve always had the concept of fueling up before a workout, whether it’s a banana smoothie or a raw egg yolk stirred up in a glass. Pre-workout athletic supplements are the latest in the line of workout fuel on the market and are much more appetizing than a raw egg.

However, before you start using them, it’s wise to know what exactly they are, how they can benefit you and any risks they might post. Here, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about athletic supplements and their role in youth athletic nutrition.

The purpose of pre-workout supplements

The term “pre-workout supplement” can include a whole range of products and ingredients. In most cases, it applies to powders that are mixed into milk. They can contain a range of ingredients, many of which are touted as improving your focus, helping the recovery process (which is the key purpose of those labelled as “protein shakes), and helping to keep you energetic.

The purpose of each pre-workout supplement is best figured out by looking at what the ingredients are. Most common are protein for muscle recovery, caffeine as a stimulant that can increase focus and help you stick with exercises for longer, and carbs to fuel your workout.

As there is a huge range of pre-workout supplements, any blanket statement supposed to apply to all of them isn’t going to help very much. However, in terms of benefits, a lot of them do contain ingredients that can help you work out better for longer and see better returns for your hard work. They work to quickly help restore many of the substances in the body that get used before a workout.

However, there are plenty of less-trustworthy products out there with ingredients that may be of no help and could even potentially be dangerous. While caffeine can be helpful, it can also overstimulate you, leading to jitteriness and quick increases in the heart rate, which one should always be careful of.

Should you be taking pre-workout?

With careful use of the right products, preferably with the supervision of a professional who knows a good supplement when they see them, you can benefit from pre-workout supplements. However, it’s not essential. A more thorough focus on youth athletic nutrition can see your body get all the fuel it needs for workouts without needing to turn to any extra help. If you’re interested in pre-workout supplements, just be a little skeptical about what you take. It’s best to stick with proven and traditional protein shakes, monitor your caffeine intake, and avoid any “special formulas” that you don’t fully understand.

Is it safe for younger athletes?

For younger athletes, any skepticism should be doubled. If you’re on a healthy diet with plenty of protein and get the right carb intake before exercises, not only is it wise to avoid pre-workout supplements, but they may not impact your performance in the slightest.

How should you take pre-workout?

If you’re certain that you’re using a safe, reliable, well-studied and well-reviewed pre-workout supplement, then you need to make sure that you’re taking it right, as well. For one, don’t take it on an empty stomach, and don’t take it too late or too early. It lasts for around 3-6 hours on average and takes about 45 minutes to kick into effect.

How much you should take depends on what’s in it. The instructions should tell you how many scoops you need for a certain volume of milk. If your pre-workout contains caffeine and you’re worried about the potential of overstimulation, take half of the recommended measure, instead.

What should you look for in a good pre-workout?

The type of pre-workout supplement you should try depends on what kind of exercise you’re going to do. Protein is important for all exercises, and caffeine is preferred in many. Creatine is the other most common ingredient, helping to increase muscle mass and performance, but is mostly useful for strength training.

Supplements you should avoid include any that aren’t thoroughly researched or easily understood. Some common warning signs are proprietary blends, which can hide all kinds of ingredients, ingredient lists that are way too long, and supplements with too much caffeine,

If you want to get the best out of your strength training, pre-workout athletic supplements can provide some help. However, the guidance of a professional through both training and youth athletic nutrition can help even more. Check out our training programs at William Bradley SP, and schedule a class to let us help you up your game. Athletic supplements aren’t enough, you need a comprehensive approach to athletic performance.