Preworkout Supplements- Addiction or Dependence?

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Everyone has their favorite pre workout supplement that amps them up for the gym. But are you just dependent on it so that you can’t get a workout in without it, or are you just that addict who needs 1 scoop to live life comfortably? We give you the scoop

It’s a cold morning day. You grumble out of bed and put your favorite pre workout in your shaker. You start sipping while walking to your local gym and suddenly it kicks in. Now you’re a god who has the strength to wrestle with a lion and run with a rocket! Hold on young fella! Over dependence on pre workout supplements is not a myth and we can vouch it has some serious side effects if taken trivially. 

PreWorkout Supplements

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What are preworkout supplements?

Pre workout supplements are designed to amp you up, both physically and mentally by the help of ‘scientific ingredients’. These ingredients however are all centered around caffeine. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that when used cautiously, not only promotes fat loss, but gives you a mental edge that’s necessary to train with the ideal mindset of a gym goer. Here’s the kicker though. Abuse of pre workout supplements is so rampant that now supplements clearly tell you that overdosing on this is going to have some critical side effects. The supplements however are nothing short of spectacular to give working class people, the energy they need to perform in the gym. Some of the best pre workout supplements however contain some of the key essential ingredients:

  • Citruline, Arganine or Agmatine- This essentially is a pump ingredient that will give you the essential vasodilation and pump in the gym
  • Caffeine or forms of caffeine- The essential neuostimulant needed to amp you up
  • B-Vitamins- A natural way to increase your energy in the body
  • Creatine- To increase your energy and ATP

This isn’t obviously an exhaustive list, but you need to see that almost every pre workout should be centered around these ingredients. 

Related Article: Caffeine Explained

What's the problem with preworkout supplements?

The problem here arises with the addictive tendencies we tend to develop and this is not the individuals fault. The early vikings would be high on alcohol and hallucinogens before raiding a place. So it’s human tendency to gravitate towards substances that are going to give them an edge. That’s practically the reason steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are even around. Pre workout dependency then exists because we want the same kick that we got the first time we took half a scoop of a certain product and now take 3 scoops to even feel a hit. Furthermore we might be so addicted to taking something just because we feel that doing so will enhance our performance in the gym. Hate to break it to you, but the biggest factor that gives you the edge in the gym is not a box full of stimulants but your mind, the reason why mind-muscle connection exists.

Pre workout dependency

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What are the side effects?

Since most pre workout supplements are going to have caffeine in them, the side effects are both short and long term damage of your Central Nervous System (CNS). The CNS is what gets jacked up when you're high on pre workout supplements and thus is the first thing to get abused and damaged as a part of pre workout supplement stimulant addiction. Other side effects include an elevated heart rate, jitters, uncontrollable sweating, not able to sleep and in severe cases even a trip to the hospital. We know we’re making this sound like a lot, but it’s better if you’re informed but rest assured none of this happens if you don’t mess with the dosages.

Top Tip: Keep yourself restricted in the dosage that is stated on the box and avoid high caffeine products 4 hours before sleep

 

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How do I stop the madness?!

So you’ve understood that pre workout overdosing is nothing to play with and furthermore understood that pre workout supplement side effects is the real deal. If you’re one of those people who can’t function properly in the day then I would recommend you gradually taper off. Meaning if you’re having 3 scoops, limit it to 2 for one week, then 1 and then completely off it.

For saner individuals who just want to know how to gradually decrease pre workout dependency it’s quite simple actually and nothing to be that scared of. If you are currently using any of the best pre workout supplements then the best way to taper off is to do the following:

  1. Use the pre workout supplement as directed 
  2. After the supplement has finished you are now to go on a stimulant detox- This means not only abstaining or leaving pre workout but also coffee, tea, aerated beverages that have the slightest hint of caffeine or any other substance- Do this for 2 weeks
  3. Start using your pre workout again

Doing this detox will not only revive your CNS but will also keep you feeling the kick of the pre workout every time. For those who want to quit pre workouts all together, you can make a cheaper and natural alternative. Here’s a simple, yet effective pre workout smoothie:

  • 1 scoop of your favorite whey protein
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee
  • Optional: 1 fistful of oats (A must for ectomorphs)

Have this 40 minutes before and you’re good to go. In conclusion, whilst there is a dark side of taking too much pre workout supplements the operative word here is too much. Too much of even Vitamin-C will kill you so it’s obvious that you can enjoy using the benefits of pre workout supplements without the side effects if you learn how to cycle and detox on stimulants. 

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