Fitness supplements can be a sketchy industry. Companies obviously want to sell more product, so they make claims about their supplements that may or may not be backed by science. So I hear this question a lot about protein powder, BCAAs, hydration products, and pre workout. So do you need pre workout? The quickest, easy answer is NO. You definitely don’t need pre workout to have great training sessions in the gym and to make progress.
Pre Workout is a SUPPLEMENT
To actually understand the benefits of pre workout we need to start at the most basic level. Pre workout is a supplement, which means it is supplemental to all of the other parts of health and wellness. To make progress and meet your goals in the gym you need to have the main pillars of health locked in. These are diet, training, recovery, and sleep. These probably account for 90 percent of your progress. To put this in perspective, the benefit you gain from pre workout is probably less than 5 percent.
Get Your Diet and Training Dialed First
If I were giving someone advice about which supplements they should take, I would say if your diet and training aren’t optimal then don’t worry about supplements at all. When I was younger I would do intense training five or six days per week, without worrying about proper recovery or diet. This led to me not seeing the progress that I wanted, and breaking down my body over time.
Over the past year I’ve dialed back my training, and I’ve actually seen my strength and performance improve. I’ve also started tracking my food intake and activity during the day to get the right amount of fuel. This has helped me see massive improvement in my body composition and energy levels.
So Should You Take Pre Workout?
The longer, more complicated answer to this question is: do what you want. If you enjoy taking pre workout and it helps you keep going to the gym, then yeah take it. If you find yourself building up a crazy tolerance to pre workout, and you’re seeing signs of pre workout addiction you may not be getting the benefits from pre workout.
If you haven’t taken pre workout before, I would say just try it out and see if it enhances your training. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, or find the jitters from caffeine to be unpleasant then try a stimulant-free pre workout.