Did you know in 2019 the market for pre-workout supplements was valued at around 12 billion dollars? And it is only expected to grow from there.
You’ve probably seen ads and commercials for products that claim to improve your performance but do you know what’s in those products? If you are a teenage athlete or a parent of a teen who works out, this article is for you. If you are trying to take your performance to the next level you may be considering taking pre-work.
You may also be asking yourself, “is pre-workout bad for teens?”, this is an important question to ask before you make your decision. You need to know a few things before you start taking it though. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about taking pre-workout as a teen.
What Is Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout is anything you eat or drink to fuel your body before a workout. Pre-workout supplements usually come in the form of a powder that is mixed with water and drank 30 minutes before your training. It gives your body energy, similar to drinking coffee or a soda.
Pre-workout is used to enhance your performance at the gym. If you are feeling tired, if you’re sore from your previous workout, or just need a little boast pre-workout can help.
The supplement’s purpose is to increase the amount of oxygen your body can absorb during a training session. This is known as your VO2 max and can increase your training efficiency and performance.
When you are searching for pre-work for teens it’s crucial to read the ingredients. Some of them may not sound familiar but that doesn’t mean they are dangerous. However, there are some ingredients that you should avoid too.
Pre-workout is high in caffeine and can have side effects. If you drink too much coffee you can get jitters, pre-workout can have the same results.
Similar to getting jittery at work and having a hard time focusing, supplements can ruin your workout if you take too much or don’t pay attention to the ingredients.
An excess of caffeine can cause anxiety and high blood pressure. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have a pre-existing condition it’s recommended that use caution when supplementing caffeine. If the right dosages are taken then it can improve your mental clarity and focus.
Nitric oxide is produced naturally by the body to improve blood flow. The body uses L-arginine and L-citrulline to produce nitric oxide and many pre-workouts will include these ingredients to improve blood circulation to the muscles. This can help with strength training and recovery.
Another common ingredient found in pre-workout for teens is beta-alanine which is also naturally produced in the body. It has many benefits including endurance, decrease exhaustion during a training session, and increased body mass.
While this ingredient is safe for teens and adults it may cause an itchy or tingling sensation. If this happens don’t be alarmed, it won’t last long and you likely won’t notice it after a while.
BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids can be found in many foods, particularly protein sources. Your teenager may be consuming enough BCAAs in their diet. However, it’s not dangerous to consume more so don’t worry if it’s listed as an ingredient.
The last ingredient we are going to talk about is creatine. You may have heard controversial things about this ingredient but it improves strength, performance, and recovery time. It is also found naturally in the body and aids in energy creation.
Read More: Best Beginner Workout Supplements
Artificial Colors or Flavors
While artificial flavors and colors are not new to the food industry it is important to avoid them as much as possible. They can be harmful to the body and potentially cause long-term illness and disease over time. If you see red 40, yellow 5 or 6, and blue 1 listed in the ingredients don’t buy it.
While no one likes to taste bad flavors, consuming artificial flavoring can have a lot of negative side effects. Your insulin and glucose levels are heavily affected and not in a good way. It confuses the body with you consume something sweet with glucose, resulting in high insulin levels. Long-term this can be devasting to the body and your health.
Warnings and Withdraws
Supplements will have a label that tells you the amount to take and how often to take it. It’s important to follow those instructions to help prevent side effects.
We’ve already discussed getting the jitters from too much caffeine but pre-workout can affect your digestive system too. If you take more than the recommended amount your stomach may not be happy with you. While you may experience discomfort after taking too much you won’t see long-term side effects.
Read More: My Experience with Pre Workout Addiction
While taking creatine either by itself or in your pre-workout isn’t harmful it does cause water retention in the body. It’s important to remember moderation is key to sustaining a healthy body, anything in excess can be dangerous.
Dangers of Pre Workout for Teenage Athletes
Pre-workout for teenage athletes has great benefits but it’s important to note that it is possible to build up a tolerance or dependence on it. As you use the supplement regularly your body will become a custom to it and will require more over a period of time. Many companies will tell you when it’s recommended that you increase the amount.
However, if you want to continue to improve and protect your body’s health it’s crucial to take time off from taking it. For example let’s say you buy a 30-day supply of pre-workout, once you finish it don’t buy another one for one to two weeks.
This will decrease your chances of becoming dependent on it. Another option is to wean off it if you’ve already been taking it for a while.
You can experience withdrawal if you suddenly stop taking. Extreme headaches, tiredness, lack of focus, and digestive issues are just a few of the common side effects of withdrawal from caffeine and pre-workout.
Read More: Can You Build a Tolerance to Pre Workout?
While you may think pre-workout and dietary supplements are required to be FDA approved, they aren’t. Unlike food and medicine companies are not required to have their products reviewed by anyone.
If there are a lot of complaints about side effects from consumers the FDA may open an investigation. There is a lack of research and regulations within the industry making it challenging to find the right product.
Pre-workout supplements and dietary supplements are very different than performance-enhancing drugs. For starters supplements are legal and you can buy them at the grocery store or online.
While some supplements may be banned from sports organizations, many aren’t. performance-enhancing drugs are banned in almost all sporting events. Without a prescription from a healthcare provider, these drugs are illegal to obtain. While the question “is pre-workout bad for teens?” is still being researched we know performance-enhancing drugs are dangerous.
Best Steps to Take
If you are a teenager and want to take supplements it’s critical that you talk to an adult, whether that be your coach, parent, or doctor. It may not be the “cool” thing to do but your long-term health is the most important thing and an adult may be able to help you choose the right path for your athletic career and goals. If you are a parent of a teenager who wants to start taking prework be sure to help them research the best products.
Choosing high-quality products will help reduce the risk factors. It is also important that if you are playing a sport that the ingredients in your pre-workout are allowed and won’t get you disqualified.
Look at the ingredients of all the supplements you are taking. You won’t want to overlap ingredients, as we mentioned before anything in excess can be a bad thing. If the pre-workout powder is catered to adults you will want to research the amount you should give your child. A teenager doesn’t need the same amount as a grown man. Talking to a healthcare provider or someone who has a lot of experience coaching young athletes can be beneficial too.
Is Pre-Workout Bad for Teens?
The short answer to your question, “is pre-workout bad for teens?”, is probably not but there’s no way to know for sure. The lack of regulations by the FDA makes it hard to determine if pre-workout is completely safe long-term.
It is important to consider your health before taking supplements and crucial to follow the instructions on the label. Researching the ingredients should be one of the first things you do before you purchase any supplements or pre-workout.
We hope you enjoy your next workout and we hope you found this article helpful. Click here to learn more about supplements, pre-workouts, and more.