October 18, 2016 | John Paul Catanzaro
Everyone has their own unique pre-workout ritual. Some people prefer to blast music to get them revved up for their workout, others prefer to watch videos, and yet others prefer no external stimuli, just the jolt of a potent coffee to make them feel “bulletproof!” One thing is for sure though, everyone has dabbled with pre-workout supplements, and many people are addicted to them, especially if those supplements are stimulants.
In episode 26 of The World of Muscle, co-host Tamas Acs put it perfectly: “You can beat a horse to run, and it will for a while, but then it will collapse.” He was referring to the abuse of pre-workout stimulants and how they trick the body in the short term, but eventually you pay the piper!
The body adjusts to these supplements and they lose their effectiveness over time. Often, you need a higher and higher dose to get the job done if you take these things continuously. Stimulants in particular should only be used when you need the biggest kick from them, like on a peak lifting day or just before a competitive event (if they’re permitted).
Don’t get into the habit of relying on stimulants before each and every workout. That’s a big mistake, and it can lead to dependence and addiction. Overuse of potent stimulants like ephedrine and caffeine will eventually wreak havoc on your adrenals and cause hormonal disruption, and it’ll get to a point where you associate a good workout only when you’re using these supplements. Without them, you’re useless! I’ve seen this happen and it can take a while to correct, so use them wisely.
Serious athletes should periodize (vary) both their training and supplements for best results. Periodization is a method of organizing training into different phases, such as endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power phases. Constantly training in the same manner will result in stagnation, but varying your training on a constant basis will encourage continual progress. The same applies to your supplementation regimen. In The Warm-Up, I show you exactly how to periodize your pre-workout supplements for maximum results.
Bottom Line: If you tolerate them well, go ahead and use pre-workout stimulants occassionally to get through a tough workout, but don’t rely on them for every workout.