Good question. Everyone has a different definition of “healthy” so in this article we’ll hit as many of those definitions as possible.
Quick Summary: The main healthy features of a good Pre-Workout are: improved blood flow, improved body composition, increased muscle mass, decreased sarcopenia, improved mood and increased energy.
While we’ll focus specifically on the health benefits of pre-workouts in general and some of their ingredients, we know that some of you may be wondering questions like:
- is sucralose healthy?
- are the ingredients in pre-workouts sourced in healthy ways?
- are the ingredients in pre-workouts all natural?
Every pre-workout is different and everyone’s understanding of what makes something healthy is different. We encourage you to evaluate each pre-workout based on your own criteria. Keep in mind that most pre-workouts are sweetened artificially so if that matters to you, you’ll want to find naturally sweetened pre-workout.
To help you, we’ve ranked the healthiest pre-workout products.
Health Feature #1: Improved blood flow
It’s generally agreed upon that increasing blood flow throughout the body is healthy. Why? Because our bodies carry the nutrients and tools it needs to fix and repair itself in blood.
Increased blood flow helps muscles repair, energy replenish and injuries heal.
Ingredients in pre-workouts that improve blood flow include Citrulline and Nitrates as well as other patented ingredients.
Health Feature #2: Improved Body Composition
Improved body composition just means more muscle and less fat. Studies show that Pre-Workouts with creatine help improve body-composition. Still, even when your pre-workout doesn’t include creatine, it’s helping you get extra reps and that alone will improve body composition.
Health Feature #3: Increased Muscle Mass
There is an inverse relationship between muscle mass and mortality. In other words, at any given moment, the more muscle you have on your body, the less likely you are to die. Why would that be? There are several reasons.
Muscle acts a protective layer. Almost like a form of armor. So when you fall, if you are muscular, you are less likely to get hurt. Additionally, if you have more muscle, its an indicator that you have stronger bones as well, meaning you’re less likely to experience loss of function.
Health Feature #4: Decreased Sarcopenia
As people age, they experience sarcopenia, which is muscle loss. One of the best ways to extend both the quality and quantity of your life is to do resistance training and build as much muscle mass as you can. Pre-Workouts help to facilitate gains in muscle mass and counteract the effects of sarcopenia.
Health Feature #5: Improved Mood
Depression is a major issue in modern societies. The best combatant to depression is working out. Not only that, but many pre-workouts have mood boosting ingredients like Kanna, Tyrosine or Rhodiola. These will help you feel positive about working out, increasing the likelihood that you will. And then as you already know, once you work out, the endorphins can kick in!
Health Feature #6: Increased Energy
Probably the biggest reason that people use pre-workouts: the energy from caffeine. And while there are other energy giving ingredients, there is nothing like the boost we get from caffeine.
That feeling of increased energy makes us feel like we can push through the difficulty of the workout. So we actually get it done. And with extended release versions of caffeine, the boost continues for hours after the workout too.
Are There Any Downsides to Pre-Workouts?
Many preworkouts do include sucralose which is an artificial sweetner. However all of the research shows that sucralose has few if any side effects and is harmless to human in the doses found within pre-workouts. If this is an issue, try to find a pre-workout with natural sweeteners.
Some people experience stomach issues related to pre-workouts. Some think this is the interaction of creatine and caffeine which may be a good reason to leave one or the other out of your pre-workout.
Caffeine in high doses has the potential to disrupt sleep too late in the day. So make sure to use pre-workout early enough that it won’t interfere in your sleep.
Finally, ingredient sourcing and purity is a potential problem in the largely unregulated supplement industry. While most facilities do test for purity, you should make sure that you are buying pre-workout from a company that is 3rd party tested.
Pre-Workouts confer many health benefits and very few if any side effects. For many people they are the difference between getting a workout in or not. If this is the case for you, we highly recommend taking a pre-workout to get all the many physical and mental benefits from resistance training.
More PreWorkout Resources:
- Which Pre-Workout Supplements Are Good For Older People?
- Is Coffee The Only Pre-Workout You Need?
- Best Pre-Workout Ingredients for Strength & Power
- What Makes A Good Post-Workout?
- What is the Right Pre-Workout Dosage for Teens?