Should Amino Acids Be Taken Before Training?
Are Pre-Workout products effective in improving endurance and strength and losing fat?
A product called “Pre-Workout” has appeared in the market for sports supplements for a few years. It is now one of the best-selling supplements after the Whey Protein.
Companies producing these supplements promise significant gains in strength and muscle endurance, an increase in energy and a decrease in fat. And to praise the merits of their products, they do not skimp on marketing: garish colors, catchy name, packaging, free samples, advertisements in specialized magazines and the Internet.
What are the pre-workout supplements?
Difficult to say since everyone has their own recipe and name (ATP Amplifier, Athlete Performance Blend, Energy and Neuro Ignite Blend, Horse Power Blend). However, in the majority of products proposed, the same composition is found: a mixture of creatine, arginine, beta-alanine, BCAA, and L-tyrosine, at different dosages but with caffeine as the main substance.
What does the research say?
Several studies have examined the effectiveness of these products:
- In 2016 (1) an American team carried out tests on athletes who, 20 minutes after ingestion of a defined mixture, had to realize efforts at a sub-maximum intensity (80-90%). The researchers found a tinyc and volume of work, a noticeable increase in muscle power, and absolutely no effect on strength.
- By 2014 (2) a study had already been conducted on the subject. The volunteers received supplementation for 8 days combined with training, and the results did not indicate any variation in either the level of physical performance or the decrease in body fat.
- A similar study (3) but with a 6-week protocol reached the same conclusions: no increase in muscle strength or decrease in body fat.
Although they did not produce a priori any effect on performance, these supplements allowed an increase in energy (for those containing sugar), attention, concentration and a decrease in the feeling of fatigue in Participants (due to caffeine) according to all studies.
Our opinion : these products have little interest because the announced effects are non-existent and those felt are mainly due to their caffeine content. A little expensive the little black!
(1) Jagim AR, Jones MT, Wright GA, St Antoine C, Kovacs A, Oliver JM. The acute effects of multi-ingredient pre-workout ingestion on strength performance, lower body power, and anaerobic capacity. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Mar 8.
(2) Jordan J Outlaw, Colin D Wilborn, Abbie E Smith-Ryan, Sara E Hayward, Stacie L Urbina, Lem W Taylor, and Cliffa A Foster. Acute effects of a commercially-available pre-workout supplement on markers of training: a double-blind study.
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014.
(3) A. William Kedia, Jennifer E. Hofheins, Scott M. Habowski, Arny A. Ferrando, M. David Gothard, and Hector L. Lopez. Effects of a Pre-workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety. Int J Med Sci. 2014.