We all experience dips in energy and motivation from time to time. This is perfectly normal every now and then, yet some sadly experience dips that they can’t seem to snap out of. As a bodybuilder, athlete, or simply a fitness enthusiast, this is extremely frustrating. These people love nothing more than hitting the gym and getting some productive exercise in, yet all of a sudden, for no obvious reasons, their energy and motivation levels just disappear. For some people, they may fall out of love with the sport they once adored, yet others simply persevere and eventually find the energy and motivation to go train. This can take days, weeks, months, or even years in some cases, and for many, this is simply too long. So what can be done? Well, some people choose to purchase stimulant enriched pre-workout supplements that are supposed to energize their bodies and their minds. The idea behind pre-workout supplements is that they help give you energy, motivation, and enhanced athletic abilities in the process, all of which will translate into a fantastic training session. If you’ve purchased a pre-workout powder however, and you’ve found it makes virtually no difference at all, here are a few reasons why that could be.
You haven’t consumed enough water
One of the main reasons why people experience poor results when using pre-workout powders is that they’re dehydrated. Technically, a small reduction in water levels, I.E around 1.5%, in your body will force you into a state of dehydration. Hydration is essential for countless physiological processes, and it plays a vital part in energy production, and muscle contraction. If you haven’t consumed enough water before you train, your pre-workout formula will not work miracles so your workouts will still suffer. Not only that, but pre-workout formulas often contain caffeine, which is a stimulant and a diuretic. This means that it causes you to expel more water than you consume, so caffeine will only dehydrate you further. If you want a solution, drink plenty of water before, during, and after you train. Problem solved.
You’ve purchased from the wrong company
Nowadays it is easier than ever for people to start selling supplements, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any good. When you purchase a pre-workout powder, don’t just look for the cheapest option, read reviews and buy from trusted companies. If you find a super-cheap product, it’s probably packed full of fillers to bulk it out, so it will be far less potent. More seriously than that, it could also be dangerous, and these pre-workout formulas are no joke.
You haven’t taken it on an empty stomach
When you read the label on pre-workout powders, the instructions tell you to consume the product on an empty stomach. The reason for this is so that it can quickly be absorbed into your system so it can get to work right away. If you take the powder with food still in your stomach, this will slow down the absorption rate and make it less potent and powerful. Ideally, you should eat and then wait an hour before using your pre-workout.
You’ve not eaten enough
On the flipside, some people take the fact that these powders should be consumed on an empty stomach a little too literally. As mentioned, ideally you should eat a good quality meal, and then wait around one hour before you use the powder. If you eat early on in the day and then starve yourself for the next several hours, you won’t have enough energy and your workouts will suck, even with the pre-workout powder.
You’re using too much
When you look at the recommended serving size for these formulas, often the serving size is 1 – 2 even scoops, perhaps sometimes 3. A lot of the time, people convince themselves that increasing the amount they consume will make the product more effective and give them more energy. In reality, this actually has the opposite effect. Taking too much will actually reduce the effectiveness of the formula and could cause stimulant overloading. If you’re lucky, all this will do is make you feel sick and not feel right. More seriously however, you could potentially cause serious damage to year heart. As mentioned, these supplements are no joke, and they must be used as instructed.
You’re mixing them with energy drinks
Forget what some attention-seekers on the internet may be doing by mixing pre-workout powders with energy drinks, as this will not give you a fantastic workout, it will likely give you a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance. NEVER ever mix these supplements with energy drinks, or any other products containing stimulants.
You’ve been using them for too long
When you drink coffee, if you don’t normally drink it, the caffeine in it will perk you up and give you a good buzz that lasts a few hours. If however, you drink several cups per day, your body will build up a tolerance to the caffeine and it will not have as powerful an effect on you. The same goes for pre-workout formulas. The more you use them, the more your body becomes accustomed to them. For best results, cycle off of them every six weeks, giving yourself a full 4 week break from them. If you can, you should also cut way back on your caffeine intake at the same time. This way, when you do begin using them again, you will see and feel the benefits right away.
You aren’t sleeping
This is a catch 22 situation. Often we take pre-workout supplements because we’re tired, yet these very supplements could be the reason we’re tired. Pre-workout formulas are rich in stimulants, which cause you to feel awake and alert. Consume them too late in the evening, and you will be wide awake until the caffeine leaves your system. Even if your tiredness is due to other things, the fact remains that a lack of sleep will hinder your performance in the gym, no matter how powerful your pre-workout may be. If you aren’t sleeping, truthfully the best thing you can do is cut back on the stimulants and fix your sleeping patterns. There are actually stimulant-free pre-workout supplements available to purchase, so you could consider those. Aim for 7 – 8 hours a night and you’ll be amazed by just how much better you perform in the gym after a few good nights of sleep.