Pre-Workout Supplements: Are They Worth It?


Pre-Workout Supplements

Can Pre-Workout Supplements Get You More Out Of Your Workout?

Perhaps one the largest selling products in the fitness industry, pre-workout pills or supplements are something that just about every company touches on. But are they worth it? That’s always the question. Some of these can get pretty pricey, which makes you wonder if just taking caffeine pills would be just as good.

Today we’ll find out. Ready for the truth?

First, think about the advertising you see about these magical pills and supplements. Words like “explosive”, “activation” and “extreme/insane endurance” are thrown around like every day words. But how can only 10 to 20 grams of a powder cause these results? How are we supposed to know what the best pre-workout pill is?

We’ve got both good and bad news. So we will break the bad news to you first.

Pre-workout supplements aren’t exactly known for having the most loyal and genuine intentions. Rather, they are kind of sketchy. Even the best pre-workout drink ads are a little ridiculous. We know. This is why we created our own reliable pre-workout formula to cut out all the crap. Here’s what you should know about pre-workout supplements…

Pre-Workout Supplement Scams

One of the trickiest scams they do is they make the list of ingredients nice and long. You might be scratching your head wondering how and why they can do this. Here’s what they do: they add a ton of ingredients that are either ineffective or have no purpose whatsoever. Then they just tack every ingredient onto the list. The purpose behind this, is to create a very long nutritional label. Pretty sneaky, huh?

They also have similar practices when it comes to studies. They cherry-pick their way through the studies, while some of them are flawed or completely untrue. Then they work on selling you on the effectiveness (or lack thereof, we should say) of  the specific products.

Another trick they have up their sleeve is not using enough of the major ingredients. They hide this behind the “proprietary blend” labels they have. This is the worst. So, certain companies don’t actually have to let you know how much there is of a certain ingredient. Pretty tricky huh?

How are you supposed to buy their product when you don’t know the whole truth of what you’re buying? You’re not.

Supplement companies are also known for adding huge amounts of caffeine and cheap carb powders (like maltodextrin) in their products in order to you give a huge boost of energy, which is going to make you think the supplement is working.

But here are the facts.. this is a cheap, ineffective way to make you think it works. Sorry.

So what does that mean? You might just continue buying their product because you’re going to think it’s getting the job done. But the truth is, you could take a few caffeine pills and shove a banana down your throat instead. Not only does this save you a ton of time, but it saves you money too. Just a thought.

Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-Workout Supplement Buyer Beware

For their last trick, they like to let you know how much smarter they are than you. They will take the name of everyday compounds and use fancy lingo to confuse you. Are you all excited because your supplement has epigallo-3 catechin-3-O-b-gallate in it? Well, don’t be. That big old fancy name is just another way of saying green tea extract. Well, at least it still has 1,3,7-trimethylzanthine in it, right? Wrong. Guess what this one means? Caffeine.

We’re guessing your blood might be boiling by now and you’re screaming, WHY?

Because it’s how they make money. You might think that supplement companies bring in the cash because of products like protein powders. But the truth is, they don’t bring in a lot of money. So they need to look to other places so they can bring in cash. Guess where they look? The pre-workout supplement.

It works in a pretty basic way. We’ll make up a scenario for you so you can follow along.

Let’s say… “Sketchy Supplements Inc.” decides they want to make a pre-workout product. So they count on 2 things to drive the sales home.

First, they have to make sure all ingredients in their product have been proven to be both effective and safe so that they can get your attention.

Next, they want to include other ineffective ingredients that don’t do much, but their names sound super fancy. The ingredients list makes you feel like your money is being well spent, when actually…that might not be the case.

Here’s the first bump: Money.

While all the junky stuff is pretty cheap, the stuff that’s proven to be safe and good gets expensive pretty fast.

And Sketchy Supplements isn’t interested in spending a ton of money here. They are only into bringing in the dough. So they decide to use smaller amounts of the “expensive” but good ingredients and mix that with the junkier ingredients.

Ta-Da! Just like that, they have their very own proprietary blend. Simple enough.

They don’t leave you totally stranded though. They are more than happy to load you up with tons of caffeine. Sure, you will also get nice and spoiled with lots of carb powder. These two things are going to give you a big surge in energy right in the middle of your workout. Never mind the massive crash that comes later. A clean pre-workout formula won’t leave you crashing, but many popular products will.

 Pre-Workout Supplements: The Problem With Proprietary Blends

But why do proprietary blends matter? Because when Sketchy Supplements decides to do this, the only thing they need to tell you is the weight of the blend itself. Think about that. They don’t actually have to tell you how much of each ingredient can be found in their blend.

Just like that, you’re getting ripped off. Sucks huh?

All this deception has some people wondering, do pre-workout supplements work? The answer is that not all supplements are created equal.

Another sneaky way they are ripping you off is the way the ingredients are listed (descending), which is based off of predominance in terms of weight. So, there is more of the first ingredient than the second one, more of the second one than the third one, etc. You get it.

Here’s why that’s bad news for you: if the first ingredient is a cheap, ineffective product (like creatine monohydrate or maltodextrin), then it could be 90% of the entire blend! Gross. That’s pretty harmful. After all, this means that anything after that first ingredient is only a very small part of the mixture.

So you could be buying a $60 tub that’s almost completely made up of 90% maltodextrin. Seriously?

There you go. Sketchy Supplements is all ready to go with their “oh-so-great” formula.

Next up is to get their “amazing” product over to their marketing guy who is an old pro at this game. They come up with all different claims that say the ingredients are beyond effective. And guess what? They might be….if the dosages were bigger.

We got tired of this cycle and developed Ignite Pre-Workout with clinically effective dosages of proven ingredients. No questionable blends.

Back to the cheap supplement company, their marketing team gets all the benefits. Then they put out huge ads with your favorite athlete or body builder, who gets paid tons of money to claim they actually like Sketchy’s product. Then they put it right where you’re going to see it – in your favorite magazines, on the health channels on TV, everywhere.

And guess what? It works.

People race off to the store and drop hundreds of dollars on the product, when it reality, it cost Sketchy Supplements a whopping $4 to make. If they used the right dosage and got rid of all the junk in it, it would cost them about $20.

Here’s what we need to do to fix this: start demanding that you will not buy from a company that makes proprietary blends. No good can come from this.

In fact, you have the knowledge to find it out all by yourself.

There are tons of scientific evidence on the web that lets you to find the most effective ingredients and the dose you need it. There aren’t any kind of trade secrets you don’t have a hand in. Everything is available at your fingertips.

If you’re dealing with a company (such as our beloved Sketchy Supplements) that won’t tell you what is actually in the product you’re dishing out the cash for, there’s a reason for that. You shouldn’t support that kind of logic and you should force them to stop doing what they’re doing.

Keep in mind that a long ingredient list doesn’t mean you will get successful results or even a better product. You aren’t going to see any fat-burning, legit pre-workout supplement that has over 15 ingredients in it. It just doesn’t work, scientifically.

So decide how you want to spend your money and be wise about it.

Put a stop to the whole idea of proprietary blend and other ineffective ingredients. After all, you’re the consumer, you’re the one who is going to shape the way for the company.

Let’s get back to the original topic at hand – do pre-workout supplements work? Should you take caffeine pills instead?

Here’s the thing – caffeine can be used as a pre-workout supplement because it helps you with your muscle endurance and your strength. Plus, it’s a super cheap and simple way to make the most of your training. You’ll find an great source of caffeine in our Ignite Pre-Workout Formula, but the good news is we don’t charge an arm and a leg for it.

Pre-Workout Supplements

Other Key Performance Boosting Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients

There are a few other different molecules that can help you with your performance. As long as you’re taking them correctly, you should be good to go.

The first one is beta-alanine. These naturally-occurring amino acids cut back on the amount of carnosine that gets stored in the muscles. So as these levels go up, intramuscular carnosine levels do too.

There has been some research that shows supplementing with this can help cut back on tiredness post exercise, increase lean mass and even help with anaerobic exercise. This is an excellent one to look for if you’re using high intensity interval workouts to blast fat and build muscle.

Citrulline is another amino acid that can be used to help stimulate nitric oxide production. This helps us out because it causes higher levels in plasma arginine, which can help with muscle soreness, muscle endurance and aerobic performance, too. The right dose for this is about 6-8 grams daily. This is a great one to look for when you’re trying to build muscle fast and are looking for that pump.

Ornithine works hand in hand with arginine and citrulline to play a big role with the metabolic cycle. This cycle is sometimes called Urea cycle, which is basically when the liver transforms ammonia into urea, which is then released by sweat and urine. So this is going to play a role with your performance. It helps cut back on tiredness during long exercise trainings, promote fat burning and also help increase human growth hormone. You want to aim for 2 to 2.2 grams of this each day.

Theanine (which is commonly found in tea) paired up with caffeine has some awesome effects too. There is research that shows this dynamic duo cutting back on mental and physical stress, increasing the creation of nitric oxide, improving many areas (focus, alertness, memory, attention and overall mood). In studies conducted, the ideal range was between 100 to 250 mg.

Finally, betaine (which is sometimes referred to as trimethylglycine) is a certain compound that is found in specific plants, including beets.

Research says that using betainen helps increase your strength and endurance, as well as increase various other hormones, like human growth hormone. That helps!



So sure, there are some effective ingredients in all pre-workout supplements, the only problem is finding a company or a product that actually includes them in their ingredient list.

You might find a couple products that have the ingredients you need, but these are generally very small amounts which defeats the purpose. They are always full of other junk, like dyes and fake sweeteners, which isn’t something you want to put in your everyday diet.

But the thing is, an under-dosed pre-workout supplement isn’t going to be worth it. In fact, your best bet is to just switch to caffeine pills if you aren’t able to find anything.

You should look for ingredients that are backed by several different published studies and evidence. Also dosages should be clearly labeled and clinically proven to be effective. Got that?

Stay away from dyes and other kinds of unnecessary fillers. Good taste is always a plus, too! Whether you try our Ignite Pre-Workout formula or another brand, keep an eye out for these ingredients and if you can’t find it, you could always try caffeine pills! 

-Terry Asher

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Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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