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pre-workout drinks

Pre-workout shakes; what you need to know


Pre-workout shakes; what you need to know

I just need a little boost!

"I've had such a long day and can't face training today! Maybe if I have a red bull just to wake me up I'll be ok". Not only is this a signal of something in your body that needs rectifying (adrenal fatigue, impaired ability to recover, excessive inflammation etc) do these 'quick solutions' have an impact on  your fat loss goals? 


I am seeing more and more people who are chronically tired and tell me they can't wait for the weekend, this generally directly after a weekend...we will be posting up an article on adrenal fatigue in the next week or so. Keep your eyes peeled about this one as it is a very interesting theory that most can relate to. There are not any current scientific studies to back this up...yet! Science takes a while to catch up. 


Having a pre workout mix or a red bull gives us energy, hence pre workout. Why? Its core ingredients are sugar, caffeine, a small amount of 'energising vitamins' with concentrations of low percentages of an already ridiculously low RDA value. Omitting the impact of adrenal fatigue, which is HUGE let's see the impact these have.


What people fail to realise is that they have a petrol tank inside their bodies, it's called Glycogen. This can be used for low, medium and high intense bouts of exercise. Research shows that after 60mins of intense exercise, these glycogen stores are only roughly 30% depleted. Believe me, most people don't tap into half of their petrol tank in a single workout, so no need for the Lucozade sport to rehydrate yourself, stick to water! 


However, at Salus, we love taking a look at the hormonal responses of the body. Once you ingest this sugar loaded pre workout drink, not only are you totally disregarding your bodies ability of Glycogenolysis (the breakdown and utilisation of this petrol tank) you are asking Insulin to make an appearance to the party. Insulin, a storage hormone is the opposite effect you want, you are in the gym to break down, right? But is a bit of storage ok if we are breaking down too? 


Growth hormone is secreted in response to high intense exercise, GH is a powerful fat burner! The interesting thing is that Growth hormone and Insulin share the same cell receptors, in other words, you have an ON switch and an OFF switch. Can you have a light ON and OFF at the same time? So can you have your storage hormone and your burning hormone working at the same time? So you are working out to shift that stubborn fat and although you are working hard to produce your Growth Hormone, it hasn't shown up!! 


Without going into copious amount of detail into the hormonal consequences of sugar filled pre workout drinks, let me just share the best way to do it.


Opt for a sugar and sweetener free option.


Caffeine can preserve your glycogen, and in the absence of ingested sugar, what fuel will be called upon? Yes, fat. So keep caffeine present. 


Pre workout shakes have little to no protein, more specifically Branched Chain Amino Acids and these do not result in an insulin response (unlike whey shakes) so stick to BCAA's. 


Coconut oil...that pause was for you to read that again, as yes it wasn't a typo. It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides which act as insulin impersonators. Also it prolongs the stimulant effect of the caffeine. 


This is all gearing up to one specific concoction. If I was to have a pre workout beverage (which I avoid at all costs because of the obvious psychological effect it has, over reliance on a pre workout saviour!) it would be.......


A black coffee with a bit of coconut oil and a serving of BCAA's to ensure less muscle wasting.


There are numerous pre workout shakes that are as useful for fat loss as a pre workout bag of Maltesers but there are some that are nutritionally better choices. Your aim is to fuel your body to prepare for the workout and optimise your response to it. Not to further pile the sugar on, as most do also post workout. Hold on! Is post workout nutrition as significant as pre workout? We shall tell you soon.

Whats your favourite pre-workout drink?