Few enough workout supplement ingredients have a scientifically proven effect. But even if those are in your supplement, you can’t relax and think all is well.
When you go and buy a supplement whose ingredients have proper scientific backing, you’ll usually feel on the safe side. The stuff has to “aid” you, because what’s in it has been shown to work in numerous studies, right?
The problem is that often times there simply is not enough of the useful stuff in there or putting the ingredient in that specific supplement just doesn’t make sense. Let’s look at an example from the “real” world, the ingredient list of a popular pre-workout supplement:
|Creatine monohydrate||1.5 g|
Is this a “good” pre-workout supplement? Hardly. Let me explain why:
- Putting the very well researched creatine in there doesn’t make any sense at all, because creatine has no acute effect. When you take it has no relevance, but it sure needs to be taken for a longer a long period of time. The dose of in the product also is too low.
- The citrulline-malate (CM) has a study behind it showing that it can reduce muscle fatigue, but it won’t happen with this little. For a a positive effect we’d have to go into the range of 6 – 8 grams.
- Last but not least, beta-alanine (BA), the amino acid that for some time is now is being sold as the “next creatine.” The jury is still out, but even the preliminary studies so far showed that it takes doses of 2 to 4 grams that, much like with creatine, have to be taken for a longer period of time.
So what is really in there that fires you up pre-workout? It’s the caffeine – there are 250 mg of it in this product and for good reason.
Why is all the rest in there? Because people love to see creatine on the ingredients list due to the tons of research done on it. Citrulline-malate is the “new kid on the block” and currently widely discussed in bodybuilding circles, making its inclusion it a strong selling point. And the beta-alanine will, even when the dosage is too low to do something really useful, produce a “tingly effect” that gives people the sensation of “ah, I can feel it working.”
Look More Closely!
So, what do I want you to take from this? Research the ingredients of a supplement before buying it and find out if they have scientific backup. But then also note the dosages the studies mentioned under which a positive effect was measured and compare that with the amounts coming in the product.
If the only thing in an expensive supplement that really works is the caffeine, you can as well drink a strong cup of coffee before you hit the weights.
Picture courtesy of “Noodles and Beef“.