What Does a Pre-Workout Do?

pre-workout supplements

The common misconception is that a pre-workout is simply something that you ingest in the moments leading up to your gym time, which is simply not the case.  Pre-workout regimens are just as important as what you actually do in the gym, on your bike rides, in the pool, or when you go for a run.  The type of pre-workout practices you partake in should differ depending on what you intend on doing for exercise that day and what you’re hoping to achieve as a long-term goal for your physique and health.  Something to remember: Pre-workout supplements aren’t just a shake you drink 30 minutes before hitting the weights.  It’s a set of rules to be followed for hours before the afternoon session.  It’s steps that need to be taken the night before an early morning run.

What the Supplements Can Do for You

Supplementation is obviously a huge piece in the pre-workout puzzle.  The mix that you make and the tablets you swallow prior to the day’s workout can often improve the desired results by upwards of 50% if you’re going to focus on muscle gain [1].  Similar statistics are realized when the driving motivation and goal is sustained fat burn and weight loss.  We don’t write these blog posts because we enjoy typing.  We write these blog posts so that the readers can understand how to utilize all of the different natural substances on the market can benefit them and help them reach their goals.  By not participating in any supplementation, you’re ignoring a massive portion of the pre-workout puzzle, but not all of it…

Pre-Workouts Start with Sleep

Denying your body from rest is the number one way to ensure a painful, more grueling workout session.  Whether lifting weights or distance running, your body requires a certain amount of rest to recover from the previous workout and prepare for the challenges it faces in the coming workout.  The amount of sleep required for a healthy rest period may differ from individual to individual, but that doesn’t change the fact that YOU need a certain amount of sleep.  Listen to your body.  You will know if you don’t get enough sleep the next time you hit the gym [2].

Hydration Shouldn’t be Overlooked

Staying hydrated is probably the one thing that all of us stink at.  You may have heard this before, but a really good rule of thumb is that you need to drink your weight in ounces of water each day.  I weight 215 pounds so I should drink 215 ounces of water per day.  The model is purposely high with the expectation that most people will only get to 75% of their “number.”  In the hours leading up to your workout session, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water or sports drink to ensure you will not get dehydrated and slack off when it comes to crunch time [3].


Right before you hit the weights, climb on the treadmill, or break out the bike… STRETCH.  Absolutely, positively, undeniably annoying and time consuming, stretching can take a 60 minute workout and turn it into 80 minutes, but stretching will allow your muscles to get ready for the beating that’s about to take place.  By stretching, you aren’t just limiting the possibility of injury, but you’re ensuring improved performance [4].  Stretching is the forgotten piece to the pre-workout puzzle.  Next time, don’t forget!


  1. A. William Kedia,1 Jennifer E. Hofheins,1 Scott M. Habowski,1 Arny A. Ferrando,2 M. David Gothard,3 and Hector L. Lopez1,✉
    Effects of a Pre-workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety
    Int J Med Sci. 2014; 11(2): 116–126.
    Published online 2014 Jan 2. doi: 10.7150/ijms.7073
  2. Brett A. Dolezal, 1 , * Eric V. Neufeld, 1 David M. Boland, 1 Jennifer L. Martin, 2 , 3 and Christopher B. Cooper 1
    Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review
    Adv Prev Med. 2017; 2017: 1364387.
    Published online 2017 Mar 26. doi: 10.1155/2017/1364387
  3. Meir Magal,✉* Rebekah J. Cain,* Josh C. Long,* and Kathleen S. Thomas*
    Pre-Practice Hydration Status and the Effects of Hydration Regimen on Collegiate Division III Male Athletes
    J Sports Sci Med. 2015 Mar; 14(1): 23–28.
    Published online 2015 Jan 27.
  4. Phil Page, PT, PhD, ATC, CSCS, FACSM
    Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Feb; 7(1): 109–119.
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