The idea of a pre-workout supplement is to improve wakefulness and performance. They typically do the former with compounds like caffeine, which support energy levels and focus while combatting fatigue.
Pre workout is a category of popular supplements – they’ve been an industry darling for decades. They’re typically performance-enhancing and stimulatory, helping you to “switch on” for workouts.
Today we’re looking at the other side: can pre workout supplements help you lose weight?
We’re going to look at what they include, which ingredients might help you burn fat, and how else they might make weight loss more effective, not to mention easier!
What do pre-workout supplements do?
Caffeine is beneficial to performance in the body, as well as the mind. It supports important workout factors like endurance, strength, and controls fatigue-related drops in performance. This makes it a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. We all feel better when we work out better.
Caffeine’s popularity comes from the fact it works. It improves performance while also supporting mood and motivational factors, especially when tired. Whether you’ve had a long day – or a long night – caffeine helps flick that switch to get you ready to exercise.
Pre-workout also typically offer a wide range of other ingredients. Many of these are popular supplement ingredients with some scientific backing that actually makes them worth your time:
These are there because they support performance. The literature around these compounds suggests that they make you better at exercise. How much they help varies by the compound and the dosage, which is why different pre-workout supplements are better or worse than others.
The important general point is that pre-workout should offer more than just caffeine. It is a compound that attempts to improve the workout itself in other ways and provides effective nutrients. If this is lacking, then it’s not worth your time in the first place!
Yes – almost all pre-workout supplements will help you burn fat.
They do this in a number of ways, each of which his important to understand so you can get the best benefit from it:
Each of these offers benefits to your weight loss process – and how you perform along the way. Let’s dig in just a little more so you can get all of these benefits.
Even just with caffeine, your metabolic rate will increase. Studies typically suggest that the upper limit to daily caffeine intake (350mg according to the FDA) improves calorie output by, on average, 100 calories per day.
Caffeine is stimulatory and that includes stimulating energy-use. This is a key feature that helps you burn more fat when using pre-workout supplements.
Not only that, but caffeine can mitigate some of the tiredness-related problems in your workouts. It reduces normal tiredness, but also combats the onset of fatigue and performance-loss that typically come from a lower-calorie, fat burning diet.
Some secondary compounds, found in fat burner specific pre-workouts, may also help this process. Capsaicin – from cayenne pepper – is one example. EGCG – from green tea leaf – is another powerful fat metabolism support compound.
The better you resist fatigue, the more work you can squeeze into a workout and the more calories you can burn. This is great if you’re doing endurance or HIIT exercise, where the time to rest is much lower. The work is done during the session, whereas strength training calories are burned outside of training.
The effect of caffeine and performance-enhancers in a pre-workout can boost both your resilience to fatigue and your ability to work at high intensity. This is the ultimate combination for squeezing more out of your time, no matter what style of training you do.
Improving your output is a whole half of the ‘calories in vs calories out’ balance, and a good pre-workout can help with that. As mentioned above, it also helps on the metabolism side.
Not only do caffeine and other popular ingredients improve metabolic rate, they also improve the metabolism in muscles. The uptake of fats and carbs increases when using caffeine (in HIIT, sprints, and strength exercise) and nutrient delivery to muscles improves with betaine, citrulline, or arginine.
These are great for supporting workout metabolism. They help maintain your energy levels across all intensities to make sure you have a great workout. This is good for your health (improving blood triglyceride and glucose levels) as well as your performance.
The amount of effort you put into workouts pays off afterwards with HIIT and strength training. It’s a way of increasing your calorie-spend throughout the day. High-intensity workouts that use effective pre-workout supplements, with caffeine and others, can improve this post-exercise recovery calorie spend.
This is called EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it increases with intensity. Pre-workout supplements with caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine are particularly useful for boosting this effect.
Again, this is about having a better workout and how the fat-burning is downstream from those effects.
Finally, one of the most important effects of better workouts is an increased sparing of muscle. When you lose fat by crash dieting or simply burning lots of calories, it’s easy to burn up muscle in the process. Your body is lacking energy so it digests its own muscle.
When you have good workouts – especially at higher intensities and with muscle-supporting compounds (like creatine and beta-alanine), you protect muscle. This is because your body knows it needs it, and energy is directed towards more muscle-sparing.
A high-protein diet with plenty of sleep are the foundation for good muscle sparing, along with high-intensity exercise. Specifically, HIIT and strength training with pre-workout support are the most effective ways to spare muscle and make sure you’re burning fat.
Pre-workouts can help you burn fat, but the best ones will do more than that. Anything combining caffeine with the major ingredients we’ve mentioned above are going to offer a more comprehensive set of support benefits.
They all still rely on good diet, good sleep, and smart exercise choices. Pre-workout supplements can amplify the good work you’re already doing, but you still need to choose wisely and make sure that everything else is in place.
A supplement won’t put in the effort for you, and it won’t crutch a bad lifestyle. It can help improve things that are already good, though, and it may be one of the best ways to support your lifestyle once you’re ready to take training to the next level.
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