Smartphone, smart keys, smart cards – you wouldn’t leave the house without them (assuming you left the house all those days). We live in a world of next-level products designed to help us live more efficiently and achieve our goals more effectively. Why shouldn’t this extend to what we put in our bodies before a workout? If you’re trying to decide between an energy drink or a pre-workout formulation, it’s important to know which is the smarter option. Is pre-workout the same as energy drinks? Let’s find out.
What is the difference between energy drinks and pre-workouts?
The main difference between energy drinks and pre-workout supplements is their purposes. Energy drinks are designed to give you a quick boost, while pre-workouts are specifically designed to make your workout more effective.
“Generally both products will energize, but before training [formulas] are more adept at endurance and extending fatigue time,” says Katie Webban ACE certified fitness trainer in New York.
Pre-workout formulas, Webb adds, aren’t all about caffeine boosting.
“For example, ingredients like beet in pre-workout powders are used to helps with muscle endurance because they are rich in nitrates (dilators of blood vessels), which facilitate the circulation of blood in the body,” she says. “Cognitive ingredients like L-theanine (found in green tea) are also often included to provide more alert focus.”
Which should I use before training?
The answer to this question is like choosing a pair of sneakers to wear out of the house. A pair of slip-on shoes is a comfortable way to get from point A to point B. But if you’re going for a five-mile run, you’ll get better support from a pair of running shoes.
It makes sense that if you’re working out, you might want to consume the drink designed specifically for exercise, but let’s take a look at some details.
What are the benefits of pre-workout over energy drinks?
Pre-workout drinks are specially designed to help maximize your workout.
For instance, Beachbody Performance Energize understand :*
- Beta-alaninewhich helps delay muscle burn and reduces fatigue.
- Low dose caffeine to help improve reaction time and concentration.
- Quercetin to help improve endurance and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
When taken as directed, Energize Pre-Workout “has about as much caffeine as you’d find in a cup of coffee,” says Trevor Thieme, CSCS, senior director of fitness and nutrition content at Beachbody. “Caffeine is one of the few well-documented performance enhancement aidsbut you don’t need it in high doses.
Another benefit of pre-workout formulations is their versatility – many are designed to be taken on their own (mixed in a glass of water) or added to your favorite smoothie recipes. If you’re looking for tasty inspiration, try this pre-workout gummies recipe with Beachbody Performance Energize.
The only concern of energy drinks is to boost you.
To that end, they may contain significantly more caffeine and sugar, which focus on energy – not muscle response – as well as artificial colors and other chemicals.
Can you use energy drinks for workouts?
You can, but they may not be as effective.
The difference between a pre-workout and an energy drink is that a good pre-workout should have some nutritional value, meaning it contains extra nutrients to fuel the workout, says Robert Herst, 19-time powerlifting champion and official at the Rio Olympics. “You shouldn’t rely on caffeine alone.”
According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine is a safe daily limit for healthy adults. That’s about as much as four to five cups of coffee.
Many energy drinks contain a lot more caffeine, in addition to sugar, which means they can set you up for a quick energy spike, but can then lead to a crash. Many pre-workouts are formulated to avoid this crash and contain ingredients to help you get the most out of your workouts.
“An energy drink usually only contains caffeine and maybe sugar,” adds Herbst. “Some have B-complex vitamins, although these alone without meals are basically useless. The key with both is that if they contain caffeine, you need to watch your total caffeine load for the day because you can having caffeine from other sources.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.