Are pre-workouts the same as energy drinks?

Smartphones, smart keys, smart cards—you don’t leave home without them (assuming you leave home these days). We live in a world of next-level products designed to help us live more efficiently and realize our goals more effectively. Why shouldn’t stretching be what we put into 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 smartest option. Are pre-workouts the same as energy drinks? Find out.

What is the difference between energy drinks and pre-workouts?

The main difference between energy drinks and pre-workout supplements is their target. Energy drinks are designed to give you a quick pick-me-up, while pre-workouts are specifically designed to make your workout more effective.

“Generally, both products will provide energy, but pre-workout [formulas] They’re more prepared for endurance and increased time to exhaustion,” says Katie Webb, an ACE-certified fitness instructor in New York City.

Pre-workout formulas, Webb adds, don’t just focus on stimulation from caffeine.

“For example, ingredients like beetroot in pre-workout powders are used for muscle endurance because they are rich in nitrates (blood vessel dilators), which help the body circulate blood more easily,” she says. “Cognitive ingredients such as L-theanine (found in green tea) are often included to provide more alert focus.”

Which one should I use before working out?

The answer to that question is like choosing a pair of sneakers to wear outdoors. A pair of slip-ons is a comfortable way to walk from point A to B But if you’re running five miles, 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 an exercise drink, but let’s get into some specifics.

What are the benefits of pre-workout vs energy drinks?

Pre-workout drinks are specifically designed to help you maximize your workout.

For example, Beachbody Performance Energies includes:*

  • Beta-alanine, which helps delay muscle burn and reduces fatigue.
  • Low dose caffeine to help improve reaction time and focus.
  • Quercetin helps improve endurance and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue.

When taken as directed, Energize pre-workout “contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee,” says Trevor Thiem, CSCS, Beachbody’s senior director of fitness and nutrition. “Caffeine is one of the few well-researched performance-enhancing aids, but you don’t need it in high doses.”*

Another benefit of pre-workout formulations is their versatility — many are designed to be taken alone (mixed with a glass of water) or added to your favorite recipes for smoothies. If you’re looking for some tasty inspiration, try this pre-workout gummy recipe with Beachbody Performance Energies.

Energy drinks’ only concern is making you wide.

To that end, they can include significantly more caffeine and sugar, which focus on energy — not muscle response — plus artificial colors and other chemicals.

Can you use energy drinks for workouts?

Energy drink can overhead view  Pre-workout like energy drinks

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 extra nutrients intended to fuel the workout, says Robert Herbst, a 19-time champion powerlifter and an official at the Rio Olympics. “It shouldn’t just rely on caffeine.”

According to the FDA, 400 milligrams of caffeine is a safe daily limit for healthy adults. That’s about four to five cups of coffee.

Many energy drinks contain significantly more caffeine in addition to sugar, which means they can set you up for a quick energy boost but then crash. Many pre-workouts are formulated to avoid that crash and contain ingredients to help you get the most out of your workout.

“An energy drink usually contains caffeine and possibly sugar,” adds Herbst. “There are some B-complex vitamins, although those without them alone are essentially useless. The key with both is that if they contain caffeine, you need to watch your total caffeine load for the day because you may have 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.

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