Pre-workout supplements are becoming increasingly popular among all types of athlete and runners are no exception. Whether you typically train for distance, pace or both, chances are you’ll be aware of some of the popular pre-workouts among your peer group.
You may have tried some in the past and experienced missed, or even negative results. Here we are going to talk about a controversial topic in the world of pre-workouts – stimulants. You’ll learn more about those dangers, and how to avoid them by choosing a stimulant-free pre-workout. We are going to look in detail at one of these – Performance Lab® SPORT Pre-Workout.
It is a minefield trying to navigate such a jam-packed marketplace. One thing you may not be aware of is that the FDA does not regulate pre-workouts and other supplements in the same way it does regular food products.
Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products and marketing them appropriately, but there is nothing to stop them marketing an unsafe product until the danger comes to the attention of the FDA and action is taken.
This has led to some supplement producers pushing the boundaries of what might be considered ‘safe’ by leaning heavily on stimulants to create pre-workout formulas that might make you feel unstoppable during a workout but can lead to lasting or permanent damage to other areas of your health.
What to Watch Out For
Here’s a list of ingredients we would advise you to avoid in your search for the perfect pre-workout…
Bitter Orange Extract
At one point this was a popular pre-workout ingredient, until it was discovered that the active ingredient, synephrine, is chemically similar to ephedrine. Ephedrine is a banned substance under FDA regulations due to risk of cardiac arrest.
Synephrine is less potent than ephedrine but it has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure in healthy adults. This is particularly dangerous when combined with caffeine, another common pre-workout ingredient.
For runners who will already be experiencing elevated heart rates and blood pressure for long periods during runs, bitter orange is definitely one to avoid.
Pro athletes have been banned for testing positive for this stuff, and it has been found in a worryingly high number of dietary supplements despite never being approved for use under prescription or as a supplement.
It may be listed under a ‘pseudonym’ on the ingredients list in an attempt to remain undetected. A 2017 study found oxilofrene present in 14 out of 27 supplements tested. These supplements were all available to purchase in the US at the time of the study.
Oxilofrene can produce side effects including nausea, vomiting and cardiac arrest. If in doubt, look up the names of unfamiliar ingredients in your pre-workout so you don’t accidentally end up taking it.
DMAA is another banned substance to watch out for as it could crop up under another name. A separate study, also published in 2017, discovered that no less than 4 analogues of this substance were present in various supplements available to purchase in the US.
The banned 1,3-DMAA is known to cause heart attacks among other symptoms.
Generally safe in normal doses, and definitely not very scary when looked at alongside DMAA and Oxilofrene, but caffeine in pre-workouts can be dangerous due to the amount of caffeine most of them contain.
The generally accepted safe daily dose for healthy adults is 400mg. Pre-workouts can contain anything from 200mg to 600mg or more, and there may be even more in other supplements you take. Not to mention when combined with your normal coffee habit.
Are you scared yet? You shouldn’t be, we’re not trying to scare anyone here. This is really about being safe and smart when choosing your supplements.
There are some pitfalls you’ll want to avoid when choosing a pre-workout, but one easy rule to stay safe is to go stimulant-free. And we’re about to show you one of the best stim-free pre-workout products around…
Performance Lab® SPORT Pre-Workout
An all-natural alternative to stimulant-based pre-workouts, Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout delivers a powerful boost with none of the risks that stimulants carry.
SPORT Pre-Workout provides a combination of creatine and nitric oxide-boosting compounds that keep your muscles energized, oxygenated, hydrated and protected whether you’re doing high-intensity short-distance work or long-distance running.
Creatine (Creapure® pH10) (1250mg)
Quite literally muscle food, creatine is used by your body to fuel the cycle of muscular energy production. As you use your muscles to generate power, a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is broken down into adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
When this happens, a phosphate molecule is released, and it is that molecule breaking away that produces the spark that provides energy for your muscles.
Your muscles already store about 95% of your body’s creatine. They use it to reattach this phosphate molecule and turn ADP back into ATP so the same reaction can occur again and supply more energy to your muscles.
The effectiveness of creatine for improving athletic performance has been proven again and again in scientific studies, making it one of the most reliable and popular supplements in the world.
It is particularly useful for runners that train at a high intensity, like performing sprints or interval runs.
Setria® Performance Blend 2200mg
This ingredient is a mix of Setria® Glutathione – a potent antioxidant that helps protect your muscles from damage caused by oxidative stress (exercise), and L-Citrulline – an amino acid that helps your muscles absorb creatine and boosts nitric oxide (NO) levels in your body.
There are 3 key benefits from including this highly rated ingredient in the formula;
- Creatine is absorbed more quickly, which means it is more effective in keeping your muscular energy production cycle going so you can run even harder and faster
- Your muscles are more protected from possible damage and so the extra work you are putting in will take less of a toll on your legs and the rest of your body – this reduces the risk of injury and could help speed up recovery time
- The increase in NO in your body will help your circulatory system provide extra oxygen to your muscles, thereby supporting them through harder workouts and keeping you energized for longer – even extending to the post-workout period where muscular recovery is supported by the extra NO
The company that manufactures Setria® Performance Blend, Kyowa Hakko USA, are a specialist in supplements and nootropics and their website is brimming with examples of scientific studies that support the effectiveness of their formula.
The second proprietary blend in SPORT Pre-Workout, CarnoSyn® provides some excellent benefits for runners, including;
- Increasing the maximum possible work your muscles can perform
- Reducing lactic acid build-up
- Increasing muscular endurance
- Delaying muscular fatigue
CarnoSyn® manages to do all of this by supplying beta-alanine which raises the level of carnosine in your body. Carnosine has been linked to many performance benefits such as improved muscular strength and improved muscular performance over long periods of intense training.
Alongside Creapure Creatine and Setria® Performance Blend, CarnoSyn® completes a triple threat of endurance and strength boosting properties that all come from natural ingredients and are strongly backed up by scientific evidence.
Himalayan Pink Salt (350mg)
Runners are no strangers to a bit of sweat. Sweating is a natural part of exercise, but if you sweat for long periods of time you risk becoming dehydrated.
This natural salt contains electrolytes that help with rehydration. It also contains dozens of other minerals that help to support your overall health.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract (100mg)
This extract provides tannins – scientifically known as proanthocyanidins – that have antioxidant properties. They insure your muscles against the excessive stress of high-intensity exercise.
When you first start taking a pre-workout it is easy to get caught up in the rush of improved performance and push your body further than it is used to. This creates a higher risk of injury than there would be if your body was used to this higher level of stress.
So, the fact that Performance Lab® had the foresight to include additional antioxidants (don’t forget the Setria® Performance Blend delivers a sizeable dose already) is great as it means you are doubly protected from injury.
Iron deficiency is the commonest cause of anemia, and the commonest symptom of anemia is a crushing fatigue that makes even everyday tasks very challenging.
This happens because iron helps to produce hemoglobin which is responsible for transporting oxygen round your body. By delivering an extra boost to iron, SPORT Pre-Workout ensures that your muscles will be well oxygenated throughout your training session.
Why Performance Lab® SPORT Pre-Workout?
Performance Lab® are openly committed to delivering outstanding results from natural ingredients, and we respect that.
All their products are guaranteed to be free of synthetic ingredients, caffeine and other stimulants, allergens, GMO, soy and gluten. Plus, they are vegan-friendly GMP-certified for quality assurance.
Specifically, SPORT Pre-Workout provides the ideal mix of benefits for runners. The energy-boosting ingredients work in sync with your natural bodily processes and functions to provide sustainable increases in muscular performance over short or long distances.
The NO-boosting ingredients along with the pink salt and iron ensure that your muscles don’t fade away while the buzz continues, like stimulant-based supplements. In fact, the buzz is replaced altogether by a smoother and more natural wave of energy that will sustain you throughout training and beyond.
How to Buy Performance Lab® SPORT Pre-Workout
All Performance Lab products are available exclusively via their website. SPORT Pre-Workout retails at $30.00 for 120 caps (30 servings) but you can get a discount by purchasing 2 or 3 bottles at once.
Still, at $1 per serving this is excellent value when you consider the benefits to training and assurance of continued good health and a great night’s sleep on workout days.