Want to find an effective pre-workout supplement? You need look no further than the world’s favorite stimulant–caffeine. It increases your energy, delays the onset of fatigue, helps mobilize fat stores more effectively, and decreases your appetite. Several studies have established the effectiveness of caffeine as an ergogenic aid.
One study, for example, compared the performance of competitive cyclists with and without caffeinated gum. Researches noted a significant difference after the athletes chewed gum containing caffeine–the cyclists experienced delayed fatigue, increased testosterone levels, and decrease in cortisol.1
Another recent study tested thirteen experienced trainees (“resistance trained males”) when ingesting a drink containing caffeine versus a placebo (a sugar-free decaffeinated energy drink). Subjects were asked to do the exact same workout on two different occasions–one session with the caffeinated drink and one with the placebo drink. The trainees completed more repetitions of all exercises, reported less fatigue, and were more eager to train again after taking the caffeinated drink.2
Here’s what you should consider before investing in some overpriced “pre-workout supplement” or “fat burner”: in many cases you’d do just as well to buy some cheap caffeine tables or reach for a humble cup of coffee. Carefully read the label and you’ll see most of these supplements have our favorite stimulant as the active ingredient–no need to pay extra for the other stuff.
1. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Dec;110(6):1243-50. Epub 2010 Aug 25. Caffeinated chewing gum increases repeated sprint performance and augments increases in testosterone in competitive cyclists. PubMed
2. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Nov 23 The acute effect of a caffeine containing energy drink on mood state, readiness to invest effort and resistance exercise to failure. PubMed