From reading my previous post on Winter fitness you’ll know I’ve currently been double gyming it. I’m trying to work out between 5-10 sessions a week through the gym and by using fitness dvds from home. It’s been going pretty well for the last few weeks, but I really wanted to start progressing with my running.
I SUCK at running, I was always last in cross country at the school and in sprints. Literally, I was no good at short, medium or long distance running. It’s the bane of my life. My dad does triathlons and runs at Park Runs every weekend and I can’t even run to the bottom of my stairs.
I get bored and tired so easy, it doesn’t matter if I’m running at 11kmph or at 7kmph after 2 minutes I’ll want to give up. Last year there were a few times I managed to run 5K – in a very slow time and usually with a lot of walking in the middle. But this year, I’ve just not been able to hit it ONCE.
So I decided to up my motivation and energy levels by taking some pre-workout.
What Is Pre-Workout?
Pre Workout is a sports nutrition supplement used for intense workouts. They help your body with focus, motivation, energy and endurance. It’s packed full of caffeine, creatine, BCAA’s and Beta-Alanine – which basically sounds like a whole load of scientific babble, but it all has a purpose:
- Caffeine – Is probably the most well known as it’s in our coffee’s and cans of pop. It’s a powerful stimulant that increases alertness and energy. It can help boost your physical performance when working out and partaking in sport, it can even boost mental performance.
- Creatine – This supplement I had heard of before but had no idea what it was. Turns out this stuff is there to build your strength, it basically pumps up your muscles and helps you lift heavier weights. When you hear guys talking about “the pump” in their biceps, if they’ve used creatine, a lot of it will be helped out by the addition of water which is drawn into the muscles, but will inevitably help build more gains.
- BCAA’s – Stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids. It includes amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine (again, scientific babble). They are basically there to help your body metabolise protein properly and suppress the breakdown of it. It also helps prevent DOMS, you know that annoying post leg day pain which stops you being able to walk for 3 days.
- Beta-Alanine – I’d definitely never heard of this before. This is added to help increase your endurance and help keep your intensity higher for longer.
Basically, pre workout is exactly what it sounds like – something you take before your workout to benefit and energise you.
Should You Take Pre-Workout Before Cardio
Some neanderthals and meatheads at the gym will say Pre-Workout is solely for weights, but that’s probably because they never do cardio. Instead, they stand in the mirror working their biceps and chests, going for a run would probably snap the chicken legs holding their heavy Johnny Bravo style chests.
Of Course, you can use it before cardio, it’s there to help muscle endurance, that doesn’t just mean helping the gains. It’s especially good for HIIT workouts too. Also, due to the BCAA’s it can help you with your recovery after. Taken at the right time there is no need for you to worry about a mid-run caffeine crash.
My First Time Taking Pre Workout
I was quite wary taking it at first. My friend used to use it and told me it made her feel sick, other friends said it made them feel on top of the world. I literally had no idea what to expect. I’d read up a lot before hand and decided that taking it 20 – 40 minutes before a workout is the ideal timing for it to kick in. So at 17:25 I decided to drink my Blue Raspberry flavoured powder with 400ml of water. I only had one scoop, as a novice, I had no idea how I would react to it. The taste was odd. At first, it tasted like a blue slush puppy which was great, but the more I drank the more I thought about what it was and it started to have a slight washing-up liquid taste.
Mike was late home from work. By the time he walked in the door, the pre-workout had well and truly kicked in. I couldn’t stop talking, and I was WIDE awake. Super motivated to go to the gym and see what I could do. I felt pretty invincible – although slightly tingly and itchy like I’d put some irritating clothes on. I was wired, in fact, I was pretty scared the gym would think I was on drugs. Evening gym sessions are pretty hectic and busy, that’s why we tend to do weights in the morning and cardio in the evenings. So I went and set myself up on a treadmill and got started.
Was incredible. Like I said, I suck at running. I normally set the pace on 7.5kmph and manage around 10 minutes. But something kept driving me to do more, after a minute on 7.5kmph I upped it to 8.5kmph. I’d never continually run at this pace, not for a long period of time. I did it for 4km. FOUR WHOLE KILOMETERS! That was a pretty big achievement to me. I did have to drop it down after 4 back to 7.5 as I got wind pain (pretty inconvenient time to be holding in trumps tbh!). So after jogging on 7.5 for a little while, I still had tonnes of energy and decided to spend the last km completing intervals between 7.5kmph and 11.5kmph.
Words cannot describe how happy I am with this time and distance. Yes, it may be a crap time to some people, but I SUCK at running 🏃 and staying motivated. Last week I set myself a goal of #5k in 38minutes. I normally haven’t even hit it by 40 minutes as I get bored and start walking. I guess I had some help from the #PreWorkout but still I’m pretty chuffed with myself for this. 😄😄😄😄😄
I even jogged uphill as part of my cool down. I honestly have never felt so focused, motivated and alive during a workout.
The after effects
Once I stepped off the treadmill I felt all that energy I’d just use completely vanish, but I think the endorphins from my achievement kept me going. I walked home and drank a shit tonne of water as I sweated more than I have ever sweated before. Admittedly I did get a bit of a headache, I’m not sure if it’s from the Pre-Workout, dehydration or just physical stress.
Even still, I will 100% take this again to help assist me with running. I haven’t yet tried it with weights, but I will be doing so over the weekend when we have more time to spend at the gym.
Have you ever taken pre-workout or any other supplements as part of your fitness routine? I’d love to know more, let me know in the comments below…