Does Pre-Workout Supplements And Shakes Make You Fat?
I cannot start my day without a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Just like I can’t get my day going without that cup of coffee, I am unable to perform at my peak level when I hit the gym without a pre-workout shake. I’m not alone, however, as I find that my buddies at the gym feel the same.
Fatigue starts to kick in just halfway through the exercise routine, and then my performance goes out the window and the rest of my time spent at the gym is really just a waste of time.
Since I know what pre-workout shakes and supplements do – in regards to boosting performance when working out – I now always ensure that I have mine with me.
I have tried out a lot of different ones on the market and have even created my own ‘secret recipe’ that I use to get my energy flowing and my endurance as high as possible to make the most out of each session I spend at my local gym.
A new member recently joined my team of workout buddies at the gym.
Being quite educated about sport and workout supplements, she approached me with a very common question: “Hayley, I see all of you gals are drinking a pre-workout shake…
Aren’t you scared that those shakes will make you gain weight?”
My initial response to her was no, but this really got me thinking.
Even though I was so quick to answer no to the question “Does pre-workout make you fat,” I’ve never really given it much thought in the past.
The truth behind this question can be both yes and no, as it really is a complicated question to answer.
In the end, it depends on what is in the pre-workout supplement you drink, how you use it, and whether it increases your caloric intake to cause a surplus. Let’s take a closer look at all of these factors…
Does Pre-Workout Shakes Cause Weight Gain?
The purpose of pre-workout shakes and supplements is usually to provide a boost in performance while working out.
There are many of these products that also include certain ingredients that may help to better optimize muscle growth during physical activity, but most people tend to take supplements for recovery and lean muscle as a post-workout supplement.
Still, this is an important factor to consider, since there are thousands of different options that you can choose from when you are looking to buy a supplement you can use to optimize your physical performance during your workout – in other words, a pre-workout supplement.
To understand whether or not these products would cause weight gain, it is vital to look at the ingredients.
Now, there are simply too many of these pre-workout options on the market to consider the ingredients of each, but the majority of them do tend to utilize two particularly popular ingredients: caffeine and creatine.
Both caffeine and creatine are known as energy and stamina boosters.
Caffeine, in particular, is a stimulant that helps to make you more alert.
Creatine is a scientifically-proven ingredient that has been shown to help enhance your endurance during a workout, and it can also help to improve your strength, which is especially useful when it comes to lifting weights (yes, this counts for women too!).
Furthermore, the International Society of Sports
Nutrition has reported that creatine is an effective supplement for boosting exercise performance, especially when the activities involved include high-intensity training protocols.
Caffeine Increases Performance, Reduces Body Weight
First, let’s take a look at caffeine. Studies have provided evidence that this stimulant is good for the body, in moderation of course, and can yield improvements in mental focus, as well as physical energy and performance.
Furthermore, caffeine may be helpful in reducing the risk of running into that awful sensation of fatigue mid-way through your training program.
One study had also provided evidence that caffeine may increase the rate at which fat is burnt during exercise. The study conducted an experiment where laboratory rats were fed caffeine, along with the second group of rats who were not fed any caffeine.
The rats participated in exercises – which included a 90-minute swimming session on five days of each week.
After the study period, rats in the caffeine group had lost an average of 22% body weight, along with a 25% reduction in the size of their epididymal fat cells.
More studies are still being conducted on human subjects, but the weight loss benefits of caffeine as a pre-workout supplement has been proven.
Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?
This is where things get more complicated, as, with creatine, there is no easy yes or no answer to whether a pre-workout will cause weight gain.
While creatine has been proven to be effective in providing an improvement in exercise and physical performance during workouts, it is also important to consider the fact that the supplement also holds evidence of improving muscle growth.
With this in mind, when you train hard with a pre-workout supplement that contains creatine, then it could cause you to gain lean muscle mass, ultimately leading to an increase in your total body weight.
This, however, would mean that the answer to the question ”Does creatine make you fat” should be no, but when it comes to weight gain without considering if it is fat or lean muscle mass, then the answer is yes.
At the same time, it should be noted that not everyone responds in the same way to creatine supplements, which means while one person may find that they gain a lot of muscle mass when they use a pre-workout product with this ingredient, another person might rather find that they do not gain lean muscle mass, but rather maintains their weight or they lose fat content.
Tips For Choosing The Best Pre-Workout
First, consider what pre-workout you are currently using and how well it is working for you.
If you are not gaining weight, then don’t stress. Our bodies are different, so you need to find the supplement that works for you.
If you do find that your pre-workout is causing you to gain some weight, then take a look at the ingredients – chances are, you are gaining lean muscle mass due to creatine being included in the product.
In these cases, you should hit the shelves of your local supplement store and look for a pre-workout that doesn’t contain creatine.
There are many options available that you can try out. If you want that extra rush when you hit the gym, be sure to opt for one that contains a stimulant like caffeine.
When choosing a pre-workout, also look at how many calories there are in each serving. You should be sure to count the calories you consume daily and remember to add your pre-workouts calories.
If your calories are higher than your caloric expenditure, it means you have a surplus – and this would be what is causing you to gain weight, not the shake you are having before you start your training.
A pre-workout supplement will not make you fat, but some of the shakes on the market contain creatine as an active ingredient, which could cause you to gain weight in lean muscle mass.
While often thought of as a pleasant factor among men, women may not particularly enjoy building larger muscles.
In such a case, a simple switch to a caffeine-based pre-workout without the inclusion of creating may help to speed up your weight loss results without causing an increase in lean muscle.