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Pre-Workout Supplements and Boosters - Part 2 of 2
Seven Ways to Check a Pre-Workout Booster

Seven ways to check a pre-workout booster.
Seven ways to check a pre-workout booster.

Pre-workout boosters or supplements may not do what you hope or they claim. There are seven things you should demand before you buy one.

FIRST, see if their product is certified by an independent agency that verifies the ingredients listed are actually inside. If they lack that certification, it means they may be afraid to tell you what’s really in the bottle.

These are three organizations that test the quality of supplements. If you see their seal on something, at least you know what’s on the label is in the bottle. It’s no guarantee the product will do what it claims, but you should be getting what you’re paying for. Those organizations are NSF (nsf.org), USP (quality-supplements.org) and Consumerlab (consumerlab.com).

SECOND, make sure the exact amounts of each ingredient are disclosed. If they claim things like “it’s a proprietary blend, a matrix or complex,” then you don’t know how much of anything is in the bottle.

Imagine a bottle of “proprietary blend” milk. To save money, I fill two-thirds of the bottle with chalky water and the remainder with actual milk. Of course, I wouldn’t want to tell you that it’s two-thirds chalky water, so I hide behind the claim of “proprietary blend.” How much milk would you buy if companies did that?

THIRD, avoid products with more than five ingredients on the label. What they’re doing is nothing more than label porn. Throwing several sexy and popular supplement ingredients together and hoping one of them will catch your attention. It’s challenging to test the effectiveness of one ingredient at a time. Testing a dozen, in various amounts all mashed together, is something even drug companies with multi-million dollar testing budgets struggle to do.

FOURTH, do you know what every ingredient on the label is or is supposed to do? If you don’t know what it is, check out the Department of Defense Dietary Supplement Resource. They have a list of supplement ingredients that are prohibited. If you see any prohibited ingredients on the product you want, DON’T BUY IT. You can find the information online at: https://www.opss.org and click on the Prohibited List.

FIFTH, does the label make believable claims? When you see words like “boost,” or “enhance,” or “support,” you need to stay away. Those words are considered medically meaningless, so they can be put in front of almost any claim.

If I say, “Eat this sawdust to boost your immune system,” I don’t have to worry about being sued by the government because the word boost isn’t a medical term. When you see medically meaningless words covering the bottle, you’re probably being sold a lie.

SIXTH, does the label list the % Daily Values (% DV) of all the ingredients inside? And if it does, are all the values less than 200%? Many supplements act like a little is good, so a lot must be great. When taking in large doses, many things can be dangerous or deadly. You need to avoid things with high % Daily Values in them unless prescribed by a doctor.

SEVENTH ask for clinical trials where their product is compared against a placebo, for at least 60 days, on at least 100 people.

Think about how long it takes to bring a product to market. Manufacturing, sourcing materials, advertising, packaging and distribution. If a supplement company can’t spend the money to test their product on 100 people for sixty days, what does that tell you about the quality of everything else they do?

It’s much more likely companies don’t test their products because they know they would fail to do what they claim. They’re afraid of the truth, and you shouldn’t trust them without proof.

So what should you do? 30 to 90 minutes before your workout, eat foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Things like bananas, peanut butter, eggs, whole-grain sandwiches with lean protein like turkey, chicken or a vegan alternative are all reasonable options. Crackers and cheese, yogurt, oatmeal or a traditional protein shake work too.

Quit spending money on unproven products and unknown substances. Eat real food, and you’ll get real results.

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