Stimulants are a group of substances that boost energy levels, focus, concentration, and metabolism in general.
Some of them are illegal and deadly (like amphetamine, for example), others are consumed by over 70% of the adult population of the world on a daily basis—like caffeine. In any case, why is there a stimulant compound in almost any pre-workout blend that you will find?
Well, let’s face it: working out the right way isn’t for the weak of spirit. It requires discipline, determination, a boatload of motivation, and even a pinch of healthy aggression too. Stimulants can help you get psychologically and spiritually ”pumped up” to get more work done.
Speaking of physical effects, they have quite a few actions that are beneficial for the body as well, not only for the athlete’s spirit:
- Stimulants increase heart rate and blood pressure, helping the body to deliver more blood to the muscles—and thus exercise harder
- Stimulants boost the body’s metabolism and energy exchange processes. It’s winding yourself up from speed 1 to speed 3 or 4
- Some stimulants (like caffeine) are ergogenic compounds, meaning they were scientifically confirmed to boost aspects physical performance like endurance and strength
What stimulants are most often included in pre-workout blends (PWBs)?
- Caffeine is the most common and well-researched stimulant used in PWBs. Also, it has a fairly good safety profile, so it still remains one of the best options since PWBs were first introduced in the 80s.
- L-tyrosine is an amino acid that the body uses to create messenger molecules and hormones, including dopamine, thyroid hormones, and adrenaline (epinephrine). Strictly speaking, tyrosine isn’t a direct stimulant but it will help your body produce more of its own stimulative compounds.
- Yohimbine is a natural fat-burner and stimulant extracted from the Pausinystalia johimbe tree, native to the African continent. This compound works mainly by boosting your noradrenaline levels.
- Synephrine is an alkaloid found in citruses. It’s synthesized from thyrosine, and has pretty much the same effects as adrenaline, just milder and longer-lasting
Do you need stimulants in your pre-workout?
Not really. Small to moderate doses of stimulants could provide you with a few extra benefits for your workout sessions, but they are a bit overrated in general. We will cover MUCH more important components coming up soon in the course.
To Be Continued…
-The Cost Plus Nutrition Team