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“Optimizing your training” is a phrase often used to summarize how to get the most out of exercise, whether it’s running faster or more efficiently to target a specific muscle group.
Some people try to optimize their fitness routine by using pre-workout energy drinks from brands like Celsius and C4 Energy, which claim to be healthier than regular energy drinks and help you get your best workout after having them. drunk. Specifically, Celsius says it “speeds up metabolism” and “burns body fat.” Many people also use them to feel more alert and focused during exercise.
But can a drink really do that? Or is it just the workout itself that contributes to these changes in your body and mind? Are there any downsides to these drinks?
Here, the experts share what to know and some of the dangers associated with it.
What is a Workout Energy Drink?
These workout drinks are “popular among fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes looking to improve their strength, power, agility or speed,” said Emma Laing, director of dietetics at the University of Georgia.
Although this is the traditional use of these drinks, they are also consumed as a thirst quencher by people who love the taste and the energy boost they get after just a few sips, she added.
The exact composition of these workout energy drinks varies by brand, but Dr. Scott Jerome, asport cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, noted that they often contain a blend of caffeine, green tea extract, guarana (which is like a natural form of caffeine) and taurine (which supports the heart and brain and can help with nerve growth) .
The amount of each additive is usually not specified on the label, but most of these drinks advertise that they contain around 200 milligrams of caffeine. For reference, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. So you get a lot more energy after drinking one.
What are these drinks for?
Workout energy drinks claim to provide a competitive edge that leads to improved energy levels, metabolism, body composition and athletic performance, Laing said. All in all, they boast about making you a better athlete during your training.
People who use them for a workout boost typically drink them 30-60 minutes before exercise to give the ingredients time to kick in fully.
Do these drinks really work?
Yes and no. The high caffeine content may mean you’ll have a bit more energy during a run or weightlifting session, Jerome said, but any claims of increased weight loss probably aren’t accurate. The weight loss comes from the actual workout, not the drink.
Additionally, Laing said that although many of the ingredients found in these drinks – such as antioxidants, amino acids, creatine, vitamins and minerals – are linked to improved athletic performance in adults, “the amounts of these ingredients vary widely from product to product and likely won’t offer much benefit beyond what an overall nutritious diet provides.
She noted that you can get your daily dose of these ingredients by eating protein-rich foods, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. And a balanced diet will fully fuel your training.
“Pre-workout drinks can be expensive and are not necessarily more beneficial than whole foods when it comes to supporting athletic performance,” Laing added.
Plus, these whole foods don’t have any risk factors, unlike workout drinks.
There are heart health risks for those who consume these beverages.
According to Jerome, these energy-training energy drinks increase heart rate and blood pressure, making it a risky drink for many people, especially someone who suffers from high blood pressure or has a history of high blood pressure. heart problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure could lead to dysrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm) or atrial fibrillation, which can cause blood clots in the heart.
These problems don’t just occur in older people with heart problems. Young people have also reported problems after drinking these drinks. A few years ago, a 26-year-old man suffered a heart attack after drinking several energy drinks in one day and people reported on TikTok that they had heart problems after drinking it for an extended period of time..
“From a heart point of view, it’s not great,” Jerome said.
And there are other risk factors as well.
Beyond heart problems, these drinks are also linked to other worrying problems.
“Adverse effects from pre-workout drinks could occur in those who consume more than the suggested amount, if they take other performance-enhancing supplements, or if the ingredients in the pre-workout drink interact negatively with their medications,” a Laing said. It is therefore important to keep this in mind before drinking a workout drink.
If you’re going to drink one, stick to the serving size and take a minute to consider whether any medication you’re taking might be negatively affected by this drink.
Laing added that you should also keep the caffeine content in mind when deciding on one of these drinks. “A A limit of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is recommended for most adults,” Laing said. So just one of these drinks is half of your daily caffeine intake.
When you consume too much caffeine, you can face disrupted sleep and increased stress, Laing said.
Even if you weigh these risk factors, keep in mind that you can get the nutrients these drinks claim to provide elsewhere — through vegetables, whole grains, fruits and more.
Diet and exercise remain the best ways to achieve what energy drinks promise, Jerome noted. And, while some of his patients use these drinks, Jerome says he doesn’t recommend them.
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