You know about them. You may have even used them. I have definitely used them, and I’ve even been that guy to mix them with a fizzy energy drink for that extra boost… right to the toilet (caffeine makes you poop if you didn’t know).
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A worthy addition to your supplement stack or a reason to shut the shakers before you shake and shout your way to the ER? As you’ll come to learn in a minute or two, no matter how much you may dislike these products, they’ve taken over the supplement world by storm.
Personally, I do like them. I don’t use one – maybe once or twice a year.
I am, however, going to put away any bias I may or may not have as we look at some pre-workout supplement statistics.
Growth of Pre-Workout Supplements
The world has really seen a boom in supplement sales. Not only that, but with the introduction of Instagram fitness business opportunities, the fitness community has burst wide open. This is partly due to the fact that these niches are big enough that you can make money off of them now.
Need a pre-workout for high-intensity workouts? It’s there. Pre’s for CrossFit? Yup. How about a nootropic pre for gamers? You bet your World of Warcraft account exists!
- If my little rant above didn’t convince you, have a lookie here. In 2019 alone, the pre-workout supplement market size was a whopping $12.6 billion! If this continues to grow (at a CAGR of 8.3%), it’s expected to reach $23.8 million by 2027. Yikes.
- Which country consumes more pre than any other? Well, the US rises above the rest, to no one’s surprise. As mentioned before, this is partly due to health and fitness increasing in popularity in the past couple of years. Demand for health clubs has grown more than 10% in recent years. At the end of 2018, 6% of the American population was already involved with a health club.
- Many believe that using a supplement is a must. However, those in the know… know that you shouldn’t “need” anything. That said, the FDA has pointed out that three out of every four Americans already use a supplement regularly.
- The most accessible (and tasty, depending on who you ask) nutritional supplements would have to be fizzy energy drinks. To date, 70% of young adults consume some form of nutritional supplement.
- Try as we may, we still haven’t beaten moms pumping the family full of multivitamins. 30% of young adults are regularly consuming these energy-boosting supplements, and this is only overshadowed by multivitamin use.
Yeah, if it weren’t perfectly clear before, you should begin to realize by now that the world is being taken over by these supplements. Most people use them because they’re convenient, but there are some who use them because it’s a trend.
Unfortunately, you still need to put in a ton of work to actually make progress – not a magic pill yet.
Strength and Improved Performance Are Driving Consumer Demands
We all wanna be better, right? But what if that want is pretty darn big?
What if you want to be so much better than everyone else that you’re almost willing to do anything? Even willing to consume 1,3,7-Trimethylpurine-2,6-dione?! Chill, that’s the IUPAC ID for caffeine.
- How much do consumers actually know, seeing as the term above probably caused you some concern? Well, only 24.6% of protein users reported being quite knowledgeable about the subject of protein supplementation. In total, only 26.7% of pre-workout users reported being extremely knowledgeable about pre-workout supplements.
- Does it make a difference? Or is the placebo effect real? Only about 33.3% of users reported that they believed the supplement in question (pre-workout) made them stronger, and only 30% believed it made them faster. Truth is, the pre-workout doesn’t make the workout – you still have to train pretty hard. Even then, the positive boosts are only marginal and depend entirely on which one you use.
- On the other hand, we know (from studies) that protein supplementation makes a huge difference, whether it be helping you reach your protein mark for the day or combatting muscle loss. That said, only 34.4% of protein supplement users believed it was “moderately” helpful in helping them improve their strength. 19.7% believed it would help them improve their speed (then why buy it?).
- Well, after studying 492 participants, performance enhancement was reported to be the main reason for using pre-workouts in 61.4% of users.
- But what does the science say (you’re, hopefully, asking)? What happens when you put pen to paper on these powders? Well, a study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Resistance in 2012 found that – compared to the placebo group – men who use caffeine supplements could deadlift, bench-press, and use heavier weights overall. And even though caffeine resistance is a real thing, both runners and rowers have been studied and found that caffeine does seem to increase their aerobic capacity.
So, there are real benefits! And caffeine is seen as a low level of ingredients. Most people see caffeine as non-essential. The truth is there are other ingredients, like nitric oxide boosters, that could improve your workouts way more. That said, caffeine is still LOADED in these products.
Caffeine Is a Primary Ingredient in Pre-Workouts
Pop over most pre-workout containers, and you’ll be met with a myriad of different ingredients. Pump boosters like citrulline malate. Nootropics like Alpha GPC. Stimulants like caffeine.
That last one is probably the only one you know, and it’s also the one most pre-workouts will have within. The FDA has reported that 400mg of caffeine doesn’t really have any side effects, and you only really start noticing dangerous effects at a much larger dose of 1200mg.
- Some theorize that if caffeine were to be discovered today, it would be banned from sports immediately because it’s too strong. It has positive effects on the central nervous system (CNS). These effects include reducing fatigue and perception of fatigue and even improving fat loss by stimulating fatty acid oxidation. Remember, before coffee became a widespread consumable, most people drank beer daily. Caffeine is, in part, responsible for the massive development of the human race in the past few years.
- While there are outliers, most pre-workout supplements have a range of 150 – 300mg of caffeine per serving. For reference, an espresso has 64mg of caffeine, and a cup of coffee has 95mg (8 fl oz). A can of Red Bull has 111mg, and a can of Coke has 34mg. So, unless you misuse these products massively, you’re pretty safe.
- Of course, there are those that need to give you a little more. More jitters, more plates, and more dates. So, that’s exactly what some supplement companies are doing by creating stronger and more potent pre-workouts, some containing 400mg per single serving.
- But what if you want even more? What if the average amount just ain’t gonna cut it? You work a 12-hour shift under your crappy boss, and now you need to go squat 600 pounds for several sets, all while your gym crush talks to another guy. Been there, buddy. For you, perhaps the pre-workouts that contain a whopping 500mg of caffeine per single serving are the solution. It’s not clear whether that would be a good idea for your digestive tract, but the products do exist. Might I suggest combining that monstrosity with a dose of Metalcore?
Be safe. You’re an adult, and you (hopefully) look for oncoming cars before you cross the road. Don’t do anything stupid, and don’t start with the strongest one! Start with a pre that has zero caffeine to see if you even need caffeine. If you do, increase the strength slowly.
Does Pre-Workout Actually Work?
Yes, pre-workout works. That said, it isn’t a magic pill that’ll make your workout amazing every time, and it certainly won’t give you the results that some influencers might have you believe.
Certain ingredients – like those below – are very good, however:
- Nitric oxide boosters will increase the amount of nitrogen in the blood, which will act as a vasodilator. This means bigger veins, meaning more oxygen to the muscles. It also means a way nicer pump.
- Nootropics are a new addition to most pre-workouts, but the choline-based ingredients are certainly going to help you focus.
- The stimulants… are going to do what stimulants do best: stimulate the heck out of you.
Taking everything into consideration, yes, there are various studies to show that these ingredients can help. Just make sure you avoid products that use pixie-dusting as a means to sell you a crappy product.
Pixie dusting is when a company will say, “CONTAINS THIS!” and then it doesn’t contain nearly enough to make a difference. Or they’ll put a product in that doesn’t make sense.
A prime example of this is creatine – for both. The dose is usually 5 grams, and most pre-workouts give you 1, maybe 2 grams.
Then, there’s the question of why? Creatine takes a while to absorb, and no study has EVER found that creatine dose timing makes a difference. See what I mean?
Does Pre-Workout Really Make a Difference?
It depends on what you mean by “difference.” First, you need to check a few boxes, such as ensuring you’re:
- Getting the right nutrition and hydration
- Destressing as much as you possibly can
- Sleeping as much as possible
- Using the right amount of volume
If you pass all of these with flying colors, then yes, pre-workouts will make a big difference. These are the basics, and they’ll determine the results … not “Russian Energy 5000.”
Fitness is a collection of actions coming together to create something bigger than each attribute on its own. So drowning a poor sleep schedule in caffeine ain’t gonna do much, my friend.
That said, here are some ingredients that will make a difference, even if you are a bit messy with your basics:
- Citrulline malate is known to increase nitric oxide in the blood, more so than arginine. This means you can use citrulline to help increase blood flow and even reduce blood pressure.
- Creatine is always a win and is the most tested supplement on the planet. This leads to more ATP in the body, which means more energy and strength.
- Any aholine-based ingredient will improve cognitive abilities significantly.
- If you’re someone who doesn’t mind the tingles, beta-alanine is known as a buffer against lactic acid. This means a longer time to exhaustion, and you can train longer for harder.
These are the root basics of a good pre. Throw some caffeine in there, and you have yourself a party – a deadlift party. Still, don’t use the biggest and strongest one right off the bat. Start small and find your own limitations before you find yourself running to the toilet.
Again, caffeine makes you poop. So, here’s a word of advice: don’t take an ungodly amount of caffeine, and then try for a deadlift PR. Also, make sure you have an extra pair of shorts and undies on you at all times (for obvious reasons).
Jokes aside, supplements are meant to supplement an already good diet. In other words, spend your money on healthy food, a great gym membership, and a fantastic and comfortable bed, and then delve into supplements like Russian Energy 5000. That’s not a real thing, but it sounds sick!
Wonder how much caffeine it has?… Do you think it’s 5000?
Pre-Workout Supplement Statistics FAQ
How big is the pre-workout market?
The pre-workout market is significant, with a market size of $13.98 billion in 2020 according to Grand View Research. This market is expected to grow, reaching an estimated size of $23.77 billion by 2027.
What is the profit margin on pre-workout?
The profit margins in the pre-workout supplement market can range from 50% to 100%, according to Legion Athletics. This large range is due to the diversity of products available, each with their own unique ingredients, dosages, and price points.
Who is the target audience for pre-workout supplements?
It’s no surprise that pre-workout supplements are primarily consumed by athletes and bodybuilders. The market has also seen growth in usage among casual users seeking to improve their health and wellness, driven by factors such as heightened health awareness and rising disposable income.