The Truth About Pre Workout Supplements & How They Hurt Your Gains

If  you want to age like a tomato in the sun, get old faster, acquire more wrinkles, dry skin, have more fat (especially on your stomach and waist), and less muscle I urge you to keep drinking common pre workout supplements.  Pre workout supplements for women and men will make all of the above happen faster.  Yes, you can achieve more wrinkles to your face simply by drinking a pre workout supplement every day.  And yes if you want to increase your risk of breast cancer as well, no problem,  keep drinking that cherry lemonade flavored pre workout.

What you are about to read is controversial.  It will go against everything you have read.  Supplement companies will hate me for writing this article because it affects their profits which in turn affects their livelihoods.  This article will anger a lot of you reading this and you’ll be compelled to tell me how “full of shit” I am.  That is because nobody likes to hear the truth.  For example, if you were fat and I called you fat you’re going to get mad and insulted.  But if you had a six pack and I called you fat you’re not going to get angry because it is completely untrue.

This is basic psychology 101.  People only get angry when they hear the truth about themselves and they don’t want to admit it.  If you’re lazy and are not working and I called you a bum you’re going to get made because it is the truth.  You know it is the truth.  You know if you don’t’ work and you’re fully capable of working 40, 50 hours a week and you’re playing video games all day, you know it’s true. If you are working 50 hours a week and I called you lazy bum, you would not care one bit.  It’s not the truth.  The truth hurts.

Untruthful, Exaggerated, and Illegal Claims

The truth is that the supplement industry since the invention of the supplement category “Pre Workout” has convinced the masses that they need pre workout in order to get the best workout possible and you need it to actually workout.  If you don’t use a pre workout supplement before you workout than you simply cannot workout.  God forbid you don’t drink a pre workout supplement, you’ll die!  And to make matter worse some supplement companies have actually convinced women that they have made a pre workout supplement especially tailored for them.  Approximately 10,000 women Google, “best pre workout for women” a month.  The results Google shows for best pre workout for women are staggering.  You can find literally dozens of pre workout supplements for women all promising to:

  1. ignite fat loss
  2. improve your mood
  3. boost your motivation
  4. reduce stress hormones
  5. strengthen endurance
  6. and of course are safe

Plus whatever else their marketing team can come up with….

Legally speaking these are all drug claims.  But the supplement companies do not care.  For they know the FTC cannot catch all of them.  Legally a supplement company cannot make the claim that a product can do something like a drug can, like improve your mood, reduce cortisol, strengthen you,  unless they literally had a scientific study validating that their supplement, not the ingredient in the supplement,  improved the mood of the subjects.  A lot of times a class action lawsuit arises from supplement companies making claims about their product.  Here is a supplement company getting sued for making a claim with their L-Glutamine supplements.  And these illegal claims is what has given rise to the popularity of pre workout supplements.  Unfortunately what the supplement companies do not tell you is that all of their ingredients in their pre workout supplements are weak and/or do not work.  Most of them are underdosed and are worthless.

Check to see if any of these worthless supplements are in your pre workout:

  1. HMB
  2. L-carnitine
  3. BCAA’s
  4. CLA
  5. Vitamin B or C
  6. taurine
  7. tyrosine
  8. choline
  9. L-Glutamine

None of the ingredients above will give you results.  These ingredients have literally been around for over 30 years and they have NEVER been proven to show noticeable results.  Of course, the supplement companies will try to convince you otherwise.  The studies behind HMB are amazing.  However, in the real world, ever since HMB came out in the mid-’90s, it has never worked for anyone.   In fact, I’m not the only one that thinks HMB is worthless.  Simply taking a whey protein powder before you workout will be better than all of the ingredients I just mentioned.  These ingredients are worthless and you are just pissing your money away when you consume them.  They do not have any effect on your body, good or bad with the exception of maybe turning your urine fluorescent green and yellow.  There is one ingredient in most pre workout supplements that does cause a serious effect on your body and that ingredient is caffeine.

The Real Problem:  Caffeine

Caffeine is a drug. The supplement companies make their pre workout supplements with caffeine because people can feel it working, it’s an old marketing trick.  When people feel it giving them the jitters they think the supplement is “working”, therefore it MUST work!!  It’s psychology 101 marketing scheme.  Make them (consumer) feel it working and they’ll think it is working.  “My pre workout makess me stronger!!  I can feel it working!!”.

Check out these reviews I found on  You’ll notice they all have one word in common, “works”

Caffeine is bad.  It is addicting, and most of the world is hooked on it.  I will present a case to you that will hopefully convince you to toss your pre workout with caffeine because it will age you, make you fat, wrinkle your skin, and increase your risk of cancer.  Last time I checked, most women don’t want to look older and you surely do not want to increase your risk of breast cancer.

Stress Will Kill You

I’m sure you have heard of this quote before, “stress will kill you”.   Without question, you’ll live a shorter life if you are stressed out all the time.  Not only that but you’ll look like shit.  I found this article on Women’s Health and the evidence is overwhelming what stress will do to you.

  1. baldness
  2. neck and back pain
  3. Irritable bowel syndrome
  4. Tension
  5. Lung Problems
  6. Skin Problems

The side effects of caffeine and the above problems are caused by the body releasing the catabolic hormone cortisol, when caffeine is consumed.  Carolyn Aldwin, director of  the Center for Healthy Aging Research at Oregon State University, stated this.  “There are a number of ways chronic stress can kill you,” says Aldwin. That includes increased levels of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.”

Seems common sense to me that you do not want to be stressed out in life.  One should take the necessary precautionary steps to avoid stress thereby reducing the body’s duration that it maintains elevated cortisol levels.  One of the best ways to avoid stress and “decompress” is to exercise.  However just don’t take a pre workout with caffeine before exercise, not a very smart idea.

Increased Levels Of Cortisol Leads To Unfavorable results.  

When you’re stressed out the body releases cortisol.  It is the bodies own way of protecting itself.  It is a survival mechanism.  Let’s say you’re walking down a dark alley late at night and someone sneaks up behind you with a knife and says, “I’m going to kill you!!”.  Immediately the body skyrockets its cortisol levels, your adrenaline kicks in and you start running like you have never run before, so fast you’d probably win an Olympic gold medal.  However after you have escaped the serial killer, the body returns to normal by lowering cortisol levels.

Elevated cortisol levels are meant to protect the body from stress and dangerous threats, but it is not meant to occur often on a daily basis or artificially elevated.  If one does that consistently through mental anguish or with the use of drugs or supplements, serious negative consequences will occur as proven by the statement, “Stress will kill you”.   When you’re scared, nervous and have anxiety your cortisol levels will be elevated.  If you are constantly putting the body in a constant state of elevated cortisol levels, you’re not going to be too happy with what will happen to your appearance.

Cortisol and Weight Gain. 

The best pre workout for weight loss is not one that contains caffeine.  Cortisol won’t help your weight loss goals.  Not only that but it will make matters worse.  And I’m not the only person who will tell you this.  Jillian Michaels said the same thing.

I took this from her website.

Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas, like your butt and hips, and move it to your abdomen which has more cortisol receptors. Hello ab flab! In the process, it turns once–healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat (the fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs) that increases inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes — yet another vicious cycle created by visceral fat.

Cortisol and Your Muffin Top.

Ahh, we all love the Muffin Top.  You know the fat that oozes out and over your leggings where your stomach is?  Well, if you want to get rid of it you’ll need to keep your cortisol levels in check.  Why?  Dr. Sara Gottried said on her website said this.

“…fat cells in the belly have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells elsewhere, so you just keep reinforcing the muffin top as your cortisol climbs and stays high. It’s not pretty.”

Cortisol and Aging

Cortisol is called the Death Hormone.  Why?  Because as you get older, cortisol increases.  Dr. Perricone on his website Forever Young stated this…

Cut out the coffee. We know, we know—that’s a painful thought for many of us, but coffee contains a number of organic acids that affect blood sugar and cortisol levels.

If you want to simply look older no problem..cortisol can do that for you.  Check out this study

I think I presented a very good case that cortisol will make you ugly, age faster, and keep the weight on.  If you’re not convinced then I don’t know what will.  I now move on to the relationship between caffeine and cortisol.  And the simple fact is…..

Caffeine Increases The Hormone Cortisol!

It is a fact that caffeine increases the hormone cortisol in the body.

Yes, caffeine increases cortisol when you consume it.

This is sometimes good and sometimes it is bad.  Good when you’re running for your life from an angry grizzley bear and bad if you are looking to stay young, have more muscle and less fat, and have nicer looking skin.  Cortisol is a catabolic hormone.

To make matters worse, most people drink coffee in the morning, which could actually double the cortisol effects.  Check out this study.  There is a phenomenon called the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) that results in an approximate 50% increase in cortisol upon awakening.

Pre Workout Supplements With Caffeine

A brief history

Pre workout supplements were invented when a product called Ultimate Orange hit the market in the early 90’s.   It was invented by a supplement guru named Dan Duchaine who actually knew what he was doing when it came to making good supplement products that actually were beneficial.  What he did with Ultimate Orange was create a powder that had fast digesting carbs, hydrolyzed whey protein powder, and ephedra.  I theorize that he knew that consuming ephedra would just be like giving yourself a drug, which does not help increase muscle whatsoever.  In fact, it would be catabolic, not anabolic.  So he added carbs which would spike one’s insulin (very anabolic), and then added hydrolyzed whey protein which is also insulinotropic (very anabolic as well).    Not only that but he made it orange flavor as he knew that the bitterness coming from the hydrolyzed whey protein would not work with chocolate or vanilla, but orange would work great.  It was a great formula and people we’re seeing great results because they were putting their body in an anabolic or anti-catabolic state with the use of Ultimate Orange.

Below is an original ad that was used to sell Ultimate Orange.  If you read the ad you’ll see how he started with carbs and protein for a pre workout.  RIP Dan Duchaine a true supplement guru.

About a decade after Ultimate Orange hit the market, a product called Jack3d came out with an illegal ingredient called DMAA.  DMAA was a stimulant like ephedra but was never approved for use by the FDA.  Consumers started to use Jack3d, which was essentially powdered DMAA with some other insignificant ingredients to make it look like a sports nutrition supplement, but in reality, in my opinion, all it was was powdered DMAA.  People got extreme jitters from it.  After a year or so, a few unlucky people experienced some significant side effects, like heart problems and the FDA shut down sales of products containing DMAA.

Sales of DMAA of course plummeted and so did the profits of all the supplement companies.  So they quickly had to scramble to save profits, and they simply added caffeine in place of DMAA.  Did it give you the level of jitters that DMAA did?  No, but that did not matter.  Simply toss in 200-300mg of caffeine and people will still get wired.  A product called ABB speed stack has 300mg of caffeine.  I took the supplement facts info off of their website.    Looks like they put 150mg of synthetic caffeine and the rest is coming from the guarana and green tea and possibly some in the cocoa extract as well.  On a side note what a krappy product.  In my opinion, not only will the caffeine work wonders on your body, but the artificial sweeteners and artificial colors will really up your chances of getting cancerBlue #1 is a really terrible ingredient.

Coffee is big business and so are pre workout supplements for women

Coffee is big business.   You’re naive if you think the big coffee corporations are not going to try to sell you coffee for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  For every fiscal quarter, they need to show a profit and upwards guidance, for example, Starbucks.  If Starbucks does poorly with sales, guess what happens to the stock?  It plummets!  And guess what happens to the CEO, CFO, and other officers in the company?  They lose money, and I’m not talking about $20.00.  I’m talking literally millions of dollars!  Same goes for the big corporations that sell pre workout supplements for women and men.  Corporations like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe, both are public companies.  They need to sell product, and trust me when I tell you they are not going to let anyone stop them by writing an article like this.

The Pre Workout Craze Continues

Pre workout supplements and “energy” drinks are very popular.  Monster Energy, Red Bull, 5 hour energy, and a thousand others are marketed to help you with your workout or perform better.  There is absolutely no difference between drinking a Monster Drink and drinking a pre workout supplement powder with caffeine.  They both contain caffeine.

If you need a pre workout supplement to train, then you are addicted to caffeine.  Not only that but you need to take a close look at your diet and your lifestyle.  Every day your body should be recharged after a good night’s sleep.  The human body is fully capable of waking up and training with drugging itself with caffeine.

Nowadays people are caffeinating themselves throughout the day which puts them on something called the Cortisol Train, which was coined by another author I found online.   The Cortisol train is when one has an elevated cortisol level throughout the day.

The Cortisol Train

Look at the graphic below.  Do you ride the cortisol train every day?  Are you drinking coffee in the morning, and then drinking a pre workout supplement before you workout?  Are you drinking what you think is the best pre workout for cardio everytime you train?  If so, I’d recommend you get off the train at the next stop.  If you do, you can probably start your path to looking younger, having more attractive skin, and having less fat and more muscle.  If you ride the Cortisol Train, your cortisol levels are elevated throughout the entire day.  If you are wondering why you can’t lose your belly fat or why you cannot lose weight or gain muscle this is probably the reason why.  (BTW I did not include stress in this graphic.  For example, what if you had a bad day at work, relationship problems, financial problems, sickness, etc.  this would make matters even worse!)

best pre workout supplement

The Testosterone Train

If you finally decide to get off the Cortisol Train, you want to jump on Testosterone Train.  The Testosterone Train is a train that carries passengers that are not stressed out or hyped up on caffeine.  They are relaxed, cool, and healthy.  They know that consuming protein powder throughout the day will increase muscle protein synthesis and is used as an anabolic aid.  The direct opposite of a catabolic aid, such as caffeine.

The goal is to be anabolic throughout the day and while you sleep, not catabolic.  Once you understand and practice being in an anabolic state instead of a catabolic state, you will start to reach your body goals quickly.

best pre workout for weight loss

Click here for more information on anabolic and anti-catabolic.

Things To Do To Be Anabolic Instead of Catabolic

  1. Get off the caffeine.
    1. eliminate coffee.
    2. eliminate pre workout supplements with caffeine.
    3. eliminate energy drinks.
  2. Increase your protein intake.
  3. Decrease the stress in your life.j

What To Use Instead of Caffeinated Pre Workout Supplements

  1.  Tectanic Red for better pumps and more strength

If I have convinced you not to use caffeinated pre workout supplements, and you’re wondering what you can use in it’s place my first recommendation is Tectanic Red.  Tectanic Red is a beetroot powder pre workout supplement that does not contain caffeine.  It is 100% beetroot powder that contains 25X more inorganic nitrates than regular beetroot powder.  You can use this about 1 hour before you workout.

Tectanic Red – Pre Workout Powder

2.  Capsimax for more strength and higher metabolism.

If you want to burn more fat and have increased strength you can use our Capsimax.  At a cost of only $15.00 per bottle, which is about a 2 month supply you just cannot go wrong.  Capsimax is a great product for weight loss and overall health.  It is one of the only products I recommend for a  fat loss supplement.

Capsicum Extract 150 mg | 100% Capsimax®

3.  If you want to use something like Dan Duchaine created with Ultimate Orange all you need to do is get something like dextrose and maltodextrin and combine it with my Hydrolyzed whey protein 520.

4. If you’re a baby about taste and need something to taste like candy, here is something for you.

Go out and buy Pomegranate Juice, or Cranberry Juice.  Add in 1 tbs of Peptopro per 16 oz.  Drink pre workout with a capsule of Capsimax.

Would you take an anabolic steroid or a catabolic steroid?

If I were to take a heavy dose of anabolic steroids I can surely promise you that I am going to grow muscle.  Whether it is 5 lbs of muscle or 20 lbs of muscle depends on the steroid I am using and the dose I’m taking it.  Some of these steroids have brand names like Primobolan, Winstrol, Anadrol, and Sustanon 250.  Steroids are ANABOLIC, you take them you grow muscle.  The direct opposite of anabolic is CATABOLIC.  Some catabolic steroid names are dexamethason and prednisone.  Do you know what the side effects of these two catabolic steroids are?  There are a bunch but the ones I’d like to highlight are weight gain and muscle breakdown.

Now I ask you.  If you wanted to grow some muscle and reduce your body fat, which steroid would you take?  An anabolic steroid or a catabolic steroid?  Now I follow up with the question, why on Earth would you consume caffeine if its a fact that it increases catabolic hormones in your body?  The answer is clear.  It just does not make any sense to consume a compound that is catabolic.