Recently, I’ve been asked by quite a few CFA athletes about my recommendations on “pre-workout” supplements. Considering CFA has carried (up until today) these types of supplements from a well trusted company in the CrossFit world, we’ve had to get honest about whether I believe these supplements are contributing towards our athletes’ wellness, or if these products are low hanging fruit distracting us from what will really bring about the results we are seeking from our pursuit of fitness.
With that said, I believe it’s important to remember that everyone is looking for ways to ease the sting of working hard meet their goals. This isn’t a knock on any particular person’s fiber or willingness to make sacrifices, but the reality is, if you offer something that promises and easier route towards your destination, then you will inevitably will get a lot of love and attention.
I believe the “pre-workout” supplement industry is predicated on this. If you constantly stay up late binging on Netflix, skip good opportunities to train, don’t eat “clean,” and the only water you’ve consumed has been saturated with barley, then pre-workout supplements are only going to contribute to the inevitable crash in the effectiveness of your training that is coming for you.
However, the exception to this is if you feel like you’re in a situation where using a pre-workout can do exactly what it’s designed to do, which is SUPPLEMENT what you already have done to get the tank to be as full as possible, then go for it! Sometimes, our need to perform in the moment will take over our need to stay true to what we know will produce long term health, but I believe those moments are few and far between.
If you feel like you’ve underperformed in your training, consider it a great opportunity to diagnose your commitment to the things that are vitally important in your fitness, not to scramble for shortcuts that only add to the problem.