Pre-workout Supplements: Good, Bad and Ugly

Next Level Podcast with Host Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LD

Tavis Piattoly- Podcast

Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LDN
Host and Presenter
Sports Dietitian 
Co-founder of My Sports Dietitian

Pre-Workout supplements have been a popular topic among young athletes looking to gain a competitive edge in order to improve strength and power. The combination of multiple ingredients, especially those containing a combination of stimulants poses a concern on the safety of their use in athletes under the age of 18. Since there is no regulation on the safety of these products, high school and college athletes have easy access to several products that are on the banned substance list for the NFL, MLB, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Click Here>>Download Pre-Workout Product List

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The lack of knowledge of the supplement store staff.
  • How a 15 year old with 4 surgeries to get his heart beating correctly was recommended a stimulant?
  • Overview of the supplement industry.
  • Red Flags with looking at Dietary Supplements.
  • How do companies make the products look very attractive?
  • What is a Proprietary Blend?
  • Extensive Product Review of the most popular Pre-Workout Supplements on the market.
  • Rating of each product as Good, Bad, and Ugly.

Product Review Criteria

Good

  • Product is certified through a 3rd party testing agency and is free of banned substances
  • Product has a good ingredient profile that is based on the scientific literature
  • Product uses quality raw materials
  • Product lacks significant use of stimulants

Bad

  • Product lacks sufficient ingredient profile based on the scientific literature
  • Product is over-priced based on ingredient profile
  • Product is not 3rd party tested

Ugly

  • Product contains an ingredient on the banned substance list
  • Product has a poor ingredient profile that lacks scientific data
  • Product may pose as a health risk to the consumer Download Handout: Great to Post on Locker Room Bulletin Board

Links and Resourced Mentioned in This Episode

In order to determine if the products you are taking are certified by a 3rd party agency, you can visit any of the following sites:

Podcast Transcript

0:20  Welcome by Tavis Piattoly

1:00  Review of Supplements

  • There are 75,000 supplements on the market.
  • The goal is to educate high school and college athletes on the dangers and benefits of supplements.
  • Have a question?  Go to speakpipe.com/asktavis 

4:30  How a 15 year old with 4 surgeries to get his heart beating correctly was recommended a stimulant?

  • History of cardiac history and struggling with energy.
  • Athletes tend to reach for a pill or powder rather than diet for energy. 
  • Walks into a supplement store with his parents who tell the store staff about his condition.
  • He is sold a product with caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Why are people selling supplements in a store with no knowledge?

6:15  The lack of knowledge of the supplement store staff.

  • Many times employees are young, have little or NO education with the goal of selling a product.
  • Kids come in with $300 worth of product, I send them back to the store to return $260 worth of product.  I tell them to keep the protein powder but the rest is a waste of money.
  • Supplement industry is doing some great things to market their products to make you think it’s good.
  • People are wasting their money on supplements.

7:35  Overview of the supplement industry.

  • There are good ingredients and good products out there.
  • Pre workout supplements tend to be stimulant based.
  • Lack of regulation in supplements. 
  • Nothing is done about supplements, unless something happens.
  • Allows companies to produce products as long as they don’t say it treats, cures or prevents disease.  It’s so easy.
  • Movie: Bigger, stronger, faster 

13:50  Red Flags with looking at Dietary Supplements.

  • World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
  • Look for things that are on the prohibited substance list.
  • Avoid products that are made by companies that handle substances that are prohibited in sport.

16:20  How do companies make the products look very attractive?

  • Supplement companies do a great job of marketing their products by including language like weight loss, sexual enhancement, energy and muscle building.
  • Muscle building products may contain anabolic agents, hormones, aromatase inhibitors (blocks body from breaking down testosterone).
  • Weight loss supplements may contain stimulants, diuretics and other drugs.
  • Companies make a fancy attractive container with cool names and studies on it to market products as the next best thing since sliced bread.
  • Watch out for ingredients that end with the letters -ol, -diol, -stene, or numbers that could be linked to a steroid.  It’s really hard to keep up with if you’re not a chemist or biochemist to truly know the breakdown of the supplement.
  • Avoid any products that claim to treat, cure or prevent a disease.  It is illegal for dietary supplements to promote themselves by making such claims.
  • Avoid products with these claims: Newest scientific breakthrough, secret formula, money back guarantee, quick fix, used for hundreds of thousands of years or, what the experts don’t want you to know.  It’s just impressive scientific jargon to get you to buy something.
  • Be aware of false marketing based on studies that show no performance benefit.  The FDA does not have the manpower to keep track of everything.
  • Watch out for claims that the product is an alternative to a prescription medication.
  • Be skeptical of clinical studies with images of doctors.  When a doctor endorses a product, it usually means that they have some sort of financial gain.  Doctors receive very little nutrition education.  They are not dietitians, nutritionists or experts in the supplement industry.
  • Avoid products containing herbals or all natural ingredients. They are insignificant at the end of day depending on the goal of the individual.  
  • Avoid complicated products with tons of ingredients.
  • Be aware of products that have not been tested by a qualified third party.  Testing demonstrates that the company cares about their product. They want to market to college and pro athletes who get tested regularly for banned substances, so it needs to be a clean product.
  • Watch out for products that have a lot of adverse events associated with them.  Supplement companies are required by law to report any serious adverse events with their products to the FDA.  Athletes should research any filings with the FDA.  Go to FDA.gov or see supplement 411 which was developed by the US anti-doping association to help athletes identify supplements that may be contaminated with prohibited substances.
  • Be wary of proprietary blends.

22:23  What is a Proprietary Blend?

  • Companies do this because they don’t want you to know what is in their product.  In my opinion, it is a cheap way for companies to hide the formula.
  • Proprietary blends are not secret formulas.  It usually just means that there are not enough ingredients in the product to see a benefit.  Companies can use cheap and poor quality ingredients, but still charge a lot of money for it.  The profit margin is huge.
  • A blend of ingredients with the first ingredient representing the highest content.

30:30  Rating of each product as Good, Bad, and Ugly.

Product Review Criteria:

Good

  • Product is certified through a 3rd party testing agency and is free of banned substances
  • Product has a good ingredient profile that is based on the scientific literature
  • Product uses quality raw materials
  • Product lacks significant use of stimulants

Bad

  • Product lacks sufficient ingredient profile based on the scientific literature
  • Product is overpriced based on ingredient profile
  • Product is not 3rd party tested

Ugly

  • Product contains an ingredient on the banned substance list
  • Product has a poor ingredient profile that lacks scientific data
  • Product may pose as a health risk to the consumer 

33:35  Extensive Product Review of the most popular Pre-Workout Supplements on the market.

Good (8)

  • Amino Impact and Amino Impact Fit made by Koach Sport and Nutrition
    • contains 5g of creatine, 2.5 beta alanine, 8g of a branched chain amino acid mix with glutamine.
  • Muscle Forms a Salt
    • 5g of creatine, 2.2g of beta alanine, 3:1:2 branched chain amino acid ratio (3g leucine, 1g isoleucine and 2g valine).
  • TwinLab Klean Series: Pre Workout Activator
  • Pre-Workout Ignitor by Mark Nutrition
    • 6.6g proprietary blend of branched chain amino acids
  • Betagen by EAS
    • Contains 1g HMB, 2g creatine
  • Herculin MRF-4 by Eight Ball Nutrition
    • Proprietary blend containing 13g of creatine, leucine and beta alanine.
  • Mass Impact by Advocare
    • 3g creatine, 2g leucine
  • Pre-Workout by Surgex
    • 8.5g proprietary blend of whey protein, creatine and beta alanine.

Decent (3)

  • Pump HD by BPI Sports
    • 2g creatinine, 1g beta alanine, 1g leucine
    • NOT third party tested: not recommended for college or pro athlete
  • Nano Vapor by Muscletech 
    • Not third party tested
  • NeuroCore by Muscletech

Bad (7)

  • 1MR by BPI Sports
    • Low dose formula with no noticeable benefit
  • Essential Amin.o. Energy by Optimum Nutrition
    • Formula is extremely poor
  • Jack3D Micro
    • No performance benefit
  • Purple Wraath by Controlled Labs
  • The Curse! by Cobra Labs
  • Hyper FX by BSN
  • Beast Mode by Beast Sports Nutrition

Ugly (4)

  • Contain stimulants on the banned substance list.  An athlete will test positive for synephrine.
  • C4 Extreme by Cellucor  
    • Insufficient ingredients and poorly formulated
  • Craze by Driven Sports
    • Poorly designed product
    • Possibly spiked with synthetic stimulant drugs
  • Hemo Rage by Nutrex
  • Bullnox (B-NOX) by Betancourt Nutrition

58:30  Closing remarks

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

In order to determine if the products you are taking are certified by a 3rd party agency, you can visit any of the following sites:

 

 

Download Eat 2 Win Nutrition App