Is Pre-Workout Bad For Your Heart? Precautions And More

Is Pre-Workout Bad for Your Heart? Precautions and More

Last Updated on October, 2022

You don’t NEED running shoes to run, but they help tremendously. That’s the best way to introduce pre-workouts.

But a problem persists — are they bad for your heart? 

So, we’re reviewing this relationship of pre-workouts extensively in this read to find the answer to that question. This is done while educating you in areas you might not be aware of.

As a result, and based on my recommendation, you’ll be able to make a decision.

What is a Pre-workout, and How Do They Work? What is it Not?

Pre workout supplement powder on a desk

A pre-workout is a supplement (PWS). The primary purpose of this supplement is to boost endurance, focus, and energy for a workout that usually comes in powder form.

So, how do pre-workouts work? 

They mainly increase the blood flow to muscles as you exercise. But, in addition, they increase the oxygen levels of muscles as well. 

What is it Not?

It’s completely different from a protein shake, BCAA, coffee, energy drinks, and even creatine.

Connection Between Pre-Workout and Your Heart

I told you how pre-workouts increase the blood flow while providing oxygen to boost your energy during a workout. What organ in your body controls that?

Your heart!

Your lungs need more blood to produce more oxygen, and more blood is directly pumped by your heart. So it’s a bit of a paradox because one component affects the other. (1)

So, yes, there is a direct connection between your pre-workout and your heart.

Ingredients Found in Pre-Workouts ( +Connection to Your Heart)

Caffeine Creatine & Beta Alanine

You’ll find several online blogs elaborating on each component extensively. But you’re here to know if pre-workouts can affect your heart. So, let’s see each ingredient keeping that primary purpose in mind.

I’m also telling you the connection of each ingredient to your heart.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the reason why some people say coffee is a good pre-workout. Studies have proven that caffeine increases energy, but it’s not coffee itself.

This Quora discussion on creatine Vs. Pre-workouts are a real-life example of that. But notice how those who recommend coffee, and even energy drinks, aren’t aware of the actual functionality of a pre-workout. 

Connection to the heart: Excessive caffeine increases blood pressure, and increased blood pressure attacks your heart in multiple ways. (2)

Tip: Consume a maximum of 400 mg daily while paying attention to the amount in a pre-workout scoop.

Creatine

You can consume creatine directly. But it’s much cheaper in the capacity of a pre-workout. In addition, since studies have proven that creatine accelerates muscle build, you’ll be able to lift more efficiently.

This Reddit thread is an excellent example of why you shouldn’t consume creatine as it is, and especially not in excessive doses.

Look at this study right here; it screams out how creatine supplements a failing heart.

Connection to your heart: Creatine directly affects the heart rate, coronary flow, and even ATP content.

Tip: Don’t consume excessive isolated amounts.

β-Alanine (Beta-Alanine)

Beta-Alanine is a well-known ergogenic compound. It is a physiological buffer, possesses antioxidant properties, influences enzyme regulation, and affects sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium regulation.

Antioxidation helps control muscle soreness and can lower the body’s oxidative stress level. The recommended daily dose is 1.5-5g.

But remember that you’d experience paraesthesia if you consumed higher doses.

Connection to the heart: Beta-Alanine increases the blood flow, and increases the working capacity.

BCAA

Studies have proven that BCAA (branched-chain amino acids), with amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, decreases muscle soreness and fatigue. Although, you should know that several other amino acids were also found in other supplements.

Would you believe if I said that BCAA resulted in sustainable cardiac growth in the active period as well? This study proves that. So, there’s more room for your heart to provide more energy.

Connection to the heart: BCAA increases the heart size during the active period allowing more room for blood flow.

These are the core ingredients to find in better pre-workouts. Apart from that, these are the others;

  • L-tyrosine
  • L-theanine
  • Acetyl l-carnitine
  • Vitamin B-6

In addition, there are no credible sources on ingredients that are potentially harmful to your heart. Everything depends on how you consume it. 

Are Pre-workouts Bad for Your Heart?

Pre workouts & Heart

Absolutely not! But what would happen if you kept drinking coffee all day for no reason? Wouldn’t that directly affect your heart? 

The majority of the complications with pre-workouts are due to irresponsible administration. Here’s a study that revealed how 54% of the people who had complications most likely consumed them wrong.

In addition, another study proved how excessive caffeine intake, that exceeds 300mg/day, increases the heart rate. 

So, on one side, it’s the dosage. But what is the other? Dry scooping. So, you should never consume the powder as it is.

In conclusion, they aren’t bad for your heart. They’re designed to push you to workout better.

Up next is one critical section, something even some pros get wrong.

Ideal Way to Consume (And Choose) Pre-Workouts

The word pre-workout is self-explanatory — you take them before the workout.

The problem is deciding how early, with what, and how much. Unless all three requirements are met perfectly, your pre-workout won’t live up to the expectations.

But let’s not forget the heart. I’m about to tell you how deciding on those three requirements affects your heart.

How early?

Pre-workouts work the best if they’re administered at least 30-60 minutes before you get on the treadmill.

With what?

Water, and water only. 

How much?

This depends on the ingredients in a scoop. But the usual recommendation is to go for one scoop per day.

But not all pre-workouts are the same. So, you need to know how to choose what suits you. For this, here are some of the major factors to consider.

  1. Your history of allergic reactions
  2. Current goals of working out
  3. How long is your working out session?
  4. What’s your gender?
  5. How much do you weigh?
  6. Family history of heart diseases
  7. Personal history of heart conditions
  8. Compatibility with other supplements you use
  9. Reliability of the brand and the seller
  10. Ingredients and their constituents 

I’m sure this sets out a picture. Oh, wait! I forgot to include the budget. But hey, isn’t that where we all hesitate a little bit?

Best Benefits of Pre-workouts

pre workout powder and dumbell

At the beginning of this read, I told you what a pre-workout really was. But how exactly does it help you? There are 3 core advantages.

So, I told you how coffee isn’t a good pre-workout, although caffeine is included in good pre-workouts. As for the #1 advantage, pre-workouts help you stay focused. How does it help?

Most of us work out either in the morning or after work. Unfortunately, both of these times could make us rather sleepy. So, pre-workouts fix that sleepiness and make you focus.

The #2 advantage is the energy boost. 

As your muscles get sore with each rep, your energy drops. This isn’t a matter of strength. So, a good pre-workout retains that energy. Think of it as a regeneration battery.

For example, think of a moment you’re doing CrossFit or in the middle of a drop set schedule. That’s when you need energy more than ever.

Strength generation is the #3 benefit.

If you are focused and have energy, it’s not as exact as having strength. Think of the power you need for deadlifts or even squats. 

Since most of us follow schedules, a pre-workout will most definitely provide that strength throughout the session.

This is primarily due to its antioxidant infusion.

If you read between the lines, you can see how the heart plays a role in each benefit. This means that the heart is affected by pre-workouts.

So, are there any side effects? What are they?

Side Effects on Your Heart (And How to Control Them?)

pre workout and heart pain

Before I begin, I need to clarify one point: almost all the side effects are due to excessive dosage. This means the fundamental fix is knowing the ideal amount of intake. 

Because studies have proven that healthy people who consume pre-workout are generally safe. 

This Reddit thread shows some people have been experiencing higher heart rates even after working out. I told you; that pre-workouts are designed to increase your heart rate.

Here’s another Reddit thread. Notice how the problem appears with only agility training, but not lifting. Planning how you’ll spend the energy from your pre-workout is essential.

In addition, you must always take the correct dosage to use up all that energy during the workout. That’s the right way to control it.

Look at this Quora digest right here. The problem of insomnia has come up. If you did your research and read between the lines, you’d find out that there was a dosage problem, or they worked mostly at night.

Some speculate that long-term use of pre-workout leads to heart failure. The internet is filled with all sorts of forums and such. But check this research right here; it doesn’t conclude on that at all.

However, I don’t recommend taking pre-workout daily. Unlike mass or lean gainers, repetitive daily use can be potentially harmful. In fact, consuming pre-workouts when you feel like you could use more energy and focus is when to do it.

That even helps you use a product for a longer time.

Our Best Recommended Products

The market is saturated with several pre-workouts. But I handpicked two of the best, in my opinion.

The first one is 4 Gauge, this pre-workouts are made from all-natural ingredients; no artificial preservatives, no proprietary blends, no preservatives. However, this product isn’t recommended for hardcore lifters. 

TAILORED TO WOMEN

Gorilla Mind, a muscle pump pre-workout that increases your nitrous oxide levels. Unlike other pre-workouts, 2 scoops are typically required to gain the results, especially the heart rate. Here’s a Reddit thread on sincere and random people praising and recommending the product.

FAQs

I’m sure I answered so many important questions in previous sections. However, let’s check out some of the FAQs.

In Conclusion

Although I told you it’s not a simple yes or no question, it is so in a way. But with so many rumors and misconceptions, it’s not credible enough to declare a conclusion at the beginning.

Now that you know everything I know, you don’t have to worry about making decisions regarding pre-workouts.

It’s not bad for your heart, as long as you use them right.

So, I hope you liked what you read. Tell me what I missed down in the comments. Please share this with your friends so they don’t miss opportunities to work out better.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/how-we-breathe
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868

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AUTHOR
I’m a fitness trainer and a health coach. My GOAL is to empower everyone to live a healthier life even after passing their prime. You can find more about me here.

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