Do Pre-Workout Supplements Work?

Do pre-workout supplements work?

It seems to be an adage in the world of strength training that supplements are overrated, and that all we need is a solid nutrition plan and nothing else. However, over a year ago, I met this 50-year old man with a body to die for. He wasn’t a bodybuilder, but he was built like one. He always wore long-sleeved shirts so we couldn’t really see his physique. But he was a thick man and had a 500-pound squat. He showed me his forearms one time and I saw a “Lee-Priestesque” level of thickness and vascularity. The guy was the real deal.

My opinion about supplements back than was that creatine and protein was enough, and nothing else works (except for drugs, that is). But his thought-pattern was different. He once told me that should a random teenager visit a GNC, he’d make more gains than I ever did in one month. This was probably an exaggeration, but there was something in his voice and words that screamed truth.

A few days ago I saw a video of Ronnie Coleman on youtube. The videos were a classic. It showed him repping out bent-over rows with 495 pounds. Whether you’re an olympic-style lifter, powerlifter, or bodybuilder, repping out 495 with bent-over rows is and will always be impressive.

In the video, Ronnie was promoting his own line of supplements. I think he only has the one, though. It’s called “Ronnie Coleman Yeah Buddy Preworkout,” or something like that. The main ingredient was beta-alanine. I did some research on it and it turned out that Charles Poliquin recommended beta-alanine to serious lifters in one of his T-Nation articles.

A part of me wants to buy the product simply because I’m a fan of Ronnie Coleman. Another part of me is hungry for a non-steroidal boost to my workouts.

I train like an Olympic weightlifter with my squats. 6 days a week with maximal loads. But for my upper-body, I’m like a bodybuilder when it comes to rep schemes and volume, so I think that a “bodybuilding supplement” should have a benefit with my upper-body workouts.

Sorry for the rambling, but anyway… Do pre-workout supplements work?

Yes. They sell for a reason, because they do help. Most of them are loaded with stimulants (200-400 mg of caffeine). Outside of that, ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, and citrulline malate (all commonly found in pre-workout products) have been proven to work. However, they are not necessary, nor the deciding factor in success.

Did you ask him what type of “supplements” he took. Not saying he used steroids, but a lot of people use steroids. If the dude was truly looking like Lee Priest at 50 years old, he was either a legendary outlier or was on the jamba juice, no doubt.

I would have to disagree. There is not a single (legal) supplement in a GNC that is going to do more than what food will do. End of story.

Ronnie is one of the greatest bodybuilders in human history. He was a monster before he got into bodybuilding and the drugs.

Again, yes. But it is not where you will find success. Quality food and consistent training is. The world of steroids has seriously skewed what is naturally obtainable for the majority of the population. Not saying I have a problem with steroids, but it can seriously make it difficult to understand what is obtainable, or reasonable, for an average dude with no drugs whom is just getting into the game of lifting. Don’t get me wrong, you can achieve amazing results beyond what you think you are capable of drug free, but drug free and using drugs-- are two different worlds.