Pre-workout supplements are stimulants aimed to increase the feeling of energy, improve endurance and decrease perceived exertion.
They essentially aim to get you ‘in the zone.’
Despite most pre-workouts promoting their proprietary blend of green-tea extra, guarana or the like, most of the performance improvements come from caffeine, often high doses.
Caffeine is a demonstrated ergogenic aid, but to what extent will depend on the habitual intake.
People who consume high levels of caffeine habitually notice less ergogenic benefits from caffeine intake prior to performance.
So if you're having three or four coffees already, adding more caffeine in the form of pre-workout supplements is going to have less of a performance benefit than it otherwise might.
Side note: for athletes looking to use caffeine as an ergogenic aid, they might consider decreasing caffeine intake to increase sensitivity during a particular training phase.
But for general population clients, we have bigger fish to fry.
We are able to get noticeable performance and body composition improvements by sticking to a training regime and optimising nutrition intake.
Most people would rather keep their workday caffeine intake as it is, then make alterations to potentially increase their training intensity.
Like creatine, the performance benefits of caffeine supplementation are most-evident when pushing to the edge of performance, which we try to avoid with general population clients.
But if you want to test the impact of caffeine on your workout, simply try a coffee 30-mins prior to getting started.
If you’re worried about the caffeine intake being inconsistent in coffee, you can try caffeine tablets.
These provide a set dosage, are easier on the stomach before exercise, and are much cheaper than spending $70 on a pre-workout that contains 25 servings!