Pre-workout supplements consist of ingredients like caffeine and bitter orange extract that can cause panic attacks during your workout sessions. Taking precautions and identifying the risk factors greatly help in curbing your anxiety.
How many of you have felt jitteriness, dizziness or an unusual heart rate during workouts? If you are one of them, it is an indication that you might be experiencing “Pre-workout Anxiety”. Sporadic panic attacks shouldn’t create much concern but if the quality of your workout sessions are affected by regular anxiety, your pre-workout supplement might be the trigger!
Usually, you can avoid these panic attacks by taking a few precautions. However, if it is not appropriately taken care of, it has a significant risk of developing into serious complications greatly affecting your mental and physical health.
Can Your Panic Attacks be Related to Your Supplement Intake?
Pre-workouts are used to boost energy levels and improve performance during exercise. They
help reduce fatigue and recover after an intense workout session. The flavorful stimulants used in these supplements are meant to get you pumped up ahead of your routine. However, these prove counterproductive when they start causing panic attacks pre or mid-workout.
These supplements consist of a variety of ingredients in them aimed at triggering different responses from your body. Imagine eating a bunch of different junk food altogether- You will most likely end up sick because your body cannot digest all the junk at once. Likewise, consuming these stimulants in excess can result in a negative response from your body.
Ingredients That Cause Panic Attacks
To help decide on whether your pre-workouts are safe to use, we’ve put together a list of the main contributors for panic attacks to watch out for in the ingredients.
Caffeine is a stimulant that we consume on a daily basis with our cups of tea or coffee. It helps keep one energetic for the rest of the day. However, too much of caffeine can be counterproductive and at times detrimental to your health.
A serving of pre-workout supplements contains around two to five times as much caffeine as a standard cup of coffee. That is more caffeine per day than what Mayo Clinic recommends for a healthy adult.
Having pre-workouts along with your daily cup/s of coffee is a lot more caffeine than the average person’s daily consumption. Excessive caffeine intake can cause dizziness, anxiety, irregular heartbeats and nausea.
Yohimbe is an extract taken from a native African tree bark. The chemical Yohimbine present in it is not to be used as an ingredient expect on prescription. However, it hasn't been outlawed by the Food and Drug Administration, which is why it can still be found in gym supplements and pre-workouts.
Experts advice that Yohimbine should not be used in the long term due to the health risks it poses. Side effects that are caused by Yohimbe include anxiety, insomnia, seizures, tremors, irregular heart beats and even possibly heart attacks.
3. Bitter Orange
Bitter orange is a common ingredient in almost every pre-workout supplement. The stimulant ‘Synephrine’ present in it promotes fat oxidation during later periods of recovery. It has similar effects as ‘Ephedra’ which is a chemical that’s banned by the FDA.
A Synephrine intake of around 30-50mg is considered safe, but if your pre-workouts contain a higher percentage of bitter orange, you should definetely stop using it.
A tad of bitter orange by itself is harmless, but when combined with caffeine, it can have substantial negative consequences. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has banned this chemical due to its harmful effects such as heart arrhythmia and anxiety.
Despite its numerous benefits, Guarana, a fruiting plant native to the amazon produces side effects similar to caffiene when consumed in high amounts. Guarana contains stimulants like caffeine, theophylline and theobromine and useful antioxidants such as tannins, saponins and catechins.
Guarana, when consumed in minor doses will help reap its health benefits whereas bigger doses would sometimes be addictive and cause high levels of anxiety, insomnia and irregular heart beats.
There are many more stimulants which are comparable to the above. It is recommended to check the pre workout ingredients before you use them. Refrain from blending preworkouts or any supplements together without expert supervision and advice.
How to Prevent Intense Pre-Workout Panic Attacks?
1. Avoid Consuming Caffeinated Drinks Before Workout.
Avoiding caffeine is one of the best ways to overcome pre-workout anxiety. As we know, caffeine has been shown to boost heart rate and adrenaline release in the body. Try keeping caffeinated beverages at a minimal to compensate for the ingredients in your pre-workouts.
Try replacing your daily cup of coffee with fresh water+ a pinch of line, which will keep you stay hydrated and fresh throughout the day.
2. If Possible, Discontinue Using Pre-workouts Altogether.
If quitting those supplements is an option, we 100% recommend you to make the switch. There are great bodybuilders like Robert Cheeke who don’t use supplements to lose weight or bulk up. We are here to tell you that reaching your fitness goals without pre-workouts is entirely possible.
Of course, you will need to pay extra attention to nutrition, recovery and training and knowing what works for you is key! We’ve got you covered with our article on getting used to working out without pre-workouts that would help you on your journey to quitting supplements.
3. Switch to Home Workouts With a Personal Trainer
The gym might be a daunting environment for you to try new things and find out what’s right for you. This adds to the already-existing anxiety making working out at a gym an uncomfortable experience for you. We understand that discontinuing your preworkouts isn’t always an option for everyone which is why switching to a homegym would be a great idea!
In case you need a definitive guide to help you set up your home gym, you can check out our ultimate guide to building a home gym. To make picking the right equipment easier we’ve shortlisted the best half racks, best home gym pulley systems and best squat stands for your very one home gym.
We hope that you benefited from the tips we gave you to minimize the effect the ingredients in your pre-workouts have on the quality of your workout sessions. If however, you prefer not to take the risk, you can always opt out of using pre-workout supplements. Learn how to optimize your workout sessions using a healthy diet and proper rest.