Month: September 2012

Secrets of Shoulder Success

Some people train their shoulders to attain the ideal of two cantaloupe shaped protrusions on their upper arm. Other people appear to delight in abusing their shoulders, repeating throwing or swinging motions until their arm nearly falls off. Others fear injury and refuse to do any shoulder exercise other than rotator cuff rotations with the band. To determine a sensible approach to training the shoulder we will focus on the structure and optimal function of the shoulder and related body parts (Part 1) and then delve into the training implications of these findings (Part 2). As an example, we will discuss the situation in which the shoulder acts to move the hand with speed, as in swinging a racquet or club, striking and throwing.

The gleno-humeral joint is the true “shoulder joint”, where the arm articulates with the trunk, and the point of action of the famous rotator cuff muscles. But movement at the shoulder is directly influenced by movement of the scapula, or shoulder blade, and the thoracic spine, the large middle region of the spine. For example, at the end of a throw like Mr. Johnson’s, above, the gleno-humeral joint is flexed forward, adducted across the body and somewhat rotated internally. This is accompanied by forward movement and external rotation of the scapula and rotation in the thoracic spine. If only the gleno-humeral joint were involved, the range of motion would be limited but the interaction of each of these regions accounts for the unparalleled mobility of the shoulder complex. Importantly, even these three regions are not isolated. The muscles and related connective tissue in the front and back of the shoulder complex are interwoven with neighboring tissues to link the whole body together. The rear shoulder tissues connect diagonally across the back to the opposite buttock (Take a gander at Figure 1 below). The front shoulder tissues are closely related to the abdominals and the front part of the hip on the opposite leg (Figure 2 below). The physical connection between the shoulder complex and the hips indicates that the shoulder serves as a point in the transmission of force generated from the powerful legs and hips. Indeed, the position of Randy Johnson’s legs in the photo hint at the interplay of the shoulder and legs. A well functioning shoulder then cannot only generate force on its own but it can also impart the force of the whole body into the hand or implement while also controlling the hand.

If the shoulder is to allow maximum force to flow into the hand, it must maintain adequate mobility and stability. Limited mobility in the entire shoulder complex, or at any of its constituent regions, will reduce the shoulder’s effectiveness by reducing the range in which to generate force. In the same way, cracking a short whip will generate less energy (i.e. sound) than cracking a long whip.

Furthermore, limited mobility in the shoulder complex can contribute to injury if the legs and hips can generate enough force to compel the shoulder to move beyond its restricted range. Likewise, instability at the shoulder will reduce force transmission as energy gets consumed at the joint. Consider the can and string telephones that kids can make. These only work when the string is tight because energy is wasted on excessively vibrating the loose string. An unstable shoulder joint acts the same way; the joint itself consumes energy instead of transmitting it to the arm. Instability can contribute to injuries that involve physical movement of the structures, such as a shoulder dislocation, and also injuries that result from decreased ability to control the hand. Mobility and stability interact to generate, transmit and control force going into the hand and are the foundation for increased performance in any activity requiring throwing, striking or swinging.

Next blog we will explore how to train the shoulder to succeed in generating, transmitting and stabilizing force. For more questions on shoulder movement and actions please contact persona fitness trainer Hunter Spencer.

How to stay motivated to exercise and get into the physical shape you want to be in.

Have you ever worked out really hard for a couple weeks or months and then all of the sudden you are not seeing the gym or weights at all anymore? You need some self-motivation to help you get started back on your exercise and eating programs. There are three methods that have worked for me when I did not feel motivated to exercise in the past.

  1. Positive Affirmations Positive affirmations are meant to help you stay motivated within your own self. By standing in front of the mirror and saying, “I look amazing today!” This will boost your own self-confidence to the next level to get you moving along for that day. Below are a couple affirmations that tie in with fitness and will help motivate you to want to exercise.
    • I love exercising
    • I enjoy all my workouts
    • I take good care of my body
    • I am taking my exercise to the next level today
    • I am exercising for an extra 20 minutes today
    • I am happy with the way exercise makes me feel and look after I do it (My favorite)
  2. Keeping some type of journal or log of what exercise you have been doing and on what days, as well as a food log if needed

    By keeping a journal of your daily exercises and activities, you are seeing the amount of work you put into it. You also see your improvements written in your journal as the weeks and months go on. Therefore, you can keep up with yourself and further those improvements even more.

  3. Rewarding yourself Rewarding ones self does not mean “yeah I worked out today, so I can go get two candy bars at the grocery store.” Feeling and looking better is a reward in itself, but if that is not enough for you, there are plenty other ways. If you have certain fitness goals and reach that fitness goal, then rewarding yourself with a new exercise top or a trip to the movies is great. If you are a working mother and do not have that hour or two to read your favorite book, and then reward yourself with that.

Try these three methods and see where it takes you mentally and physically, you may surprise yourself with how much easier exercising and life is! So just remember to stay positive, keep a log and then reward yourself for all your hard work.

How Many Calories am I Burning…Really?

Calorie counting tools are becoming increasingly popular. They are available as part of many fitness apps, on heart rate monitors, and most commonly, they are attached to cardio machines that adorn our basement as well as the gyms we frequent. But, how accurate are they?

In two words: not very. Do not be completely disheartened, though, as there is more to the story.

The accuracy of your calorie counter is impacted in part by how much information you make available to it. The more info you provide, the more accurate the results will be. Data like height, weight, age, gender, and heart rate can all improve the accuracy of your calorie measuring tool of choice. If your elliptical does not ask you for the aforementioned data, or if you choose not to provide it, it will make some assumptions for you. The equations that these devices use vary somewhat depending on the manufacturer, but most use statistical averages (often based on a 150 pound young male). Therefore we recommend that you provide as much data as you can.

Unfortunately, even if you provide all the data your particular device asks for there will be some critical gaps that will impact its ability to accurately estimate your caloric expenditure. Metabolism is a very unique and individual thing; as such it is hard to estimate accurately. In addition to the variance caused by questions that are answered easily (age, gender, height, and weight), variables like body composition, the time and structure of your last meal, as well as even your stress level can have a dramatic impact on your metabolism.

Also it is worth mentioning that some companies have been known to intentionally provide positively-skewed data, assuming that the more calories you perceive to burn, the more you will enjoy (and recommend) their product… just something to consider.

Ultimately, you cannot really trust the calorie readings on your cardiovascular equipment. However that does not render the data is useless; rather it implies that you should be careful how you use the readout to make decisions. Since the estimates are largely inaccurate and vary from machine to machine, it is probably not a good idea to compare what you burn on the treadmill with what you burn on a stationary bike in order to decide which machine is more effective. The same goes for creating comparison between individuals – what a machine tells you and what it tells your friend may not be the same, and that says nothing about you or your friend’s level of fitness. Above all, do not estimate your weight loss expectations, or reward yourself with calorie-dense foods based on the readings provided by your calorie measurement device (not that using food or food-like substances as a reward is a good idea anyway).

What you can use these devices for is a measurement of relative intensity and/or performance. If you are using the same piece of cardiovascular equipment every time you work out, the calorie’s burned readout can help you compare your performance from day to day. This will allow you to set goals relative to your previous workouts, and can be a good way to push yourself to work longer and harder.

Above all, remember that cardiovascular exercise is aptly named, as it primarily impacts the function of your cardiovascular system. The road to body composition improvement rolls through the kitchen and the weight room. The low intensity, long duration work you put in on the elliptical is mainly for your heart, blood, blood vessels, and lungs. If you are headed to the treadmill with the idea of burning calories on your mind, you are missing the point.

Run Right!

Sometimes you just need to get a good quick workout in! Practice your form and get your cardio done in 40 minutes!

Power Treadmill workout when you’re in a rush but still want to get better!

3 phases each last 10 minutes. You should push yourself just beyond your limit each time. Repeat this workout multiple times increasing your speed and effort so that you constantly improve! You would be amazed at what even 40 minutes can do to benefit you!

Phase 1:

  • Warm up to a run… The speed of the treadmill is as follows:
    SPEED/MIN
    3.5/2:00
    5.5/3:00
    From 4:00 minutes on, increase your speed gradually so that you finish 1 mile in under 10 min total.

Phase 2:

  • Step off the belt and increase your incline to 7%.
  • Increase your speed to 5.5-9.0 mph (gage your fitness level).
  • Sprint on incline for 30 seconds then rest for 30sec-1min continuously for the next 10 minutes. (If over the course of the 10 minutes you start to fade adjust your speed accordingly but don’t give up!)
  • Push yourself and make sure your strides are long and drive off the balls of your feet!

Phase 3:

  • Step off the belt and increase your treadmill to 10% incline.
  • Decrease your speed to 3.6-4.5 (gage your fitness level) and walk on incline for 2 minutes, taking nice long strides.
  • Turn around and back pedal on the treadmill for 1 minute staying on the balls of your feet at a fast walk or light jog.
  • Repeat the walk and back pedal for the next 10 minutes.

COOLDOWN:
Walk for 5 min at 0% incline and 3.0-3.5 mph!

Start Your Workouts with a Dynamic Warm-up

The dynamic warm-up is a crucial part to any strength and conditioning program. Not only does this reduce the risk of injury, it also has been proven to enhance performance by preparing the muscles, tendons and ligaments to be stretched and contracted at optimal rates. Over the last couple of decades the approach to warming up for athletic events has evolved through a better scientific understanding of the human body. Previously, both ballistic and static stretching were the preferred means of warming up. Today we now know that prolonged static stretching can actually increase your chance for injury and hinder performance. This is largely in part due to the decrease in elasticity of the muscles and ligaments that occurs during static stretching. This elasticity is crucial for optimal performance and ensuring the body isn’t overstretched causing pulls, sprains or tears.

So what is a dynamic warm-up and how is it different than a ballistic stretch? Although these may appear to be very similar activities, the key difference can be summed up in one word, control. Ballistic stretches force the limb into an extended range of motion when the muscle has not relaxed enough to enter it. It involves fast “bouncing” movements where a double bounce is performed at the end range of movement. Due to the uncontrolled nature of this type of warm-up, injury to vital muscles and nerves can occur. It is even possible for tissue to be ripped off the bone. A dynamic warm-up may use some of the same exercises as ballistic stretching but with reduction in speed in order for the movements to remain controlled and avoid a protective response by our body known as the Stretch Reflex. Below is an example of a dynamic warm-up.

Part #1 (Pre warm-up)

  • 3-5 minutes of mild-moderate cardio
    Examples: Jump rope, jogging, elliptical, rowing machine.

Part #2 (Dynamic movement)

  • Skipping
    -Emphasis on height not distance
    -Controlled landing
    -Make sure the arms are involved
  • Butt Kickers
    -Emphasis on repetitions not speed
    -Avoid excessive forward lean / keep chest up
    -Make sure you are striking the ground softly with the ball of the foot
  • Lunge W/twist (towards the forward leg)
    -Emphasis on a slow controlled movement
    -Emphasis on achieving greater thoracic (mid back) mobility

    -Control throughout entire range of motion
    -Watch for knees to stay in line of toes
  • High knee pull
    -Emphasis on hip flexors, glutes and calves
    -Avoid momentum while pulling knee back
    -Allow for you entire upper body to pull the knee, not relying on the arms
  • Monster walks (straight leg opposite arm touches toe)
    -Avoid rounding back when reaching for toe
    -Control the upwards faze (don’t try to punt the ball)

These are just a few examples of exercises that might be used in a dynamic warm-up. Ultimately the goal of a dynamic warm-up is to better prepare your body for the activity to which you are about to perform. Many of these exercises can be modified to become more sport specific or to accommodate for injuries. For more information on dynamic warm-ups or how to alter your current warm-up to become more sport specific, please contact Will Paton.

VersaClimber 101

Is your workout lacking intensity? Do you find yourself using the same cardio machines day in and day out wondering if they are getting you closer to your goals? If your answer is I don’t know or I think I’m working hard enough then it’s time to challenge your self and try to use the VersaClimber. It is a very unique looking machine that many gym goers over look and could be just the tool for you. My style of personal training is usually geared toward staying away from machines that limited planes of motion, limit core engagement and have little sport specific movement but when I do put my clients on a machine my go to piece of equipment is the VersaClimber.

The VersaClimber is one of those pieces of equipment where what you put into it you get out of it. If you go hard on it you can burn out in seconds and if you go easy on it you can do it for a long time. It is considered non impact so no pounding of your joints but does require hip and knee active range of motion. Your hands and feet stay attached to handles and pedals through the full range of motion. The movement on the machine is vertical so your body weight does play a factor which is different than the rowing machines where the movement is horizontal and weight bearing is not a significant factor. Visually it looks like you are rock climbing at warp speed. Physically your legs and arms are coordinating a push and pull pattern while your body stays suspended in one spot.

The VersaClimber can be used to increase your aerobic endurance by performing longer bouts at slower speeds. It is mainly used, by personal trainers and strength coaches to increase their client’s anaerobic power; which in a nut shell is how hard or intense you can “work” for a short period of time. The VersaClimber does not functionally mimic a specific movement in sports but what it can mimic is the demands of intensity and duration a sport activity places on the body during practice or competition. For example a game of squash goes to 11 points. Each rally may take seconds or even minutes so athletes know they need to be ready for both. The VersaClimber can be used to mimic a 15-30 second rally meaning you would go hard for 15-30 seconds and then depending on the person’s conditioning level they would have a recovery period of 15-30 seconds. If the athlete is de-conditioned they may need a longer recovery bout. This would be repeated 11 times to mimic their first game. A squash athlete may have to play anywhere from 3-5 games. This is a lot of conditioning but absolutely needs to be addressed so that the body can keep up with the demands of the sport without getting injured while playing fatigued.

If you are not trying to mimic demands of a sport but just want to kick up your workout a notch then try setting a goal of reaching a certain height say 500 feet or going for a certain amount of time such as a minute. After a few tries at it you will start to compete with yourself and each time you get on the VersaClimber you can challenge your last height or time. For first time clients I like to challenge them to make 100 feet in under a minute. For my seasoned clients I like them to make 150 feet in under a minute. We would usually perform this 2-3 times with a minute of active rest such as some sort of abdominal exercise to get them off their legs for a minute.

How well do you know your Pilates Instructor?

It’s important to do your research when seeking out a Pilates instructor, but how do you know which Pilates instructor is best for you? Here are 8 simple questions to ask when searching for a Pilates instructor.

  1. Are you a certified instructor?
    Unfortunately for you, the consumer, an instructor can get “certified” by any variety of “Pilates” instruction. Therefore, you need to ask some follow-up questions.
  2. What training program did you complete?
    Your instructor should be certified through one of the Pilates master teachers (a person directly taught by Joseph Pilates). Some names you should listen for are: Romana Kryzanowska, Ron Fletcher, Lolita San Miguel, Mary Bowen, and Kathy Grant.
  3. How many hours did your certification process require?
    Your instructor should have at least 600 hours of apprenticeship, where he/she spent time observing, assisting, teaching student clients under supervision, and then instructing solo. Several written and practical exams are required for the trainees to become certified.
  4. Are you current with your continuing education requirements?
    Make sure he/she is current on their continuing education requirements, usually meeting a required number of hours in a workshop every year.
  5. How many years have you been an instructor?
    Look for an instructor who has at least 2 years of teaching experience.
  6. What is your exercise philosophy or specialty?
    This can vary greatly, so look for an instructor who meets your needs.
  7. What is your experience with injuries?
    A Pilates instructor should know about any condition that you may want to discuss and how to work with it, including musculo-skeletal conditions and auto-immune disorders.
  8. Are you qualified to teach on all pieces of Pilates equipment?
    Some certified Pilates instructors are trained only on certain pieces of equipment. However, an effective Pilates instructor should know how to safely use every piece of equipment so that he/she can assess and deliver the exercise that will benefit you the most.

Fortunately here at the Seattle Athletic Club, all of our Pilates Instructors meet or exceed those standards. However, we all have different styles, so please feel free to engage us in conversation about Pilates. We love to share our passion!

Metabolic Energy Systems 101

At certain points during exercise your body uses the three energy systems (that we know about as of now…there may be more energy systems that we don’t yet understand) APT-Phosphocreatine, Anaerobic Glycolysis and Aerobic. Your body converts carbohydrates, and in fasting situations fatty acids and amino acids, into glucose. Glucose will then be broken down through Glycolysis to make ATP (energy). This can be done anaerobically (without oxygen) and aerobically (with oxygen). When we are working out at a high enough intensity to cause rapid breathing (above 75% max heart rate) we are working anaerobically and challenging our phosphagen system and glycolysis. When we are working out aerobically (under that 75%) our body can breakdown glucose and perform many other aerobic metabolic processes that keep our body fueled with ATP. Glucose is then taken into the cell and converted into a chemical energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

Your muscle has a small amount of ATP floating around that it can use but not a lot- only enough to last for about the first three seconds of an exercise. To replenish these levels, the body uses a high-energy phosphate compound called creatine phosphate (you may have heard of the supplement creatine-monohydrate…this is what it is used for) to make more ATP. This cycle keeps adding a phosphate to make ATP once it has been used for energy. The ATP and creatine phosphate together are called the phosphagen system. The phosphagen system can supply energy needs to a working muscle for about 10 seconds before needing to go through this conversion cycle again.

Analysis of the Rest Periods

Perhaps you’ve already asked yourself what the benefit is of a rest period, when to use it and why. It is easy to get confused concerning this topic, but the answer is related to goal and intensity level. Rest periods are an amount of time between sets ranging from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. According to American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM, Resources for the Personal Trainer, 3rd edition, rest periods can be categorized using this scale:

  • Very short rest periods- 1 minute or shorter
  • Short rest periods- 1-2 minutes
  • Moderate rest periods- 2-3 minutes
  • Long rest periods- 3-4 minutes
  • Very long rest periods- 5 minutes or longer

According to research, it takes approximately 2.5 to 3 minutes for complete resynthesis of APT stores and 8 minutes for complete creatine phosphagen repletion after an intense exercise (both translate to anaerobic energy). There is increased use of both glycolytic (aerobic and anaerobic breakdown of glucose as energy) and ATP-CP during high intensity. Glycogen stores and blood glucose will lower in addition during high intensity, which equates to multiple metabolic processes (aerobic and anaerobic) being stressed.

According to National Strength and Conditioning Association, NSCA, The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd edition, phosphagen concentrations during high-intensity training anaerobic exercise can decrease (50-70%) during the first 5-30 seconds of high-intensity and can be depleted to almost eliminated upon complete exhaustion. On the other hand, to improve the body’s bicarbonate, phosphate, blood and muscle buffering systems, less rest is required. So, which yields greater benefits?

Strength athlete/ power= optimal rest period is 3 to 5 minutes.
A strength athlete will train explosive (fast, powerful movements), low repetition activities of short duration. It is also common to see plyometrics (drills that increase speed, agility and quickness) incorporated into the program. A strength athlete (includes power lifters and athletes involved in sports that require high intensity, short bursts) is usually concerned with performance in relation to maximal power that can be produced. This type of routine focuses on strength and not hypertrophy or endurance. This high intensity style training will increase the heart rate (utilizing and depleting all the anaerobic energy within the set) and will increase the release of testosterone to produce maximal muscular output. The recommended rest period for anaerobic activity should be from 3 to 5 minutes.

Muscle growth/ endurance conditioning= optimal rest period is 30 to 60 seconds.
For increased hypertrophy as well as endurance sport conditioning training, the workout should have a slower tempo, 8- 12 repetition range, and the goal is to achieve close to maximal force output by a muscle over a time period. The typical rest period for this type of programming is between 30 to 60 seconds, or a 1:1 ratio of work to rest. The body buffers the effect of increased lactate in the muscles. This type of training increases production of Human Growth Hormone and thus hypertrophy of the muscle.

Circuit/ superset training= optimal rest period is 30 seconds.
Circuit or superset training is designed to combine the effects of strength and aerobic training, so rest periods are minimal from 30 seconds to a 1:1 ratio, and thus limits max output. This type of training can have multiple benefits (sometimes less measurable in strength, but definitely measurable in aerobic capacity), and can be useful in weight loss and toning. According to research, strength gains are limited to only 30-50% the benefit of strength training.

One study done by NSCA in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Effects of Different Weight Training Exercise/Rest Intervals on Strength, Power, and High Intensity Exercise Endurance, tested if short rest periods between sets enhances high intensity exercise endurance (HIEE). Their findings concluded that sufficient rest between sets are more likely to lead to greater increase in maximum strength and performance; intensity has great importance in relation to performance (especially concerning maximum strength); and short rest periods have less positive effect on HIEE than incorporating additional sets or repetitions.

So, which routine and rest period is best for you? Many certification bodies recommend a systematic approach to periodization generally consisting of a strength base, followed by power, and then a recovery phase. Each of these should have a different intensity and rest period associated with them. Remember your approach to programming should be focused on stimulation and finding challenge in the activity.

For more information, please contact Amber Walz.

What’s SUP???

Have you been looking for a new way to get out and explore the beauty that is the Pacific Northwest? Maybe you have gone on the canoeing trips to Diablo Lake in the northern cascades and have kayaked through Deception Pass over by the peninsula and those are old news. Or maybe you just want a new, dynamic way to fire stabilizer muscles and strengthen your shoulders and arms for any sport you may attempt. SUP may be right up your alley! Who thought you could SURF in Seattle?

SUP or Stand Up Paddleboard is essential a large surf board (similar to a long board) that uses a single paddle to move you across the water. Think the canals of Venice only you get a paddle instead of a stick and a flat board to stand on instead of a boat. SUP has exploded in popularity, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The board is large enough to balance comfortably while still making your body work to maintain your stability. You can go for long, all day, excursions or just rent a board and paddle from one of the many local companies and head out with friends for a few hours.

SUP was first made popular in Hawaii (go figure) as a way for instructors to work with beginner surfers. Standing on the board gives you a better view point to see where the students are and to see specific waves coming in (compared to a canoe or kayak where you have to remain seated).

A standup paddleboard is lighter than a kayak and easier to store (since it is just a flat board and a paddle). It also has no moving parts making it simpler than windsurfing. It is also much cheaper than sailing and kite-surfing while still giving you physical benefits and allows you to really enjoy your surroundings. Weather it be surf, river or lake, SUP is a great way to introduce water-sports into your life and enjoy the nature around you!! Just remember to have a life jacket at all times and have the leash attached to your ankle for safety! Check out Urban Surf’s website for more information, classes, or weekly meet-ups with like minded enthusiast and we will see you on the water!!

Pre-Workout Supplements and YOU

In the fitness industry workout supplements are a huge money maker for seemingly countless companies. While there is a large range of products, most supplements fall into one of two categories; pre-workout or post-workout supplements. These can consist of protein powders, amino acid boosters, herbal extracts or a wide variety of synthetic substances. I am going to be discussing the pre-workout side of the supplement industry.

Unfortunately, workout supplements are not regulated by the FDA and therefore do not have to undergo testing to validate any of the performance claims the manufacturers make. If you decide to use a pre-workout supplement it is important to understand what you are putting into your body and if it actually meets the manufacturer’s claims. Below I will be informing you of the most popular pre-workout supplements, their ingredients and what researchers have found regarding the performance of these ingredients.

Popular Pre-workout Supplements:

  • BSN- N.O.-Xplode
  • MusclePharm Assault
  • USPlabs- Jack3d
  • BPI Sports- 1.R.M
  • Gaspari Nutrition- SuperPump MAX

Most Common Ingredients:

  • Caffeine (NCAA Banned Substance): Caffeine has a positive effect on both prolonged and high-intensity endurance performance yet no effect or a negative effect on power output during repeated bouts of intense exercise. Caffeine works as an ergogenic aid mainly because of the decreased perception of fatigue during prolonged exercise and the lower subject rating of perceived exertion, resulting in performance improvement. (Blackhouse, 2011; Greer, 2008)
  • Guarana & Taurine (NCAA Banned Substance): Claimed to; enhance mood and focus, increase energy and improve performance. Research has shown these ingredients to increase endurance performance by increasing time to exhaustion however no effect on mood or focus has been shown. (Gonzalez, 2011)
  • Nitric Oxide Boosters: Designed to; increase skeletal muscle oxygen saturation, boost muscle pump, increase endurance, boost performance and boost blood nitrate/nitrite levels. Study findings refute the advertised claims of many products showing that N.O. boosters DO NOT impact exercise performance, blood flow, muscle pump or blood nitrate/nitrite. (Bloomer, 2010)
  • Creatine: Designed to; increase muscle creatine stores, increase strength, increase power and increase mass gains. The positive effects of creatine on strength, power and muscle mass are fairly well established. However, pre-workout supplements generally do not provide enough creatine to result in the intended gains. The average supplement contains 1.5 grams of creatine while the recommended amount is 20g/day during loading and 5g/day during maintenance. (Smith, 2012)

When a pre-workout supplement combines the previously mentioned ingredients, results show an increase in resistance exercise performance in repetitions successfully performed, maintenance of lean body mass and total training volume. However, mood and focus are not affected.

In conclusion, if you wish to take a pre-workout supplement be sure to do your research. Make sure the product you are going to use contains the proper amounts of the proper ingredients. In my opinion if you are a recreational athlete or just exercising to stay in shape, pre-workout supplements are not necessary. The most effective ingredient in these supplements is caffeine and most of us are over-caffeinated as it is. Unless you are a highly competitive athlete where every rep or second of training counts, getting proper nutrition and sleep will provide you with enough energy to complete your daily workout.