Articles on health and science matters that affect our daily lives

Pre-Workout Supplements

Increase Your Exercise Benefits with Pre-Workout Supplements

Maximizing Your Workout

At one stage in time, all you needed to do was to eat some toast or a banana if you were about to perform a tough workout. Nowadays, there’s a lot of buzz about pre-workout supplements. In this post, we will have a look at what these are, what the benefits of taking them are and whether or not they are safe.    

What are Pre-Workout Supplements?

It is simply a supplement that you take before you work out. It usually comes in the form of a powder that you need to mix with water. Some contain ingredients to boost your energy. As long as they are natural pre-workout supplements, these can be quite helpful.

They may be categorized into workout supplements for men and workout supplements for women, but not all companies do this.

What are the Benefits?

The benefits of taking these include:

  • More energy to perform your workout
  • Less chance of dehydration or loss of electrolytes.
  • Better performance during your workout and the ability to work-out for longer.
  • Faster recovery times afterward.
  • Better circulation and increased blood to the muscles of the body.

Are They Safe?

This depends on the actual supplement itself. The best pre-workout supplements have been scientifically formulated to be beneficial. As long as you look for a reputable brand from a reputable company, you will be safe.

Look for companies that have an established track record and that do not make outlandish claims about what the product will do for you.

Look for supplements containing the following ingredients to make sure that you get the best results.

Carbs

Yes, carbs are viewed as the enemy by many of us now, but they are the perfect source of energy for you if you want to have a tough workout. The longer and harder you will be working out, the more carbo-loading you need to do. If you do not have enough carbs in your system, your body is not able to perform at its best during exercise.

Caffeine

This is not a must have, but it can be helpful. It helps you feel more alert and gives you a boost of energy. Studies show promising results with caffeine because it helps to decrease your perception of how hard you have been working.

There is also a theory, confirmed in some small studies, that caffeine increases the amount of fat your muscles burn. This allows you to work-out for longer.

Beetroot Juice

There is some evidence that beetroot juice can increase the body’s levels of nitric oxide and help to boost cardiovascular performance. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator. During a workout, it makes the blood vessels open up more, meaning that the heart does not have to pump quite as hard. This helps to build aerobic endurance.

There are many more ingredients that the supplement may contain. Whether these will all be useful or not to you depends on the ingredients themselves. It makes sense to do some research upfront to ensure that your supplement has as many benefits as it claims to have.

Food Safety

How Safe is the Food You Consume?

Food safety is something that we do not pay quite as much attention to as we should. After all, when time is short, as consumers, we are bound to let things slide. Maybe we leave the chicken out of the refrigerator for a little too long.

Maybe we don’t take the time to check a business’s   food safety certificate or quality assurance certification. Is it really such a big deal? After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You feel sick for a day or two, right?

Why Should I Be Concerned About Food Safety?

Wrong. Sure, in some cases you do pick up a bug that leaves you feeling sick for a day or two. Around 17% of the American population annually gets sick due to foodborne illnesses. Unfortunately, a case of gastro is the best outcome you can hope for.

Of the 48 million people who contract a foodborne disease in the States in a year, around 128 000 will need to be hospitalized. Around 3 000 will die. It is a sobering thought, isn’t it? It is enough to make you reconsider your whole outlook on food safety standards and quality assurance testing, isn’t it?

How is Food Safety Controlled?

Food safety is controlled through rigorous testing processes that span from the time the food is processed through to the time it lands up on the shelves. That means that many tests for contamination need to be undertaken when the food is being processed, packed, distributed and stored.

This entails:

  • Having separate manufacturing and packing facilities for foods that might cross-contaminate each other
  • High cleanliness standards to retard the growth of bacteria on equipment
  • Keeping the food at the ideal temperature to retard bacterial growth and prevent it spoiling
  • Storing the food in the ideal conditions to prevent cross contamination and to keep it from spoiling.

Once the food leaves the store, you have to ensure that you exercise good food hygiene and habits to prevent it becoming contaminated. This means:

  • Maintaining the ideal temperature when storing food.
  • Not mixing cooked and raw food, or allowing them to come into close proximity during storage.
  • Ensuring that defrosted food is not refrozen and that food that will be frozen has cooled sufficiently before-hand.
  • Making sure that left-overs are stored correctly and disposed of if they are no longer safe to eat.

 Are All Standards the Same?

As much as we like to think so, not necessarily. While health and safety officials do make attempts to police food safety, there is only so far that they can get. That is why it is up to the individual to take steps to protect themselves.

If you are considering dealing with a new business, check that they have the correct certification. If need be, ask them where you can see their food safety certificate.

You would be amazed, and horrified, if you saw what went on in some restaurant kitchens so do not skip this step.

At the end of the day, the safety of yourself and your family should be your greatest concern. Deal with reputable companies that demonstrate that they take food safety seriously.