Getting healthy shouldn’t make you feel sick
Unfortunately, many athletes have found that the popular pre-workout supplements they take to maximize the benefits of their exercise regimens can have many unpleasant side effects. Digestive problems such as bloating and stomach cramps are common complaints, as are rapid heartbeat, dizziness, tingling in the fingers and toes, dehydration, increased blood pressure, and profuse sweating. [This article, “Working Out Without Feeling Worked-Over” was originally published in HealthXWire]
Each of these problems may be traced back to one or more of the ingredients in the supplements, and athletes may find it difficult to select a product that has a perfect blend for their unique needs.
Exercise has always been tough on the human body, and the harder an athlete trains, the more severe the reaction. “No pain, no gain” is the simple mantra many of them have used to push themselves through the rigors of the strenuous workouts needed to achieve their goals.
Professionals have known for years that the fuel their bodies need to endure high intensity exercise comes from a proper diet – but it has taken modern research and experiments to define what “proper” really means, and to find ways to bolster those diets for maximum benefits.
Four decades ago, athletes began using pre-workout dietary supplements designed to give them the extra strength they need to perform longer and harder regimens. These early forms of the supplements quickly became popular among bodybuilders and others who sought to achieve high-intensity workouts and build their endurance while doing so.
According to The New York Times, the annual market for these products had exploded to more than $2.7 billion by 2008, and some individuals were spending thousands of dollars each year on the powders, pills, capsules and tablets that promised them a better workout.
A bewildering array of ingredients has been packed into these supplements since the 1980s, and it would take a Ph.D. in chemistry to fully analyze each and every one of them. Among the more popular ingredients found in many supplements today are such familiar items as caffeine (oftentimes loads of it), carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin B compounds, electrolytes and nitrates. These are often mixed with more exotic materials such as arginine, citrulline, creatine, methylhexanamine, ornithine, taurine and a host of others.
In the early days of pre-workout supplements, a chemical called ephedrine was commonly used, but it was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 following reports of serious side effects and even several deaths among its users. On its website, the FDA explains that federal law does not require manufacturers to prove that their products are safe and effective before they are sold. However, the FDA is responsible for monitoring these supplements once they are on the market, and the agency can investigate consumer complaints about the products’ safety.
That leaves most of the responsibility for developing new supplements and testing their effectiveness on the manufacturers. It helps when the companies’ owners are athletes themselves because they have first-hand knowledge of what their products are capable of doing.
James Benefico, CEO of Organicmuscle.com, is one of those entrepreneurs who developed a product because he couldn’t find a suitable one for himself on the market. He began using pre-workout supplements in high school, and by the time he was 23 years old he was still suffering the same side effects he had experienced for years.
“I just got used to being sick,” Benefico remembers. “Jittery – heart palpitations – sick to the stomach – you name it. But that was just kind of the norm, and I did that for years.”
It took a health crisis for Benefico to realize that he was going to have to do something drastic to improve his own health.
“One day I got really sick and thought I was going to have to go to the hospital,” he says. “I couldn’t breathe; my heart was skipping beats. A terrifying experience.”
That’s when Benefico decided that the key to making a truly safe and effective pre-workout supplement was to use only organic ingredients – those grown without the use of bioengineered or genetically modified seeds, synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. He founded Organicmuscle.com in 2014 to manufacture and market “pure and powerful supplements” that contain only ingredients sourced from USDA organic and eco-friendly farms.
Even with organic ingredients and rigorous quality controls in place, the supplements need to be used with caution by athletes – especially those who are just venturing into high-intensity workouts and are not yet sure of their bodies’ tolerance for certain chemicals. WebMD’s website has these general suggestions for people trying these supplements for the first time:
- Talk to a doctor or health care professional to make sure the supplement is safe for you.
- Take the supplement 20 minutes before exercise to give it time to “kick in” to your system.
- Take the supplement consistently to improve its beneficial effectiveness.
- Don’t take too much of the supplement, which will help avoid negative side effects.
- If a problem develops, stop the workout and call a doctor right away.
While a good pre-workout dietary supplement can help improve workouts, researchers say a balanced overall diet is still important for athletes who want to get the most out of their regimen. The Mayo Clinic has some tips to make sure your diet is helping, rather than hurting, your high-intensity exercise routine.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Watch portion sizes.
- Snack well.
- Eat after you exercise.
- Drink plenty of water.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you listen to your body when it comes to exercise and diet. As you learn what works for you and what doesn’t, apply those lessons when it comes to timing meals, supplements and exercise. A holistic approach that takes all three elements into consideration will produce the best results.
Organicmuscle.com , a true leader in the supplement market has put that advice into practice by expanding from its original pre-workout product and now includes USDA organic supplements, protein and meal replacements, superfoods, and probiotics. Benefico says his company’s devotion to organic sourcing and eco-friendly business practices has helped it stand out in a very crowded field.
An Original Healthxwire Article.
For more information about dietary supplements and how they can improve your workouts, visit the following websites: