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Pre-workout, or pre-workout supplement, is a bodybuilding supplement. It contains ingredients that are intended to give a sudden boost of energy. Pre-workout supplements contain ingredients such as, beta alanine, creatine, amino acids, and L- Citrulline, that aid in muscle recovery after a strenuous workout.[1] This boost is mainly supplied by caffeine.[1] Pre-workout can be beneficial for performing strenuous exercises.[2] However, pre-workout can cause negative side effects as well.[1]


Prior to commercial pre-workout supplements, bodybuilders from the 1960's to the early 1980's would drink a cup of coffee before a workout. The first pre-workout, called Ultimate Orange, was created in Venice, California in 1982. It was formulated by Dan Duchaine, and quickly became popular among bodybuilders. Shortly after Ultimate Orange emerged, lawsuits against Ultimate Orange began to increase. Between the late 1990's and early 2000's, Ultimate Orange was believed to be the cause of many heart attacks because of its active ingredient, ephedra.[3]

Supplement companies began to create more powerful forms of pre-workout. Arginine AKG, Arginine Malate, and Citrulline were added to pre-workouts. These ingredients cause the blood vessels to enlarge temporarily, giving lifters a better “pump.”[3] In 2005, chemist Patrick Arnold formulated the next major pre-workout called, Jack3d. Jack3d had a new ingredient in it called DMAA (Dimethylamylamine), which had been previously banned and unbanned in America.[3] Jack3d quickly gained notoriety and DMAA was becoming an important ingredient.[3] However, Jack3d was banned in 2012 because of DMAA. The active ingredient caused some people to experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and elevated risk of heart attacks.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Ghose T (15 December 2015). "The Truth about Pre-Workout Supplements". Live Science. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  2. ^ Semeco A (6 September 2016). "Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before a Workout". Healthline.
  3. ^ a b c d e Heffernan C (10 April 2017). "A History of Pre-Workout Supplements". Physical Culture Study. Retrieved 2018-04-11.