Pre workout enhancers such as creatine, energy drinks, and steroids are popular among athletes and gym jockeys for their muscle building, weight gaining, and performance enhancing qualities. Yet through numerous scientific studies, these powerhouse “supplements” have been shown to be more trouble than they’re worth.
For example, while your athletic ability may skyrocket when you take pre workout enhancers, your semen will not.
That’s because there’s evidence that pre workout enhancers can cause erectile dysfunction in otherwise healthy men.
What Are Pre Workout Enhancers?
Below we cover some of the most popular pre workout enhancers that you may have heard of, or even tried.
Creatine is a natural chemical compound. In the human body, it is converted into creatine phosphate, which in turn aids in the body’s manufacture of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
ATP gives energy to human muscle tissue so that they can contract faster. Essentially, this means that taking creatine before a workout can help muscles perform faster during short spurts of physical activity, recover faster, and grow stronger overall.
Creatine is not considered to be a dangerous substance for human health. However, like every other type of supplement, it should be taken with caution, and never more than the recommended daily amount (RDA).
People who ingest it before a workout or at any time should also watch out for the following side effects (which, admittedly, occur rarely): weight gain, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, headache, kidney problems, rash, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
2. Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are treated with much more trepidation by the scientific and medical communities. These beverages, which include Monster and Red Bull, contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants which are designed to wake up the drinker.
People who want to work out may drink a can or two of Red Bull, or a small shot of 5-Hour Energy to help them push past fatigue and complete their exercises.
But research shows that energy drinks, whether they’re large cans or small shots, have insidious side effects. For example, young people who have no other health issues but consume a high amount of caffeine-loaded drinks may find themselves experiencing serious heart problems.
Furthermore, in 2011, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, or NCCIH, reported that 1 in 10 energy drink-related visits to the emergency room ended in hospitalization. That’s an alarming amount considering how popular energy drinks are, even a decade later.
Steroids are more likely to be used in the context of sports to enhance athletes’ performances and help them build muscle mass. This type of pre workout enhancer is dicey because it can be applied in both a legal and an illegal context. For example, anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are man made substances that are designed to mimic testosterone. They are often used in hormone therapy.
But it is not legal for them to be used by athletes for a sporting event, particularly if it helps them gain an advantage over their competition.
Steroids can also cause a host of unwanted health problems. This is because they interact directly with hormones. Men who use steroids for bodybuilding and performance enhancing purposes on a regular basis may find themselves experiencing debilitating side effects, including hair loss, acne, stomach pain… and erectile dysfunction.
Can Pre Workout Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
The answer to this question is, it depends on which one is being used.
Creatine is generally considered safe for human consumption. Energy drinks, on the other hand, are bad for overall health, but also the heart and blood vessels. Problems with the heart and the blood directly affect a man’s ability to “get up” because without proper blood flow, a penis is not able to achieve a full erection.
Steroids, on the other hand, can directly cause erectile dysfunction. Once again, steroids, particularly the anabolic kind used by athletes, disrupts the balance of the male hormones and leads to all sorts of sexual health issues. Men who take these substances should look out for side effects such as low sperm count, infertility, and an inability to achieve erection.
Are They Safe For Your Health?
Creatine is a natural substance found in human as well as animal tissue. There is little to no scientific evidence that it causes major health problems.
Energy drinks, with the exorbitant amount of caffeine and other stimulants they contained, or not considered healthy by any standard. Rather than providing you with any nutritional value, they give you short bursts of energy followed by severe crashes. They can also cause heart issues and blood circulation problems.
Steroids are the most dangerous pre workout enhancers of all. They can ruin a man’s sexual health when they are misused. And in case you missed it: taking it to improve your workout is considered misuse.
What Are Some Natural Alternatives?
For a boost of energy before your workout, try eating a meal packed with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, eggs, and avocados; natural sugars like fruit; and fiber from vegetables. If you need a little more of a pick me up, coffee or tea are far better alternatives to energy drinks.
Just remember that the longer you cultivate good habits, like eating a nutritious diet, the more you’ll build up real energy that will last you throughout the day. It’s far better than manufacturing your energy with synthetic supplements, only to lose it all in just a few hours. To learn more about alternative methods for energy booster, refer to our other blogs here on Viking Man.