Pros & Cons of Workout Supplements for Athletes

The practice of taking pre-workout supplements is popular among athletes and others trying to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Even so, fitness experts are on the fence about the legitimacy of these types of supplements to boost workout performance. Before you select a nutritional product that promises results, take a few minutes to read some pros and cons.

Fitness Supplements

Fitness supplements are designed to maximize your workout.

They can:

  • Enlarge muscle size
  • Speed up recovery time
  • Enable more efficient workouts

Pros and Cons of Common Supplement Ingredients


Many supplements contain caffeine which increases activity in the central nervous system.


  • Reduces tiredness while exercising
  • Makes the brain alert so that the workout is more efficient
  • Helps the body burn more calories during and after a workout


  • Often too much caffeine (about 400 milligrams, the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee) is in a supplemental dose


Creatine is made from arginine, methionine, and glycine amino acids. It occurs naturally in the body.


  • Gives fast energy boosts
  • Improves neurological function
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Promotes muscle growth
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) performance-enhancing


  • Abdominal cramping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Water retention based weight gain
  • Restlessness


The amino acid, L-Arginine, is required for the synthesis of protein. It is a blood vessel relaxing amino acid which helps with blood and oxygen function.


  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Pushes blood to muscles during workouts


  • Lacks scientific proof that it enhances athletic performance
  • Could cause gout
  • Bloating
  • Allergies
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain


Beta-alanine (β-alanine) is an amino acid that encourages the function of nerve signals. It is made in the liver.


  • Slows down fatigue in nerve muscles
  • Improves athletic performance


  • Has a tendency to excessively stimulate nerve cells and cause tingling


Taurine is an amino acid located in the muscles, organ tissues, and brain.


  • Regulates the delivery of nutrients throughout the body and this could improve athletic performance


  • Some studies have shown Taurine increases muscle tiredness


This amino acid assists with fat processing in the body and keeps the liver functioning normally.


  • Increases muscle size
  • Power-based workouts such as bench pressing and back squats benefit the most with Betaine supplements


  • Some studies didn’t show Betaine improved muscle strength after a workout

Today, many high-quality workout supplements are available on the market. According to Legion Athletics, pre-workout supplements are “popular” and “new flavor” options are often developed.

Low-quality workout supplements can do more harm than good, especially for athletes with diabetes, heart issues, and high blood pressure. Quality supplements are out there though but make sure you check with your doctor before you buy.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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