The Pre-Workout Mistake…

Hello everyone, so this is more of a confession than anything, but it’s a testimonial that I hope will inspire some.

I got married June 2011 and wanted to “motivate” myself a bit and step up my workout intensity so I could look honeymoon-sexy. I went to a supplement store and tried something called, a “pre-workout” supplement. It was pretty awesome. I felt extremely focused, energized… I felt like superman. I soon realized that I felt this effect before, Adderall. I tried it in college to study (stupid I know), but the effects were almost identical.
I continued to take it as I worked out harder and harder. I realized that I would feel pretty crappy a few hours later, but I would look forward to taking it the next day, so it got me through the “need”. Yes, I got stronger, faster, but what I enjoyed most was the motivation. I enjoy working out in general, but this stuff made me WANT to workout. What I later realized was, I wasn’t craving the workout anymore, I was craving the “pre-workout” feeling. Popular in psychology, when you reward a behavior, good or bad, it reinforces the behavior. I looked forward to working out everyday, not because of the workout anymore, but because of the “rush” I got to feel everyday.

“Shawn, that doesn’t sound too bad..”, right? Well, after a few months, I stopped feeling so motivated, so I increased the dosage. Some advise to take this drug in cycles and it will allow you to keep taking it forever. I finally started to feel convicted, maybe this thing is doing more harm than good. Like most drugs, they work in the short-term, but long-term, it messed you up. This couldn’t be good for you. My weekends are my off-days for exercise so I didn’t take my drug. I started to feel severely fatigued on the weekends, which effected time with my wife. Very bad. Oh yeah, and I applied for life insurance recently and I’m sure they found amphetamines in my blood because, I didn’t get “super-duper-approved”.

My wife and I went on a trip to Canada for over a week. I didn’t take the drug. I combination of events happened that could have contributed, but I got very sick. I just felt fatigue and over-all unhealthy. I was going threw withdrawals. When I got back, I decided I need to stop (with my wife’s motivation of course).

It’s been about a month since I have not taken it, and I gotta tell you, it’s rough! Motivation to work out has been challenging. As a trainer, of course, I will never stop working out, but I’m having to retrain my mind.

Will I ever use it again? I don’t plan on it. What I did was build a tolerance for a stimulant and eventually became addicted. God provides everything we need through food. Caffeine, Beta-Alanine, 1,3 dimethylamylamine, Niacin, and other stimulants that are found in these Pre-Workout supplements, numb your receptors and you just need more and more. Your body adapts and realizes that it’s an overload. Homeostasis kicks in and you fight it by increasing dosage. The receptors you have to stimulate your body before a workout are very sensitive. These particular stimulants caused an increase of adrenalin in my body. My adrenal glands were being over worked and I’m sure other organs were suffering too.

What I learned, Detox your body from caffeine and such, focus on a high sugar fruit, and a little fat before the workout. Nuts and berries for example. This will give you the blood-glucose balance you need. The recovery from a workout is even more important. This will keep you energetically balanced from day to day. A quality whey protein shake within 45min after a workout and about an hour later, eat a high quality meal that consists of a fat, a carb, and a protein. Try a chicken-avocado and berry salad with vinaigrette.
Thanks for reading and I hope this story inspires some to avoid some of those shelf products. It works, but it hurts in the long run.


  1. I think we all (ME!) look for short cuts and we all (ME!) learn that the tried and true method of sound nutrition and exercise is the best medicine.


  2. Very good points all of them. It’s so true that a little motivation or rush can really make the difference for a workout – and our bodies have our very own awesome make-you-wanna-workout and focus, happy hormones – we don’t need “extras”! Whole Body Cryotherapy is a natural way to coax those endorphins out – I can’t wait for you to try it!


Leave a Reply