These Pre-Workout Ingredients Could Be Poisoning You


By Brandon Epstein

There are a number of great supplements that promote athletic performance and overall health. These supplements have been researched, tried and tested, so you can count on them having only the highest quality ingredients.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also a ton of supplement companies that are pushing out products that have not been tested properly or  even researched. There isn’t a ton of initial regulation on supplement production, which leads to there being some products out there being released that are incredibly toxic for your body.

Here’s the deal – as the industry stands today, any Joe or Jane can start his/her own supplement company and start selling his/her products to the masses. The better his/her marketing, the better the chance you have of learning about the products.

The problem is, you should not be buying anything based on just marketing. Your purchasing decisions should be based on research that proves the supplement to be safe and effective.

Pre-Workouts are on the top of the list of most purchased sports supplements and many of the best sellers have ingredients in them that could be harmful to your health.

This article is not to shame any company in general, but to instead educate you in knowing what ingredients you should stay away from.

Before you make your next supplement purchase, check the back of the bottle and make sure these 6 ingredients are nowhere to be found:

1. Aspartame


According to the FDA, aspartame is responsible for 75% of adverse food reactions from additives. A few of the negative side effects include headaches, weight gain, depression and irritability. In more serious cases, it has been linked to issues with vision, memory loss and seizures. You can learn more about aspartame here.

2. Artificial Dyes

Artificial food dyes show up in many low nutrient foods, but they are now also showing up in Pre-Workout supplements to give them a cool color to go along with the product branding. These dyes have been linked to everything from cancer to tumors to ADHD. The sad thing is that these colors can be naturally produced using whole foods. If you see artificial dyes in a Pre-Workout, run the other direction!


DMAA (as you may see it on a supplement package, methylhexanamine or dimethylamylamine) is basically an amphetamine that you can buy legally. Though the FDA has warned supplement companies not to sell this product, compounds are constantly tweaked to reintroduce this product into the market. Some health effects include raised blood pressure, tightness in the chest and increased risk for heart attack. If you are looking to buy a Pre-Workout and read something that has “methyl” in the ingredients, give it a google search first and find out if it is another reformulation of DMAA.

4. Excessive Caffeine


The world’s number one drug in caffeine can be found in almost all the popular Pre-Workouts, but what happens when the recommended dosage is doubled, tripled or 7 times what you should be consuming? Caffeine in excess is linked to insomnia, nervousness, upset stomach and many other unpleasant side effects. This probably won’t kill you, but it’s going to really mess with your overall sense of well being. Try to stick to less than 200mg of caffeine in your Pre-Workout and day as a whole. Here are some awesome alternatives to caffeine.

5. Synephrine

Though synephrine is a natural stimulant derived from a citrus plant, it can be quite harmful when taken in excess or in conjunction with other stimulants. It has been linked to increased blood pressure, fainting and, in the worst cases, even heart attacks. You’ll see a common theme with Pre-Workouts – they are heavy in stimulants. Be careful!

6. Yohimbe

Though yohimbe does show some positive health effects for men with erectile dysfunction, it is still a stimulant that is often overdosed in Pre-Workouts. Remember, too much of anything isn’t good and this holds particularly true when it comes to stimulants. You do not need caffeine, synephrine and yohimbe. These types of stimulants can lead to an over activation of the sympathetic nervous system. When that happens, you can experience increased irritability, anxiousness, raised blood pressure and, in the worst cases, stroke.

The moral of the story is that you don’t need to be taking artificial anything. Whole foods can provide you with all the energy you need to perform your best during your workout. Stay natural and stay away from excess stimulants and you should be okay.

Do you have your own natural Pre-Workout concoction? Let us know in the comments below!

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Brandon Epstein

Brandon Epstein

Fat Loss Coach at
Brandon Epstein is a former college football player, turned professional fitness model and serial entrepreneur. These days he spends his time helping people look great and feel awesome over at He can also be found hosting the Zen Dude Fitness Podcast where he’s always looking for new ways to make fat loss fun, simple and efficient for everybody.
Brandon Epstein

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