Are pre-workout supplements actually worth it? Are you “cheating” by needing a little extra “oomph” to get out of bed in the morning to get your workout done? Read this detailed review to find out!
Like many people, I hate waking up in the morning. I also hate waking up early in the morning to work out before going to work, but I know myself. If I don’t work out in the morning, it just won’t get done between long days at work, community band rehearsals, teaching in the evenings, and other volunteer work!
(How many times can I use the word “work” in one paragraph?)
So when I learned about Beachbody’s Performance line, and that there was one called Energize which claimed to boost energy and performance during a workout, I promptly refused to use it for two years.
Many professional athletes use pre-workout supplements to help them perform better during their workouts. Weight-lifters and frequent gym-goers also use them. I had heard of pre-workout before but didn’t think it was for an “average” person such as myself. Who was I, to think that I was active enough to think about supplements?!
I put off using any Beachbody Performance supplements because I thought it was cheating. I felt weak for needing a little jolt of caffeine before working out. I thought that I just needed to be more disciplined and, as the popular slogan goes, “just do it.”
I was also worried about caffeine addiction. I drink one or two cups of coffee a few days a week, and I didn’t want to add to that and risk becoming addicted to caffeine. God forbid I become one of those people who are proud of the fact that they can’t get their day started before having their cup of coffee.
What made me try Energize was when I realized I had to do SOMETHING to get my ass out of bed in the morning to work out. I was tired of the alarm going off at 5 and immediately going back to bed, telling myself I’d just work out when I got home later that day. It never happened, and I knew my coach and fellow challengers in our support group were always up early, and that some of them used Energize.
In fact, my coach’s exact words were, “Without Energize I’d be dead in the water!” So naturally I thought, “Okay, I’ll try it, and prove them all wrong. This has to be a placebo effect.” I honestly did not believe it would actually work.
Spoiler alert, it works.
WHAT IT IS
Energize is a bright yellow powder that comes in a 40-serving tub. The instructions on the tub explain that if you weigh 160 pounds or less to dissolve one scoop into 8oz of water, and if you weigh over 160 pounds to use two scoops in 16oz of water. Needless to say, I use two!
The three “key” ingredients in Energize are beta-alanine, low-dose caffeine sourced from green tea, and quercetin. I’ll explain these ingredients and their actual properties below:
Beta-alanine is an amino acid (the building blocks of proteins that your body uses to perform its functions) has been shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue when used before a workout. This is great news for those of us that hate exercise because it’s exhausting.
Energize also contains caffeine from green tea leaves. Caffeine, as most of us know, has an ergogenic effect, which means that it gives us energy to move and sharpen our focus. You could probably take a couple of shots of espresso and get the same effect, but I don’t know any pro athletes who use coffee as a pre-workout supplement. The caffeine in Energize isn’t enough to make me feel jittery, and I can still have my regular coffee and have not noticed any evidence of caffeine addiction.
Energize’s yellow color comes from quercetin, a plant pigment found in citrus fruits, red wine, olive oil, tea, and many other foods. Compounds like quercetin have historically been thought to have positive effects on health, but those health claims are still unproven (source). There is some evidence to suggest that these compounds (polyphenols) have antioxidant properties, but like most nutrition science, the evidence is inconclusive.
WHAT IT DOES
If you haven’t already guessed, I really like Energize! Officially, Beachbody claims that Energize can boost performance and energy, and reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue. I like that I can feel it kick in without making me feel jittery, and it’s easy to make in the morning when I’m looking for any excuse not to work out. I have used it in the evenings before evening workouts and it has never kept me from sleeping well.
As for improving exercise performance, if you’re comparing to how I normally perform during workouts without Energize beforehand (those rarely happened), it’s a substantial improvement. Since I started using Energize, I have worked out at least 4 days a week, sometimes more, because it has helped me get up and actually want to get moving.
My muscles do get fatigued if I overdo it or haven’t eaten enough, but I think Energize makes a difference in how I feel after a workout. I feel less tired after working out, and I throw up less often. If I try to work out in the morning without eating, I can guarantee I’ll throw up afterwards, but Energize gives me just enough energy to keep that from happening (although it’s worth noting that I perform MUCH better if I eat and then have Energize).
THE VERDICT: DO YOU NEED IT?
I think that Energize is an excellent addition to your life. It has significantly improved the odds of me actually getting out of bed in the morning. I put two scoops of the powder in a shaker cup and then in the morning, I add water, shake it up, and drink it in bed. Within 15 minutes I’m ready to get up and work out, although there will always be days when I just roll back over regardless of how much caffeine I put into my body.
Why do I use Energize as opposed to any other pre-workout supplement I could find at Walmart or GNC? I trust Beachbody to not put extra fillers or excessive amounts of added sugars in their supplements. We all know that a lot of so-called “health products” are really just gimmicks to make you think you’re being healthy, but Energize is formulated only with the ingredients your body needs to get up and go. It’s also on a monthly autoship, so I don’t need to worry about running out!
Leave your best takeaway from this article and get accountability and support in your own fitness journey in the totally free Plus Size Fit Life Facebook group, and follow Allison Does Fitness on Facebook and Instagram.
Disclaimer: I am an Independent Beachbody Coach, and I receive commission on purchases of Beachbody products if you order through me. However, this does not in any way affect my honest opinion of the products. I believe in being an informed and transparent consumer and would never attach my name to something I did not use or trust!