ADVICE: Owner of Ipswich Health and Performance Centre Jason Triffett.
ADVICE: Owner of Ipswich Health and Performance Centre Jason Triffett. Cordell Richardson

Pre-workout powders risk more harm than good

CONSUMERS are being warned about the risks of taking popular caffeinated pre-workout supplements following a study that showed many of the products contain an entire daily dose of the stimulant in a single serve.

The study from Griffith University's School of Allied Health Sciences found that many of the products also delivered caffeine doses that were inconsistent with product labelling, with about half of the investigated supplements potentially exposing users to side effects such as Tachycardia and irritability.

Associate Professor Ben Desbrow said although the products were heavily marketed towards people who were exercising or losing weight, many of the supplements exceeded a performance-enhancing dose in a single serving and came in powder forms that made portion-control challenging for consumers.

"In my opinion, if you take one of these products you can't actually estimate your caffeine consumption," he said.

"You don't need much caffeine for it to be performance enhancing - for a 70kg adult you are looking at as little as 200mg."

By comparison, an average coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine, while many of the supplements tested contained over 300mg per serve.

Local strength and conditioning trainer Jason Triffett said he had noticed an increased reliance on stimulant-based pre-workout supplements and warned those taking them to monitor the timing and amount of product they were consuming.

"We are seeing people take them as late as 5:30 or 6 o'clock at night to train, and it does affect the quality of their sleep - it's essential to get as much uninterrupted sleep as possible for rest and recovery," he said.

Mr Triffett, who is the co-owner of Ipswich Health and Performance Centre also said anyone considering taking up a fitness routine should get appropriate medical advice.

"We would recommend that anyone who's looking to make changes to their training or diet should seek guidance from their GP, and that definitely includes taking supplements," he said.

Both Mr Triffett and Associate Professor Desbrow advised that it was much safer to avoid the supplements and consume small amounts of naturally-sourced caffeine, such as espresso or iced coffee.