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Pre-Workout Supplement May Give Women an Edge

There’s no shortage of supplements claiming to boost athletic performance, but do any of them actually up your game? According to a small study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, some may—at least for active women. The double-blind study included 15 healthy women, aged 19 to 23, who were regular, moderate exercisers, and tested the effects of a powdered pre-workout supplement (MIPS) containing several amino acids and amino acid derivatives, beet root extract, hawthorn berry, caffeine, and an herbal extract from Huperzia serrata.

The participants underwent a series of tests to assess their baseline body composition, strength, fitness, and exercise performance. Within seven days, the women returned to the exercise lab for the first experimental session and were randomly assigned to consume either the MIPS or placebo dissolved in water. The experimental session involved answering survey questions regarding energy, focus, and fatigue levels, and monitoring resting heart rate and blood pressure from just before taking the MIPS or placebo until one hour after. This was followed by the same strength, fitness, and exercise performance tests used for the baseline assessment. Four to seven days later, the experimental session was repeated with MIPS or placebo assignments reversed. At the end of the two experimental sessions, the researchers found that, compared with placebo, taking the MIPS led to the following changes:

  • Resting metabolism—a measure of how many calories a person burns at rest—increased, as did diastolic blood pressure. These changes could contribute to enhanced exercise capacity.
  • Participants were able to perform more bench presses and sprint longer.
  • Participants reported feeling more focused 80 minutes after ingesting the supplement.

Researchers posit that some of these effects, including increased strength, energy, and focus levels, could be attributed to the caffeine in the MIPS. They also point out that other ingredients in the MIPS have also been associated with increased athletic performance, such as the beet root extract. While this study’s findings are interesting, it’s important to note it was funded in part by the manufacturer of the MIPS and may be affected by bias. In any case, if you’re interested in taking a pre-workout supplement, speak with your doctor first to make sure it’s right for you.

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

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