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Strength & Performance Blog

The Yoke & Stone Strength & Performance Blog will help athletes at any level to improve their strength and athletic performance.

PRE-WORK OUT ... THE MEDICATED VS. THE DEDICATED

Mark Taysom

There is enough research to choke an elephant, discussing the affects/effects of hormones (drugs) on the body within the context of exercise. Most of which will require some higher education above that of a GNC label reader, to understand. Things like: affinity, receptor binding, receptor sensitivity. upstream, downstream, signaling, inhibiting, synergistic, catalyst, serum concentration, gradients, etc.  

Wen I scroll through Instagram or Facebook I see many, many people singing the praises of their training sessions with all sorts of hashtags about "going hard" or "putting in the work", "hardcore" and so forth. Yet they can't seem to find a single note to sing about their pharmacist! As an exercise professional I understand that there are "responders" and "non-responders" to exercise and that results can vary widely among people but I am also no fool when it comes to spotting an "enhanced physique".  To these people I ask "why so shy big guy?" Let me be clear, if you want to pump yourself so full of hormones from Mexico and pills from "that guy at the gym" so that you can be "JACKED", well then GO AHEAD. You are just willing to sacrifice a little more than others for that physique than most. Many will sacrifice their time to go to the gym and you are just willing to sacrifice a little time off your life expectancy to achieve; to me its just a matter of level or line you are willing to cross. I would just like to say that among many I see who take the "juice" or "Vitamin S" as we like to say are doing it to achieve in reality only a decent level of fitness, a level that could be obtained with better training and patience. That is the problem. Steroids isn't "cheating" unless there are rules to a game you are playing. Ask your neighbor if he has ever taken Tylenol, Asprin, or Advil for a headache. When he answers "yes" call him a cheater! Tell him that he is just trying to get rid of his headache so that he can work harder and not take time off; which are the exact same reasons someone takes steroids.

A word of caution, although there is much research in this area as I said before; every physiologist will tell you the Endocrine system (hormones) is the thing we know the LEAST about. So to all you WILD BILL's out there on the "Juice", good luck and let us know what happens to you because you are really just a guinea pig for the rest of us.  Now I will write more in the future more specifically about steroids but let me now speak of a more common and potentially equally dangerous behavior in the realm of fitness.

When you see a youthful participant at "BURNING MAN" out in the desert dancing for 24 hours straight, do you say to yourself "wow that is quite the dedication to dancing I certainly do admire his stamina"! NO, of course not because you know he is on a whole bunch of 'who knows what' that is causing his behavior.  You can walk into any gym, at any time, anywhere and see nearly everyone drinking some mystery potion that they whipped up in the locker room like little witches/wizards. Many of them buy there particular "sauce" for 30+$ and it contains 20+ ingredients that they don't know about. There are countless memes on the internet about what happens when the "PRE-WORKOUT KICKS IN".  Some of these things are wildly dangerous to your immediate health. People talk of having their skin tingle or their pupils so dilated that their eyes look black! To put it bluntly these pre workouts are not necessary and they are drugs. Rest assured your energy and desire to train is actually more attributable to your addiction than it is to your dedication.

IF YOUR TIRED = TAKE A NAP or GO TO BED WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO (DISCIPLINE)

If you don't want to go to the gym = DON'T or just talk with your self about it or call a friend (DISCIPLINE)

IF YOU DON"T THINK YOU CAN LIFT HEAVY THAT DAY AND CRUSH THE WEIGHTS = DON'T, work on your mobility or recovery or technique or metabolic stressing with lighter loads, TRUE these aren't as facebook or instagram appealing but they are necessary parts of training. (DISCIPLINE)

KIND OF HURTING WITH SOME ACHES AND PAINS = REHABILITATE YOURSELF, learn how. (DISCIPLINE)

BORED WITH YOUR WORKOUT = VARY the training and the exercises, speak with experts to learn new and stimulating methods to add to your training (DISCIPLINE)

I DON"T FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT WORKING OUT I DON"T WANT TO HAVE TO QUIT 1/2 way through the class = GROW UP YOU CANNOT BE GREAT AT EVERYTHING, exercise doesn't give out trophies to everyone. Humble yourself and bow out if you have to all the while praising those who are able to persist.  (DISCIPLINE)

I LIKE THE BUZZ FROM THE PREWORKOUT = GET help because your an addict (DISCIPLINE)

I NEED TO BE STRONG= If a grizzly bear walked in the room right now, would you need a RED BULL first before you felt like you were ready to run? NO I didn't think so!! What is the difference? Belief and necessity, you believe the bear is dangerous to you and you feel it necessary to run. Apply those same feelings toward your training. You just admitted you could run without a RED BULL but you are unable to train without one??? That is your WEAKNESS that you need to overcome and have leave your body!!  YOUR PRE WORKOUT gives you help, because you are unable to LIFT YOURSELF UP MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY TO ACHIEVE! (MENTAL DISCIPLINE)

THESE products are simply selling "addiction" packaged as "progress"!  

Now for a little bit of science-ey stuff. Pre Workout stuff in some way, shape or form is messing with your fight or flight responses of the body. It is important in a state of physical alarm to not get distracted by pain or fatigue or caution which is why these things are blunted by adrenaline and other such fight or flight chemicals. Remember Forrest Gump who when shot while saving his friend BUBBA exclaimed, "something bit me!" Not realizing that he had been shot! Likewise if we are so jacked up on pre workout we will lose touch with or communication with the happenings of our bodies. Those on pre workout are more susceptible to injury because they will push and not feel the warning signs of Caution, Pain, and Fatigue. Tendonitis and Overtraining syndrome are more common among users of pre workout. Also, because of this blunting response your learning about what does and doesn't work, and what feels and doesn't feel right is diminished.  Often people take pre workout because they don't feel they are progressing. Well progress actually comes a lot slower than T.V. or instagram is going to tell you. Also, as any strength coach can tell you, the program routines that most people follow in these recreational gyms, if they have a program at all, are less than stellar ha ha. So rather than eat some humble pie and ask a professional about their training they believe that they just have to push harder but finding themselves unable to do so naturally turn therefore to stimulants to assist with continual adherence to training mediocrity!   Doing the same thing over and over again albeit with greater vigor and energy is still a form of insanity! 

WHAT PEOPLE LACK IN THEIR TRAINING AND WILL NOT ADMIT TO IN THEIR THINKING THEY ATTEMPT TO MAKE UP FOR IN THEIR DRINKING.....! of pre workout that is!