When it comes to working out, body building or growing muscles, many bodybuilders resort to using energy boosters that provide them with an instant boost of energy, increased strength and vitality. These energy boosters can be particularly useful when you are training hard and need a strong kick for an intense work out session.
From natural boosters like caffeine to supplement boosters like Allmax, they can come in very handy for your training sessions. However, just like other fitness-related products, these also come with their own set of pros and cons and the question of whether bodybuilders should use energy boosters is debatable.
Different kinds with various benefits and risks
Energy boosters come in different forms and types. For instance, some bodybuilders prefer taking energy drinks and beverages, which are probably the most common energy boosters. Others resort to the old-school stimulants like caffeine to increase energy, endurance and focus. And lastly, many choose to take energy shots which are convenient small drinks that often contain stimulants to boost performance.
While all these work really effectively towards providing instant energy to avoid dullness and fatigue and also boost alertness levels, each of them has certain health risks. These risks are experienced when these energy boosters are consumed frequently and in more than the required amounts.
Increased carb content
Energy boosters work quite like pre-and-post workout nutrition and supplements. These are often loaded with carbs which help replenish energy stores and reserves in the body which, in turn, leads to increased focus, energy, performance and recovery. Since this is one of the major goals of bodybuilding, these carbs can really amp up your training sessions.
A strong caffeine hit
Caffeine is probably one of the most commonly and widely consumed ergogenic aids in the world. It is found in beverages like tea, coffee and also in energy drinks for sports. Body builders frequently consume caffeine-based energy drinks as it is a natural stimulant which provides them with a great boost before they begin to lift weights. Body builders have also been found to generally report feeling more competitive and stronger after consuming a caffeinated product as they make them feel more energetic during intense exercise.
Promotes wakefulness and alertness
While energy boosters significantly affect physical performance, they also result in great psychological effects like wakefulness and alertness. A number of studies, conducted on the consumption of energy drinks, have found out that they lead to cognitive and mood enhancement and also promote increased energy that keeps these bodybuilders highly aware of their performance.
Increases motivation levels
On the days when mental and physical fatigue prevents body builders from heading to the gym and lifting those weights, these energy boosters can effectively relieve them off dullness and tiredness. Alongside boosting alertness levels, these also increase motivation by giving an immediate energy boost and kick.
While this aspect of energy boosters has no direct link with muscle or body building, they help indirectly by significantly escalating motivation levels in a person as well.
Boosts psychomotor performance
This comes as no surprise. After consuming any energy drink or shot, increased performance is a given. It enhances reaction time, memory and concentration in body builders which helps them perform even better during training and exercise. Numerous studies conducted on this phenomenon have shown that energy drinks with caffeine, glucose and vitamins significantly enhance aerobic endurance and aerobic performance.
High blood pressure
While caffeine may be considered as the Holy Grail for increased energy levels, too much of it can cause vomiting, nausea, insomnia, rapid heartbeats and high blood pressure. This can be particularly harmful for body builders because the main goal of exercise is to get that heart rate up and sustain the blood pressure. An overdose of a caffeinated energy booster does the exact opposite and significantly increases your blood pressure. This can further result in a heart stroke or heart attack given that you already experience health issues.
Stimulants like caffeine, commonly found in energy boosters, can get you addicted really quickly, which develops a certain kind of dependency on them. This can also lead to fatigue in body builders.
Frequently consuming these energy drinks and shots makes your system increasingly immune to them, and a time comes when you can no longer function without it. This can further lead to numerous other health risks and problems and can develop a certain negative reaction in body builders which is considered ergolytic.
Catalyst for weight gain
Energy boosters have a great propensity to result in weight gain in body builders, especially those who consume them on a daily basis. Because these are very high in sugars and calories, they can cause major spikes in a person’s weight.
Can reduce the ability to function
While in the initial stages of consuming energy boosters, things might look great for you. However, as your body is constantly exposed to stimulants and various other components present in these boosters, they can adversely affect your ability to function in daily life. As your reliance on energy drinks keeps increasing over time, your tolerance levels also rise and as soon as the effect wears off, your body demands another dose to achieve the same effect. This can be quite detrimental for your health because this increased dependence can also make you irritable and you may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety and jitteriness.
Given the numerous benefits and health risks that are associated with energy boosters, it is safe to say that they are neither completely beneficial nor overly harmful. The key is to keep a check on your consumption levels and take them in moderation. The answer to the question proposed earlier whether bodybuilders should use energy boosters is that if taken in the right amounts and only when necessary, the advantages can go a long way. Overdose of anything is harmful and moderation is the key for achieving optimum results.
ABOUT Andrew Patrick
Andrew Patrick is a freelance writer and editor. He loves to read and write articles related to health and lifestyle, and has passion for technology as well. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Karachi. You can connect him on LinkedIn.