Pre-Workout, Pre-Game

Last night, I took pre-workout before going to the bars.

You might have heard of pre-workout before. It’s a bodybuilding supplement intended to produce a sudden explosion of energy up in down your nervous system. The first pre-workout, called Ultimate Orange, was released in 1982 out of Venice, California. Ultimate Orange started the pre workout craze and lasted into the 2000s before a series of lawsuits curtailed the product. An ingredient called Ephedra was blamed for causing heart attacks in otherwise healthy adults. A new product called Jack3d emerged to replace Ultimate Orange as the go-to pre workout. It’s signature ingredient, a synthetic compound called DMAA, would be banned for causing cardiovascular problems like, again, heart attacks. So it would be safe to say then that taking pre-workout is--unsafe! At the very least, there’s a shadow over the whole industry.  

So anyway, yesterday evening I found myself on a couch in my friend’s basement, a cup of diet coke in hand, and empty Budweiser bottles cluttering the table in front of us. I was tired and on the verge of staying in that night. The lure of wrapping myself in a blanket and watching a football game in the comfort of my own family room was strong. But I had agreed earlier to go out with my friends. I was honor bound to my word. So here I was, sipping diet Coke for the 47mg of caffeine per serving. I was tired, a little groggy, and in need of a strong cup of coffee-- which eluded me.

My host had an idea. Why not skip the diet coke and take some of his pre-workout. Pre-workout? The elusive and mysterious powder that fuels the hard gains of so many testerone junkies? Having never taken it before, I began to mumble: Hmmm. It was an intriguing proposition. Although I craved a bit of a kick, I didn’t want to be so juiced that I spent the night slamming a barstool into my forehead. I also didn’t want a heart attack. So I put my glasses on and looked over the nutritional information label like I had a medical degree. My first discover: pre-workout has a lot of vitamins. Vitamins are good, I mumble. Some of the compounds were unfamiliar to me, like: Niacin, tyrosine, theacrine, mr bean, beta-alanine, ala-betanine... sounds potent…and, oh, look at that, caffeine! That’s the stuff we want. Having not been convinced this was a bad idea, I plopped a fat scoop in my cup of diet coke.

There was no immediate effect. My friend called the Uber. I’m standing on my two feet and starting to feel more awake. My body feels about a degree warmer. Within five minutes, I’m marching around the basement and loudly declaring to my buddies: I could do an hour of jumping jacks right now. “Don’t jump around in my basement,” my host replied coolly. “Fair enough,” I said.

We’re in the Uber. My skin is becoming a little itchy. I feel like my eyes are about two inches wider than normal. And I’m bobbing my head at a rate of 135 beats per minute--funny because I can’t recall any music playing. I think it’s starting to work. One of my friends looks over at me in the backseat. He issues the universal sign of reassurance to a buddy who has taken a dangerous substance: the thumbs up. I nod.

We’re in the bar. I’m sweating a lot. For some reason, my mind is occupied by sizing up the bouncer, who’s about three times bigger than me... but if I form tackled him just right, about fifteen degrees off center, I’d bring him to the ground. The pre-workout was beginning to mess with my brain. The next thing I know, I’m holding two beers, while a man in what can only be called an official Dallas Cowboys trench coat is screaming at the television. Woah. Maybe he’s a pre-workout induced hallucination? Or someone else took pre-workout before coming here.

A little over an hour after my scoopful and I could feel a decline. The come down was brutal and unpleasant. Who am I kidding-- I didn’t notice a thing. Anticlimactic, right? Pre-workout came into my life, scrambled it briefly, and then disappeared into the night. I’m not sure if that’s a one-night stand metaphor or not. Anyhow, I will most likely never take it again. It’s not that it didn’t work. It’s that, well, it makes your burps smell like a cherry colored Tesla. I don’t need that in my life.

Supplement review: 2.3 out of 4 trapeziuses.

For a second opinion, see here:

Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.

Twitter: @IshFarooqui