A stimulant is any drug that temporarily increases alertness and energy by increasing the function of the central nervous system.
There are many different possible benefits to different kinds of stimulants. Some suppress appetite, delay muscular and cardiovascular fatigue, increase muscular and cardiovascular output, increase metabolism and may even give you a feeling of euphoria.
It’s important to remember that your body may process and react differently than the next person when taking products that contain stimulants. Where one person may only need one cup of coffee or a half a scoop of pre workout, the next person may need an entire pot or two scoops!
Some possible negative side effects of stimulants may be: a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, nausea, adrenal fatigue, minor dependency, nervousness/irritability, dehydration.
Stimulants can most commonly be found in pre-workout drinks, energy drinks and weight loss products. I often hear from women who say they don’t like to take pre workouts because it makes them feel jittery or gives them a tummy ache. This is probably because of the stimulants used in the pre workout. My advice would be to identify a low stimulate product and then start out with 1/4 or 1/2 scoop and work your way up to what feels comfortable.
As a primary stimulant used in supplements, here are a few examples of caffeine in common products:
12 oz coke = 37 mg
8.4 oz red bull = 83 mg
8 oz rock star double strength energy drink = 80 mg
8 oz cup of brewed coffee typically = 95-128 mg
1 oz shot of espresso = 63 mg
5-hour energy extra strength = 242 mg
Keep in mind, a safe limit of caffeine is up to about 400 mg a day for a healthy adult. Always be smart and listen to your body, and remember that when it comes to caffeine, more isn’t always better. In fact, a moderate dose will provide roughly the same stimulant benefits with less negative side effect potential.
When you’re picking a product that may contain stimulants, be on the look out for words that end in “ine”, like caffeine, yohimbine and synephrine.
There are literally thousands of stimulants ranging from all natural herbs like licorice, ashwagandha and siberian ginseng to pharmaceutical grade stimulants like amphetamines. Some of the most common stimulants that can be found in supplements are: caffeine, green tea, synephrine (AKA bitter orange), yohimbe/yohimbine, ephedra (illegal) 1,3,-dimethlyamylamine (DMAA) (also illegal).
If you have any kind of heart condition or high blood pressure, consult a physician before supplementing with products that contain stimulants. Be careful not to overuse stimulants. This can result in adrenal fatigue and sleep interruption.
All-in-all though stimulants can be a healthy, effective way to make workouts more beneficial if taken in reasonable doses.
Stay safe and stay on point!
Check out my segment on The BOLO Podcast, where I talk more about stimulants!