Jock vs. nerd. Gym rat vs. gamer. One fixated on building a superhero physique in the real world, the other obsessed with being a superhero in a virtual one. Stereotypes, yes, but it often seems the gulf between subcultures can’t be crossed. And with the popularity of multi-ingredient pre-workouts, getting jacked on a scoop before hoisting iron became yet another dividing line between those who can name the reigning Mr. Olympia and everyone else. Not anymore. Just as protein powders and bars went mainstream, supplement blends are doing the same. They’re being swallowed even by those who never wrap their calloused palms around a barbell, and especially by those who keep their fluttering fingers on a controller.
BUNDLES OF ENERGY
Tom Morgan, senior market analyst of Lumina Intelligence, which monitors the supplement business, says: “Love them or hate them, pre-workout blends are one of the cornerstones of the sports nutrition industry, and just as with protein, they are beginning to expand out of their sports-centric niche. We’re finding products launching for e-gamers and the common folk on the street, positioned not just for muscle pumps, but also for brain kicks and overall well-being.”
Gamers are seeking two things in a powder—greater mental focus and sustained energy—and those are components of nearly every pre-workout blend. Superpump Max, to name just one pre-workout, has a “Cognitive Acceleration Matrix” of ingredients, which sounds so gamer. And if a dose of pre-workout comes with a gram or two of creatine and another of beta-alanine, so be it. It won’t hurt, right? But a big jolt of caffeine can make hands slightly jittery: no problem if you’re pushing a weighted sled or pressing a barbell, big problem if you’re manipulating controller buttons.
That’s why enterprising companies like G Fuel and GG have created multi-ingredient supplements marketed to gamers. They’re heavy on nootropics but light on stimulants (GFuel has 150 mg. of caffeine, half as much as the popular pre-workout Pre JYM), enough to keep energy and focus up but, hopefully, not diminish dexterity. There are interesting overlaps between gamer and bodybuilding blends. For example, G Fuel contains the popular preworkout ingredients taurine and citruline, which have both mind and body benefits.
Now that pre-workouts have escaped the gym, there’s no telling where they’ll go next. They can crank it to 11 just about any time you need more vigor or improved concentration. Before yardwork? ✓ Before brainstorming? ✓ Before snow-shoveling? ✓ Before the final two hours of work on a day when you’re dragging? ✓ Before a pickup basketball game or round of golf or day at Disney or solving a crossword puzzle or, umm, sex? ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Pre-workouts, gamer fuels, energy or nootropic formulas, whatever you want to call them, multi-ingredient supplements aren’t just for workouts anymore.