Pump it up with pre-workout supplements

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As a firefighter, Kevin Culver has to be in tip-top shape and counts on his workouts to keep him that way. (KFSN)

As a firefighter, Kevin Culver has to be in tip-top shape and counts on his workouts to keep him that way. He also counts on pre-workout supplements.

"One is super caffeinated for the days that I'm just dragging my tail and I don't want to be in the gym early morning, 5:00 p.m. and morning workouts," said firefighter Kevin Culver.

He says the other helps him focus. These supplements, commonly called pre-workout, are usually powder drink mixes or capsules.

The idea is to take them right before you hit the gym to boost performance. There are numerous brands, formulas, and ingredients.

"Carbohydrates, proteins that are broken down to what they call amino acids, and the derivatives of those as well as sometimes electrolytes, or B vitamins, antioxidants, creatine, and caffeine," said Jessica Crandall.

Registered dietitian Jessica Crandall says some ingredients may be safe and energy-boosting, but others can be pointless, or worse.

"A lot of these are overpriced with potentially some bad side effects that could impact your health negatively," said Crandall.

Including, she says, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and digestive distress.

Like with all supplements, pre-workouts are not regulated by the FDA for safety.

Crandall says there are third-party groups that certify supplements for content and purity.

However, she suggests getting what you need straight from the foods you eat.

"I think that food can be our first line of fuel and it's really important on focusing on good nutrition to better enhance our cardiovascular and strength," said Crandall.

Culver says he will do both eat right and count on his pre-workout.

"I don't think I would ever go back to working out without supplements," said Culver.
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