Is the pre-workout you’re consuming safe? Could you be taking a banned substance without knowing it?

Are you in the habit of regularly consuming caffeine-based products or supplements just to muster up the motivation to work out? We get it – sometimes you just need a little extra help to dig deep, get yourself to the gym and give your training session all you’ve got. 

We know that caffeine is epic to enhance your performance. There’s a heap of studies out there supporting caffeine as an effective substance to enhance strength, endurance and speed, so naturally it’s an easy pre-workout pick for many athletes. The main benefit comes from the impact on the CNS, resulting in reduced perception of effort and fatigue, making exercise seem easier. This can be especially beneficial for MMA fighters who exert huge amounts of power in a short period of time. 

But do you ever take a look at what’s on the back of your go-to energy booster? Do you even care? If you don’t, maybe you should…

Are you getting more than you bargained for?

A majority of pre-workout and caffeine-based products are formulated using synthetic caffeine. What does this mean? Well, the reality is quite scary: we don’t know what the true long-term effects of these ingredients are. More often than not, synthetic caffeine is produced in unregulated foreign labs that also produce a vast array of illegal ingredients. This is why when you hear of one of your favourite athletes failing a drug test due to a tainted supplement, it is usually found in a caffeine-based pre-workout supplement.  

So why is it a more popular ingredient for manufacturers? Simply put: it’s cheaper and more convenient. It can be easily mass produced, which is attractive for global companies producing huge quantities of foods, drinks and supplements in high demand. On the other hand, natural caffeine is more expensive to source and much more labour-intensive, meaning less profit for the companies selling it.

To protect your health and your career if you are an elite athlete, check your products to ensure that they are drug tested. Even if you only buy from reputable brands, this does not mean you’re in the clear: any company can have issues with inadvertent contamination of products, so you could be at risk if the product hasn’t been specifically tested for WADA banned substances. One way to tell if your product has been tested is to look for a certified prohibited substance drug testing agency. If you are purchasing a product within Australia, the gold standard for drug testing is HASTA, with products that undergo testing containing the “HASTA Certified” seal on the packaging. HASTA is the Australian sports supplement drug testing specialist and Australia’s largest independent sports drug testing laboratory. This seal means that every batch has been tested for substances found on the WADA banned substance list. It is designed to give athletes – competing athletes in particular – confidence in choosing a supplement, knowing that it has the added assurance of being tested for inadvertent contamination with banned substances along with the knowledge that the label is 100% true to specifications.

Top Tip: All of our CMBT supplements are certified by HASTA, so you can trust that we provide clean, high-quality, nutrient-rich products without any hidden or unwanted additives. Click here to find out more. 

Is natural caffeine as effective?

Gone are the days of thinking that synthetic caffeine is more effective or has a stronger impact on your performance than natural caffeine. With the advancement of food technology, natural caffeine ingredients are becoming more available and a healthier, safer alternative to their synthetic counterparts. 

Natural caffeine is the pure, original form of caffeine found in naturally occurring plants such as guarana berries, cacao and yerba mate. It’s now known to be present in over 60 different species of plants and is often accompanied by a range of vitamins and methylxanthines. These properties help to manage the steady release of caffeine into your bloodstream, allowing for a more sustainable boost of energy and greater cognitive performance over a longer period of time. 

This steady release of caffeine is less likely to cause the unwanted side effects that often occur with synthetic caffeine, such as jitters, anxiousness and trouble sleeping. It’s also less likely to cause an energy crash since the caffeine is gradually released, so the body isn’t sharply transitioned from one state to another. So not only do you know exactly where it comes from, but you can also expect to experience a much more stable increase in energy in comparison to the spike that synthetic caffeine induces.

How to tell if your supplement contains natural caffeine

It’s often easy to tell whether your product contains natural caffeine. All you need to do is take a look at the nutrition label. Products with natural caffeine will usually have it labelled as the plant version rather than simply ‘caffeine’ as it can be difficult to quantify in its natural form. 

For example, you’ll notice that our new product CMBT Loaded (coming soon) lists Guarana Extract and Green Coffee Bean Extract in the ingredients. These natural compounds are rich in vitamins and methylxanthines that, as previously discussed, manage the rise and fall of caffeine levels in the body, promoting sustainable energy and prolonged mental clarity.

CMBT Loaded, the gold standard in all natural pre-workouts

As always, we are committed to providing our community with clean, high quality ingredients to achieve the best results possible. We’ve consulted with some of the most elite industry experts, including leading scientists, nutritionists, dietitians and athletes to formulate the perfect blend of ingredients to synergistically enhance energy, focus and performance. For this reason, we knew the only option to providing the most elite level pre-workout for combat sports athletes was to use a blend of natural caffeine sources.  

To stay up to date with what makes CMBT Loaded the Gold Standard pre-workout for combat athletes, sign up to our mailing list here

Lexi Daniels