Hey Alfonso,

Alfonso I’m a HUGE fan of yours and have learned so much from reading your site. With your help I’ve managed to make more progress in my program in the last 4 months than I have in the past 10 years! 

My question is about headaches. I started taking some pre-workout supplements along with my regular stack and about 20 minutes into my workout I get a sharp, shooting pain in the back of my skull. And it’s kind of tingly across my face. It goes away after about 20 minutes but I’m wondering if you know what this is? My friends say this is normal and that they get it sometimes too.

There are so many pre-workout supplements on the market that I don’t know the difference between them. When I read the ingredients it might as well be a foreign language. Can you make a suggestion for me?




Hey Brian. What’s going on?

Listen, first and foremost STOP taking whichever product it is and tell your friends to do the same! There is NEVER a time when skull pain is ‘normal’, understand?

Here’s the deal – most of the pre-workouts are cocktails of various chemicals and supplements to enhance performance across a broad spectrum. Many will improve focus, fat-burning, energy production, contain creatine, yohimbe or yohimbine, niacin, caffeine and a lot more. In almost all cases, blood flow is greatly increased and many are also stimulants – so your heart rate becomes elevated too. So not only is your heart pumping more, but the pathways that deliver oxygen and blood open up as well. Without a specific brand I can’t tell you exactly how your product works. You need to also remember that due to loopholes in the system, many items for sale in your vitamin store are not tested, verified for safety etc. Over the years there have been quite a few cases of companies using compounds that shouldn’t have been included for various reasons, all in the name of better performance.

BUT I need to say this – this is the problem with supplements. How is it that you don’t know what you’re taking and putting in your body? I understand that the labels can be hard to read, but a simple Google search can tell you a whole lot about what’s in those products. Too many people simply see an ad in a magazine featuring a professional athlete or bodybuilder, or hear from a buddy in the gym that this ‘stuff’ is great, and all of a sudden they’re popping pills or mixing powders before your workout! That’s pure madness. And truthfully there can be serious consequences. Perhaps you’re on meds that contradict the supplements you’re using or maybe you have an underlying condition you’re unaware of. Plus are you using the suggested dose? Did you start with a small amount to access your tolerance or did you jump right in like your friends suggested?

Here’s my suggestion. Go see your doctor and tell them about the pain you’ve experienced. I’m not trying to scare you at all, but in some cases there may be a condition that you’re unaware of. Of course it’s more than likely that it’s nothing serious. Second, I’d stop ALL supplements for at least one week, maybe two. I’d research everything I had been taking by simply reading the ingredients list and searching online. Now keep in mind, just because something is on the web doesn’t make it true, but you can still find what you need if you use common sense. Now here’s the important part. When / if you start to take supplements again, start with just ONE to see if you have any adverse affects. If you jump right in and take four products at once, when an issue arises you won’t know which is causing the issue. Makes sense right? After a week of two add another product in and follow the same protocol.

Lastly, I’ve said this for years – make sure everything else in your program is right. Oftentimes people don’t eat well, sleep right or workout appropriately, yet they take supplements. Supplements can be of great use, when used properly, if you’re informed, they’re used safely and IF everything else is right. So make sure you’re on the ball with the rest of your program.

And in case you forgot – STOP taking your pre-workout!

I hope that helped.

And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!


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