Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Increasing energy levels is sorely needed when you have long or hard workouts. A lot of articles suggest taking supplements like caffeine to help push through your gym time.

Some people say that taking straight caffeine pills is the best option, while others say pre-workout is what you need.

I dived into research mode to figure out which would be a better option.

Why Is Caffeine Important For Exercise?

Caffeine is important for exercise because it improves focus, energy, and endurance [1]. It can also help your body weight since caffeine can help burn fat and calories [2].

A lot of people choose coffee to get their caffeine fix, but athletes may opt for something built for their needs. Choices like pre workout or caffeine pills are popular.

Are Caffeine Pills Good For Pre-workout?

caffeine pills and pre workout supplements

Caffeine pills may be a good option as a pre-workout.

It will boost your energy levels and help you power through your workouts.

If you choose caffeine pills, then you miss out on some other vital nutrients that you can find in a pre workout.

Ingredients like beta alanine, creatine, and BCAAs can help with muscle growth and recovery.

If you're looking for a quality caffeine pill, we recommend you check out the Genius Brand. You can read our full Genius Caffeine Brand Review.

How Much Caffeine Is In Caffeine Pills Vs Pre-workout?

There is usually more caffeine in pre-workout compared to caffeine pills.

Pre workout can have as much as 500mg of caffeine per serving. Compare that to caffeine pills, which have a lower caffeine content at around 100-200mg.

For reference, an average cup of coffee is 95mg. You will get a lot of caffeine with energy supplements.

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What Other Differences Are There?

Besides the caffeine content, the ingredients for both can be vastly different.

A caffeine pill brand usually adds ingredients like green tea extract or l-theanine. The goal is to increase your energy and alertness.

A pre-workout supplement usually has four ingredients; creatine, BCAAs, beta-alanine, and caffeine.

Sure, it boosts your energy, but it does more than that. They work together to help support the muscles in your body for your gym routine.

It’s best for pre workout supplements to have the correct dosage of each ingredient. It’s something to be mindful of when picking a pre workout supplement for yourself.

What are the Benefits?

Caffeine tablets on black background

Let’s start by taking a look at caffeine pills.

Caffeine pills offer temporary benefits after consumption. They include:

  • Energy boost
  • Increases focus
  • Better athletic ability
  • Lower perceived efforts
  • Increases awakeness

Caffeine tablets are an excellent option if you are looking to avoid energy drinks like pre-workout or coffee. You have a lower chance of consuming extra calories, sugar, or artificial flavors by avoiding those drinks.So does pre-workout have different benefits compared to caffeine pills?

“Of all the legal supplements an athlete could take, caffeine has the biggest effect on performance.”
- Mark Glaister, exercise physiologist

The best pre workout products will have significant benefits for your muscles. It focuses on providing nutrients that help your body in the long-term. You could gain the following:

  • Improve nitric oxide blood flow
  • Burn fat
  • Increase power
  • Build muscle
  • Faster recovery time

What Are The Side Effects?

There are a few similar side effects of caffeine pills and pre workout products.

If you consistently take caffeine pills or pre-workout supplements, then you are at risk of developing a tolerance. It can lower your ability to feel the energy “high.” I would recommend saving it for only an important exercise performance.

I would also suggest not taking it for an evening gym session. Caffeine can keep you awake for hours, and it’s hard to fall asleep that way.

You shouldn’t take either if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition. The extra caffeine can cause a lot of issues.

When Is The Best Time To Take A Pre-workout Or Caffeine Pill?

bodybuilder drinking pre workout

A caffeine pill or pre workout best work before starting any exercise. It usually ranges from 20-60 minutes beforehand.

It depends on a lot of factors like your tolerance to caffeine. My advice is to follow the package instructions to get an idea of what works for you.

For a summary on the differences, check out this video:

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Which Product Should You Pick?

There’s a lot of research on the health benefits of caffeine. You can boost your caffeine intake by taking caffeine pills or a pre-workout.

Both have different intentions on how they help you, though.

If you’re looking for a pure energy boost, then I would recommend taking caffeine pills.

If you’re looking for muscle strength, exercise performance, and quick recovery, then you should consider a pre workout supplement.

What are your thoughts about caffeine pills and pre-workouts?

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10049999
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7775331

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