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Can I Take Pre-Workout Before Work? (Will You Be Energized)

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

Pre-workouts might look handy in many scenarios other than increasing physical exercise performance.

I experimented with some during my 12 hours night shifts in a highly physical warehouse job a few years ago.

I've never really thought about it until recently, which is why I decided to dig deeper and see whether this is a good thing to do.

After hours of research, I'm excited to share my findings, observations, and experience with using pre-workout supplements before work.

Read on.

Quick Summary

  • Pre-workouts are more than gym supplements as they also come in handy in our daily life scenarios, such as working and studying.
  • These supplements are best used for the physically-demanding work situations.
  • Caffeine, the primary ingredient in supplements, can be addictive, so you need to use the supplement sparingly.

Taking a Pre-workout Before Work

A man holding a supplement powder container

Based on the pre-workout supplement and the nature of the job, there are several compelling reasons to take supplements before going to work.

Just because some supplements' formulae are labeled as pre-workout, it doesn't imply that the substances they contain may or should be taken just to boost athletic performance.

For example, in some cases, the natural adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea may be an effective ergogenic supplement for powerlifters and bodybuilders since it increases endurance and strength [1].

In other circumstances, such as the workplace, Rhodiola Rosea may function as a potent, fast-acting nootropic, clearing away mental stress and confusion halfway through your shift at work [2].

So, generally, it is okay to use pre-workout supplements before going to work.

However, there are some caveats to consider:

  • You should not use every pre-workout supplement without exercising.
  • Supplements that do not include training do not benefit exercise performance (obviously).
  • What you engage in rather than exercising matters.

I find this latter point to be particularly important.

Just because you can take some supplements without hitting the gym, it doesn't mean you should — at least not unless you're looking to improve several other non-athletic performance facets.

Benefits of Taking Pre-workouts Before Work

Having a pill on hand while on work

Best pre-workout supplements combine a variety of bioactive compounds to engage various performance-enhancing bio-pathways associated with competitive fitness and health performance [3].

The benefits of taking pre-workouts before work are:

  • Nervous system stimulation: Pre-workout supplement ingredients like natural caffeine and beta-alanine not only improve physical performance but also offer you extra energy to aid you in getting more work done [4].
  • Increased blood flow: The components also boost blood flow in blood vessels, which causes nitric oxide to be released from vessel walls, making your muscles stronger.
  • Increased strength: Good products, like the summary pre-workout supplements, contain Creatine Monohydrate, which improves strength and muscle growth, and extends the amount of time you can work in any physically demanding job before weariness kicks in [5].
  • Focus and alertness: While you'll receive that additional boost that will help improve performance, the amino acids are also great for making you calm, attentive, and focused.

Good pre-workout not only help you get more energy, but they're usually stronger than energy drinks and have fewer flavorings and stimulants.

The Drawbacks of Pre-workout Before Work

With all the benefits come some disadvantages that you should be aware of.

  • Sleep issues: If you take it too late, the high amounts of caffeine in it may keep you up when evening draws.
  • Adverse effects: Although your supplement contains ingredients that will give you a burst of energy, some contain significant compounds like caffeine, which can induce an accelerated heart rate, irritability, or even nausea.

3 Reasons Why You Should Take Pre-workout Before Work

Pouring pills on hand wearing blue long sleeves

You should take pre-workouts when your job/work is physically demanding, runs for an extended period, and requires cognitive abilities.

Let's get into details about this.

1. Physically Demanding Labor

If your job has you on your feet or requires extra energy, taking a supplement that strengthens your muscle cells is quite handy.

The two main ingredients that help boost your energy and keep you in form during physically demanding sessions, according to sports nutrition, are creatine and beta-alanine.

Creatine increases your power output and increases muscular endurance [6].

Alanine gives you a tingle and increases endurance by reducing the build-up of free radicals [7].

Supplements have helped me avoid poor form and posture, especially at the end of the day. It has saved me from injuries and muscle tissue tears when unloading bags of cement.

2. Long Hourly Shifts

Having a long shift at work in a factory

If you need to maintain a razor-sharp focus on your entire work session, taking a supplement, either before work or midway, may make your grind much easier.

The mental focus from it is strong, clean, and lasts a long time [8].

Now, there're a bunch of ingredients that help with improved focus, but caffeine is one of the more researched drugs on the mental and focus aspects.

It works wonders, especially in combination with the L-theanine. It rids you of the jittery and anxious feelings while letting you focus without drowsiness [9].

“Most pre-workout drinks are just caffeine-based. They may have other ingredients that claim to “increase pumps” or “better utilize ATP' ' but it's basically the same as drinking Starbucks on your way to work. I recommend combining Caffeine and Theanine as studies show they are synergistic in terms of Theanine taking the edge off and preventing ‘the crash’.”

- Matt Theis, CEO of Momentum Nutrition

3. Competitive Cognitive Demands

If you're a brain worker and the kind of guy or girl that gets paid to sit and think, popping a few supplement pills can be a game-changer.

Today, most brands are adding nootropics to their collections. What was initially considered the limits of academic space is slowly gaining momentum in the workout and professional labor [12].

Many workers are now taking supplements to help with their thinking abilities, improve mental performance, and increase creativity & intelligence.

When You Shouldn't Take a Pre-workout Before Work

A man looking at screen intensively

You shouldn't take a supplement if your work isn't physically demanding. Otherwise, you should take it with a lot of caution.

Most of them are training-based, which comes in handy when lifting heavy weights and doing lots of muscle-strengthening activities.

Even when you're performing muscle-building exercises, it would be best to you avoid many pre-workout formulas that are hyper-caffeinated.

Instead, if you're only looking to add hype to your work environment and gentle stimulation to keep you going, I'd recommend the stim-free options or a nootropic.

What's the Best Time to Take a Pre-workout?

The best time to take a pre-workout is 20 to 30 minutes before you start the actual work. It's during this time that caffeine reaches its peak effectiveness [13].

Timing your intake is necessary to avoid a crash while benefiting from maximum energy potential and avoiding complications, such as sleep problems.

I usually take mine 20 minutes before work and don't overthink it.

However, the trick is experimenting with timing by yourself.

Understand that our bodies metabolize things at varying rates based on a whole host of factors, including age, diet, and body fat percentage [14].

So, what works for me, may not be an option for you.

How Much Pre-workout Should You Take When Working?

A scoop of a pre workout supplement pouring on tumbler

You should take around 400 mg per day [15].

But it's always important to read the label and follow instructions. Don't take more than they recommend.

Usually, most of the brands recommend taking two scoops per drink.

Even then, it's a good idea to consider the actual caffeine content per scoop.

The higher-dosed pre-supplements contain 200 mg of caffeine for each scoop and will deliver a single-day serving of 400 mg of caffeine [16].

For reference, a regular cup of coffee contains roughly 100 mg of caffeine.

But because your body can tolerate that amount doesn't mean you have to consume all of it to feel energized.

If you're starting out on pre-supplements, I'd recommend you start slow and on a smaller dose before working your way up.

How Long Does a Pre-Workout Last?

Effects can last for four to six hours, depending on the product [17].

In short, it lasts long enough for you to complete and get a serious gym workout.

The longer half-life means you must time your consumption well enough so that you don't take it late in the day.

Otherwise, it may affect your sleep pattern.

But as I mentioned, our bodies metabolize differently, so some users won't have any issues taking caffeine later in the day.

FAQs

Can I Take a Pre-workout to Go to Work?

Yes, you can take a pre-workout before you go to work. It boosts your energy level, improves focus, and it is a cognitive enhancer.

Is It Okay to Take Pre-workout an Hour Before Working Out?

Yes, it's okay to use pre-workout an hour before working out, but for the best results, take it 20 to 30 minutes beforehand since that's when caffeine is at its peak effectiveness.

How Quickly Does Pre-workout Kick In?

Pre-workout kicks in 20 to 30 minutes after consumption.

How Long Does Pre-workout Last in Your Body?

Pre-workout lasts in your body for four to six hours. The lasting effects depend on different factors, including your age, weight, and body fat.

Taking Pre-workout Before Work: A Good Idea?

Pre-workout supplements can be quite beneficial even when not working out. They provide the energy and strength needed when working. However, proper usage is necessary for optimal results and fewer side effects.

In addition, most of them lack key pre-workout ingredients that help to improve focus and mental clarity.

We've rounded up the best pre-workout supplements for focus with an ingredient blend that works as a cognitive enhancer and sharpens your focus.

After testing for 15 months, I can recommend these supplements as they contain the coveted caffeine and L-theanine combination. This offers the most effective focusing results, allowing you to stay alert and avoid distraction when working.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16948486/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541197/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30089501/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-supplements
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-creatine
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-for-muscle-and-strength 
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/beta-alanine-101
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/how-long-does-pre-workout-last
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324120#overview
  10. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-764/huperzine-a
  11. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tyrosine
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947244/
  13. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-supplements
  14. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism
  15. https://www.prosupps.com/blogs/articles/when-to-take-pre-workout-for-the-best-results
  16. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
  17. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-caffeine-last
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