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Do Athletes Take Pre-workout Before Games? You’ll Be Amazed

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 19, 2022
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As a personal trainer and strength coach, I work with many amateur and professional athletes from many different sports.

And while I recommend that all my clients take pre-workout supplements to boost their training performance, I’ve had regular questions from people wondering whether they should take these supplements before games.

My initial reaction was that this would make perfect sense. But I decided to give it some more time and research.

So, I teamed up with a few clients and my dietitian to see if we could figure out all the benefits and downsides of this approach.

Quick Summary

  • Pre-workout supplements can work extremely well to create a targeted performance boost and reduce fatigue during training.
  • The same strength and fatigue benefits can help in competitive games, but you also need to be aware of some downsides.
  • It’s important to understand that the type of pre-workout and the timing of intake can play a key role in getting the right benefits.

Can Athletes Benefit From Pre-Workouts Before Games?

An athlete holding a black tumbler

Yes, athletes can benefit from pre-workouts before competitive games.

And the reason this is the case is that the same ingredients that can boost energy and strength, along with reductions in fatigue, can also help with performance during competitive games.

For example, two of the most common ingredients in pre-workouts are beta-alanine and citrulline.

Beta-alanine has been shown to significantly boost training results in a randomized trial, and that same boost can make a big difference in all sorts of sports [1].

And citrulline has also been shown to significantly reduce feelings of physical and mental fatigue [2].

Combined, just these two ingredients can mean that you outperform competitors by allowing you to push yourself harder and for longer.

Whether you play tennis, football, basketball, or compete in athletic events, this is the kind of boost that can give you the competitive advantage to win.

What Are The Benefits?

Two runners doing a starting position for running

With the help of seven different athletes, we tested our top pre-workout recommendations before competitive games.

And we found that there are three important benefits that you get from these supplements.

Increased Strength

No, you won’t turn into The Hulk just in time for a game. But we did find that the same strength increases you can get from creatine can help during games as well [3].

In my experience, this boost can add a few pounds to a bench press or bicep curl, and that can give you an edge in your sport.

“Creatine is among the most well-researched and effective supplements. It can help with exercise performance by rapidly producing energy during intense activity.”

- Antonis Damianou, Researcher & writer at 

Reduced Fatigue

There is significant evidence that ingredients like citrulline malate have an impact on lactic acid processing and muscle fatigue [4].

And being able to better handle that muscle burn in games will make a big difference in gaining the upper hand for a win.

Mental Focus

The other thing that our test group highlighted was that they felt a lot more focused and motivated during games.

And with many sports being highly reliant on your mental state of mind, this is certainly one benefit you can’t underestimate.

Related Article: Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Focus

Consider The Downsides

A muscular person drinking a supplement drink

Now, there is one downside that you should be aware of, and some in our test group did notice this on a few occasions.

One of the most common ingredients already mentioned above is creatine.

And while it can be very effective for improved strength, there is a risk of it also causing water retention [5].

In our experience, this is a relatively mild side effect, but it’s not ideal if you’re heading into a competitive event where you need your body to perform at optimum levels for sweating and hydration.


Does Pre-Workout Increase Athletic Performance?

Yes, pre-workout can increase athletic performance. And this performance boost can also help with competitive games and matches where increased strength and endurance can give you an edge.

Is It Illegal To Take Pre-Workout Before Games?

No, it isn’t illegal to take pre-workout before games. As long as you’re taking a natural supplement that doesn’t contain banned substances, there’s no reason why such a product should cause any issues.

Give Your Game Play That Extra Edge

If you’ve had good results from taking a pre-workout before your training sessions, then start taking them before games and competitive events.

Your timing and dosage should remain the same so that you know exactly what to expect.

And if you need some help with finding an ideal pre-workout supplement, then check out our list of recommended products:

We’ve tested dozens of supplements to find the ones that work the best for all types of athletes.


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