Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

Does Pre-Workout Boost Testosterone? 5 Things You Must Know

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 25, 2022

As a personal trainer, I guide a lot of clients through carefully planned resistance training routines to maximize muscle growth. But there are ways to naturally improve performance levels with pre-workout supplements.

An interesting question I got from a client was whether these supplements could also help with increasing testosterone production.

So, I teamed up with my dietitian and nutritionist to research scientific trials and find out if this is a common effect.

Here’s what we found.

Quick Summary

  • Most pre-workout products mainly aim to boost muscle performance and improve blood flow to muscles.
  • Many of these supplements also contain ingredients that are common in testosterone boosters.
  • Checking the label of your pre-workout supplement could help you identify whether it will increase or reduce testosterone in the human body.

Can You Boost Testosterone With Pre-Workout Supplements?

A person stretching

Yes, you can boost testosterone levels with pre-workout supplements.

These supplements often contain ingredients that have more than one benefit, and the most common one is caffeine.

Research suggests that it can not only provide an energy boost but also increase your T-count during resistance exercise [1].

I’ll get to some other ingredients, including supplements with amino acids, shortly, but the important thing to keep in mind is that many supplements like pre-workouts and fat burners have at least some ingredients that also impact T-levels.

And that makes perfect sense.

One of the key parts of building lean muscle mass is the right balance of sex and stress hormone levels [2].

And a great pre-workout should help to balance your hormone levels.

Now, I’ll have to say right here that there are plenty of supplements out there that have a limited impact on achieving sustained energy boosts and testosterone.

So don’t rush out and buy the first product you see.

I’ll get to the important ingredients shortly.

How Do Pre-Workouts Impact Testosterone?

Getting a scoop in a supplement container

Pre-workouts impact testosterone levels mainly in two ways, by affecting production or conversion. It’s entirely dependent on the types of ingredients, but having a supplement that achieves both these effects is possibly the best.

Increased Production

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are natural herbs, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that are part of the natural testosterone process.

With the right combination, you can send signals to the pituitary gland in the body through the luteinizing hormone, which then signals for an increase in testosterone [3].

But you’ll also need amino acids and minerals like zinc to make sure there are enough building blocks to create fresh testosterone [4].

“Zinc deficiency has been linked to low testosterone levels. Zinc may promote testosterone production in the testes. Long-term zinc supplementation may lead to increased testosterone levels.”

- Dan Brennan, MD, WebMD.com.

Decreased Conversion

Another way that supplements can help with T-levels is through ingredients that inhibit the effects of the enzyme called aromatase.

This is a process where enzymes break down testosterone and transform it into estrogen [5].

Attacking both of these processes through a pre-workout or T-booster can have a significant effect on erectile dysfunction, sex drive, and building muscle tissue.

Is It the Most Effective Way to Increase T-Levels?

A muscular person flexing his muscles

No, relying on a pre-workout is not the most effective way to increase testosterone levels.

While they often contain ingredients like caffeine and D-aspartic acid that can have an impact on testosterone, they often lack the right combination and dosage.

Here’s what I mean.

I regularly use a few great pre-workouts, and they contain a few ingredients that I see on my recommended T-boosters.

But the dosage is often not as high, and the formula is not extensive enough.

As a result, they won’t maximize that natural T-boosting effect.

Can They Negatively Impact Hormone Levels?

Yes, a pre-workout supplement can negatively impact hormone levels.

While medical science doesn’t yet fully understand how certain minerals and amino acids can decrease testosterone levels, it’s likely to be linked to cortisol levels [6].

A disruption in cortisol and testosterone balances can also be linked to an imbalance in sex hormone binding globulin, which can further impact metabolic processes [7].

These are very complex processes, and you don’t want to risk disrupting them through the wrong choice of supplement.

That’s why I generally recommend taking separate products for pre-workout and testosterone boosting.

Ingredients You Should Look Out For

A scoop of pre workout

Here are the main ingredients that you might find in some pre-workouts that can have an impact on free testosterone levels.

Caffeine

You’ll often find caffeine in a pre-workout product. There are obvious mental focus benefits, but it can also trigger improved workout performance [8].

But what many people don’t know is that a randomized controlled trial has also shown that during physical activity, caffeine may boost testosterone by over 20% [9].

That’s a significant amount at a time when you want as much of a boost as possible.

It can help with both your overall strength during training but also with faster recovery times where you build muscle more efficiently.

D-Aspartic Acid

A muscular person holding a pills

D-aspartic acid is an amino acid that plays a role in protein synthesis, and that’s why you'll often find it in a natural pre and post-workout supplement [10].

The main benefit is that it can help speed up muscle-building processes after you exercise.

But another study published a few years ago has shown that men who regularly take D-aspartic acid may have increased testosterone [11].

And with hardly any negative effects, this is one ingredient that should be top of your list for ideal supplements.

Ginseng

There is some evidence that red ginseng in a pre-workout can help with reduced levels of fatigue [12].

While it might not be as effective as beta-alanine or citrulline malate, it’s still positive enough to make it a common ingredient.

The added bonus comes from the fact that regular intake of ginseng may boost testosterone levels [13].

It’s so well established in science that my dietitian wouldn’t recommend a T-booster that doesn’t contain this root extract.

The good news is that it’s common in pre-workouts and T-boosters, so check the labels before you buy.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha roots top view

More and more scientific studies have been released showing a link between this herb and improved cardio and repertory performance [14].

That’s an interesting fact for athletes, and you’ll find this ingredient will gain more attention in the pre-workout industry.

But ashwagandha may also increase testosterone processes in the body. Studies have shown that regular intake can trigger a boost of over 15% [15].

That’s a very significant benefit, and with the added exercise performance, it should help athletes achieve their ideal body composition a lot faster.

Vitamin D and Zinc

And finally, there’s vitamin D and zinc. These are less common in pre-workouts, but you’ll often find large doses in T-boosters.

The reason for this is that they are directly linked to how the body produces sex hormones [16].

Essentially, they function as the building blocks of many hormones. And if you don’t get enough of these, then you could be creating a bottleneck that ends up causing a hormonal imbalance.

You should also consider taking these through a multivitamin and mineral supplement, as they may be important for other digestive and immune processes as well.

Posts You May Like:

FAQs

Do All Pre-workouts Increase Testosterone?

No, not all pre-workouts will increase testosterone levels.

This impact is highly dependent on specific ingredients that can have an effect on multiple different body functions. There are even some pre-workouts that might have a negative impact.

Does Pre-workout Increase Growth Hormone?

Yes, some pre-workout products can increase growth hormone production.

However, it’s mainly an indirect effect where the increased exercise performance triggers a higher growth hormone release in response [17].

Take an Effective Approach to Testosterone

Even if you don’t have known issues with low testosterone levels, it’s always a good idea for men to boost this vital hormone, especially once you hit 30.

While the best pre-workout supplements tend to have a positive impact here, I would recommend that you take a separate supplement.

That way, you can make sure that you get the right ingredients with an ideal dosage.

The good news is that we have tested dozens of these natural T-boosters for men to come up with a list of recommended products. Start taking one of these on a regular basis and see how much of an impact it can have on your physique.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22349085/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20560706/
  3. https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/testosterone
  4. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/the-best-testosterone-boosters-for-men-over-50
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16386416
  6. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20000107/amino-acid-supplementation-hormone-levels
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19656319
  8. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2020.574854/full
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18458357/
  10. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Aspartic-Acid.aspx
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19860889/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070955/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3861174
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545242/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438434
  16. https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2011/5/boosting-testosterone-naturally
  17. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2021.623570/full

Was this article helpful?

About The Author