The majority of people just look at the shelf life or use-by-date that appears on their pre-workout supplements. But the unfortunate reality is that these types of products can go bad for a few other reasons as well.
In the best case, the ingredients will simply not provide the benefits they are supposed to. But it could also happen that the supplements make you sick.
As this is something that accidentally happened to me a while ago, I decided to put this guide together.
Here’s a Quick Summary of Our Key Findings:
- Pre-workout will expire faster once the package is opened.
- It’s not safe to drink a pre-workout after the expiration date because of harmful side-effects.
- Once you mix pre-workout you should drink it within 12 hours.
- There are several signs that show a pre-workout powder is past the expiration date.
Is It Safe To Drink Pre-Workout After the Expiration Date?
No, it is not safe to drink pre-workout after its expiration date. You could experience some pretty unpleasant side effects, such as a gurgling stomach and severe gas.
Most supplement companies will also have clear guidelines printed on the label that warns about not exceeding the use-by-date for this very problem.
But you also need to consider how long a tub is open for if you want to avoid ingredients becoming ineffective.
Does the Pre-Workout Go Bad Faster Once The Container Is Open?
Yes, a pre-workout powder will generally expire faster once the container is open. With some pre-workouts, this could mean using it up within eight weeks, which is quite a short period.
Other products will be suitable for 3 to 4 months, but I advise my clients not to exceed three months.
The problem is that while some pre-workout ingredients like B vitamins and minerals may last a long time, amino acids tend to start breaking down with age. Take BCAA in pre-workouts, for example. The pre-workout lose potency once the amino acids are gone.
Problems can also appear based on how the product is stored, and I’ll get to some tips for that below.
The USDA says products containing a use-by date may still be safe after that date, but it may not be of acceptable quality. To help preserve the quality, always store protein powder in the container it comes in.
- Sara Lindberg, Health and fitness writer
How Long Can You Use Mixed Pre-Workouts?
Once mixed, you can use a pre-workout within 12 hours, as long as it's not exposed to severe temperature fluctuations.
Taking it at least 30 minutes before gym time is ideal even if you've mixed it a few hours prior, especially if you're taking the pre-workout supplement for better pumps during your workout.
This is another problem that some people encounter, especially if they need to mix a pre-workout supplement in the morning before they leave the house, but don't actually intend to drink it until later in the day.
Also read: Best Pre-Workout for Women
How Do You Know If Your Pre-Workout Go Bad?
You know your pre-workouts has gone bad if it starts to smell, clump, and mold. We discuss each sign in more detail below.
1 - Smell
Make sure you’re familiar with the normal smell of your pre-workout supplement products when you first open the tubs. If it starts to have a foul or stale smell, then that could be an indication that it's past the expiration date.
2 - Clumpy
This is one of the biggest problems that you can encounter with all pre-workout supplement products. Once the vacuum seal is broken, moisture is likely to get into the container, and this will start to make the fine powder rather clumpy and hasten the expiration date.
3 - Doesn’t Mix
Another good indicator that your pre-workout supplement is no longer good is when it doesn’t mix easily. In most cases, you can just use a shaker, but if you suddenly find that the powder remains unmixed with a chalky texture, then it could be time to get rid of it.
4 - Mold
This would be a very obvious sign that something is wrong with your pre-workout, and is most often the result of not storing products correctly and allowing them to get damp. Always get rid of moldy pre-workout powder as you could get some pretty nasty food poisoning from it.
Tips For Avoiding It From Going Bad Too Soon
Over the years, I’ve been able to get some great tips from colleagues and clients about how you can make sure your pre-workout supplements don’t go bad before the expiration date.
Here are the 4 tips I would give you:
1 - Tighten The Seal
With pre-workout tubs that have screw-on tops, it’s important to make sure that you tightly fasten the top. Avoid the thread misaligning as this could result in air and moisture getting in.
For the resealable bags, always push out any air before sealing it and then check that the bag is fully closed.
2 - Store In The Right Place
Avoid keeping the pre-workouts out in the open, especially where they can be exposed to direct sunlight. This may cause significant temperature fluctuations that could reduce effectiveness.
3 - Keep It Cool
If you have space in your refrigerator, then that’s where the pre-workout should be stored. It’s cold and dark, which may reduce it from spoiling prematurely .
4 - Buy The Right Size
I know how tempting it is to get a great deal on those mega pre-workout tubs. But unless you have a pretty hardcore workout regimen, you could end up with a pre-workout tub that is open for a very long time. Just buy products that will get you through about 2 to 3 months.
Post you may like: Can You Take Pre-workout on a Plane?
Is clumpy pre-workout bad?
Yes, a clumpy pre-workout can be bad in some cases because it may be an indication that it’s past its usable date. But if it’s still within the shelf life, you may just need to use a blender to get rid of the lumpy texture.
How do you unclump pre-workout?
You can unclump pre-workout by slowly heating it to reduce the moisture. However, this could impact the effectiveness, so the best option would be to use a blender rather than a shaker.
Can you keep pre-workout in the fridge?
Yes, you can keep pre-workout in the fridge. It’s actually one of the best places to store it. Because it’s cold and dark, it may significantly reduce the risk of moisture and molding.
Can you mix pre-workout early?
Yes, you can mix pre-workout early, but I would avoid doing so more than 12 hours before you plan to drink it. Also, ensure that it remains at the same temperature for that time to avoid losing its effectiveness.
For more information on when to take your pre-workout, read our blog.
Make Sure You Check Your Supplements Regularly
Now that you know what to look out for, you may opt to invest in high-quality pre-workout supplements and make sure to regularly check it, especially if you’re not taking them on a daily basis.
I also suggest that you use a marker and write the date you opened them so that you avoid keeping them for longer than 3 months.
If you have some other pre-workout tips you’d like to share, then head over to one of our social media pages and leave a comment.
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