Can Pre-Workout Go Bad (Expire)? + Tips to Extend Shelf Life

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 16, 2024
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As a certified personal trainer, I've seen firsthand the difference that fresh supplements can make in a workout. I always remind my clients to check the expiry date on their pre-workout containers — it's a simple step that's crucial for safety and performance.

This date is based on when the product was made and is critical for your safety. Using expired pre-workout supplements can lead to health risks that should not be taken lightly.

In this discussion, I'll explain the factors that can cause your pre-workout supplements to degrade and share advice on how to store them properly. I'll also give you some practical tips to help you determine if your pre-workout supplements have gone bad.

Quick Summary

  • Pre-workout supplements do expire, and using them past the expiration date can lead to decreased effectiveness and potential health risks.
  • Proper storage of pre-workout supplements involves keeping them in a cool, dry place and ensuring the container is sealed tightly after each use.
  • A study by the USDA indicates that while products with a use-by date may still be safe after that date, their quality may not be acceptable, highlighting the importance of adhering to labeled dates.
  • Personally, I believe that regularly checking your pre-workout supplements for signs of spoilage, like clumping or off-smells, is as crucial as monitoring their expiration dates for optimal workout results.

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.

A study by the USDA indicates that while products with a use-by date may still be safe after that date, their quality may not be acceptable, highlighting the importance of adhering to labeled dates [1].

But you also need to consider how long a tub is open for if you want to avoid ingredients becoming ineffective.

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Does the Pre-Workout Go Bad Faster Once The Container Is Open?

Close up of pre workout

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 & Fitness Writer

How Do You Know If Your Pre-Workout Go Bad?

Protein powder

In my years of coaching, I've come across pre-workout supplements that have gone off — the telltale signs are always the same: a bad smell, clumping, and in the worst cases, 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.

This does not mean that pre-workout is 100% gone bad. You can check our guide on how to fix clumpy pre-workout.

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.

Also ReadCan You Take Pre-workout on a Plane?

Tips For Avoiding It From Going Bad Too Soon

As a certified personal trainer, I've collected a wealth of knowledge from fellow fitness experts and clients about maintaining the effectiveness of pre-workout supplements up to their expiration date.

Here are four essential tips I suggest to keep your pre-workout supplements fresh and effective until you're ready to use them:

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.

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Impact of Packaging Materials on Longevity

Packaging materials, like foil packets and plastic tubs, significantly impact the stability and safety of pre-workout supplements.

Foil packets offer better protection against light, moisture, and air, preserving the supplement's potency and safety for longer periods.

In contrast, plastic tubs may not provide the same level of protection, making the supplement more susceptible to degradation.

Proper packaging selection is crucial to ensure your pre-workout supplements maintain their effectiveness and remain safe for consumption over time.

FAQs

Protein powder

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.

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.

How Long Can You Use Mixed Pre-Workouts?

You can consume the pre-workout up to 12 hours after it's been mixed. After this period, its effectiveness starts to diminish, and it may not yield the same results during your workout.


References:

  1. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/food-product-dating
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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3 thoughts on “Does Pre Workout Expire?
How to Fix It When It’s Clumpy & Hard

  1. How to unclump pre-workout is made easy with this informative piece! Thanks!

  2. Can I consume pre workout vaporx5 next gen after expiry date March 21 2020 from muscle tech it’s dry doesn’t smell and not clumpy

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