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How Much Pre-Workout Should I Take? (From a Fitness Coach)

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

As a personal trainer, my clients often ask me how much pre-workout they should take to boost their energy levels.

Because there is no one-size-fits-all pre-workout, my recommendations vary depending on the type of training, as well as the client at hand.

To give them the best advice possible, I spent a few days gathering available resources and researching the recommended dosages to increase power during training.

In addition, I spoke with my colleagues at Total Shape to gain insight into their experience and their knowledge of the sports industry standards. Read on to learn everything I found.

Quick Summary

  • A basic rule of thumb is: the manufacturer's recommended dose of a certain pre-workout supplement is the amount you should take to increase stamina during a workout.
  • If you’re doing light workouts with fewer compound lifts like squats and bench press, you can take half to one scoop per single serving.
  • Knowing how much pre-workout supplement to take based on personal preferences is as important as knowing how often and when to take them for best results.
Getting a spoonful of pre workout

Most pre-workout formulas are unique because they were designed to achieve a specific goal.

To give you an idea of how much of them you should take, I've researched the recommended amounts of ingredients they commonly have and listed them below.

Caffeine

Caffeine is frequently used in sports drinks to increase exercise performance. Research indicates that 3 to 6 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight is typically considered safe for intake.

Therefore a 50-kg individual may consume 150 to 300 mg of caffeine to accelerate his fitness journey [1].

Creatine

Creatine supplements are an excellent addition to ergogenic drinks because it is thought to improve agility, muscle growth, and post-workout muscle soreness.

Creatine supplementation in amounts of 0.1 g/kg of body weight has been shown to improve performance, suggesting that a 50 kg person should take around 5,000 mg of creatine to level up his gym sessions [2].

BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are frequently used in ergogenics to enhance muscle building and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Sports experts recommend taking up to 20 grams of BCAA supplements in divided doses throughout the day to enhance athletic performance [3].

Beta-Alanine

Holding a pill with water

Beta-alanine is a common amino acid found in sports supplements because it helps keep muscles from getting tired quickly.

A study showed that taking 4 to 6 grams of beta-alanine every day for four weeks helped improve physical performance [4].

Citrulline

L-citrulline is commonly used in ergogenic drinks to increase power and strength. It is also found in combination with malic acid to form citrulline malate.

Research shows that the general advice for L-citrulline is 3 to 4 grams, while the recommendation for citrulline malate is 8 grams [5].

These recommended amounts should help athletes reach optimal performance.

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is commonly added to sports drinks to enhance power and endurance. According to research, experts usually advise taking 150 mg of tyrosine daily.

However, most supplement manufacturers recommend between 500 mg and 1,500 mg for maximizing its benefits on physical performance [6].

Betaine

Betaine is another common ingredient in ergogenic drinks. It aids in bodybuilding by hydrating muscle cells, giving the muscles more power to pump those weights.

It has been demonstrated that taking 2.5 to 5 grams of betaine safely and effectively improves exercise performance [7].

How Do You Know if You're Taking Enough Pre-Workout?

You'll know if you're taking enough pre-workout by noticing how your body responds to the supplement 30 to 45 minutes after taking it without food.

If you’re going to use pre-workout, use it the way it’s supposed to be used.”

- Kate Patton, MEd, Registered Dietician

When it comes to knowing how much caffeine you've consumed, you'll know you've had enough if you have the drive and focus needed to improve your workout performance.

If nothing seems to have changed, the amount may be too small for you. If, on the other hand, you feel more jittery than usual, the dosage may have been too high.

What Are the Downsides of Taking Too Much or Too Little?

Giving a thumbs up while holding a spoon with pre workout supplement

The downsides of taking pre-workout too much or too little will depend on an individual’s sensitivities, intolerances, and fitness goals.

When you take too little, your performance won't improve as much as you thought it would, and you'll have wasted the money you spent on it.

On the other hand, if you take too much, you may experience negative pre-workout side effects such as irregular heartbeats, stomach upset, and headaches.

FAQs

Is It Good to Take Pre-Workout Supplements Every Day?

In general, it is good to take pre-workout supplements every day. However, you need to make sure you're taking the right amount based on your fitness goals and personal preferences.

Also, since they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is best to take those that only have safe, natural ingredients.

How Much Pre-Workout Should You Take for the First Time?

For the first time, you should take half a scoop of pre-workout to assess your tolerance and sensitivity to other ingredients like caffeine.

If you think you can tolerate the amount and can handle more to maximize the benefits, you can increase your intake to one scoop or to the recommended amount.

Does Taking Enough Pre-Workouts Increase Physical Activity?

In conclusion, taking pre-workouts in the amount recommended by the manufacturer has been shown in clinical trials to provide an energy boost, motivation, and endurance.

However, because every formulation is different, having the right knowledge is crucial before buying any supplement.

I always advise my clients to take ergogenic drinks with clinically safe and effective ingredients, such as the ones listed below.

We’ve thoroughly tested these supplements, and they have helped our clients perform better at the gym and sculpt their physique while losing fat more quickly without side effects.


References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6548757/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-bcaas
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4501114/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254620300168
  6. https://www.drugs.com/npp/tyrosine.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3844502/
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