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Should I Take Pre-workout if I’m Tired? Answered by a Doctor

Anthony Diaz
Published by Anthony Diaz | Bodybuilding Coach
Last updated: August 1, 2023
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There were times when I came back home from work exhausted and drained out but I knew I had to hit the gym. Of course, pre-workout was a go-to solution to my problem, although I never really wondered if that was the right thing to do.

I solicited the help of a friend doctor and dietitians to get to know the hype that pre-workout brings when one is feeling tired before working out.

In this article, I will share if it's wise to take a pre-workout when you're tired.

Quick Summary

  • Timing supplements right will help you get the most out of your workouts if you always feel tired before exercise
  • Pre-workouts are intended to be gentle on your brain, but they can only be used at the authorized dosage
  • Excessive use can cause sleeplessness, irritation, anxiety, increased heart rate, and addiction

Understanding Pre-workout Stimulants

A tumbler and and a workout supplement

Pre-workout stimulants are multi-ingredient nutritional regimens meant to increase stamina and athletic endurance.

They are generally powdered compounds mixed into a liquid and consumed before a workout [1].

While there are several formulae, there is minimal uniformity regarding components.

Amino acids, creatinine, beta-alanine, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine are frequently added [2].

However, the amounts vary significantly depending on the manufacturer.

When choosing pre-workout supplements, it's crucial to consider your specific fitness goals and individual preferences.

Some supplements focus on providing an energy boost and increasing mental focus, while others prioritize muscle recovery and reducing fatigue.

It's important to carefully read the labels and research the ingredients to ensure they align with your needs.

Some pre-workout supplements contain stimulants, and some pre-workouts are stim-free. Caffeine is the most common stimulant found in most supplements; however other stimulants like theacrine or yohimbine are also included [3].

It's critical to understand that almost every supplement and workout nutrition manufacturer has its unique pre-workout formula, which means that there are no two tubs that contain identical or even similar ingredients.

The sort of pre-workout you would like depends on the exercise you're performing or the objective of your training; thus, the components you'll want to seek will also differ.

While many seek strength from pre-workout supplements, the sole purpose of using a high-quality pre-workout, these supplements can also raise your concentration, give you amino acids, and improve pump and overall performance[4].

Pre-workout supplements are also intended to be gentle on your brain, but they can only be used at the authorized dosage.

Excessive use can cause sleeplessness, irritation, anxiety, increased heart rate, and, in severe circumstances, addiction [5].

Taking Pre-workout When Feeling Tired

A fit person showing exhaustion

Exercising regularly is essential for feeling well and reaching our fitness objectives. But some days, physical and mental fatigue gets the best part of you.

On such bad days, you absolutely need a way to wage these struggles; this is where pre-workouts come in handy.

Pre-workout nourishment puts your system in an ideal position to grow and preserve muscle, keep you hydrated, and maintain your blood glucose.

Stable glucose keeps insulin and cortisol in the right balance to decrease fat accumulation and boost your immunity [6].

Nevertheless, if you want to feel motivated during your whole workout, you must time your supplements right [7].

Timing your pre-workout consumption will help you get the most out of your workouts if you always feel tired before exercise.

One to two hours before your workout is the best time to take the supplement [8].

This gives your body adequate time to process and take in the nutrients and for the sugar and insulin blood levels to return to normal before exercise.

Pre-workout routines help you get better results.

In addition to increasing energy levels and focus, pre-workout supplements can increase endurance as well.

By providing your body with essential nutrients and compounds, pre-workout helps combat fatigue, sustain intensity, and effectively attain your fitness goals.

Remember to select a pre-workout product that aligns with your specific needs and follow recommended usage guidelines for optimal outcomes.

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Habits To Incorporate Together With Pre-workouts When You Feel Tired

Holding a tumbler and giving thumbs up

Here’s what I’ve tried to successfully reap the benefits of pre-workouts on days when I could barely move from exhaustion.

  • Limit Caffeine and Avoid Sugar: Caffeine and sugar may provide an initial energetic boost, but they are followed by severe falls and inflammation. Caffeine and sugar are two of the most common causes of fatigue during the day, this is why we recommend caffeine-free pre-workouts [9].
  • Schedule Your Sleep: The recommended amount of hours each day is 7–9 hours for adults and teens. You certainly will not feel refreshed if you do not get enough sleep. If you're tired, you will feel like you don't want to exercise.
  • Eating for Energy: Limit your intake of protein and saturated fats during the day, especially after you're done with workouts. They break down more slowly and can deplete your muscular oxygen and energy-delivering circulation [10].
  • Hydrate: Ensure you hydrate throughout the day, before, during, and after physical exercise.
  • Do Not Wait: Make it a habit to go directly from school or work to your gym training or exercise. Laziness might kick in if you stop at home, and you might feel like forgoing the workout.

"Usually, when I am exhausted during a workout, it is because I am dehydrated. Try always having a water bottle at your desk. Commit to drinking one full bottle in the morning and afternoon."

- Kathleen Trotter Personal Trainer & Pilates Equipment Specialist


Is It Okay To Drink Pre-workout And Not Workout?

Yes, it's okay to take pre-workout supplements and not work out. However, only stick to the recommended doses to avoid the side effects.

What Time Should I Not Take Pre-workout?

You should not take a pre-workout within 4 hours of your bedtime.

Can Pre-workout Be Used For Energy?

Yes, pre-workout can be used for energy and to enhance performance.

How Long Does Pre-workout Take To Kick In?

Pre-workout takes about 10 minutes to kick in.

Can I Take Two Scoops Of Pre-workout?

Yes, you can take two scoops of pre-workout, but do not exceed that amount within a 24-hour frame.

Is It Safe to Take Pre-workouts When Tired?

Pre-workouts work well in providing you with energy when you feel tired. Taking a pre-workout at a reasonable time before your workout will make you feel more motivated and inclined to exercise.

When you feel tired before working out, most of the time, it's because you are not focused on the workout.

Consider trying our recommended best pre-workout supplements to elevate your focus and hype you up for your next workout session.

Not only can they improve your cognitive functions, but they will also increase your stamina, beating the built-up fatigue.


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