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What Does Beta-Alanine Do In Pre-Workout?

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 2, 2023
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One of the most common ingredients that you’ll find on the nutrition label of pre-workout supplements is beta-alanine.

And as a personal fitness coach, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the benefits and effects of this ingredient. When you take a close look at all the science behind it, you learn to appreciate it a lot more.

But the most interesting thing is how it actually works so that you can figure out whether it’s something that should be part of your supplement stack.

Let’s see what it’s about.

Quick Summary

  • Beta-alanine in pre-workouts influence how the muscle cells can handle lactic acid buildup, especially during resistance training.
  • The best time to take beta-alanine in pre-workouts is 20-30 minutes before your workout routine.
  • Pre-workouts enhance an individual's overall performance when working out.

How Does Beta-Alanine Affect The Body?

Man working out inside the gym

Beta-alanine is one of the essential amino acids that significantly impact the body's ability to handle the buildup of lactic acid during intense workouts.

When engaging in resistance training, muscles break down glucose for energy, leading to the production of lactic acid, which causes that familiar muscle burn and fatigue [1].

Beta-alanine supplementation influences the levels of carnosine in muscle cells [2]. Carnosine acts as a buffer, protecting muscle cells from excessive lactic acid buildup, thereby delaying muscle fatigue and enhancing performance.

By incorporating a pre-workout supplement with beta-alanine, you can experience reduced muscle fatigue, enabling you to lift slightly heavier weights, perform a few more reps, or add extra sets to your workouts. This improvement can make your training sessions more efficient and productive.

The benefits of beta-alanine extend beyond immediate performance enhancement. Studies have shown that consistent beta-alanine supplementation can increase muscle carnosine levels, which can lead to improvements in muscle mass and overall exercise capacity over time.

To assess the impact of beta-alanine, you can conduct trial runs by comparing training sessions with and without this pre-workout ingredient. By doing so, you can objectively measure the effects and tailor your workout routine to maximize the benefits of beta-alanine supplements for your fitness goals.

Related Article: Beta-alanine vs Creatine

Who Can Benefit The Most From Beta-Alanine In Pre-Workout?

Athletes who go through intense resistance training or who engage in workouts where they push themselves through endurance training can benefit from beta-alanine in pre-workout.

Let’s break that down a bit more.

First of all, any bodybuilder who aims to get the maximum benefits from each training session will notice that they can add a few more pounds to a barbell or complete an extra rep or two compared to a standard training session.

That extra amount might not sound like much. But when you add it all up over weeks and months, you’ll see faster bulking.

Similarly, endurance athletes like long-distance runners can experience similar benefits by delaying the muscle burn and soreness and helping them deal with hitting “the wall” that much better [3].

“Beta-alanine aids in the production of carnosine. That's a compound that plays a role in muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise.”

- Melinda Ratini, DO, MS

When Is The Best Time To Take It?

Workout supplement on bowl

The best time to take beta-alanine in a pre-workout is about 20 to 30 minutes before you start your workout.

This is just a guideline, and you’ll need to do some experimenting depending on your training.

As a bodybuilder, you want the benefits to kick in once you complete your warm-up and start your first sets.

That should be about 10-15 minutes into your gym session.

Start taking your beta-alanine supplement about 30 minutes before your warm-up and see if you notice the difference in your sets.

If the benefits don’t kick in until later, then you need to take it a bit earlier.

For endurance runners, I would recommend that you take it right when you start running.

That way, it will kick in once your muscles start showing signs of fatigue. And if you’re running a marathon or longer distances, then consider taking it after you start to gain the most benefit later in your run.


Is Beta-Alanine a BCAA?

No, beta-alanine isn’t a BCAA. BCAA are three of the nine essential amino acids that the body uses to make other proteins. Beta-alanine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid, which means it’s used as is and not to create other proteins.

Can You Mix Beta-Alanine with Creatine?

Yes, you can mix beta-alanine with creatine.

You’ll find that many pre-workout supplements contain both of these ingredients because they provide benefits for both strength and fatigue, making each training session a bigger success.

Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts

Beta-alanine is one of the main ingredients that I always look out for in pre-workout supplements. There’s just a lot of scientific evidence for the benefits, and my personal experience with clients has proven the impact many times as well.

If you need help finding the right supplement to boost your workout, then check out our testing results for some great pre-workouts.

These are the products we have thoroughly researched and seen consistent results with clients.


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