Pre-workouts obviously have their benefits in the gym or when playing sports.
They can help you reach peak performance, build muscle strength, and provide extra endurance with an energy boost. There are a lot of questions surrounding how to take pre-workout.
You may want to know when to take pre-workout for muscle gain? Perhaps you’re also wondering if you should eat before or after a gym session or what is the best pre-workout time?
Pre-workouts are different from energy drinks since they are designed to specifically help you reach peak performance with nutritional ingredients like amino acids.
We’re here to remove that uncertainty, so you can remove the confusion and free yourself to simply focus on working out with the best possible pre-workout knowledge.
When Is The Best Time To Take Pre-workout?
Timing is everything, so it’s a common question on when should I take pre workout. It seems simple enough. Take it before your workouts.
However, it’s a mistake to drink your pre-workout as you’re walking into the door of your gym.
The active ingredients from the drink like creatine usually takes 30-60 minutes to initiate in your body muscles.
The minutes vary from person to person, but you could be far into your physical training before feeling the effects in your muscles.
There is no real issue about taking a pre-workout too early. The caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours once it is consumed. (1) The biggest concern might be if you are taking it too late in your day. The best pre-workout has a similar effect to taking a strong energy drink.
If you head to the gym in the late afternoon or evening and take a pre-workout, then the caffeine may keep you too stimulated to fall asleep at an appropriate time.
Here are some caffeine-free pre-workouts that we recommend.
How Often Can I Use Pre-workout?
You can use a pre-workout supplement daily, but it’s good advice to take a break every once in a while.
Prolonged use can lead to the body’s receptors not reacting as well as it did before.
For example, caffeine or creatine monohydrate are common ingredients in pre-workout.
It’s possible though for your body to develop a slight immunity meaning that it doesn’t give your muscles an energy boost.
It may be a good idea to take a week off every two months for your body to reset. Or take caffeine or creatine-free products.
Should I Eat Before Taking Pre-workout?
Should you eat before you gym sesh?
A common mistake people make is to take a pre-workout on an empty stomach. It leaves you feeling jittery and light-headed.
It doesn’t help you with building muscle strength or endurance at all. You should definitely consider what to eat before a workout and add some nutrition to your diet.
When and What Should I Eat Before Pre-workout?
You need to be strategic about it. If you have 2-3 hours before your workout, then try having a complete and nutritional meal with amino acids, only cut corners if you have to.
The best pre-workout meal has foods with carbs, protein, and fat. This isn’t achievable for everyone though, we’re looking at you, early-morning risers.
So if you only have 45-60 minutes before you exercise, choose a simple pre-workout snack that is easy for digestion to prevent stomach discomfort.
Are There Any Side-Effects To Taking Pre-Workout?
There are some things to consider if you are wondering should I take pre-workout. Some side effects include diarrhea, dehydration, and headaches. (3)
These may be prevented by ensuring that you are drinking plenty of water throughout your day and especially before and after your workout.
You may also experience tingly or prickly sensations. These are harmless side effects of the pre-workout interacting with your body mass system.
High blood pressure may also be a concern since the active ingredients combined with physical performance like powerbuilding can lead to elevated blood pressure. You should always consult with a doctor about your nutrition and physical training.
You can also watch this video below to learn more about the side-effects of taking pre-workout supplements.
Can pre-workout supplements affect my sleep?
Insomnia may occur if you are using pre-workout too late in your day. You should remember that pre-workout products contain anywhere from 200-400 mg of caffeine (For reference, a regular cup of coffee has about 95mg of caffeine).
Pre-workout may not be for you if you can only workout later in the day. A helpful tip is if you wouldn’t take an energy drink because it could affect your sleep, then don’t take a pre-workout either.
Does pre-workout go bad?
Pre-workout products have expiration dates. According to manufacturers, the product will no longer be at its peak and not as efficient. Even though it may not make you physically ill to take expired pre-workout, it doesn’t have its full potency and won’t help you with your fitness goals like muscle gain, powerbuilding, strength, or weight loss.
Is it okay to take pre-workout first thing in the morning?
If you are going to take a pre-workout supplement as soon as you wake up, you should also eat a simple and nutritional meal with it. An empty stomach will not be happy with you if you take pre-workout without eating any food.
Foods with nutrition will help give your body’s muscles some fuel. You should also workout within an hour of taking a pre-workout supplement to get the full benefits of the caffeine strength in your muscles.
Working out is a long-time commitment. If you want to achieve your goal; if you wish to gain weight or lose some, then you must commit and have 100% discipline on all your sets.
- Tracy Thompson, Senior Coach for Women
When Is The Best Time To Take Pre Workout?
It takes time for the active ingredients to take effect so taking it while you're on the gym already is not recommended.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We always love to hear from you and help you with your health goals.
Check out some our favorite pre-workouts page:
If you are looking for a lean body, fat loss, or muscle strength, we are here for you.
- Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C, How long does a cup of coffee keep you awake?, retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321784.php
- Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD, Should You Have a Protein Shake Before or After Your Workout?, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-shake-before-or-after-workout
- Daniel Preiato, RD, CSCS, 5 Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements, and How to Avoid Them, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-side-effects