Why Is My Pre-Workout Clumpy? (2 Easy Methods to Fix It)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 7, 2023
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Anyone who regularly consumes pre-workouts has at least once come across a tub of clumpy powder.

This, of course, raises concerns as to whether it's still effective or safe to consume. In fact, it's one of the most common questions I get about pre-workouts.

So, to put your minds at ease, I’ve taken some time to research the matter and put together a ‘Guide to Clumped Pre-Workout’ that should answer all your questions.

Quick Summary

  • Clumping in pre-workout supplements is primarily due to hygroscopic ingredients that attract moisture, leading to the powder sticking together.
  • To address clumpy pre-workout powder, ensure to store your supplements in a cool, dry place and maintain the inclusion of silica gel packets.
  • According to the National Institute of Health, common hygroscopic ingredients in pre-workouts include citrulline malate, creatine nitrate, and glycerol.
  • In my experience, regularly using and properly storing your pre-workout can almost entirely prevent clumping issues.

Why Do Pre-Workout Supplements Clump?

A close up shot of pre-workout powder in a scoop

Most pre-workout supplements clump because they contain hygroscopic ingredients.

Hygroscopic ingredients are active agents that attract water molecules at room temperature.

As a result, powdered supplements containing these ingredients are prone to clumping.

According to research by the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are some common hygroscopic pre-workout ingredients [1].

These include:

Most powdered pre-workouts eventually turn clumpy or hard if you leave them unused for an extended period.

Unlike protein powders, which are consumed regularly, most people take pre-workout for eight weeks before going off of it for another eight weeks. This is enough time for your supplement to draw in moisture and clump up.

How to Prevent It

A woman shaking a bottle of pre-workout

There are several ways to prevent pre-workout clumping. Here’s what we found works best.

Silica Gel Packets

I learned the hard way that skipping the silica gel packet is a one-way ticket to Clump City. Now, I make it a rule to keep that little packet right in the middle of my pre-workout powder. It's like having a little guardian that keeps the moisture at bay.

Since pre-workout contains hygroscopic ingredients, they will attract moisture from the air.

Silica gel packs prevent the powder from drawing any moisture. So, don't throw it away after you open up your supplement tub.

Stir or Shake Your Pre-Workout

One of the reasons pre-workout powder tends to absorb moisture and clump is when it’s left untouched for long periods of time.

Let’s say you’ve thrown away the silica gel packet and don’t use your pre-workout that often; now, it’s very susceptible to clumping.

So, another way to prevent this is to shake your pre-workout container periodically. While this may sound silly, it works quite well. You may even use a spoon to stir the powder around.

Store In a Cool, Dry Place

Close up shot of a scoop of pre-workout powder

I've stored my pre-workout in some pretty humid places before, and let me tell you, it's not pretty. The shelf life drops faster than an opponent after a right hook. Now, I always stash my tub in a cool, dry spot to keep it from turning into a brick.

So, if you live in such a climate, store your pre-workout tub in a cool and dry place.

We also recommend taking extra precautions by adding an extra silica gel packet. This will ensure your powder won’t get clumpy or hard.

Related: Does Pre-Workout Go Bad?

Use Pre-Workouts With Anti-Caking Agents

Look for pre-workouts that contain calcium silicate and silicon dioxide. According to research by Center for Science in the Public Interest, these are anti-caking agents that absorb moisture and prevent the powder from clumping [2]. However, these agents may affect the product in certain ways, so be careful when choosing them.

“While they are rare, silicon dioxide side effects are possible. This can include symptoms of allergic reactions and possibly digestive problems.”

- Jillian Levy, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Use Your Pre-Workout Regularly

Consistency is key, not just in training but in using your pre-workout too. I make sure to use mine regularly, which means I usually run out before there's even a chance for it to clump. Plus, it's a good excuse to keep pushing yourself in the gym.

How to Fix Pre-Workout Clump

Close up shot of clumpy pre-workout powder

If your tub of pre-workout turns clumpy, there’s no need to worry. You can fix a clumpy pre-workout immediately in the following ways.

Use a Blender

If you find your pre-workout has clumped, simply toss the entire batch into a blender and mix it until it’s all powdery again.

And, don’t worry; blending won’t affect the pre-workout in any way, shape, or form.

Stir It With a Spoon or Fork

If you don’t have access to a blender, then stirring clumpy pre-workout with a spoon or a fork until it’s powdered will do the trick.

Just make sure you use a bone-dry spoon; otherwise, the moisture might clump your pre-workout again.

Alternative Uses for Clumpy Pre-Workout

Clumpy pre-workout powder, often seen as a nuisance, can be repurposed creatively:

  • Energy pancakes: Incorporate the clumps into your pancake batter to make energizing breakfast pancakes. The texture can add an interesting twist while providing a caffeine kick to start the day.
  • Pre-workout coffee: Mix clumps into your morning coffee or espresso for a unique, energizing brew. It's an unconventional way to infuse your caffeine boost with workout enhancers.
  • Fruit-filled popsicles: Dissolve the clumps in a fruit puree or juice and freeze in popsicle molds. These icy treats become a refreshing pre-workout snack, ideal for hot days.
  • Homemade energy chews: Combine the clumps with honey or maple syrup, shaping them into chewy energy snacks. These are convenient for on-the-go pre-workout fuel during hikes or long runs.
  • Flavored water enhancer: Crush the clumps into a fine powder and use it to flavor your water. It's a quick and easy way to infuse your drink with energy-enhancing ingredients while staying hydrated throughout the day.

These creative approaches turn clumpy pre-workout powder into enjoyable, functional additions to your daily routine.

FAQs

Is Clumpy Pre-Workout Bad for Consumption?

No, clumpy pre-workout is not bad for consumption because it doesn’t affect the quality or effectiveness.

However, make sure the clumping is a result of moisture absorption. If you suspect some other foreign ingredient has gotten into your tub, chuck it out.

When Should I Be Concerned About Clumpy or Hard Pre-Workout?

You should be concerned about clumpy or hard pre-workout when the supplement is past its expiration date or has been exposed to unknown substances.

Otherwise, clumpy pre-workouts are harmless.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413194/
  2. https://www.cspinet.org/article/silicon-dioxide-silica-calcium-silicate
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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. 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
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

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